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To say no to sleepover because the mother has Mental Health history?

(339 Posts)
MaybeParanoid Fri 16-Dec-11 23:17:12

Name changed. And will be vague as I don't want to upset anyone.

My DC has been invited to a sleepover.

The mother (single so only adult present) has mental health issues. She has recently - as in, only within last fortnight got home - been an inpatient for these problems.

I have met her a handful of times. The first time she was clearly agitated and had visible symptoms such as shakey hands and darting eyes. She was clearly uncomfortable but I did know a little of her background so tried not to be pushy and give her space but stay friendly and welcoming.

Everytime after this first meeting she has been chatty and seemed at ease and 'normal' (I hate to use that word but don't know how else to explain that she seemed just like any other mum in the playground)

Her DC has stayed here on many occasions and has been open and honest about the mothers breakdowns and when she is/has been in hospital. From what I can gather, the mother has some sort of manic depression but obviously, I can not be certain.

Today, my DC was invited to a sleepover by the dc. I immediately made an excuse about being busy with family and christmas stuff as I do not feel comfortable about my DC being there.

I can't really pin point why. I worry that she will be unable to cope (this is how her DC explains it 'mum can't cope with everything so she's gone away again') but overall, the idea just doesn't sit right with me.

AIBU? Am I being panicky and OTT?

I'm shocked at how strongly I feel about this when I would say I was a pretty accepting person. I'm interested to see how other people would handle this situation.

AgentZigzag Fri 16-Dec-11 23:18:48

How old are your DC?

MaybeParanoid Fri 16-Dec-11 23:19:45

sorry should have said that. They are 11.

cestlavielife Fri 16-Dec-11 23:20:33

How old are dc? Where do they stay when she is an in patient?

MaybeParanoid Fri 16-Dec-11 23:22:21

She only has this one DC who stays at the fathers full time visiting the mum at weekends when she is home

thepeoplesprincess Fri 16-Dec-11 23:22:28

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

slavetofilofax Fri 16-Dec-11 23:22:51

I don't think you are being OTT, and I would feel uncomfortable about my children being cared for by someone that has recently been a MH inpatient. I hope this lady is capable of caring for her own child, but I wouldn't be taking the chance with my own.

WilsonFrickett Fri 16-Dec-11 23:23:29

At 11, with a mobile phone, I wouldn't hesitate to let them go. She's ill, she's receiving treatment, and i think the key is - she wouldn't have asked if she wasn't feeling well enough.

marriedandwreathedinholly Fri 16-Dec-11 23:24:54

How old are the children? Would the hospital have let her home if she wasn't OK? Have you been able to have a frank discussion with her about the mental health problems? Is there another adult available at home? Is your DC old enough/responsible enough to text you if the host mother appears unwell? Are you able to ask the mother "are you OK at the moment, do you feel up to doing the sleepover - you know you can ring me at any time if there are problems"? Does the mother actually know her dc has invited your dc and is she happy with it? Could you suggest she and you have supper at hers and you put the children to bed together and you go back in the morning with croissants and have coffee and hot chocolate all together to make it a fun time?

I honestly don't know what I would do but I woudl reassure myself that my dc would be safe before making a decision and do my best to treat the family sensitively and allow them to have their dignity.

BettyBum Fri 16-Dec-11 23:25:17

If you are saying no because she has a history of mental health problems then I think YABU. If it's because she has recently been in hospital then YANBU IMO.

staylucky Fri 16-Dec-11 23:25:30

Go with your gut instinct, I wouldn't risk personally.

I think YABU. Understandably, perhaps.. but your child is 11 not 5 and therefore capable of ringing you to come home if there was a massive problem or your DC was uncomfortable (you could always lend him/her a mobile if he/she doesn't have one)

It's probably quite a big thing for your child's friend to invite anyone for a sleepover, and presumably Mum feels stable enough to offer. You child's friend is obviously coping with a lot as it is.. and will most definitely feel rejected if you say know..and at 11 years old he/she will know WHY.

If your child wishes to go.. let them.. Lots of families have issues.. you just don't usually know about them!!!

MaybeParanoid Fri 16-Dec-11 23:26:52

See, I agree to a point Wilson. But what if she has said yes because she feels bad for her DC never having had a sleepover when they have been pretty much been held very weekend between this certain group of friends for months now? I'm concerned she's taking on too much because she feels guilty - and I know she does from what the DC has said.

MaybeParanoid Fri 16-Dec-11 23:32:32

This is why I'm posting. To get others opinions on this as I honestly feel I'm being a bit U but then I feel worried and talk myself out of it.

