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Old 01-27-2011, 05:03 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Thanks Kiki, we know that's the only way she'll come live with us, and at the moment she would say she doesn't want to leave her mother because she still feels responsible for her mum and is protective of her. Over the years people have told us that one day she will vote with her feet, and we do expect that to happen. But, right now, if she were to appear in front of a Judge she would say she wants to stay with her mum, and because she's 12, that would carry a lot of weight in Court.

We do believe that once those teenage hormones kick in and she finds rebellion, then she will rebel against her mum because she has a hell of a lot to rebel against, and we will be there for her, as we always have been.

We're just trying, at the moment, to get our heads around why her mum does the things she does, or rather why her mum doesn't seem to want to prove to us that she can care for her daughter adequately. We feel, me especially though (as a mother myself) that trying to understand mum's mindset will help in the future. What if my stepdaughter turns round to us one day and says 'why didn't mum want to treat my headlice, or make sure my clothing was clean?'. We want to be able to give her answers, even though we know we won't be able to answer everything. We don't want her to become an adult with all these issues hanging over her, and if we can't answer her questions, to try and find someone who can.
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:07 AM
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We feel, me especially though (as a mother myself) that trying to understand mum's mindset will help in the future. What if my stepdaughter turns round to us one day and says 'why didn't mum want to treat my headlice, or make sure my clothing was clean?'. We want to be able to give her answers, even though we know we won't be able to answer everything. We don't want her to become an adult with all these issues hanging over her, and if we can't answer her questions, to try and find someone who can.
I'd pick and choose the words and moments to say anything.

I either say nothing, save it for later, or just be plain blunt. "Because you're mother is a shi...t face, that's why". But then again, people know me to talk like that and I know it's not the best method for everyone.
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:14 AM
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Gosh, how many times have I had to bite my tongue!! The temptation has been so so strong over the years to say that kind of thing, but I never have and never would, well I can't say never can I! But, it's not good to denigrate the other parent to the child, particularly when that child loves that parent. I don't hold back to friends or family, and have to admit that I don't pay my stepdaughter's mother compliments in front of my stepdaughter either. I just remain indifferent.
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:07 AM
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What I don't get is why this woman doesn't think to herself 'F him, I'll show him I can care for her. I'll show him I can wash her hair and deal with her lice. Then he can go shove it'. Why doesn't she want to prove herself right, and prove us wrong? Why does she seemingly want to fuel our knowledge that she isn't caring for her daughter properly? It's always been the same, and I really, really don't get it.
Because she does not THINK like you.

It is never going to make sense to you or him or anyone. She is an alcoholic and a drug addict, yes? Their reasonings, rationale, and motivations, are not normal; they are focused on something altogether different than for those of us who do not drink or drug.

Having been exactly where you are with several children and several addicts, I truly understand and sympathize with you. It is a noble and caring thing to try to protect a child. Social services is the same in the US: Limited and frustrating. But let me ask you something. What have you so far been able to control? Is this child in danger of physical harm or threat to her life? Does she have a reasonable amount of food to eat? Of course your ex-partner's sister is not going to ignore you, that would put her at risk. I'm concerned that filing another formal complaint against her may get you nothing other than an angry mother who will make things more difficult for you and dad (which is what happened to me).

I am not saying you are wrong, and not telling you what to do, but I honestly suggest that if you want to help this child who is quite literally STUCK in this position, moreso than any spouse of an alcoholic, you and your husband will go to AlAnon and get some books on these topics and learn about the situation this young lady is in. It did me no good and actually backfired on me to focus on the alcoholic addict and her behavior. It has been years since I have seen the children I thought I needed to protect.
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:29 AM
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Isn't it normal for a parent to want the best for their child, despite addiction? Shouldn't she want my husband to at least see that she CAN care for their child, by simply combing through her hair with a lice comb 3 times a week to keep them at bay. I read somewhere that addicts strive to be good parents, which I am sure is true for some, but neglect isn't striving to be a good parent. As for food, the neighbour feeds the kids because the cooker got broken when mum spaced out for a couple of hours with pans on the hob. Not quite sure how it broke, but that's the tale we've been told. So, yes, the children are fed, but by the neighbour. Before the cooker broke they were fed, but mainly pizza and chips (fries), or oven stuff. Mum doesn't eat much, and has never eaten with the kids. My stepdaughter has a ravenous appetite, and when here she doesn't stop eating. However, she doesn't seem malnourished, so we're not concerned on that score.

