Where has my Mummy gone - suggested answers??

pollypocket
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:21 pm

Where has my Mummy gone - suggested answers??

Postby pollypocket » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:34 am

Hi All

Having secured our SGO with no contest prior to xmas - our nephew is doing well and has come on leaps and bounds since he arrived with us early summer. He has seen his mum around 3 times since then, all of which were sporadic and he witnessed huge arguments and distress at the last in Nov so on the advice of SS we stopped supervising. SGO has detailed a 6 month minimum settling period and recommended letterbox contact (which mum has not engaged with). Little one is now starting to notice that his mummy doesnt pick him up from nursery and the inevitable questions and confusion is following. We are playing it very neutral but I am struggling with how to explain to a 3 yr old where his mummy is and why he doesnt see her - its very upsetting and I wondered if there were any strategies that you had used before?

Mum is apparently doing 'really well' with a job (the first ever) and her own flat (after being in a refuge...again) but she has no made contact w SS re letterbox at all but rather directs her questions to use via her mother (little one's grandmother with whom he does have contact).

Any ideas would be v helpful - as we dont know what Mum is going to do its very tricky to try and support a confused little boy.

PP

pp
pp

Diane
Posts: 120
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 12:24 pm

Re: Where has my Mummy gone - suggested answers??

Postby Diane » Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:21 pm

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Auntie Lynsey
Posts: 105
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:33 pm

Re: Where has my Mummy gone - suggested answers??

Postby Auntie Lynsey » Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:41 pm

I was told my the chair at our conferences to tell the child the truth in the simplest childlike terms.

She was 4 years old. I said that mum gets drunk and because of this, she may sleep a lot or behave in another way which means she cant really look after children properly. I personally have never said anything to the child about her being neglected, dirty or hungry. I have said that mum probably forgot to feed you sometimes. Which is true in the way that mum prioritizes her own needs and forgets all else.

I have found that usually the child will then ask her own questions or reveal more information by asking "is that like the time there was no food and I was hungry and got myself dressed and went to the shop" etc. (that as from a 4 year old).

I have never said or given the impression that mum is bad or that she didn't love the child. I have had to restrain myself many times from outbursts about what mum is really like and what I think of her, especially in the early days when she had behaviour I would deem as "ungrateful"!! 2 years on, the child has a full understanding and acceptance of the situation. There are some things rightly or wrongly that I will never tell the child. I think it would hurt her psyche too much to think that her own mum could treat her in that way. Painting mum as a good person can be very difficult when in reality she was so neglectful and selfish. I don't want to harm childs self esteem any further.

It was also advised that it was important to the child that they know that mum is ok. Again I draw on the positives. I don't describe the drugs and alcohol as problems. Just as a thing mum does and is unable to stop....for anyone.

Good luck. The truth as they can understand it at that age is the best. The truth can evolve as they grow.

old bear
Posts: 356
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:21 pm

Re: Where has my Mummy gone - suggested answers??

Postby old bear » Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:20 am

hi polly,
i agree with all that's been said ~ it's very hard and it has to be right for you and the child.
but,
i think there are two answers to your question ~ one is what you say to child to explain the situation, the other is what you say to give them a clue what to say when other children ask "where's your mummy?" "or why does your auntie collect you?" or whatever. i think they need an easy and instant answer to give, so's they don't feel they're making an excuse or that their situation is not as good as the other children in the class/group.
best wishes. old bear

Kate
Posts: 2444
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2005 5:33 pm

Re: Where has my Mummy gone - suggested answers??

Postby Kate » Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:07 pm

Very good idea, old bear, to suggest a sort of "cover version" for school and elsewhere.

Our g/d will be six in three weeks so we could have expected to have questions to answer and explanations to be given before now. However she has some difficulties with understanding and so far she's neither asked any questions about why she doesn't live with mummy, nor appeared to grasp anything I've said to her about it. I sometimes wonder if it's partly her way of blocking it out due to not being ready to hear it yet, but it does tie in with her cognitive difficulties.

She quite clearly has deep feelings, though, and we had a few visits last year when she was very upset when mummy left to to home - the first time it happened she was utterly distraught, clutching at mummy and begging her not to go. She's settled again now and seems to accept this is the way it is. Despite her understanding being limited in one way, in another way she seems to us to be well aware of how mummy is, ie not able or mature enough to care for her as we do. She came to us so young (13 months) that I don't think there's any wish to live with mummy elsewhere, she just had a phase of not wanting mummy to leave here. She has a clear sense of herself, grandad and nana as a happy family.

