3 yr old, does and donts, like and dislikes and my high expectations?

(152 Posts)
weeonion Thu 06-Feb-14 16:30:52

I recently was given the chance to look after my niece for first time. She has NEVER been away from her mother and I mean never away. She has always been in same house / flat as mum so this was a huge thing for us all. She is 3. It has taken 2 years to reach this point - where DN would be allowed to be with other people, without her mum there.

This was part of being a support/ help to my SIL whose 2nd baby is due in a few weeks and was to mean that on labour day and possibly some other times - we could have DN.

DN was originally meant to come to ours for a play date at the weekend. Her mum emailed through a list of advice and instructions for the 2 hours, detailing what dear niece (DN) likes / doesnt like, does do / doesnt do, what we are to do / not do.

The list said that as DN
doesnt like lumpy food - it has to be pureed
doesnt like to feed herself - prefers her mum to feed her
doesnt like teeth brushed - they dont do it
doesnt like car seat - dont use one
doesnt like to sit in a chair - roams while eating
doesnt like getting face / hands washed - they wait until she is in bed at night to do it
doesnt like to be reprimanded - dont do it
doesnt like other children - not have any others around when she is with us (my own dd is ok, she can stay)
doesnt like adults - make sure there is no-one there but myself
doesnt like to hear the word no - dont say it.
doesnt like public transport - dont use it
doesnt like sharing so better for all if she can have what she wants

The list goes on ....
I thought over the past 2 years we had got to a point where we might get a chance to get to know our niece and spend time with her. I am not so sure.
I said that with those all those conditions- i would find it hard to follow them and look after her. I said I was unsure how they thought i would get her to our house and back as they dont use a car seat and I refuse to drive a child around without one and she isnt to go on public transport as she doesnt like it and it is too dirty with germs.

They have come back to me and said that i have too unrealistic and high expectations of a 3 year old's behaviour.

I am now questionning if i expect too much. I dont think i do but maybe??

Ifcatshadthumbs Thu 06-Feb-14 16:37:09

They are idiots and expect given a little bit of freedom from her suffocating parents you niece will have a great time with you.

I would be non negotiable on the car seat, feeding herself, wandering with food and not reprimanding her. If you have your own dd then I would expect sharing too.

BuzzardBird Thu 06-Feb-14 16:44:23

I think she is being very generous allowing your DD to stay if her pwecious bundle doesn't like other children. She is in for a major shock next year when she starts school isn't she? Dear God!

I agree with cats on the car seat and being sat at the table. She has to learn some things cannot be pandered to. Her teeth will look lovely all black and rotten when she starts school, poor thing is going to have a dreadful time sad

Flowerpup Thu 06-Feb-14 16:45:01

I'm open mouthed! There's a bit of give and take, pick your battles etc but getting away with murder springs to mind. Your expectations are not too high at all. I don't know what to say...

gretagrape Thu 06-Feb-14 16:46:56

I don't have a 3 year old but I have got to know others' children at that age, and that sounds unhealthy and sad at best, and dangerous at worst. Most children hate carseats at one time or another but really, their life is worth less than putting up with a 5 minute tantrum?

How is she equipping her daughter for life in the real world? How on earth does she think she is going to cope once she goes to school?

I take it your husband is her brother? Can he shed any light on why she might be like this?

puntasticusername Thu 06-Feb-14 16:49:10

Heavens to Betsy. And I thought I'd seen it all!

They are being utterly ridiculous if they really are bringing their daughter up this way. How can you not use a car seat?! Are they aware that it's illegal for them not to, and that the reason it's illegal is because it's extremely dangerous?

That, and failing to brush teeth, poses serious risks to the poor little girl's health.

From the sound of it you're being perfectly reasonable. I would not look after someone else's child under those conditions.

The more I think about this the more it upsets me - these people need help - do they really have no idea at all how to, you know, be parents? sad sad sad

UriGeller Thu 06-Feb-14 16:49:12

That's just lazy parenting.

In what way is that child being guided into becoming a functioning human being at all??

UriGeller Thu 06-Feb-14 16:51:07

I have a 3yo. Teeth brushed, face washed, said 'no' to, sharing, yes he hates all of that but its part of my job to make sure all those things are done.

What does this poor little mite do all day?

annielewis Thu 06-Feb-14 16:51:46

Is this a wind up? No car is illegal in the uk isn't it? How do they transport her around or are they housebound? She is screwed when new baby arrives......

annielewis Thu 06-Feb-14 16:52:02

*no car SEAT

It's ridiculous.

They don't use a car seat, don't brush her teeth and don't tell her off?

You are going to have a flipping nightmare, you know that, don't you?
If it were me, I think I would have to say that I would be happy to look after her but there was no way on gods earth I was following that list, especially the car seat part.
But, they may decide that you are not suitable to look after her in that case.

What's going to happen when she starts school? I assume she doesn't go to any pre school or nursery?

CuriosityCola Thu 06-Feb-14 16:56:03

It's not often I am shock at something on here. This parenting approach is bordering neglect.

Not sure what to suggest. Can you babysit at their house while the parents go out for lunch?

FunkyBoldRibena Thu 06-Feb-14 16:56:04

Good grief.

She's going to grow up to be a spoilt little so-and-so by the sounds of it. With rotten teeth.

And I hope they mean that they don't travel by car, rather than that they do but don't use an appropriate car seat.

I know that 3yo's are still learning and you have to pick your battles sometimes, but this is ridiculous.

CuriosityCola Thu 06-Feb-14 16:58:45

As a side note, my two year old manages all of the above. The only struggle we have is keeping him seated while eating. They are expectations of a baby/toddler, not a 3 year old.

I really want this not to be true. Or to be a dog treated like a child or something like that. They are damaging their child. I'd call social services.

drbartlet Thu 06-Feb-14 17:03:06

am trying to imagine following a 3yo around whilst trying to spoon pureed food into her mouth!
are you sure she doesn't have some developmental delay? if she does't then her parents don't seem to be doing their job very well. she's going to have problems poor thing.

Are they on another planet? confused

I am laid back, but seriously. No car seat?? Letting her have anything she wants because she doesn't like sharing? (Yeah right. I'm sure that includes things like Daddy's beer, granny's cigarette lighter and the sharp knife you're preparing dinner with... FFS!) Only ever having "approved adults" around her?

How do they do anything with their lives revolving so much around her?

How do they expect her to grow up to be a normal person who doesn't expect everything to revolve around her?

I think their problem is a far bigger one than not being able to get a babysitter!

And I think the little girl (and the parents) are going to get a massive shock when the baby arrives sad. Sad, it's not her fault but surely she's going to associate the arrival of said sibling with everything suddenly not revolving around her all the time, hence MASSIVE JEALOUSY.

(And then probably huge tantrums/misbehaviour/hurting sibling as a response - heck, most of them do this anyway!) How are they going to deal with that one? They can't send the baby back.

Whereisegg Thu 06-Feb-14 17:22:44

Agree with pp on the non negotiable ones, but honestly, where is your db in all this?
He must agree with his dw?

frugalfuzzpig Thu 06-Feb-14 17:23:54

shock <speechless>

PollyCazaletWannabe Thu 06-Feb-14 17:26:17

Is this a wind up? Surely no one parents like this... SURELY... <head desk>

weeonion Thu 06-Feb-14 17:28:21

annielewis - no wind up. honest. There are many more instances and examples.
This has been an ongoing issue - many many conversations between dp and i about it and other mumsnet posts. There have been rows before with them but we have been able to remain on speaking terms.

DN has never been left with another adult, apart from her mum. she has never spent any time with her father on her own (SIL and BIL are still together and in same house)

They are well aware of the car seat issue being illegal. When they moved to scotland from london - they drove whole journey without her in a car seat. There was a major argument about that in the past when i refused to have her in my car without one ().

DN is not in nursery nor will be going before school as she gets upset by other children. She does go to one "class" a week but sil feels that isnt right for them as class leader has suggested DN needs to be settled more as she is too disruptive to the class and other kids and mums have complained. SIL feels it curtails DN expressiveness.

