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How to explain lack of maternal family to child?

  • Jenna29
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30 Apr 12 #327385 by Jenna29
Topic started by Jenna29
My daughter is four and a half and has never met my mother, whom I''ve been estranged from since I was 15. I''ve explained that she wasn''t very nice and my daughter has accepted that. However, my daughter has met my father and sister a handful of times - the last time being about a year ago. Neither of them ever really bothered with seeing us/asking about us and so I left it to see if they''d get in touch...they haven''t. I''m not willing to chase them for a relationship they clearly aren''t interested in and don''t want my daughter to be upset by their lack of involvement in her life and so I''d rather not see them again. However, my daughters father asks her about them at every contact and she then asks me. How do I explain the situation to her? It is sad because even though she has only met them a few times she likes them because they are my family, but they never answer the phone, they know nothing about her, never said thank you when she''s sent them pictures etc. They haven''t congratulated me on my pregnancy even though I''m nearly due and don''t send Christmas/birthday cards - in fact, I doubt they know when my daughters birthday is. They don''t even know where we live. Any advice?

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30 Apr 12 #327388 by rubytuesday
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Building bridges can be hard, and take a long time to complete fully.

Have you thought about sending your mother a letter, along with some photos of your daughter, and a copy of your recent scan?

Instead od dwelling on any negatives over your mother, I would point out all the positives with the family members your daughter is in contact with.

  • TBagpuss
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30 Apr 12 #327391 by TBagpuss
Reply from TBagpuss

However, my daughters father asks her about them at every contact and she then asks me


Have you asked him not to?

She''s unlikely to be hurt by the lack of contat per se, as she hasn''t ever had a relationship with these people, to lose, so she is only going to be upset if she is taught that she ''ought'' to be.

Can you tell your ex that the contact with grandparetns isn''t ging anywheer and could he please not talk about them to her unless she brings up the subject.

If she talks to you about them you can say things such as they are very busy people, or use it as a way to talek about how people are different 9you can build this from talking about different kinds of families, with examples from her school / playgroup friends - e.g. some people live with their mummy and daddy, some have granny living next door - lots of different sorts of family, lots of different sorts of people - some people see their granddad evey day, some just se him at christmas, some don''t see him at all..

If you are relxaed and matter of fact about it then the liklihood is that she will be too.

if she asks about it becuase her dad has brought uit up you can deal with it in a matter of fact way -"no, you know we don''t see Granddad / Auntie Jane very often - but it''s a nice change when we do, isn''t it?"

I think she is at an age where she will start to notice, and be interested in, ways in which different people are different, but that doesn''t automatically mean she will be upset or confused about it, unless she picks up from you that you feel hurt or upset by your family''s lack of interest, in which case she may get upset as well.

You mention that you family don''t know where you live - is there a reason for that? If you ould lik them to have more of a relationship with your daughter, you may need to make more of the running - leet them have your cotnact detials, invote them to visit etc. If you don''t, then consider whether you would want your daughter to see more of them, and if not, work on managing her expectations.

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and can include ''chosen'' as well as ''born'' relations.

  • Jenna29
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30 Apr 12 #327392 by Jenna29
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Hi Ruby,

I don''t want to be in touch with my mother - she abused me throughout my childhood and has since been diagnosed with schizophrenia. My sister and dad are the only family members my daughter has ever been in touch with, but like I explained - that isn''t likely to continue but not sure how to explain it to my daughter.

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30 Apr 12 #327396 by Jenna29
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TBagpuss - Yes, I''ve asked him not to which unfortunately made him do it more as he''s trying to point out to her that he and his family are ''better'' and that when she is here she only has me. She has never been upset by a lack of contact with them and I have always been matter-of-fact about it as the lack of relationship with them doesn''t upset me either as I''ve never had much of a relationship with them but her father bringing it up all the time has made her conscious of the fact that other childrens grandparents/aunties are involved in their lives and that hers aren''t.

We moved almost a year and a half ago and neither have them have ever asked for our new address or visited us here. They have been invited on numerous occasions, I have offered that we would visit them at their houses but have not been taken up on it. My phone calls are ignored/not returned, same for text messages and letters. They are both very selfish people and I''m not interested in my daughter having a relationship with them, they don''t deserve to have one with her to be honest - not that they''re interested anyway! My partner has a large family whom she is very much a part of and I think that is much more important than the one she was born in to. It''s just that her fathers comments are making her feel as though she''s somehow done something wrong which is why my family aren''t involved in her life and I don''t know how to explain things.

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