Neglect - confused(93 Posts)
This is not so much an AIBU, more a WWYD, or even just a mmmmm.. what should I do?
I have a good ish friend. She has DCs around age 6 and 3. Lives in London.
This friend is quite rich - house worth nearly a million, they have a live in au pair, and my friend and her DH have good jobs.
However, little ones just seem so neglected. Both parents are always working (both more than full time with commutes), out with friends, at clubs. Friend often goes away on business for a week here and there. DCs r always picked up from school by au pair. Au pair is changed every 3 months. Friend hardly sees DCs, and on weekends dumps them with friends. Friend has been known to leave oldest DC in house on own for 30 mins here and there too (when au pair not in).
Friends House is a dump - never hoovered, stinks of cat poo, stuff everywhere. they have an au pair and could afford a cleaner if they r too busy.
My DS had play date today and I saw friends DCs bedrooms for the first time -- made me really sad. Bare walls, no toys (although there r toys in lounge so they do have toys), dirty old sheets on bed, no kiddy curtains - just old cream drapes, no books - just a big, empty room with two tiny beds and an old chest of draws. I felt so sad. My DCs have colourful walls, freshly (ish!!) washed bedding, teddies, toys, photos, books, bits and bobs they love on their desks, book cases, nice curtains. Their rooms are cosy and clean nice places to b.
Friends DCs r lovely but v quiet and they always look in need of a bath and fresh clothes.
Don't really know what I am asking. Just find it all confusing and sad. Any thoughts? Am I just being judgemental and this is all normal?
My friends don't have kiddy curtains either-they're ugly, I wouldn't want to inflict that on them. But the dirty house/six year old being left alone for so long worries me. Could you have a chat with your friend about hiring a cleaner and a full time nanny orcatvghe fery least boarding for the eldest in the near future?
Yes I think you are being judgemental.
The house is messy, the decor is not to your liking, they work hard yet "dump" their kids on friends at the weekend.
How do you know all this?
Your friends are the kind of people that never should have bred. There are poor people who manage to provide a better home life in terms of bedrooms and cleanliness for their kids with meagre resources at hand and both parents working.
With plenty of money for a cleaner that's just disgraceful and I bet if they handed an au pair a credit card and reasonable bonus in pay she'd happily decorate the kid's room for them. It's the least the parents could do since time and affection seem out of their ability.
Taken all together it sounds worrying but not something for SS (apart from leaving 6 yr old alone in the house)
The only thing you could do is speak to your friends. Are you close enough to have that chat?
Well.... what can you do? They dont sound like great enthusiastic parents but what you state does not sound like neglect either. Im pleased for you that your house is clean and you get to spend a lot of time with your children but that is not everyones reality.
Different things have different meanings to different families. Amount of toys or how brightly coloured a childs room is, is no indicator of how much a child is loved or how well they are looked after.
Im just not sure what you want to do or what you can do? If you bring it up they will be (justifiably in my opinion) pretty insulted and feel like you are being incredibly judgemental.
I'd like to know how you know all this too
And I'm confused as to which friend you're slating here. Which one has the cat poo? Your 'friend' or her friend who they 'dump' the kids with?
As an aside, having a house in London that's worth under a million is not as impressive as it sounds.
Depending on which part you're talking about, I've seen dilapidated hovels worth well over half a million and more.
Bedrooms like you describe are one of the red flags social services look out for in cases of neglect.
If you were either really her friend or really concerned, you would talk honestly to her. Since you haven't I can only conclude that you are neither of those things.
Why is it a red flag if they have toys downstairs? (Sorry if silly question)
I think this is really sad, and pretty rubbish for those children; but I don't think it's neglect. As in, I don't think it would meet the 'threshold of needs'. Neglect as a safeguarding issue is really hard to prove.
I strongly suspect that if you rang the NSPCC they'd tell you the same.
If you wanted to take it further, then I'd say your next step would be to contact the safeguarding lead at the school. [ring them and ask to speak to the safeguarding lead, and give a number for them to call you back if they're not currently available, as it's likely to be the head teacher]. Tell them what you've seen, and if they've got any concerns themselves (regarding the cleanliness, etc) then your statement will give more weight to their concerns.
Going into your OP in more detail:
Both parents are always working (both more than full time with commutes), out with friends, at clubs. Friend often goes away on business for a week here and there. DCs r always picked up from school by au pair. Au pair is changed every 3 months. Sad, but not neglect as the children are picked up by a named person.
Friend hardly sees DCs, and on weekends dumps them with friends. Again, sad; but not neglect.
^Friend has been known to leave oldest DC in house on own for 30
mins here and there too (when au pair not in)^. Not illegal, although if something were to go wrong, the consequences against your friend would stack up very thick and fast. Especially as the children are so young.
Friends House is a dump not a crime, so's mine. never hoovered not a crime.
stinks of cat poo possibly neglect, depending of whether the cat poo is anywhere the kids could get into it.
stuff everywhere not a crime, so's mine.
