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DD friend father alcoholic(16 Posts)
Hope this is the right place to post this. Please say if not.
NC as I don't want to out the child. Let's call her Sally. She is 17.
Sally's DM is currently drying out in a clinic. Her DF has has a problem with drink in the past. Sally joined DD school for important exam years, initially as a boarder, then her DF moved to the town and she went to live with him.
He works from home, other parents who've been round have remarked on his extensive drinks cupboard and the fact he always has a drink in his hand (beer in the morning, wine at lunch, spirits from early eve).
Sally stays with us after a late activity once a week and recently has been very upset that her DF is drinking heavily. My DD said she has been crying at school and over half-term was excused work as she had been very upset and her tutor thought she was too stressed to work.
Sally is seeing a counsellor, her tutor is aware of the problem and is 'keeping an eye on things.' which of course is good.
Yesterday she texted me in a terrible state and came round after school saying she couldn't bear to go home. She said she had massively underplayed her DF's drinking at school as she's scared he will be in trouble. I calmed her down and she stayed the night. She texted him, at my request, to say where she was but no response.
My question is: should I speak to her tutor? What is an appropriate extent to get involved? It's an awful and sad situation, but I have DTs the same age and I am (hopefully understandably) reluctant to involve them in the chaos that (sadly by experience) know comes when you're dealing with alcohol addiction.
I really don't know what to do. DH is suggesting we have her to stay with us until her DF sorts himself out.
Any wise thoughts? Thank you in advance.
It would be very kind of you and your family to have her in your house until her farther sorts himself out.
I don't have any advice re to give the teacher full info about Sally's home state (father's drinking habit).
It's really kind of you. Well done OP.
Yes, talk to the tutor. It sounds like joining up the dots needs to be done. Poor girl.
If she can stay at yours and that is not a problem, it might be a good idea on a temporary basis until a more permanent plan can be found.
If you let her stay it might be for a long time - there is no guarantee her father will ever sort himself out. Can she go back to weekday boarding and stay with you at the weekend? Then it's less pressure on everyone. I think it's a good idea to speak with the school and let them know how bad things have got for this poor girl. She's lucky to have you looking out for her.
Thanks for the response. I'm a bit worried about escalating a situation that, so far, I've only had one side of.
I think I'll give the tutor a call tomorrow.
I'm thinking it would be a very bad idea to talk to the dad?
Fees payed by grandparents, it will be tricky as they thought he would be able to cope once the DM was in the clinic.
I think that school should suggest Sally goes back to boarding. But that would be the most stable place for her right now I think.
It's a mess. Thank you for helping me order my thoughts.
This organisation may have some good advice - either for you, the school or for Sally. www.nacoa.org.uk/
Boarding sounds like the right idea, poor girl. Thank heavens you've been a safe haven for her
Letting her stay would be very kind. I think you should inform the school, and NSPCC for advice. I think informing SS would also be appropriate. The child needs additional support in order to have a normal healthy homelife, and while she is almost an adult, she is still a child, and the stress is affecting her schoolwork and her.
Disclaimer: I am in a different country where citizens have a duty to report to SS if they know that a child needs additional support. It's not for you to dcide what is important enough for SS to know, give them the info, and let them filter what they think is important.
She is 17 so surely her opinion counts? She could leave school, rent a flat & get a job if she wanted too (assuming this is in the UK).
Poor girl You're being so kind.
I have been in the same position for well over a year with dd1's friend (16) and her dm. The friend stays here periodically when it gets too much, and occasionally the dm calls or texts and asks if the ds can stay with us as they have had a situation. I managed to get the dm's agreement that the dd could use the MH/ counselling drop-in service in town. At one point I was fairly convinced that she would be living with us for a period, although currently things are better as fm is in residential rehab.
This summer was particularly hard, as the dm was finding life very difficult and made several suicide attempts, and on more than one occasion the dd has called and asked us to come and take the dm to hospital as she is lying on the floor in the bathroom crying or whatever.
The family is extremely private and does not want any school involvement (catholic school and huge shame factor). I have spoken to the VP in vague terms about home life being very difficult (the dd does periodically break down in school - I am listed as emergency contact so they do occasionally call me) and have asked specifically that they keep an eye on the dd but do not intrude with the family unless they see that the dd is being affected. In this case the dd is horribly verbally abused and blamed for the drinking within the family.
In your circs I would discuss with the school in terms of being worried for the dd, and let them know of your role and how you are trying to help, and make clear that your only concern is for the dd. Are you able to offer your support directly to the df, in terms of the dd finding it hard with her mum away, and you are happy to have her to stay if it helps?
I still don't rule out that the dd will end up here for a period. (Parents are divorced and have been arguing for a year who should be looking after the dd as no one wants her. She was adopted at 2. This is really the very last thing that an adopted child needs - well, any child, but especially one that may be more likely to have attachment history etc, and my one concern is that she gets through this with support.) so far so good. Dm uses us when she needs to, the dd uses us when she needs to. Hopefully you can set up a similar relationship? Good luck and best wishes x
It really is. And I should have said - it is really very important that you are able to maintain some distance for your own health and wellbeing. It is very easy to become overwhelmed when you are supporting a family going through this type of thing, especially when children are involved.
Just seen that boarding is an option - in this instance I would definitely raise concerns about the dd's mental health with school, and your concern that the issues may be exacerbated by the df. School can then take it from there.
These girls are so vulnerable - so close to being adults, and at such key points in their education. Such a shame that the people who should be supporting them and sending them off in life with a strong foundation are unable to through addiction. I've given up being cross about it - it's just such a blooming tragedy.
Thank you all so very much for your feedback.
I will definitely go in and see the tutor; Sally says that she has spoken to her but that she's very concerned about her DF, and that she underplayed how drunk he's been getting because she knew everyone would be cross with him.
The distancing issue also concerns me. My DTs are in the same year and I feel torn that I need to ensure they have an undramatic, peaceful year in which they are safe to concentrate on exams and enjoying their last year of a school at which they've been very happy.
On the other hand, there is a very unhappy unsettled girl who needs some stability.
Sally is very young for her age, unsure about her sexuality, in pretty regular public dramas with her friendship group. My DD loves her to pieces but has mentioned she's happy it's only once a week as she finds it hard to work when Sally is here. My DD works for at least three hours a night; Sally says she wants somewhere quiet to study but when she's got it, she's unable to settle. The most she works is 30 minutes, which is fine once a week as she then comes and chats or watches TV with DH and me. Not a problem, but on a permanent basis, I don't know if it would work.
I completely understand the addictive nature of chaos around alcoholic families and I feel very guilty even saying this aloud, but i would worry that offering Sally a home with us (which could be a real possibility if her father goes to bits or she runs away) could have a profound and not necessarily positive effect on my DTs.
My DH had very little experience of alcoholic families; he thinks it could all work if we just all make a little effort. I know that it won't be that straightforward and this is such an important year for my own DTs.
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