Had to ring the social on her...

I feel so so guilty...

A friend (of sorts) has a gorgeous little girl who's now 14months old- ish. She is so pale and thin - to the extent that her skin looks like its started to go yellow and her eyes are sunken back in her head.

The daughter is such a sweetie - she's so smiley when she's around other people she knows and seems very happy in herself; but she is just so small. She begs for food whenever i see her and will eat everything on an adults plate and ask for more,

I was so worried that she'd be 'naturally small' or whatever but i really don't think that is the case anymore and i have rung social services.

She's not being abused in anyway but i really think the mum needs some support. imageimageimage


  • Please dont feel guilty - if more people cared less children would be neglected. Your friend is probably doing everything just fine, but if she is struggling, she will now have some extra support. Children are no.1 always. xx
  • Well I think if this was done more, it would prevent a lot of children from harm. The social services are there to help, not judge so I'm sure she will be fine. I hope the situation gets sorted out very soon. Don't feel bad about anything, you are just doing what's right. xxx
  • I am going to be very honest. I do not think you should be bragging or looking for praise such a drastic and frankly un friend like thing to do. You say you don't think the child is being abused yet you go behind you friends back and report her... because you have no other CHOICE! I don't think you are her friend at all, that is a really low blow. A decent friend would offer their support and pitch in a bit and help her, or offer to talk about it with her, or bring her round an extra lasagna to show support if she's having a hard time. Not turning her in as a bad parent. If the child is neglected okay she need Support, but you have done the most lazy and judgemental form of "help". I would not call you my friend if you called social services without even speaking to me first.

    If a child is being abuse fine, but if you just have too much time on your hands and enjoy nosing in peoples lives from your pedestal than get a life.

    [Modified by: hedgie on December 06, 2008 01:45 PM]

  • hi can i just say that i dont believe social services will take any notce anyway ....i had to ring them 2 years ago because i had reason to believe my sisters boyfriend who has custody of his daughter despite being a herion addict was neglecting and possibly abusing his daughter(i dont really speak to my sister and i hate him with a passion)his little girl had said things to me that 4 year olds dont know or shouldnt know about and because i wouldnt give social services my name do u know what they did ....they rang him saying someone had rang with malicious rumours .......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!just after that his daughter is taken to a place to be internally examined cos she has "sores"down below so i wouldnt bank on social services getting involved cos there is just too much paper work invoved for them to bother .........lisa
  • Perhaps it might help if I explained myself. I was reported to Social Services when my first daughter was three months old because a nosy neighbor heard her crying and felt she must be being hurt. My daughter did cry a lot. My daughter couldn't sleep. We didn't sleep for the first six month of her life... and no this isn't normal newborn style no sleep. I took her to the doctors a few times a week and kept going to the a&e. They all put me off as a tired over protective mother. It was diagnosed at 5 months old, finally, she does not produce the hormones to fall asleep herself. So she would get so tired and scream. She once screamed for 38 hours straight. This was probably what the lady was calling about. I took her into the a&e three times during this crying episode. She finally fell asleep exhausted. The doctors all said sick babies don't scream like that... leave her to cry. I couldn't I paced the halls crying with her. She would be awake for four to five days at a time before passing out. But she was always a light sleeper and any noise would wake her, and so we were lucky if she would be able to catch more than a few hours. I was tired, and already feeling like the world's worst mother. I can't tell you how awful I felt, and how much I already judged myself. Well getting a letter through the door saying social services had been contacted didn't help. Or the twenty exceptionally judgemental visits by social workers who acted as though I must be beating my child for her to scream through each and every appointment.... one lady asked me directly "what have you done to break your child's trust so she finds no comfort in you?" ... I seriously contemplated suicide over that one. Or the social worker who suggested I sign her into foster care "just so I could get a break"... but all I wanted was to love and adore, and most importantly help my little girl. NOBODY believed me that she slept so little. I took her to sleep clinics, I paid for osteopathy, I paid to see a herbalist and a naturopath. Nobody helped, nobody offered support... all I found was judgement. I was the terrible mother who could not comfort her baby. Once she was given the hormone therapy she changed. She slept, I slept, she is a contented little girl who is very much loved. But it was the worst thing anyone could do to me. They never took her away. They could never find any form of neglect or abuse. But they broke the last fragile strands of my confidence as a very vulnerable new mum, and I wish the stupid lady next door could have just invited me in for a cuppa, said can you tell me what's wrong. Gosh how I wish anyone would have told me the fact you can spend 38 hours rocking and singing (I was so hoarse) a screaming baby and never once feel angry or upset at them means you are an acceptable person. Instead, I moved and the case against me closed because of the doctor finally listening to me. And I am forever worried when I bring my child in to a&e because she tripped and put her teeth through her lip that maybe that they might think I hurt her or something. I live with this huge piece of doubt that everyone is judging me.