My DS had play date today and I saw friends DCs bedrooms for the first time -- made me really sad. Bare walls, no toys (although there r toys in lounge so they do have toys) not a crime,
dirty old sheets on bed possibly neglect, but depends on how dirty. They'd have to be pretty bad (bodily fluids),
no kiddy curtains - just old cream drapes, no books - just a big, empty room with two tiny beds and an old chest of draws. I felt so sad. not neglect
Hopefully, if you do decide to take this further, I've pointed you towards the areas to focus on.
Friends DCs r lovely but v quiet and they always look in need of a bath and fresh clothes.
You see OP you've done yourself no favours here (imo anyway) by adding... My DCs have colourful walls, freshly (ish!!) washed bedding, teddies, toys, photos, books, bits and bobs they love on their desks, book cases, nice curtains. Their rooms are cosy and clean nice places to b.
It kind of discredits your concern that these children might be truly neglected, because it literally has nothing to do with it, does it?
It kind of smacks of 'point scoring' rather than genuine concern for the children.
Yes wind chimes, you r possibly right. It's just weird to me. My DH and I don't have much money and for a year or so lived in a small flat. We slept in the lounge so our DC could have bedrooms. We prioritised them. We decorated their rooms for them, tucked them up in nice sheets at night, made them feel their rooms were safe and special. I find it hard to understand why someone who can easily afford it, hasn't bothered to do the same for their kids. It's just so different from me and perhaps it's making me more judgemental than I should b. I guess that's why I'm writing this! I'm trying to understand a bit better I think
its just not a red flag... maybe it would be if there were no toys at all, or it was properly dirty or dilapidated. But thats not what the OP seems to be describing. She just states its in neutral colours and the furnishings are old and the toys are kept downstairs. Granted she is saying the sheets are 'dirty' but coupled with 'old' it sort of sounds like they arent actually dirty they just arent brand new..... and this is all stuff that is important to some people but not to others.
For example most of my childrens clothing is second hand and so are most of the toys. So im sure that might look 'dirty and old' to some people but to me I just dont find it ethical to constantly be buying new pieces of plastic and clothing that only lasts a few months.
Now I dont know if thats whats going on in this situation but it may well be. It just sounds as though the OPs 'friend' is not doing things the way the OP would have them done. But that doesnt equate with neglect. Youd need a lot more than these statements which are all judgement statements rather than any objective facts.
Sorry dancingfairy, I just think it's weird not to have ANY toys in bedroom? It was like a room to keep a dog in. It's hard for me to describe it here - it was just so bare and unloved
Are you projecting regarding your lack of money perhaps?
You do seem a bit hung up on it, what with mentioning the price of their house, the fact that they're 'rich', the Au Pair etc
And now you're saying you and your DH don't have much money etc.
Could this be colouring your view of things?
Btw, it's ok not to be what you consider 'rich'.
sorry ishouldgotobed i posted that before i saw your update!
I think a lot of it may just be down to having different attitudes to parenting yes.
I think sometimes when you have struggled to make sure your children have nice things it can seem odd that someone in a seemingly better financial position does not prioritise having new things for their children. But its just different strokes for different folks. Just because to you decorating your childs room a certain way indicated that you loved them does not mean that everyone will feel that way.
Now you sound like a stealth-boaster and judgemental to boot. Neither of which are attractive.
Yes it odd to me as we'll as my kids have so many toys
in every room including mine but I know some people who don't allow toys to come downstairs so I was maybe just thinking it was the opposite of that so toys not allow upstairs?
There are toys, just not in their bedroom. Arguably this is best practice as the kids will actually sleep instead of playing.
I'd be more concerned with iPads and TVs in the bedroom.
and I do know of people who think that bedrooms should just be for sleeping otherwise you dont sleep properly. So they would never put toys in a bedroom but instead have toys in a playroom or in the living area.
I dont personally think that, my sons room is full of toys. But I can see why some people might do that.
I think leaving the 6 year old alone for 30 minutes is neglect.
Wish they would pay for a proper nanny. Maybe you could suggest that? I have read trained nannies who have said they have worked with kids like this. But at least the kids then get one adult who is looking after them properly.
I hope they send them to boarding school as they would be better off there.
Trust me - it definitely is a red flag. Total lack of any acknowledgement that it's a child's room, no extra furniture beyond a chest of drawers (bedside tables, etc.) and dirty sheets on the beds.
It sounds grim.
The question I suppose is what you might consider doing about it?
My kid's rooms were full of toys but when I was a kid, our bedrooms were just for sleeping in and the toys were kept downstairs.
I think if my parents had allowed toys in our rooms, we would have been awake half the night playing with them.
We had a book shelf if we wanted to do anything other than sleep. Oh and our curtains were just...well curtains really. I don't even think 'kids curtains' were a thing then, but I'm 48 years old so what do I know?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.