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Moving back home and DD(16 Posts)
I need some perspective please in my current situation, not sure what to do anymore ......
Divorced now for two years with 3 DC; eldest is 13. I'm not a British citizen but from a Southern European country. Last two years since I left my marriage have been pretty challenging; no family/barely any close friends in the UK and struggling on my own when things go wrong, like trips to A&E with one of the DC, falling ill myself and unable to even cook for the DC etc. XH pretty useless even in worst emergencies, he just doesn't care even though he only lives 10 mins away. Lowest point was a couple of months ago with my 2 year suffering from pneumonia and being admitted to hospital for five days; I had no one to leave the other two DC overnight and nearly had a breakdown at the time.
I made the decision then to move back home where my parents, siblings and close friends are for support. Younger DC are too little and will be fine, but eldest worries me. She kind of understands the language but doesn't speak it, and bilingual schools in my hometown are aplenty but too expensive for me to be able to afford them, they're not an option. She would likely end up having to repeat a whole school year due to the language.
I was all set to go given that long term is the best move for our little family but eldest has been for the last couple of weeks bursting into tears saying how terrified she is of moving, she doesn't want to go etc, also having nightmares every night because of it; it breaks my heart . She's extremely sensitive and still hasn't recovered from her father and I splitting up (not helped by XH being extremely challenging and adding to an already stressful situation). There's also the fact that I have initiated court proceedings to gain leave to remove as XH doesn't agree with the move (he currently sees them on alternate wkds but is often hours late or cancels whenever he has other plans). My solicitor believes I will very likely gain permission to leave (due to better support back home as well as his inability to stick to contact in the past etc) but it will be a stressful process for her too as he will no doubt get her involved by criticising the move to her (he's already started actually).
I feel really guilty for thinking about moving. Having said that, how can I possibly put my daughter through the ordeal of moving somewhere she doesn't speak the language, leaving her current life behind? How can I even consider doing that to her? She's been though enough already . On the other hand I feel run down, lonely and finding it really difficult to cope with things; heading rapidly towards depression if something doesn't change.
I'm so torn and completely at a loss ....What would you do in my situation?
I don't think you have a choice tbh. you need to go.
Have a well and supported Mum trumps her fears. It's completely normal for her to be frightened - don't minimise them, just reassure her that although it will be difficult in the long run she will benefit from extended family and that she will make good friends and be bilingual.
She can have holidays with her Dad.
I too would say that you need to go. You know there are a million and 1 reasons why you should, except for your DD being scared. Of course she is scared but at 13 I think she is young enough to adapt. And when she is amongst all her S. Europe family and she can see how much happier you are and how much easier life is for everyone, she will feel a lot better.
The anticipation is always worse than the actual event. I would try not to dwell on it too much, but present it as something that is definitely happening and that will make everyone - including her- much happier.
I did a long distance move 18 months ago, different as same language and I have a DH. At times my then 12 year old has found it difficult but she has found her niche of friends slowly but surely. Mainly we are happier and the stress levels in the family are lower so everyone is happier IYSWIM.
Thank you all, it seems you all agree that moving back is the best thing to do.
It's frustrating because no one better than myself to teach her the language in the few months until we go, but she won't even entertain the idea of moving; it's a "I'm not going anywhere!!!!" and a lot of door banging, sulking etc. It's so stressful, and I fear I might completely destroy her emotional wellbeing with such a big move
It's not you destroying it though is it? It's your Ex tbf.
At 13 she would most likely be allowed to choose to remain with her father if that's what she wanted and a court found her competent to make that decision. Are you prepared for that?
I know it is Random but I can't help thinking that maybe I should just continue living here and suck it up so she's not subject to even more stresses/changes in her life....even though the last two years have been really, really soul destroying for me.
Vim she already asked him and he said no. She's been saying she will stay behind with friends .
