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When to stop fighting for a child.

(50 Posts)
DextroDependant Thu 22-Feb-18 11:40:38

This could be long but here goes.

My sister had a daughter, her and her ex split up, he was in and out of prison and my sister fell into drug abuse. She really wasn't a good parent to her little girl and would often go on benders, sometime taking her daughter with her to a friend's house and her and the friend would get wasted and the kids would send for themselves.

The daughter did not have a good life. We tried to step in, contact the school, social services etc but no one was interested.

One weekend when the dad was out of prison my sister took her little girl round, dropped her off and went out on a bender. When she returned a week or possibly weeks later the dad said she couldn't have her back and he kept her at his mum's with him. Rightly so at the time.

Fast forward a couple of years with very sporadic contact, my niece still lives with her dad and his new partner. They have issues of their own and social services involvement but niece is looked after.

My sister got off drugs. Went to court hot access and was allowed to see her daughter supervised my either me or our other sister. She became pregnant again and social services immediately became involved.

Then she started dealing drugs, of course for caught and and when the dad found put he stopped contact again.

It has now been 18 months, she received a suspended sentence, had her baby who social services are supporting her with but they are happy with her care.

She went back to court for access to her first daughter and was allowed to write to her, building up to phone calls and eventually supervised contact.

However she is pregnant again. When she told her first daughter this in a letter she has got upset and said she doesn't want to write any more.

My sister is going crazy, pestering the social worker, trying to get our other sister to talk to her on her behalf, talking of going to court again.

I think it's time she accepts that her daughter doesn't want contact for now and leave communication open for when/if she does change her mind but I don't know what to suggest to her.

Our other sister had regular contact with our niece but I am not allowed because I was supervising contact at the time my sister got raided for drug dealing and nieces dad thinks I knew about it an lied to him. (I didn't know and wasn't involved but he doesn't believe it).

So how can my sister let go, what should she do next?

I think counselling would be a start?

My niece is 10 now.

joleigh332 Thu 22-Feb-18 11:45:41

I think she should do as you said tbh, accept she doesn't want contact right now but leave it open.

It must have been so hard for your niece and she is now of an age to understand this but also not old enough to understand the "adult" world of addiction fully so she must blame your sister for a lot.

To hear she was pregnant again must have really hurt her and I'd think she would need some space.

DextroDependant Thu 22-Feb-18 11:48:29

I agree, it's time she put my nieces wishes first but I can't even imagine how hard it must be to accept that she can't see her child and that it is her own fault.

Seeing how much she hurts and misses her daughter but none able to help is horrible but she needs to come to term with it somehow

Nannplum666 Thu 22-Feb-18 11:51:49

To be honest she is lucky that her first daughter is living with her dad and she has the option to write. I am also surprised that she has been allowed to keep baby no 2 given the circumstances.
Does she realise how much damage she has done to her first daughter?
attachment, trauma, put in dangerous situations including drugs and no doubt being left to fend for herself will have had an impact.
She needs to concentrate on baby 2 and 3 and keep her SW on side.
Is she still using? drinking?

WhiteCat1704 Thu 22-Feb-18 11:52:04

Why is she having more kids? It all sounds awful for your niece..Her mother should back off..she has done enough and can put her energy fowards the additional children she decided to have..

PhelanThePain Thu 22-Feb-18 11:57:20

Seeing how much she hurts and misses her daughter

I’m sorry but she doesn’t miss her daughter. She doesn’t know her daughter and did no parenting of her when she was with her so no, she doesnt miss her daughter. You don’t miss what you never had. It’s sounds like a case of wanting something because she’s been told she can’t have it.

DextroDependant Thu 22-Feb-18 12:00:31

She doesn't use drugs any more and has the occassional drink but she is pregnant not at the moment.

She was allowed to keep baby 2 but she was on a child protection plan, this has now been downgraded to child in need (I may have the categories the wrong way round). She has regular social services involvement and they are happy with how she is parenting her young daughter. Baby 3 is due in a few months.

I don't defend what she did to her first daughter, addiction is a terrible thing but ultimately it was her choice. I just don't know what to say when she sees backing off as giving up and she wants to fight for her daughter but I don't think its the right thing to do and she is being selfish.

PhelanThePain Thu 22-Feb-18 12:07:15

Does she realise that by “fighting” for her daughter she would actually be fighting her daughter? Because it’s her daughter who has said no more contact. It’s not the father or the courts or social services. It’s the daughter herself. So that’s who she is fighting, the very person she purports to care about. Put it to her in those terms and she might get it.

joleigh332 Thu 22-Feb-18 12:08:41

If it is only now that your niece doesn't want contact with her mum, it doesn't sound like they were building up their relationship again after a rough childhood but her becoming pregnant again was just one step back again. I think it must be awful for your sister but ultimatley having two more children knowing it would ruin the chances of regaining contact with her daughter was her choice and one not made by alchoholism or being on drugs but a conscious decision.

