Advanced search

Does this sound like grooming? Please help- step uncle

(571 Posts)
Lam23 Mon 04-Mar-19 14:27:06

Posting for traffic/I’m not sure where else this belongs..
Background if it helps: I’m a mum of a nearly 4 year old. She is very bright, happy, outgoing, completely normal development wise and attends nursery full time. I met dh when she was 2 and they have a great relationship, which has grown over time, i can honestly say I really trust him and she has started to call him daddy which feels natural for us all. Her dad has never been in the picture and we have no contact with him.
I have recently begun to have real worries about her relationship with my dh’s brother. He is 31, unmarried, no kids. Generally quite an immature guy (loves gaming, works minimum wage job and lives in a flat share) but seems pleasant enough since I’ve known him. However, since he met dd at a family gathering probably a year ago, alarm bells are ringing for me more and more and I don’t know if it’s instinct or paranoia. Every time he sees her he picks her ups lot, tickles her, cuddles her, he addresses her as “friend” (seems odd for a 3 year old), he always buys her extravagant presents whenever we see him. She is a trusting kid and I’m beginning to think, too trusting- because of all the positive attention he gives her (and maybe because she lacked a “dad figure” the first couple years of her life?) she absolutely loves him, talks about him loads, nowadays whenever he is there at a family gathering she just wants to go to him and has a tantrum if I say no or keep her next to me. It seems really excessive that she is so into him and that he had instigated this type of relationship with her- dh’s sister, who has kids, has what I would consider a more normal relationship with my dd and is lovely to her but definitely doesn’t push the boundaries. He has now offered to babysit a few times and I refuse point blank each time which I think dh is a little upset by (dh idolises his brother and I can’t talk to him about ANY of this). It happened again yesterday with lots of cuddling, sitting on his knee. My own brothers don’t do this with my dd and I feel like I can’t put a stop to it, but she is so trusting and I don’t know how to protect her. Whenever she needs a male figure she seems to get overly attached anyway, but for me this is going too far. She doesn’t want to be near me or dh when his brother is around, the amount of presents makes me uncomfortable and I feel like the physical stuff in public is a possible first step of grooming. Can anyone please help me understand what to do, it’s a really sensitive situation. Does this sound odd? I would appreciate anyone who knows about signs of grooming etc to weigh in. Do I sound crazy?
Fwiw my mum and sister are both teachers and having witnessed the interactions said that their own instincts were kicking in too and that the developing relationship wasn’t necessarily appropriate/he seemed a little over interested in kids.
Please help, this is stressing me out so much whenever we are around family.

Lam23 Mon 04-Mar-19 14:30:15

Also people just say that he “is good with kids” and “broody” which may be so, he is a family minded guy but surely this isn’t normal single 30something guy behaviour or is it?

ProfMad47 Mon 04-Mar-19 14:31:02

Please, please, please trust your instincts on this one.

I've been there and didn't trust my instincts................

peachgreen Mon 04-Mar-19 14:31:04

I think if your instincts are pinging you have no choice but to talk to DH who will hopefully agree to talk to his brother and ask him to cut back on the presents and physical contact.

GreatDuckCookery6211 Mon 04-Mar-19 14:31:26

You don’t sound crazy for a start OP. I think you should listen to that inner voice that’s telling you not to ignore this situation.

How often do you see him? Can you cut the amount of contact down for a while?

CalmdownJanet Mon 04-Mar-19 14:32:23

What is he like with his sisters kids?

Gomyownway Mon 04-Mar-19 14:32:50

It might not necessarily be grooming, but I think it is always good to be cautious about who babysits your kids, and a single man would not be my first choice for this.

QueenofmyPrinces Mon 04-Mar-19 14:32:57

Absolutely trust your instincts.

You may get posters tell you that you are being paranoid or sexist etc etc but if something doesn’t feel right then it usually isn’t.

HumphreyCobblers Mon 04-Mar-19 14:33:19

It isn't just you, is it? Your mother and sister both thought the same. I think you need to speak seriously to your DH about this.

TheQueef Mon 04-Mar-19 14:33:26

Your spidey senses are tingling. Don't ignore them.

recrudescence Mon 04-Mar-19 14:35:48

I think the additional emphasis provided by your mum and sister is very significant. You should trust your instincts.

mrs2468 Mon 04-Mar-19 14:36:15

@Gomyownway I agree parents should trust their instincts but I wouldn't be tarring all single men not able to baby sit. Absolutely absurd.

alwaysthinkingofsleep Mon 04-Mar-19 14:36:28

Trust your instincts, you'll never ever regret it.

