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Nephew (resident) going out with his mum, mum has mental illness.

(4 Posts)
greencolorpack Mon 20-Jun-11 10:39:26

My dn lives with us. His Mum and his Nana live together in a flat nearby. At the moment we have access visits on a Monday and Friday - dn goes round there after school to see Mum and Nana. Nana (my MIL) used to be the guardian of dn. My sister-in-law, dn's Mum, is mentally ill, on anti-psychotic medication.

Problem: MIL thinks SIL is capable of walking dn home from school (which means crossing two roads). I train dn as much as I can in how to cross roads but he's still apt to walk in front of traffic now and then. With my two children, dn tends to be flighty and irresponsible but I think when with his Mum he will look out for her (so he's the adult of the pair, he is nearly 11). SIL is not a responsible adult, she is a vulnerable person, and needs someone to tell her what to do the whole time. She can go shopping, but she's not all that sensible and I'm very wary about her "looking after" dn.

If I said to MIL "I'm not sure SIL can walk dn safely home from school" it would drop a 50 megatonne drama bomb and MIL would go off on one. She's HUGELY paranoid and thinks everyone hates her beloved daughter, and makes it all about us hating SIL when really it's an issue of dn's safety. So I've been a moral coward so far and hoped that dn is actually good enough to cross roads for the pair of them. It's only two little roads in a busy town, the side roads are never busy. And they cross at the lights quite efficiently.

So advice please..... also...

Other problem: last week, my dn needed a haircut. I wanted him to have a military short back and sides because it suits us better in the uniform we wear in our community group, and dn agreed. My MIL offered to take him to get a haircut. I thought, that given he knows what he wants, it would not be controversial, and MIL loves to feel useful to us in helping with things like haircuts and shoe buying.

DN came home with a haircut, it was okay but not quite short enough. I asked him who had asked for that haircut, and he said "Mum took me, she did all the talking to the hairdresser." So in other words - dn deferred to him Mum, because she was the adult in the situation - and ended up with not quite the right haircut.

How do I tactfully explain to dn "Your mum is not mentally fit to make decisions about your haircut, when she is around, you have to speak up for yourself and be a bit more active." The hairdresser would not have known any better, would have just seen a mum out with a son, would not have realised she is mentally ill and not really up to playing the mum role. And dn is incredibly passive, he makes no decisions for himself, he always defers to authority, something I'm trying desperately to get him to grow out of given he's on the cusp of being independent. (Going to school alone etc). I fear it will be another situation with dn in floods of tears, his go-to response like Nana is "You hate my mum!"

Also I thought that Nana and his Mum would be taking him for a haircut, didn't realise that Nana is getting SIL to do all the going out work with dn. I know the haircut is like a very minor issue, it's good enough, but dn needs to know NOT to sit around waiting for his Mum to make decisions because she never will. Or she will try and get it wrong, oblivious, in her own little drugged up world.

Pang Mon 20-Jun-11 18:03:26

Green
Do you have legal guardianship of your DN? If you do then the final decision is yours, especially if you are worried about his safety. If you do not then I would tread carefully.

How does your DN normally get home? Keep your same system with mum as an extra.

Re: Your DN standing up to his mum about the haircut. Really it is difficult for a child to stand up to an adult especially if it's a parent that you love and want to please. I think that is too much to expect of him.

Good Luck

balia Mon 20-Jun-11 18:06:15

He's 11 and can't be trusted to cross the road? shock

greencolorpack Mon 20-Jun-11 22:55:57

Not the legal guardian. We don't have any money to get lawyers involved. Hes not very good at focussing to cross roads, he would rather laugh with the other children than pay attention. He is probably different with his mum.

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