DN has not been told there is another baby on the way. We are not allowed to talk about the "bump" in case it upsets her.

Part of us wanting to look after DN was the chance for her to have something happening that would be focused on her and not the new baby, when it arrives as I was worried that DN was in for such a shock / huge change. This weekend was part of a (much) longer plan I had proposed to get her used to us and being in another house - even for a short time.

i dont think i have unrealistic expectations but as this has gone on for a couple of years - i am doubting myself!

MrsOakenshield Thu 06-Feb-14 17:36:57

Actually I think it's disgraceful that they parent this poor poor little girl like this - in fact, I would go so far as to say it's neglectful, of her safety, her health, her emotional well-being. She will be so unprepared for school - and oh my god the new baby! Are they not going to say 'no' to her then - Christ on a bike.

Does your SIL (or indeed both of them) have MH issues, because otherwise I can't account for this. It sounds like then need help, and pronto, otherwise they are going to end up with a poorly, possibly dead child, and at least one parent in prison (car seat issue).

I would actually be tempted to report them to SS, just so as they can get some help.

TheGreatHunt Thu 06-Feb-14 17:39:38

They are endangering her health and life. The carseat, the non tooth brushing even the non lumpy food (ie chewing helps speech).

I would ignore the "rules". Kids generally respond well to other adults telling them what to do.

And report to SS. (extreme but I would at least consider it).

weeonion Thu 06-Feb-14 17:46:38

bertebotts - they do nothing as a couple. they dont go out. ever. They have never even had so much as a coffee together as a couple since she was born.
drbartlet - there are no developmental delays as far as i am aware.

TinyTwoTears Thu 06-Feb-14 17:48:49

Your DN is going to have the shock of her life when her sibling is brought home. And I imagine that the baby is going to have to be well protected from her sister.

What is your SIL going to do when the baby grows up a bit and she has two of them with possibly conflicting demands?

My goodness your SIl has a seriously skewed view of what is acceptable. I am not surprised there have been arguments in the past. Stick to your guns OP.

weeonion Thu 06-Feb-14 17:59:40

tinytwotears - i agree. That is why i have been really trying to be allowed to build a relationship with DN so she could / would have others to give her attention when baby 2 comes. DN likes my DD but poor DD (who is 6) finds it hard as DN is quite demanding of posessions / toys etc. In the past SIL has taken DD's things from her to give to DN when she has wanted them. I of course intervened but hat ended just as well as you might think.

Poor little girl sad She's going to have her entire world turned upside down and nobody's thought to try and explain/prepare her for it. Not that they could by the sounds of things.

Either the baby is going to end up neglected in favour of princess PFB, or she's going to end up abandoned (not literally, you know what I mean) in favour of new shiny cute baby! sad

TinyTwoTears Thu 06-Feb-14 18:06:09

Could you say to your SIL that you have a list of rules in your house that need to be followed otherwise it isn't fair to your DD?
I appreciate that it won't be as easy as that but as another poster said, children do get used to different rules in different houses. I would definitely be enforcing the use of car seats, toothbrushes and sharing.

ChilliQueen Thu 06-Feb-14 18:10:45

I echo MrsOakenshield regarding SS - at least consider it. This is actually quite horrible to read. It is cruel in the scheme of growing and learning. What is going to happen when she goes to school? Or perhaps she won't be going to school. I dread to think what will happen when another baby enters the scenario.
At 3 she should be eating normal meals (big lumps!), using a fork and spoon, she should be feeding herself, and she should have some friends to play with. It's really horrible. As for the car seat... words fail me. It's all wrong.

lilyaldrin Thu 06-Feb-14 18:13:40

I would definitely send some house rules back and tell your SIL she either has to meet you half way or this isn't going to work.

OK, feeding her mashed food, not washing her hands and face, no tooth brushing - doesn't really matter for a weekend visit.

Car seat, sharing, sitting down to eat, being reprimanded if necessary - has to happen, non-negotiable.

Also agree with others that this set-up is bordering on neglect, causing emotional harm, and that the family need some kind of input from HV/Surestart/Social services. I think it will get worse when there is a new baby.

weeonion Thu 06-Feb-14 18:14:49

tinytwotears - have already explained that it wouldnt be fair to DD if whole other set of rules apply. That didnt matter to SIL.

Anyhow - It isnt going to happen this weekend as I wouldnt be able to follow their conditions and, as I have now actually said that - SIL has said that she doesnt really see it happening in future now as she couldnt trust me not to break their rules.

it really does make me want to cry at times. She is our only niece. sad

WholeNewProblem Thu 06-Feb-14 18:17:25


Is there any chance you could borrow a Kiddy car seat for her visit? These are a different style to a 5 pt harness.

I just hope that a sharp-eyed HV picks some of this up when they have the new baby.

sparklystar27 Thu 06-Feb-14 18:17:42

Honestly? id be having a convo with her about social services or getting your dp to do it. Awkward I know but I would be close to reporting to police or as over the car seat. How are you going to feel if god forbid something awful happens???

You seem lovely and want to help. I think you need to be firmer some how... I sont, know how to go about it but I think you and your dp need to do something... Are there other family members, close friends you could talk to and gang up on her so to speak nicely?!

I worked with a girl who was six who admiteddly ate a lot of crap but didn't like her teeth beofng cleaned so wasn't made too. She honestly looked like a pirate. Half of her teeth were properly black.

PenguinsDontEatKale Thu 06-Feb-14 18:18:34

Poor little girl. I actually second what others have said, that you might need to think about a notification to SS. This is a family who have lost all perspective and who are clearly massively, massively struggling to parent their current child, never mind two.

Some of those things (like pureed food) might be appropriate in a child with developmental delays, phobias, etc. But the big list is a big, big red flag. Some are downright illegal and others are bad for her health (like not cleaning her teeth) or her development (like never being told no or never learning to sit still on a chair, even for short periods).

lilyaldrin Thu 06-Feb-14 18:19:12

If they are planning to stop you seeing her now too, I really think you need to flag your concerns to the HV. If they're not really allowing their DD to be around any other adults and she's not going to nursery then you are the only one who is aware of the extent of what is going on.

PenguinsDontEatKale Thu 06-Feb-14 18:20:26

Yes, can you work out who the HV team for her area would be, and maybe speak to them about your concerns and send an email? If the new baby is due in a few weeks then the HVers will be round soon anyway and might be able to work checking out the situation with your niece into the process? Someone has to look out for those poor children.

weeonion Thu 06-Feb-14 18:20:27

I am not going to go into all the other things that happen / have happened in the past buti have spoken to her GP / Health Visitor way back about some concerns i had about PND not long after DN was born. It was very hard time for SIL as her mum died just after the birth.

SIL and BIL went ape at me and it was one where i was labelled as interferring / nosy / a bitch etc. It took a long time for them to speak to me. DP was very supportive of me and he has tried to talk about this with them but was told to f**k off bascially.

I do want us and DD to have a relationship with our DN. I fear that when new baby comes along - we wont get to see any of them.

PenguinsDontEatKale Thu 06-Feb-14 18:20:58

Sorry, not 'an email', I mean a copy of 'the' email, just to show how serious it is in black and white?

ChilliQueen Thu 06-Feb-14 18:21:10

Can't her face/hands etc be washed in the bath? Make it a game? Does she have a daily bath? Electric toothbrush sometimes makes teeth cleaning more fun. She should have been to the dentist by now too.... I'm assuming not. A total nightmare for you to have to standby and watch.

Jess03 Thu 06-Feb-14 18:21:44

I think they need a talking to. Is there anyone else in your family that they are close to that could reinforce you? It worries me that people could be so idiotic, I pity that child's teacher. And SIL and BIL are awful to not be using a car seat. I've seen your other posts, doesn't sound like they've gotten any better.

