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Please help, step daughter does not want anything to do with her mum

(18 Posts)
pinkbraces Thu 09-Jun-11 10:19:44

I posted last week in relationships that my DSD has recently moved in with us, she has a very difficult relationship with her mum who we now know has been verbally and mentally abusing her for the last few years.

I posted in relationships as I wanted advice not just from step mums.

My SD who is almost 15 is adamant that she does not want to have any contact with her mum at all, she wont respond to texts, phone calls, emails or anything. She has been bombarded with communication from her mum and she just wants it to stop. After some good advice from other mumsnetters my DH said he would email his ex once a week giving her an update on SD on the understanding the ex stops contacting her.

My SD was in tears yesterday when we told her we would do this, she does not want us to tell her mum anything.

We are in the process of arranging counselling for her through either the GP or school counsellor, whichever comes firstt.

We have now agreed with SD we wont "report" back but we have no idea if legally she can just not talk to her mum.

This is just the very shortened version of what has been going on.

We have no idea where to go from here.

Can anyone offer any advice?

WinterLover Thu 09-Jun-11 10:31:56

Im sure someone will come along with more advice but from what I remember from court at nearly 15 they wont force her to do anything, so if her mum took it to court I think she'd still be ok.

Is it worth explaining to her mum that if she keeps getting in contact things wont 'settle down' maybe after a month or so your DSD will be calmer and in a better position to talk to her mum... just a thought. Especially if she has GCSE's coming up, it will be just adding more stress to her.

I think you are both doing right by her with the counselling, and just be there for her.

pinkbraces Thu 09-Jun-11 10:38:08

Her mum wont listen to us or anyone, she wont even take responsibility for the reasons she has moved in with us. As far as her mum is concerned its just a "teen" thing but its not.

My DH is going to tell her today we wont be sending a weekly update and why, she is going to explode and then she starts texting, emailing SD, who is not just forwarding everything onto DH without reading it. We dont want to delete the messages as we may need them to show how excessive it is.

We have begged her to leave SD in peace until after exams but she wont.

Its such a mess and we are really concerned about SD, she is so unhappy and just wants her mum to leave her alone and as far as we can see thats unforceable.

WinterLover Thu 09-Jun-11 10:47:24

Hmmm I was hoping she would be reasonable hmm

If you explained to DSD that unless you send a 'basic' email to her mum once a week she's going to revert back to harrasing her again, would that work? DSD could even check the email, doesnt need to be more than 'Nothing new to report, DSD doing well at school, exam in xx went well'

pinkbraces Thu 09-Jun-11 11:02:34

thats what we wanted to do but SD is adamant her mother knows nothing about what she is doing.

She was so upset about this last night we had to agree.

Sushiqueen Thu 09-Jun-11 13:09:27

Can you get her a new mobile number - one she can use for all her friends etc? Then her mum will only have her old number and won't be able to harrass her for a while. You can just stick the old sim card in every so often to check the messages and keep them as evidence if you need it.

Also change her email address. Set up a new one and she can then give that to all the people she wants to have it.
That way she can chose what she wants to read etc from her mum and know she can receive emails/texts without worrying who they are from.

her mum can't make her be in contact especially not at her age and no court would make it. It is just a case of trying to make it as easy as possible for your sd so that she feels secure with you and happier in her day to day life.

Smum99 Thu 09-Jun-11 14:52:22

What reason does your SD give for not wanting her mum to have an update? There is obviously a fear of something which might be helpful to understand as you would then handle that objection.

If the email update causes her mum to give SD the breathing space then maybe it should be done, but I would check with SD and reassure her that they will not be consequences (which must be a fear that she has).
Offer to share the email update with her before sending. If her mum has been abusive maybe SD believes whatever is told will be used against her. What if the update was -"SD if well, completed xx exams this week". What that be sufficient?

However as the others say the mum can not expect an update and no court would enforce it. Interestingly if this was a male NRP demanding an update then most people would view the actions as controlling and bullying.

pinkbraces Thu 09-Jun-11 15:19:39

"If the email update causes her mum to give SD the breathing space then maybe it should be done, but I would check with SD and reassure her that they will not be consequences (which must be a fear that she has).
Offer to share the email update with her before sending. If her mum has been abusive maybe SD believes whatever is told will be used against her. What if the update was -"SD if well, completed xx exams this week".