Our complaint isn't about mother, it's about Social Services and their lack of intervention, or lack of investigation. They have it within their power to insist that services are accessed to provide help and support for the family. We have asked them to assess what services are needed (i.e. Young Carers, Al-Ateen, counselling, one to one support for the children) and have asked them to try and instigate them because there is no way mum would accept help, or the suggestion of help, from my husband. We know my stepdaughter is stuck in the situation, but that's not her fault, and at the very least she should be getting support. We are here for her, of course, but she isn't in a position to even be able to call her dad for a chat should things get too much for her at home. There is no landline phone in the house, mum only has a mobile, and the mobile we bought for my stepdaughter cannot have credit on it because we've done that in the past and mum has used it all up. We have given my stepdaughter the number for the National Association for Children of Alcoholics because with her network she can call them free from her mobile, but she didn't want to input the number on her phone, for obvious reasons. It was written on a piece of paper for her. There is also no internet in the house, so we cannot communicate with my stepdaughter via email, and vice versa. Apparently mum has said she's going to get internet, but she's been saying that for 4 years, so we're not holding our breath. We bought my stepdaughter a laptop for her birthday, with a built in webcam, so if mum does get internet she will be able to take her laptop home, which would make communication easier. It's always been a problem, and even though my husband has 'regular, substantial phone contact' written into his Court Order, he can never get hold of his daughter. Her phone is usually switched off, or flat. He texts her mum to ask her to get their daughter to charge her phone or switch it on, but that can take days. If he calls mum's phone, she never, ever answers it, so that's pointless and frustrating. And, if and when he does actually manage to speak to his daughter, she barely speaks on the phone, just utters 'mmmm' and that's it. Sometimes though, if she's upstairs or at the neighbours, she's as chatty as she is when she's with us.

Sorry, went a bit off track there!! What I'm trying to say is that we are trying our very best to help this child, but it's like banging our heads against a brick wall.
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:38 AM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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you might like to try and sign up on a "stepfamily" forum. I think you'll get a lot more feedback from people in similar situations. I was a member for meany years when I first had to go through that and I still am. There's many topics including what you're going through.

here's one example:

Stepfamily Network - Helping to Support Stepfamilies through Sharing and Discussion

if you don't find this one comfortable, there's some others.
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:44 AM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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Thank you Kiki, I will post on there. It's very hard being a step-parent sometimes, especially when there are the issues that we have. I know I am a better mother to that child (sorry if that offends anyone, but it's true), but that just makes it even harder.

Thanks again
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:27 AM
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Hi again

I have a quick question are you putting anything like medicine on her head to kill the lice and eggs? Also if everything like sheets, pillows and clothes are not washed on high temperature they do come back. This was about 8 years ago but, one of my daughters friends had them once and brought them into our home. We had her for a long weekend and I did her head and then ours to be safe. They ofcourse came back. It was hard getting rid of them even with the medicated shampoo. Have you tried mayo? I looked up natural cures for them and found it works by all reports. It did actually work and I did it with my daughter so she would not be too traumatized. I did it two weekends in a row to make sure that I got them all and they did not come back. Also the mayo is oily so it is easier with the comb on the child. Just a thought because I know it must not be fun to keep picking her up and having to do this. Not comfortable for you or her.
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:20 AM
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Hi Ic

We've tried them all, to no avail sadly. With the medications, one of the problems is that lice are becoming resistant to them. Also, if medication is applied to the child's head, it has to be repeated 7 days later. We have tried this when we have had my stepdaughter for a week, sent her home with the rest of the medication and asked her mother to repeat it, but guess what, it gets thrown in the bin, seriously. So, that's a waste of time. We've tried tea tree oil too, but all of these things need to be maintained at home, and they're not. On speaking to my GP colleagues over the years, the best way is wet combing with plenty of conditioner, but again this has to be maintained at home. The life cycle of lice is 10 days, so if you wet comb every other day for 10 days, then that should erradicate them, but it needs to be done meticulously, and we always spend at least half an hour on each wet comb. But, it's not done at home, so once a fortnight, which is when we see my stepdaughter, simply isn't enough to keep the lice at bay, or indeed clear her completely. Other than shaving all her hair off, there's not much else we can do
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