DSD unhappy - how can we help?
afromom · 06/11/2019 20:41
I'm braving this board having been an observer for some years now. Sorry it's a long one!
DSD(13) is having a really difficult time at home with her DM. DP and DSD DM split when DSD was 4, for the first 5 years it was a very acrimonious split and they barely spoke.
I met DP 5 years ago and have gradually encouraged him to try to repair the relationship with her DM and at least be civil and able to talk to each other, attend school events etc. It's worked and for around 3 years now they have been ok with each other, but they don't really discuss issues well.
DSD and DP have always been very close, she stays with us EOW and 80% of holidays, more than that is tricky as her DM moved 40 miles away to live with her new DP and we can't get there after work easily.
Recently a few things have unsettled her, which have reached a head tonight:
- A few weeks ago DM split with her partner (this has happened a few times over the past 5 years) DSD likes her DM partner and is upset he has gone.
3. DSD called DP the other day to ask if he could attend her parents evening as her DM has said she's not going as it's not that important
3. A couple of months ago DSD was due to go away with her DM for the weekend, but at the last minute she sent her to us instead telling her she was taking her DP instead
4. DSD has an older brother (16) who is not nice to her and jealous of her relationship with her Dad (his Dad not in the picture). She also has a younger brother (4). On returning from us this weekend her DM has switched around the bedrooms so that DSD now has to share a bedroom with her little brother. Her brother is in to everything and regularly breaks her stuff. Also now has no quiet space for homework. She started her periods a few weeks ago and is very conscious and shy about them as well as feeling very body conscious too. She's really upset by this lack of privacy now and not having her own space, which has apparently come about because her older brother no longer wants to share his room. To be greeted with this as a done deal on returning home adds to the upset. She's saying she feels like the other two are always put first, and her DM doesn't love her as much ☹️
DP is livid and wants to tackle it like a bull in a China shop. I've managed to calm him and suggest he sleeps on it and calls tomorrow when he's calmed down and DSD is not around, to find out the actual situation.
So my question... would DP be unreasonable to kick up a fuss about this change in room situations? Should we suggest that DSD could live with us instead, as she seems to be getting sidelined in favour of her brothers at every turn?
thistimelastweek · 06/11/2019 20:52
Definitely unreasonable to kick up a fuss about anything.
Quiet measured conversations that take account of everyones interests are the only way forward.
afromom · 06/11/2019 20:55
Yes sorry bad turn of phrase, i meant would we be unreasonable to approach the issue with her DM. I'm totally against approaching with conflict.
PinkCrayon · 06/11/2019 20:58
Talking is the best thing you can do in these situations.
You don't know the reasons for these bedroom changes.
Never listen to one side of the story.
Raphael34 · 06/11/2019 20:58
Definitely kick up a fuss if dsd’s not able to. Would she actually like to live with you? Would she have to change schools?
wonderstuff · 06/11/2019 20:59
Sounds really hard. If shes going to move to you it would ideally be before GCSEs. Does she want to move to be with her dad? I think at that age she has to be listened too.
TrainspottingWelsh · 06/11/2019 21:05
There can't be any valid reason for putting the 4yr old in with her. Even if there's a good reason he can't share with the older brother, then the adults should have him in with them rather than with a teenage girl. So yes, he would be right to bring it up. And the possibility of her living with you.
afromom · 06/11/2019 21:09
Yes I agree talking would be the best option, I'm concerned DP won't be able to manage it though, it's been building for a while, he's very protective of her.
She has often said she wants to live with us, and yes she would have to change schools. However, her DM is thinking about moving closer anyway, so that could be on the cards anyway.
I'm also not sure DM would be on board though as she would lose quite a lot of money if she didn't live there (CB, tax credits, maintenance and have to pay bedroom tax as both other children at same sex so only entitled to a 2 bed then). That could mean her needing to move and DSD having nowhere to stay with her at all, which I think would be a worse situation than this.
Raphael34 · 06/11/2019 21:12
It’s not her mother’s choice at that age. Your dd would have to be brave enough to stand up to her mother about not going back home with her, but there’s nothing her mother would be able to do about it. Your oh could find her another school and simply not return her home. She’d have to refuse to go with her mother if she turned up. The courts won’t be interested as at 14 it’s her choice who to live with, and she can’t be physically forced
areyouafraidofthedark · 06/11/2019 21:17
At 16 a person is classed as needing their own bedroom. I would definitely speak to her about coming to live with you.
afromom · 06/11/2019 21:24
That's interesting areyouafraid I didn't know that. It's so hard, as we don't want to ruin her relationship with her DM, but also want to make sure she's not unhappy.
It's so sad as it feels like a lose lose for DSD either way.
I think a calm discussion needs to be the first option as pp have said.
Raphael34 · 06/11/2019 21:29
Classed by whom? If it’s a private let then there’s no regulations at all on who shares a room. If it’s a council house there are guidelines, but these are mostly ignored. I have a friend with 6 children in a 2 bed council, and they’re still way down the list for rehousing
TrainspottingWelsh · 06/11/2019 21:41
Pretty sure it's something like 10 or 11 for opposite sex not to share a room, so if the mother is claiming housing benefit on the basis dsd needs her own room, then the least she could do is let her have the room. No idea about the rules for being too old to share a room with the same sex, but logic would say it's at least 18 rather than 16 for the ds.
