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To be getting a wee bit worried about 12 year old nieces lack of freedom ?

(19 Posts)

Got back a few days ago from a visit to my bro's, and this has been bugging me since.

I think it was his reaction when he thought she'd gone out onto the front street to wait for me (I was taking her out on her bike) he literally broke out into a sweat and got himself quite wound up (she hadn't, she'd gone into a different room )

She doesn't go out alone, ever.

She's transported everywhere by car, brother has split with his wife and it's exactly the same there.

In other ways things are great, she's bright and popular, has lots of sleepovers and is in clubs etc and so on.

I'm pretty sure they're over protective because of issues from their own childhood which I understand fully but I am starting to worry that when she does start to get some freedom she's going to be clueless. She's never been on a bus or train, still holds hands at busy roads, wouldn't cross independently. Will she be able to manage ?

I dunno, maybe i'm being a worry bag and seriously I don't judge, I fully understand the way they are. What to do tho ? Should I mention it to them ?

nethunsreject Thu 11-Aug-11 16:17:49

I agree with you, but I'd keep well out of it.

Ephiny Thu 11-Aug-11 16:19:57

Me too - it doesn't sound like an ideal situation, but it's not really any of your business to interfere in. Depends how close you are to your brother, I suppose, and whether you could say something without him taking offence.

Sn0wflake Thu 11-Aug-11 16:20:24

I agree too....but I'm not sure how you would handle it. Maybe you should be honest with them...but they may be angry.

AgentZigzag Thu 11-Aug-11 16:21:58

If you understand the reasons they're doing it, I'm not sure why you'd think your opinion would or should out weigh theirs.

It's just differences in parenting styles rather than your DN being abused or something.

Unless they asked you what you thought, I would stay out of it.

WilsonFrickett Thu 11-Aug-11 16:23:25

I agree with you, what's going to happen when she gets to secondary school? But not sure how you can broach it, depends on relationship with your brother I guess. Is there a way you could bring up 'are you worried about how things might go with DN as she grows up, what with you being on your own (you didn't mention if he had a new partner). Would you like me to be a kind of (female) sounding board for you?' But only you know how he will react to that. I guess he's probably worried about boys, bodies etc so might welcome some input?

Prob will keep me beak out, I don't think they'd get angry...... in fact i'm certain they wouldn't but I can see they're putting their own fears and issues on to their dd which is what concerns me.

She is at secondary school, she's driven to the end of the road and picked up again later.

He has a new partner (who's very nice) and i've noticed she's started to give my niece some bits of responsibility, washing dishes, doing bits of her own washing etc which I think has been great for her.

LaWeasel Thu 11-Aug-11 16:30:43

Is it something directly to do with your DN that means they are very protective of her, or is it a fear of something from their childhood that they don't want to risk happening again (and is it a reasonably possible risk or a very rare risk?)

Either way, they are likely to be offended if you bring it up - unless perhaps you were spectacularly subtle in a "oh gosh, I'm so incredibly nervous about my DC going to the shops for the first time on their own, but I know they can manage and need to learn." style...

Otherwise is there anyone else who will be filling in the role of teaching her these things? Will there be an age where she can leave school grounds for lunch for eg? If so she will eventually learn from her friends example.

zukiecat Thu 11-Aug-11 16:35:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I'm not worried about offending the brother, we have a good relationship. ie, I can tell him to get his head out of his arse if needs be wink

Childhood issues, he was abused by somebody known by our family, he's now dead but obviously it's left it's scars, he suffers with horrendous anxiety and it does effect my niece, I think. She can get quite teary if he gets spooked, like when he thought she'd gone outside alone. That's the only reason i'm thinking something should be said, I think i'm just struggling with how I should go about.

LaWeasel Thu 11-Aug-11 16:46:40

I understand where he's coming from, anxiety is awful.

Has he ever had any therapy about it? Maybe it would help him devise ways to keep her safe and allow her freedom too?

Ephiny Thu 11-Aug-11 16:51:26

Yes I was going to ask if he'd consider counselling for it - maybe he thinks it's all far in the past and no point dragging it up again, but it's obviously still affecting him, and indirectly his DD. Not something you can or should push him to do if he's not ready to talk though sad

Sounds like his new partner is sensible and nice, she may be able to have a reassuring influence and help him allow her a bit more freedom. Not sure if it would be appropriate, but do you know her well enough to have a chat?

I think I might have a chat with his girlfriend, we had a few nods and winks over the tomato sauce wink

He's been in counselling for years Weasel, it's awful the effect it's had on him, even cooking the tea, he timed things wrong so binned the lot and started again because he was scared he'd make us ill (not in an aggresive way iyswim) but it is a worry.

LaWeasel Thu 11-Aug-11 16:54:40

That's awful, poor guy!

I hope he is able to get past it and get on with his life at some point soon.

GF is a good idea.

ZZZenAgain Thu 11-Aug-11 16:57:51

I'd say nothing. It'll sort itself out I think. She is out socialising in clubs and sleeping over in other homes and the time is going to come of itself where she will refuse to have her hand held at street corners. If she stays with you some time, maybe you could pop on a bus with her very casually and she'll know how it is done then, it is no big challenge, you just need to observe what to do on a bus once or twice and you're away IFYSIM

Yes she's very....... straight talking but too.

On the surface he's done great, good job, huge house has lots of friends who care for him. his anxiety seems to focus mainly on his dd iyswim ?

ZZZenAgain Thu 11-Aug-11 17:02:20

well it is kind of understandable under those circumstances. He cannot help worrying and you really just cannot switch it off I think. If you worry, you worry and he has his reasons. Dd sounds like she is being taken care of and I think when she is 14-15, he's just naturally going to relax a bit more.

She could start walking to school with a friend maybe, if they like perhaps with a parent too initially and build up to it but I wouldn't pressure them. Just if she is with you, gently make her aware of what to look out for in a casual way although I wouldn't send her off alone when they specifically don't wantthat IYSWIM but you can go for a walk and not hold her hand at the lights and wait till she starts to cross before you follow etc.

AMumInScotland Thu 11-Aug-11 17:09:41

If you are there from time to time, you can gradually do things with her, show her how things work, get her to take the lead etc. So you take her somewhere on a bus, check the display board for the right number bus, check the timetable etc. And talk about making sure you know where the busstop is for coming back again. The trick is not to let her just drift along with you without thinking, but get her actively thinking about what you are doing, what decisions you are making etc. If she was your own child, you'd probably have done this when she was 5, but its never too late to start.

Same with walking places and crossing the road - give her a running commentary on how you are choosing where to cross, how you are judging the traffic. Then get her to take the lead next time and prompt her with "What else do you need to consider?" questions.

You can't stop him worrying, but realistically if she knows how to deal with these things, there will be less to worry about if she does have to do them from time to time.

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