Is DNiece being unreasonable or is her DH's Ex?

(68 Posts)
Sunna Sun 24-Aug-14 10:19:00

DN is stepmother to one child and mother to 3, the youngest with her DH.

They and his ex have a cordial relationship and all parties are flexible about access. Her DSD (aged 9) is with her and her DH about 40% of the time on average.

DH's job involves him being on call one Sunday in four. He isn't usually called in but has to go if called. Ex has been happy for DN to look after DSD, even when DH isn't there. Usually this happens before and after school as well and it's worked fine until now.

Last weekend DSD did something dangerous that could have hurt her baby sister. DN explained why it was dangerous and that it mustn't happen again. Within an hour DSD did exactly the same thing again and admitted it was deliberate because her sister "was being annoying". DN again explained that she could have hurt her sister badly and put her on "time out". DSD sulked when she was "released" from time out after 10 minutes and was still grumpy when she went home.

After DSD had gone home Ex phoned and was very angry. She has said that DN is not allowed to discipline DSD at all, only DH. After talking to DH DN told Ex that, if that was the case then next time DH was called into work she would take DSD home to her or not have her at all on weekends when DH is on call. Plus she would no longer look after DSD before and after school, unless DH was also there because it was her home and her rules. And all DCs in the house had to keep the rules. And she wouldn't make an exception of DSD.

Ex wasn't at all happy and said she didn't mind DN looking after DSD (it suits her more than it suits DN) just that she wasn't to discipline her. DN finished the conversation by saying that in future she would not undertake any childcare unless DH was also there.

Ex says this is unreasonable because she'll have to pay a child minder. DN and her DH say that's tough, it's her choice.

I think DN is right but I'm biased.

Dn is of course right. how can she be responsible for a child she cannot discipline at all. even a childminder could discipline!

I am a stepmum and often have Dss alone, but discipline him ad I would my own.

YouTheCat Sun 24-Aug-14 10:23:24

I think your dn is right too. You can't have different rules for different siblings, especially if she was being a defiant little sod and deliberately doing something dangerous she'd been told not to.

The ex will just have to get some paid childcare.

NigellasPeeler Sun 24-Aug-14 10:23:40

ridiculous attitude from the ex - she wants free childcare without her child being disciplined at all? silly cow.

AnotherStitchInTime Sun 24-Aug-14 10:25:26

DN is right, her DSD is 9 and will be disciplined in school or in childcare especially if what she is doing endangers her or another child. It is DN's home and DSD should have to follow rules there regardless of whether her DH is there or not.

FunkyZebraHat Sun 24-Aug-14 10:26:27

Why are you so invested in this you're posting about it on MN? Surely this is between DN, her DH and his ex, nowt to do with you? I've seen a lot of situations like this blow up recently (not just on MN) when well meaning friends and family step in to support people and it's made the situation worse. Might be best left alone, tbh.

Sunna Sun 24-Aug-14 10:26:40

Thanks for the reassurance. Ex and DSD will be the losers in this. I imagine DSD laid it on with a trowel when she got home.

Sunna Sun 24-Aug-14 10:29:06

Funky my DN asked what I thought, I should have thought that was obvious. And I'm interested in what other people think. If you have no opinion I'm not sure why you bothered posting.

ladygracie Sun 24-Aug-14 10:31:49

I think your dn & dh are absolutely right but does the ex know exactly what happened or has she just heard dsd's version?

LatteLoverLovesLattes Sun 24-Aug-14 10:34:33

Sunna your niece did exactly the right thing and I am very pleased to hear her DH is right behind her! The Ex wants her cake and to eat it too - tough luck. DSD is trying it on, all kids do, more fool her Mum for not backing your niece and her DH up. At the very least she could have phoned to see what had happened if she though her little angel was being so unfairly treated. Muppet.

ZenNudist Sun 24-Aug-14 10:35:34

Your dn is right. Anyone I leave in charge of my dc is allowed to discipline. Even if I only nip to the loo for 5 mins! It should be immediate not 'wait til your father gets home!'

Still i think your dn is setting herself up as a wicked step mother refusing to have dsd without her dh present. Sounds like the ex is a silky woman.

