Reestablishing contact with 5 year old daughter(8 Posts)
Hi everyone. I'm new on here and looking for a wee bit of advice...
5, nearly 6 years ago I had a daughter. She lives with her paternal grandparents and I have had no contact with her. To cut a long story short, I was ill when I had her and social services wouldn't allow her to stay with me. Although granted contact I have not seen my daughter for 5 years. Life has moved on and I am in a stable relationship with her father. We have had contact with his mum and she is keen for us to be involved. Although my daughter has always been told she lives with her grandparents because her parents weren't able to look after her at the time, I wonder how much of this a 5 year old grasps and whether it's in her best interests to have me and her dad around...?
I guess I'm looking for advice on how you walk into a 5 year old's life? Who would I be - ie how do you introduce yourself to the child? And is a 5 year old mature enough to manage the appearance of her birth parents? Or are there going to be a million questions about where we have been.m the answers to which she will not be old enough to grasp?
As you can see I know nothing about the cognitive abilities of 5 year olds and any insights and advice on what is best for my daughter would be greatly appreciated!
It's good that her grandmother is keen - you can work together to decide the best way. Her grandmother has been her carer so will know her best.
Not sure if there is professional support available - have you approached Ss to see if they can help?
Good point from hesterton about being guided by the grandmother.
It's not something I have experience of, so answering purely as someone who had a 5-year old (now a bit older):
- dcs can be very accepting of unusual family set-ups; the way you've presented it here is fine. You don't have to deliver a big explanation, just be prepared to answer her questions. Don't lie. If you're caught out in a lie at any point, it makes it hard for her to trust you in future.
- make sure you keep the focus on her and how she can have her needs met. This is about her, not you.
- you want to avoid her feeling her loyalties torn between you and the grandmother who raised her. Be warm about her grandparents - don't give her the impression she has to choose between you.
- don't promise more than you can deliver, and don't start doing things that you won't be able to be consistent about doing in future. Life should be secure and predictable for dcs. Better less contact at a level that you can sustain over a long period than to rush in with loads of contact you can't sustain.
Without knowing the child, I would expect her to be able to handle the re-establishing of contact if you're kind, gentle, honest without dumping unwanted information on her, predictable and go at her pace with her welfare at the forefront of your mind.
Thank you for your replies and advice.
Can I ask what 'dcs' is an abbreviation for? I can't see it in the acronyms list...
I think slowly slowly, honesty and being led pace wise by her is going to be the way forward. But a very good point about making sure the level of contact we start out at is sustainable.
I am scared though. About the feelings meeting her will bring up. But more about pitching the answers to her questions at a level she'll understand. And explaining things to her in a way she'll grasp.
I'd echo that advice.
Slow, honesty, led by GP's.
dcs = dear children
Good luck. Don't over-rehearse your explanations in advance - you don't want set speeches. Be led by her questions.
Also, don't be too heavy about it. It's fine to go in as if you're a new babysitter. You don't want to force the relationship - keep it light, and let it build in its own time.
If/when you have a discussion about the past, be prepared to reassure her that it's not her fault that you couldn't look after her. Sometimes we hesitate to say it because it's so obvious to us, but children do believe that they cause the things that happen to them.
Dcs - dear children, thank for for clarifying that.
I think we are just going to begin by being around and in the home with the grandparents and our daughter, maybe having a cup of tea, taking an interest in her play. Something simple and non intrusive. Very early days and very small steps!
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