Even if he changed his mind and agreed for her to live with him (v v unlikely given he goes now out of his way to not spend time with them), there's no way I would split DC up and would therefore stay here
something my solicitor has advised to keep to myself during court proceedings
Well, that's a good thing then. It doesn't sound like she would have any sort of life with him if she did stay. Would it help if you pointed out that she could always come back to the UK for university if she wanted to, and that's not so far away if she's 13? Would she be able to fly back and stay with friends occasionally?
I moved to a Southern European country with my Mum and Dad a little younger than her. I went from no language at all to semi-fluent in 6 months. It is about attitude, though. I wanted to learn and communicate. We had English neighbours who didn't learn in three years.
What is she worried about? What is she scared of? It really helped me to talk to another child who had done similar with her parents several times and told me, "everywhere sucks for the first year". She was so right and I loved it after that first year.
Read up on culture shock and how to deal with it. Talk to her about her fears. Mine were losing my friends (me and my best friend wrote diaries that we exchanged after a year), not fitting in (I did) and all the weird stuff (that is true, life is hard when posting a letter is unintelligible).
Just keep reassuring her. Can you arrange for close friend to come out and visit for a holiday and for her to come back and stay with them.
The friendships may well fade over time but it's helped my dds during the transition also they can Skype and facetime (??) and stuff which is what my dds did.
You can also point out that some of her best friends now may have to move away for work, or they could fall out, anything can change so they aren't things that you can stay for.
As for your ex even more of a bastard git than I though
Thank you all, really excellent advice on how to make it easier for her. I'll be proposing as part of my court application that they spend a big part of their school holidays here with XH (although I doubt he'll agree to it but need to show that I'm willing to facilitate contact) and she's welcome to have any friends visiting of course.
I just wish she was more open to me teaching her the language, but she just closes down
I think this does need very careful handling. Your DD may well already feel she's been rejected by her
useless father, given that he seems to prioritise his activities over seeing his kids. It won't be good if she becomes convinced that you're prioritising your happiness over hers by moving to your home country.
Can you try to do lots of activities with her when you first get there? Maybe without the younger children at least part of the time, if relatives can babysit? Things like travelling by public transport, going shopping and going to any activities and attractions that interest her might also help her get more used to the way things are done there. Can your relatives help, too, by organising trips with all the extended family?
She's going to need lots of support at school. How good are the schools at supporting children from other countries who enrol? Is it possible to do some research and find one that's particularly good at this? Depending on what element of parental choice there is, of course.
Does she have young relatives who are in school currently or who have been recently? Can they help her by telling her how things are done? Not only will she have to learn to understand, speak, read and write the language to quite a high standard, she'll also have to get used to different teaching and learning methods, and catch up with things children may have learnt there that she won't have in the UK (e.g. different history, any subjects she hasn't studied here). That would depend on their ability to speak English and / or her ability to understand and speak your language, naturally. Are there language immersion courses where you're moving to, during the summer holidays? Could you move in time for her to go on one?
As a PP has mentioned, it might be a good idea to bring up the idea of coming back to the UK to university. That would only be possible if she gets qualifications that UK universities recognise, so could that be a carrot to dangle with regard to making an effort in school? Also, you say you're from Southern Europe, and I know that in many Southern European countries youth unemployment is really bad, so even in 5 years' time a UK university might be a smart move in terms of possible careers. By then she would hopefully be bilingual, which should be another plus for potential employers, at least in some fields.
My DD moved to her dad in another country.
She was only there just over a year and she came away speaking fluent language and a few others as well.
She went to a school where no English was spoken and she was fine.
She will pick up the language really fast so don't worry about that.
Thank you Hells, very reassuring to hear.
Patty - excellent pointers, thank you. I have been researching school and sending emails out, I'm planning a weekend away at the end of the year to visit some of them. And I'm definitely open to her returning to attend university here so will be suggesting that (and yes, you're spot on re. really high youth unemployment over there so would make sense for her anyway). My family and I are very close so weekends spent with my siblings, nephews etc as well as close friends of mine and their kids are a given.
Lots to think about, and I'm feeling a bit more positive about this being the best move for us and the fact that she will initially struggle but will eventually, hopefully, be fine. Thank you all so, so much
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