PenguinsDontEatKale Thu 06-Feb-14 18:22:09

Honestly, I think that there is a big risk that, sooner or later, they are going to cut you out anyway. If you went via the HV they wouldn't necessarily need to know you'd done it because they will have an excuse for being there with the new baby?

MrsOakenshield Thu 06-Feb-14 18:22:45

right, then I would definitely speak to SS about your DN, I would have grave concerns for her safety, and also the safety of the new baby - any toddler who has never been disciplined or reprimanded in their life is going to be a danger to a newborn.

Or, if you think it would work, tell her that unless things change you see no option but to do this, as your DN is being failed by her parents in too many ways to ignore. But I'm guessing that would be a no-go.

To be honest, once she gets to school they will probably pick up on a lot of this anyway, but that's leaving it too late as far as I can see.

PenguinsDontEatKale Thu 06-Feb-14 18:23:34

And it's far too late if she's in even a fairly minor car accident in the meantime....

lilyaldrin Thu 06-Feb-14 18:23:49

If you're not really having a relationship with them now, then speaking to their HV isn't going to do any harm and it might get them the help and support they need.

Hebburnisaplaceonearth Thu 06-Feb-14 18:25:41

Raise it with health visitor please. That is some very strange parenting. They hv must never mention you said anything, but will know to look for certain things when she is visiting new baby.

VelvetGecko Thu 06-Feb-14 18:26:01

Totally agree re ss or HV. That list is shocking.
No solid food or teeth brushing? Wtf
And just shock at no car seat.
They are failing to provide basic health care amongst other things. Poor wee girl.
They need help OP, do you think you could get the ball rolling?

TinyTwoTears Thu 06-Feb-14 18:26:02

It sounds like you need to stage an intervention or something. And I'm not surprised with her reaction to your rules. She is going to be hard pressed to find someone to stick to those rules.
I would feel as sad as you weeonion, this new baby might be the catalyst your SIL needs to open her eyes to this madness. Then again she may just be just as unrealistic with two children.

PenguinsDontEatKale Thu 06-Feb-14 18:28:26

The problem is, with a second to worry about, she may be even more tired/overstretched and less inclined to face the battle that changing things is likely to entail.

In some ways I feel quite sorry for the parents, I totally get that they are unreasonable and their behaviour to the OP sounds really quite horrid, but they are also obviously struggling so, so, so badly.

weeonion Thu 06-Feb-14 18:41:04

I know you are right about HV/SS and something needs to be done. yep - how much worse can our relationship get but selfishly, I am dreading the fall out.

There are other members of the family in Scotland but they are not close. There is no other woman in wider family apart from myself who is in contact with them / her. They dont have a social circle up here - since they moved they havent been out / about and havent made any real friends. That makes them sound more isolated than they are really - they have never been folks for alot of people about.

ChilliQueen Thu 06-Feb-14 18:41:14

What does your BIL think... does he think there's a problem?

SomewhatSilly Thu 06-Feb-14 18:46:59

Are they following a particular parenting style, OP?

Can't remember what it's called, but isn't there one that refuses to put any demands on the child at all?

FixItUpChappie Thu 06-Feb-14 19:12:51

I know its uncomfortable and not a popular option but I would inform SS/HV or police on the car seat issue. Sorry but the car seat thing is totally unacceptable, dangerous and illegal.

Your in an awful position but this goes far beyond them being precious and particular. They are not meeting her emotional needs and are doing her such a disservice. I feel awful for that child - she (and her parents) will have nothing but problems if this continues.

MrsOakenshield Thu 06-Feb-14 19:15:17

that's unconditional parenting, I think, and what these two are doing isn't it!

I really do think you've got to do it, I feel there's nothing to lose, and for that poor child, there's no time to lose.

Or, and I have no idea how this kind of thing works, can you report them to the police for having no car seat - would that trigger intervention by SS?

MrsOakenshield Thu 06-Feb-14 19:16:02

I don't actually think they are struggling at all - I just think they are utterly utterly deluded.

I've never heard of anything that advocates not teaching a child how to share or expecting them to use a car seat. And even Dr Sears, proponent of attachment parenting shares a cautionary tale in his parenting book about their eldest DD whose teeth they never forced her to brush, and who ended up with loads of cavities because of it.

I think it's not surprising they don't have many friends - not in a "they sound awful" way but just in the way they don't seem to have had much input - I mean, even if you follow some amazingly hippy parenting style you'd be taken aback if lots of people were shocked by you not using a car seat, or you got an angry response from other parents at toddler groups when you let your child go around grabbing all of the other kids' toys.

I expect they have sort of evolved from the baby stage, where things CAN be very child-centred with absolutely no problem at all, (I mean, see the entire PFB thread where we all laugh at ourselves for it!) but because they're in their own little bubble with not much input, and are perhaps over-anxious about upsetting her or disturbing the positive relationship between her and them, or are feeling guilty/trying to overcompensate for something or other, but somehow they haven't realised that what they are doing has reached a totally ridiculous level and is actually harmful to their little girl.

yellowsnownoteatwillyou Thu 06-Feb-14 19:22:20

I feel really sorry for your dn, hope something gets sorted before the new baby arrives as its going to be horrible for everyone in that house.
My 6 month old baby feeds himself lumpy food,gets his tooth brushed and face and hands wiped. I'm under no illusion that he will be the perfect child and not want some of these basic things done somedays, but they are non negotiable, same as he sits in a car seat.
I can't understand how or why she's let it get like this, what a nightmare!

Unconditional parenting isn't about putting no demands on a child, no, possibly something like Waldorf philosophy? Although TBH I think you'd be hard pressed to find something that advocated putting no demands on a child ever, because children grow up into adults and adults need skills to cope with the world which they don't learn magically by never being expected or encouraged to do anything ever.

Plus it's totally impractical - everyone demands that their children don't drink bleach, for example, or play with knives. Apart from the car seat example (which is more of a potential than an immediate danger anyway) I doubt they let her put herself in dangerous situations, whether it's by the use of safety equipment and restriction like stairgates and keeping knives in a locked high cupboard or whether they've actively taught her concepts like road safety, "fire is hot" and not to stick metal forks into electric sockets.

TheGreatHunt Thu 06-Feb-14 19:25:21

Unconditional parenting is about not resorting sanctions, not letting children get away with murder.

TheGreatHunt Thu 06-Feb-14 19:25:41

not *resorting to sanctions.

weeonion Thu 06-Feb-14 19:33:17

Mrs oakenfield - i think they struggled at start but i agree - don't think it is currently that.
I know BIL is very concerned about labour/ birth and how DN will be. Its to be a home birth. He is worried that only way DN is comforted when upset is by her mum and breastfeeding, which may not be possible.during labour.DN has never fallen asleep without being BF and BIL is concerned at what might happen.

KingRollo Thu 06-Feb-14 19:40:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LegoStillSavesMyLife Thu 06-Feb-14 19:44:08

I would discuss with HV possibly SS to be honest. That is really really bad.

TinyTwoTears Thu 06-Feb-14 19:48:35

Well if its a home birth the mws are going to intervene pretty damn quick if a three year

TinyTwoTears Thu 06-Feb-14 19:49:30

Old is causing ructions

Sorry posted too soon!

RandomMess Thu 06-Feb-14 19:51:33


I think I remember your previous posts. Things seem to be getting worse rather than improving.

If she's in Scotland she could well be nearer 6 when she starts school, or perhaps they will home educate to avoid the sharing thing.

Sounds like a difficult situation. sad TBH I'm surprised if they are so centred around what their DD is ready for/can cope with that they actually decided to have another child, I know people (who are far less likely to give in to every whim of their child) who have put off having a second because they wanted to focus more fully on the first, or, literally, because they didn't feel the first was ready. I don't think these were "we're actually really struggling to conceive but don't want to talk about it" situations either, they seemed genuine.

