How to tell a 10yr old you wont be living with mum

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

How to tell a 10yr old you wont be living with mum

Postby divadi2000 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:44 pm

I am starting the process of s/g/o and clearly my 2 grandchildren will be with me till they are 18 they have been with me a year their mum hasnt seen them for 6mths and dad hasnt seen them for 16mths!(they are not together broke up in 2009) the youngest is 2 she doesnt have a clue whats going on but the oldest is 10 and she knows whats going on regarding her mum and dad she obviuosly misses them ive never stopped the parents from seeing the kids...nor can i force them to see the kids..they havent made the effort to see them..disgraceful to say the least!! my worry now is although my oldest grandaughter seems to know that she will be with me for a long time..but i imagine she will be thinking one day i will be living with my mum...my worry is how do you break it to a 10yr old you probably wont be living with your mum anymore..without upsetting her. thanks

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Robin D
Posts: 1848
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: How to tell a 10yr old you wont be living with mum

Postby Robin D » Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:06 pm

This is not easy but you have to give her the facts even if it initially upsets her.

You are applying for an SGO. During the assessment, the Social Worker will want to talk to her, probably alone. If the case becomes contested so will the CAFCASS guardian. Imagine how she will feel if either of those start talking about 'forever' and its the first she's heard from you that you want to keep her, let alone that she is not going home?

So you have to tell her why you are applying for an SGO, both in terms of the practicalities of schooling, medical treatments etc, as well as the fact that its for good. If you can involve her in the decision to proceed, all well and good. You'll need to let her know that it does not mean she will not see her parents, but you cannot force them to see her. Try to explain why she can't live with the parents without being condemning, but make sure she knows you are doing this because you love her. There is no right way I'm afraid and 'how to explain to the child' has been agonised over many times on this forum.

The other thing is to not try to talk her round in one session. This is life changing stuff to her (and to you indeed), and the first chat is almost certainly bound to end in tears and recriminations. It's important she feels she can express herself in this way. If you can delay the SGO application until you have given her time to get acquainted with the idea, you will probably find in a matter of days or weeks, you are both singing from the same hymn sheet.

Please also be aware that the fantasies and blame will flare up from time to time as teenage years pass. Whatever you do now, you will have 'It's your fault I'm not living with my Mum' thrown at you at some point. I don't know how anyone else here feels, but having looked after many children over many years, it twists a knife in me every time. You just have to be rational, remind them that its not true, and carry on remembering they are the child and its not you as the adult that has let them down.

Good luck ....... Robin

Grandparent carer in Suffolk [:)]
Former F&F carer, foster carer, adopter and respite carer for umpteen children. Now retired and when with kids, making sure they 'go home' at the end of the day.

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

Re: How to tell a 10yr old you wont be living with mum

Postby Kate » Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:11 pm

divadi, I wonder if the 10-year old realises more than she is giving away. As she's had so little contact with her mum, and even less with her dad, she must wonder if and when this might change. You say that she seems to know she'll be with you for some time, but even if she is imagining she'll be able to go home to mum one day, it's probably just that: imagining, ie more fantasy than reality.

When you talk with her about the fact that you're seeking a court order for both of them to stay with you until they're grown up, you may find she's not surprised. But whether or not she is, I think it would be most helpful to explain your reasons in terms of making sure the two of them are safe and well-cared for, for the rest of their childhoods, because children need to have a home and someone to care for them who is able to be there for them all the time. She presumably went through some unsettling times and experiences and is old enough to remember them, so should be able to understand that it's not a very happy way for a child to have to live.

It may turn out to provide a chance for her to show her feelings more about not seeing her mum and dad much, and there's no easy way to deal with this other than to let her be sad and hurt with you if she needs to be, and to be assured that you ARE there for her.

It's hard to imagine a mother going six months without seeing a child she has presumably had living with her for years, more so than those of us who are bringing up children who came to us at a younger age, having little or no memory of when they lived with their mums. I don't think you should be thinking in terms of not upsetting her, but of letting her be upset if she needs to be, and supporting her through it. Wishing you the best with this, and we're here if you need to talk about how it goes.

