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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

mumandboys123 Sun 07-Apr-13 16:50:32

NADM - from the other side, yes I have experienced this. My ex reported me to Social Services for a whole host of issues which went along the following lines: I had PND and it was untreated and I was refusing treatment and support that was being offered; our youngest child had green poo; all three children had 'unexplained' bruising; that my kitchen floor always had food on it; that the house was very dirty and untidy...other stuff along the same lines. At the same time, he was seeking residence of our children in court on the basis of my mental ill health and violence.

In terms of the court, it was taken half seriously. Yes, CAFCASS were commissioned to do a Section 7 report to see if there were any 'welfare concerns'. This consisted of interviewing me twice in their offices and once at home with the children. They did the same with my ex and interviewed our eldest child in school. No welfare concerns were reported as a result (on my side at least) and it was recommended that the child have residence with me (and that a residence order be made - this isn't always the case) and that my ex have EOW and one night midweek contact (this is less than was in place at the time by arrangement between us). Oh, and there was no evidence of my mental ill health via my GP or Health Visitor or police reports or anything else. He even went as far to say in court that I had attempted to commit suicide 4 times during our marriage and that he had proof - hospital records? GP records?!!

Social Services wrote to me asking me to call them. We spoke on the phone for approximately half an hour. She went through the allegations one by one and listened to my response: no PND, no refusal of support (how could he know I have PND by seeing me on the doorstep for 30 seconds twice a week, let alone know I had refused support?! Permission was given to contact my GP and Health Visitor and CAFCASS). Not aware of the youngest having green poo but had he discussed it with me at the time it occurred, perhaps I might have been able to explain it by way of what we had eaten the day before? Bruising on the children was normal as far as I was concerned, they were not all 100% in my care (often with the ex, in school, preschool etc. so I can't account for every bruise even if he had ever asked me to); ex had no access to my home to know it was dirty with food on the floor but yes, if you came in the morning at 8:30am likelihood was there'd be food there but if you came at 10pm when the day was done, everything would be clean and tidy and in it's rightful place.... you get my drift. She closed the case on the phone and I haven't heard from them since.

The problem with low level neglect - and I don't necessarily agree that is what is being described - is that it's impossible to really put your finger on it. Children shouldn't have their teeth pulled out for no reason - I did, I don't consider my parents were neglectful. They could probably have done better, but that's about as far as I proportion blame. Headlice are persistent - my neighbour's child gets it constantly and I can assure you she is in no way neglected and that it is always dealt with but there is clearly someone in her class who isn't dealing with it as it's being passed on again and again and again...And frankly, I would probably lie to my ex about taking the children to the doctor's if I considered it unnecessary. That doesn't make me right, I agree, but I can only manage so much as one parent with three children and a full time job so I make decisions based on how bad I think things are.

You won't get a change of residence of a child under about 13 for the reasons that are being described here. Would bet my life on it.

Alwayscheerful Sun 07-Apr-13 16:20:07

I purchased my neem oil from a health shop, it may have been holland & Barrett. I agree with all Eleanor's advice. Tea tree is fresh and clean smelling and inexpensive, the oil can be added to shampoo & conditioner it's a very pleasant deterrent. Be warned neem oil is foul, my stepchildren cried and complained but they cried tears of joy and thanked me when they became nit free, the eldest explained that she had been to afraid to wear her hair down for fear of passing them on to her friends. I am told that nits find it difficult to infest dyed hair, the shaft of the hair becomes too smooth for the eggs to cling to. Good luck.

Lilypad34 Sun 07-Apr-13 14:05:23

Try these?

ElenorRigby Sun 07-Apr-13 14:05:13

Thanks for the tip about Neem Oil Cheerful. After our struggle with DSD's head lice I'm always open to idea even thought she's been nit free for 2+ years.
These days we always was all our hair in tea tree shampoo and use tea tree conditioner.
You can buy Neem Oil from Amazon Leuty.
As for the treatment we swear buy, a nitty gritty comb and loads of tea tree conditioner. Each treatment took at least 45 minutes. Repeat every 3 days for 2 weeks.

As for people who say you didn't do enough report to authorities etc we had the same advice/experience as others here. ie it wouldn't have been regarded as significant neglect and we would have been seen as malicious.

However when the ex made false allegations against DP that he had been beating the crap out of me for years in front the kids and that I martyr like stood between him and the kids taking the beating for them.
Guess what, they (SS) believed everything she said with litle/no checking of facts) and continued in that vain even after six+ months family courts hearings and police hearings concluded nothing to see here.
Being a male NRP really is a different playing field.

Being a step-parent makes you damned if you do or don't.

Leuty Sun 07-Apr-13 11:17:50

I'm going to find this oil and give it a go! Not heard of it before. Where can I find it? Thanks

Alwayscheerful Sun 07-Apr-13 09:41:59

Oh dead posting from phone NITS and NEEM

Alwayscheerful Sun 07-Apr-13 09:41:00

Bonsoir & lilypad

As I previously mentioned my stepchildren had lice for several years, I treated them every other weekend, the schools did nothing, the mother Did very little she treated it as a joke, I caught them once a fortnight, which was not at all funny. I am convinced the foul smelling NEEM oil did the trick. At one point, I did wonder if the children's mother needed treating but I am convinced the need oil was so repellent that the nots never returned.

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.

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

I think you may be right Karlos.

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.

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

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

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 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

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

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?

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

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

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 18:13:31

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!

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

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.

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 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

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

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.

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