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Very awkward situation - WWYD?

(25 Posts)
InMyHumbleOpinion Sat 22-Sep-07 17:59:27

My son has a friend who is five years older - my son is four and his friend is nine.

His mum is a single parent (AS AM I BVEFORE EVERYONE COMES AND ROLLOCKS ME!) who doesn't really care about where they are or what they are doing from moring until bedtime as long as they come back for tea - they are 9 and 6.

They just don't feel loved at all. They get absurdly excited about things like reading stories! I over heard the younger one ask my 4 year old if mums are supposed to like their boys (four year old was baffled, I stayed out of it)

Shall I just keep out of it?

I know that SS have been invo9lved before, and they aren't abused, but is this just par of the course with older boys?

InMyHumbleOpinion Sat 22-Sep-07 18:01:59

Should add, the situation has improved recently, as she is single again, but every time she gets a new man in her life it kind of goes dowen hill again. Her neighbour has laid into her recently and it seems to have made a difference.

I sound like a nosy judgemental cow, but I don't feel like that, I just don't want to make a less than ideal situation worse by interfering, and would like to know how to help.

lulumama Sat 22-Sep-07 18:02:50

maybe she just doesn;t read to them, which is not really neglectful

when you say she doesn't care about where they are or what are they doing... what do they do after school... do they just wander ?

maybe she is in need to support and help and finding it harder to cope?

InMyHumbleOpinion Sat 22-Sep-07 18:34:09

The reading was an example really.

After school, they wander until teatime, then wander until bedtime. I do let them come round here, but5 sometimes I just can't. They do seem to enjoy being out and I wonder if she is just letting them be rather than actively telling them they must go out - but the word is she hates having them around when she has a boyfriend (I know how unreliable word is BTW_)

lulumama Sat 22-Sep-07 19:20:02

talk to her directly, rather than listening to hearsay... and get to the root of it... she might not realise that her behaviour could be viewed as not great.

InMyHumbleOpinion Sat 22-Sep-07 19:30:57

I've known her since my eldest was born, and have had a lot of chats, but I don't really know how to approach it to be honest. She must know that she isn't really doing the kids any favours - her neighbour has outright TOLD her that she will support her all the way when she decides to stop being a crap mother. This woman isn't the sort you can have cosy conversations with, she is always looking for more fun, more attention, more money, more beer etc. There is only so often you can tell her what you would do in her situation, after all.

She was really young when she had her oldest and maybe she missed out a little bit, she is calming down but the boys don't have a sensible influence in their lives - their dads aren't involved at all. I am in a much easier situation than her, and I would hate to think that she would veiw me as smug if I said anything - we are the same age, and she did help me a LOT when I had my oldest as I was clueless to the extreme.

I just wondered if this was a difference in parenting styles, or is she really struggling? TBH she doesn't seem to 'struggle' at all, she just refuses to do anything she doesn't want to, like parents evenings, or going home in the evening when school is the next day etc.

lulumama Sat 22-Sep-07 19:33:19

you might well be wasting your breath then

always so hard to talk to someone about their parenting, very easy to offend, get someone on the defensive, and fall out

at least the boys can come to you when they need to

sleepfinder Sat 22-Sep-07 19:35:15

If you go to the NSPCC website, you'll find that neglect is included as an official form of abuse. Perhaps you can talk to them about it?

InMyHumbleOpinion Sat 22-Sep-07 19:37:41

That's what I mean, it could be she is going flat out doing her best and any criticism might seriously upset her, which I would hate. They do come here a lot but to be honest they eat a LOT and I only let them stop for tea once a week, to give her a break because I just cannot afford it.

She has offered to have my eldest round to her house but (and I do hate to say this, it's so judgy) she wouldn't look after him properly.

She's be mortified, I'm sure, if she knew what her kids say about her, and of course the other local kids tease hers because they KNOW how filthy the house is (and mine gets grim too) and I just WISH I could ask her if she is depressed, because I know I withdraw from life when I am depressed but I have a much better support network in place. I can't ask her though, I don't know how.

It's horrible.

lulumama Sat 22-Sep-07 19:39:32

sounds really, really hard ...

maybe go round there with the boys, and if the house looks really bad, maybe you could give her a hand sorting out, and chat with her whilst you help?

InMyHumbleOpinion Sat 22-Sep-07 19:40:13

But they're not really NEGLECTED. When she goes out there is a babysitter. She cooks for them. She makes sure they have clean clothes. She just seems to be doing the bare essentials and not much more sometimes.

Sometimes she is ok with them but that is the most heartbreaking thing, that they come round and say stuff like "We've been to the PARK in TOWN!" as if it's the most exciting thing to happen to them all summer (and it wassad)

InMyHumbleOpinion Sat 22-Sep-07 19:42:39

See, I know some of her friends have tackled her about the house, and they have helped her, I hope it will help her to keep it clean.

Mine got really bad after second baby, and HV said something to me about it, and it spurred me to clean up, but I don't know if she has reacted like that or whether she has decided to let other people run her life for her if they will.

