To risk her harming my baby?(76 Posts)
Hi, I really need some impartial advice as I am driving myself crazy wondering whether I am doing the right thing. I have name changed as I am active on the conception boards and I wouldn’t like the two to be linked.
To begin I am married with an 18 month old baby boy. DS had a difficult start in life and needed life saving surgery to survive (maybe relevant)
I am from a very close family and we all see each other daily at my DM’s house. I have a sister who has a daughter aged 8 (DN). DSis is a single Mum. Nieces Dad has been in prison for a violent crime (again, maybe relevant) and although my DSis is officially no longer with him they are very on/off and he does have unsupervised access to my niece for the odd weekend here and there.
My son and my niece are the only Grandchildren on my parents side. My niece was the only grandchild for almost 7 years and understandably received much of the attention (as she deserves!) DH and I have a great relationship with DN.
Niece has understandably been jealous since DS came along (crying that the baby gets more attention then her etc) but lately it has ramped up.
A few weeks ago DH quietly sat me down and explained he was a bit worried about how my niece was looking at/behaving around our son. DH couldn’t put his finger on it but asked me to be careful and not leave them alone together. He mentioned a few occasions where our boy had been crying due to an accident and it happened to be on the odd occasion niece and son had been left alone together (think 2 mins whilst taking a phone call) I agreed that even though I trusted my niece that we couldn’t be too careful and that I would keep an eye on this too. I didn’t repeat this conversation to anyone.
This week, whilst playing with my niece and my son, my niece told me she has thoughts about hurting my son (her words exactly). She says she doesn’t want these thoughts and she can’t get them out of her head. At this point I called DM into the room so she too could hear the conversation. I was scared but asked my niece to elaborate further. As she looked at my son she then proceeded to tell me how she wanted pull away his back legs so his head went into the glass (he was cruising along a small glass topped table) She was very serious when saying this, this was no joke.
What followed was me getting upset and going home and telling DH when he finished work. DH and I agreed that we should take this as a warning and decrease the time that the cousins spend together. We are not saying that my niece will definitely harm my son but even if there was a 1% chance she could hurt him we need to take action and not let this happen. We didn’t feel it was normal for an 8 year old to have such thoughts.
I explained this to my DM and Dsis. In the beginning they understood my concerns and my sister said she would talk to a friends Mum who used to work in psychology (long retired) to get some advice.
It’s since this conversation with friends mum that things have all got a bit strained. Friends Mum has told my sister that my niece having/vocalising these thoughts is
1. Mature of her
2. Completely normal and that kids say all kinds of things and have said worse. She also said my husband I overreacted and that I was wrong to get upset in front of my niece.
Since this discussion DM and DSis are certain there is no problem and are 100% sure (their words) that my niece will not hurt my son and I am being silly. DM feels that my niece may have come across a violent video on YouTube and just wanted to repeat what she saw. Another thought was that she had been exposed to violence at her Dads and it was on her mind.
I’ve explained that the reason why my niece said those things isn’t my main worry right now, my main worry is my sons safety. I explained I didn’t want my son around my niece for a little while whilst I gathered my thoughts. I also said that in the future I want a grown-up with them whilst they are in the same room together (if I’m not there). I have explained that whilst they may feel 100% certain that my niece wouldn’t harm my son that I am not so certain and that no one can ever be 100% certain about another’s mind/actions. There come-back is that she is only 8 and it’s not as-if she said she wants to ‘kill’ him. I replied that hurting a baby could easily lead to killing a baby.
Since then I have been called all sorts. I have been called a bad mum for keeping my son away from them (it's been 3 days) I’ve been told that I am exaggerating this for attention and that I am breaking up a once happy family. They have said that I am being OTT/overprotective because of my sons difficult start in life. DSis is the ring leader with the insults and my Mum agrees with her. DH has tried to invite my DM over for a chat about this but it it got very heated and now DM is angry with DH too.
I am still hurt and confused as to why my niece would say these things and now I have to deal with the abuse from my mum and sister. I just have this strong feeling in my gut that something isn’t right and I just want to protect my son.
Who’s right here?
I think you are right. You keep your son safe and if that pusses off your dsis, well too bad.
This psychologist cannot actually assess the situation with any certainty because she is hearing all this third hand rather than doing her own clinical assessment. And any psych worth their salt does not make recommendations on the basis of someone else’s appraisal of the situation.
A bit of space is definitely what is needed, and YANBU.
Your right. 100% and the nasty name calling from your sis just proves how right you are.
She’s taking it as an attack on her daughter. It’s not your just wanting your LO safe.
My brothers daughter has often made fists at my baby, angry faces and stated bluntly she hates her. For this reason my brother keeps her supervised at all times when they are together, and that’s without comments about wanting to hit her head off a glass table.
Supervision is best!
What a horrible situation.
You are 100% right.