I wonder if more of a softly softly approach would be useful. Do they use the internet much do you know? You could direct them towards a really "crunchy" type forum where other parents might be fairly child-led in their parenting and see if they get any good advice from there. Green Parent is good (and has some extremes!) but also would give honest advice in a very kind way - it's a rare beast, but quiet! Or mothering.com has extremes too - it's American so sometimes even more extreme! And a couple of my "hippy parenting" friends used to use Natural Mamas a lot, but I think that's more "U kno yur bubs hun xxx" (unless someone suggests formula, at which point they lynch you alive wink) Or a local LLL group might be good, mine were amazingly supportive of the more "out there" stuff but also realistic about limits, boundaries, health etc.

I can see why people have suggested SS but TBH I don't think they'd be that interested or particularly able to do/suggest anything - they clearly really love and care for their DD even if they're a bit clueless and doolally about it all and I think they are well meaning however shocking their parenting is to others. I really hope they manage to sort things out, perhaps the new baby will be a bit of a reality check for them.

puntasticusername Thu 06-Feb-14 19:54:19

Fuck. It gets worse and worse sad sad sad
OP. Mate. I know it's awful but you've GOT to do something about this. Imagine what could happen if and when any of the consequences of these disastrously misguided parenting decisions come to fruition. Not even if your DN was in a car accident - what if all her teeth fall out, or she starts getting kicked out of school after school because she can't behave?

Sorry, but you owe it to your DN to intervene. It doesn't sound as if anyone else can or will.

NoSquirrels Thu 06-Feb-14 19:56:08

I remember your previous thread.

This isn't right, or fair, or anything you can leave be and see what happens. You have tried that. But now you need to do what's best for the child, which sounds like outside intervention.

Your niece may just need socialising and boundaries, she may have behavioural issues because she has undiagnosed issues - but either way outside professional support is needed. I'm so sorry, for you and her.

lilyaldrin Thu 06-Feb-14 19:57:15

God, poor little DN if they are planning to keep her around for the home birth, presumably with no adult to look after her. How is mum supposed to give birth AND be the only one who can possibly comfort her? Sounds like the worst way to introduce a new sibling.

I DO think it would be good to get the HV involved if you can. Even if they just start them thinking about one problem like the lumpy food for example.

ChilliQueen Thu 06-Feb-14 19:57:45

I haven't seen any previous posts... OP would you like to give a bit of previous history... I find this odd, interesting and worrying all at the same time. It really sounds to me like they need lots of help and guidance and general parenting help. We all learn from experience, but this sounds completely not normal parenting to me. It could destroy the child.

NoSquirrels Thu 06-Feb-14 20:02:39

Also isolating themselves means that in a very real way you and your DH are the only "outside eyes" on this situation. Is your SIL going to ask the right mw appts/antenatal clinics? A home birth can be wonderful but if be worried about this situation.

Ohbyethen Thu 06-Feb-14 20:04:01

It sounds an awful situation for everyone tbh. I can't imagine how frustrated you must be feeling.
But I do think a call to SS is in order, or appraising HV service of everything - although she can opt out of seeing them.
They sound isolated, insular by choice perhaps but it's so so unhealthy.
I have no idea why BIL hasn't done more to protect his child if he is expressing doubts about their choices. It seems to lay it all at SIL's door without actually taking any responsibility at all, either supporting or opposing her.
I'm a right lentil weaver & I am horrified at the neglect of her physical and emotional well being. SIL sounds like she needs someone to step in - now. If she's having a homebirth (no judgment, me too) and rarely has a life outside the flat/her child, coupled with that list, BIL not seeming to be helping to ground things a bit it makes me sad and worried for her. She's so defensive, she now can't trust you? It has echoes of how I have felt at a very dark time. But 3 years and now a new baby? I would call and report them, for all their sakes, what happens if it's school that reports them? How much further will this have progressed with the new baby in this time? You have a broken relationship now, if you repair it it will only last until the next misstep, better to get actual support for your dn and hope sil/bil engage and are supported too and can go through that to build a healthier relationship with you in the future. Because as cruel as it may seem to say I don't think you can be aforce for change in the way that your niece needs even if her parents start talking to you again.

yellowsnownoteatwillyou Thu 06-Feb-14 20:06:00

Random children can start school at 4 1/2 in Scotland depends on when their birthday is, the cut off date for birthdays is 1st of march. So if you are born from sept-feb you will start at 4. So ops dn should probably doing her first year of nursery.

yellowsnownoteatwillyou Thu 06-Feb-14 20:09:55

That was meant to be random,
Not random children

RandomMess Thu 06-Feb-14 20:39:06

grin I knew what you meant, I don't think they'll be letting her got to school at 4 seeing as though they've not put her in nursery yet...

yellowsnownoteatwillyou Thu 06-Feb-14 21:17:33

I have no idea, she would have had to put down a choice of schools, but it depends on where they are in Scotland as in smaller towns its not as complicated as it seems in England judging by other threads. Generally just a choice between catholic or non catholic schools.

weeonion Thu 06-Feb-14 23:25:05

Oh god. I feel awful and i know this isn't about me. DP and i are gonna have chat when he gets in from work about what we are going to do.

MrsOakenshield Fri 07-Feb-14 09:46:40

been thinking about this overnight. You're right, it's not about you or your relationship with your SIL - it's about your poor DN (and the new baby, when s/he appears) having a responsible adult standing up for their needs.

I was thinking about her when I was brushing DD's teeth this morning - her breath must be pretty foul if she's never brushed her teeth and she will start to get cavities - how will they manage then? And the idea of a pandered, never-disciplined child being around her mother in labour and then a newborn - it just doesn't bear thinking about. She will be consumed with jealousy and her parents have done nothing, nothing to prepare her for this. It sounds like the kind of situation that results in the toddler deliberately hurting the newborn.

It's so fucked up.

I think you have to focus on your DN and get her the help she needs. And thank goodness she has you and your DH in her life. You are a power for the good here.

annielewis Fri 07-Feb-14 10:39:59

weeonion I keep thinking about your DN and what a shock she is in for! My DD is 3.5 and she is so aware of what is going on and so different to how you describe your DN I can't imagine how your DN will cope? When is the baby due? And homebirth - holy moly, apart from anything else your SIL and BIL are going to need HUGE support! How often is she breastfeeding?

I haven't had a chance to read through the whole thread but do you live close by to them? There are certain things that I would 100% intervene on like the car seat issue - could you call the police and do it annonomously? As in - 'I just saw this registration plate driving without a car seat'

As for the other stuff - it would make a great Jo Frost (Supernanny) case - I would love to see her deal with the situation! It needs to be an outssider to be honest - you will get shot to pieces if you try and tell them that they are seriously at risk of damaging their child!

noblegiraffe Fri 07-Feb-14 11:15:51

That poor child. Not allowed to talk about the bump? How on earth will they deal with it when there is an actual baby??

She isn't going to know what has hit her and it is going to be incredibly distressing. You can't have two children in a house where both get exactly what they want all the time. Will she be allowed to express herself by hitting the baby? Your SIL is probably also going to either feel horribly conflicted and have to start imposing restrictions, or the poor baby is going to be ignored in favour of the demanding child.

It's an impending storm and it will hit.

ShadowFall Fri 07-Feb-14 11:32:20

This is utterly ludicrous. You're definitely not expecting too much.

How is this child going to learn how to cope in life with all this? And how is she going to manage at school if it's the first time she's had to deal with sharing, other children, other adults, and being reprimanded if necessary?

FWIW, DS1 is almost 2.5yrs and he desn't get away with any of that.
No child I know of a similar age gets away with all that.

And the new baby is going to be a terrible shock to your DN if no-one's allowed to mention it to her. I can't imagine how your DN's parents will be able to continue this whole letting DN do whatever she likes business once the new baby arrives. What do they think will happen when the new baby and DN both want attention at the same time?

If your DN has never been told no, or reprimanded, then I'd be very concerned about how she'll react to the new baby, because, let's face it, it's simply not possible for two children to each get 100% of the attention all of the time. And the new baby isn't likely to schedule it's demands for feeding, changing and so on, for whenever suits your DN.

