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AIBU and being over protective?

(24 Posts)
RaaRaaToday Thu 05-May-16 19:55:27

My ds spends a day a week with my father at my parents house. Extremely grateful for this support, ds loves it and I am very close to my parents, but today feeling really quite miffed. DM wanted to put a pond in their garden, I suggested to DM that I thought this was a bad a idea as DS2 is only just coming up 3 and a very head strong and inquisitive child who is obsessed with water and fish. DF immediately agreed, saying that Ds had the run of the house and garden and he knew it was safe, he knew Ds would be in the pond immediately and worried about the risk. I suggested maybe they could wait a year, both agreed that this was a risk to DS and would wait till ds was a little older. It was all a very happy, amicable conversation. Just phoned DF and he informed me he now has built a pond and filled it - 8ft across and 2ft deep apparently. When I repeated what he had said back to him his response was 'well you all grew up with ponds and no child had died yet.' - of course this is highly reassuring - not! I know ds is given quite a free rein at my parents and knowing the house and garden are safe I've never minded this - but now I'm annoyed. I know I cannot tell what they can or cannot have in their garden but I'm upset because of the conversation that proceeded this and everyone agreed and recognized it as a risk to my son which doesn't now seem to matter or count. I question whether ds is now going to be safe there.
I should also say I've had a damn awful day, feeling very highly strung and really emotional so probably not being as rational as I should!

Tiopyn Thu 05-May-16 20:03:56

YANBU to feel that way, however as you say you cannot be expected to have a say in their household decisions.
You are free to tell them that they must keep a closer eye on DS from now on, I certainly wouldn't be happy with him having free run around a pond!
Could DF perhaps put a fence around the pond area? Or something that would prevent DS getting there unsupervised?

Chottie Thu 05-May-16 20:05:58

OP - I would share your concerns too and I am a MiL.

I would never, ever have a pond or water feature in my garden.

Princesspeach1980 Thu 05-May-16 20:11:01

My mum filled in her pond as soon as her first grandchild was crawling, and was then most put out when my dsis built what was practically a reservoir in their own garden, with no fence! Thankfully no incidents but always seemed very unsafe.

Could your df get some strong metal grill to lay across the top, weighted down with something round the edges, then it should be pretty safe.

crayfish Thu 05-May-16 20:11:42

Obviously you can't dictate what somebody else has in their garden but I would feel exactly the same as you. Ponds and water features make me very nervous with children and we have all heard stories about children drowning in shallow water within minutes, so it's not as if there are no risks. There were the two twins very recently who drowned in a pond in the garden (albeit a bigger one I think), your parents would have heard about that I'm sure.

As its done now I think you need to speak to them about a cover or fence round it.

BeYourselfUnlessUCanBeAUnicorn Thu 05-May-16 20:16:53


I hate the arguments that 'oh you survived so it's fine' bullshit. I survived being driven around without seat belts or on a bean bag in the back of a van ffs but it doesn't mean I'd let my DCs do it now.

My GPs had a pond, I was older but there were a lot of young DGC. One day we were in the house and I was about 8, my 3 year old sister walked in dripping wet, she had fallen in (thankfully the shallow end) and climbed out and come in the house! Not worth the risk at all, far too many accidents have happened.

My issue would be that I wouldn't trust them to actually watch him closely outside if that is their lax attitude. Small children and water do not mix ever.

NeedACleverNN Thu 05-May-16 20:18:07

I think as long as they are prepared to put a fence up even temporarily and then supervise 200% yabu.

However I don't blame you for being worried. Can your DF watch your ds at your house instead from now on?

RaaRaaToday Thu 05-May-16 20:26:09

No he wouldn't come to us. We've had a few arguments over the years with how lax they can be. they think I'm over protective, I've been worried about their decision making and the risks they consider to be ok. This may well be the last straw for DH!! - like I said we love them both dearly but how can this be a risk one minute and then not the next... have spoken to him and says he will get a mesh - I just can't help but think why couldn't they wait a year!