I would do exactly what you are doing. Weathering the storm of their anger and even a permanent rift is preferable to your baby being hurt. You are also protecting the niece. She would have hurting him on her conscience forever. The thought of their granddaughter/ daughter doing this is so terrible to them, they have decided to transfer the anger/hurt/worry on to you because that is much more comfortable for them. Please stay strong and carry on keeping them apart.
I think you are right. If you don’t feel comfortable with your son and DD being together then don’t let them be.
Protect your baby. Your sis & mum either only heard what they wanted to hear or the retired psych was shit. Your niece needs help. She was asking for help. She is worried about intrusive thoughts about wanting to harm your baby. Her father has form for violence. Blaming YouTube, etc is a major cop-out and then trying to guilt trip you for protecting your own baby is gaslighting you. Follow your instincts - and your dh’s
You are 100% justified here OP! I would do the same. Don't let them make you think you're a bad mum for protecting your baby!
That sounds hard but you have to trust your instincts.
Can you make sure that you are always around when your DS is around your neice?
What everyone else has said.
It’s sad that you’re getting the blame for this and I think your niece needs help and is trying to ask for help.
So a friend’s mum long ago used to work in psychology (was it even child psychology?) and without assessing a child has given her opinion which has become fact and you are considered unreasonable?
I’d stay well away from all of them considering their current behaviour.
And of course it might be that your niece wouldn’t ever hurt your son and she is just finding expression for (quite normal) feelings of jealousy, or these are intrusive and unwelcome thoughts that she would never act upon. But unfortunately that’s tough, and your first duty is to your DS. If your Dsis doesn’t want to get help for her child, that’s her decision, but your son can’t be put at risk for that.
I think it’s in best interests of BOTH children to not leave them unsupervised. As adults it’s our jobs to help children assess and deal with risk. Your niece has clearly said she is struggling with this and is asking for help from adults around her.
If ending any relationship with my mum and sister was the price I had to pay to keep my child safe then I would pay it.
They are being shit to your dn by glossing over her intrusive violent thoughts instead of getting her the help she needs. I would not leave my son's side for a moment while dn was there if I were you, and would certainly avoid them all while this sinks in. Hopefully they will see sense soon. If they don't, and they insist on staying angry at you for protecting your son then they can fuck off quite frankly.
Agree with others trust your instincts here OP. Your DS safety comes before anyone else's feelings. I have actually had a similar issue to you. One of my Nephews seemed to upset my DD every time he was near her. I remember one time all the family was in the kitchen and DD was asleep in the living room in her Moses basket. He sneaked out the kitchen and the next thing she was screaming.
My DSIL in particular though is very protective of her DS and I knew her reaction would be similar to your DSis. We never said anything but have since kept our distance. We didn't see them as much as it sound like your family see each other. Our relationship has since become abit strained because of this but I was literally on edge every time he was near her.
I would be keeping my son away from a child who had expressed an ‘interest’ in harming him. Relative or no. They would not come within a whisker of an opportunity. Your mum and sister are being hugely unreasonable.
Also yy to the previous questions around the validity of a proclamation from a long-since retired psychologist based on a one-off conversation.
It was very mature of your niece to articulate her feelings but that doesn't change that you must protect your child. Sounds like your niece could do with some help rather than your mum and sister burying their heads in the sand.
You are doing the right thing and I would do exactly the same. Wouldn't be worth the risk for me.
Why would you leave an 18month old with any child without adult supervision anyway? I wouldn’t have caused a big scene with my family. I would have just made sure me or DH was around to supervise our baby. Why do anything else?
If your mum and sister had been on the same page as you and supportive, I would have said keep seeing them but the kids are never to be left unsupervised even for a second.
However, the fact that they imply YOU are the problem would be the final straw for me. I'd be telling them to fuck off at this point. You will never be able to trust them.
It turned out my mother and sister weren’t safe people for my DD to be around. Not terribly surprising as I was definitely the family scapegoat but to see the dynamic handed down to my DD, where grown ups were unkind and in one instance put her in danger..... not cool.
I haven’t had anything to do with them in 11years. It’s that simple.
I wonder what your family dynamic was that makes it so easy for your sister to call you these names , blame you, dismiss your concerns after her child says she wants to really hurt your baby.
Your sister doesn’t see to make good choices based on her DDS dad and the casual assertion that she probably saw something viol3nt on YouTube so isn’t really a psychopath .
Stand firm, advocate for your child, keep your distance. It would only take a second for things to go horribly wrong.
I have OCD and I have had some awful intrusive thoughts that I would NEVER act upon. That being said I think you are doing the right thing for both children.
Your niece is having intrusive thoughts and her mum should take her to the GP for a referral as she could have OCD.
Follow your instinct - if your family are not supportive than I am sorry you will need to withdraw from them and never leave your child alone with them.
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 »
Please login first.