Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Grandchild sees my home as a bolthole

(71 Posts)
cazdk Sun 07-Oct-18 19:21:05

My 14 year old granddaughter was badly bullied in a local shopping centre last year by girls from her school, another girl recorded it all on mobile phone. She then became afraid to go to school. Her family (mum, sister, brother and herself) had to leave their privately rented house as the owners wanted to sell, and they had several moves from one emergency accommodation to another. Last September they finally got a permanent home.
She refused to go to school, changed to another and got bullied there and walked out. She managed to go to her original school a few times but hasn't been this term. She now keeps turning up my house for several days at a time as her father lives back at home with me.
I love her but I don't want her full-time and I can't to keep feeding her. Her school has been no help and her mother has all but washed her hands of her.
Should I be expected to say I'll take her in permanently? BTW my house has only two bedrooms.

gramma2three Sun 07-Oct-18 19:45:20

well..this will be my first post..i have been reading for months. But this post hit home for me and made me register so i could answer. I KNOW you do not want her full time, but you have her father full time..and seems like her mum does not want her, you MAY be her LAST hope to develop into a successful young woman. Her dad lives with you..and her mum doesn't want to deal with this bullied child..the LEAST they can do (and you should demand of BOTH parents) is to give you a bit towards the shopping. PLEASE step up for this child. I WAS this child and no one stepped up for me. I was fortunate to marry an amazing man, but oh boy, did i have alot of baggage!!

gramma2three Sun 07-Oct-18 19:49:37

that being said.. my husband and i have raised 3 children together..they are now 28,30 and 31. The two eldest have children.. our 31yr old daughter has 2 ..a boy and a girl 7&8.. our son 30 and his wife have just given us another bundle of joy on July 4th..another to get the other boy off his computer so he can find a wife lol

Niobe Sun 07-Oct-18 19:49:44

So you are happy to keep your son, presumably an adult, but not a 14 year old girl whose mother has washed her hands of her, whose peers bully her? You say you can't feed her but her parents should be paying you for her keep and if i was in your place I would be telling my son, her father, to move out and I would be moving this vulnerable child in! My heart weeps for your granddaughter .

gramma2three Sun 07-Oct-18 19:53:24

agree 1000000 percent Niobe

Diana54 Sun 07-Oct-18 19:55:31

The way you describe the problem she has big problems if she doesn't get on at schools or her mothers. The alternative to living with you is a children's home which she will likely abscond from, as long as her behavior is reasonable she is probably best with you. Get some cash from her mother to feed her and some kind of counciling to help her issues.
Has her mother got a new boyfriend by any chance, that won't help.

If her father is living with you the pair of them might be fairly high up the social housing list, just a thought, might be worth asking.

Jalima1108 Sun 07-Oct-18 20:01:38

I agree with Niobe but what Diana has said about moving up the housing list is worth pursuing too.

Poor girl, sounds as if everyone is washing their hands of her - is her father any use and why is he still living at home with his mother? He is an adult and capable of looking out for himself, his daughter needs a lot more support from both of you.

BlueBelle Sun 07-Oct-18 20:08:31

Oh my goodness how can you be so hard and say you don’t want her full time, it seems as if both parents have abandoned her and you don’t really want her either, poor kid I don’t care if I lived off soup for the rest of my life to feed my grand kid and who feeds her father ? You ? Why can’t he feed his daughter?
Heart bleeds for this young lady who it seems has got no one in her corner

DoraMarr Sun 07-Oct-18 20:08:45

You seem to be caring for a lot of people in your life, and it is not only your granddaughter who sees you as their saviour. So, my heart goes out to you BUT there is a vulnerable child at the centre of this, and at the moment you seem to be the only person she trusts. If her parents will not help, you will have to contact the child’s school and ask to speak to someone about her, explaining the situation. If they are reluctant to talk to you, get your son to phone and explain the situation. Ideally he needs to go with you. Between you and the school, work out a plan to get your granddaughter daughter back in full- time education. At 14 she is starting exam courses, and without decent passes she will find it difficult to access further education or a job. Some local authorities have special units for school refusers where experienced staff make it easier for vulnerable pupils to go to school.There should be a contact between you,, your granddaughter and the school, specifying when and for how long she should attend, what support she will be given and what her responsibilities are. I should add that her parents are breaking the law if they do not make sure their daughter attends school. She is lucky that she has you in her life.

Jalima1108 Sun 07-Oct-18 20:09:51

Tell your son to sleep downstairs and give his bedroom to his daughter.

