Forum Replies Created
16 May 2021 at 9:40 am #54196
And if anyone thinks I’m exaggerating about the food scenario : the Scottish government introduced a Best Start Foods payment (£4.25 per week) to help pay for fresh fruit etc to allow parents using the welfare system to be able to afford to make healthier choices when feeding their children.
This supports the view that benefits alone do NOT adequately provide for families.16 May 2021 at 9:26 am #54195
Hmmm…this thread has become really unsupportive, unhelpful and is highlighting a level of ignorance from non-.resident parents that is … disappointing.
Just to clarify for these non-resident parents: you survive on universal credit / benefits.
There is not enough to pay for decent quality clothes and shoes, toys, and books. It also isn’t enough to save up for birthdays, Christmas, day trips out or any other basics quality of life stuff. If faced with unexpected bills (washing machine breakdown, extra high utility bills, etc); then you’re in a position where there is zero financial cushion and you’re now faced with cutting the only outgoing that is flexible: food.
In a normal month, I regularly have to make a decision between buying fresh fruit that might get wasted / not eaten over processed longer-lasting food stuffs that are less healthy. It’s a horrible position to be in as a parent.
I don’t drink, smoke, go out, I cut my own hair. And I’m ok with going without if it means my child gets more. But to suggest that mums are being money-grabbing, wasteful, selfish or greedy by asking for financial support from the absent parent is utterly disgusting.
My ex dropped all attempts of contact because it was suggested by his own solicitor that he make regular financial provision for his child. If any parent is greedy or selfish, it’s the one who thinks they don’t have to put their hand in their pocket to make sure their child has a good quality of life.
Stop shaming the parent who’s actually looking out for their child.
Final point: “sitting at home” when you have children is a FULL TIME JOB. It is just as hard, more demanding and stressful, isn’t 9-5, you can’t just switch off your laptop and stop; and I am sick to death of it being denigrated as lazy or somehow of lesser value than those who earn money in paid employment.15 May 2021 at 7:36 pm #54167
Firstly, no. You are not being selfish. I get that sometimes we need to hear that from another human being. I get that sometimes we need to know that how we’re feeling is normal: what you are feeling is normal.
2-3 year olds are flipping little nightmares. They’re also adorable, cute and amazing … but also … nightmares.
Feeling worn down by the endless cycle of work and (still!) full time childcare is not to be sniffed out. You’re doing a lot. More than some. And it’s not easy raising a child under the roof of your own parents who clearly have their own views (and aren’t afraid to share them). That’s an awful lot of pressure. So go easy on yourself.
I think it’s great that you’ve made plans to do something nice that’s just for you. See if you can think of other ways to build in stuff like that for yourself – it doesn’t have to be a huge deal or cost money like a meal or evening out. Just going for a walk by yourself for 20 mins can give you some much needed space.
Does it get any easier? … yes… just maybe not for another 16 years ha (I’m in the same boat so I can laugh)15 May 2021 at 7:23 pm #54166
Hey, so you’ve got a lot on your plate at the moment … feeling lost and wanting a bit of breathing room is completely normal under normal circumstances with kids – throw in a pandemic and all that that has meant (and still means) – and it’s a goddam miracle any of us are still sane!
Maybe first it might help to understand that your kids being super clingy and acting out emotionally / behaviourally is understandable within your context. It’s no reflection on you or them – but on your situation right now. The emphasis being on “right now”. Everything changes. Even things that seem set in stone. So there will be an end to them being clingy and given support, your eldest can work through what’s going on with them.
The emotional/behavioural problems could be addressed via their school if they have an Educational psychologist, or a GP referral to CAMHS is an option (be prepared for long waiting times). In the meantime; talk openly and honestly with your eldest about how they’re feeling and try to find out if something specific is bothering them (there isn’t always a specific thing though). Help them feel confident that they can talk to you; that you won’t shout or judge or laugh or do anything other than sit with them and listen – or whatever it is they’d be comfortable with you doing. If you do go for a referral via school or GP, you must have this conversation with your eldest FIRST. They have to be open to engage otherwise it won’t work.
Last – but most importantly – take some time out for yourself. Self care is so important right now. For me that can be taking an extra long shower (baths work for some), sitting quietly with a cup of tea doing absolutely nothing, meditation or doing a workout (HIIT takes 15 mins). You might want to plan a time when you can go sit outside with a coffee by yourself or meet up with a friend or find a spot to sit an read that trashy novel you’d normally take on your hols with you … literally anything that is just for YOU. Doing one bit of self care every single day, can really help… because it’s you telling yourself that you matter too. To nick L’Oreal – you’re worth it. It’s a strong message to send yourself when you’re doing this all solo.
You are not alone. It is a struggle, and some days will be better than others… but you will make it through.15 May 2021 at 1:12 pm #54157
All I can do is sympathise.