I hate to judge people and I have dealt with MH issues within my family since I was a child so I'm not sure if I am comparing to them IYSWIM?

I feel bad because I know her DC just wants to be 'normal' like the other kids holding sleepovers but I really feel uneasy sad

AgentZigzag Fri 16-Dec-11 23:32:59

It's possible the shaking etc could be down to the medication she's on?

And she could have admitted herself to hospital if she was struggling, rather than being a risk to herself or other people.

I can totally understand why you might feel reluctant, but I agree with the other posters that at 11 your DC should be able to contact you if anything happens they're not happy with.

Yourefired Fri 16-Dec-11 23:34:11

This is a difficult one, as you are torn between caring for your child and not discriminating against someone, who seems to be a nice, friendly person, with mental health issues. If it helps, my brother has bipolar disorder. During extreme episodes he is a danger to no-one but himself and can "hold-on" for short (say a couple of days) periods of time. That said I would not leave him in care of my children on his own, so soon after a bad period. There are two reasons: a duty of care to my children; and such responsibility would be too stressful for him and may trigger another difficult event. I would steer the middle course, decline on the basis of other commitments, but suggest that you meet-up with the children in the new year for the cinema or some such. I know that my brother's children are fiercely proud of their dad and do feel some of the stigma his condition entails. This would be another reason to reach out to her and her child, but in a measured and contained way. Good luck.

slavetofilofax Fri 16-Dec-11 23:36:14

She could have asked even if she wasn't feeling well enough, and even if she felt well enough when she made the invitation, that doesn't mean she will still feel well when the date arrives. Then if she already feels guilty, it will be hard for her to cancel as she won't want to let her dd down.

How does your dd feel about going?

AgentZigzag Fri 16-Dec-11 23:36:51

But whether her DC have or haven't had a sleepover is not your responsibility MP.

It's easy for any poster here to say 'you're being judgy' when it's not their child they're talking about.

You should do what feel most comfortable doing, regardless of what you think is going on in this womans house/life.

Bogeyface Fri 16-Dec-11 23:37:21

Thinking logically, the best time for him to go is when she is on the radar of her doctors etc as she will be on top of her meds, more aware of her condition etc. The worst time would be in a few months when she is spiralling downwards, although you would probably think "she hasnt been in for a while, she is probably ok".

Its like the safest time to fly is just after a major plane crash, ykwim?

edam Fri 16-Dec-11 23:38:37

You say you feel strongly about this. I think you should trust your instincts - you clearly aren't a prejudiced person. And even if you try to go on logic not feelings, the fact she's recently out of hospital is enough to give pause.

It's all very well to say 'give your son a mobile' but I wouldn't like to be an 11yo potentially witnessing a breakdown - very frightening and distressing.

Maybe if you are able to talk to her next term and she's able to be open with you about what if x or y happens, but not right now.

thepeoplesprincess Fri 16-Dec-11 23:38:43

Why not suggest an evening meal at Pizza Hut or what-have-you for all of you to go to? It'll give the kids a chance; to see each other and you can get to know her a bit better.

MaybeParanoid Fri 16-Dec-11 23:39:50

I think the shaking was due to meds yes. She went back in shortly afterwards so she could have stopped taking them/needed the dose adjusted etc.

I am concerned my DC would be frightened of causing a fuss so wouldn't ask to come home. It is across the city and I don't drive. Also, I would be here alone with other DC as DH is working away. But really, a cab could be sorted so I know it's not a big problem and I would make sure my DC knew that too.

I'm a bit surprised I'm trying to find excuses though. I've always just felt that following my instinct where my DCs are concerned is enough but this feels mean and judgemental one moment and right the next.

cestlavielife Fri 16-Dec-11 23:40:46

Can you speak to the father ? Presumably he has to make the call as to whether she ok to have dc or not ?

WilsonFrickett Fri 16-Dec-11 23:41:02

No, you don't really 'know' anything about her. You only know what the DC tells you, and that's unlikely to be the whole story. Having said that, I have just noticed on the OP that it was the DC who extended the invite, not her blush so I think you do need to talk to her personally and make your judgement then. FWIW I have a friend who has just started in thyroid meds and she shakes uncontrollably and has bulging eyes at the minute, however they are still tinkering with her dosage - it sounds like this woman is doing her best to manage her condition tbh, in the same way as my friend is. It's just another illness IMO. But do check the invite has actually came from her wink

Liluri Fri 16-Dec-11 23:41:44

Your concerns over the well being of your child are paramount.
The recent hospital admission would concern me too.
Have all the sleep overs at your house if you are worried.
11 is too young to be expected to determine if a situation needs added parental input - ie phoning you.

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