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  • FIRST POST
    • LilacLillie
    • By LilacLillie 4th Jan 18, 10:06 AM
    • 2,877Posts
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    LilacLillie
    Absent mother.
    • #1
    • 4th Jan 18, 10:06 AM
    Absent mother. 4th Jan 18 at 10:06 AM
    My grandson was 11 yesterday, we (him, his dad and me), had a great day. Cinema, meal then let loose in Smyth's toy shop to choose a present from me.
    My son called me at midnight to say GS had gone to bed at 9pm, then came out crying & did so for over an hour.
    He hasn't cried since he was a baby, which was a great concern to us, even when hurt he would put his hand over his mouth to stop himself.
    He said his mum wouldn't let him cry. This is about the 5th time in the last 3 mths he has had a little meltdown.
    Its all over the fact his mum won't contact him
    He has lived with my son for 6 years now, in the early days she would come irregularly and occasionally answer the phone to him.
    She always let him down. When he lived with her he was neglected, under nourished, dirty and left with unknown people. Social services were a nightmare and caused much harm.
    They advised her to move away from us in London, she went up north. My son continued to visit every week, we watched our GS deteriorate.
    He was so unhappy and never wanted to go back, he said things happened.
    I wrote to his mother a heartfelt letter, pleading for her to let his dad have him. She said I was mad.
    A few weeks later, out of the blue she said my son could take him. He took her to solicitor and had him signed over.
    Our GS has had some sessions with CAMS but has never spoken about his time 'up north' but says his mums bf was bad to him.
    She now lives with someone that has a child and is playing mum to her.
    The year before last when she had little contact we asked her to at least call him every now and again, she did for a few weeks then stopped.
    Even though we reassure him constantly he thinks its his fault she doesn't bother with him.
    My son asked her to call and tell him none of this was his fault, after a week she did (she forgot and had to be reminded), promised to call and never did.
    She won't answer her phone to us anymore, we were not rude to her and always accommodated her in seeing him.
    She hasn't seen him for over a year now and he has started to have these little meltdowns. We feel helpless.
    He is a lovely boy, she is missing out big time. He's happy normally and says he doesn't want to live with her or have overnight stays but he'd like to phone her.
    I think yesterday being his birthday hit home, Xmas he was OK.
    I think the best thing she done for him was handing him to our son, the worse forgetting to keep contact.
    What can we do to help this little one? What do you say to a child in this position? Does anyone have experience in similar circumstances that can offer any advice please, we are getting desperate.
    Sorry this is long but trying to give an idea of our perspective
    Last edited by LilacLillie; 04-01-2018 at 10:53 AM.
    We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars........................


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    • lika_86
    • By lika_86 4th Jan 18, 11:03 AM
    • 1,222 Posts
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    lika_86
    • #2
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:03 AM
    • #2
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:03 AM
    It sounds to me like part of the problem is that your grandson is being strung along and that this isn't helped by the fact that your and your son keep asking her to keep in contact seemingly against her will. The wound keeps being opened and never has a chance to heal.

    If it was me I would focus on your grandson and getting him the mental health support he needs for whatever happened to him without trying to force a relationship that isn't there. I understand your grandson might want contact but it seems to me it's the relationship with a mother he's missing, not necessarily his. Clearly this woman is not a good parent to your grandson and it seems to me she'd be better out of his life than in it. As you say, it's her missing out. Families come in lots of shapes and sizes, focus on your new shape, not the old one.
    • LilacLillie
    • By LilacLillie 4th Jan 18, 11:13 AM
    • 2,877 Posts
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    LilacLillie
    • #3
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:13 AM
    • #3
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:13 AM
    What do we tell him? We can't understand why she doesn't bother so how can he?
    We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars........................


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    • lika_86
    • By lika_86 4th Jan 18, 11:26 AM
    • 1,222 Posts
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    lika_86
    • #4
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:26 AM
    • #4
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:26 AM
    What do we tell him? We can't understand why she doesn't bother so how can he?
    Originally posted by LilacLillie
    You can't give him a reason, sometimes that's how things are and as he grows up he'll hopefully come to realise that much as we might want to, nobody can control the actions of others or force them to do something they don't want to do, nor are we entitled to understand why people do what they do.
    • pearl123
    • By pearl123 4th Jan 18, 11:30 AM
    • 1,296 Posts
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    pearl123
    • #5
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:30 AM
    • #5
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:30 AM
    Just make sure that he knows it's not his fault. Just say she's not capable of being a good mother. Not mature enough/ has issues.
    • pimento
    • By pimento 4th Jan 18, 11:37 AM
    • 5,275 Posts
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    pimento
    • #6
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:37 AM
    • #6
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:37 AM
    You sound like a really nice grandmother. Just keep telling him that you all love him and that it isn't his fault.
    "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." -- Red Adair
    • LilacLillie
    • By LilacLillie 4th Jan 18, 11:55 AM
    • 2,877 Posts
    • 9,874 Thanks
    LilacLillie
    • #7
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:55 AM
    • #7
    • 4th Jan 18, 11:55 AM
    That's all we do, he is so loved and precious. I will never bad mouth his mum to him, but behind the scene my words are blue!
    We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars........................


