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DSD constant headlice and poor teeth

(57 Posts)
Leuty Thu 04-Apr-13 22:20:11

My relationship with DH was complicated in that DSD was conceived whilst we were on a break. I've looked after her since she was a baby but have not had any children of my own yet. I adore my DSD, but I can't stand her mother (I keep things civil for her sake, I don't want her to see any negativity).

DSD first got headlice when she was a year old. I was horrified and treated it. However since then she's never been free of them (she's now 5) I comb and treat her hair every time she visits us (once weekly and every other weekend). I've mentioned this to BM and asked her if we could work together on this, she says she will but DSD is still riddled. Now I've got them (first time ever, perhaps I've been lucky?!) but I'm at the end of my tether with it. I understand children get headlice, but surely any parent, birth or step, should want to rid their child of them?!

Another issue is DSDs teeth. I've always brushed her teeth and taught her the importance of brushing and how to look after her teeth. She's got a mouth full of decay and now we've been told she will be having some removed. I'm heartbroken whilst BM continues to give sweets, fizzy drinks etc as 'they're coming out anyway'.

I don't have any parental responsibility and DH and myself just don't know what to do. I may well be flamed for this as 'the evil SM' but I honestly love my DSD and want her to be happy and healthy. These are only some of the problems relating to her personal care.

Am I being interfering? Am I wrong? Any advice welcome!

Thank you

Leuty Fri 05-Apr-13 16:56:23

KarlosKKrinkelbeim - thanks for your words of support. I won't give up on her, it's amazing how much you can love someone else's child!

It's quite interesting to see people's views on whether this is neglect or not. In my view, failing to treat medical issues is neglect. Does anyone know if my DH could register DSD at our GP as a full patient whilst she is still registered at BMs GP? They've always said they won't treat her unless urgent, as a temporary patient. We don't live near BM so attending her GP is more difficult.

Trying to keep relationship with BM as good as possible for DSDs sake. I'm in two minds whether to tell her I've caught headlice or not, I suppose it doesn't matter to her. She wasn't bothered about it 4 years ago, highly u likely she will now sad

Leuty Fri 05-Apr-13 17:01:53

In terms of claiming residency, we've spoken about it when BM hinted she would rather pay maintenance and us have her when she was little! We came to the agreement that whilst we do not support her mothers parenting, DSD is not in immediate danger. If we were given any reason to believe she was at risk we would of course push this further. For the time being, I'm hoping we can do as much as we can without claiming residency as I'm sure poor DSD would be heartbroken to leave mummy.

Will see about increasing contact, I don't think BM will have any objections so may be a way for DH to have a larger influence.

FrauMoose Fri 05-Apr-13 17:03:01

Without wanting to talk a lot about personal circumstances, my partner works in this area - however they are involved only in cases where there would be existing Social Services involvement.

Sometimes people who do apply to the Family Courts are poorly served by their solicitors, who may not be very experienced in this area. (Looking for somebody who is a member of the Association of Lawyers for Children is a start.)

I suppose the question in my mind is about the relative advantages of watching and waiting/generally being there/building up the amount of contact etc - and more radical attempted intervention like trying for a change of residency.

There was a situation with one of my own stepchildren - many years back when the courts were less inclined to give residency to anyone other than the mother - where my partner and I decided to go down the just watching/waiting route.

My stepchild has some difficulties as an adult, and my partner and I are troubled at times by wondering whether we made the right decision. Because I think we would have been better at identifying the stepchild's difficulties, working in co-operation with schools etc and giving my stepchild support and help that they needed.

So I think one sometimes has to try and do the impossible. Not just think about what's happening now, but also about the longer term impact of a degree of neglect on a child. And try to work out what the right thing is. It's a tough one.

NotaDisneyMum Fri 05-Apr-13 17:07:40

No, you can't register a DC with a second GP - my ex tried to with DD and got short shrift as it can be considered a precursor to child snatching.

While neglect is sometimes considered child abuse, it has to be far more significant than you are describing. If your DSD was suffering neglect to the extent that Childrens Services would be prepared to become involved then she would have been referred by the school - the fact that she hasn't been indicates that no matter what you think, the degree of neglect is not significant enough to warrant intervention.

Your DP (and you) would do far better for your DSD by focusing on what you can do for her, rather than trying to change things that are less than perfect.
Regardless of how your DSD was conceived, she has two parents, who probably won't always agree on what is best for her. Unless they (and you) pick your battles, this little girls life is likely to be fraught with hostility.

You can't change other people but you can waste an awful lot of effort trying.

Leuty Fri 05-Apr-13 17:12:01

That is exactly what we're trying to do. I have said we have no intention of taking her full time, or involving SS. Others have given fantastic advice on what could be viable right now, none of which seems too upsetting for anyone involved and of course would need to be discussed first between DH and BM

NotaDisneyMum Fri 05-Apr-13 17:34:39

Sorry leuty, my post does seem a bit shirty, reading it back!

I do get the impression that you're quite invested though. The fact that you are even considering mentioning to your DSd mum that you have caught lice from your DSD, even though you've been in a SM situation for 5 years, suggests that you are still seeking a level of interaction/involvement with her that most SM give up on a lot sooner.

You can't co-parent with her, and if was going to happen between your DP then it would have done by now. The best he can hope for parallel parenting.

Xalla Fri 05-Apr-13 17:38:54

Your DH however has every right to take his daughter to the GP she's already registered. He doesn't need to discuss it with Mum or get 'permission' first either providing he has PR. Obviously it would be preferable for Mum to be involved but my DH took his daughter without mentioning it to Mum (because he thought she'd be obstructive) and encountered no problems. He doesn't think twice about taking her these days.