(I can't believe this can be true)

lemongrove Sun 07-Oct-18 20:11:41

What all others say.
There may be a good reason your son has to live with you, but this poor girl needs you even more.Allow your son to sleep on the sofa, or your DGD to.Then tell the council the situation you are all in.
I really feel for you with these problems, but to be unwanted at such a young age is awful.
Her behavioural problems may or may not be as a result of the bullying, but having a constant (you) in her life may save her.It’s hard, and not what anyone has planned for their retirement, but that’s life.Good luck for the future.

cornergran Sun 07-Oct-18 20:13:50

You sound understandably at the end of your tether caz. I’m wondering why your son is with you, maybe for financial reasons. diana has a good thought about social housing as long as your granddaughter would live with her dad. If it’s you she wants and perhaps needs then she may be reluctant to do so. Please seek professional advice, are Social Services already involved? I do understand it’s hard but how wonderful that your granddaughter trusts you and wants to be with you if a way can be found. A serious talk with your son, advice maybe via the CAB or Social Services seems important for you all. Wishing you well, a more than difficult situation.

Jalima1108 Sun 07-Oct-18 20:24:54

I agree that the child's school should be much more pro-active in putting an end to any bullying. Has her father contacted the school? Could you go together and is there a pastoral care team at the school?

sodapop Sun 07-Oct-18 20:44:46

Your poor granddaughter cazdk she has had so much upheaval and trouble at a problematic age. I feel for both of you. I don't know why your son is with you but surely he should step up now and take responsibility for his daughter. I can understand you feel stressed by all of this, there may some help available for housing for them.
As others have said your son could give up his room to support his daughter at this difficult time.

PECS Sun 07-Oct-18 20:55:08

I think that you need to make sure that the school is fully aware of the situation. There will probably be a home school worker, counsellor or school nurse who could be a support for your DGD. It seems she needs some help and support to develop mere assertive strategies to cope with potential bullies .. including her mother! Her parents are both equally responsible for their daughter's education and welfare. They both need to step up to their parental roles.

Feelingmyage55 Sun 07-Oct-18 22:08:36

I think if she lives with you, you can arrange to be paid her child allowance. There must be other financial help available. Wise minds on here will know more than me. She is clearly reaching out to you. Good wishes to you all.

cazdk Mon 08-Oct-18 00:05:19

Son lives at home since his daughters' mother split up with him. Until recently he worked but now at 37 has COPD and can't work until he's undergone more tests and maybe got some treatment.
The school has been useless, last week we waited in three times for a visit and they didn't even bother to let us know they were coming. The big problem is getting her mother to step in and support her, make an appointment with doctor to discuss help with her anxieties etc. I'm living on a pension and struggle to make ends meet. I also don't have the energy to cope with a teenager , once was enough. I've spent hours looking online for where to get her help. She manages to get herself here on buses ok and will go out on my side of town, just not on hers. I've suggested my son get on the council housing list but that takes up to a year in this area. If I evict him, which is the only way to get on it, then they'd probably get put in a series of temporary accommodations like her mother did last year. This turned out to be one of the causes of bullying, along with her mother's choice of her then partner. I'm going to the school tomorrow and ask them why they've done nothing and why they've not turned up when arranged. It seems to me that the school's failure to act from the start has caused the problem we now have. home schooling is another option, she says she could do that at her own home. When we made up a bed settee at my house downstairs she was scared to stay in it alone and that was before all this. Both girls stay here every other weekend and she's fine as long as her sister is in the same room.

cazdk Mon 08-Oct-18 00:12:23

Doramarr, her mother received absenteeism letters and ignored them, she now has a court summons. Her father and I have spent a lot of time chasing up the school and getting nowhere. tomorrow we plan on going there and demanding support - they have failed her as they did nothing about the bullying. The trouble is that the longer it's left the bigger and worse everything gets in her mind, and the more things she finds to scare her. The other trouble is that she wants to look all grown up and piles on the makeup and the eyebrows but hasn't the life experience to go with it.

Grandma2213 Mon 08-Oct-18 02:12:15

cazdk My heart goes out to you. You have posted in desperation and received criticisms, which must hurt. I too have a son living with me, and his 3 children stay here 3 to 4 nights a week after a court order. He does work so I have to do the school drop offs, pick ups etc for after school activities. We do get weary of it second time around don't we, no matter if we understand the problems?!!