Nannplum666 Thu 22-Feb-18 12:09:01

She needs to understand it isn't about her - its about her daughter who might be upset, or just might think the worst of her following being rejected and traumatised as a small child. Poor kid probably doesn't understand what is going on.
Has your sister got support from the birth father of 2 and 3?

DextroDependant Thu 22-Feb-18 12:16:20

She is in a relationship with the father of 2 and 3. Number 3 wasn't planned as baby 2 will only be 1 when the new baby arrives.

She thinks if she could just speak to her daughter she could convince her to change her mind. I keep telling her that she has to respect that it's too much for her daughter right now and she should put her first.

I recommended writing a letter each week that she doesn't sending keeps and if at some point her daughter wants to get back in touch she can show her that she was always thinking about her?

DextroDependant Thu 22-Feb-18 12:17:51

Phelan I will put it to her that way. I haven't actually considered it like that before.

bastardkitty Thu 22-Feb-18 12:21:56

You sound very level-headed and your advice to your sister is excellent. She sounds very selfish and unfamiliar with putting the needs of her child first, even after all the harm she has done. Has she had any psychological help?

PhelanThePain Thu 22-Feb-18 12:26:12

She needs to realise that she doesn’t own her daughter. She isn’t her possession. She was her guardian and failed at that so the child was placed elsewhere. She isn’t owed a relationship with her daughter. No-one has to have a relationship with anyone they don’t wish to and the best thing she could ever do for her daughter now is to teach her that her wishes are valid and will be respected by people who care about her. Only someone who has put their own wants before the child’s wishes would try and get her to change her mind about a relationship. That relationship would not be about the child but about the parent.

DextroDependant Thu 22-Feb-18 12:30:39

No, she has never had any kind of counselling but I think she would really benefit from it.

It is easy for me to be level headed, I put my children to bed every night with a big and a kiss. I can't imagine not being able to see them. I miss my niece of course but it's a totally different kettle of fish.

Phelan everything you say is what I think. I want to support sister to do the right thing even though it will be difficult.

pallisers Thu 22-Feb-18 12:31:47

She sounds very selfish and unfamiliar with putting the needs of her child first, even after all the harm she has done. Has she had any psychological help?

I agree. She seems completely incapable of thinking of the best interests of this child for even a minute. Poor kid. The letters idea might work and also Phelan's suggestion.

PhelanThePain Thu 22-Feb-18 12:31:57

You may find you need to take a step back form the situation and accept your sister will carry on regardless. Unfortunately.

2boysDad Thu 22-Feb-18 12:36:41

Some harsh answers on here.

10 is too young an age to be deciding to cut your own mother from your life. How does your sister know this is the case? Did she hear this from her daughter directly or was it via the ex?

We all make mistakes in life but if your sisters getting her life back together then it would be in her and her daughters interest to restore contact. The courts would almost certainly support this view too. She needs to get moving on this.

PhelanThePain Thu 22-Feb-18 12:41:48

Nah, you can know at 10 your mother is nothing but trouble wrapped up in a selfish parcel of drama.

DextroDependant Thu 22-Feb-18 12:44:31

@2boys the court ordered letter contact so my sister had to write letter which she gives to the social worker who passes them on to my niece at school, then stays with her while she reads it and then writes one back which she passes to the social worker to hand back.

Believe read the last letter she got upset and told the social worker she didn't want to write any more.

The social worker left it two weeks then had a chat with niece and she again said she doesn't want to write any more.

The social worker is going to bring it up again after half term and see what niece says.

Even if my sister goes back to court, the judge can't force a 10 year old to write a letter to her mum of she doesn't want to.

DextroDependant Thu 22-Feb-18 12:45:51

* when niece read the last letter she got upset

user1474652148 Thu 22-Feb-18 12:49:37

I too believe your niece is too young too decide, and we have no idea if she is being influenced by other people.
Writing to her daughter is a good idea if you could be sure she received the letters?
It would be very sad to think the niece may think her mother doesn’t care, and has forgotten her.
The shock of the baby news may wear off and dn may change her mind in time, she may take your sisters silence as confirmation she doesn’t care.

Your sister does not have a right to insist on contact but what mother wouldn’t move heaven on Earth now she has clarity again?

Yes the child’s wishes need to be respected and listened to, but your sister may never give up on seeing her firstborn child.

Mediation so that the child can talk through things through with her mother should be offered.

AtomHeart Thu 22-Feb-18 12:50:17

Why don't you let the dust settle. The daughter might feel differently in a couple of months.

2boysDad Thu 22-Feb-18 12:50:17

The court ordered indirect contact via letter when your sister was an active drug user. Hence only indirect being allowed. If she's clean now - and that can be proven by drug-tests then the reason for that court order no longer exists.

Letters are pretty useless at keeping contact. I imagine, what your sister really wants to do is give her own daughter a hug? You can't do that via a letter.

2boysDad Thu 22-Feb-18 12:51:51

* we have no idea if she is being influenced by other people*

Yes to this. It's unfortunately very common for one parent to alienate their kids from the other.

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