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Would you let a schizophrenic family member look after your DC?

(85 Posts)
Februaryblooms Thu 11-Apr-19 17:30:52

Just that really. Would you?

Relative with this diagnosis has offered to help with childcare when I return to work after having our second baby.

In my case, it's an absolute no. I don't feel comfortable with it due to the unpredictable nature of the illness, their lack of experience with children and the amount of relapses they have.

But AIBU and discriminatory?

Bankofenglandfiver Thu 11-Apr-19 17:32:05

Are they stable, taking medication etc?

AlwaysCheddar Thu 11-Apr-19 17:32:11


fourcanaries Thu 11-Apr-19 17:33:46

As the mother of a son with schizophrenia I would have to say that it depends entirely on wether their illness is managed and under control. If it is and they are well then yes, if it's not and they aren't stable then it's a no.

GeorgieTheGorgeousGoat Thu 11-Apr-19 17:34:19

I have someone in my family and for him yes I would (mostly). He has infrequent occasions when his medication is being adjusted when I wouldn’t but a large proportion of the time he is absolutely fine, holds down a job, is newly married and a genuinely lovely man.

ImFreeToDoWhatIWant Thu 11-Apr-19 17:34:35

Honestly, no. But I don't really know enough about schizophrenia to really comment I suspect.

mindutopia Thu 11-Apr-19 17:34:40

No, absolutely not. And it’s not ‘discriminatory’. It’s just a personal choice. I don’t let my MIL babysit as she is married to someone who abused children (she’s lucky we speak to her frankly!). That’s our choice. No one is entitled to care for your children.

LooksBetterWithAFilter Thu 11-Apr-19 17:34:44

It depends really. I know/have known a few people with schizophrenia and at least a couple ofnid let look after my children. My friends late dad being one. He was very stable on medication and took it properly. One I know who couldn’t be trusted to stay on medication as they convinced themselves they didn’t need it and would stop taking it. I don’t think it’s as simple as a blanket yes or no it depends on the individual.

TixieLix Thu 11-Apr-19 17:35:20

There's no obligation to accept a family member's offer of help with childcare. If they have little experience with young children, and frequent relapses of their illness, then that would be a definite no from me.

Februaryblooms Thu 11-Apr-19 17:35:32

They're medicated but have been hospitalised after a relapse within the past 12 months, even at their best they have distorted thoughts and their decline/improvement is unpredictable and you never know how they're going to be from one week to the next.

I thanked them for offering but said I'd already lined up childcare. I haven't, but I haven't got the heart to tell them I don't trust them with my kids.

Stompythedinosaur Thu 11-Apr-19 17:37:14

Plenty of people with schizophrenia would be fine and I hate the idea of excluding everyone with a diagnosis. It all comes down to the individual. In the case you describe I wouldn't, no, but where someone's health was stable and they were able to identify early signs of relapse, or where their schizophrenia only presented in a way that wasn't a risk to my dc (for example if they only had negative symptoms like feeling "dulled") then I would, of course!

Plenty of people with schizophrenia are parents with no issues!

Februaryblooms Thu 11-Apr-19 17:37:55

They've also got a history of coming off medication which leads to the relapses, although they swear blind that's not the case.

When medicated they're a genuinely lovely person so my distrust is not of their intentions, but the nature of the illness and the lack of control they appear to have of it when it takes hold.

Omzlas Thu 11-Apr-19 17:39:57

Based on your OP I was going to say "it depends entirely on how their condition is managed" but based on your update it's a firm "hell to the absolutely no" from me. And that opinion is based on the fact that their symptoms don't seem to be controlled and and unpredictable.

ineedaknittedhat Thu 11-Apr-19 17:40:09

A great many people with psychosis are stable though. If they have it under control with medication and a support network who can flag up any signs things are slipping and get help then they're no different from the rest of the population. Some people never relapse.

If they're living chaotic, unsupported lives with medication non compliance and relapses, then I'd say it's probably safer not to expect them to cope with extra responsibility.

Raspberrytruffle Thu 11-Apr-19 17:43:22

It's totally your choice op I wouldn't judge you, as I have a good friend with the condition I know it's not like how it is portrayed on TV! Everyone is affected differently. Now if the family member are stable and actively managing the condition I'd consider it for short amount of time maybes having someone else with them, theres no wrong or right answer

x2boys Thu 11-Apr-19 17:45:20

It depends how well they are, people can have long periods of stability if they take their medication and there are usually early warning signs when they are becoming unwell, when I was a mental health nurse however we had some patients who were not stable and would be in and out of hospital because of this this was due to a number of things ,lack of insight, some people abused illicit drugs which can exacerbate symptoms etc.

barryfromclareisfit Thu 11-Apr-19 17:48:00

My schizophrenic mother looked after my daughter. She was safer with the grandma who lived her than with any stranger.

x2boys Thu 11-Apr-19 17:48:16

Having read your update no I wouldn't as your relative doesn't appear to be stable at present

Februaryblooms Thu 11-Apr-19 17:50:11

In the case of my relative she has had this condition for over 20 years and has been hospitalised on average once per year with relapses, since being diagnosed. Regularly stops taking her medication as she doesn't like the side effects. Most recent section was less than 12 months ago which had to be enforced due to non compliance and the police had to eject her from her home and detain her under the mental health act.

She does have a history of violence but hasn't exhibited this for many years.

She really is a lovely, intelligent, caring person but unfortunately the diagnosis alters her true personality and outlook to such an extent that I just wouldn't feel comfortable leaving either of the children in her care alone.

thesnapandfartisinfallible Thu 11-Apr-19 17:51:11

No. Their condition does not sound well controlled and they have had a recent crisis. If they had been stable on their medication for years and were generally reliable at recognising signs that their MH was declining then yes absolutely.

Idonotlikeyoudonaldtrump Thu 11-Apr-19 17:51:47

When acutely unwell, out of touch with reality, no. Medicated and stable, yes.

Just like any decision about who looks after children it should be a decision made based on whether that individual is able to care for them safely, not on what their medical diagnosis is.

whitehalleve Thu 11-Apr-19 17:51:52

It's not a fair question, if they are a well schizophrenic then yes. If they are an unwell schizophrenic then no.

OhDiddums Thu 11-Apr-19 17:52:19

Personally I think it depends on the person. I have a family member and wouldn't leave them with a child just due to how unstable they are. But I have met other people with it and when they're taking their medication and are stable I'd totally trust them with a child.

NoCleanClothes Thu 11-Apr-19 17:52:35

It would depend on the individual but if they're unpredictable, prone to relapses and have no experience of children then no.

Ariela Thu 11-Apr-19 17:55:01

Oh gosh so much depends on the person, how well they are and on the children!

I have a friend who, when well would be perfectly capable of looking after any child. However, such is the nature of the illness that things can change, and stress/anxiety are particular triggers. Conversely looking after someone/some thing else (dog, cat, another person being ill etc) can redirect the brain to focus away from the stress/anxiety/triggers and actually improve her well being. Kids can be stressful to look after, and I'd not have want to have to rely on her for full day child care.
I'd thank them for the offer like you said, and maybe ask would they be happy to baby sit every now and then as a compromise? My friend is so very kind and always wanting to help others, so when she asks I know she's feeling well enough and will be fine.

You could then assess the situation on shorter notice / ad hoc times, and if you think they're OK & correctly on medication ask would they be able to baby sit eg for 2 hours on Saturday as you're having your hair done?

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