DumSpiroSpero Fri 07-Feb-14 11:45:11

I totally agree with MrsOakenshield.

TBF to your SIL I suspect she is very unwell and that your BIL is just clueless and doesn't know how to deal with it. It sounds very likely that the death of SIL's mum so soon after DN's arrival has had a profound affect on her mental health, but whatever the reason for their behaviour someone needs to step in and ensure your little niece and the new baby get the support they need.

weeonion Fri 07-Feb-14 12:01:59

thanks folks.

DP and i had a long long talk last night. guilty tears from both of us!
he is getting in touch with BIL this morning to try and get the HV contacts and he is going to call them later.

We think it is better if DP is seen to take the lead on this - and it is not coming from nosy interferring me! we are going to suggest that I take DN out for long walk at weekend and DP is going to talk with SIL / BIL and possibly use the labour / birth as the impetus for more discussion around boundaries, support and

I have spoken this morning with a local surestart project, asking advice. They suggested HV involvement but felt that is was something SS would not really be concerned about at this stage.

weeonion Fri 07-Feb-14 12:04:56

annielweis - you asked about BF. DN is fed throughout the day - not sure currently how many but up to recently it was about 10 times. She is fed to sleep for naps / bedtime and suckles / feeds throughout the night as SIL and DN co-sleep. SIL is planning on tandem feeding and new baby joining her and DN for co-sleeping. I am in NO way critiquing or judging SIL for BF or co-sleepng btw.

BIL sleeps in seperate room and has done since DN was born.

weeonion Fri 07-Feb-14 12:12:08

oh - forgot to say. DN will not be going to nursery. I did ask about primary school (which she would start when she is 5). She is to be home schooled.

I havent had a homebirth nor been at one. I asked SIL how MW felt about there just being SIL / BIL and DN there (no other adult is going to be there to help out). SIL said MW thought it was a good idea which i have to honest i was surprised at. Of course we all want it to go smoothly and be as lovely as possible for them but was a bit surprised that there was no need for contingency in case SIL has to go to hospital.
A few months ago - We did talk about us helping out at that time but we will not be needed.

TinyTwoTears Fri 07-Feb-14 12:19:50

I really hope something changes after input from your DH, being so isolated just isn't healthy.

Well done on getting involved thanks

PenguinsDontEatKale Fri 07-Feb-14 13:04:57

Co-sleeping with two children is possible, but it requires an older child who understands physical restrictions (like staying on their own side), waiting their turn, sharing and no'. Co-sleeping as planned sounds frankly dangerous for the new baby.

I would be stunned of the mw said the birth plan was a good idea. She probably said something like that having siblings present could be positive provided there were arrangements in case they goy upset or there was an emergency or it was interfering with labour or care.

The usual recommendation if older siblings are to be present at home birth is that there is a dedicated adult for that child to distract them if needed, comfort or reassure them if they are afraid, generally give them attention so that they aren't seeking attention from their parents who can't easily give it, and the big one, take them out if it's proving difficult for them to cope with.

The thing is that if there is a serious emergency and SIL has to be transferred to hospital, if there is nobody else for DN, BIL won't be able to go. Which means that he won't be able to support her or find out news until much later which could be terrifying. 16% (according to homebirth.org.uk and National Birthday Trust survey) transfer to hospital. OK, the vast majority is because either labour has slowed or the mother wants more pain relief, but it's still a pretty high chance that she might have to then go through the rest of labour alone. And if there is a serious complication, that would be even worse to cope with alone.


This also suggests that labour can sometimes slow down or stop when a mother is aware of her other child(ren) - this could be awful if she has nowhere else to go. The problem is you can't know in advance (it also has lots of positive stories of children being involved/non-fazed) how your child will react.

BitOutOfPractice Fri 07-Feb-14 13:50:12

Oh what a difficult and upsetting situation OP. You sound so worried and I can understand why.

I hope the talk goes OK this weekend. I have a feeling though that it won't sad. They won't want to hear, let alone listen. Let alone do anything

weeonion Fri 07-Feb-14 13:50:32

Well, there are no plans to have another adult there and there is no-one else but us that could help out. I had thought that if DN was more used to us / our home, then if needed, we could have her. SIL doesn't think that is necessary. I cant imagine how it might be - BIL is never allowed to comfort DN. It has to be mum and BF. SIL plans to bf DN during labour if she is upset. It is probably possible but i am just not aware of it.

weeonion Fri 07-Feb-14 13:59:40

DP spoke with BIL. DP tried to ask which medical practice they are with but BIL wants to check with SIL first before passing on. DP didn't say what it was for but asked in a "how far are you from yr health centre, was SIzl managing OK to get to appts now she is so close to due date, trying to baby carry DN for long distances, which one is it?etc".
I have rang my own HV for advice - she is calling later as too busy at time to talk.

I don't think it will be possible to breastfeed during labour. I've done a (very quick, TBH) glance through articles I can find which discuss it and all mention nursing in early labour but suggest that once the active stage begins, which of course can last several hours, even for the second baby, the mother will be too busy dealing with contractions to be able to breastfeed. I remember being very sensitive to touch and very particular about how and who could touch me. She can't say she'll be able to breastfeed - she won't know and it's likely that she won't be able to. Plus, if she's feeling uncomfortable and/or trying to meet others' needs rather than concentrating on her own then I'd have thought that's likely to stall labour too, meaning either her DD will need to be removed or she'll have to transfer to hospital. Our bodies won't labour unless they feel totally safe - it's an instinctual thing!

ShadowFall Fri 07-Feb-14 14:16:55

The BF during labour plan doesn't sound all that practical.

It may be possible during early stages, but I can't see it working too well once the contractions really get going. I know everyone's experience of labour is different, but during my labours, I wasn't in any suitable frame of mind to be concentrating on much apart from getting through the contractions.

PenguinsDontEatKale Fri 07-Feb-14 14:57:27

I hope your HV can help OP. The more I hear, the more this sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Did your SIL have an amazingly easy first labour? Because bf-ing during established labour or second stage doesn't sound viable to me.

To put it in perspective, I managed a homebirth with DD1 sleeping upstairs. But she was used to sleeping on her own, woke a couple of times from all the commotion (I was quite loud blush) and was easily resettled by DH. I don't see how a child used to proximity of her mother day and night and bf-ing through the night is going to cope with the inevitable separation, especially without any preparation. And I don't see how any mother is going to manage that kind of intense parenting whilst in labour herself.

When you say your BIL is never allowed to comfort his daughter, is that by her or by her mother? The more you write, the more it sounds like your SIL might have some serious mental health issues going on herself and need some proper support, of a professional nature.

FixItUpChappie Fri 07-Feb-14 16:58:06

DP tried to ask which medical practice they are with but BIL wants to check with SIL first before passing on.

Wow. Can your imagine being this secretive and isolated?! Do you think your SIL is emotionally abusive to your BIL? She is just so, incredibly controlling. Bizarre behaviour.

bialystockandbloom Fri 07-Feb-14 17:29:41

God how appalling - can't believe what I'm reading. She really does sound like she has mh problems tbh sad I do hope you get through to the GP/GV.

I would honestly speak to the police about the car seat though. You can do it anonymously. It is unspeakably dangerous. I would report any member of my family for doing this if they refused to see reason about it.

Are there no grandparents around, on either side?

Thing is though a 3 year old is plausibly big enough to mostly fit into the adult seatbelt. NOT safely, or legally, but years ago 3 year olds didn't have car seats. I've used a car without a car seat on very scant occasion and I think DS was about 3 or 4 when I started putting him on his own seat with belt rather than holding him on my lap unrestrained.

matana Fri 07-Feb-14 17:44:32

I thought I was soft and overprotective, but no way. This isn't right and you're right to be trying to intervene. 3 year olds may well have one or two issues from that list, but that sounds like a nightmare. I hope you are able to get help for them all.

