DD has said v worrying things about her Dad...how to proceed?(7 Posts)
My DD who is 2 years 4 months old (who has crazy advanced speech & memory!!) has been saying some very worrying things about her Dad recently especially after he turned up to drop her off after a sleepless night as she wouldn't settle - had a bit of a cold etc - he was in tears and so was she ! I asked her what happened when he had gone and she said he whacked her because he was upset and needed to whack her. :-( :-(
Then she wet herself 2 x in one morning - on purpose in my bed and again on the chair at lunch. She has been dry and totally in control of potty training for months. After this I told him I wanted to put a pause on overnights for now until she is more settled as she is obviously very stressed (I hadn't told him what she had said at this point as I was wanting to hear what he said first.) On the phone he was really regretful and said he had been worried about her today and wanted to come and say sorry as he had raised his voice at her whilst getting her dressed. He said she was was being really difficult and he was tired as hadn't slept at all...Just seemed weird he would feel so bad about simply 'raising his voice', bad enough that he would cry when dropping her off, and then try and come and say sorry to her later in the day (I didn't answer his phone call in the daytime)
The next morning I said how do you feel about seeing Daddy at Nanny's house today (his Mum is my only childcare right now on 2 days a week & he works in the workshop at his Mum's house) She said "Not well." Then she said it will happen again so she won't stay at Daddy's ever ever again...
So then I spoke to him in person and he denied everything she had said and turned very defensive and went into total victim mode...It was all about him and me and our breakup and relationship and how awful it was that I was making her say these things - when actually I have never said a bad word about him to her consciously. He didn't take it seriously at all. So much for feeling bad like he said he did the night before !
Then DD had a huge tantrum when I was trying to get her dressed for bed after she came back from her Nanny's and wouldn't let me take her jumper off or even touch her arms and was screaming in pure rage...I have never seen her like that. Finally she calmed down only when I put her cheek on my bare boob at the top of my chest! She only stopped breastfeeding at 22 months so still is v comforted by skin to skin.
I said to her I will be very gentle and I will never hurt her when getting her dressed (keeping in mind that her Dad had told me she had raised his voice whilst getting her dressed I thought she may be triggering trauma from the day before). She started to cry on me and looking into my eyes said "But Daddy's arms are too strong. He always hurts me! With his poky fingers". I was heartbroken to hear this from her. I told her he needs to be more gentle and she said "I want him to be gentle, I want him to!". Then I said she sounds very upset and she said "I only wanted to be with Nanny today not Daddy".
Ex says I was leading her into saying these things etc. so in a small way I started to doubt...was I leading her? It has always been a fear of mine and he was DV with me and that's why I left him when she was 1 but we had gradually been building up trust and I thought he was getting help etc...
So, I spoke to a friend of a friend who is a trainee Child Psychotherapist and she said it was very concerning and that DD is telling me that she doesn't feel safe with her Dad - she advised I should report to HV or GP asap.. I tried to get an appointment urgently on Friday but they wouldn't see me.
I have now told ex no overnights at all for foreseeable future but that I would like him to get help and that I do not want to put DD at risk but I do not want to stop him seeing her altogether at this stage but I was seeking more professional advice as he didn't seem to be taking my concerns seriously & I felt I needed help and support.
Now a lot of my friends who I am speaking to and an older friend who I consider to be like a second Mum to me have cautioned me to think very carefully before involving authorities because "it'll get very messy" and kind of scared me that they will think I am not doing the right thing by my daughter & I will be in trouble for letting him see her in the first place, even though I was so cautious to gradually build up contact from only supervised, to only v short amounts of time unsupervised, to after a while 1 night a week at her Dad's and then when that seemed to be going well, increasing to 2... Then as soon as this happened I did the first thing I could think of immediately which was cease overnight contact and unsupervised contact. Is that enough for now? I will speak to my therapist about this anyway on Tues night and she will probably have to tell someone about it right ? and ex was suggesting mediation before all this anyway to get a better parenting relationship so it will have to all come out then to a 'professional person' too surely? I just want someone else to hold this info and help me as I think I am doing the right thing but I know a lot of people are far more experienced in these matters. I just want my daughter to feel heard and safe.