Your post has touched me especially as I have had to sit tonight with 11 year old DGS trying to persuade him to go back to Mum as she is currently punishing him for some minor misdemeanors that he maintains are unfair. Haven't we all been there in the past? But bear in mind that Mum has made the family homeless since May to push her up the list for social housing and he is sleeping (badly) head to tail with sister in Mum's sister's house which currently has 9 occupants. He has also just started Secondary School which entails a 45 minute walk mornings and afternoons to get there and back.

We have had brilliant support from Primary School who have always been aware of the problems and looked out for the children but there does not seem to be a gentle transition to secondary. The message seems to be 'You are at Big School now so you have to be responsible for yourself!' I am trying to persuade DS to contact Secondary School for an appointment to discuss these issues. There does not appear to be a 'parent's evening' in the near future and like you we do not want the problems to escalate!!

I can only wish you all the best and hope your situation improves.

Diana54 Mon 08-Oct-18 07:12:06

I would work on priorities, that girl need support and she needs her own room, it should be the father that gets the sofa. If he was evicted the council would have to rehouse him, as you say eviction is the only way to get rehoused it is exactly the same here. But, a place is found quickly in the vast majority of cases.
Once you get the problem sorted out there is no reason that a 14 yr old should not maintain herself and not be a burden on you.

My sister had a very abusive relationship and her younger daughter went wild at 14, she went to school when she wanted and the police repeatedly brought her home at night. Gradually she calmed down and at 20 she joined the Army, we were stunned, the discipline was hard but she got through it and is still there 10 yrs on and loves it.

J52 Mon 08-Oct-18 07:56:01

Your granddaughter is the priority here, as others have also said. She is very vulnerable.
If you are looking after her full time then you should receive the child benefit payment.
I agree that the school should be putting more effort into supporting her, maybe you should make an appointment to see the Headteacher and together make a support plan.
You may be reluctant to involve Social Services, but they may be able to advise you on support, both financial and emotional.

BlueBelle Mon 08-Oct-18 08:24:53

I am sorry your son has COPD but that really is no reason for him to not be looking after his daughter, and helping you especially as he doesn’t work instead of blaming the school and the mother (which both sound pretty useless) look to him to take some of the load off your shoulders
My heart breaks for this poor child, no one wants her in reality do they, you love her but feel unable to offer her enough and the rest don’t seem to care or just find her a nuicence
She is crying out for help she’s frightened 14 is a blooming tough time even with a strong family back up, she’s been bullied she’s had little support She has a useless mum, you’re trying but don’t know where to turn please get professional help before this poor lass gets sucked into some group, drugs, crime, or even groomed
You re the only one left to help her, she needs you but you can’t do it alone get help please

PECS Mon 08-Oct-18 08:25:57

I do not think the council would rehouse a single man. Unless he had care of both his daughters he would be low priority.

You could also contact Family Services though suspect they may be involved. Not sure why school is getting so much of the "blame" when clearly neither parent is able to provide emotional support for their child.

PamelaJ1 Mon 08-Oct-18 09:35:21

This is a very difficult problem and it sounds to me that life wasn’t all that easy for you before this all blew up.
YourDGD should be her parents responsibility but they seem to be incapable of helping her although your son seems to be trying. No mention of her other grandparents, are they approachable?
However, she’s 14 and needs all the help that she can get and if you are the only person available then the brutal truth is that it has to be you. I am sure that like most of us on GN we would do whatever we could for our GC.
Move her into her own space and put her dad on the sofa bed. Is there a school on your side of the town or have you exhausted the changing schools option?
Schools can be reluctant to tackle bullying as it goes against them in all those inspections they have to go through. My DS ended up borrowing money to send her DD to a private school for 2 years when she got nowhere with the local school. She tried to change to a different state school but that wasn’t possible. She is no shrinking violet and has held a very responsible position in the services so if she couldn’t find a way round the problem with the school then I’m sure it was pretty impossible.
Have you tried the Citizens advice bureau or your local MP?
Get the social services involved.
You all need help, I hope you get it. It’s like a lot of things these days though, you get the help, care etc. that you fight for.

sarahellenwhitney Mon 08-Oct-18 10:29:30

Please please do not let your grandchild know your feelings .This is a vulnerable young lady who will grow into a vulnerable adult and I dread to think of the consequences. Your son has responsibilities, is he man or mouse ? If you are finding it financially difficult to cope GD must comes first so involve social services let them decide who needs help.