Thats exactly what we wanted to do but she is so adamant that she does not want us to do that, under any circumstances. She also knows her mum will not hold her side of the bargain, ie stopping contact, she never does, its like she is poking and poking her.

I think my SD thinks the less her mum knows about he the less power she has and the less she can hurt her. Even though SD has told us whats been going on over the last few years I dont think we can even begin to understand the damage that shouting, screaming and negative comments has done to her. If it was physical we could have seen it, this is so hard.

Her biggest concern at the moment is that she could be forced to talk to her mum, she just wants to know that its her choice.

She looks so little and lost at the moment sad


Message withdrawn

DizzyCow63 Sun 12-Jun-11 15:19:44

We are in a similar position except my DSD is only 13 and moved in with us in December, having contact with her mum until Feb, when get mum stopped the twice weekly access visits and they have had no contact since- her mum has tried to text/ring a few times and DSD refuses to have anything to do with her. Legally your step-daughter does not have to have anything to do with her mum, we applied for a Residence Order in December and got it, and her mum at that stage wanted contact, which in the end was granted as whatever contact can be agreed between the parties subject to the wishes and feelings of DSD, therefore if DSD doesn't want any contact that is fine.

My reply is brief because I'm on my phone but I'll post more later, sending unMNetty hugs though, because I know what a horrible situation it is.

nenevomito Sun 12-Jun-11 19:25:32

I was just about to suggest new phone and email etc, but I see MJ has got in there before me. Hope DSD is Ok.

roguepixie Sun 12-Jun-11 19:33:55

Another (late) suggestion of new mobile and email. You might want to get some advice from a family lawyer with regard to the legality of your SD not having contact with her mum by think 15 is deemed old enough to choose themselves.

Sorry to be brief, have no experience with this but wanted to reply. Good luck, you sound like a fab step-mum. smile

pinkbraces Sun 12-Jun-11 23:00:55

Thanks for more advice. Sd is taking some GCSE's this week so we are trying to keep things calm. She is fotwarding all emails and texts straight to her dad and not reading them. We found a very helpful website re mental abuse amd she has read quite a lot, we are still waiting to hear re a counsellor.

Does anyone know if her mum is allowed not to give us her birth cert and passport? SD is going away with a youth group in the summer and she needs her passport. We have asked for it a few times but she wont give them to us?

pinkbraces Sun 12-Jun-11 23:02:50

Hi dizzy cow,

Its hard isnt it? You sound like you are doing well. Do you mind if i ask why your SD has stopped contact and come to lobe with you?

DizzyCow63 Mon 13-Jun-11 11:05:12

SD's mum has always been a bit selfish and has always tried to buy SD's affection that do anything to build a genuine relationship. Obviously this worked better when SD was younger and equated Mummy buys me more toys = mummy loves me more, however as she has got older she has realised that her mum gives her little emotional support or affection and indeed did alot to knock SD's self-confidence (never happy with school results etc, if SD got 90% in a test, mum would shout at her because it wasn't 95%, telling her she was putting on weight and had a "fat ass"-SD is a size 8 but tries to diet because of yrs of similar comments). SD herself has pointed out that her Dad and I might not buy her as much (obv buy what she needs but not designer clothes and make-up on a weekly basis!) but we talk to her, consider her feelings, support her and, most importantly to her, we have fun when we are all together. There are other issues about her mum leaving her to get herself out to school in the mornings (and indeed it was Sd's responsibility to get mum up for work) and never cooking, it was takeaways every night, but don't want to bore you.

More serious difficulties began when SD started secondary school in Sept 09, she had real, genuine, difficulty settling in and her mum gave her little/no support, don't want to give a huge amount of detail in case I "out" myself but this resulted in SD staying with us for 6 weeks, after her mum threw her out for expressing her worries about school, stating that she had had enough, during which we worked through the issues with school and she was much happier and more settled (this was remarked on by her Year Head at school, and by other teachers, not just our view), however her mum wasn't happy for her to stay with us permanently and we agreed on 50/50 custody which lasted for the rest of the year, however throughout this time the relationship between the two of them continued to deteriorate, her mum putting pressure on her to stop staying with us and SD not willing to do this, combined with a ridiculous and unrealistic pressure academically and constant negative criticism about her appearance and numerous other things.