Bonsoir Fri 05-Apr-13 17:42:27

IME you can get rid of headlice in a weekend if you treat/comb intensively and have hair cut short. If, as the OP says, her DSD is itchy and sore, cutting her hair short would be the kindest thing to do to give her a chance of remaining lice free for a while so the scabs can clear up. Again, scalps recover very fast once they are lice free.

Leuty Fri 05-Apr-13 17:45:17

Thanks notadisneymum! Was a bit worried there.

You're right about parallel parenting. Onwards and upwards smile

Leuty Fri 05-Apr-13 17:47:59

Bonsoir, I've done this on many occasions but she will always return with them. At worst I've removed approx 45 in one sitting, and that's without the countless eggs. Unfortunately it seems a case of managing the condition rather than being able to get rid of it entirely in the current situation

Bonsoir Fri 05-Apr-13 17:52:03

I don't know why you count the lice? You don't need to remove them individually. If you use a product that suffocates the lice and then comb with a nitty-gritty comb and repeat every day for three days, as well as cutting hair short, they will be gone.

Leuty Fri 05-Apr-13 18:03:17

Simply to illustrate the extent of the problem. I gave up using nit treatments years ago as the seem to become ineffective. The electric comb works very well.

If it were as simple as you say, we wouldn't still be having this problem 4 years later. We send her home nit free, she returns crawling again within a couple of weeks.

givemeaclue Fri 05-Apr-13 18:04:15

Why not apply for custody? Have you already? And bugger "harassing a single mum", I would have been on to health visitor, doctor, school or pre school, social services years ago. This has been going on for 4 years and your dh has allowed this to continue?why? Surely his daughter should come first.

I think its dreadful if he has not taken any action, he is complicit in the neglect of his daughter by doing nothing about it. Me course there are kids worse off who will be ss priority but that doesn't mean that they wouldn't intervene at all eg surestart worker or whatever, or discus with her, at least would be a record of the neglect which may help custody application.

I really get cross when people sit back and do nothing when their own child is neglected. Shame on your dh

givemeaclue Fri 05-Apr-13 18:13:31

And now saying dh may speak to school, but wait till parent evening? He should be out there doing everything possible for this child! Today! Not waiting four years!

freddykins Fri 05-Apr-13 18:21:53

I'm sorry to butt in late in the conversation, but I wanted to pick up on the untreated asthma. OP, I don't wish to be alarmist, but untreated or uncontrolled asthma can kill VERY quickly. I would say if your DSD's BM is refusing to get her treatment, then that really is cause for concern and serious enough to be a child protection issue. You obviously care deeply about her wellbeing, so I would really consider raising it with SS.

givemeaclue Fri 05-Apr-13 18:24:10

Ffs has the asthma not even been raised with ss..

NotaDisneyMum Fri 05-Apr-13 18:38:57

clue do you have advice as to how to engage with agencies such as Surestart or SS so that they will listen? I don't mean to hijack the thread but I'm sure the OP would benefit as well as other SM like myself smile

I frequently post about the neglect and emotional abuse that my own DSC are subject to but despite DP trying to obtain support for them, and applying for joint residency in an attempt to change things, he is repeatedly told that nothing can be done - even if DSC mum is spoken to, she lies and covers things up and it is all forgotten about.

How can DP present the facts in a way that doesn't come across as malicious, but that are acted on in the way he believes is best for the DCs?

Leuty Fri 05-Apr-13 18:41:56

Givemeaclue, what would you expect from SS? Perhaps you have some experience?

Freddykins, thank you. You're certainly not being alarmist and I appreciate your input

Leuty Fri 05-Apr-13 18:46:37

Notadisneymum - my thoughts exactly. How are we to prove anything should BM rubbish it all? She regularly promises change when talking to us with no outcome.

Inexperience with such organisations ill hold my hands up to

Xalla Fri 05-Apr-13 19:01:37

How about by-passing SS. Getingt your DH to take DSD along to her GP and voice his concerns. Hopefully then the GP would alert SS? Or do the same with her teacher / school nurse. That might avoid DH coming across as malicious or scheming.

Leuty Fri 05-Apr-13 19:04:39

Xalla that is a good idea. So simple too. Feeling silly for not thinking it myself. Thank you

allnewtaketwo Fri 05-Apr-13 19:22:51

It really does depend on the doctor though, many are very reticent to speak to an NRP without jumping through a lot of hoops. Even after DH did this and DSS was referred to a specialist, DSSs mother went in with him and managed to pull the wool so well over the specialists eyes that DSS was discharged with no follow up. DH did complain but they all just put it down to the 2 parents not getting on

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Fri 05-Apr-13 20:48:41

Is it not possible to have the little one seen by your GP when she is with you as a temporary resident? then that GP can write to hers about the child protection concerns, maybe get the ball rolling that way.
Certainly this used to be possible in t'olden days, though things may well have changed by now. I hope you find a route through this somehow.

Xalla Fri 05-Apr-13 21:33:36

I think you may be right Karlos.

Lilypad34 Sat 06-Apr-13 18:06:48

My dsd always has lice..ALWAYS!! I or dh treat her every time we see her 3-4 times a week but she goes home to her mum and by the time she returns we are back at step one. Dh has stressed that she too needs to be vigilant with treating her, he even bought her one of those Nitty Gritty combs that get eggs and's got to the point where I wear my hair on top of my head looking ridiculous and won't let her get her head close to mine.

The school do nothing, a letter goes out but nothing gets done. In my eyes this is neglect. I do my best to look after dsd welfare whilst she is in our care, however I cannot affect a change with the ex gf so it's a hamster wheel.

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