A 3 yo who only eats puree food, who is bfing as their only source of comfort, who has never heard the word no or had any boundaries. Whose parents are so frightened of her that they would rather risk killing or maiming her in a car accident than using a car seat.
A 3yo who is unwashed and with dirty teeth and smelly breath. Who has no understanding of what it means to socialise with children or adults.

This is one of the saddest threads I have read for a long while.

ladyquinoa Fri 07-Feb-14 20:23:16

Home birth, homeschooling, extended breast feeding are all great. However lack of boundaries is not. Things like sitting in a car seat and learning to take turns are just normal every day things.

MrsOakenshield Fri 07-Feb-14 21:16:55

these parents are doing all they can to keep their child isolated from the world and completely dependent on them. She is being failed left, right and centre by them, in every way possible. I can't decide whether there are MH issues at play here, or whether it is a deliberate attempt to keep their family under the radar.

I would be very interested (and probably horrified) to find out what they do when their DD is unwell - has she ever seen a doctor? I would also hazard a guess she is not vaccinated.

Personally, I would still push for SS involvement. If they carry on the way they are, SS are going to get involved anyway - I'd rather it was earlier so minimise the damage to this family.

Coveredinweetabix Fri 07-Feb-14 21:40:28

OP I have read your previous threads and agree with previous posters that you have to do something about this. Clearly DN is going to be in the house for the entire time her mother is in labour. How on earth is she going to cope with seeing her mother go through that? And the only one who could comfort her is her mother who may not be in a position to provide comfort and may even disappear to hospital at very short notice & possibly for a few nights. How on earth is DD going to process that and how is that going to affect her behaviour towards the new baby.
The co-sleeping arrangements alarm me too. The other day we had our 4.3yro in with us & our 20mth old for about 20mins before I realised I was never going to get back to sleep as I was too worried about DC1 suffocating DC2 so ended up in the spare bed with DC2. That was with a 20mh old, not a newborn.
OP, you are in a hideous predicament but are doing such good by questioning your SIL's parenting.

TallGiraffe Fri 07-Feb-14 22:07:37

This sounds horrendous sad

If they live in a rural area then there's probably only one practice they could be registered with. The Nhs has a "find a GP" page somewhere where you put in your postcode. Might be worth a shot if she doesn't tell you the name.

Good luck flowers

weeonion Fri 07-Feb-14 22:34:18

Tallgiraffe - we all live in big city so a few health centres / practices in their area.
Spoke with HV. She wasn't overly concerned tbh. She thought that MW will draw boundaries pre labour around DN being around for birth with no other adult for support. She also thought nursery would pick up on things and help with sharing / socialisation. She didn't quite "get" that SIL is planning no nursery and kept talking about what should be happening, not what is. she did say that she would try and find SIL HV and have word. Kjnda got impression that she thought i was over reacting and as DN is not at immediate risk of harm, not a priority. she suggested a car safety leaflet to give them. That makes me smile as i can imagine SIL's reaction.
I have no doubt that they love DN very very much. I also am not criticising cosleeping, breastfeeding etc - we did them ourselves. I have thought for years that SIL grief was poured into DN. She says not.
Father in law alive but pretty useless. She has dp in same city. They used to be v v v close but not now. She has 2 other brothers but again - no real support there. BIL has no family - his mum died 2 yrs ago.
DP is going to tell them tomorrow that he is really worried about car seat and say why. He is gonna ask what their concerns are about DN in car seat and see if something else going on that we don't know about. He is gonna bring DD old car seat so they cant say they don't have one. He is gonna say that if he finds out they continue to do it, he will be reporting.
We are allowed to visit at weekend but DN and i will not be going for walk it seems. (i was only thinking of local park overlooked by their flat so SIL could at least have us within eyesight and if DN was v v upset - its only a couple of minutes walk). it will be yet another visit where DN will get stressed by us being there (according to SIL) and they will retire to their room for breastfeeding for most of the time. I don't think I am going to go. Visits are never a relaxed affair and maybe best to not be there.

weeonion Fri 07-Feb-14 22:42:37

Some said up thread about BIL being "allowed" to do things. That is pretty much how things are framed and also how SIL talks to us as well in a "you are allowed to come visit between 12 - 2pm" kinda way.
BIL loves SIL dearly and would give her the world. Literally. i know he found it hard to bind with DN at very start - he found the labour really traumatic and also - at start was not "allowed" to do anything really for DN. No nappy changing, bathing etc. don't think he feels like that now but DN never "goes" to him, clambers on him etc. She really is constantly with mum.

MrsOakenshield Fri 07-Feb-14 22:52:42

okay, you're last updates have made it very clear. You must contact SS. I don't think your DP taking car seat will achieve anything and if anything, will drive them further 'underground'. Just make the call, please.

of course there is nothing wrong with all those things, within a normal, family relationship. But that's not what's happening here, and I'm guessing your BIL knows damn well things aren't right but is somehow powerless to do anything. So you guys must.

I'm sorry to push on this, I haven't felt this strongly about a thread for a long time. I can't stop thinking (as I'm sure you can't either) about that poor child. They may well love her, but they are failing to parent her in any meaningful way at all. They probably would deny it, but they are neglecting her and damaging her hugely. She is unsocialised, unclean, unhealthy, because your SIL has some deluded notion as to how she should be looked after.

Again - has she ever seen a doctor? I would be surprised if a 3 year old hasn't had to go to the doc's for one reason or another.

RandomMess Fri 07-Feb-14 22:53:03

It's just so dysfunctial sad it's not being child led at all is it sad

puntasticusername Fri 07-Feb-14 22:57:23

MrsOak I couldn't agree more. I'm sure they love the little girl to bits, but something is so very very wrong in what they're doing sad

OP, kudos to you for doing what you're doing. I'm sure it's tremendously hard, but it's the right thing to do. (unmumsnetty hug).

weeonion Fri 07-Feb-14 23:30:12

I know she has been to docs. She had novo-virus last year and was def seen about that. She isn't vaccinated to my knowledge.

DumSpiroSpero Sat 08-Feb-14 15:56:18

Did your SIL come across as particularly anxious or controlling prior to DN being born?

My feeling is that losing her own mum at such a massive time of upheaval as having her first child has made her fixate on controlling her and DN's environment to an extreme level to counteract anxiety/PND.

I am no psychologist but recognize the type (though thankfully not the extent) of behaviour from my own mum who was always inclined to anxiety and being a bit of a control freak but got considerably worse following a breakdown after the death of my nan to whom she was very close.

The whole family need your help and if HV isn't taking you seriously there must be something else. Do you have Surestart where you are? Perhaps worth seeing if you could have a chat with one of their family outreach workers? Otherwise your only option is SS, preferably before the new baby arrives tbh.

I can't begin to imagine what the impact on your DN is going to be as a 3yo seeing her mum go through labour when she has no idea there is even a baby on the way - it will be utterly terrifying for her with little means of comfort and then she will have to play 'second fiddle' to a new baby.

I can't imagine how your SIL will cope either - it can only be a matter of time before the whole thing explodes if they don't get some kind of help asap.

frugalfuzzpig Sat 08-Feb-14 16:12:02

It worries me that the HVs etc are saying there aren't enough reasons to get involved. I guess because a lot of the things individually are more 'normal' eg fussy eating... but combined it makes a pretty horrific picture sad

Like Dum I would be so worried about how she will cope being at home for the birth. I do think it can be a wonderful experience for the child to share but only if they've been prepared for it FFS! How terrifying is it going to be to see her mum possibly screaming in pain - and quite likely unable to speak to or reassure her, or maybe snapping at her - and having no idea why until a tiny little person comes out. At which point all she will understand is "that baby made my mummy scream"... what a great way to meet your new sibling hmm it will feel like her world has fallen apart.

Fantail Sat 08-Feb-14 19:32:08

This is a really sad situation. Frugal is right some of the things on their own are not worrying or even unusual, but together and with these behaviours formalised and deemed acceptable (thinking about the car seat here which is even illegal) then it is a situation that starts to border on neglect.

