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to ask at what age you can expect some gratitude from your dc?

(43 Posts)
Sampanther Sun 20-Apr-14 21:48:06

Apologies in advance if this is a rant.

Dd is nearly 7. Her dad and I have been separated since I was pregnant and since then he's seen her the bare minimum - recently it's two days per month. Dd thinks the sun shines out of his backside. He openly tells her about the trips he, his gf and their son have been on without dd, tells her about holidays abroad and nights out etc. He promises the world and lets her down every time without fail, yet she always excuses him.

He's off at the moment as it's a bank holiday weekend but didn't want to have dd. However, he did do her the honour of popping in today on the way back from a day out with his gf and their son to drop off an Easter egg for her. Half hour later she'd made a card for them telling them they're the 'best daddy, mummy and brother in the world.' He is encouraging her to call the gf mummy because 'she's her brothers mum, so that pretty much makes her her mum too' confused They've been together for two years.

During the Easter holidays we've been away camping, had three big days out, two playdates, an Easter egg hunt, an Easter party, made Easter cakes and crafts and an sleepover with her friends. Her dad spares five fucking minutes and about two quid and he's a hero....!

I do absolutely everything for dd while he contributes nothing besides this calling the gf mummy crap and still, she thinks hes magnificent. I know she's young still, but surely there comes a point where a little gratitude should be shown? I know it wouldn't be an issue if it weren't for him as I just do what parents do but right now I really feel like not bothering to do anything above and beyond for her because she currently has zero appreciation.

ForalltheSaints Sun 20-Apr-14 21:50:01

About 25 years old perhaps?

EatShitDerek Sun 20-Apr-14 21:51:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Famzilla Sun 20-Apr-14 21:53:03

Oh OP, I don't know about gratitude but take comfort in the fact that she feels secure with you, she doesn't need to make you cards declaring that you're the best or whatever because she knows you'll always be there.

Your XP sounds like an utter twat and under no circumstances would I be allowing him this level of control over my child's emotions.

SystemIDUnknown Sun 20-Apr-14 21:53:45


You are throwing your toys out of your pram and stamping your feet. This Is nothing to fo with the ex. You sound like a child.

tripecity Sun 20-Apr-14 21:57:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JuniperHeartwand Sun 20-Apr-14 21:58:04

Take a step back and think about what her card is really about OP. She's trying to please her dad, impress him, make him love her enough to bother to see her. You're part of the wallpaper, in a good way! She doesn't need to desperately please you, she trusts you'll always be there. reassure yourself with this thought.

EatShitDerek Sun 20-Apr-14 21:58:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HolidayCriminal Sun 20-Apr-14 22:00:46

Gosh what SystemIDU wrote is harsh. sad

But there is an element of truth in it, Must Not Compare, and all that!

Kids take us for granted, sure. I am not one to plan things without their enthusiasm, as a rule. Because they are such ingrates.

I also see an insecure little girl in OP's picture. I want to say "Cut the little girl some slack".

shewhowines Sun 20-Apr-14 22:03:53

I only truly appreciated my parents and the sacrifices they made, in my twenties. I took everything for granted as they were always there for me.

I don't know if they really made us aware of all they did for us or whether we were just ungrateful kids.

Hayfreever Sun 20-Apr-14 22:04:06

I've been through this, take no notice. She is simply insecure and worried she's 'losing' her dad. The more he lives his life without her, the more she tries to win him back in any way she can, she probably feels pushed out a d desperate.

Unfair as it seems (and is) you are her rock and stability, and she doesn't need to try so hard with you. Just see it for what it is. My kids are now older and can see EXACTLY what their dad is like, yet when they were your dd's age they were the same and it used to bother me at the time.

NearTheWindymill Sun 20-Apr-14 22:18:22

My friend went through this - she said hers were about 11 when they started to realise their dad was a disloyal waste of space. It was hard but she was a brilliant mum and they know it now in spades now they are 21 and 19.

