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AIBU in thinking I might be failing DC who have Dad with serious drug problem?

(23 Posts)
whattodo112 Thu 27-Sep-12 17:31:22

I have namechanged as I'm worried that an advanced search on my usual MN name might make it easier for people to identify my friend IRL.

I have a good friend with 3 DC who are 7, 4 and 8 months. I am a godmother to them all and my DC are good friends with them (same school).

She is a great friend and a really good mum under very trying circumstances.

Her DH has a serious drug problem. He has been a 'casual' user since they met about 15 years ago. His problems have got steadily worse and resulted in him loosing his job about a year ago.

He takes cocaine and Cat (I don't know if that is the correct spelling) daily. His moods vary from lively and enthusiastic to comatose, verbally abusive, spaced out and horrible.

He does a few odd jobs and uses all this money to pay for drugs. My friend runs the home financially and practically. The house is mortgage free and in his name.

She does a pretty good job of keeping things going. However, the children do hear and see things that they shouldn't have to. It is becoming more difficult for her to explain away his behaviour to them.

He has left drugs lying about a few times when he is 'out of it'.

The thing that bothers me most is that she does leave the DC alone with him sometimes. She mimimises the times that she does this as much as she can but she does leave him in charge sometimes. He is almost always high, low or comatose including when he is looking after his DC.

I think that their Dad's behavious must be having a negative impact on his DC, but more seriously I worry about something really bad happening when he is in charge.

I love these kids dearly, and am very fond of my friend. She knows I wish she would ask him to leave, and when she asked me to be a god parent to their youngest I explained how much I worry about them all. The fact is, she is not ready to leave him, and I cant make her.....

The children are lovely. I do feel though that they quite solemn, incredibly well behaved and often tired (I realise this could just be their natural personalities though).

I am worried that I am contributing to the problem by standing by and doing nothing. I wonder if I am kidding myself that the best thing I can do is to support my friend and the DC by being a listening ear and a practical help as much as possible?

I would be really interested to hear what other mumsnetters would consider to be the best thing to do?

TheHeirOfSlytherin Thu 27-Sep-12 17:33:51

Unless your friend gets rid of him then there's not much you can do really, except call social services and make them aware of the situation.

LadyMargolotta Thu 27-Sep-12 17:34:39

The children are clearly at risk from a father who leaves drugs lying around.

You have no choice but to inform social services.

whattodo112 Thu 27-Sep-12 17:35:18

heir, I feel I'm too close to the situation to decide whether calling SS is the right thing to do.

Would they even do anything?

WorraLiberty Thu 27-Sep-12 17:36:54

You're not failing the children but both your friend and her DH most certainly are.

There's nothing you can do because you can't force her to leave him...and to be honest, considering she's continued to have children with this man perhaps she doesn't see a problem with his drug taking?

Perhaps you should have a word with the priest/vicar at the church? He or she might be able to visit on the parish rounds and might be able to help?

missymoomoomee Thu 27-Sep-12 17:43:06

You should call social services and make them aware of this situation. I don't know what they would do, but really they are more qualified than you to give the right help.

Imagine how you would feel if, God forbid, anything happened to one of the kids in his care, and tbh even if they make it through their childhoods physically fine, goodness knows what mental impact it will have.

You sound like a lovely caring friend and Godmother, they are lucky to have you looking out for them.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Thu 27-Sep-12 17:46:31

I'm pretty sure SS would have something to say about a junkie leaving his stash around for his young kids to find.

I fond your friend's parenting skills as questionable as her partner's tbh. What the hell is she playing at?! If he wasn't willing to give up his habit when she was expecting their first she should have left him then and there. Not stayed and had 2 more kids with him!

whattodo112 Thu 27-Sep-12 17:50:41

If I gave SS full details they would probably know if came from me. I don't want to sound dramatic but it could put me in a really difficult position.

Presumably though, if I only gave vague details SS would be less likely to help.

LadyMargolotta Thu 27-Sep-12 17:59:26

whattodo112 if you do nothing, or phone SS without giving the full details, how will you feel if something happens to those children? How will you feel when they grow up, and they turn to you, and say 'you knew, but did nothing?'

missymoomoomee Thu 27-Sep-12 18:01:44

I assume they have other friends and family members, they won't know who will have reported them. You just need to report and not leave your name and then act no differently from normal.

I did this once and it wasn't nice but it had to be done, the person came and told me that SS had been round and then told me a load of rubbish about why they had been round. That person has ended up getting a lot of help and I was never found out, even if I had been though it wouldn't have been as bad as something happening to a child and no-one having done anything about it.

It sounds like your friend needs a bit of a shove to get out of this relationship, this may just do it.

Snorbs Thu 27-Sep-12 18:04:48

Social Services have a lot of experience with dealing with parents that have drug/alcohol problems. They've also seen the damage it causes to the children.