Kismetjayn Mon 04-Mar-19 14:36:33

Trust your instincts and make sure your DD knows the PANTS rule/no keeping secrets etc, just in case.

Lam23 Mon 04-Mar-19 14:38:09

I’ve said to dh that I personally don’t let anyone except my mum and sister look after dd and that I wouldn’t leave her with a single man which he scoffed at but tbh it’s not his child and I know a little about safeguarding through my work and my family’s teaching background, I’d rather be paranoid than sorry. I know I’m never going to leave her with anyone like dh brother but it’s just the way it is during family stuff that bothers me. It seems too close for comfort even though I’m there. The whole “he loves kids and they love him” thing feels like the kind of excuses saville etc used to hide behind.

Lam23 Mon 04-Mar-19 14:40:52

I have just done pants rule and talked about safety things for the first time with dd. She’s smart, and I’ll alwahs be there to protect her but i wish he would back off. Would other parents feel this way too? I don’t know any other mums irl who have navigated this.

Sarcelle Mon 04-Mar-19 14:41:12

She is your child and you must do what is best for her, regardless of offending an adult. It's a difficult situation but if he makes you uneasy your maternal instinct is your friend here. Never let him babysit. Tell him you don't want any more presents. Limit your time with him, never let him be alone with her, even if it is just the next room. Watch him like a hawk. Not all men are predators but you cannot take the risk of him grooming her in plain sight.

GreatDuckCookery6211 Mon 04-Mar-19 14:41:57

Your partner might be offended by your stance on this which I suppose is understandable but it’s tough, she’s your child and you decide who babysits.

Lam23 Mon 04-Mar-19 14:45:07

It’s not that I am worried I will be forced to let him babysit (my sister lives much closer and would always be my default, anyway) and dh and I had the conversation about me being in charge of babysitting ages ago. It’s just that I don’t know if my perception of this situation is crazy or what..I keep getting people going “oh but X is so great with kids!” I also feel like my dd is getting too attached proportionate to the time they spend together.

Angelicinnocent Mon 04-Mar-19 14:47:24

1st and easiest thing, put a stop to the presents even if you have to say that she is starting to expect things, becoming spoilt. Tell him it's only special occasions. 4year olds can be quite mercenary without realising it and some of the attraction to him may wear off if he isn't giving her presents.

Also contact the police to see if he has any record.

Then it's down to being direct. Say you don't like her being too cuddly with men because it may leave her vulnerable in future.

Rainbowshine Mon 04-Mar-19 14:47:52

Would your DH understand the pants rules and how having healthy boundaries with family is really important so that your DD can understand that she’s fully entitled to ask for someone to stop tickling or that she doesn’t want to hug at that time? So the rules of consent but at a level appropriate for her age? If so you could use that to explain how the brother’s behaviour may confuse DD and that brother needs to behave within more appropriate boundaries for DD’s understanding and learning the rules.

recrudescence Mon 04-Mar-19 14:48:01

I think a first step would be to limit presents absolutely to birthday and Christmas. This you can insist straight away on the grounds that you don’t want to encourage acquisitiveness - you don’t have to explain your underlying concerns yet. Asserting control over this aspect could help you move on to change the other behaviours.

Lam23 Mon 04-Mar-19 14:48:20

I do feel some guilt about dd’s lack of male role models in her early life and whether there is anything I can do to make her a bit more on her guard. She is intelligent, she can understand a lot, and I don’t want to scare her or anything but honestly I’d rather she be a little more reticent around adult men, which seems to be who she flocks to. It’s one aspect of being a single mum I never thought of and it’s worrying me a lot. She only has male friends at nursery who she also gets a little obsessed with. I don’t know what’s normal.

Lam23 Mon 04-Mar-19 14:50:30

Thanks all— I do think the presents are a good step but dh family all do it really, his mum buys so much for her which has always made me v uncomfortable. Tbh the way dh mum is around dd isn’t too dissimilar, but she’s an older woman with 4 kids of her own so I guess I am less sceptical of her motives.

BananasAreTheSourceOfEvil Mon 04-Mar-19 14:50:31

Trust your instincts.