Peppaismyhomegirl Thu 05-May-16 20:30:07

My son wouldn't be going there without me I'm afraid. I don't think I could trust them especially with their reaction to you

CPtart Thu 05-May-16 20:35:48

Difficult one, when they are providing regular (and I presume free) childcare for you in their own home. However it is a risk, and not one I'm sure I'd be happy to take week in and week out. You are the parent after all, and ultimately responsible for your DS welfare with the choices you make.
I do think people's perception of risk diminishes with age. We refuse to let PIL have sole care of our DC anymore after whilst under their sole care, my nephew sledged into a tree and knocked himself out. DS2 hurtled down a steep hill on a scooter and still bears the scars, and another nephew aged 8 fell off a rope swing and broke both his wrists whilst they sat with a flask out of view.
Accidents will always happen, but some are more preventable IMO.

ImperialBlether Thu 05-May-16 20:40:39

I wouldn't let him go there unless I was with him. If something awful happened you wouldn't just lose your son, you'd lose your relationship with your parents. They are complete idiots.

ImperialBlether Thu 05-May-16 20:41:29

A childminder wouldn't be allowed to do this, would she?

BackforGood Thu 05-May-16 20:46:12

YANBU nor overprotective.
I am generally very laid back, but would not allow any 3 yr old of mine free reign in a home with a pond in the garden.
Even more so since my friends' neighbour's little one died in their own back garden pond around this time 2 years ago. It doesn't just happen to "someone else", it happens to small children every year sad

I would have to stop them having him on their own, I'm afraid, and probably limit time I spent their with him as it wouldn't be that relaxing.

Campbell2016 Thu 05-May-16 20:49:40

No way Jose. Unless the pond is made safe with a good high fence then no more visits without you to supervise.

expatinscotland Thu 05-May-16 20:50:35

Sorry, but I wouldn't allow my children to go there without me now. My dad lives abroad and he filled in his pond before DD1 even visited as a baby and he only saw her at his house once a year! He had a solar powered fountain now, but my kids are much older now.

BeYourselfUnlessUCanBeAUnicorn Thu 05-May-16 20:52:27

Nope then. A mesh isn't going to cut it and they would think by doing that that they could continue being lax. He can't go unattended then.

Cel982 Thu 05-May-16 20:55:52

I wouldn't let him visit the house any more unless I was there to supervise. I'm very very wary of bodies of water where young kids are concerned. Toddlers drown quickly and silently, and usually within feet of their caregiver.

I know the father of a little boy who drowned in a neighbour's pond after crawling through a hole in the hedge. He's a haunted man.

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Thu 05-May-16 20:57:51

I read that toddlers are more likely to die in a home with a swimming pool than a gun. I would be worried by their "you survived it" reaction- it sounds like they really don't appreciate the dangers.

Whilst they are obviously free to design their own garden, I do wonder wtf the rush to dig a pond was.

RaaRaaToday Thu 05-May-16 21:00:51

Yes you're right Hopeless, this is from an accident prevention website: Young children 2 to 4 years of age have a higher risk of drowning than any other age group. Most of these children are alone and playing near water when they fell in and drowned. The backyard swimming pool or pond is the riskiest site for these youngsters.

ilovemakeup86 Thu 05-May-16 21:03:20

I'd be annoyed too, I have a 2 year old son who's also obsessed with water, he'd be right in there confused

EarthboundMisfit Thu 05-May-16 21:03:52

I would feel the same as you, OP.

almostthirty Thu 05-May-16 21:05:37

Yanbu but there are ways if making it safer. My parents have a large deep pond but it is fenced and the dc are never left unsupervised. E.g. patio doors are always locked so the dc can't accidently get outside, house phone taken into the garden or ignored if it rings. Dc taken inside and door locked if you need the loo. It's a pain in the arse but worth it because df loves his pond.

MyLocal Thu 05-May-16 21:23:45

Two little rein boys died very recently in a garden pond, if was all over the news. You cannot take any risk. You would never forgive yourself or get over it. Please don't consider letting him go there without you or your DH.

Mummylin Thu 05-May-16 21:38:24

I have three grandchildren and a big pond. We would never of taken a risk with any of them. So we built a fence with a locked gate around our patio area. We never left them unattended at any time. We would not of been able to live with the guilt if anything had happened to them. Maybe you could ask them if they could fence off an area by the house that your child couldn't get out of. I do understand your worry, it's a genuine one, but precautions can be taken.

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