little.girl at nursery spends week between three homes?

(38 Posts)
sweettooth99 Fri 24-May-13 09:25:53

Scenario is a little girl at nursery who I guess is the stand out child whos fights and cries and seems very unhappy, while all the other kids seem really happy as it's a lovely nursery with great staff. I saw her mum on the way out yesterday and ended up having a chat about it all. Her mums a bit scary, quite defensive, obviously struggling with money etc and always looks stressed and sad. Her mum told me she lives three nights a week with her, one night with one granny, one night with her other granny and two nights with her dad. Every week. I'd have thought the little girl doesn't know if she's coming or going and all the change can't be good for her. But we are from different social and ethnic backgrounds and I'm worried I'm judging on what I've been brought up to think is the 'right way'to parent. AIbu? Also, Id like to be more friendly with her but she didn't look very interested when I suggested coffee and I felt like a bit of a twit sad

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 24-May-13 09:28:05

What do you want to do? You've offered a hand of friendship...she's not interested. Invite the child to play perhaps? Plenty of children throughout history have lived like this...between grannies and's not always a recipie for disaster.

Its hard to say.

My DD1 spends two nights at her dads, one night at my mums and the rest with me. Sometimes it does feel too much for her. But she doesnt act out.

I think that the mum being stressed, lack of money and all that brings, and whatever other issues the family have (all families have some) are probably having more effect than three houses.

WorraLiberty Fri 24-May-13 09:30:11

You've made so many assumptions it's difficult to know where to begin.

Lots of kids at nursery play up/fight/cry etc. Kids tend to go through so many stages when growing up.

You have no idea whether it's a phase or anything at all to do with her home arrangements.

But why do you want to be friends with a scary Mum, whose child you're judging?

WouldBeHarrietVane Fri 24-May-13 09:30:40

Isn't that 4 homes?

sweettooth99 Fri 24-May-13 09:31:02

Sorry title of thread should have said four homes!

Finola1step Fri 24-May-13 09:31:17

If the mum is struggling, it could well be the best thing for the child to spend time with grandparents as well. It's really none of your business.

I suspect the other mum detected your catsbumface and decided she did not want your pity sympathy.

WorraLiberty Fri 24-May-13 09:32:15

And the kids 'who seem really happy', could have an utterly shit home life for all you know.

xylem8 Fri 24-May-13 09:34:58

YANBU. Poor little thing being passed around like left luggage sad

HandMini Fri 24-May-13 09:39:35

Ignore Hobnobs, it sounds like (in contrast to many "oh my gosh, I can't believe people live like this" threads) you didn't give her the catsbum and did offer a chat and a coffee which is what I would always try and do with anyone who I felt had a problem/might want someone to talk to. I would just keep an eye on the little girl and try and chat to the mum as and when you see her. It's likely that the little girl is fine and well (and children are astoundingly adaptable to their own unique situations).

dipitydoyou Fri 24-May-13 09:42:08

My neice is the the same. Spends the week between my ex sister in law, her Dad, and both grans, she's at school now and I always wonder how they manage to do the homework, gym bags, after school activities etc on all the right days, but they do.

She's a very happy well adjusted and impeccably mannered little girl too so [shrugs]

Whatever works for some people.

raisah Fri 24-May-13 09:43:30

Thats lovely that you are trying to reach out, she might not be interested now but she might be in the future. She might be trying to figure you out hence the defensiveness etc.

I think you are right about her girls behaviour being linked to her unstable living arrangements. If she split her week between just her parents that would provide more stability than the current set up. Her grandmothers can visit her but there is probably more to it. Could be that her behaviour is too challenging to deal with for one parent which is why they have split it. The drawback to this seems to be its made her feel more insecure.

The nursery should step in by referring her to a behavioural specialist if she is too disruptive.

Who are any of you to say that she is being passed around "like left luggage".

I have just become a step Nan, i have my SGC overnight once a week, so does his other Nan.