Rainbowshine Mon 04-Mar-19 14:50:31

Sorry I don’t think I was clear that you could use the pants rules for talking about this with your DH, I should have made that more apparent in my post

BumbleBeee69 Mon 04-Mar-19 14:51:19

I with everyone else lady.. Trust your instincts flowers

Lam23 Mon 04-Mar-19 14:52:08

Also- not to drip feed, but I was groomed when I was 15 by an older man which left me with some lasting trauma in relationships. I guess that’s why I find it hard to trust my instincts at times but I am lucky to have my mum and sister to sense check me, who are very black and white about safeguarding due to their work.

lerrimknowyouretheyir Mon 04-Mar-19 14:52:41

Do not ignore your instincts.
You don’t have to accuse your BIL of grooming your DD to your DH, more that you’re not comfortable with any men being too close to her.

But whatever you do, don’t allow the fear of offending someone become more important than protecting your DD.

Kismetjayn Mon 04-Mar-19 14:52:42

Yes, I would feel this way too. It's really tough!

My dad is similar and he is an abuser. My mum once joked that he was like the pied Piper, children and animals gravitate to him. The analogy was so true, it makes me feel sick. Considering the pied Piper didn't exactly have the children's best interests in mind...

As long as you make things fun for your DD, she won't be stressed out but will know how to keep her boundaries firm. My DD3 made me laugh recently when we had another chat about secrets Vs surprises (surprises are okay because Mummy will know eventually and they make you feel happy- secrets are not okay and if a grown up says it's a secret you mustn't tell Mummy, it's a trick because you can tell mummy anything) and she said 'if anyone says to me I have to keep a bad secret, I will tell them it's not fair and they will go to jail!'

I just thought, any would-be attacker having this tiny belligerent child shouting they would go to jail, would know to back off swiftly 😂

All you can really do is be careful, and know that you will be there if anything does happen. Keep a very, very close eye and create the avenue for her to talk about anything that bothers her.

Cheeeeislifenow Mon 04-Mar-19 14:53:38

This could be totally innocent and yes you have to trust your instincts, but if this man has innocent intentions then I feel bad for hm. But obviously trust your gut.

NWQM Mon 04-Mar-19 14:54:39

As others have said trust your instincts and do what you can to mitigate. If you are right you’ll have safeguarded your daughter. If you are ‘wrong’ you’d have limited situations that make you uncomfortable which still is appropriate.

If he is only giving your DD presents and this is anywhere / when his nieces are are there you have the perfect in as this is definitely not appropriate.

Limit contact and try and make it in situations where physical contact can be limited.

It’s easy really though but your DH and brother need it respect your boundaries. If you say ‘please tone down x then he should.’ Work out how to articulate these perhaps with the help of your Mum & sister. The - to coin a Mumsnet phrase - ‘rinse and repeat’.

If you can try not to get your daughter to act differently. She can / should be able to run to her uncle for attention. She’s the child. He is the adult who needs to be appropriate and tone it down.

Ultimately if he won’t he wouldn’t be seeing my daughter very much if at all.

Gomyownway Mon 04-Mar-19 14:54:41

@mrs2468 it’s not about tarring all single men with the same brush, but is about being realistic in terms of who most women would feel comfortable with when babysitting their child.

GummyGoddess Mon 04-Mar-19 14:55:46

I assume you've known him less than 2 years (if only met DH 2 yearsish ago)? Can you not just say you don't know him well enough?

bordellosboheme Mon 04-Mar-19 14:56:40

I read a Facebook linked article recently with all of these red flags you mention. This is definitely grooming. Trust your instincts.

crochetmonkey74 Mon 04-Mar-19 14:58:15

OP you MUST trust your instincts on this, and rely on the fact that you cannot shrug it off as others have felt the same about him.

I wouldn’t leave her with a single man which he scoffed at

This I find concerning as well- why does he scoff at you wanting to protect your daughter the best you can? You are in a position where your caregivers are all trusted females, so any single man you left her with would by the nature be a step removed- perfectly normal in my opinion to not want that- don't let him make you think otherwise

ElizabethMountbatten Mon 04-Mar-19 14:58:32

My ex's brother was like this with all his nieces in the family. I had no children but it set massive alarm bells and flashing neon signs off for me. Towards the end of our relationship, his "lovely, friendly, trying to be a good uncle" brother was arrested, charged and subsequently sentenced to several years in prison for many counts of grooming, inciting sexual activity with a minor, rape of a minor, indecent assault.....on 8/10 of those lovely little nieces that he was so very keen to babysit for. If the alarm bells are ringing, I'm not saying he's a paedophile, but if you listen, you stand 100% chance of keeping your daughter safe from him if he is.

