Worried about development of 2yo?(20 Posts)
Someone close to me has a DD who is 2. She is very delayed, always has been - didn't start walking until 21 months. She doesn't eat food, just has milk from a baby bottle and sometimes yoghurts and bananas. She doesn't play, talk or do anything. She sits in front of the tv with a bottle rocking back and forth. I've tried gently bringing this up with the mum but she won't listen at all. She does nothing to encourage or enhance development, I do believe she's delayed because she was understimulated as a baby. Even at 4 months she was strapped in a bouncer in front of the tv with a bottle propped in her mouth. What can I do? Can I tell someone? And be anonymous! Please help I don't want to upset the mum but I'm worried about that poor baby! My concerns have always been present, made even more so by the fact the nursery has picked up on it and the mum has said she will lie to them because she can't be bothered with it.
No you cannot tell anyone unless you think the child in danger of or is being abused.
If the nursery has picked up on it, they will organise an assessment. If the Mother does not comply, then social services may get involved.
I understand your concern but it's not your job.
Some children do walk at the later end of normal. That's not the parents' fault!
Of course I know that! My concern is the parents aren't doing anything to encourage or enhance her development, and rather than accepting help from nurseries/HV etc they just stop seeing them.
Violet I see your point but don't you think not offering an adequate diet and preventing physical exercise is a significant type of neglect?
ptsleslie are you in a position to spend time with this little girl ie take her out to the park to give her mum a 'break'? Or isn't it that kind of relationship.
It is that kind of relationship yes, as the mum in question is my sister am I an awful person? Ive had the LO come and stay with me a fair few times but we live about 4 hours away from each other so isn't able to happen all that often. Especially as neither of us drive.
It's neglect and it's very difficult for children to catch up if they are deprived in their early years. There may be a medical reason for the delays, but even more reason to be working towards getting a diagnosis and the right help and stimulation in place early to try and enhance development. My DD had significant GDD after a brain injury as a baby and she has come on so much with Portage, special needs groups, a Snowdrop programme, but it has been bloody hard work on our part! I have a friend of a friend with a delayed DD who just stuck her head in the sand and did nothing, and it wasn't until she had to start school still unable to talk and with very delayed cognitive development that various agencies got involved. I don't think she was deliberately neglected as such but she's a very passive child and her mum just chose not to see that ignoring her wasn't helping. If you know who her HV is you could raise a concern with them, otherwise phone SS.
This is your sister, you should be able to tell her bluntly what your opinion is which by the way is just that, an opinion. Unless she is being abused then why on earth would you call SS and why would anyone recommend that, the drama! Tell her what you think and if she doesn't like it, keep your nose out knowing that you tried and failed
Ok, this is really hard for you - let's see what options we can see and you can work out whether any actually work in your position. You mention nursery - how often is this child in a nursery environment? That may be the best route for concerns to be raised and support implemented.
If you know or can work out the GP surgery then I guess in your position I'd try contacting them, asking to talk to someone about your niece, and describing your concerns including that you'd rather it be anonymous to your sister. Your sister's GP might find this useful information (on several counts including if they have concerns about your sister's own health, for example). It may help to clarify from the start that you realise you can't be given any information back (due to confidentiality etc), and are just trying to pass relevant information on.
Alternatively if you think what is going on extends to serious neglect then I would say it could be appropriate to contact social services and explain things to them.
There are so many possibilities here as to what's actually going on, but until your sister can "let someone in" to some extent, there is perhaps no so much anyone can do. Well done for wanting to find a way for something to be done to help. Problems could range from post-natal depression in your sister, through autistic spectrum issues, to underlying developmental problems in your niece - a child who reacts differently to average will often induce parenting that seems abnormal to the outside, for instance.
I hope something works and that you are able to maintain useful contact with them in the longer term.
ptsleslie do you have children too? Is your niece the only child in your extended family (ie does she have any siblings or cousins?)
You seem to be saying your sister is not worried about her daughter's development and doesn't welcome 'interference' from nursery etc. Are you worried about your sister herself? What do you think is behind her apparent lack of interest in her daughter?
Would you be able to contact her Dr or health visitor? The 2 year check is due now so may need picked up anyway. They can't discuss with you but you could send a letter voicing your concerns surely? This is your family and if you can't talk directly to your sis then prompting someone to help her is acceptable surely?
It is neglect to only feed a two year old banana and yoghurt and ignore them all day. Of course that causes brain development issues, speech issues and attachment issues. She needs help it's not an over reaction to call ss
That does sound bad. How often is she in nursery?
Gosh - what a tough position. As pps say there may be a number of things going on here but the thing is, most of those things (whether SN, PND or neglect) still mean your sister and niece need some help.
Contacting her local HVs sounds like a good idea. They may be able to contact your sister and say they need to do a 2 year check and so intervene subtly in that way. Even if you don't know the right HVs I'm sure they could pass it on.
Usually on these kind of threads I tend to be in the butt out camp but here you are her aunt, you presumably see her a lot so it's not based on the odd occasion.
Children need the opportunity to thrive and your niece needs you to speak for her.
I'd second contacting her hv rather than ss as it will hopefully reduce any bad blood between you and your sister.
It's more likely that there are a couple of factors at play here.
From babies children seem to have a 'will of their own' when it comes to development. With little stimulation they will be curious and move through the developmental stages (learning to roll, move around, make sounds, etc), if at a slower pace.
If this child does VERY little, she has either been very seriously neglected, or does have some developmental issues/learning diffculties (or whatever, that requires diagnosis). Most likely, it's a little bit of both.
Do you see this mother and baby often? And for how long? When poeple have visitors, you won't see the true picture or how things usually are in the home. Perhaps the child isn't awlays in the bouncer in front of the TV and perhaps they eat other foods, not just milk, etc. It might not be as bad as you think. Be careful that you're not making assumptions.
The child is obviously behind in their development. Whilst it's right that it's the responsibility of other bodies to intervene, it should also be the shared responsibility of all adults to keep our eyes peeled and ears open when it comes to cases where neglect may be occurring.
Try to keep in touch with and see this Mum regularly, bu don't ask her lots of specific questions as she may back away from you if she suspects you are monitoring her parenting. Keep your eyes and ears open. You can't do anything about the situation unless there is evidence of serious neglect (you witness neglectful behaviour - which is more than just noticing trends when you visit occasionally). If you see something serious you may need to notify someone - perhaps come back on here and get others' advice first. What you've described so far isn't necessarily a sign of serious neglect (just bad, lazy parenting). It was probably picked up at the child's 1 and 2 year NHS review anyway.
Just read more of the thread and noticed that the mother is your sister. Sorry. Perhaps then, you could discuss this with her more openly - perhaps encourage her to see if she can get some support from her health visitor.
Just one thing to add: please don't assume that it will be picked up at a 2 year review. In many areas the 2 year review is voluntary and parents can choose whether they want to do it or not. So suspect your sister would choose not to.
If you want to be sure that HVs see your niece I think you are going to have to call them up.
Contact the local HV team they will make sure the little one has a two year assessment which will show any areas of concern in the child's development and will support your sister in parenting lessons if needed or contact ss if they feel that is necessary, good luck
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.