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Ex not taking care of daughter properly(24 Posts)
I could fill many pages with backstory and as a reader I would find that painful to go through so I'll try to get to the point quickly.
My daughter is 8 years old and she spends 4 nights with me, then 4 nights with her dad. When she comes back from her dad's her face is dirty, her hair is lank and smells and she's wearing old clothes which are far too small and covered in dog hair.
We've been apart since she was a year old. In all this time I have fought with myself over the difference in parenting, but I can't take it up with him as he is explosive when criticised.
The last couple of times I told my daughter she needed to keep on top of her hygiene but I don't want to do that any more as it's not her fault.
Should I grow balls and confront him (without her there) or am I over reacting? I hate that she goes to school looking like this. I've bought her training bras as she's 'showing' and nice clothes that fit but I never seem to see them on her. I am worried she will be ostracized at school and she's already struggling there.
How far should I approach this?
Can you change it so that you have your daughter for school days and your ex for weekends? I would not want my child looking a mess for school. Or can he drop her at yours before school so you can do a quick tidy if she isn't looking good? Also speak to her teachers and see if they notice her appearance and or any bullying. Is he feeding her ok? Are there any other worrying signs of neglect?
Can you talk to him with out it being a confrontation? Yes you do need to speak to him about this.
I work full time and he does not. My shifts start at 6.30am so I would have to wake her at 5am every school day and go to before school care. She also has to stay there until 4.30pm when I pick her up. I don't want to put her through that all week every week and then miss out on spending proper time with her at the weekend. he can't drop her at mine because I'm at work and I don't see him agreeing with that anyway.
There is a meeting coming up at her school, but he will be there too. I will find out what the teacher has to say then perhaps organise another meeting without him. I think he feeds her but no idea if it's suitable food. I know she demands rubbish food all the time at my house and has trouble waiting for meal times.
She's developed a funny attitude where she's rude to me but I don't know if that's just her age? We've always had a fantastic relationship mutually loving and respectful but that's wobbling recently.
Her attitude will be down to hormones as her body clearly shows she is reaching puberty.
You need to have a talk with her about cleaning herself and if she turns up in clothes too small find out if she choose to wear them. Her father may just being allowing her to do what she likes because she is difficult with him also.
Then have a word with her father and point out due to the changes in her body she needs to keep on top of her hygiene to avoid smelling and being bullied at school.
I can do that, although last time I asked if he was experiencing changes at home he said she was the same as usual with him. Then again, he always says that. I do know he's quick to anger, including with her. He fully resists any suggestions I make, choosing to take it as a criticism over his parenting. I definitely choose my words carefully to avoid any aspect of blame and avoid words like 'you' or 'I' because he rises up so fast if he thinks I'm acting superior.
My daughter does often refuse to bathe or shower, but as her mother I make compromises that still reach results. She can choose whether to shower in the evening or morning at weekends but she is definitely having one. She has one every two days, including a hair wash. I think longer than that isn't acceptable unless she's ill and even then I wash her with a flannel.
What do you think?
I think you owe it to your daughter to speak to her father about her requirements as she is getting older. Your daughter needs direction from you both, same hygiene standards in both houses. Easy for me to say I know, but there will be repercussions at school if there are cleanliness issues. She’s so young, she really does need guidance from her father if she’s with him 4 nights each week. He needs to become educated and shape up. Put your flack jacket on and have a word. Good luck.
Okay what I would is as well as carrying on teaching her the basics of looking after herself you should talk to her teacher before the meeting and ask if there is a difference when he drops her off and coming from your house and then be late for this meeting while they have a word with him
This way it’s official he needs to step up
Would he respond better that way?
She will be getting to an age where other kids notice and so you owe it to her to ta jle this.
Perhaps say to ex something about how covid rules for school mean they are expected to wear clean fresh clothes every day so be a good idea you both make sure she has a bath every night or similar.
One of my dc schools has actually suggested this.
Your daughter comes back in too small clothes. Where are the ones she leaves yours in ?
Dirty and not washing. Speak to the man ffs can’t believe you have to ask. Or put it in writing via text so Theres a record of what’s said.
I was actually worried he was selling her new clothes but it's true he rarely does laundry. There are piles of clothes dotted around and nothing in the drawers. He's a pig. Am I really allowed to set standards in someone else's house? I think he just lets her do what she wants and I think she's too young to understand the implications of her choices.
In the back of my mind I'm hearing voices saying as long as she has food, a bed and goes to school I can't demand more from her father.
I'm wondering if it's possible to get a third voice. It can't be his or my parents as they are biased but neither if us have neutral friends. What about a nurse? School? Would they help?
I would speak to her teacher about what is going on and then when you both go to the meeting together, she may be able to drop into conversation that your child comes to school some days and looks slightly unkempt and maybe suggest ways to get her to shower and change regularly and if she aims that information at the two of you then her is less likely to take offence.?.