YorkshireLass81 Mon 04-Mar-19 15:00:12

Go with your gut instinct. I had a similar sense about 12 years ago about someone and made my (now) ex promise that our dd would never be left alone with him which he thankfully respected. Not overly tactile with dd but quite dysfunctional in his relationships and I felt uncomfortable (as a youngish woman) around him. Found out recently after many years NC that he's recently been in prison for grooming underage girls. Listen to your feelings and don't give him any opportunties to prove you right!

Lam23 Mon 04-Mar-19 15:02:18

Elizabeth that’s absolutely shocking. Very sobering to read so thank you.
Dh’s brother is actually in law enforcement so I think he also is seen as very trustworthy by everyone. I think he’s alright in an adult situation but I’ve always found him oddly fake in a way so never really trusted him.
I just worry that in his own family at least they all think he’s so cute with kids and so it kind of normalises how he is acting -which to a relative outsider (me/my family) seems off.

YogaWannabe Mon 04-Mar-19 15:02:39

What 31 year old man asks to babysit!?
That’s weird!
Definitely trust your gut, I’d give him a wide birth with your DD and I wouldn’t be encouraging or allowing the tickling/sitting in lap/holding/lifting up etc.
He should have a bit more self awareness that it’s not really the done thing either.

Ceebs85 Mon 04-Mar-19 15:02:39

In terms of the preferring males my daughter is the same. Waves at men while we're out, prefers the male staff at her childminders and plays more with boys but she's got a daddy and always has. Try not to blame yourself for this natural preference

ChuckleBuckles Mon 04-Mar-19 15:04:07

OP please trust your instincts. When you are doubting yourself remember that your mum and sister sense something is off too.

I had an uncle like this, always bought me sweets and little treats, the tickling and teasing, knee sitting the lot, all fun and games until he started abusing me. I was like your little girl with no dad on the scene, I just gravitated towards him. Everyone said he was great with kids, had no worries about him, decent popular bloke by all accounts unless you were a young girl.

It took until I was an adult to realise that none of what he did was my fault, that the sweets and games were designed to draw me towards him so that I felt complicit in my own abuse, it was to keep me silent about what he did.

Please be vigilant for you little girl flowers

aintnothinbutagstring Mon 04-Mar-19 15:05:06

No, doesn't sound normal. My BIL is really good with my kids (ds and DD), plays with them with their toys, runs around with them but he doesn't touch them at all unless it's a high five or brotherly hug. And definitely doesn't buy them gifts, my sister is in charge of that.

crochetmonkey74 Mon 04-Mar-19 15:05:38

I’ve always found him oddly fake

I know exactly the feeling! I have a colleague at the moment who is a very affable chap- everyone likes him but I have this feeling about him (not grooming- his is sort of barely concealed rage to women) I saw his mask slip ever so slightly once and I have never forgotten it!

IHateUncleJamie Mon 04-Mar-19 15:07:12

Trust your gut instinct, OP. I understand what you mean about feeling extra sensitive because of your own trauma but as your DM and DSis are also wary then it sounds as if your instinct is correct.

Definitely limit the presents on the basis that you don’t want dd to become spoiled. At some point you may have to say to your DH that the amount of physical contact is not appropriate in your opinion and that it makes you uncomfortable. Your child, your rules.

Ahardmanisgoodtofind Mon 04-Mar-19 15:08:00

Trust your gut. A family member was the same with my DD (similar age). 5months ago i thought it was all fine and normal, no alarm bells nothing. Until it wasn't "nothing" and my DD told us he had touched her inappropriately. (I have a thread on here actually).
Trust your instincts, you're her mother you set the rules, and it's not worth the may all be innocent, but if it isn't you'll never forgive yourself.

Sparkles07 Mon 04-Mar-19 15:08:09

My daughter was groomed by her grandad on my DH's side.
This could be totally normal! But you've gotta trust your instinct. Mum knows best, always.

Lam23 Mon 04-Mar-19 15:08:15

My brother in law has a son my dd’s age and he is good with my dd but I’ve never questioned his boundaries with her as he just seems to act natural, not OTT— and though she sees him a lot more than my dh brother she doesn’t particularly gravitate to him. Which in context makes the step uncle thing seem odder to me. For me grooming was about getting positive attention I was t getting at home during my parents divorce, so I am very wary of the positive attention and gift giving around my dd.