If dsd is fairly sensible and won't think you're trying to put her off the idea, then after you've spoken to her dm, you could sit down and discuss the possible repercussions if she were to move in with you.
afromom · 06/11/2019 22:02
She is in a council property, so bedroom allowances are an issue. I've just done a quick google search and it seems 16-19 are eligible for their own room. Therefore she would still be entitled to the three bed if DSD moved out, which helps.
DP agreed that a conversation is probably best, so we are going to write some points out that he wants to make to help him get his point across calmly.
All of this has come on the same day his DGF has admitted he needs to go into a home (currently lives with PIL), but in hospital currently and not doing well. MIL has gone to pieces and is looking to DP to sort it all out. So a great day all round really ☹️
Dontdisturbmenow · 07/11/2019 06:54
He needs to take a deep breath and look at the wider picture. Almost every teenagers in this country will come up with things that upset them, saying that they are not loved as much as they siblings is standard, and their selfishness, which is totally normal at that age, makes them put themselves in a victimised position without considering other people.
What is great is that she is talking to her dad and you rather than keeping it inside. It's great to listen to her and use that time to help her self-reflect, analyse the situation and come up with solutions herself. That's the best way to help teenagers becoming independent.
Discussions with mum needs to be in a mindset of being prepared to listen as much as talking as she might have a very different view of the situation. She is also clearly going through a tough time, so even though she needs to take into consideration her dd's needs, she might also need a bit of a break at the moment. She might be looking to move to help with the bedroom situation.
The best thing to do is to be there for your sds, listen and help her process her thoughts and feelings. Letting it loose with mum is only likely to bring more conflict in a different situation.
afromom · 07/11/2019 07:04
I'll read your post to DP dontdisturb it's a good balanced view. Thank you
Annaminna · 07/11/2019 12:50
You can agree that she is still allowed to take the tax credit and CB for her and all she will loose it the money she got from DP.
That money she will not get from DP she can get from council. So she will not loose any money after all.
And yes, when her son is 16+ she can have extra bedroom for him and that means no problems with bedroom as well.
you also have to bare in mind that when DSD will live with you permanently you will face a lot of other problems you don,t have right now.
afromom · 07/11/2019 15:29
That's interesting about the benefits remaining with her. It's something to consider as we are not eligible for tax credits, so wouldn't really affect us financially if she kept them.
I realise about the other issues of having her with us more full time and to be honest I don't really think it's the best option for her. Her school is very small, she loves it and has settled well. It's her 4th school in 4 years, but she's been there for 3 years now and I don't think uprooting her again will be particularly beneficial, especially as she would be going from a 3 to 9 class intake. Willing to look at all possibilities and not against having her from my point of view, but only if it's in her best interests to do so.
I have a 15 yr old DS, (who has a fairly absent father) so teenage dramas and difficulties they face when having challenging relationships with a parent, we are quite well versed in.
mankyfourthtoe · 07/11/2019 15:49
Child benefit isn't a benefit as such and should follow the child for the benefit of the child I think.
mankyfourthtoe · 07/11/2019 15:51
I'd probably talk to dsd next time and have an open ended discussion about that she was upset last weekend. Is she still as upset, dad wants to help, what does she actually want (might not get it mind you) but if you don't find out what she wants you've no starting point.
She might have just wanted to vent and still wants to stay, or equally might have been the straw that broke the camels back and she wants to stay at yours.
ConfusedAndStressed95 · 07/11/2019 16:42
I think from what you've described your DSD would be better off living with the two of you and visiting her DM. I'm not sure how you would arrange this but considering her age her DM has very little say in it. Talk to her DM about the room change but look into the practicalities of having her come live with you. Maybe arrange to have her this weekend coming and talk it over with her then.
afromom · 07/11/2019 17:47
So DP spoke to DSD DM today. He told her about the call yesterday, explained he was concerned she was upset and asked if she could let him know why it had happened. Her response...
- The children suggested it (DSD definitely did not know before and would not have suggested it- just arrived back from ours to a done deal)
- she's been thinking about it and possibly might change it back 🙄
- she hadn't noticed DSD was upset with the set up
Giving her the benefit of the doubt, most likely scenario is older brother kicked up a fuss last week whilst she was with us, DM was struggling with her current situation and did it for an easy life and is now regretting the decision.
I do see it from her brothers point of view too, as he is older and she does spend time away with us, but gets her own room. It's the boy girl mix I was most concerned about and lack of discussion with her/time for her to adjust to the new situation
As pp have said, always better to go in with a calm reasonable approach.
We've decided to leave it until she is with us weekend after next, and sit her down to see how she is feeling and if the situation has changed. Then we can think about next steps if needed.
To be honest this is a part of a whole list of issues that have been increasingly upsetting for her, so I think the conversation still needs to go ahead, even if the bedrooms are rectified.
Thank you for everyone's advice and suggesting calm ways forward. I tend to be a calming influence over DP but your advice helped me to word why it was important and possible strategies to tackle the conversation.
To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.