My daughter hardly ever sees her father and her grandmother clearly favors other grandchildren...what do I tell her?

Ivy - posted on 09/13/2012 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My daughter's father only sees her a few times a year. Her grandmother has other grandchildren to spend the night for over a week at a time and rarely lets her stay the night. Her grandmother says, "Maybe" or even that she will do something and never does it.

What do I say to my daughter? She has no one she can truly rely on but me. It scares me, and it is starting to scare her. She is almost 4, and she is worried that I will DIE. (Oh, she plays with children who are 5 and 6, and she's very smart. I think she legitimately is worried about my death.)

I don't know how to calm her fears. I am even thinking that I will have to further limit her time with her grandmother because she keeps getting hurt by her "promises".

Any advice?

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Jessica - posted on 09/17/2012

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As a mother you have to not only think about the present - think about her future. If the father and grandmother cannot be in this childs life consistantly and often like a REAL, LOVING, person should be - then personally I would just cut them off and start a new life without them in it. Sooner or later she will see that she has all the love she needs and you will not have to witness her disappointment. It sucks, I cried for a long time when I finally made the decision to just move on from that part of her life. I cut them off - and raised her alone and reassured her that she is loved just as much as anyone else but sometimes things change. She got over losing them - and now she has a GREAT father figure and his family adores her.

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Grace - posted on 10/20/2012

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Thanks for responding, Kristi and your comment re "... "funny"... is noted. You seem to be quite a jovial person which certainly adds laughter to my days :)

Kristi - posted on 10/19/2012

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Grace--



Welcome! I will check out your story. I'm glad you joined Moms. I didn't mean to click "funny" by your comment. I'm on my phone and I obviously didn't enlarge my screen enough for my big fingers to hit the correct button! ; )

Grace - posted on 10/19/2012

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Hi Kristi and Jessica



Just wanna let you know that your responses to Ivy have been of great encouragement and inspiration to me since I am a single mum who is experiencing a similar situation whereby my daughter's dad has neglected her. I have recently joined the "Circle of Moms" and am finding it very inspirational and uplifting. Please feel free to read and comment on my post entitled "My daughter's dad has abandoned her because i took legal action against him for child support payments" which i posted about an hour ago. Be blessed and keep up the good work sisters for we NEED each other's support!

Kristi - posted on 09/18/2012

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Well "details" are not in short supply when I comment! haha I never start out thinking I'm going to write a big, long reply and then by the time I'm done there is like 6 paragraphs and the OP'er knows me better than I know myself! ; )



If you should want to talk some more or vent, etc. you can also email me at kcisneros@cox.net

I would also be happy to hear how things are working out!



Best wishes!

Ivy - posted on 09/17/2012

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Kristi and Jessica,

Thank you BOTH so much for your comments! I feel so much better about everything after realizing that there are other people in similar situations, and your advice is helping me, too...

It's really hard to feel alone as a single mom and not know what to do in certain situations.

You have really helped. (By the way, the details really helped because hearing of your problems has helped me deal with mine.)

If either of you ever need anything, you can reach out to me (tiredbuthappymom@hotmail.com).

Have a great week!

Kristi - posted on 09/15/2012

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You're not going to believe me but I actually thought that might be the case and I was going to retract some of my comments but then I decided, "Ya know what, I would feel this way no matter whose mother she is, so I'm going to be honest."



She sounds like my exMIL even more! She was also the only "help" I had, too (because her son is a rotten piece of shit and then some!) She was so manipulative and would be more than happy to help! She made it seem like she was a rescue hero. And of course I was grateful and so thankful. Then, it may have been 2 weeks or 2 months later, she would inevitably find a way to throw it in my face and make me feel guilty. Then, she would whine to all her friends that she was sooo exhausted because she had to watch "the baby" or do one of these, "...don't get me wrong, I love my DIL and my granddaughter but I can't bend over backwards for much longer..." She wanted symapthy and attention, she was always a martyr. (she is still "bending over backwards for her eldest granddaughter but that is another discussion entirely! lol) She literally created problems just so she would have to bail someone out. I know I must sound vengeful and crazy but I kid you not.



After I realized that that was her true nature and she behaved like that no matter what, I just bore through the flu and chicken pox and RSV, bronchitis, ear infections, strept throat, tubes in her ears, the whole nine yards, even when I was sick. I had to take time off from work, sometimes without pay. I just couldn't take being a pawn in her twisted games.



Ironically, I ended up becoming best friends with my ex's first wife! Then we helped each other out. 13 years later and 1500 miles away, we are still best friends! But, when we lived in the same city we were a big help to one another. She mostly helped support me through some really bad times and would watch G when I had to work at my 2nd job. When she needed a break from her 5 kids (8, now!) I would take them for a few hours and when she needed money I gave her what I could. I'm tellin' ya, I don't know where'd we be without each other. She was my only friend.