KirstyJC Mon 04-Mar-19 15:14:12

Why on earth would a single man want to babysit anyone's kids? What a strange request - actually I can't imagine any single person wanting to babysit someone else's kids. Saying in passing that if you are stuck for a babysitter any time then give me a call, yes. Asking to have them overnnight? No!

I would speak to DH to say you are not comfortable with him being so hands on and constantly touching her. That you are not from such a touchy-feeling background and it feels odd, so you want him to stop.

I would also ask BIL in front of his family, with a slightly bemused look, why he is so keen to spend time alone with a small girl as he must realise it makes him look odd and you can reassure him that it will never be happening. And see what he says to that. But then I am a cow and don't care if I piss people off so appreciate you might not want to do that!

You are right to be worried - instincts are there for a reason.

FizzyGreenWater Mon 04-Mar-19 15:15:27

The big worry here is that you feel you can't talk to your DH.

If that's the case, you just have to totally limit contact.

And yes, another one sayign trust your instincts. Absolutely.

CostanzaG Mon 04-Mar-19 15:16:02

It might not necessarily be grooming, but I think it is always good to be cautious about who babysits your kids, and a single man would not be my first choice for this.

While I agree you need to be mindful of who babysits your children and important to trust your instincts I do think it is incredibly small minded to refuse all single men. I know a number of single men who I am happy to let babysit my child.

HoppityFrog3 Mon 04-Mar-19 15:19:22


YANBU to be concerned, and always trust your instincts. She is your child, and you have the right to choose who looks after your child.

YABU however to call this man 'immature' just because he is in a minimum pay job, is in a flat share, and like video games. That's just rude and judgemental. I also agree that's it's pretty mean and judgemental to tar all single 30-something men with the same brush, and assume they are all pedos if they like being around children.

RhodaChrosite Mon 04-Mar-19 15:20:03

Go with your instincts and what’s the worst that can happen? It’s not just your feelings about his behaviour but also your DM and DSISs too. He may just be broody and love kids he also may be anything but and you can’t risk it. The constant attention, picking up, cuddles, tickles and lavish gifts seem OTT and strange bearing his relationship to her.

YogaWannabe Mon 04-Mar-19 15:20:41

The big worry here is that you feel you can't talk to your DH.

Agree with this too.
It’s not about something unimportant either, it’s the most important and serious thing.
His behavior is inappropriate, whether it’s innocent or not.

Lam23 Mon 04-Mar-19 15:21:08

Dh and I had a row before Xmas because we were going to stay at his family’s (a far distance away) the week after Xmas but I made it clear I didn’t want to leave dd in the evening to go out just due to my (paranoid or not) own preferences and he was really pissed of with me at first. He did come round when I pointed out how selfish he was being but tbh he is still learning about parenting etc. I don’t think it would occur to him that his family member might not have the best intentions towards kids. He knows 0 about child protection/safeguarding and I am having to explain a lot.

tattooq Mon 04-Mar-19 15:21:42

If you met your DH when she was 2 and she is not yet 4 then you haven't safeguarded her appropriately already, disregarding the step uncle. How soon did DH move in with you after meeting? I assume you will have encouraged them to bond and perhaps that has followed on for your daughter in bonding with other new men in her life as enthusiastically, which is teaching her very poor boundaries.

Lam23 Mon 04-Mar-19 15:22:31

Frog I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful more just offer a context wherein maybe he is more childlike for his age and so enjoys being around children?
However, so was Michael Jackson I guess..

MumUnderTheMoon Mon 04-Mar-19 15:24:02

Does he treat all children the same way or is she being singled out for particular attention?

Lam23 Mon 04-Mar-19 15:24:36

Tattoo with all due respect I don’t think you have any right to say I haven’t safeguarded my dd considering the minimal context you have..

HoppityFrog3 Mon 04-Mar-19 15:25:38

Frog I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful more just offer a context wherein maybe he is more childlike for his age and so enjoys being around children?

However, so was Michael Jackson I guess..


FFS. You are fast losing this argument. hmm

Lam23 Mon 04-Mar-19 15:26:13

I’m not here for personal attacks on my parenting, so I think I might bow out. Thank you to everyone on this thread for the reinforcement and the sanity check here. It’s preoccupied me a lot and I feel better about my own instincts.

crochetmonkey74 Mon 04-Mar-19 15:29:22


Good idea to bow out as threads like these often become a point of principle rather than a reality based thing.

I'm heavily involved in safeguarding- this would ring alarm bells for me too- and I understand your point about single men not babysitting, particularly those involved in a recent step family situation. Stick to your guns. Instinct is normally right

questabellatreetop Mon 04-Mar-19 15:36:22

Show your daughter this video by the NSPCC

Good luck OP.