I would be worried about what they have told the midwife regarding another adult being present (there is actually going to be a midwife?).

Is it a case of digging a hole so deep, but being afraid of asking for help to get out of it. What was your SIL like before becoming a mother?

weeonion Sat 08-Feb-14 22:03:59

Hi folks!
DP had an interesting time today....
He had read this thread before going and felt quite positive about what he wanted to get across/ how to say it. Didn't quite work out like that tho.
They were v defensive and he thought that they thought something was up as soon as he got there. He focused on labour and how we could help out. That conversation was ended as they wouldn't discuss it with DN around. He then tried to talk about how much we would like a relationship with DN. They agreed with that but laid out SIL conditions, ie - it must always be at their house. Apparently i am too strict and curtail children's spirits so SIL needs to supervise me! She also questionned as to why i thought i was qualified to look after DN. DP did get pissed at that and from then on it got more and more tense. DP, by own admission, didn't handle it the best and said how worried he was with everything he was seeing. They did concede that car seat was crazy but find it too hard to drive with DN screaming in it. DP said that he / we really wanted to help but thought that on certain things they could do with outside support - maybe HV / SS. SIL went bananas and DP was told to leave. He did but v shortly after BIL rang and asked to meet away in their local cafe.
He told DP that he feels completely out of his depth and has done for past 3 years. He has just agreed with SIL for an easier life and as she has told him - she is expert on her child and needs noone else. As she reads so much on childcare - he has taken most of what she says / done as the right way to go. BIL thinks I am over reacting and should butt out. DP was clear that he wants to help get more support for them and we will not be butting out.
SIL texted me thanking me for gifts etc for DN over past 3 years and that i am welcome to visit Mon - Fri between 11- 12 if i want to see DN. she said "there will be no unsupervised contact". A further text came saying that she thought i needed a hobby as i am obsessed with their family and that she feels sorry for my DD as i am not allowing her spirit to grow and expand as fully as it should.
So there we go.....

I wonder if you could start with the car seat thing, then, since they've actually admitted that is a problem. You know, the usual things to try - special toy/snack ONLY allowed when in car seat, make it into a game, some kind of distraction on seat back (even a DVD player?)

Sounds really tough though sad I admire you for sticking it out.

TinyTwoTears Sat 08-Feb-14 22:16:41

That's insane, completely insane.

Your BIL needs to put his foot down for the sake of his dd. nowhere in a book would your SIL have read that it was ok not to brush a child's teeth or not use a car seat. He MUST know that as a rational adult.

If I got texts like that I would start telling her how it is, ie you want your dd to be able to function in society.

Well done your DH an you for trying.

weeonion Sat 08-Feb-14 22:20:16

Bertie - i am very angry and pissed off tonight tbh. I am far from a perfect mum and should have expected SIL to put this back onto me. It ain't about me however.
i am gonna support DP in this but feeling like i need to draw a boundary.
We are going to ring SS and track down her HV. They will know it is us now, after today. FIL and DP's 2 brothers have been on at him tonight, very angry at us (actually me)for upsetting SIL. FIL thinks it is because i am jealous and agrees with SIL that i need a hobby. Indeed.

I think you need to be supporting BIL to contact the HV and/or SS. They are probably more likely to listen to the father than to more distant relatives. Perhaps this can be turning point where he starts to make a difference.

puntasticusername Sat 08-Feb-14 22:57:35

Stay strong, OP. You're doing just the right things, and it's to be expected that some of the other parties in this scenario will not welcome your and your DP's input and will try to discourage it any way they can. You're going to need to develop a skin like a rhino's, I fear.

I keep getting more and more distressed by what I read on this thread sad

NaturalBaby Sat 08-Feb-14 23:12:23

It sounds very difficult to stand back and watch this all happening. However, it also sounds like if you want to stay involved you really need to try and get on SIL's side. There is no way of knowing how things will work out when the new baby arrives and it will probably take her time to admit she needs help. If she doesn't turn to you then who will she turn to?
It doesn't sound like you are going to be able to change her mind on any of her parenting decisions so just try to focus on being a good friend and supporting her. She will see that you just want the best for her and your DN.

weeonion Sun 09-Feb-14 00:17:26

- the way i feel tonight - no longer have much interest in being friends with SIL and as all flack is directed at me, trying to remain calm. Have resisted many urges to pick up phone and call her. Yep - rhino skin and more seems to be what is expected. Have more than enough in life without taking this on. I am not going to back away from this but equally not gonna let it affect my own family. Would just prefer to let HV / SS take it on.
BIL has texted to ask DP to not tell anyone about BIL worrying so obvious he's not willing to stand up and name it.

weeonion Sun 09-Feb-14 00:40:38

Someone asked what SIL was like pre motherhood. We met 18 yrs ago and had a good relationship. She always talked of feeling like i was her sister. I would say that i was the one who listened to her problems/ was a confidante, not the same in return. We used to socialise a bit when younger. Our relationship changed when DD came along, mainly as i didn't have same amount of time to talk etc. She did tell me that she felt jealous and overlooked as i was so into DD. She also used to openly criticise my parenting - didn't "agree" with breastfeeding, babywearing etc. We have laughed tho at that - as she is very much into those exact things.she was a very successful editor who never had a great deal of friends. She was always quite a strong character and could be controlling in certain ways - all socialising would be on her terms with choice of venue / gig etc.

Sharaluck Sun 09-Feb-14 01:05:44

Goodness me shock shock

Sil sounds incredibly controlling and also paranoid/fearful with regards to boundaries for the dd.

I really hope this is followed up for the dd and future child.

puntasticusername Sun 09-Feb-14 05:22:23

It beats me why they decided to have another child. It doesn't sound as if they really have any room in their lives for anything besides their DD. Was it a planned pregnancy...?

TallGiraffe Sun 09-Feb-14 08:31:52

I think I would be tempted to write to the HV/SS listing every single one of the crazy behaviours. If they see it all in black and white it might come across more effectively than a phone call when they just switch off after a couple of "oh some 3 year olds are like that" examples. I'd put in all your fears for the birth too.

Be prepared for some horrible fallout, we unfortunately had to report a family member to SS and they were shown all of our allegations (despite us requesting anonymity) but I think in this case, like us, you have to do what is best for the child in the long term.

Now is the best time to do it, as your SIL is presumably accessing some care for her pregnancy? I'm really hoping she isn't going for an unassisted birth. I think I would also mention the BIL concerns and stress that if possible they need to speak to him separately, although t is a long shot that he'll open up to them.

I've been thinking about this poor wee girl a lot, not least when my 16m old was sitting in his highchair, chomping away on his curry and apple last night, before having his teeth cleaned sad

weeonion Sun 09-Feb-14 10:05:35

Planned - when they told us about 2nd prgnancy , it was so DN wouldn't be lonely growing up.

RandomMess Sun 09-Feb-14 10:55:41

It's just sounding worse and worse tbh, they don't seem to realise that this baby is a human in it's own right which will have needs that are equally important as DN sad

I really wonder if SIL may have a break down, she is going to be so confilicted which ever child's needs she tries to put first at any given point in time.

BitOutOfPractice Sun 09-Feb-14 11:01:20

Oh that's made my heart clench.

Of course when we have second children, a lot of us think "won't it be nice for DC1" to have someone to play with" but in this instance it seems so much more..I dunno...sinister almost. I know that's an odd word but it's like this baby is only for their DC1. DYKWIM?

MeMySonAndI Sun 09-Feb-14 11:17:08

I think you have to step out of it. You have contacted the HV and expressed your concerns. The status quo is going to change anyway when the new baby arrives.

You know you are right, just decline taking care of her and respect their space. You have done what you could do, at least for the time being.

DumSpiroSpero Sun 09-Feb-14 12:47:06

I really wonder if SIL may have a break down, she is going to be so confilicted which ever child's needs she tries to put first at any given point in time.

Totally agree - it's inevitable I think that this is all going to come crashing down at some point.