Things came to a head on SD's last birthday, which I think is terribly sad. She had asked for a "house party" (just a few friends for food and some music, very very tame) but her mum wasn't willing, so she had it at our house (this was actually her mum's suggestion, as she didn't want the hassle, not us trying to take over or anything). SD & her best friend went to meet her mum the next day and her mum instantly "let rip" at her, in the middle of a crowded shopping centre, tearing about her appearance, personality etc. Both girls were crying hysterically and phoned us to pick them up. SD told us then she didn't wish to return home to her mum and wanted to live with us permanently. We talked to her in depth about this, making sure she was certain, and with her agreement applied that week for a Residence Order (SD herself wanted it "official" as she was terrified her mum couldn't make her return to her home) but making it clear to SD that if at any time she changed her mind, we would not be offended/hurt and she just had to tell us. An interim residence order was granted in our favor, with contact with her mum twice a week for 3 hours each time. Difficulties however soon arose with contact, SD was returning home very unhappy as the criticism and really downright nastiness was continuing during contact. When this was pointed out, her mum said she, and her mum, SD's grandmother, were ceasing all contact, because the stress of the situation was affecting her health!

SD was very upset by this, whilst she had decided to live with us and granted that her relationship with her mum was extremely difficult, she had never said she wanted to stop seeing her completely, however since then, her mum has attempted to phone/text only two or three times, SD has said she can't pick and chose contact when suits her and has refused to respond. We have now found out mum is spreading lies about SD and this has added to SD's determination not to have any contact. We have blocked her from SD's Facebook and she is under solicitor's orders that any texts are to be directed through DP.

It hasn't been easy, especially as I was 20 weeks pregnant with DS1 (my first baby, after 4 years of fertility treatment!) when we had to make the residence application, but in our case it has been helped massively, I think, because SD and I get on extremely well, and are very close; I couldn't imagine having a step-child living with me permanently that I found it hard to get on with. What is your relationship with your SD like?

Sorry that this is a bit long and garbled in places (done between DS1's naps!), but I hope it sheds some light on a similar situation and if you have any questions please do let me know. There are lots of other issues about maintenance etc which are too long to go into now.

DizzyCow63 Mon 13-Jun-11 11:08:45

Sorry I meant to add that the interim Residence Order was made permanent with no objection from her mum.

DizzyCow63 Mon 13-Jun-11 11:10:33

Also, you can easily obtain a further copy of her birth certificate for around £14 I think it is, from the General Registrar's office.

With regards to the passport, I would assume if you explain the circumstances they could void the old passport and issue a new one, but I would assume you would have to pay the renewal fee which is around £40 for a child's passport.

pinkbraces Mon 13-Jun-11 14:25:53

Hi Dizzy,

thanks for explaining, some of the treatment of your SD by her mum is amazingly similar to my SD treatment by her mother, the catalyst for her was also screaming abuse in the street when SD was with her friend.

Her mum isnt trying to get her back although she is contacting her by any means possible, including befriending some of her friends on facebook and trying to ask them questions. Friends have now defriended her, but my SD was so embarassed and upset that her mum was questioning her friends.

I get on very well with my SD, I have a DD who is 17 and SD is almost 15, and thankfully they get on like a house on fire, absolutely love each other and consider themselves sisters, which does help. Although it is also difficult for my DD as she has never had to live with a "sibling" full time and adjustments are having to be made. Its not always easy but DD is adamant that SD must never go back to her mums.

We are going to leave it a week to see if we get the documents, if not we will apply for copies and talk to the passport office. I have been told that legally she is not allowed to withhold the passport.

The most difficult area at the moment is trying to shield SD from all the rubbish we are getting, the mother will not take responsibility for anything and says its teen behaviour or my DH fault for manipulating her, Im not quite sure how he has managed that.

We are still waiting to hear from a counsellor which is what SD wants as she believes if she can "unload" she can start again.

How lovely though for your SD to be with not only you and your Dad but a little brother.

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