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Friend's DD left by her mother(15 Posts)
I'll try to keep this concise and try not to drip feed.
I have a friend in his late 40s (am not in a relationship with him, nor do I want to be) and he has a 10 year old daughter. He has been separated from his ex (her mother) for 5+ years but they live quite near to each other were sharing parenting duties equally and he's always been very hands-on plus DD is his only child.
Last year his ex got into a relationship and became obsessed with this new partner. He's not the first relationship that she's had since the seperation, but he's the only one that's been a problem. He's verbally and physically attacked my friend on several occasions and the police became involved and warned him off. He also mistreated my friend's 10 year old daughter by being verbally abusive and just generally upsetting her. It all came to a head when my friend's ex was told to get an injunction or risk losing her child. Everything was in place and seemed to be working out okay, when she decided that she missed her partner and wanted him back.
She told my friend to collect his daughter, gave him some bags with her clothes in, told him that he could have her, and shut the door. It breaks my heart to think of how that poor girl must've felt. She's a really lovely kid too. I've always got on really well with her and told her dad that if she needs to see me, she's more than welcome to call round. I'm not in any way wanting to replace her mother - I've got my own children and grandchildren, I just want to try and alleviate some of the emotions that she must be feeling right now, and let her know that someone cares.
What would you do in my place? Obviously, I don't want to overstep the mark, but I know what it's like to feel rejected by a parent so I really feel for her.
How awful, that poor little girl!
I think that by offering support to your friend and his little girl you are really doing all you can. It is heartbreaking.
What would you do in my place?
I would reflect upon the emotions that I was feeling around all of this, and the strength of them.
This happened on Saturday, so I've been thinking about it for a few days, and how best to go forward. His daughter often used to ask to see me previous to this, and I would take her out with my DGC - my granddaughter's the same age.
Obviously, I'm aware that I also have personal experience of this so don't want to let that colour my judgement, but that aside, I would've offered to help anyway. She trusts me and likes being in my company, and like I said, she's a great kid - very smart and articulate.
I suppose I'm wondering that this stirring up for you, because there's no actual need for you to do anything.
Children can't have too many people looking out for them, caring about them or loving them.
You've told your friend that you're there if she asks for you (great), but given her self esteem will be at rock bottom right now, she might not feel confident to ask to see you, so I'd actually invite her over to bake/watch a movie/play a game etc.
Are they family friends? Can you see her once a fortnight for a film or board game or art session? just the two of you? I wouldn't mention her mother unless she did. Even then you need to just listen and support her rather then give your own opinions.
It might be an idea to find a book on amazon that might help her?
Poor child. It's good that she has a loving and involved father and I hope that she's happy living with him full time but this will cut her deep for a very long time, probably for life in fact.
You don't need to do anything and I agree with the poster above who said perhaps reflect on why you feel you need to take some sort of responsibility for sorting it.
Having said that, if her mother really doesn't give a shit any more then it would be nice for her to have a friendly female mum-type person in her life for the things that she might prefer to talk to a woman about, like periods etc as time goes on. Or maybe when she wants to say anything she feels she can't say to her Dad. If you could be that person (should she need it) then great. Try not to over-involve yourself unnecessarily though - it could backfire and be seen as meddling. Just wait in the wings and watch for signs that you might be needed. But yes, do invite her to do some things with your family.
I can see a positive constant caring fun female role model could be important. Agree you shouldn't get overly involved in the emotional politics surrounding her mum. Let her lead. If you care about the child, it might be beneficial to show her that shes cared for and valued and held in good esteem. cooking together might be a nice activity.
You sound lovely. I have read as an adult to seek out as many mother figures as possible when you've been emotionally or physically abandoned by your own mother. I wish I'd known this as a child.
Definitely invite her over. No, you're not a replacement mother. You're a wonderful person offering her some stability. She will never forget your kindness. You're one of the substitute mother's she will hopefully find along the way.
You should do your best to be a strong and reliable friend to this little girl. Be a sort of an aunt to her. As ILoveAutumnLeaves says, I would reach out to her and invite her instead of waiting for her to contact you or just offering generic support. Company and conversation are really important.
I hope her dad has been in touch with her school and that they know about the big change in her life. Lucky for her that she has her dad, and it may even be lucky for her that she is no longer with her mum and exposed to the boyfriend's poor treatment of both her and her mother.
She must be feeling very low right now and I think it's important for responsible adults in her life to support her as best they can.
Children can't have too many people looking out for them, caring about them or loving them. I agree 100% with this.
Ten is an age when many girls experience a watershed anyway, but this is something inflicted on her by her mother and something that must have left her reeling and perhaps vulnerable to the lure of dodgy friends.
That's lovely of you. Why don't you ask her around for a yummy afternoon tea. Sandwich, biscuit, cake. Have a chat with her and perhaps you could set up a treat before Christmas to the cinema with your granddaughter or to a Christmas market and have a hot chocolate with the works afterwards.
At some stage this girl is going to start puberty and it would be great if she had a woman to talk to/ help her.Once you have more contact perhaps you could gather some things together in case. You can get some freebies from some companies including little bags/purses for school/ outings.
She needs reassuring that her mum still loves her and that other people do too.
Once the ball is rolling perhaps you could set up a regular visit sometimes with your granddaughter( if they get on) sometimes without. You might find she needs a lot of support in January when Christmas is over.
Tell him to make sure her school knows the score if he hasn't already as she will need extra support there and again there will be female support if she needs it.
She needs reassuring that her mum still loves her and that other people do too.
It's up to the mother to reassure her that she still loves her. She actually might not. Stay out of this sort of thing and don't offer reassurances of things that are beyond your knowledge or control.
You, however, sound lovely, OP. And yes, be a strong and reliable friend to this little girl. Reliability and consistency are the most important things though. Reassure her that you love her. That you can do.
Indeed, I wouldn't go that far. I think reassurance of that sort would be very confusing and ultimately not healthy. What she needs is confidence that the universe is a good place, that she has a place in the hearts of good people, that people care about her.
She has in effect lost her mum, not to cancer or a heart attack or the usual calamities that can befall a parent, but because the parent chose someone else over her. This is a serious trauma. I wonder if the dad is able to see that and if he can reach out to get some counselling through school for her.
Thank you all for your advice. I've not been in this situation before, so am a little worried about being seen as interfering, but my main concern is for the child.
math and ditsy That's a good idea. I'll mention it to her dad as he may not have thought of it with everything that's going on.
Autumn and Cucumber I will try and find ways to just maybe distract her by asking her to come over and find some activities for her to do. She's expressed an interest in helping me to paint an old table that I'm trying to recycle. Plus I'm always up for some cooking lessons.
I'm also mindful that I don't want my DGD to feel pushed out, as we have a close relationship.
Thanks for your kind words Mummy I just need to know that I'm doing the right thing.
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