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AIBU to not let her take DS to the cinema?

(75 Posts)
ToFleaOrNotToFlea Fri 10-Jul-15 07:13:21

Long story short, SIL has borderline personality disorder. Last week she was at our house one evening and after she had gone, we were woken up by police officers banging on the door. SIL had taken an overdose and gone for a long walk. She let the mental health services know and they called the police. They had helicopters and sniffer dogs out for her and DH was out on his bike scanning the area for her dead body.

She was found safely and taken to hospital and back to work the following Monday. We also found out she did this in the same week a couple of days previous. She is gobsmacked at the backlash it has received as she never had any intention to kill herself, she gets a release from the attention perhaps.

Anyhow, she keeps badgering on about taking my 4 year old out on her own. She sent me a text to say she would never let him come to any harm. I replied to say I know that, and I would be happy for her to babysit DS when the dust has settled and she is feeling better. She accepted this.

Yesterday, we were having dinner in a pub and she was asking DH and I again if she could take Ds to the cinema. DH brushed it off saying we were going away, and she kept on asking when we were free. When DH went to the toilet, she said to me she was sorry if she was out of order asking to take DS to the cinema. I said it wasn't out of order, it was very kind - but I would prefer not as it was still too soon after what had happened the previous weekend.

She got very upset and it was the most awkward dinner ever as she didn't say a word. I said I hope I hadn't upset her, and what would she do if she was in my shoes. When I got back from taking DS to the loo, she had gone.

I was sorry to upset her, so I Am asking aibu and how to resolve the tension between SIL and I?

Sirzy Fri 10-Jul-15 07:15:48

I don't think you are being unreasonable. Can you go with them? Even sit a bit away from them if necessary just so you are there? Make it clear to her that you still want her to have a relationship with him but don't want her to have the pressure of him alone until things are more stable?

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 10-Jul-15 07:17:54

YANBU, at all.

WhyCantIuseTheNameIWant Fri 10-Jul-15 07:20:58

Well, a cinema is a public place, so should be safe.
Is the cinema near to you? Same town?
Maybe having the trust/responsibility might help her.
Set a date in a couple of weeks, with the condition of good behaviour from both of them. No more "outbursts" from her and pick something for ds too, so he "earns his treat".
Then ask a friend with similar aged dc to go to the same showing, to keep an eye on them. Not go with them, just "accidentally happen to be there".
If your ds is in school, wait until the holiday.
Yanbu to be concerned.
Yanbu to to let him go, but make sure you plan for his safety.

Weebirdie Fri 10-Jul-15 07:23:08

There's absolutely no need for compromise here. Your SIL has mental health problems that mean her behaviour can be unpredictable and as such she can't be alone with your son - even in his own home as his babysitter.

I come from a family where mental health illnesses are prevalent, my own mum died in our local psychiatric hospital and I'd have no qualms whatsoever about being very truthful with SIL as to why she cannot have your son - its too risky.

Pastaeater Fri 10-Jul-15 07:25:21

YANBU - stand your ground.

AuntyMag10 Fri 10-Jul-15 07:25:37

Yanbu, she is very unstable and your priority is your ds. I would not go with WhyCant suggestions as that involves too much management of the situation and ideally you don't want her alone with him.

chippednailvarnish Fri 10-Jul-15 07:25:50

YANBU there is no way I would let her take him when she is clearly so unstable. The fact she left a meal midway through speaks volumes. Your DS is not a test to see if she is well enough to behave rationally.

Soundofsettling Fri 10-Jul-15 07:29:26

Your sil is ill, if she wants to go to the cinema she should go with an adult.

I would pay attention to you and your husbands gut instinct, though if she is getting feedback from drama she way well be engineering this situation rather than focusing on her own recovery.

ConstanceBlackwood Fri 10-Jul-15 07:31:12

I agree with wee birdie. He's your son-absolutely no need to compromise if you don't wish to. I'm not saying she's a danger to him but it is very soon after two major incidents. A period of stability for her might be a good idea before making any decisions or feeling pressured. If she is upset that's a shame but its better than you worrying while they are gone what might happen. If this was a physical issue it would be the same. She needs to look after her mental health first.

Hissy Fri 10-Jul-15 07:32:34

If she wants to stop having borderline personality disorder, she can.

Sure it's (very) hard work, but it's doable.

In the meantime there is no way she will have your child alone.

She doesn't have to approve or like your decisions, you are the parents it's up to you. Be united and just say no.