Think about the lessons the DCs are learning from this man. Think about what it's going to do to them in their future relationships. "It's ok to blow off your responsibilities and get wasted whenever you want"; "relationships are about one person doing all the work and the other doing sod all"; "it's perfectly acceptable to regularly get so off your face on illegal drugs that you cannot function"; "it's the woman's job to run the family, the man can sit back and get blotto"; "selfish behaviour is fine"; "it's ok to be verbally abusive as long as you can say that it was the drugs talking".

whattodo112 Thu 27-Sep-12 18:06:00

lady I would feel terrible.

I would equally feel terrible if I did something to break up their family, if it was the wrong thing to do.

If they realise it was me, I will no longer be able to be a practical help. I collect older 2 DC from school two or three times a week and they stay until they have had their tea. I have littlest DC several times a week also.

Snorbs Thu 27-Sep-12 18:11:08

Break up their family? What family? An overworked, stressed out mum who's trying to deal with a horrible situation, three children who are being exposed to situations they flat-out shouldn't be being exposed to and that will damage them, and an utterly selfish junkie who's a danger to all those around him? That's not a family.That's a slow-motion car crash.

missymoomoomee Thu 27-Sep-12 18:13:38

Social services wouldn't just swoop in and take the kids on your say so. They have to do checks and reports and interviews unless the kids are in immediate danger. Even if/when they find out what this guy is like they will maybe be able to help arrange rehab for him, some respite for your friend, some of them have kids clubs where they can go and hang out and speak to people if they need to and practical help for the family. They will try to keep the family together 1st ime.

Dotty342kids Thu 27-Sep-12 18:17:14

Children who take care of their parents, for reasons of alcohol, mental health or illness often display some of the behaviours you're talking about eg. solemn and incredibly well behaved. It's as if they know that there's already enough for the family to cope with and that they need to "help" by behaving properly. Or, it could simply be that your friend is doing a great job of being the responsible parenting and is bringing them up to be lovely, well behaved children!
What's certain though is that the older they get, the more aware of it all they will become, no matter how hard your friend tries to shield them from it. And that is not going to have a good effect on them.
There's some good initial information
here
this might be a bit "old" for the children in question but would make for an interesting read for you / their mum perhaps?

You sound like a lovely caring friend, and great godmother for those children, please don't under estimate the importance for children of having a good adult friend who they can trust and talk to if they're feeling anxious / worried about home. I work with young people in similar situations and the thing they often value most is having an adult, outside of the situation, who they can talk to and who can demonstrate another way of functioning outside of what they see on a day to day basis.

LadyMargolotta Thu 27-Sep-12 18:17:24

whattodo112 you wouldn't be breaking up their family.

The drug addict dad is managing to do that all by himself.

Fairylea Thu 27-Sep-12 18:17:30

If this guy is doing odd jobs there are a fair few people who could dob him in to the police esp if he is out of it a lot. Therefore I would make an anonymous call to the police telling them you have heard he is dealing and let them investigate. I know you didn't say he is dealing but they will come out quickly for that. No one will know it was you and once they realise young children are at the house they will most probably inform social services. I think that's what I would do.

If he's leaving drugs around it only takes an enquiring young child to dip their fingers into it and they'll be dead.

I used to go out with a coke addict and left him.

Pinkforever Thu 27-Sep-12 18:44:06

Your friend is a good parent? pull the other one its got bells on!! she has exposed her children to all sorts of trauma due to their weak and feckless father and continues to do so. You are just as bad if you allow this horrible situation to continue...

honeytea Thu 27-Sep-12 18:47:02

I think fairylee'sides is a good one.

You sound like a really lovely friend tge children ate really lucky to have you in their lives. I guess his drug use has maybe escalated and your friend has cone to see it as normal, maybe a break from him would make her realise his behaviour and their home life isn't normal.

Talking as the child as an alcoholic I learnt very early on that alcohol was more important than me, in my opinion addicts dont deserve the right to be parents and tge children of addicts are usually better off without tge addicted parent because the feeling that your mother or father cares more about alcohol/drugs is far worse than loosing that relationship.

Roseformeplease Thu 27-Sep-12 18:50:06

Can you do something via school? Ask them to call SS because of something one of the children has said / drawn / written? A good school would be sympathetic and would not need to involve you.

bringbacksideburns Thu 27-Sep-12 18:50:07

If she's a really good friend you should be able to sit her down and say to her that enough is enough, you are really worried and tell her to stop this.

How would she feel if her kids picked up his drugs? It happens. She needs to protect them.
I really can't see what's she getting out of this relationship.
You have to be honest with her.

DottyandSpottyWot Thu 27-Sep-12 18:52:44

I am a godmother to an amazing little boy, I spoke to our mutual HV about the concerns I had - best decision I ever made, my friend got the help she needed, godson got additional support at school and the situation was resolved. Please get the help these children need.

whattodo112 Thu 27-Sep-12 20:23:00

Thank you for all the advice. I clearly am wrong to have let this continue for so long but I genuinely didn't know what to do for the best. I feel quite stupid now, but I was worried that SS would investigate, do nothing, and the situation would continue but I would be unable to offer any further support because my friend will feel betrayed. Or on the other hand I wasn't sure if informing SS was the right thing to do, we can't all just report everything that we see as sub-standard parenting.

But I realise I have to do something and I will.

I will sleep on it and decide exactly what to say tomorrow.

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