Friend with PND, parenting skills clash, WWYD?

(9 Posts)
munchkinno1 Thu 03-Apr-14 06:02:12

I have a friend who has no family support in the UK and she relies heavily on friends for support. I met her through a first time parents group and I am her daughter's god mother. We now both have two children and I am in the early weeks of pregnancy with my third. She suffers from PND and is on anti-depressants (not sure how religiously she takes them) but is not having counselling as far as I know.

She struggles with both of her children a lot and complains constantly about her lack of sleep and her toddlers behaviour (my god-daughter). I have a lot of family support and know how lucky I am so try to support her when I can.

Unfortunately it is getting to a point where I am getting very frustrated by her lack of parenting. She lets her daughter stay up way too late and I know that the poor child needs more sleep and that she would be much better behaved if she went to bed at a reasonable hour. I worry about my friend's marriage and they are about to move somewhere fairly remote and she does not drive!

She also BF her son who is 7 months old every 2 hours still even through the night.

Her daughter is very highly strung and can scream like you have never heard anything like it before but I really feel like she just needs to take control and set boundaries for the child.

Here I am awake at an ungodly hour because I am stressing about this situation. I know that parenting is hard and that I sometimes take the easy route out of sheer exhaustion but I also feel that I can't listen to my friend complain anymore without losing it with her and then possibly ruining our friendship and leaving her without vital support.

Advice would be greatly appreciated. I don't want to have to stop being friends but I might have to for my own sanity. Also just taking the kids to give her a break is all very well but doesn't really deal with the underlying issues.

Thanks

badidea Thu 03-Apr-14 08:25:10

Given the lack of support you say your friend has, I think it'd be really sad if you can't find a way through this to continue to support her, but I can understand how people moaning about the same issues (while refusing to do anything to change them) can be tiring and it does make you want to throw in the towel, however I think you'd probably both regret it if that was the tack you took this time.

Have you discussed her daughters late bedtime as a factor for her behaviour? (although she is a toddler so even if she had 12 hours a night her behaviour may still be awry!) E.g. Have you asked whether she thinks her daughter is getting enough sleep as with your kids lack of sleep has made them play up more (this doesn't need to be true...) and if she tried an earlier bedtime it might help? Is she open to this idea or is she happy doing things the way she is?

If she's looking for advice / suggestions then she might find such a discussion helpful. However, if she's just moaning because she wants to offload, then probably no dice.

I do take issue with is your criticism of her bfeeding her 7 month old every 2 hours, even at night. My first child was exactly like this, I fed on demand and his demands were 2 hourly. Your friends child may well be the same. So, I don't really see this is a parenting issue rather than a milk monster baby issue (my current baby is a totally different child and different feeder so I have it much easier than first time round).

In addition, it is tiring having such disturbed sleeps so that may make her less able to implement any changes with her daughter. She is probably just trying to get through the day with everyone fed and alive and is in no position to try and start doing toddler training.

I do think you're being pretty harsh (it's not like your parenting style is the best parenting style, regardless of how you do it, we all parent differently based on our own experiences, beliefs, personality, circumstances and child) and I think more than ever, your friend needs your support, so if I were you, I'd just suck it up, keep my mouth shut and be there when she needs me - I don't have any personal experience of PND, but I'd imagine the last thing she needs right now is for you to have a go at her for her crap parenting skills, she's probably anxious enough about that. Equally, I'd imagine losing you as a friend would be horrendous for her.

ThisFenceIsComfy Thu 03-Apr-14 08:36:50

So would you consider taking the kids for her or not? I know you say it won't deal with the underlying issues but sleep deprivation is a bitch. Maybe she, and therefore the kids, would really benefit from her having a little break once in a while.

You say you have quite a bit of support and she has none. I don't think you can possibly imagine how hard it is looking after young children on your own all the time. Why not ask her if there is anything you can do to help. I would also stop making assumptions about how badly she is parenting.

MrsY Thu 03-Apr-14 08:49:02

parenting clashes are hard in a group of friends, especially if you think it's have a negative impact on the child. It sounds like you need to decide between having a hard conversation, walking away for your own sake, or just doing nothing.
I would go for the hard conversation. tell her you're worried about how things will be when they move, and see where things progress from there. Maybe try to suggest a new bedtime routine her husband can be involved in? can you talk directly to him?
fwiw, our daughter used to do about half eight to half eight because otherwise my husband wouldn't have seen her. But we stopped once she had nursery etc. so it's not the end of the world if it works (but it sounds like it doesn't).

MrsY Thu 03-Apr-14 08:49:09

parenting clashes are hard in a group of friends, especially if you think it's have a negative impact on the child. It sounds like you need to decide between having a hard conversation, walking away for your own sake, or just doing nothing.
I would go for the hard conversation. tell her you're worried about how things will be when they move, and see where things progress from there. Maybe try to suggest a new bedtime routine her husband can be involved in? can you talk directly to him?
fwiw, our daughter used to do about half eight to half eight because otherwise my husband wouldn't have seen her. But we stopped once she had nursery etc. so it's not the end of the world if it works (but it sounds like it doesn't).

feesh Thu 03-Apr-14 16:05:42

Be careful on the bedtime issue; I live in a very international community and the Brits are the only ones who put their kids to bed in the early evening. Just because someone parents differently, doesn't mean they're doing it wrong. I understand why you're concerned, but personally I would take a step back from this one.

feesh Thu 03-Apr-14 16:06:16

(I'm working on the assumption that she's not British, based on your original post).

ThePippy Thu 03-Apr-14 17:08:12

I suffered PND and was on prozac. My depression manifested as anxiety and panic attacks. It left me "frozen" in terms of acting on anything. Having people comment on what I should be doing (for my children or otherwise) and even knowing myself made zero difference to the way I responded, which was to do nothing.

The only thing that got me through was the support of other people. I think you need to stop thinking of her behaviour as wrong and maybe try to understand that there is a very real possibility that she feels she has no control or ability to change her situation or how she responds to her children.

With regards the BF her son at night thing, while I know many will say this is not necessary at 7m, oddly babies don't read and often decide what they want themselves. I foolishly thought I was an expert in getting babies to go through the night after very successfully getting my DD to do so at 8wks using the baby whisperer technique. How silly did I feel when my DS came along and was still waking and demanding milk well after his second birthday!

Having PND taught me two things, first not to judge parents for how they parent - I do not have their children and have no idea what they are dealing with. Second - having depression alters your mind and when people offer ideas for solutions to problems, all you can see are the faults in their solutions and you dismiss them as "that won't work". So there is every chance that she is not just moaning but ignoring what she could do to help herself, she may genuinely not see the solutions.

munchkinno1 Thu 03-Apr-14 20:21:59

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful comments. I particularly value the input from the mum who suffered with PND as this is something I wanted to understand better. Think my friend is definitely thinking along those lines.

I am feeling much better about the situation having heard your thoughts and will continue to help her as much as I can without judging her which I do really try not to do with other parents as I am well aware of not knowing the full story.

On a side note I was not criticising the BF just personally thought it was a lot I demand fed both of my girls and ignored everyone about weaning in the night but then they only got up once or twice so I guess I was lucky :-)

Sorry if my original post came across as harsh and judgemental I had been awake since 4am and was feeling a bit fragile and needed to get this off my chest. The joys of kids eh, they were both sleeping and I couldn't yet when I can sleep they are awake!!!!

Thanks again everyone.

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