  • I think i have to agree with Hedgie! i'm sure you feel that you have done it to try and help but i think calling social services should really be the last resort, my niece who is 20 months old is smaller than my son who is 11 months and does have a dull sort of complexion, however i spend alot of time with my sister and she spends everyday at my parents house and she eats a very healthy, homecooked meal everyday! my sister was really worried that she was so small and talked to health visitors about it herself and they have all said she's perfectly fine! So i do think you could have perhaps talked to her first, as like you said your sure she's not being 'abused' so i don't feel it is as serious to call social services!
    I'm sure your not posting this to brag or relieve guilt but just to gauge others opinions, altho i would have posted this before i had called to get other peoples advice first!
    I would be mortified if i was contacted by social services and would never speak to the person who called them again tbh!
    I'm sure you acted in good faith tho so don't feel guilty, as everyone has said if more people take an interest more children could be saved but i think you need strong evidence first!
    Hedgie, thats such an awful story, i really feel for you and can understand your response to this post, hope everythings ok now!

    Samantha 8+6
  • I agree with Hedgie i dont know how you can call yourself a friend, have you admitted to her that you have called them? i doubt it. you say that you dont think she is being abused do you know how many children are?! you have probably just caused a another social worker a shed load of uneeded paperwork because every report has to be followed up. If the mother of the child IS struggling with things like nutrtrition could you of not offered her some advice and or even bought the subject up and been direct like are you sure you feeding her enough? my niece is super skinny you can see her ribs and i know my sister feeds her she struggles to get her to eat half of the time and the other half eve's scoffs herself silly. the poor mother probabl worries about it half the time and a visit form social services is just gonna compound her fears. i hope your honest enough to tell her it was you who made the allegation otherwise it will do her head in wondering who stabbed her in the back and a stressed mummy = a stressed kiddy. oh and can i just add before anyone jumps all over my comments if you are in doubt whether she is being abused or any other child for that matter go ahead and report it because so much of it goes undetected but this clearly doesnt sound like abuse and you know it.
  • Hun, I think you did exactly the right thing. I know that it must be horrible to be in the position where someone is accusing you of harming your child, but surely it is worse to stand by and do nothing if there is any possibility of a child being harmed, whether it is through wilfull abuse or neglet due to lack of support. It is a difficult descision for you to have to have made but if you think that the child is in any way suffering then you did exactly the right thing letting social services know.
  • What an appalling betrayal of friendship - I sincerely hope that I never have a 'friend' like you. Especially as you say that the baby seems happy enough in herself.

    As others have said, surely calling social services should have been a last resort? Did you try and talk to her first or offer her some support if she's not coping, or maybe needs some advice on nutrition for children?

    My son is constantly hungry and begs for food from anyone who'll listen - you would be forgiven for thinking that he was starved at home. But I can assure anyone who asks that he gets 3 good homemade meals a day, snacks and plenty of breast milk. He's also small for his age, and quite thin given the amount of food he has, but perfectly healthy other than the colds etc that all babies get.

