Family that doesn’t seem to want their daughter. What should I do?


My young son plays soccer in a soccer league, and I know several of the other parents of the young athletes. Most of them are nice, but one couple has really been worrying me of late.

They have two children, a son and a daughter. The son is the same age as my son, and the daughter is younger, about 5. The father has told me several times that he wanted “a ball team” of sons, but they haven’t had any more children after the little girl.

The father is a big sports fanatic and is kind of obsessed with his son’s sports career, even talking about him playing professionally even though he’s just a child, etc. The wife is very quiet and a little mousy. The little girl is very small and delicate and not athletic at all, so her parents seem to just ignore her.

We had a Mother’s Day picnic awhile back and some of the boys were playing an informal pickup game kicking a soccer ball around. This child’s parents were watching her brother play and yelling to him and no one was paying attention until we realized that their little girl had fainted without making a sound. The father rather rudely told her to get up, but she couldn’t. It turned out later that she had heatstroke and needed to go to the hospital to be rehydrated by IV, but at first her parents were yelling at her to get up and stop being a baby! Some other mothers nearby had to interfere to get them to see their daughter wasn’t faking and really needed help.

These same people will fawn all over their son at soccer games, talk about him all the time, and never say a word about their daughter. She’s very quiet and well-behaved, the kind of child who wouldn’t say Boo to a goose, but I feel for her. I worry that she’s being neglected.

Is there ANYTHING I can do? I’d give anything to have a daughter in addition to my son, though God seems to want us to be a one-child family for now. And she’s such a sweet little girl. Sometimes I want to say, let me have her if you don’t want her! I’d even love her and take care of her!

I don’t know what to do. Any advice?



That is such a tough one. I can’t really advise here. Is the wife approachable even though she’s quiet? She could be bullied by the husband behind closed doors. Is there opportunity for you to give the little girl special attention at the soccer games?

It is so heart-breaking to watch others who don’t seem to appreciate these precious gifts from God. She will be in my prayers. If you feel comfortable, please share the little girl’s first name so we can pray for her by name.


It sounds heartbreaking. I’ll pray for the family and the little girl. May God protect her and help others to somehow help the precious little child.


My husband grew up like that, he was an unwanted, nearly aborted 3rd child and the damage it has done to him, to see his eldest brother FAWNED over 24/7 (even to this day) and his second brother being at least acknowledge whereas he’s neglected, forgotten, in-the-way…really, he would be a far less insecure and struggling person if his parents just ONCE said ‘We love you’, so…if you CAN talk to those parents or help in any way, please do…because otherwise that poor girl will grow up knowing her parents don’t care, and if THEY don’t…what’s the point…


Pray about what you should do, but definitely do something.

There is NOTHING WORSE than growing up feeling unloved. I know.


Praise the little girl to the parents. Tell them how sweet and well mannered that she is. It might help the parents to look at the girl differently if you point out enthusiastically how good she is.

Also, you might want to jokingly ask if you can adopt the little girl. If you laugh while you say this, the parents don’t have to take your seriously unless they would like to adopt out their child.


Why don’t you tell them you have always wanted a daughter. Ask if you can borrow their daughter to do girl stuff with. Having someone take an interest in doing that sort of a thing with her could be priceless, or maybe if you just let them know all of the things you would like to do with a daughter, it might give them some food for thought.


This is great advice! If they agree, it would certainly mean the world to the little girl to have a big sister or aunt figure to make her feel loved and appreciated. Imagine how special she’d feel!


If your son’s the same age as the other boy, perhaps you could encourage the two boys to play sports together (sounds like you’d find this a good way to bond with the father) and you could offer to take care of the daughter while they’re doing that. This would then give you the chance (mentioned above) to praise the daughter. Perhaps invite the mother and see if you can persuade her to be a little less timid! :smiley:

Good luck!


I read your post…I don’t want to read too much into it, but do you feel the father might have control issues? Too much of a type A personality?

I can’t imagine the mother reacting to her fainted daughter in such a way. If the mother is “mousy” I just would think that she would have more of a bond to a shy little girl.

I was a delicate shy and non-athletic little girl. My Dad (who didn’t have any sons) always treated me is if I were so special, never if I was inadequate.

Definitely a bad way to treat a little girl. This dad should realize that his relationship with his daughter will set up all her future relationships with men. If she isn’t getting the proper love from her dad, how will she have a stable relationship with a man?

Also, I’m not sure I like the way he treats his son. Shouldn’t sports be fun? My DS plays soccer, and some of the parents are so intense, one mom even got on the field once to chastise her kid (my son is 6)

Sorry for the ramble, but bottom line, the dad seems like a bully.

Prayers for the little girl.


Sounds like the story of Caryll Houselander. Maybe you could give *Reed of God *to the mother. Is she Catholic?


That’s very sad and in some ways, I relate to the girl. My dad wasn’t necessarily abusive but he and my mom do have control issues and they both tried to get me to be tougher and more athletic. Parents tend to have dreams for their children and some of them stop at nothing to make their dreams come true. Luckily, mine weren’t like that all the way, but they weren’t without struggles.

I’m all for you bonding with the girl. And please, keep an eye on the dad. He sounds like he has MAJOR control issues and all of the family, not just the little girl, can suffer severely from it. I’ll be praying.