Ok, enough is enough about me! Do you have a friend or two that you could call on? I'm sure there is someone or some others that would be glad to help if they knew you needed it. Since G and I moved I've found, so far, that most people will lend a hand if they are asked. We've been blessed with great neighbors. It is hard to ask for favors! But, there are good people out there who enjoy helping others. I'm not good for much but I do watch people's pets when they won't be home all day or when they are out of town I water their plants and collect their mail. You can return a favor, sometimes the opportunity doesn't arise for a little while but the people who help you will call you when they need a friend. I haven't lived near my family for 20+ years and it sucked!!! When we moved out here it was to be near them and 6 weeks after G and I got here, my dad got a promotion and they moved half the way back across the country. So, I was stuck and pretty much had to reach out. I'm confident you can do it, too!



As I said before, we have been so much better off. I was amazed at the relief I felt once I stopped relying on (grand)Mommy Dearest. But, she's not my mom so I'm sure it would be much more difficult to make a decision like this when it's your own mom. When I was still married to G's dad, I would still visit his mother with G or I would let her visit us. I just stopped calling her for help. After awhile she would ask if she could take G for the day or when was I going to let her babysit again. I just said (in my best dramaticly sincere voice) I knew how busy she was and that a toddler is always getting into everything and I would so hate it if she accidently broke one of your beautiful antiques (it was all trash and junk she'd hoarded), why I could never forgive myself! Thank you so much for offering and if I need you I will be sure to call! She had no choice but to accept it and she still got to see her so she couldn't say I was withholding G from her (oh poor me) and she couldn't say she was just exhausted (oh poor me). I don't know...I'm sorry you're in this position. I wish I could do more than just type out a bunch of words. But, if you ever want to talk, bitch, piss or moan...let me know! ; )

Ivy - posted on 09/14/2012

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Thank you, Kristi! Okay, don't be shocked or feel bad about what you wrote, but the grandmother is my mother. We're from the South, where if you're female, you are supposed to suffer and put up with crap and SMILE. She seems to favor the other grandchildren (all offspring of boys, thus favored), and she promises my daughter to do things with her and then doesn't.

She is, however, the ONLY person I can call if I am sick and my daughter is sick (because you can't hire somebody to keep a sick child). However, she sometimes is not available in emergencies, and she is generally unreliable. But, there's no one else.

I am grateful and appreciative of what she does do. I'm just trying to give you the whole picture.

What do you do if you and your child are sick with the flu? Do you have family? Is there somewhere else to turn in that situation?

By the way, I purposely did not put it was my mother because I wanted to know if other people would be as bothered by what is happening. You proved my point--thank you!

Kristi - posted on 09/14/2012

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Keep her as far away from that woman as you can. People like her feed off creating drama. They usually single out who they preceive as the biggest threat but the easiest prey. It's usually the smartest one because they fear their true nature will be exposed. She may not be causing a soap opera sized drama but she is picking away at your daughter and through your daughter to you. My exhusband's mother was/is evil and she masked/s herself well, at least in the eyes of a child.



For now you just have to keep reassuring your daughter that you're not going anywhere. Keep her involved with her friends, pre-school, play dates, etc. Those positive interactions will help build her self esteem and confidence. If you have a good friend or two try to enlist their help. They could spend more time with you both and if it can remain consistent that will also build her sense of security by "knowing" that there are other grown-ups looking out for you and for her. It is important for you to stay strong, at least in front of her. The less you worried you are, the less worried she will be. It will take some time and lots of love and rewarding experiences with others but she will grow out of it or at least most of it. As she develops she will be able to use more logic. But, I think it is somewhat natural for a child to feel that way, especially if it is just the two of you.



My daughter is 13, she is smart and wise beyond her years but she still worries about losing me also. As they get older, it becomes easier to have faith (I'm not sure if that is the right word) that things are going to be fine. But the more structure and routine your daughter has will make a big difference. Things had been pretty "bad" (is an all inclusive word) for us for a long time. Once I cut her off completely from her father and his mother and we started over things have been going much better. She is not nearly as worried as she was, even though it's still just the two of us and she is much happier and more confident in herself and her surroundings. Now there is much more structure and she sees me doing better and it has helped her tremendously. Never let her see you sweat. ; ) Another thing you could add is a special mommy and me time. Like every Friday you go to the video store and you pick out a movie, stay up "late" and eat junk food or every Sunday you take a picnic to the park, etc. Not only will this provide more stability, you will be making memories to last a life.



It will be ok. Each day it will become less scarier for both of you. But I'm telling you, you have got to stay away from that woman. She will destroy any progress you make it under two minutes if you let her. Be honest with your daughter. I'm sure you have taught her that lying is not ok. Just tell her you're sorry she can't see grandma right now because grandma tells stories that aren't true and you don't want her setting a bad example for your daughter. You can gently remind her how sad she feels when granny says she will play with her and then she never does. You don't want your daughter's feelings to get hurt anymore. So, granny is going in time out until she makes better choices and can be a nicer person. Then don't dwell on it.



You can do this. You're a mom and in her eyes you are a super hero so prove it by being positive and encouraging. When you need to vent or cry call a friend and/or come on here. We got your back. (Unless you're talking about spanking or abortion, then you're liable to end up with a knife in your back. J/K, just trying to lighten the mood! : )) It's all good. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

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