    If you were a friend of mine and had seen my boy last week you would have called the social on me too. He looked awful - pale clammy skin, sunken eyes, completely listless. Maybe I was abusing him...?

    Or maybe he had a bad ear infection and needed antibiotics.....

    Appearances can be deceptive.

    What's done is done, but in the future maybe you could try helping someone, rather than judging them.
  • I think you've done the right thing honey. Don't beat yourself up. It can't have been an easy decision to make. And i also believe you've done the right thing by calling anonymously. It's not as though you're turning your back on your friend and you're still guna be there for her, IF the child is lacking in nutrients and being deprived of vitamins etc, even if its unintentional - something needs to be done about it. It may just be through ignorance, and i mean that in the most respectful way possible, but some people just aren't educated enough to understand what a balanced diet is for instance. The lady most likely loves her child to pieces like any other mum but that doesn't mean she automatically must be feeding her child properly. Even if the social investigate and it is found that the child is just naturally very skinny or perhaps she has something medically wrong - everybodies minds will be at rest. At the end of the day you've got the childs best interests at heart, and i don't believe what you've done is malicious at all. I actually think you've done a good thing.

    Hedgie your story is awful and i really really feel for you, my heart goes out to you. I do think though that it is a different situation when it is just a nosy neighbour who perhaps knows nothing or very little about yourself and your family. Whalemummy actually knows this person and has clearly spent time with her and her daughter so it's a rather more personal situation, and the way she has described the childs appearance sounds far from healthy.
  • Sorry to gatecrash from pregnancy but i just wanted to add that my dad's a social worker and they are there to support families and get them the help they need for all kinds of difficult situations, the last thing they want to do is split up families or make problems worse so i think you did the right thing, she'll be able to get the help she needs or the social worker will find nothing wrong and be on her way.

    No-one knows what goes on behind closed doors, you obviously don't know her that well as you refer to her as a friend 'of sorts', im sure if you were close to her you'd be able to judge the situation better. You'd never have forgiven yourself if something happened to that little girl xx
  • Surely things like this should be left for the professionals to deal with. If there is no other resort and you've spoken to the person to try and help and nothing comes of it. Also, if you are worried about a child and offer to help that person only for him/her to turn their back on you and then you call the SS, they will know it was you...therefore the 'anonomous' caller may be put in danger by the angry parent who smashes their windows/vandalises their house etc...you can't trust some people even if they are your 'friend'. She did the right thing. If the child is not being abused the mother will have nothing to worry about.

    As for the SS taking babies away from the parents they only do that as a very very last resort if help has been offered and the baby is still being abused. Look at Baby P for heaven sake...that poor kid was smashed to pieces by his mother - had a broken back, pulled out finger nails and he STILL was not taked away into care...messed up world we live in!! Sorry just getting a bit emotional, I hate it when defenceless people are harmed. xx

    [Modified by: ~yummy_mummy~ on December 06, 2008 04:27 PM]