We adopted our children, our son as a baby and our daughter as a toddler, and were always open with them about how they came to be adopted. This was some years ago now and maybe we should have thought about a "cover version" back then but I think it was different because we were always their parents in their eyes and their friends' - the situations most of us are dealing with here are quite different. Parents are in their lives (or in and out of them) and, for those of us who're grandparents, the children are obviously living with much older people who they mostly don't call mum and dad. I can imagine the sort of questions other children might have about that, though so far g/d's friends just seem to accept how things are.

pollypocket
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:21 pm

Re: Where has my Mummy gone - suggested answers??

Postby pollypocket » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:48 am

Thank you for all your advice - I am reassured that truth is the best option, his nanny (maternal grandmother) had relied upon 'mummy is in hospital' for a very long time which we actively discouraged. Things are of course made more difficult by a 3 year old whose response is continually 'why?'. We have said 'mummy couldnt look after you', 'mummy didnt have very nice friends'but its upsetting to hear him add, 'mummy gets angry and mummy gets cross'....I guess no matter how small they are they take it all in. We have until July with no face to face contact so we hope that by then he understands that he lives with us and Mummy comes to see him. All visits would have to be supervised anyway.

PP

pp
pp

Muspark
Posts: 398
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:02 am

Re: Where has my Mummy gone - suggested answers??

Postby Muspark » Fri Jan 28, 2011 3:41 pm

I dread the time I have to start this topic with J... his Mum abandoned him at 10 days old and never once attended court. She probably does not even know his birthday now as she has already forgotten when one of his brothers was born (she was supposed to put the date in his red book buy just put ?)

He calls us Mummy and Daddy and our parents are Nanny and Grandad. I have some life story from his time in foster care which my daughter made beautifully for him (then one the SS provided was just awful), but I still wonder when I start to introduce the subject. I suppose he will lead the way.

Its a real challange and I hope it goes well for you x x x

Diane
Posts: 120
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2008 12:24 pm

Re: Where has my Mummy gone - suggested answers??

Postby Diane » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:45 pm

I wonder if children forget when they are young?My GD was 3 when she was removed from her mother,she is now 6 and the only clear memory seems to be the dog!Mind she as not seen her mother for over 2 years.

Although I do wonder about some of her behaviours,like a real fear of water in her face as she was held under water by her mother.

divadi2000
Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 8:28 pm

Re: Where has my Mummy gone - suggested answers??

Postby divadi2000 » Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:01 pm

I have my 2 grandaughters living with me age 10 and 2 the oldest one knows the situation but I To will be in the same situation iin the future explaining to a 2yr old why her Mum and Dad dont bother their Mums not seen them for 6 mths and their Dad 14mths I have had them 11mths and hev been urged by social service to go for an order
quote:
Originally posted by pollypocket

Hi All

Having secured our SGO with no contest prior to xmas - our nephew is doing well and has come on leaps and bounds since he arrived with us early summer. He has seen his mum around 3 times since then, all of which were sporadic and he witnessed huge arguments and distress at the last in Nov so on the advice of SS we stopped supervising. SGO has detailed a 6 month minimum settling period and recommended letterbox contact (which mum has not engaged with). Little one is now starting to notice that his mummy doesnt pick him up from nursery and the inevitable questions and confusion is following. We are playing it very neutral but I am struggling with how to explain to a 3 yr old where his mummy is and why he doesnt see her - its very upsetting and I wondered if there were any strategies that you had used before?

Mum is apparently doing 'really well' with a job (the first ever) and her own flat (after being in a refuge...again) but she has no made contact w SS re letterbox at all but rather directs her questions to use via her mother (little one's grandmother with whom he does have contact).

Any ideas would be v helpful - as we dont know what Mum is going to do its very tricky to try and support a confused little boy.

PP

pp



D L VARDAR

User avatar
David Roth
Posts: 2022
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: Where has my Mummy gone - suggested answers??

Postby David Roth » Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:11 pm

BAAF has published a really good book that can be used for talking to chidren about being raised by family and friends. It is called Kinship Care, What it is and what it means: a guide for children, written by Hedi Argent. It deals with the story of one little girl, Jade, who is living with her grandmother, but looks at other famous people and fictional characters who have been raised by relatives.

Details are on the BAAF website here: http://www.baaf.org.uk/bookshop/book/kinshipcare - you can probably buy it from Amazon or other online booksellers.

David R
FRG Policy Adviser
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser


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