The awkwardness is manipulation, let her sulk, pout whatever. Your child isn't going anywhere with her.

stopthecavalry Fri 10-Jul-15 07:34:00

Don't let her take him until she is well/more stable and he is older. He is too vulnerable and she is too unpredictable. I wouldn't let her babysit right now either. She has no 'rights' in this situation. Your duty as parents is to protect your son. You can encourage their relationship with one of you still present.

merrymouse Fri 10-Jul-15 07:36:04

No, YANBU. Even if you had no concerns about her mental health, it would be fine to say that you didn't want her to be in sole charge of your ds. Equally, if an elderly grandparent had physical health problems you might decide that despite their best intentions they were not up to caring for a 4 year old.

Basically, there are all sorts of perfectly understandable reasons why somebody might love to look a child on their own, but it is the parent's choice.

If she wants to spend time with your DS, she needs to put up with you being there too.

On the other hand there isn't much you can do about her badgering.

patienceisvirtuous Fri 10-Jul-15 07:36:59


MrsKCastle Fri 10-Jul-15 07:38:52

No. I completely disagree with WhyCantI- there is no way I would let my child go with her at the moment. Not now, not in 2 weeks, not until she has received and responded to treatment for her MH problems.

In the meantime, I would facilitate plenty of contact between the two of them, asking her over, letting her spend time with your DS while you get on with the housework etc. Try toshow her that you ddon't have an issue with her, it's her illness.

Offred Fri 10-Jul-15 07:43:17

I think the best thing to do is to be clear and direct with her and explain that whilst you love her and she is part of the family she is just not well enough to be left with DS atm and that you would not be comfortable with it since she doesn't seem to understand how worrying her behaviour has been.

Tapasfairy Fri 10-Jul-15 07:53:27

Never in this lifetime. Sorry far too risky.

But I'd tell her honestly. He's not a dog he's your baby and your responsibility is to keep him safe...sod her feelings.

My sil is similar and she stropped and sulked but I just couldn't trust her.

Sootgremlin Fri 10-Jul-15 07:59:20

No way. You were very kind, but then you needed to be direct for her to get the message, there is problem with that, don't be manipulated by her being upset, it was a sad but necessary consequence of her not realising the enormity of her actions and trying take on a responsibility for someone else"s child she is not suitable for at the moment.

Yes, she has health issues, but she is also an adult. Your son is a very small child and he doesn't exist for the whim of others. She may not directly cause him harm, but even if she got distracted or left him alone it would be scary for him at the very least, and would irreparably damage the relationship on all sides.

You don't need to make excuses, he is your child and doesn't need to do anything you're not happy with at that age. 4 is very young, too young to know how to act in an emergency. My ds is very clingy to me in cinemas as it's so busy and dark. You could all go together, she doesn't need to have him alone.

Marcipex Fri 10-Jul-15 07:59:32

What tapasfairy and others have said.

No way. She's too unpredictable.
I second telling her honestly.

MammaTJ Fri 10-Jul-15 08:03:09

She gets an amazing amount of attention by doing this alone, imagine how much she would get with your DS in tow! When hell freezes over would be about when I would let her have him alone!

Oliversmumsarmy Fri 10-Jul-15 08:07:18

I think it is called having consequences from your actions. If you take an overdose then go for a long walk whilst all and sundry are looking for you then you cannot expect other people to treat you the same afterwards and carry on as normal


Ginpopsgalore Fri 10-Jul-15 08:11:21

hello? No way would i let your sil look after your son not for a cinema trip or any other babysitting. Why would you? She is irresponsible and a danger to herself and quite possibly to others. Either way she seems utterly unreasonable.

DamsonInDistress Fri 10-Jul-15 08:12:58

Never, under any circumstance, ever. Not because I would be afraid she would purposefully harm him, but because she is unpredictable, makes poor decisions, and because she might harm herself, and there is no way I would allow my child to be exposed to that directly.

fourtothedozen Fri 10-Jul-15 08:15:34

I completely agree with you OP.

Also your 4 yo is not a plaything for the entertainment of others.
I would be honest with her- having your OH out looking for her dead body is horrific, her actions are having a big impact on others, including you not fully trusting her with your son.
Which is totally understandable and natural.
I have sympathy for your SIL and I hope she gets the help she needs, but your DS is not part of her therapy.

Fairylea Fri 10-Jul-15 08:18:56

I think until she's received proper help and treatment, then no.

However I think it's important to remember that even the most severe of mental illnesses are recoverable. My mum suffered with schizophrenia throughout my childhood and was in and out of psychiatric hospital. She has remained medication free (with the help of her care team) for the last 30 years and hasn't been in hospital since. She looked after my dd for me when she was little with no problems whatsoever and was very trustworthy.

But yes treatment for your sil at this stage is most important and no to cinema trips with your ds.

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