  • She's not just small tho hun, from the way whalemummy describes her she doesn't sound well. Kyra is small for her age, but you can see she's healthy and in proportion. I'm no doctor, but Sunken eyes and yellowing skin doesn't sound good to me at all...
  • I think it is incredibly hard to judge what you have done as right or wrong as none of us know the situation properly and do not know the person you are talking about. My personal opinion is I probably wouldn't have called SS unless I was pretty sure there was abuse going on, as in any harm coming to the child, unless I thought the mother was intentionally trying to starve her child of course. Again I don't know the situation so am not saying you have done the wrong thing and you obviously have only got the child's best intentions at heart which is never the wrong thing.
    I guess it's just the stigma of SS somehow implies that you are purposely mistreating your child, which is awful if it isn't the case (as with Hedgie's awful story!).
    Hopefully SS will be able to determine what the case is and offer her the right kind of help if it is needed. xxx
  • I agree with Louise that its hard to judge whether you have made the right decision as you cant fully explain the situation in blogs on the internet. If you felt that the mother needed support that you couldnt offer, or you've tried to help and she has not wanted it/ingored it then i think you have done the right thing. If you have just gone straight to ss because you found it too hard to raise the issue without offending her then you have def done the wrong thing.
    I have a friend who's little girl is 3 months older than cameron and is tiny in comparison. She has dropped from the 75th centile to the 8th in 4 months and my friend says the HV are concerned. She's weaning but at 8 months is not having anything with fat. no red meat, no yoghurts or dairy. just veg for meals, no pudding. I personally think this is wrng and have told my friend so...which she took offence at because she's a mum of 2 and im on my first. But i couldnt not say anything cos i thought she was underfeeding her lo. i wouldnt report her though....unless i was absolutly sure she was neglecting her daughter.
    you've made this decision for a reason. trust your judgement.
  • you say this girl is a friend of sorts...do you know her well enough to know if she's poorly or have u been to her house to see what she eats? my sister was a TERRIBLE eater when she was little and she was exactly how you describe this little girl but we could not get her to eat, we were backwards and forwards to the doctors with her but unless she was poorly with it they weren't really prepared to do anything, we had a constant battle every day with her, it was awful and she was like that for years and years! luckily she grew out of it and now certainly makes up for what she missed out on when she was younger lol!

    i hope you do know enough about this situation to have done what you did, if not then i think you should reconsider your status as 'friend' x
  • oh i forgot to add she'd eat at other peoples houses but not ours, was almost like an attention thing!! x
  • i can see both sides to this argument, whalemummy is obviously concerned for this little girls welfare and has done what she felt was the right thing to do, and unless the mother was a close friend of mine i would too be inclined to do the same, on the other hand i see the points that have been made by others, how awful it must be to have social services just turn up at ur door unannounced, making accusations on how you care for ur lo. if this woman does genuinely have a lo that is "naturally small" then this will be plain to see, and the mother will have no further action taken, but on the other hand if the reverse is true and lo isn't getting everything she needs then action needs to be taken!!! there is too much on the news at the moment about abused and neglected children, recently there was a big court case in birmingham where i live bout a little girl who was starved to death by her parents, again she was labelled a "naturally small" child, and this did not turn out to be the case, if i were in whalemummys shoes i think i would do the same, i'd rather risk getting it wrong than to do nothing and the child ends up malnourished or even dead!!! i do see what some of you ladies are saying and how it can affect life afterwards, but i would personally never forgive myself should any harm come to a child and i had even a sneaking suspiscion (sp) something wasn't right and i did nothing!!!
  • If your concerns are really genuine about this child then I dont think you did anything wrong. If the lady has nothing to worry about then there shouldnt be a problem. if she needs help then HOPEFULLY she'll get it. i dont think I peronally would ring SS unless I saw a child being abused but if the child is malnutritioned (sp) then its great that you have done something to help her. I can also see both sides to the argument and dont think its our place to judge coz we havnt seen her. I wish the little girl all the best. xx
  • I can't really agree whether you were right or wrong, simpy because I haven't seen the child or know what your "friend" is like.
    However, I do hope that whatever happens this lady & her child get help from whatever source is needed. If a child has yellow skin and looks scrawny that is normally a sign of jaundice which indicates liver disease something that I thought would have been noticed by a hv or gp (if she sees one regularly). This isn't caused by abuse or malnourishment but by the liver's inability to absorb bilirubin so it builds in the blood causing these symptoms (I had severe jaundice as a baby and my oh suffers with a liver problem which may be hereditary so must get lo tested soon).
    If this lady is a friend, no matter if you call her one of sorts, I would have thought a kind word in her ear would have been more appropriate action firstly but then again you had your reasons and it's done now.......
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