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    • robpw2
    • By robpw2 4th Jan 18, 12:00 PM
    • 12,648 Posts
    • 26,377 Thanks
    robpw2
    • #8
    • 4th Jan 18, 12:00 PM
    • #8
    • 4th Jan 18, 12:00 PM
    That's all we do, he is so loved and precious. I will never bad mouth his mum to him, but behind the scene my words are blue!
    Originally posted by LilacLillie
    You just need to say to him that his mother couldnt look after him and thats why she gave him to his dad to take care of and that all of you love him very much .


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    • ska lover
    • By ska lover 4th Jan 18, 12:31 PM
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    ska lover
    • #9
    • 4th Jan 18, 12:31 PM
    • #9
    • 4th Jan 18, 12:31 PM
    Unfortunately you cannot protect him from this and it seems you are trying by keep trying contact with his mother.


    My thoughts would be to let her go, let him grieve her and hopefully at some point he will begin to surface a little. Poor little lad


    My heart bleeds for you it sure does
    The opposite of what you know...is also true
    • gettingtheresometime
    • By gettingtheresometime 4th Jan 18, 12:49 PM
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    gettingtheresometime
    I assume he knows about his half sister so he has that constant knowledge that his mum rejected him but can look after his half-sister which must be hard for the poor lad.


    I'd agree that I'd stop trying to encourage contact (which must be reinforcing the feeling of rejection).


    Why not get him a book that would fit a lockable container and get him to write his feelings in it? That way he could write down how he feels on needs basis and when he's finished he locks it in the container & only he has the key to it. If he ever gets to the point then he wants to share it then he can but he's the one in control of that situation.


    Also depending if you could afford it, have you thought about him seeing a private counsellor who is trained in dealing with children?
    Last edited by gettingtheresometime; 04-01-2018 at 12:54 PM.
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    • Seanymph
    • By Seanymph 4th Jan 18, 1:26 PM
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    Seanymph
    I worked hard at never bad mouthing my kids father - to the point that I now know they saw me as 'sticking up for him' and, in reality, dismissing and devaluing their feelings.

    Whilst it's a fine line, once I started agreeing with them in their teenage years 'yes, I agree, he's being an !!!!, what can we do? The guys always been an !!!!, continues to be an !!!!, but, he's your Dad, I picked him, and let's face it, you are beautiful - it's not about you, it's about who he is, he doesn't treat anyone else any better'.

    THEN they felt supported, because i was validating their feelings.

    So, by all means don't lead the trashing of this woman - but be careful if you are going too far into not 'bad mouthing' her.

    There is a line about 'I can't help you, I see her hurt you, I don't like that behaviour either - it's a wicked thing to do - she isn't a wicked person, I chose to have you with her, but she is not doing the right thing.'.

    Don't let your defence of her lead to disrespecting his pain.

    I've explained that really badly - sorry - but allow him to grieve her, keep her away from him, and be honest about what is hurting him.
    • suejb2
    • By suejb2 4th Jan 18, 1:44 PM
    • 1,318 Posts
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    suejb2
    Grandson
    You have no control over what the mum does or doesn't do or say. What you do have is the control in what you do or say.

    One of the replies above mentioned the lack of talking about the mum may seem to your grandson that you condone her behaviour. Can you bring into conversation how mum isn't a bad person(she may be) but makes bad choices?

    I wish you well.
    Life is like a bath, the longer you are in it the more wrinkly you become.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 4th Jan 18, 1:44 PM
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    TBagpuss
    What a sad situation for him.

    There are a few positives, however.

    You said that he cried at Christmas. That's actually probably a good thing. His mother wouldn't let him cry, and e learned to hide it. Now, he feels safe and secure enough that he can cry, and that he can come to his dad for comfort.
    It may be that the best thing that his dad can do is to be there for him, cuddle him, reassure him that it is OK to be sad and to cry sometimes.

    Secondly, look into getting some further professional help for him if you can. CAHMS is one option, but it may also be worth asking whether there is any support available via his school, or else where. For instance, in my local area, I know Barnados run an after school art club - it operates like an ordinary art club but staff are given information about any specific issues a child has, and have some training to help them provide appropriate support and work with children - not art therapy as such, but creating a safe, nurturing space with supportive, trained adults.