After 4 nights with me only, she slept through the night for the first time in 6 weeks (she has been very unsettled with her sleep when previously she slept through), I was so relieved that she seemed more settled and happier. She has been super clingy and having tantrums A LOT but I have been very calm and consistent with her which has helped her feel safe I think. And I think she feels better that she's not been at her Dad's house alone with him. She did tell me though this morning when I said that Nanny might take her to the fair with Daddy, and how did she feel about seeing Daddy: "Nice. It won't happen again the whacking." I know he did say sorry to her on Thurs at his Mum's.
So maybe she feels more safe and optimistic about it all. But I don't !! I feel I don't trust him at all and how can I ever when he is still denying everything she's said & telling me I'm making it up. He didn't seem particularly concerned about her, only how hard it was for him and awful it was for him that I was saying all this & what a loving Dad he is.
He is for the most part, by all accounts a totally devoted and loving Dad now , or so it seemed. He obviously can't respond to a toddler's tantrums appropriately and can't handle her in the night when she won't sleep. And maybe worse because he does have a history of DV towards me & EA as well. I feel like I want to help him so this will never happen again but at the same time I want to run away from him and not have anything to do with him ever again.
Does anyone know what will happen after I tell Health Visitor/Nurse lady ? What could happen legally ?? I doubt he would want to go to court at all. He wants to do mediation still. I actually saw the Nurse/HV on Tuesday anyway for DD's 2 year check up and I did raise some light concerns but this whole incident hadn't happened yet at that point.
I'm sorry that your dd and you are going through this. It sounds like you are doing he right things in cutting back contact and making her feel safe.
When you tell the HV they will be obliged to inform social services. Given the history of DV (if this has been reported) I would certainly expect ss to be in contact. I am currently working with them about concerns I have wrt my ex and contact and they have been nothing but kind and helpful. From what you describe you are doing everything right and putting your dd needs first so you have absolutely nothing to fear.
Knowing ss are involved and 'watching' may make your ex think twice about his behaviour, and they may be able to insist that he does get help.
Be brave and keep putting your dd first
Your worries about reporting what your daughter has said are natural, but please don't hesitate to report anyway.
Ultimately, the most important thing is that she is safe, and it's not you who can determine that - it needs to be professionals with expertise in this field.
Your friends who are putting you off reporting it frankly don't know what they're talking about.
If your DD sees her dad at his mum's then I don't think you should let her go there until you've reported and checked it's okay.
Don't be put off reporting this.
If you don't, your ability to protect your daughter could be called into question, since you have worries about your ex hurting her, but you haven't reported it. (I'm not saying that you aren't trying to protect her, just that it's really important that you seek the right support and report your concerns.)
Worst case scenario, if things got any worse, if you tried to raise concerns about this behaviour leading up to it, you would be questioned about why you never reported it. There would be doubt as to whether you were telling the truth, since you (apparently) never thought it worrying enough to report. (As far as a court is concerned you could simply be making it up).
IME a paper trail of your concerns and what you did about them is vital should you ever go to court to formalise a safe form of contact.
Thank you all so much for your replies. I spoke with my Health Visitor today and reported concerns & my ex seems to have accepted no overnights and we are going to talk in mediation. My DD is way more settled just being with me & after 5 nights just at mine she has started sleeping through the night again after 6 weeks of night waking !! Yay. She seems happier etc. and she has still enjoyed time with her Dad but only with his Mum there and in day time and my HV said that was appropriate for now & that I did the right thing & the fact I stopped the overnights means they would consider her to be safe at this point & the best thing to do. Not looking forward to mediation as my ex is a master manipulator but I am glad my concerns are now being taken seriously by him & I hope he can get the help he needs & that this is a wake up call for him.
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