MamaDane Mon 04-Mar-19 15:36:38

Go with your instincts. Always trust your instincts when it comes to things like this. Your daughter matters more than your DHs feelings. Don't leave them alone. Talk to your DH and tell him that he needs to tell his brother to stop with the presents and overly affectionate behaviour.

OpiesOldLady Mon 04-Mar-19 15:38:32

Hi there OP.

I'd follow your gut with this one. Yes, it's going to lead to an uncomfortable conversation with your DP but your DDs safety comes first.

I'm not sure if anyone else has mentioned it, but please go and look for a website called Parents Protect. It's run by the Lucy Faithful foundation and gives really good sane advice for parents to help keep their children safe. They run a phone line that you could call to speak to someone about your concerns, as well as actual courses in how to spot someone grooming your child a's well as potential abusers. I'd highly recommend them - they deliver training to police/teachers etc.

Confusedalarms Mon 04-Mar-19 15:47:15

My view is the guy’s probably fine. BUT, you can’t take chances with your child’s safety. Better to piss off a dozen lovely uncles than let in one who ends up abusing your child.

moanymoaner Mon 04-Mar-19 15:48:44

Just to put another spin on - would you feel the same about a 31 year old sister/step auntie? I just worry we tar all men with the same brush. My oh is amazing with kids , kids gravitate towards him he's calm and naturally good with them and id hate to think of alarm bells ringing because of that. By all means don't let him babysit that's fair enough but I'd be cautious about labelling him a peado because he's good with your daughter.
Also though I would stick by the instinct thing, mummy instinct is powerful!

sillysmiles Mon 04-Mar-19 15:49:10

I think you have to trust your instincts. Surely you can explain to DH that because of your own personal experience you are uncomfortable with the additional attention from step uncle.

I think you have to explain your concerns to your DH without accusing his brother. It sounds like mil behaves is the same way - so potential that is how they all think is normal to treat kids and there may not be anything sinister in it. I know of some guys who kids are drawn to - and there isn't anything sinister there either.

But your instinct is telling your there is a problem - so you have to trust that.

HoppityFrog3 Mon 04-Mar-19 15:51:19


I am not personally attacking your parenting, and I SAID to go with your instinct. I am just saying it's rude and judgemental and wrong, to assume all men who like to be around children are paedophiles, and bringing Michael Jackson into it. FFS! hmm By doing that, you have basically proven my point about you! (That you assume all single men are pedos if they like to be around kids!)

In addition, it's pretty rude to say a man who is single, on minimum pay, living in a flat share, and likes video games, is immature! I know plenty of people who are in relationships, (and married,) and who have a mortgage, and have kids, who are childish, petty, judgemental,and immature! (One in particular on this thread.) wink

Doesn't automatically mean you're immature if you're single, in a flat share, on minimum pay, and like video games FFS.

And flouncing from your own thread just because you're getting a bunch of answers you don't like, is very poor etiquette.

OpiesOldLady Mon 04-Mar-19 15:53:17

@Moanymoaner - women are abusers too. If my spidey senses were tingling I'd follow them, regardless of gender.

diddl Mon 04-Mar-19 15:53:34

I agree with a pp-it's probably not grooming-but it's something that you can't take a chance with.

Kismetjayn Mon 04-Mar-19 15:54:37

@OpiesOldLady beat me to it. Always pays to be careful.

Lweji Mon 04-Mar-19 15:54:44

You're not the only one worried.

Your OH may not have the same instict, but I'm sure he won't think his brother has a normal uncle-niece relationship, particularly as they are not even related.
I'd start by pointing out the odd behaviours when they happen and then have the full conversation.
Every single time make it clear that he is OTT in his displays of affection and presents.

The greatest danger will be when she's older and you won't be able to supervise her all the time.

YogaWannabe Mon 04-Mar-19 15:56:06

Let’s not start pretending that men aren’t statistically MUCH more likely to abuse.
The “would you react like this if it was a woman” is an idiotic comparison given how many women even on this thread alone, have been abused by men!