LaDiDaDi Sat 22-Sep-07 19:42:42

I would think, very hard, about how you feel her behaviour is affecting her children. Do you think that she is neglectful to the point that her children are at risk of harm? If yes then I would make an anonymous call to social services so that they can assess the situation further and offer extra support. If no then I would try to talk to her when she is doing better, ie no boyfriend, about the things her ds's enjoy about being at your house/would like her to do with them and see if this improves things.

InMyHumbleOpinion Sat 22-Sep-07 20:19:49

I don't think her children are at risk of harm, no. I know she shouts, don't know many mothers that don't shout, but have never seen her raise her hand to either of them, and they have never indicated otherwise.

perhaps I am being judgemental. I am sure I do many things she finds bizarre, I know she thinks I am over protective because I wouldn't let ds1 play in the garden on his own until he was 3 - and in hindsight, she was right, I was being ridiculous.

maybe we are just opposite ends of a spectrum? I think they miss one of her exes from a while back, they talk about him all the time and were gutted when they found out he was having a baby with someon elsesad

InMyHumbleOpinion Sat 22-Sep-07 20:21:47

Sorry, should have said - maybe that's why they seem miserable sometimes. Maybe i am just used to ds1 who seems gyroscopically sunny but is certainly quite spoilt.

InMyHumbleOpinion Sat 22-Sep-07 22:01:39

What do the night crowd think?

InMyHumbleOpinion Sat 22-Sep-07 22:08:19

6 minutes! God, doesn't ANYONE go out on a Saturday night?!

mytwopenceworth Sat 22-Sep-07 22:13:16

I think that it's a sad way for 2 little boys to live.

She may not be abusing them, it may not even be 'proper' neglect, but let's be honest, we all feel sorry for those children, as described by the op, don't we?

Not giving your kids enough attention is hard on them. And I feel sorry for them, if that is the case.

What can you do? Well, you can ask her if she's ok, tell her you're worried about her. She might be depressed, floundering..

Or you could tell her that her kids need a bit of interest from her, for their emotional wellbeing and she's letting them down.

Or you can report her.

Or you can do nothing.

Or you can provide that missing element yourself.

Depends what you think is best.

I know lots of people like this.

They have kids, they love them, they get stressed of course, but they're not bashing them.... but they don't involve themselves, iyswim. Kids fed, check. Kids dressed, check. Kids at school, check.

All the requirements, but not the other stuff.

And I think that (and I am thinking specifically of those people I know who are like this) this can be because they were never parented that way, they just don't know how to.

tori32 Sat 22-Sep-07 22:25:53

My mum has openly said she didn't have the patience that I do with my dd. She didn't spend much time 'doing' things like playing or taking us places and she also really only did the basics. It hasn't scarred me for life. If they are well fed, clothed, housed, watered and not actively being abused there is not much you can do, except be there for her to lean on if she needs it. sad

InMyHumbleOpinion Sat 22-Sep-07 22:55:55

MTW You have totally hit the nail on the head. It's sad, but she's doing nothing wrong. She just (hate to hear myself say this) doesn't bother doing much at all.

jellybelly25 Sun 23-Sep-07 11:16:26

Sounds a bit like she just doesnt really know what shes doing, and beyond trhe basics is a bit much for her. what about regularly going for a day out/to the park together, her included? lead by example...

InMyHumbleOpinion Sun 23-Sep-07 18:14:35

She won't come. She won't go to the park as she say's it's boring, plus there is a playground very close to her house.

She really doesn't seem interested, and I have tried chatting about kids with her, but she doesn't want to ever talk about her kids, she wants to talk about going out, or what some woman at the school gate has said to her, or her new shoes, etc.

She doesn't lack adult company at all, and she doesn't ever seek mine (which I understand, we are very different) so I don't think she is lonely - she sounds either bored or cross when she talks about them.

Kaz33 Sun 23-Sep-07 18:29:17

My DH was "neglected" as a child - no one ever played, looked after him etc... He spent his childhood roaming the countryside, quite idyllic in lots of way. He has a huge capacity for self reliance and a great imagination. That bit did him no harm. However, the lack of educational support and role models did him no favours and he has been playing catch up most of his life.

Then he met me grin

jellybelly25 Mon 24-Sep-07 09:33:54

V difficult. I don't know. Perhaps just carry on doing what you're doing then, you're there for them sometimes but not taking responsibility or interfering which is the safest and probably most useful (to the kids) place to be. But don't bother with her anymore if she's not interested in being with you... Just keep an eye on it and if it gets any worse, i.e. reasonable grounds to call ss then do so.

chopster Mon 24-Sep-07 09:39:34

It doesn't sound like she enjoys parenting at all, and she is doing what she needs to do but no more, and I'm not sure you can call that neglect and you can't change her if she doesn't enjoy it. It is very sad. I'd be worried about what happens when the children get older though, and find more interesting ways to make their own entertainment.

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