MyLifeIsFictional Sun 24-Aug-14 10:35:36

Does the ex know what the DSD actually did? The girl might have just said, "I was put on time out" without giving details of what she had done to incur the discipline, and the ex might have thought that your DN was picking on her in her dad's absence?

Under the circs though, don't blame your DN for refusing to provide childcare with her hands tied as it were.

ZenNudist Sun 24-Aug-14 10:35:55

*silly smile

magoria Sun 24-Aug-14 10:37:36

Good on DN and good on her H backing her.

Sunna Sun 24-Aug-14 10:39:51

Ex knows what DSD did but excuses it because DSD's jealous of the baby, and Ex thinks DN and DH should be more understanding of that.

BloodyClarey Sun 24-Aug-14 10:40:18

She was put in time out she wasn't beaten with reeds!

LiverpoolLou Sun 24-Aug-14 10:41:26

I don't think your niece is right to refuse to have her stepdaughter without her husband present. I think that's a bit antagonistic if that's how she's approaching it. I think she should be saying that she'll continue just as she has, take it or leave it. But she's completely right to discipline a child in her care if it's needed.

Egghead68 Sun 24-Aug-14 10:45:06

Dn is right.

Sunna Sun 24-Aug-14 10:46:15

Lou that's more or less what she said. She's happy to continue but only if she can discipline as she sees fit. Otherwise no DSD without DH.

Castlemilk Sun 24-Aug-14 10:47:26

Absolutely the right thing to do.

It's not only fair and sensible, it also sends the message that your DN is the one in charge in her own home, and certainly when she is in sole care of any children, in her OWN HOME.

If you think about it, it's bad enough that the ex thinks she can dictate anything that happens when her DD's other parent is on his contact time. Technically, if your DN's husband decides to place his child in the care of his wife when on HIS contact time, that is that.

BeckyBusto Sun 24-Aug-14 10:48:15

DN is right.

How the hell can she keep her children and dsd safe if she's not allowed to discipline dsd? Not that I think dsd is a danger or anything, but if dsd gets the message that dn can't tell her off, if she's a normal kid, she'll push it a bit. And how is it any good for the other children in the family to see dsd getting away with things because dn isn't allowed to discipline her?

I think anyone entering into any kind of regular childcare arrangement, be it for family/friends/professionally, who agrees they won't discipline the child, is asking for trouble. And an idiot.

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 24-Aug-14 10:52:15

I suppose the ex would rather your daughter injured than her daughter in time out. Yes, that makes alot of sense. Sigh.

Your niece is right - bang on - 100% on the money.

If the ex is demanding this then it's her look out and her spare cash to spend on childcare. Incidentally, if the childcare professional found the girl potentially injuring another child, would she not be put into some sort of time out anyway?

IDontDoIroning Sun 24-Aug-14 10:53:55

But liverpool she endangered a baby and when told not to do it again did so. And was quite rightly punished.
Ok so she's jealous of the baby but that doesn't give her carte Blanche to do it again as she could end up hurting the baby.
I think the dsd at 9 is quite old enough go know right from wrong and the sm was well within her rights to put her in a time out.
What's the alternative if ex gets her way - dsd carries on doing nasty things t the baby on the baisis of jealousy and dn can't say or do anything other than not leave the baby out of her sight and even then would that deter the dsd if she knows dn can't actually do anything. Surely this puts the feelings of the dsd and the ex over the safety of a baby which can't be right.

I think dn is in the right.
Dsd has to accept that risky or dangerous behaviours that may endanger herslf or others especially a vulnerable baby will be punished. So no discipline or no disciple other than dad equals no contact when dad's not there. And if that inconveniences ex well tough.

Frontier Sun 24-Aug-14 10:59:43

The trouble with situations like this is, it's highly unlikely that you have heard the whole story and it's extremely unlikely that the Ex has had it relayed accurately.

As you tell it, of course DN is right. That's so obvious there must me a reason why (previously cordial ex) can't see it. i.e. it's not quite as you've been told or as Ex has been told (possibly both)

Fairenuff Sun 24-Aug-14 11:04:37

DN is right. How can she properly keep children safe is she is not allowed to enforce boundaries.

She could point out that schools do it all the time and most parents don't have a problem with that.

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