Lam23 Mon 04-Mar-19 15:56:59

Wow hoppity. Having a bad day? Not sure I understand why you’re attackkng me personally in each of your posts!
I don’t want to “flounce” but this is a super sensitive subject and a specific issue.
A girlfriend of my brothers once offered to take my niece to the toilet (she also had no kids, it seemed like an odd request- the sort of thing you’d do if you were close to the child in a mummy/grandma/aunt way but not a brothers recent gf.) I found that just as odd and turned it down. I’m not excluding this “prejudice” to men, I’m sure young women can be also culpable (although I would hazard that most sexual abuse is male on female. Sorry if that’s an unfair generalisation)

lisamac28 Mon 04-Mar-19 16:00:49

I do think the presents are a good step but dh family all do it really, his mum buys so much for her which has always made me v uncomfortable. Tbh the way dh mum is around dd isn’t too dissimilar, but she’s an older woman with 4 kids of her own so I guess I am less sceptical of her motives

So the step-uncle isn't doing much different from his mother? Is this the way the family treat all the chidren in their family?

Charley50 Mon 04-Mar-19 16:00:59

If you're still here, this would ring alarm bells for me too. Any man (yes, man) actually asking to babysit a child would ring alarm bells tbh. No-one in their right mind actively wants to babysit.
Also, the over the top presents seem to be a way of buying her affection.
Your DP needs to understand this.

OpiesOldLady Mon 04-Mar-19 16:01:11

@Yoga - actually, statistics from the Lucy Faithful foundation say that 40% of sexual abusers are men, 30% are women and the other 30% are made up by older children, both male and female.

sillysmiles Mon 04-Mar-19 16:04:18

A girlfriend of my brothers once offered to take my niece to the toilet (she also had no kids

I've been on the other end of this where said kid has asked me to take them to the bathroom. I have nieces and nephews but no kids myself -so I'm very used to nothing this for my nieces and nephews and it doesn't bother me. So is it weird when I say "ya sure go on"

AngelaHodgeson Mon 04-Mar-19 16:07:14

I agree with "trust your instincts". I don't think any of the behaviour you list is odd (my nieces argue over sitting on DBro at times) but if there is something making you uncomfortable, even if you can't put your finger on exactly what, you should go with that instinct.

sillysmiles Mon 04-Mar-19 16:07:19

On the babysitting thing - is he actively trying to babysit or is he possibly responding to your DH saying about not being able to go out and him saying "I don't mind babysitting if you want a night off".

Again - you have to trust your instincts but your own past may be colouring your view of his behaviour. So proceed to protect your DD but as he hasn't done anything wrong you have to be careful with accusations.

CostanzaG Mon 04-Mar-19 16:07:51

Wow, even before i had my own kids I would regularly offer to take nieces, nephews, friends kids to the toilet or offer to change nappies etc. There was nothing sinister - I often just though it would be nice to give them a break.
I've babysat for our friends kids and so has DH. That has often involved taking them to the toilet. Nothing untoward, just being nice......I wasn't aware that would be considered weird?

AngelaHodgeson Mon 04-Mar-19 16:09:25

OpiesOldLady Do you have a link for that data from Lucy Faithfull Foundation? I've had a quick look at their website and can't see it. It is quite at odds which my current understanding so would like to see the research.

CostanzaG Mon 04-Mar-19 16:11:36

Any man (yes, man) actually asking to babysit a child would ring alarm bells tbh. No-one in their right mind actively wants to babysit.

My DH babysat my friends daughters the other week. Their dad was stuck at work and we had theater tickets.
When he was single and his sisters had young children he often babysat them. There is nothing wrong with that at all.

What about male childcare workers?

Mummyoflittledragon Mon 04-Mar-19 16:11:37

It seems as if you cannot talk to your dh so for now if he really cannot get it perhaps you could go with the dd is obsessed with males and you think it best to limit 121 contact with anyone other than him. So not even him and uncle with her alone. Don’t explain just say that you think it’s best.

boringlyboring Mon 04-Mar-19 16:12:06

Sounds like one of my ex stepdads - the tickling, the games, the over interest. No attempt to even hide it from my mother. He was (is) a fucking paedo.

Boundaries were unclear to me as he was pushed as my ‘dad’, by my mum.

Drum2018 Mon 04-Mar-19 16:14:45

How often do you see this man? Does he live nearby? I'd be cutting way back on contact. If he then tried to push for contact you'd know that it's a bit off. Go with your instincts. You have no real reason to have to spend much time in his company. If he is at your inlaws house when you visit just ensure dd is always with you and don't stay long. Either that or just don't go to visit them often and let your Dh off to visit.

