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Worried about DSD - am I overreacting?(11 Posts)
I’m not sure how concerned I should be with some things my DSD (12) has said to me about her homelife with her mum.
Over a series of conversations, DSD has said that she is shouted at for going to the loo after bedtime, leaving her room (to get a drink) after 7.30pm, making a noise by dropping a toothbrush (mum will ‘explode’ is a term that comes up a lot). She says she just stays in her room at her mums as she doesn’t want to get into trouble. When I was plaiting her hair last night, DSD said that her mum gets annoyed at her for having messy hair, puts it up and then deliberately pulls on the ponytail to express her anger.
I am well aware that kids complain about their parents. I’m also aware that DSD plays up conflict between various family members, which is why DH and I try to remain interested but neutral and never critical when she talks about her mum’s family. But what she is describing, even if she is exaggerating it, sounds very not-okay to me. I’ve been worried sick about DSD and the hair-pulling thing just made me want to cry. But I could be overreacting?
I would really appreciate advice on how I should react when DSD shares things like this (how can I let her know she deserves to be treated with love and kindness without criticising her mum???).
And, short of going to SS which seems like a huge overreaction that would likely backfire massively, what can I do to help DSD? Anyone have pearls of wisdom on how to support a child through some less-than-stellar parenting?
As background: we have DSD two nights a week plus more on an ad hoc basis (DSDs mum doesn't want to commit to more as DSD spends 1-2 nights with her DGM). We’re not in the UK so DHs legal rights are a bit precarious. DSDs mum has just started receiving help for MH issues so supporting her might be the most effective way to help DSD.
Teach her how to put her hair up and mum will have no reason to pull her hair.
Another thing you said is that you aware that DSD plays up conflict between various family members.
Its very impressive if you managed to work it out and don't jump in conclusions.
If She can do her hair and mum have no need to touch her hair then it will be a good indicator: will DSS come up with another story quickly or you can see that you managed to sort a problem for her?
I would believe her about the hair pulling.
It sounds like her mum has MH issues that affect her parenting.
I was going to suggest she tries speaking to a teacher at school, but I'm not sure how seriously safeguarding concerns like this are taken in other countries.
teach her how to do her hair and her mother won’t have a reason to pull it
Are you fucking serious? Yeah, and then we should teach her that if she cooked properly her boyfriend won’t have a reason to hit her.
Just keep an eye on it OP. What does your OH say? Has her mother always been like this? Is there something else going on?
Fucking hell the first response is atrocious.
There is so much wrong with your response.
There are some fucking weird people on here. Where on earth is this okay?
Look, as an ex teacher, if someone had disclosed this to me, I would have had to take it seriously, log it, do the paperwork and then an investigation would be done.
Any disclosure should be taken seriously and you should always believe a child even if you have doubts about the veracity of the allegation.
I would ring MARU (Multi Agency Referral Unit) for advice - they're great. They coordinated everything between police, schools social services, CAMHS. Everything.
I would also tell her Dad so he is aware.
It's better to report and for it to not turn out to be anything, than not report and for it to turn out to be true.
Impressive insight into human behaviour there.
Thanks, everyone! I really appreciate the responses.
@PlinkPlink that's really helpful. I'll see if there's something similar over here.
@Doggodogington DH is also very worried but also very keen not to make matters worse by being heavy-handed. He says that his ex has always had a very short temper (their relationship is a tricky one) so believes what is daughter is saying is accurate. In the short term, DH is pushing to have DSD as much as possible and organise lifts, logistics etc. to take the strain of her mother (hoping that this is a short-term thing related to DSDs mum's mental health). DSD is only really saying these things to me and is very vague when talking about her home life to her dad.
I'm encouraging DSD to talk to teachers and mentors at school (she's having issues there anyway) but will up this.
I feel your pain I have also had vague comments from my DSS about his other house which raise flags but not enough to report to SS.
I'm not sure if anyone has suggested this but another thing to do is keep a diary. Document every statement she makes and any unusual behaviour. Try and encourage your other half to do the same. This may be important to show CAFCASS if you persue a change in residency via court.
Encouraging talking to teachers is also a good idea I would keep doing that as much as possible.
Thanks @Harriett123. Sorry to hear you're in a similar situation. It really is a worry.
I've been noting things down but will start to be a bit more systematic about it. I hope that things improve for your DSS.