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

Re: How to tell a 10yr old you wont be living with mum

Postby Kate » Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:14 pm

Robin, your post had just been posted by the time I finished and posted mine - you said it all better than I could!

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

Re: How to tell a 10yr old you wont be living with mum

Postby divadi2000 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:45 pm

Robin Thanks for the advice and listening to me I no its going to be hard for us all x
quote:
Originally posted by Robin D

This is not easy but you have to give her the facts even if it initially upsets her.

You are applying for an SGO. During the assessment, the Social Worker will want to talk to her, probably alone. If the case becomes contested so will the CAFCASS guardian. Imagine how she will feel if either of those start talking about 'forever' and its the first she's heard from you that you want to keep her, let alone that she is not going home?

So you have to tell her why you are applying for an SGO, both in terms of the practicalities of schooling, medical treatments etc, as well as the fact that its for good. If you can involve her in the decision to proceed, all well and good. You'll need to let her know that it does not mean she will not see her parents, but you cannot force them to see her. Try to explain why she can't live with the parents without being condemning, but make sure she knows you are doing this because you love her. There is no right way I'm afraid and 'how to explain to the child' has been agonised over many times on this forum.

The other thing is to not try to talk her round in one session. This is life changing stuff to her (and to you indeed), and the first chat is almost certainly bound to end in tears and recriminations. It's important she feels she can express herself in this way. If you can delay the SGO application until you have given her time to get acquainted with the idea, you will probably find in a matter of days or weeks, you are both singing from the same hymn sheet.

Please also be aware that the fantasies and blame will flare up from time to time as teenage years pass. Whatever you do now, you will have 'It's your fault I'm not living with my Mum' thrown at you at some point. I don't know how anyone else here feels, but having looked after many children over many years, it twists a knife in me every time. You just have to be rational, remind them that its not true, and carry on remembering they are the child and its not you as the adult that has let them down.

Good luck ....... Robin

Grandparent carer in Suffolk [:)]


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

Re: How to tell a 10yr old you wont be living with mum

Postby divadi2000 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:48 pm


]

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

Re: How to tell a 10yr old you wont be living with mum

Postby divadi2000 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:52 pm

Also Thanks to you Kate i know its going to be hard but Thank Heavens for people like you and Robin and this site for advice and most of all listening Bless you's x
quote:
Originally posted by Kate

divadi, I wonder if the 10-year old realises more than she is giving away. As she's had so little contact with her mum, and even less with her dad, she must wonder if and when this might change. You say that she seems to know she'll be with you for some time, but even if she is imagining she'll be able to go home to mum one day, it's probably just that: imagining, ie more fantasy than reality.

When you talk with her about the fact that you're seeking a court order for both of them to stay with you until they're grown up, you may find she's not surprised. But whether or not she is, I think it would be most helpful to explain your reasons in terms of making sure the two of them are safe and well-cared for, for the rest of their childhoods, because children need to have a home and someone to care for them who is able to be there for them all the time. She presumably went through some unsettling times and experiences and is old enough to remember them, so should be able to understand that it's not a very happy way for a child to have to live.

It may turn out to provide a chance for her to show her feelings more about not seeing her mum and dad much, and there's no easy way to deal with this other than to let her be sad and hurt with you if she needs to be, and to be assured that you ARE there for her.

It's hard to imagine a mother going six months without seeing a child she has presumably had living with her for years, more so than those of us who are bringing up children who came to us at a younger age, having little or no memory of when they lived with their mums. I don't think you should be thinking in terms of not upsetting her, but of letting her be upset if she needs to be, and supporting her through it. Wishing you the best with this, and we're here if you need to talk about how it goes.


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

Re: How to tell a 10yr old you wont be living with mum

Postby David Roth » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:54 pm

BAAF have published a book that explains special guardianship to children and young people. It may be worth having a look: http://www.baaf.org.uk/bookshop/book_sguardianship

David R
FRG Policy Adviser
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser


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