I got the first glimmer from ds at about 18 and three quarters. His girlfriend wasn't as loved as she should have been and he blurted out "you and dad really look after me and d sis don't you". Took seeing someone close less loved to do it.

brokenhearted55a Sun 20-Apr-14 22:18:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sampanther Sun 20-Apr-14 22:32:23

She does make me cards and things too, and of course it isn't a competition. It just makes me cross on her behalf that he'll promise her (for example) a huge birthday party, ride in a limo to the airport then trip to Disney and she'd believe it and talk about it for months. Then when it doesn't happen she'll shrug and say they forgot to book tickets, or whatever. If I promised I'd bring her an apple after school but actually bought her a banana I wouldn't get to live it down!!

It's just tempting sometimes to say that seeing as she'sso happy at her dads, when he does nothing with her whatsoever, then really I'm wasting my time and money doing things for her if she's happier doing nothing.

HolidayCriminal Sun 20-Apr-14 22:35:33

We do nice things for the people we love because we love them. x.

NewtRipley Sun 20-Apr-14 22:37:22

This is about your feelings about him. As others have said - she "takes you for granted" - but not in the way an adult would, but because she is a child who knows she is secure in your love.

She may feel very ambivalent about her father, and that may lead her to be angry with you - she knows she can be angry with you and you'll still be there to care for her. Being an emotional sponge for a child is what we signed up for, even though it's really hard for us at times.

NewtRipley Sun 20-Apr-14 22:43:56

She makes fewer demands on her dad because she has learned to be happy for what little she gets from him. His company is probably enough.

But she has higher standards for you because she knows you try hard for her

NewtRipley Sun 20-Apr-14 22:48:06

Aslo (sorry) - do you feel you do loads with her to make up for him? That sounds like a packed programme you described there! Sometimes children really are happy to do nothing with you... if "nothing" is spending time talking, reading, playing games, cooking together etc etc. It's really unfair of you to expect gratitude if you are the one setting the agenda for what she should get

emsyj Sun 20-Apr-14 22:49:09

She acts like this because she feels secure with you. She knows you will be there for her and she doesn't have to make a fuss of every tiny thing you do for her. This is a good thing. She needs this security from you. Don't be cross with her because of it. You know this really, don't you? I'm not surprised you're cross though. It must be very hard to watch this situation play out with her father. Do stamp out the calling EHGF 'Mum' though... That is 101% not on.

bamboostalks Sun 20-Apr-14 22:49:30

In 20 years! That's how long it takes most of us. You sound a fab mum and she'll be grateful eventually. He's a shit and she'll know that eventually too....unfortunately.

Custardo Sun 20-Apr-14 22:50:14

only when i had kids did i appreciate what my mum did

Sampanther Sun 20-Apr-14 23:00:53

Newt his version of 'nothing' is refusing to let her do any activities or attend parties on 'his' time, and shutting her away in her room with endless films and sweets.

She likes to be busy here and always wants to get out, even if it's just to the park or walking the dog. I do feel I probably agree more to compensate for his crappiness but am fed up of doing so when she seems not to care. Its really hard when she says 'hes been to new York and went on a horse and carriage and stayed in a super expensive hotel' etc and asks if I've done that, not to say that no, I haven't because I have children to pay for and be responsible for.

NewtRipley Sun 20-Apr-14 23:04:39


Remember she is only a little girl What she is saying to you is not how you are interpreting it.

As others have said - she's hardly likely to want to feel that he is as useless as he seems to be. He is her dad and she wants to believe the suns shines out of his arse because she wants to believe he cares about her.

She does not understand about paying for things and responsibilities...

dobedobedo Sun 20-Apr-14 23:06:05

Go easy on her, she's not trying to hurt you. She's probably hurting herself, trying to get her dad's approval and love by being the "perfect and grateful" daughter. I bet she feels abandoned by her dad deep down and she's trying to rectify his treatment of her by her actions.
My parents were the same as your ex and you. I always tried to get my absent father's approval and my mum hated it. When she was mad at me, it would come out. It made me feel terribly guilty and torn and I felt sorry for her.
Just love your daughter and carry on being there for her. Don't punish her for her messed up relationship with her dad. It's not her fault, and when she's older, she'll realise. I think with kids you need to do things for them to make their life better and happier, not to get gratitude.

NewtRipley Sun 20-Apr-14 23:06:45

And if you get angry and say "I can't go to New Your and swan about because I have to look after you", the danger is that

a) She'll see that as a criticism of her
b) She'll see that as a criticism of him - and he's her father and she wants to believe the sun shines out of his arse, as I said above

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