This will continue, the child will have his own room at mine and his other Nans. He has been much looked forward to, by all of the family and couldn't be more loved, he will want for nothing.

I was raised in an extended family, as was the norm 40 years ago, in the area that i lived in, we slept out, as much as we did at home.

I have lots planned for my SGC, including trips away, lucky for him that myself, parents and other Nan have different interests, he will get to experience lots of different things.

My SGC isn't less loved because his Mum isn't joined at the hip with him.

WorraLiberty Fri 24-May-13 09:45:18

All that love and attention from Mum, Dad and Grannies

Perhaps the poor little 'left luggage' enjoys every minute of it?

People live alternative lifestyles. Some travel around in caravans, some live on canal boats that you couldn't swing a hamster in, some live with extended family and some don't.

Just because it strays away from 'the norm', doesn't mean it's making the child unhappy or affecting her behavior.

Just to add, a Child Psychologist/Psychiatrist wouldn't make the assumption that they know what is causing the behaviour that you witness very briefly, as you have.

Most people appear "angry and defensive" when others cannot MTOB.

mrsjay Fri 24-May-13 09:56:47

you are assuming loads here while it is lovely you are concerned you can't assume the child is crying and fighting because of her 4 homes, it is maybe not ideal but least the child is being cared for you have chatted with the mum so you have offered a bit of a listening ear which is a good thing, but the mum might think you are judging and prying into her life,

CorrStagnitto Fri 24-May-13 10:01:11

passed around like left luggage? oh ffs hmm

lots of kids live their week spilt between two parents, it might have fuck all to do with it, i agree she probably saw your catsbumface coming a mile off

mrsjay Fri 24-May-13 10:03:58

I know kids who went between GP dads and mums <shrug> they were and are fine

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 24-May-13 10:07:39

The poor little kid is obviously finding some aspect of her upbringing difficult, if she is fighting/crying so much sad

But unfortunately there is nothing you can do and you certainly have no right to raise the issue with the mum.

I understand that your emotions must go out to the little girl. But all you can do is to be totally smiley and lovely whenever you encounter her at the nursery. Just be a nice presence in her life, however distant.

You can't do anything else.

WorraLiberty Fri 24-May-13 10:11:45

Perhaps like 1000s of other kids she's just finding Nursery difficult?

It's a huge leap to assume it's anything to do with her upbringing.

Of course it might be, but equally it might not.

mrsjay Fri 24-May-13 10:15:23

what worra said it could be something and nothing children behave in all sorts of ways when they go to nursery

Not all children go into Nursery happily, they can be just like adults and not be "a morning person", or act out around their Mum.

My DD works in a Nursery (i have experience of lots of children, some "damaged") and there are children who do that when Mum brings them, or is around, but for no-one else.

I am going to mark the MN bingo card, but my eldest was the same, she went on to get a diagnosis of SN, no doubt i looked stressed a lot of the time, she hardly slept.

OP, how long are you hanging around watching this child, or is this for 10 mins, out of a 8 hour day?

As someone who carries out family assessments, you cannot in any way think you know what is going on, by the limited contact you have with this woman and her child.

Have fun taking your judginess to the school gate, though.

sweettooth99 Fri 24-May-13 10:37:37

Thanks everyone, lots of food for thought.

williaminajetfighter Sat 25-May-13 15:28:18

I don't understand why a child would have to stay at grandparents one night per week and other grandparents another night per week. Surely mom and dad, even if separate, should be able to divide the time.

I appreciate that some parents work evenings etc but my observation is people use grandparents as sitters just to give themselves a break....not a great thing if its unsettling for a child.

fedupofnamechanging Sat 25-May-13 15:41:52

I can't see what is wrong with a child spending regular time with all the people who love her.

You have no evidence that the child is negatively affected by this arrangement - all you have is her seeming unhappiness at nursery, which you don't really know about. Not all children are suited to a nursery environment, maybe she needs more time to settle - I don't know and neither do you.