To some extent I wonder if it would be advisable to back off and play along for a bit - at least if SS do get involved at a later date there is a possibility that you can be there for the children if needs be.

puntasticusername Sun 09-Feb-14 14:27:42

Oh heck, so the very existence of the new baby is - once again - ALL ABOUT DD? I should have guessed confused

I would imagine that SIL probably won't feel too conflicted when the needs of her two children clash. She'll continue to put her elder child first, as she always has.

Great, now I'm worried for the baby too sad

RevoltInParadise Sun 09-Feb-14 14:58:05

This is a sad thread. What are they going to do with the baby if they need to go in a car? What did they do with the dd? Or did they never leave the house when she was little. The thought if a tiny baby in a car with out a car seat sad bad enough a child of three, but a baby makes me shiver.

Or even a baby in the car with a free range toddler shock

RevoltInParadise Sun 09-Feb-14 16:24:53


HerrenaHarridan Sun 09-Feb-14 16:30:51

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

weeonion Sun 09-Feb-14 19:14:30

Herena - if you this think this is made up - please be assured it really is true. I have sought advice / opinions on it before and believe me - there are other things i haven't gone into here.

AveryJessup Sun 09-Feb-14 20:13:16

They sound like nutcases to be honest and if the FIL and your DP's brothers aren't supporting your DP to intervene then it's pretty hopeless. All you're doing is setting yourselves up as the bad guys to be blamed for upsetting SIL with your 'interfering'.

It's sad to say but I do think you need to just move on and let it go. Leave them to it and make sure BIL at least knows that the door is always open. SIL clearly doesn't trust you any more so offering help etc will be refused.

It's sad for your DN but she is probably 'happy' according to the freaky parameters set by her mother. The car seat thing is the only issue that is life-threatening so you could, as someone else said up thread, report their license number to the police for driving without a car seat. Other than that there is just nothing you can do. Make sure DN and BIL know your door is always open and keep up presents,family occasions, basic communication and just leave them to it. If the neglect of your DN ever comes to the attention of anyone, a HV or school teacher, it can't come from you now that your SIL distrusts you so much so there's no point in worrying yourself any more. Eventually your DN will start to know her own mind as she gets older so that will be the ultimate challenge to your SIL and her nutty ideas.

MrsOakenshield Sun 09-Feb-14 20:20:13

really sorry to hear how it went, though if I'm being honest and from the distance I am from it all, I'm not surprised. But I can understand how you would want to try and sort it yourselves first of all. Interesting to hear BIL's side of it, but unfortunately it's a child we're talking about here (his child!) who is being neglected and unprepared for the world she lives it, and he has to take 50% of the responsibility for the situation.

Well, I guess ring SS tomorrow and take it from there. Yes, they'll know it's you but right now that's a side issue.

so sorry you're having to go through all this. Have some wine and thanks. DN is so lucky to have someone like you and your DH in her life, who are prepared to stand up and be counted for doing the right thing.

matana Mon 10-Feb-14 11:22:57

I have been equally gobsmacked and frustrated by this thread - frustrated by sil/ bil reaction and unwillingness of any other 'family' to step in. Tbh if this was me and I'd endured the shitty comments you have op, knowing all the time that bil had confided his concerns, I'd drop that little bomb shell and retreat to your own, perfectly normal, functional and functioning family. Seriously, I would tell everybody what bil said to your dp, including your sil, tell them you don't care what they think of you, and then concentrate on what is the most important thing - your own family. I admire your courage, concern and good intentions. But there comes a point when it's just not worth the aggro.

Jess03 Mon 10-Feb-14 12:05:06

SIL is a nutcase. I'd be tempted to reply that she needs a life but obviously that wouldn't be grown up. What can you do but retreat, while dp making it clear to BIL that you'll back him up if he wants to make a stand.

annielewis Mon 10-Feb-14 15:37:14

Hi weeonion - just been catching up a bit on thread - sorry you had a difficult time - unfortunately I suspect she is blaming you as you are the 'outsider' in terms of she is not directly related to you/you are not a blood relation of her DH (if i've understood the family relationships correctly).

Fascinating that she was so critical of you in your early days as a mum as well - she really seems a tad narcissistic to be honest and I suspect you are being blamed because you are not playing along with her version/the role she thinks you are meant to play.

To be honest I think there is not much you can do other than remain as neutral as possible if you want to be allowed to be in your DN's life at all.. she will totally cut you out otherwise - you DP may be allowed in still but you will not.

I speak from being cut out bu a Narc in my DH's family. If you don't fit it she will exclude you.

Tough choice for you to make really now. I am not surprised HV and SS are not that bothered - they have not caused any actual harm to the child yet and to be honest SS and HV are so stretched they will be far down the list of priorities at this point.

Good luck. sad

roweeena Mon 10-Feb-14 19:15:17

Agree that HV and SS are unlikely to be massively interested but I would recommend you writing to her health visitor anyway (once they have written documentation they will have to follow up). Ask them to keep this in mind when they do the new baby check.

weeonion Fri 14-Feb-14 16:11:44

Hi folks. Last update!
I spoke with SIL HV on Wednesday. She was really nice and took alot on board. She is relatively new in post and is going to contact SIL to ask to meet her , as part of her getting to know her families. She also said DN is due developmental check and wants to arrange that. She is not going to say that we have been in touch.
So - its over to then now realy. We have had a few texts this week listing all their concerns about me as a parent. Interesting read but letting it flow past me. FIL and DPs have been giving DP a hard time as well. Funny how they are now all involved and banding together. We are very much cast as meddling nosy fools. Ah well. Thank god we have my side of the family to count on!

Jess03 Fri 14-Feb-14 17:13:35

Ah sorry to hear that, that's what you get for trying to help someone eh? Well, they're cutting off their own noses as you could have been a great source of help to them.

puntasticusername Fri 14-Feb-14 17:55:49

Thanks for the update. I hope the HV can manage to help them. Well done on what you've done and on rising above the abuse!

quietlysuggests Fri 14-Feb-14 18:44:11

I think its 2 things that you are mixing up-
1) you have concerns about her safety: so report them to SS
2) you wish to know your niece - well tough you don't get to.
I actually think you are being really meddling here.
Getting your husband to go round there and complain that you want a relationship with their child - that was really strange.
They clearly do not want you involved.
Whats with all this "we've been working towards this for 2 years" stuff - that's odd, it really is.
And if her family are backing her up and saying you are interfering, I bet there is some truth to it.
Because the truth is - she is not your daughter to raise. And if your SIL wants her at her home birth, thinks she is the most special child in the world, doesn't say no, washes her face at night, and plans to homeschool her - that's actually 100% her prerogative.
The absolute only thing that is totally and utterly wrong is them not using car seats - if this is true then report it and move on.
You are not welcome in this child's life, and I think you should report to ss, then back off.

frugalfuzzpig Fri 14-Feb-14 19:17:49

You've done what you can now weeonion, I'm glad the HV was supportive. I hope she managed to find out what's going on when she visits thanks

weeonion Sat 15-Feb-14 11:58:13

I too hope they get the support they need. Some, such as quietly suggests, may think my own behaviour is really strange and meddling. Others, such as HV, think it is enough to warrant a intervention. Felt validated by HV who agreed patterns of behaviour over past 3 years would suggest some issues.
Thanks to all who have given constructive ideas, feedback and support. It helped to clarify alot and i appreciate it. I think this thread has reached its end. Ta folks. X

MeMySonAndI Mon 17-Feb-14 22:02:16

I have been reading this thread with interest as your niece and her mother, remind me of a father (and his boy). I know well. I have been watching him babying his child to the point that he is really stunting his development (ie. not allowing him to run or go up or down stairs standing up until he was 5) so I feel your pain, BUT... While reading this thread I have thought all the time what Quiet has put in words.

You need to back off, it is not normal you are getting to this level of involvement about someone else's child. I really don't think you care as much about the child as you care about proving her mum wrong.

So now the HV is involved is a good time to back off, and let the things rest.

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