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SIL wants to take DD out for the afternoon. How to say no without hurting her feelings

(29 Posts)
Wearit Fri 05-Jun-15 14:24:39

DSIL very kindly asked if she could take DD out for the afternoon one day so she could spend some quality time with her. I know this is a really nice gesture and DD would enjoy it but I just don't feel comfortable with it.

My reason for this is she sometimes lacks basic common sense. To give an example, we were once going on a car journey and she was in the back of the car with DD. She was very helpfully trying to teach her (aged 4) how to get out of her seatbelt! shock I had to explain it was more dangerous if she took her seatbelt off without us realising and there was a car accident afterwards. She was like, 'oh yeah!' FYI, DSIL is nearly 40.

She also has a few mental health problems so will feel very rejected when we tell her no, so how do we break it to her nicely?

Many thanks

KatharineClifton Fri 05-Jun-15 14:27:21

There is no way to say no without hurting her feelings. Can you not figure out something you are comfortable with?

thatstoast Fri 05-Jun-15 14:29:02

Could you suggest something where you are nearby but not hands on? Like, she takes her swimming while you wait in the cafe?

gamerchick Fri 05-Jun-15 14:30:02

You don't want her to take her why? Is the steam let incident a one off (silly arse, I take it she doesn't have kids)?

The mental health reasons don't really count as many people who have mental health problems are parents.

gamerchick Fri 05-Jun-15 14:30:45


Wearit Fri 05-Jun-15 14:34:49

Game chick - it isn't that she has mental health problems why I am no happy for her to take DD. It is more how she will cope with the rejection as a result of us saying no.

It isn't really an isolated incident, she is just a bit scatty and i have witnessed her having DD on her shoulders and then boasting 'no hands' and looking unsteady with it.

Like the idea of us being nearby at a pool.

Thank you

JessiePinkman Fri 05-Jun-15 14:38:26

Say yes but be nearby

staverton Fri 05-Jun-15 14:41:09

If she is scatty and absent minded I'm not sure swimming is the best idea- as you have to be totally child focused and on the ball. Unless dd is a fantastic swimmer of course.
A park may be better with you in a cafe nearby

Catnap26 Fri 05-Jun-15 14:57:09

What about suggesting she took her to a play center that your dd really wants to go to (sil can go in the climbing frames with dd too) you could meet sil there and you go shopping then go back a couple hours later to pick dd up?play centres are great fun and not much can happen there.

lornathewizzard Fri 05-Jun-15 15:00:15

Or you could just suggest you all go. That way you can get a better idea of how she will be for future reference.

BarbarianMum Fri 05-Jun-15 15:08:14

I think 4 is a perfectly fine age both to know how to take your seatbelt off and to understand when you shouldn't. Not sure that id consider that as lacking in common sense unless she knows your dd can't be trusted with the responsibility.

Tequilashotfor1 Fri 05-Jun-15 15:10:12

I'd encourage her to take her to a soft play area. She can't get in to too much trouble there

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 05-Jun-15 16:23:05

I was going to suggest a library to choose picture books or soft play with a cafe area rather than a pool and maybe say, it'll be nice she & DD having 1:1 time and you taking them by car will be quicker than the bus, (thereby ensuring that you are going to be in the vicinity).

Or making biscuits in your kitchen - not taking DD out admittedly and perhaps a bit messy - but that would still mean time spent with her DN.

BertrandRussell Fri 05-Jun-15 16:28:49

Can't most 4 year olds undo their seatbelts? Mine certain,y could!

Sorry- unless there's lots more to this story then just let her. They'll hav q lovely time.

Wigeon Fri 05-Jun-15 16:43:54

Is DD still 4, or was she 4 at the time of the seatbelt incident?

I would try to find some activity which was low risk, in terms of SIL being scatty. Eg could she take her to a farm? (You drop them off and collect them). Or go into town and to a cafe. Or go to the cinema and have popcorn. (you do the driving). Or just be really clear about expectations and how to keep a 4 year old safe. I think some people without children just don't know what they are / aren't capable of. Eg you might need to say that DD MUST hold hands when crossing the road etc.

HerrenaHarridan Fri 05-Jun-15 16:50:28

Unless there is a LOT more that you're telling us you're being totally over the top!

queentroutoftrouts Fri 05-Jun-15 16:54:45

i think you are being unreasonable and being a slight helicopter parent.

Theknacktoflying Fri 05-Jun-15 17:01:21

How old is your DD ?

I think it is fab that your SIL wants to spend time with her niece
Don't just say no - see if you can find a. Compromise

cece Fri 05-Jun-15 17:01:53

how old is dd ?

Wearit Fri 05-Jun-15 17:02:18

Not really a helicopter parent as she goes out with other family members and friends. DH feels the same about sil too so it isn't me being paranoid.

Thanks for all your suggestions

Wearit Fri 05-Jun-15 17:03:44


VinoTime Fri 05-Jun-15 17:42:30

Is DD your first born, by any chance?

Honestly? I think you're being precious. We can all be scatterbrained at times. Your DD could just as easily get herself into trouble or have an accident of some sort whilst with you and your DH. I think your SIL sounds like the mad, kooky Auntie we all desperately want in our lives. I suspect your DD will find her lot of fun and I think it would be a tremendous loss for your DD not to bond and build a close relationship properly with her Aunt. I dread to think the things my sister and DD get up to when alone together - they would certainly not be things I as a parent would normally do with DD. But that's all part of the fun, surely? It's like Grandparents spoiling your children. No, you don't want them to come home loaded up with sugar and carting bags of new toys, but they've been to Gran and Granddads house, which basically equates to Disneyland, and they've had fun. So who gives a crap? Relationships are important.

At the end of the day, you're a parent. You will always worry a ridiculous amount about your child no matter what. What if a plane falls out of the sky? What if a dog suddenly attacks? What if aliens abduct my beautiful child?! Problem is, you can't live life based around a load of what ifs. And hampering a familial relationship simply because you deem this women to be a little lacking in the common sense department seems very unnecessary. There isn't a person on this planet who has perfect common sense. Jeez, I was training a new guy at work today. We were discussing stock rotation and how important it is to avoid food waste and missed use by dates. I later found him rotating fucking toilet paper hmm He's doing a Master's degree in psychology at one of the top university's in Scotland. He's an incredibly intelligent young man. Yet I still found him rotating bog roll this morning. Does his lapse in common sense make him a moron or incompetent? No. It makes him human. We all get it wrong sometimes.

I think suggesting an activity close to your home (for your peace of mind) as a first initial step would be the right way to go. Take it from there. As others have suggested, soft play would be my first choice smile

Wearit Fri 05-Jun-15 18:00:06

Vino time, that made me laugh out loud about your team member rotating loo roll- I just wondered, did you pull him up on it? If so, what did he say?! ��

Think you are right though, it is lovely that she wants to spend the time with Dd and I shouldn't hamper it. I am just not used to anyone apart from the grandparents having her and i trust them. Also, DSIL has been living in another country until a couple of months ago so maybe that is why it feels strange, because she has in effect missed the first four years of her life.

Roseybee10 Fri 05-Jun-15 18:25:32

I feel the same about my sister watching dd1 tbh. She took my niece in her mums car without a car seat when she was 1.5 without her parents knowledge.
( they only found out as DN said she had been to 'adda' (Asda).
She also feeds dd inordinate amounts of crap and completely ignores anything I say and purposefully does things I say dd isn't allowed to do just to wind me up (teaching her swear words for example).
I think if you're not comfortable then try and find a middle ground of doing things together a few times first. X

Finola1step Fri 05-Jun-15 18:30:23

How about a trip to the cinema?

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