OpiesOldLady Mon 04-Mar-19 16:15:29

@Angela - I don't have at the moment unfortunately. I was quoted this by an employee of theirs that taught a safeguarding course. It was in the bumph they gave us too. I'm in the process of moving and all my stuff is in boxes but I'll see if I can find it. I was quite surprised by their stats too - they also say that 1 in every 6 children will have been sexual assaulted in some way by the time they are sixteen. Scary.

DragAndDrop Mon 04-Mar-19 16:16:54

@Lam23 sh'es your daughter and you are right to protect her. If you don't, who will?

So if you have concerns about this man, or anyone else, act on them.

I do think PPs are just going off piste for the sake of it by picking your words apart. The point is, you're worried for your daughter's safety and you want to sense check your feelings. I don't think anything else is of any consequence really. (putting tin hat on)

I agree with the PP who have urged you to follow your instincts and I'm horrified to read of the experiences of some flowers to you all.

If your DH won't take you seriously then, for me at least, it would be bye bye DH. NOBODY would come between the safety of my DC.

Good luck OP

Cherry321 Mon 04-Mar-19 16:18:04

Trust your instincts. 100%

And as a PP said, stop the presents.

DragAndDrop Mon 04-Mar-19 16:20:01

@boringlyboring I have seen this the tickling, the games, the over interest also, from a person who then went on to make leery remarks about underage girls. I don't know whether they were acted on, I sincerely hope not.

I'd just not want my DD to be in the presence of someone like that at all. Even if they don't do anything, they could be thinking it. Ugh.

clairemcnam Mon 04-Mar-19 16:23:22

These threads always turn into - poor men. Ignore that OP.
Your first concern is your DD, not a man's feelings.

Lam23 Mon 04-Mar-19 16:24:37

I would like to cut back the contact just so it doesn’t get escalated further over the course of a few months. She has a lot of positive adults in her life male and female and I don’t mind him being another one but the slightly obsessive nature is bugging me and he isn’t doing anything to moderate it. Dh likes us all to socialise as a family but I’d be happy to leave dd with my family sometimes if we have to see them so much

OpiesOldLady Mon 04-Mar-19 16:24:38

@Angela - a quick look on the parents protect website states that 30-40% of abuse u's carried out by other children. Am afraid I don't have time right now to dig deep sorry.

clairemcnam Mon 04-Mar-19 16:27:45

costanxa This man did not say - oh if you are stuck for a babysitter give me a call.
He said - I'd love to babysit your DD.
Yes that is a red flag.

AuntieOxident Mon 04-Mar-19 16:28:28

Well, he might be a good guy, you don't know. But that's not important really - the thing that is important is that you don't like how he behaves around your DD. And that's good enough.
Even if it was nothing other than vague unease, that is still enough. You're already vigilant so I'm sure you'll continue to be, up to her 18th birthday if necessary!
And if indeed he is a good guy he might be a little hurt but he will understand.

Pics Mon 04-Mar-19 16:29:10

I don't think that any of the behaviours here would necessarily ring alarm bells, as you say this is how the family behave around children. I also think that your own experience, as a child combined with the fact that your family don't behave in this way may affect your judgement. But as others say, you do have to trust your instinct. But maybe do it without completely rejecting him by treating him in an accusatory manner - as others have said, the present giving is an issue that should have been tackled. Maybe start there - an honest conversation about how you don't want her spoiled, and how it makes you uncomfortable as it is too much. See how he reacts to that. And if you are not letting any of your siblings babysit either, that's pretty easy to just present as the reason why.

I know a few friends who are from families that are very hands on with younger kids in a natural way and I don't think it is fair to say that it is always odd. I think it is sad some people on this thread seem to think it is always a sign of something suspicious.

CostanzaG Mon 04-Mar-19 16:30:41

I wasn't referring to the Op. There are red flags galore and she does need to trust her instincts.

I was referring those posters who think any man offering to babysit is strange for doing so abs shouldn't be trusted.
It's a small minded view to hold.

Aeroflotgirl Mon 04-Mar-19 16:35:31

First of all yior dd is only 4, so will be trusting. Trust your instincts always, she needs you to protect her!

MangoPorridge Mon 04-Mar-19 16:35:50

It may or may not be down to lack of adult male role model. My dad was away a lot and I was very clingy with male teachers. I was always after boys before I even understood what I was doing. I once took off all my clothes at school and had to have it explained to me why it was inappropriate. Honestly though with a mum who looks out out for her as she gets older and talks to her about this stuff she will be absolutely fine. Ask nursery staff to alert you if they have any concerns.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »