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to think that my daughter's friend is not being looked after properly?

192 replies

poppymay13 · 11/05/2013 20:11

Her mum's at work most of the time and her dad is unemployed with a drink problem. The parents are not together but live together still. One day I rang at 930 inviting her out. Went to pick her up at 1130 & she wasn't ready cos her dad had fallen back asleep. So she was basically unsupervised. My daughter went there for tea a couple of weeks ago & she said they got KFC (ugh) on the way home & then fell asleep for the whole time my daughter was there. Needless to say she's not going there again. Pretty disgusted especially as I so often take his daughter out to save her from a dull day with him. She's got chapped lips, isn't fed very healthy food and dressed in tatty dirty clothes. I'm not snobby but I do think being regularly hungover or drunk in charge of a 7 y.o. is unacceptable.

OP posts:
MummyBurrows · 12/05/2013 23:33

After reading every post in this thread I've come to thinking that some of this thread is just making a mountain out of a molehill-the KFC,the chapped lips,dirty/tatty clothes. All are non-issues. God knows I treat my dd to a happy meal every now and then as a treat,there's nothing wrong with that. And she also has the ability to look like a tramp sometimes depending on what she's been doing all day and sometimes I purposely put her in stained (but washed) clothes if I know she's likely to muck her clothes up anyway because of the activites ive got planned for her or we are just dossing round the house and not going anywhere,just because the clothes are actually clean and they're comfy (top and joggers usually) but that certainly doesn't mean my child is neglected or not being looked after properly,hell some of the clothes I wear around the house are stained and have seen better days but that doesn't mean I'm dirty or a bad parent and i doubt anyone on here ponces around in heels,full make up,blow dried hair and wearing a posh frock on a daily basis all day long just in case they need to answer the door or someone might see them in a window! And in all fairness when you've seen the child in dirty/tatty clothes it could be a case of the child has picked out and dressed herself in those clothes because they're her favourites-I know if my dd got to pick her outfit each day she would live in her Tinkerbell pyjamas and alternate them with her pink onesie.

The biggest issues,to me at least,is the dad having a drinking problem and the dad falling asleep for what I assume are long periods of time when the mother is working. That's neglect and a massive cause for concern,a child should be supervised but having a little nap is harmless and we've probably all done it at some point!

The points I'm a bit confused by are why op left her child under the care of this man if she has known for years that he has an issue with drink-as far as Im concerned that makes you an irresponsible parent as you knew about it and no mother in their right mind would willingly allow their child to go with someone who may have had or start having a few drinks while in charge of their child,regardless of whether the child's mother deems the drinker responsible enough to adequately supervise their own kid seeing as,in this case,said mother is not at home the majority of the time to have the first idea of what state he is in or how much attention he pays their child so I certainly wouldn't risk my child being left in his care for any reason or length of time.

Second point I'm confused about is that op is obviously concerned to a certain degree about this child,hence the post in the first place!,but then kind of contradicts this by saying she doesn't even like the child and resents looking after her so much and was annoyed at the child helping herself to an apple that she didn't finish. Surely if you were really concerned you would want the child to be in your care more rather than less,especially if the alternative is her being left with a drunk who falls asleep quite a lot,and would be glad that she ate part of an apple because at least it's healthy and it's some food,seeing as you're concerned about her diet and the healthiness of her diet. Which brings to raise the question of how do you know what her diet is like? You're not there at meal times. Have you based this comment/assumption on the KFC they had when your dd stayed for tea and just come to the conclusion that takeaway dinners must be a daily thing for her?

Third point I'm confused on is why,if you know the mother works a lot and the father is unemployed and has a drink problem so obviously the mother is the one paying the rent and all the bills leaving next to nothing left of her wages no doubt,does it bother you so much that they don't have or take your dd anywhere near as often as you have theirs? I personally would be glad I don't let a drinker be anywhere my child and quite frankly if the mother-despite being a friend-is irresponsible enough to leave her child with a drinker on a regular basis then I can't say I'd want her to be in charge of my child either as she clearly has very different views on what is and isn't classed as acceptable childcare anyway. Yes she probably leaves her kid with the dad because she can't afford a childminder but you would think she would of made arrangements with grandparents or friends,like yourself perhaps,she trusts to look after the child while she works just so she knows her child will be properly supervised,fed and looked after until she finishes work and can do it herself instead of leaving her with someone she knows full well has a drink problem,unless she is,as others have said,exaggerating and he doesn't have that much of an issue as she makes out (for example my best friend says her DH is a big drinker but actually he just likes a beer/glass of wine or 2 with/after dinner every day-hardly a drink problem or what I'd class as a big drinker!)....

nellyjelly · 13/05/2013 09:13

Carry on justifying it all then some of you. The chapped lips, the tatty clothes, the dad falling asleep, smelling of alcohol. All on their own perhaps not big issues but it is an overall picture and on that basis no harm is acting on concerns. It is not for the OP or any of you to decide is the child is being neglected or not by the way. OP should simply express concerns, to school if necessary. That is all she can do. If some people acted on these concerns more, harm might be avoided more often.

Stop lambasting the OP for actually giving a shit, stop slagging her off for leaving her child in his care. They are not the issues but as isusual on MN people like to criticise OPs, call them 'judgey'.

Child protection reviews usually find that it is small bits of info not acted on that could have helped with the bigger picture.

Berts · 13/05/2013 09:54

I don't understand why the OP is being slagged here for mentioning that the mother works long hours and the dad doesn't work - it's totally relevant as it means that the dad is the main caregiver.

And if the main caregiver of a child (male or female) is regularly drunk or passed out drunk, that's a problem.

And as the OP has children of her own, I think she's well able to distinguish between normal levels of scruffy, and clothes that are tatty and dirty.

And yes, the comment about the apple was weird (really, get over it, poor kid), but surprise! The OP isn't a saint full of only loving, positive thoughts!

But she is trying to get some advice, without discussing it with anyone who might know this family, which is a good and positive thing, so it's not helpful to leap in with a load of slagging (most of which seems to be motivated by the posters' own experiences, which are colouring their responses, rather than from any urge to be genuinely helpful), just because you think the OP is a snob. Maybe she is. Doesn't mean this child isn't being neglected.

Mumsnet is getting really bullying lately, with certain posters just roaming the threads looking to leap on any tiny hint of snobbery or 'judgeyness', just so they can bang on, and on, and on, and on about how very non-judgey and non-snobby they are and how 'you don't sound like a very nice person'.

The irony...

Fecklessdizzy · 13/05/2013 11:03

Feel for you OP

I was in a similar situation. Kid used to turn up at all hours, not dressed for the weather at all, ate like he'd never seen a biscuit. His mum worked all hours and his dad was unemployed but didn't want him hanging around at home. Trouble was my two didn't actually like him much and it was me that felt sorry for him and asked him in!

MissLurkalot · 13/05/2013 11:18

OP, your post kind of made sense, and I would be concerned too.
But your subsequent posts on here afterwards do make you come across as quite judgemental.. Especially the apple comment!!!
I'm torn really.
I think if you don't really like the girl, and you will not allow any kind of reciprocation due to the child's father... I would walk away and leave them to it. However, if you do have genuine (unjudgy pants) concerns about this girl, speak to the school.
It all sounds a bit martyr ish to me to be honest, sorry OP.

nellyjelly · 13/05/2013 12:37


IneedAsockamnesty · 13/05/2013 12:48

Nelly, who is justifying?

Not one person has said that if the dad really is a drunk then that's ok.

fromparistoberlin · 13/05/2013 12:53


posts like this always seem to get the OP slated

you are right to be concerned, its not ideal

IF you cannot riase with the mother (not read thread) then def report to SS

Oh dear, another sad case

nellyjelly · 13/05/2013 13:16

Lots of justifying, lots of explaining away....

I give my kids KFC all the time and they are fine.

My son always has tatty clothes doesn't mean heis being neglected

I often fall asleep on the sofa,

He might have diabetes hence smelling of alcohol

(Just paraphrasing to avoid individual posts.)

It is about the bigger picture surely?

NotAQueef · 13/05/2013 16:42

"threw a partly eaten apple in the bin"
Jeez, what did you expect her to do? Put the half eaten fruit back in the bowl, or force herself to finish it when she'd had enough?.

IneedAsockamnesty · 13/05/2013 17:37

Nelly I'm very impressed that you think all a neglected child has to deal with is trips to KFC tatty clothing ( note tatty not inappropriate or filthy) and limited days out.

Lets hope your view on the world never changes and you never have to deal with real neglected and abused children.

nellyjelly · 13/05/2013 19:39

You missed the point as am sure you know. Where did I say that tatty clothes or limited days out were all neglected kids have to deal with?

What I said was that many posters have tried to explain away many indicators of neglect. Not all of them or the most severe I grant you.

By the way, yes I have dealt with many, many cases of abused and neglected children. So spare me the sanctimonious tone. Sometimes many of the subtle signs were evident but sadly people chose to ignore or explain away. Just making the point that often there is a bigger picture, made up of lots of pieces of the jigsaw and it is not helpful to justify unless you know the full story.

nellyjelly · 13/05/2013 19:45

BTW low level neglect is a real problem in our society, often ignored and not severe enough for intervention by children's social care. Psychologically very damaging however.

Is the child we are talking about here getting 'good enough care'?

IneedAsockamnesty · 13/05/2013 20:47

That would very much depend on it actually being low level neglect as opposed to just someone with different standards.

CrapBag · 13/05/2013 22:15

So why isn't the mother more concerned then? Why can't you say it to her seeing how she is your friend and this is her ex? Why is she leaving her DD with someone who maybe isn't up to looking after her? She obviously isn't seeing a problem.

Some of your stuff is crap and you are judging for no reason. Chapped lips? Hmm FFS, my lips peal like mad. KFC, oh no. My DCs get McDonalds as a treat. They must be neglected. I have dozed off on the sofa, big deal, I wake at the slightest noise.

You clearly don't like this child, the apple thing was a horrible thing for you to pick up on. If you are concerned about neglect then how do you know she isn't hungry?

Cherriesarelovely · 13/05/2013 22:40

I don't work for Ss sock I am a teacher so sometimes work alongside the ss in supporting children and families who are struggling. I said in my first post that I did think the OP sounded unkind and judgemental and that the kfc was irrelevant. Of course the ss would view her concerns sceptically if she talked incessantly about only those issues but those weren't the only issues she was concerned about.

Cherriesarelovely · 13/05/2013 23:31

Completely agree with you nelly.

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