Got to be honest but in her shoes, I wouldn't fancy having coffee and chatting with a woman who was making negative judgements about my family and living arrangements, based on not very much knowledge at all.

ThingummyBob Sat 25-May-13 15:50:38

Plenty of kids who live at home with two parent and 1.2 siblings cry and fight too you do realise?

William, you don't understand? Are you a bit dense? Can you only see your own way of thinking in other matters too?

williaminajetfighter Sat 25-May-13 15:56:09

Thing, are you going to start preaching at me with social worker speak about the varieties of families, the various issues about raising children when parents separate, poverty etc and the many reasons why extended families must provide support etc? I get it but its tedious. And I'm not dense actually.

I have no idea if living in 4 different homes a week is the reason for this child's behaviours but I am allowed to hold the opinion that I think children need more stability than sleeping somewhere different almost every other night.

FarBetterNow Sat 25-May-13 15:56:13

Williamina: Mum and Dad living seperately cannot always divide the time between them.

Many people work irregular shifts, not everyone does 9 - 5 five days pw.

I don't think you can draw any conclusion from the living arrangements. My DD would love to spend a night here and there. She is 2.5 and has a strong idea of "sleep overs" from watching Peppa Pig. She adores all of her GP and the ready if her extended family and has referred to my parents house as "home". The older I get the more I realise that people are too complicated to ever understand.

williaminajetfighter Sat 25-May-13 16:01:15

Far better. - what I said to Thing. I do understand about shift work but wouldn't it be better for grandma to stay over than to go to grandmas. Oh yes of course I don't know about grandmas various needs and complications.

I'm not a social worker so best call them and see what they think. Unless I'm a soft leftie or social worker my opinion doesn't matter really.

Callycat Sat 25-May-13 16:02:11

It's impossible to judge without knowing this family, but it does make me wonder whose benefit this rotating living arrangement is for. I get that 50:50 custody between parents is common, but I'm not sure a child's home should be further divided there are extreme extenuating circumstances.

Some kids - the extroverts, I guess - may like it. My feeling is that most people, children or adults, would find it quite stressful.

nightingalefloor Sat 25-May-13 16:05:57

My DD spent 8 years of her life shuffled between mum, dad, ex-stepdad, and various family/friends of those three who were willing to take her. She's been with me since October and I bend over backwards to fit work/social life in around her so she has a set routine and doesn't get palmed off on anyone else. The difference in her behaviour now is astounding.

Breatheslowly I do see what you mean, but I think if the child has a good relationship with the people they're staying with, that's one thing. If they're just passed about from pillar to post with no real continuity, then it can go horribly wrong.

sweettooth99 Sat 25-May-13 16:37:36

Thanks all for comments. It's an unusual set up to me, but I'm really willing not to judge, which is why I posted. It's good to hear about the times it can work. Update on the mum and me, they're coming over for a playdate. We might be different but I don't find parenting a bowl of cherries either, I struggle too. It would be nice if we could be supportive to eachother. Not sure what a catsbum face is but pretty sure neither of us had one on smile

Snowgirl1 Sat 25-May-13 17:12:36

My Grandmother lived Monday to Friday with a childless couple who were friends of her parents and lived with her own family on weekends. DGM was a totally well-adjusted person, who said she was never in any doubt who her parents were or that they loved her. I don't think you can assume that the living arrangements are the cause of her behaviour. She's staying with people who love her and she has a routine, albeit different to what your family is used to.

In our situation DD1 goes to my mums for no reason other than they love to have her and she loves going. I am not working right now, and I still have DD2 at home, so its no difference to me either way.

DD1 has also slept over at DPs parents and at her Dads mums. Those arent regular, but they happen.

Its not a problem.

I think you should mind your own business OP, why would you accost this woman to stick your nose into her business?

megsmouse Sat 25-May-13 20:21:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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