My experience with CMS has been similar. If the absent parent wants to disappear, hide income, lie about their circumstances or otherwise not play ball; CMS are pretty useless. Not accepting evidence, refusing to act on evidence, allowing £1000’s in arrears to build up while doing nothing … seems standard stuff.
Can’t for the life of me understand how they’re an official organisation when they don’t seem to have the powers necessary to fulfil their purpose! (Or can’t be bothered).
Maybe someone else will have something positive to say …12 May 2021 at 10:55 am #54066
This sounds awful. I’m surprised that any form of contact has been allowed if there has been physical abuse and if your son has been so vocally against contact (although his age might be a factor) – but that doesn’t help your situation…
My suggestion would be to push your GP for a CAMHS referral and have your son seen by a professional to assess his behaviour and see if it linked to contact for 2 reasons.
1- they can provide support and interventions to help manage behaviour and emotions regardless of the cause,
2- they might be able to provide a letter or report that you can take to court to show the negative impact (if any) of contact, and this might help things be reconsidered.
There is a possibility that he does enjoy contact but feels under pressure to pretend not to, in order to please you (his main carer/ parent he lives with) – this can be quite a stressful and conflicting position for a child to be in. Feelings such as guilt for enjoying contact, fear of being hurt again, fear of upsetting and being rejected by you if contact continues, etc can all get mixed up and manifest in outbursts and anger. Again though, a psychologist would be best placed to investigate and assess what’s going on.
You might find it useful to take stock of where YOU are at re contact. Are you really cooperating or are you begrudging contact and being passive aggressive about it? Are you tense, stressy and angry around contact times? Or are you sad, withdrawn? Or weepy? – Not that anyone would blame you in the slightest if you felt any or all of that (!!) – it’s just that your child will be picking up on what you’re feeling/how you’re acting ..
Sometimes the worst thing about being the “not rubbish” parent is that the responsibility for making your child feel safe, loved and comfortable with what’s going on, all falls on your shoulders. It’s really hard; hats off to any parent who does this
Really hope it works out for you.11 May 2021 at 11:24 am #54020
Unless you have evidence to support the issues you’ve described, I can’t imagine they’d be accepted on your say so. Evidence could be GP letter, referral for back/knee pain, or evidence of mistreatment/ bullying.
You could go to your GP and ask to be signed off due to stress, but this would only be a very short term solution and you’d effectively be on sick pay.
If management and the culture at your workplace are that bad, I would strongly suggest you raise a grievance – not just for you but for other people who work there and might have experienced similar issues. You can still leave if the outcome isn’t satisfactory; your union should have been clear about that. Maybe have another chat with them.
And it never hurts to talk to DWP, or even citizens advice.11 May 2021 at 11:12 am #54019
Hi there, it sounds like a tough time right now with a lot of raw emotions whirling around, and I get why things feel bad.
If I’m being really honest, what I read in your message doesn’t really scream “single parent discrimination” to me.
I will confess to self stigmatising over being a single parent, and projecting that onto others so I see everything they do/say through the lens of my own self loathing … I think this is what’s happening here. I think you might be making assumptions about other people’s behaviour and opinion towards you. Self stigma can make it feel like everyone is suddenly treating you differently … it can feel very real.
The laptop thing: all I see is that the school are trying to help. If anything it’s positive discrimination, which isn’t illegal. The fact that you’ve reacted so negatively to their offer of support for your kids reinforces my view that the problem may be your own.
Drunk/drugs thing: the school have a duty of care to your children, hence the social worker involvement, which I’ll admit should have been handled much, much better… social workers aren’t something to fear though – I almost became a child protection social worker myself – *if* you get a decent one, it should be about having a conversation and working with you to support whatever is going on …
I will add that eating disorders are often accompanied by other issues and I wouldn’t wait for anyone else to get you support – get some yourself. You can self refer to IAPT for starters, or go to your GP and get a specialist referral. A flare up right now is understandable, so much has changed and you’re looking for control. Controlling what we put / keep in our bodies is a alluringly simple method of regaining a sense of control… but if it’s landing you in hospital then it’s become out of control – so not really helping you much, which is a potential downward spiral. Talking might help.
Being a single parent when it wasn’t in your life’s roadmap is rubbish. I struggle with my own prejudices about what a “single mum” label means … but I’m trying to accept that it just means we work harder and longer to be both sides of the coin for our children. It makes us stronger, more determined, more capable individuals – even if it doesn’t always feel like it.
And if people offer you support: grab it with both hands. You’re only one person. Take all the help you can get.10 May 2021 at 4:06 pm #53994
Unless you have a history of worrying behaviour indicative of mental ill health (self harm, suicide threat/ attempt), or have a mental health diagnosis; there aren’t any real legal grounds for her to demand a psych assessment.
It is not enough for her to simply state that you’re mentally ill or unstable.