    Another thing to think about is how you and your family treat the issue of his mum. Sometimes, in a laudable effort not to badmouth the other parent or put the child in the middle of conflict, parents can inadvertently normalise or make excuses for bad parenting or other bad behaviour. It can be healthier for the child, in those serious cases, to be more open and honest, as it can validate that child's own feelings.

    So sometimes saying (in effect) "It's OK to be upset that Mummy hasn't been in contact. It's not kind to promise to do something and not do it" is more appropriate. But ideally you would get some advice from a psychologist or counsellor with training in dealing with children.

    The specific situations I've come across where this approach was recommended by a child psychologist was (in one case) where contact between a child and their father was of very poor quality because the father was very controlling and unable to accept any advice about how he could build a relationship with his child. The mother hd been trying very hard to encourage the child to go to contact and to be positive, and the psychologist pointed out that that simply led the child to feel it must be their fault that the contact was so bad, and that there was no point in them expressing their feelings since they were ignored.
    In a separate family, similar advice was given where the parent having contact was very unreliable and inconsistent - actually coming out and accepting that no, it wasn't OK that [parent] didn't turn up or call, was much more healthy for the child than endless attempts to make excuses for them because it recognised and supported that child's own feelings that this was not OK.

    If your son knows anything about his ex's reasons then an explanation that Mummy was ill and couldn't look after son properly, or simply that she wasn't able to look after him, may also be helpful. I think it is an explanation often given to children who are removed into care following neglect, so that they know that they were not abandoned because their parents didn't love them, but that their parents tried but were not able to be good parents.

    You and your son might find it helpful to look into information / websites designed for foster parents and adoptive parents, as some of the issues your grandson is dealing with may be similar to those faced by children who have been placed in foster care or adopted.

    But I think one of the biggest things you and your son can do for your grandson is be there, and to comfort him by giving him love and cuddles when he cries, but also tell him, explicitly, that it is OK to cry, it's OK to be upset, and that it isn't something he ever needs to hide from you.
    • badmemory
    • By badmemory 4th Jan 18, 5:16 PM
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    badmemory
    Could you suggest he rings Childline? He can do it without actually telling anyone he is doing it & whatever he wants to say can be completely private. It may encourage him to talk about what has gone on.

    Your grandson also knows that his mother has been with someone that is "not nice" before. Would it be possible to transfer the blame onto the new man. I know it's not good to lie but sometimes needs must.
    • kingfisherblue
    • By kingfisherblue 4th Jan 18, 8:14 PM
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    kingfisherblue
    My natural father didn't want anything to do with my sister and I once my mum had left him. They were married for almost twenty years, and I was eight when my mum took us to live in another town. I remember him, and the memories are not good ones.

    My mum was honest with us, as far as she was able to be with two little girls. She told us that we were now living somewhere else and that our dad did not want to see us, but that was okay because we had each other. She reassured us that we had done nothing wrong, and that sometimes parents prefer not to be with their children.

    That was over forty years ago. I remember it, but I don't dwell on it. My father decided once, around six months after we left, that he wanted to see us. I had recently had my birthday, and the meeting was on my sister's birthday, a few days before Christmas. He didn't bring us the promised presents, and he never made direct contact with us again.

    I have no regrets. He missed out on so much. My mum remarried and my stepdad adopted us as soon as he was able (that's another story!). My dad was awesome and I still miss him even though he dies fifteen years ago - notice that I refer to one as my dad, and the other as my natural father!

    Please, stop trying to keep contact with this poor child's mother. Instead, reassure the lad that he is loved and that sometimes adults can't or won't keep up contact - but it is not his fault.
    • Kim_13
    • By Kim_13 5th Jan 18, 1:13 PM
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    Kim_13
    I assume he knows about his half sister so he has that constant knowledge that his mum rejected him but can look after his half-sister which must be hard for the poor lad.


    I'd agree that I'd stop trying to encourage contact (which must be reinforcing the feeling of rejection).


    Why not get him a book that would fit a lockable container and get him to write his feelings in it? That way he could write down how he feels on needs basis and when he's finished he locks it in the container & only he has the key to it. If he ever gets to the point then he wants to share it then he can but he's the one in control of that situation.


    Also depending if you could afford it, have you thought about him seeing a private counsellor who is trained in dealing with children?
    Originally posted by gettingtheresometime
    My reading of the post was that she is playing mum to a quasi step child, a child that isn't related to the OP's grandson at all. It must rub salt into the wound even more that she doesn't make any time for him

    My first thought was wondering mum knows what her ex has done and has given over custody and distanced herself out of guilt.