If the little girl is being neglected…as hard as it may sound…you need to contact Children and Family services for the protection of the little one. Until then be a friend to her…


Before I would resort to that, I would try everything else possible. The child might be uprooted and placed into a far worse situation than she has now.
I would befriend the mom as much as possible. Try to praise her daughter enough that she may learn from you. Praise the little girl whenever you see her, any positive words probably mean the world to her if she isn’t hearing them at home. People who were not raised in an environment of love and affection may not know how to raise their children in that type of environment. Spending time with your family might teach those parents what they didn’t learn from their own parents.
The other thing to consider is if you only see this family on the ball field, things may not be as bad at home as you think. Somtimes parents are so caught up in the games they act completely different than they do any other time. I know women who were kicked out of games for using foul language during games their children were playing in. Try inviting the family out for ice cream after a game sometime and see how they are when they are out of that environment.
Bless you for keeping this little girl close to your heart!


well maybe I tend to overreact but I might have reported to CPS over that incident.

this reminds me forcefully of a family whose children went to HS with mine. They were the same way, entirely focused on the football career of the older son almost totally igorning the younger juds and their interests. girls were only worthwhile if they made the cheerleading squad, otherwise, it was as if they did not exist. Father bragged on #1 son constantly from time he was in gradeschool football, never missed a game (although he missed plenty of other family events including graduation for one child, surgery for a daughter etc).

older son did not make the team at State U (dad’s alma mater) and went into a downward spiral of drugs, injuries etc in his second rank school, never graduated, never played pro ball, and is essentially a loser. # 2 son was killed in a freak accident in HS, daughter moved out right after HS, lived less than exemplary life seems to do a lot of attention-getting stunts, but almost no contact with parents.

father is completely lost, feels he has nothing to show for his life. mother doesn’t speak at all, acks as if she never had children. very weird.


Not all kids are taken away from families when a report is made…and a little girl’s well-being is at stake. She already neeed a hospital stay because the parents failed to respond appropriately until there was outside intervention.

Get involved.


CPS dont just whisk children away. athey do everything to keep the family together. Long story but when my DD#2 broke her arm DCFS was called by the Dr. It was a nerve wracking expierience but they had HER best interests at heart. In the end it was all ok. I found them reasonable. I also know some one else who had problems and they had to take parenting classes and parents needed counseling. I think the girls safety should come first. I am not at all angry about being reported and glad they were so thourough(a year before I reported a drunken mom who was in a blackout when they came to check on the kids and did not remember them there-there was no follow up to that call:eek: )


Thanks to everyone for their advice! The child’s name is Petra. My husband says that’s the female form of Peter and it means “rock,” as in the rock the Lord built his church upon. I hope that precious child finds strength in it.

I’ve tried to talk to the mother but she’s rather reserved and VERY deferential to her husband. (I studied psychology when I was in college and it’s still my ambition to go back and get my Master’s and be a family therapist after we’ve had and raised all our children.)

I am indeed afraid that the father may be a bully, and now that I think about it, I’m scared for the son in this family too, especially after reading the story about the boy who didn’t make the college football team and spiralled down into depression afterwards. In my family psych textbooks I’ve read about cases where women married to cruel husbands would sacrifice one or even all of their children to their husband’s rages, in order to deflect his anger off of them. I’ve got tears in my eyes to even think about it.

It really did break my heart to watch their reaction to their daughter when she fainted, because they both kept trying to haul her to her feet, and it was like watching someone try to stand up a Raggedy Ann. One of the other mothers nearby finally had to scoop the child up and carry her off into the shade and give her a lot of water to drink, but even then we realized she was just burning up and had to go to the hospital.

It really does make me wonder what kind of parent would even let a little girl get so hot and dehydrated that she got to the point of fainting in the first place. On a hot day I’m HOVERING over Jaden to make sure he’s drinking lots of fluids and feeling all right, especially if he’s playing sports. I even hover over my husband as well!

I’m going to try to befriend the wife and definitely tell her how lucky she is to have such a sweet daughter and praise the girl’s good behavior to her. Maybe if they realize what a little treasure they have…oh, I hope they do.

Forgive me but I’m entertaining thoughts of just stealing this child so I can take proper care of her. This is upsetting me so much. :frowning:



I would contact CPS. I don’t at all think it is over reacting. They are failing to attend to her medical needs. That is child NEGLECT. Next time, (God fobid) she dies you will never forgive yourself for not having reported this lesser incident. My father always says “when people show you who they are BELIEVE THEM!” These people are not good parents who are neglecting their daughter, BELIEVE THEM!
Call CPS anonymously and report what you saw as it pertains to the fainting episode. They don’t care about the other stuff.
Just MHO
God Bless you for getting involved.
PS a prayer to The Holy Spirit on these matters first for guidance never hurts. I am sure he agrees.


Jaden’s Mom…
I truly think the best thing you could do is make friends with the mom and spend time with the little girl too… you know… like girl time. Then you can have the mom bring the son to play with your son and the little girl to visit with you and her mom. Pray for this family. The mom may feel trapped into her behavior towards the daughter.

I have seen the social service depts from both sides… I was a foster mom and I took the kids that parents ignored, abused, etc… but I have also had them called on me a few times… first time was when ds was 6 months and had bruises all over him… partially from learning to stand and hitting his head on the sides of the playpen… and partially from me… let me explain… ds1 had sleep apnea, a life threatening disorder where he stopped breathing in his sleep. When his monitors went off we had to go wake him so he would breathe and his heart rate would increase. At times the only way to wake him was to inflict pain which we did by pinching his thighs which was a last resort but did happen…when I took him to the ER for his sleep apnea being particularly bad (they told me I didn’t get the best treatment for ds1 because I didn’t panic) the dr called social services about his bruises. I was investigated and when I explained that I would rather a bruised baby than a dead baby they finally listened… But as a foster parent, I also saw how things go… the most important part of foster parenting is to facilitate the reunion of the family if it is at all possible… if not, then to prepare the kid for that life too.

While a kid is in foster care… kid and family can get parenting help and counseling apart and together. I have had wonderful experiences from both sides of the fence.

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