If there are other behaviours of concern: drinking, drug taking, violence etc – then these wouldn’t necessarily fall under the remit of a psych assessment, but it might be useful to be assessed so support can be given.10 May 2021 at 9:02 am #53990
I’m surprised he’s willing to have the conversation at all if he’s so anti the split,.. but if he is, it’s best coming from both of you. If it gets out of hand, end the conversation and follow up with your child alone.
As Kaze said, be honest, but keep the details out of it. Maybe frame it simply as : mummy and daddy aren’t going to live together anymore.
At 6, he might be worried about what this means in very practical terms: where will he live? Who will he live with? Will he still see both of you? Will you both still be his mum/dad? Can be still go to school? prepare answers or if you don’t know – say so. It’s ok to not know right now and say you can figure it out together. He’ll probably feel things are out of his control, so giving him a sense of involvement and having a say in how it works out might help.
Once you have firm plans, let external people know (school etc) so they can be aware he might need some additional support/monitoring.
Behaviour could be anything. Every child is different. He could become angry and aggressive (frustration, lack of control, fear), or sullen and withdrawn (fear, sadness, feeling rejected). Or he could even become super keen to please and be seen to be happy (need to still be loved by both parents). Be aware that all behaviour comes from an emotion. Identify the emotion(s) and try to help him manage them. For example: fear. Tell him what’s going to happen in very precise terms so he knows what will change and what won’t.10 May 2021 at 8:49 am #53989
Hey, so you could say pretty much what you said in your post … just tweak it a bit. Something along the lines of:
thanks for being so great and being around for the kids after the operation. I know they’ve really enjoyed seeing more of you. How would you feel about having them for a couple of hours a few days a week from now on? Maybe just after school until tea time? Or we can figure out something that works for everyone? I just think it would be really good to give you the opportunity to spend time together without me in the mix so you can build your own relationship …
Good luck10 May 2021 at 8:41 am #53988
Hi there, it sounds like a nightmare situation and one I don’t envy at all. I’m sorry you and your daughter are going through this.
Disclaimer : I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve had experience of family law cases.
As your daughter is now 16, her decision to reach out to her biological father is largely her choice. Also if there is no existing court order stating no direct or indirect contact (and if she’s had supervised contact at age 10, this seems to be the case), then there is no legal reason why she can’t see her bio dad.
I would recommend legal advice if you want to prevent contact, but I’d suggest that you’ll struggle to obtain this if she’s clear she wants contact due to her age.
The alternative might be to get the school to refer to social services and have them involved so any contact is made safe and everything the bio dad does (and importantly, any deterioration in behaviour or mental health aka negative impact of contact) is formally recorded. You probably can’t enforce supervised contact as she’s 16, but if you take the approach of facilitating rather than obstructing, she’s more likely to be open and honest with you – which is what you need.
I’d also suggest having an actual conversation with your daughter – both parents – to try to understand why she wants contact and what she wants out of it.
Hope some of that was useful and you manage to find a way forward that keeps everyone safe.9 May 2021 at 8:52 pm #53980
Hey, so I can relate to this. I have an almost 3 yo. He is driving me to the point of insanity at the moment. He’s still awake and getting out of bedding and yelling (right now – it’s 8:52pm). He’s been up since 6am. He hasn’t had a nap.
I’ve been doing this solo since he was born, and I’ve just hit my limit recently. Every little thing he does winds me up and I find I have to go hide in my room just to calm down. He’s not a bad kid – it’s just all getting too much.
I just won a court case against his bio dad so zero contact allowed (he was extremely abusive)… my family expected me to be super happy and relieved, but I’m angry and sad and feel overwhelmed … because now it really is all on me.
People tell me I’m a good mum and that I need to go easy on myself and be kind to myself – and I get it. They kind of have to say that, right? But in this moment, in the past few weeks, it doesn’t help. I’m not sure what would help. But it’s very lonely feeling like you’re the only mum out there who loves her kid, but also can’t stand to be around them sometimes. Most mums seem to always love and adore their children … I’m just stuck in a cycle of him destroying stuff and not sleeping and eating everything and smearing banana / yoghurt/ strawberries etc on everything or drawing crayon all over the walls … the other day he literally dug dog poo off his wellies and shoved it in my face … I know it’s all normal toddler stuff. So why does it feel like I’m on the ninth circle of hell??
Telling me it’s going to be ok isn’t what I need to hear. Telling me I’m doing great isn’t what I need to hear.
So to the OP: I get it. Being a single parent can be really crap. No one tells you that you won’t enjoy being a parent every second of every day, or that you might not even like your own kid sometimes. So many taboos around being a parent – but there’s a reason they used to say it took a village to raise a child. Because we were never meant to do this alone. And some of us are literally well and truly alone. Day in. Day out. With a toddler.
Rant over. Phew !