Maybe buy her a cool wash bag that she can take round (and bring home again) and fill with some nice bubble bath/shower gel/shampoo/comb and hair bobble, toothbrush & paste? Sounds like a difficult man but perhaps you could kinda say to him in a roundabout way in conversation (without her hearing) that youre worried about her getting picked on at school, say its a vibe you are sensing from her and you both need to encourage her to wash and make herself presentable? Get her into good habits as she will be sweating soon etc (if shes developing), periods etc?
I'll have a word with her teacher, but as far as I can tell she's the type to not get involved. As for anything I say to her father it falls on deaf ears, or he lies to me. Or he does such a poor job it didn't really count. Yes he is that useless.
as far as I can tell she's the type to not get involved
It is her job to get involved (by reporting it to the designated safeguarding lead) if she suspects neglect. Unwashed clothes and/or an unwashed child are signs of neglect. In my school it would be the DSL who spoke to the parent in the first instance, not the classroom teacher.
You can ask to speak to the DSL yourself and ask them specifically to keep an eye out for whether your DD is turning up to school dirty.
Speak to school safeguarding lead. They must have noticed already.
Dont cover up for him.
You may be scared buf it s time you stood up and got his neglect noticed.
Is there a court order?
If she s atrughling at school and has behaviour issues you need to find out why.
What is she communicating.?
Get professionals involved.
If she is that bafly dressed snd unwashed school will hsve noticed. So speak to them and get support. If he gets angry so what? It s his problem .
you can take steps to protect your dd
What is the legal arrangement?
ring ParentLine for advice.
also safeguarding lead at school.
you should not just accept your own daughter being neglected or having to live in squalid conditions.
if his temper is so explosive that is also a cause for concern.
could you contact children's services, ss, for advice.
the child's welfare is at stake.
I'm worried about going as far as getting authorities involved. I had a scare previously when social services called to ask me about an incident where he'd threatened suicide over the phone to them while my daughter was at his place. Another call later about his use of weed while she's there too. I scrambled to get the bottom of it all. Apparently he did the former to get attention as he was desperate for help with his mental health and he wasn't getting anywhere (I can already say it's because he is combative and aggressive if he doesn't hear what he wants to hear so they probably WERE trying to help) and that my daughter wasn't in the room. The second time was after he had disclosed to a psychiatrist or someone that he uses weed and I suppose with a child involved they are bound to report it.
I would love to get her out of there but I would have a war on my hands, starting with my daughter herself, who loves her daddy and is so young she doesn't see the bad parts.
We have managed without outside influence to bring her up sharing time with her equally and up until now I marvelled at how lovely she was considering such a wonky family.
I've heard nothing from social services for a long time, but that's no surprise. I'm sure he's wary of what he says now.
I have no social network or family here and I live 5 minutes from him. If I tried anything I'd have all his family against me and a lot of stress for both myself and my daughter who would be incredibly confused and probably see me as the cause.
I do not envy others who have to go through worse.
At this point I'm still hovering on the edge. I just don't know who he would listen to as a mediator. His mother takes his side, a teacher shouldn't be subjected to his violent outbursts and I'm scared of social services who would of course open a case if I approached them.
I dont understsnd.
If ss get involved they will support you and support dd to have safe contact with her dad
By hiding the reality you are not protecting your dd.
If he decides to shout at a teacher they will deal with it.
Teachers have seen worse!
You are not responsible for his behaviour.
Yet you are trying to keep him calm so others dont see what you have seen. Why?
If he acts out he faces the consequences.
If he is suicidal your dd should have safe supervised contact.
Ss can help with arranging that.
Why are you setting out to protect everyone from him?
Ss will be on the side of dd.
If you want to protect her from nehlect by her dad you need to sprak up.
If you are keeping her safe and blean and fed then ss will not take her away. Ss want a good parent. But they can speak to him. They can back you up for dd to have superbised contact.
If ypu want thinngs to change you need to spesk up. Speak to ss. Ask for their support. Ask them to assess your ex. Help arrange safe contact.
You cannot manage this on your own . you need backk up of professionals who caN witness his rages and advise you
But right now you insist on sending her 4 nites a week to stay with inadequate parent.
Stop and do something.
Get some help to change things. You know he wont listen to you. So you need to rock the boat and bring in outside help.
I am going to at least research how I would go about this. I live in another country and I don't know how things work here. Not that I knew in the UK either, since I never needed to access those services.
Thank you for your responses everyone. Now I know I'm not overreacting. This whole time I thought it'd be cruel of me to split my daughter from her father and that's why we continue as we are.
I've found two numbers I shall have a go at calling today. One is a family therapy reception which will direct me to the relevant service, the other is a kind of 'parenting tips and tricks' thing provided by the social services.
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