This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Concerns for daughters well being(7 Posts)
Hi I’m in need of advice.
So my situation is as follows...
When I met my ex partner her daughter was six months old. Our relationship lasted six years and within that time I bonded with her daughter. When our relationship broke down (amicably) my bond was still strong and I consider her daughter to be my own. Her biological father walked out on them both two months after she was born, and I vowed that I wouldn’t be the second father figure in her young life to walk away from her.
10 years on and I am still in her life, I am in a new relationship and still see my daughter albeit every second weekend and times in the week work permitting.
Her Mum has struggled in life, she has only in the past two years or so began to work weekends which is good for her to get out of the house, earn some money and build her self esteem. There were a number of reasons that caused our break-up (and please don’t think this is a character assassination) I’d work twelve hour shifts whereas she was unemployed and sat at home (this was my own house which she moved into due to non payment of rent of her place) and she neither contributed nothing in rent or bills however she would make a small contribution to the cost of food. She would not lift a finger to do any house work I.e. cleaning or washing etc, hence when I got back from my 12 hour shift I would have to do the washing and cleaning myself which generally I don’t have an issue with as I’d been in the Army and was self sufficient and had been brought up by my parents with the attitude that a couple were a team and to do equal shares of house work etc. Her personal hygiene was quite poor and she didn’t shower regularly. This lead to the break down of our sex life.
As I stated despite all of this our split was amicable and I am very great full that she has allowed me to be in her life.
Recently when she comes over to stay I have begun to notice that she is becoming unkempt in her appearance. I regularly buy her new clothes but when she comes over she’s wearing her older siblings hand me downs that don’t fit her and have holes in them. Also I don’t think her Mum is bathing her regularly. I picked her up on Friday and when she took her shoes off the smell of her unwashed feet filled the room. I asked her to have a shower and when she took her socks off her toes and toenails were black, her hair was lank and greasy.
I asked her when the last time she had a bath was and she said she couldn’t remember, so I’m assuming it was two weeks prior when she was with me last.
This isn’t the first time this has happened and I have raised the issue with her Mum who immediately starts shouting at me (in front of the kids) which not wishing the kids to witness it I back down. She’s tremendously stubborn and never takes ownership for her actions.
I love this little girl like my own daughter and it’s killing me to see this. It’s only a matter of time until she becomes the victim of bullying as kids just need an excuse.
Obviously as she’s not mine biologically I don’t have a leg to stand on legally.
I’ve considered speaking to her parents about this but I think they would just rally around her.
What do I do?
How old is DD? 10, as in you have been in her life 10 years?
You could speak to her school and say you have concerns but Mum is hostile.
You could ask to have DD more often, one evening in the week so she can at least bath and you can wash her clothes?
Maybe buy her a nice wash bag and toiletries, keep replacing them for her. My 7 year old runs his own bath (obviously needs prompted each night). encourage her to be as independent as possible in her self care, not wait for instructions or permission to take a bath or shower.
Is she 10 or 16?
Can you buy her toiletries (shampoo etc) she can keep? What happens to the clothes you buy her? Could you have her more?
If she has older siblings, do you have them too? I would speak to ss, sounds like the mum is neglecting her (if she is indeed 10). Poor little girl.
Good advice from PPs re buying her toiletries she can take home plus having a chat with her about the importance of hygiene
I'm assuming she's 10 (not 16) and think the smellyness and greasy hair you notice may be that she's getting towards puberty. Her mother may always have been slack with enforcing bath times but you might not notice with a younger child as they don't really get smelly. But at 10 her mother does not "bathe her". She might usually remind her to take a shower, but your DSD ought to be starting to take responsibility for personal hygiene herself. So talk to her about how often you shower, and how most people aged over about 10 probably shower and change their socks at least every other day. She also might not know to rinse her hair twice over if it's getting greasy. As long as there is nothing preventing her from washing at her mum's (eg no hot water or something) then I'd definitely focus on her directly and not via her mum, who doesn't sound too receptive to your efforts. 3 of my DSC were slow to learn personal hygiene, and it took a year or two of body odour and greasy hair having to be pointed out regularly before showing became a habit. If her mum is oblivious to her own poor hygiene it's likely she's unaware of her DD's either, so you'd be helping her a lot of you are able to educate her.