    I am sure you/your son do this already but make sure that he knows that he can talk to any of you about anything and you won't be angry with him. Keep reassuring him that he has done nothing wrong in any of this.
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    • AubreyMac
    • By AubreyMac 6th Jan 18, 12:23 AM
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    AubreyMac
    My natural father didn't want anything to do with my sister and I once my mum had left him. They were married for almost twenty years, and I was eight when my mum took us to live in another town. I remember him, and the memories are not good ones.

    My mum was honest with us, as far as she was able to be with two little girls. She told us that we were now living somewhere else and that our dad did not want to see us, but that was okay because we had each other. She reassured us that we had done nothing wrong, and that sometimes parents prefer not to be with their children.

    That was over forty years ago. I remember it, but I don't dwell on it. My father decided once, around six months after we left, that he wanted to see us. I had recently had my birthday, and the meeting was on my sister's birthday, a few days before Christmas. He didn't bring us the promised presents, and he never made direct contact with us again.

    I have no regrets. He missed out on so much. My mum remarried and my stepdad adopted us as soon as he was able (that's another story!). My dad was awesome and I still miss him even though he dies fifteen years ago - notice that I refer to one as my dad, and the other as my natural father!

    Please, stop trying to keep contact with this poor child's mother. Instead, reassure the lad that he is loved and that sometimes adults can't or won't keep up contact - but it is not his fault.
    Originally posted by kingfisherblue


    That's quite sad but I'm glad it worked out well for you.


    I hope you don't mind me asking, did you ever feel or wonder why you were not enough for your natural father to try harder? Obviously its not you but this wouldn't be clear to an 8 year old child.


    I ask this as I worked with a foster an adoption agency, and this is a common feeling no matter how great a life a child goes on to have. There was always this underlying question of why were they not enough.
    • kingfisherblue
    • By kingfisherblue 6th Jan 18, 9:52 PM
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    kingfisherblue
    That's quite sad but I'm glad it worked out well for you.


    I hope you don't mind me asking, did you ever feel or wonder why you were not enough for your natural father to try harder? Obviously its not you but this wouldn't be clear to an 8 year old child.


    I ask this as I worked with a foster an adoption agency, and this is a common feeling no matter how great a life a child goes on to have. There was always this underlying question of why were they not enough.
    Originally posted by AubreyMac
    My memories of my father are not good ones - I remember being hit across the face for scratching my leg when he was telling me off for something. Maybe that's why I have no regrets about my father not wanting us. When we moved, we were safe, and so was my mum.

    I think that back in the 1970s, I just accepted what my mum told us. We didn't question adults back then. Also, my dad was so brilliant with us, we never felt the need for our birth father. We knew that we were good enough for Mum and Dad, and our birth father didn't matter. On the odd accasion he contacted my mum, she was always upset afterwards. I grew to hate him because he upset Mum, and we were very protective of her.

    Since having a family of my own, I have sometimes wondered why he didn't love us enough to want to see us, but it's never really bothered me. I discovered a few years ago that he died over a decade ago. I expected to feel a sense of loss, but I didn't. He would have been a stranger to me by then. I have no idea how he died, and I have no desire to find out. I have a couple of relatives who could probably tell me, but it's of no interest.

    I think, overall, that I am quite a positive person. I see the silver lining in every cloud, even when the silver is somewhat dulled. Maybe it's because I have memories of the early 1970s and what my life was like back then. I don't know. All I can say is that my life and the lives of my mum and sister improved greatly once we moved. Mum leaving my natural father was the best thing that she could ever have done. She's in her 80s now, and my dad died several years ago, but the last half of her life has been happy, and I can't ask for more than that.

    My father didn't try harder, and I'll never know why, but I have no regrets and no interest in finding out - even if I could. I can only put it down to remembering my life beforehand. There is one regret though. I found out that my sister also had unhappy memories from our early childhood. I really thought that she had forgotten, and I wish that she had. Nobody needs memories like the ones that we have. Domestic abuse is terrible, and that's the only reason that I can think of for not being more curious about why our birth father wasn't interested in us.

    And for the silver lining - yes, it was tough at first, but we were safe. Also, we lived with him for our early years, but for 80% of our lives, we haven't, and that's fantastic. We've had mainly happy lives, and my mum has had a much happier and better life since leaving him. It's more like a gold lining
    • CHRISSYG
    • By CHRISSYG 7th Jan 18, 9:04 AM
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    CHRISSYG
    M y brother was in a similar situation years ago , mt neices mum was neglectful , violent and a drunk . Eventually my brother took his daughter and went through court to get custody , the judge was very critical of the mother and only gave her supervised short access which she never took up.
    Over the years my neice has contacted her mum numerous time via social media but shes always let down , shes 17 now and is finally comming to terms with her situation .

    Have you spoken to his school about his situation ? In our case the school had someone she trusted over time build her trust and she was able to disclose some of what went on , it helped her being able to talk to someone independant of the family who she knows hate her mum.
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