I have a growing list of concerns about how my ex parents my 4 year old daughter and her wellbeing in her mother's care.
I will try and keep to bullet point for a minute, otherwise this could become quite an essay.
I am wondering at what point I seek advice or help, and if/when needed, who I contact (social services?)
- Keeps my daughter up extremely late on a more and more regular basis, and my daughter always looks shattered
- Keeps her up late, and continues to take her to evening events, late night (9pm) family dinners, her gym lesson, etc, when my daughter is really ill, most recently with croup
- Makes my daughter walk fast and excessively far considering her age
- Doesn't dress her warm enough in the autumn and winter, which with the being dragged around wherever my ex wants to go regardless of what my daughter's needs and being kept up late , I imagine contributes to my daughter's ongoing problems with her chest - it seems she has asthma and gets very bad coughs quite regularly - as well as not helping shift her current croup
- Instructs my daughter to tell me that we can't do certain things together for no reason other than jealousy: 'Mummy says you're not allowed to play that song' (a song that I introduced her mum to which contains my daughters name, and which she and her mum both love), 'Mummy says we're not allowed to watch Paw Patrol together' (she watches Paw Patrol with her mum with no problem), 'Mummy says you're not allowed to sing that song' (innocent nursery rhyme I sing when tucking her into bed), 'Mummy says you're not my best friend' (My daughter once asked me, and continues to ask me, if we are best friends, to which, of course I tell here that we are), and there's probably loads more, they come every other week. I don't like her using our daughter as a weapon and putting pressure on her to tell me these things all the time - a child doesn't need that stress.
- Doesn't regularly bathe my daughter, and often hands her over to me, for my daughter to tell me she hasn't cleaned her teeth or washed that morning.One morning, she was handed over with a lollipop in her mouth at 8am. That can't be good?!
- Overfeeds my daughter, along with my ex's mum. My daughter will tell me what she's had for breakfast when I pick her up, which often includes cake, sandwiches, meat, and more, on top of toast, porridge, or cereal. I know when my daughter is exaggerating, and I know that her mum and granny have issues with over-eating, and from basically being in that family, know how they like to overfeed others to make them feel better about their own bodies
- My daughter has a thing about licking at the moment, and likes to try and lick my face. I thought it was harmless and try to get away from her and it becomes a bit of a game. I thought nothing of it. But today she told me that when she tries to do it to Mummy, Mummy licks her tongue and sometimes does that when she kisses my daughter. I am a bit unsure how to take this. It could be seen as harmless fun, but knowing the background my ex has, her past which includes sexual abuse from strangers and family (though she denied it to Cafcass, even though she had opened up about it to me where we together) and her highly sexual personality, it raises some concern.
- My daughter calls both me and my ex's fiance 'Daddy', even though I have been there since the beginning (minus the six months my ex didn't let me see my daughter, for no good reason). This has got to be confusing for her. My ex and her fiance say that my daughter just started copying his son when he called him 'Daddy' and thought it would be wrong to correct her.
There's probably loads of other things I have forgotten, but this list is growing. I keep letting things slide because I feel I can't do anything, but over the last few months, more and more of these have come to light, on a more and more regular basis. So I am wondering at which point enough becomes enough, and I take some sort of action - whatever that is?
I understand your concerns, but I don't think any of the things you mention would be enough for the authorities to take action on uortunately.
I think the your best option is to ask for a meeting with the mother and try and talk through your concerns.
Keep a written record of what is happening, this might be helpful. If your daughter is under 5 years old you could also talk to her health visitor about your concerns and she may be able to approach the mother and work with her to make some changes.
This is what I thought. According to my daughter's GP and her mother, she no longer has a Health Visitor. And her GP won't talk to me properly or consider helping me unless I go in with her mother, but that wouldn't happen, she is not at all amenable and would, and I'm pretty sure does, make the wrong parenting choices just to spite me. There's no way she would listen to me if we met up to discuss things, and any email that is challenging her goes straight in her trash, or is responded to with insults and abuse. I'm in this tight spot where I can't do much but sit back and watch it all happen with no control or input. This list is just growing and growing week by week.
You could give the NSPCC helpline a call and speak to them about your concerns....see what they say.
In the future, if your child's chest is concerning you as you mention, you can take her along to A&E and speak to them about your concerns, they have the power to refer to child protection if they feel there is neglect involved that is causing ill health.
I've been putting this off because I am worried about the implications it may have on my contact with my daughter (her mum finding out I called them and then restricting my access and generally causing trouble). I guess I should just call them and ask them, but what if they do decide mother is unfit to have custody. Will I get it? Will things be up in the air and rocky for my daughter? I know this is worse case scenario thinking, but I don't want to make a mess of things. At the same time, I need to talk to someone as my daughter is becoming more and more ill, more and more tired, and more and more dragged around to meet her mum's own wants and needs, and I've had enough of it. My daughter deserves a much better quality of life, and to not be tired and ill 24/7. The doctor won't tell me anything unless mum goes in with me, and says my daughter no longer has a health visitor. She's 4 years old.
Children usually stay under a Health Visitor until they are 5, but with all the cuts to our service this may have changed.
Sometimes things reach such a point that something has to be said, if you speak to the NSPCC they wouldn't call the mother but if they felt it was serious enough, they would speak to Childrens Services.
It's true that sharing information with outside agencies can lead to disruption of contact, as mothers don't take kindly to being reported. However there has to be really serious neglect and risk of harm for a child to be removed from their mother. It's far more likely that they would support her and work with her to try and improve her parenting. There's also a chance that they will talk to her and feel that no involvement is needed....as frustrating as that can be.