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Me and my sister are at breaking point over her treatment of my nephew.

(140 Posts)
AlmostToiletTrained Tue 16-Jul-13 17:03:02

Hi everyone.

I am a lurking occasional poster who could really do with some help. Or advice, or a kick up the backside?I?m not sure which to be honest. I didn't really know where to put this, so figured relationships was as good a place as any given the subject! Please feel free to move this if you think it would be better elsewhere.

This is probably going to be a long one, so than in advance if you make it to the end, I?ll try and keep it as brief as possible.

My sister and her partner had a baby almost three years ago. He is a complete joy. The problem is, they just have no interest. Neither of them work (not that this makes them bad people-just setting the scene) but sit around all day doing not much except for the baby?s dad smoking weed pretty much constantly. Their house is a health hazard, the little one?s bedroom is full of dirty nappies. I could go into more detail but not sure it's completely necessary to make my point.

My DP and I have our nephew as much as possible-we both work Monday-Friday but without fail pick him up every Friday and return him on Sunday evening. He comes on holiday with us and basically spends as much time as possible with us. I?m biased I know, but he is a relatively easy kid, and I love him so much. I dread Sunday evenings and taking him home. He also spends a LOT of time at a family friend?s house, to the point where my sister and her DP can go for two weeks without seeing him, as the family friend will have him when DP and I are at work, then we will take over Friday-Sunday.

I have tried everything I can think of to kick their arses into gear, but as much as I love my sister, my priority is now that little boy. Some of the things he comes out with now he can communicate better are heart-breaking.

I don?t know what to do. I feel so stuck. I don?t want to kick up so much of a fuss that they take him away from me-but I know this is so selfish I?m cringing just typing it. I also can?t sit by any longer and do nothing. Please someone point me in a direction that might help. I?m lost and just want to make things better him and I feel like I need someone from the outside looking in to help me decide what to do as I?m so confused and can?t see straight because I?m in the thick of it.

This is way more concise than I thought it would be-and thanks in advance for any replies and I?m sorry if I don?t reply for a while as I?m a wee bit busy this evening. I will be back as soon as I can, as I say, I?m a long time lurker and can't keep away!

AlmostToiletTrained Tue 16-Jul-13 17:03:58

God knows why my apostrophes have come out as question marks!

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 16-Jul-13 17:06:18

If you think he is being neglected or abused you should contact the NSPCC.

CreatureRetorts Tue 16-Jul-13 17:07:31

Social services need to get involved. The parents are not interested, that much is obvious, and I doubt they'll do anything. Would you take full custody?

HarderToKidnap Tue 16-Jul-13 17:08:08

Social services need to get involved, which I think you already know.

Phone them tomorrow morning. Emphasise that DNeph doesn't really live with them, that should get their bums into gear.

You're lovely and DNeph is lucky to have you.

Vivacia Tue 16-Jul-13 17:09:01

I hope someone comes along to offer wise advice. I don't know whether to suggest talking to social services or not. Would they offer the OP support or complicate things?

Put frankly Almost, would you consider fostering the boy full time, perhaps for a limited period in the first instance?

ELR Tue 16-Jul-13 17:11:28

Hi well you have no choice really something needs to be done.
Would you be willing to have him full time? If social services gets involved they may ask you this. Can you not say to your sister that unless she sorts herself out or lets you look after him full time legally of course you will have no choice but to contact sociial services.

exoticfruits Tue 16-Jul-13 17:11:47

Have you got parents that are involved at all?

AlmostToiletTrained Tue 16-Jul-13 17:11:52

Thanks everyone-you're telling me what I already know. I would 100% take full custody, no questions asked. To be honest, deep down, I think they want that too but refuse to admit it.

Good God I feel sick now I've got outside confirmation on just the little information in my OP that my gut instinct isn't wrong.

Thanks HarderToKidnap-I'm lucky to have him, he's amazing!

Vivacia that's what worried me-that I might not get the chance to have him and instead I would never see him again. Hysterical I know but I'm just at the end of my bloody rope with the whole situation

unobtanium Tue 16-Jul-13 17:14:55

Oh dear, ATT, best of luck with this. He is very lucky to have you, and boy, did he draw the short straw with his parents.

MumnGran Tue 16-Jul-13 17:15:18

A lot of people may say that you have to consider the potential to permanently destroy the relationship with your sister, but for me there is no question that you need to be talking to Social Services.
Your sister is an adult making her own choices, and failing to be responsible for her childs welfare. You are prepared to be responsible, but are unable to protect him 24/7 so the only way you can ensure he does get that protection is to talk to those people who can protect him.

The only other alternative would be to decide that you want to be a full time permanent parent to him, and talk to your sister about making that legal. Don't just make it a non-legal arrangement, or they could take him back into this dreadful situation whenever they choose.

A lousy situation OP, but all credit to you for putting this baby first.

Have a look on adoption and fostering and ask there, but I am pretty sure family are always the first options for adoption or fostering where it is an option. If you call social services mention every time you speak to anyone that you are his maternal aunt and would be happy to adopt or foster him and to allow your sister access, so the fact doesn't get lost in the paperwork.

HarderToKidnap Tue 16-Jul-13 17:19:34

Foster places are in very short supply, they will always try and place the child with family first. Unless you are very unsuitable for a reason you haven't mentioned you will get custody, and if you aren't suitable for custody then contact would be facilitated. But don't worry about that now, it's a very long road to that and hopefully with support your sis will engage with and love her boy. Child she be depressed?

yamsareyammy Tue 16-Jul-13 17:21:30

Good point MrTumbles. Very sad what can sometimes get lost in their paperwork.

MumnGran Tue 16-Jul-13 17:21:44

Foster carers are in short supply, and (without knowing any other factors!) given your involvement to date I would assume they will consider you an acceptable placement. However, you will need to be able to handle work/money issues?
You need to know you have thought everything through ....and be able to demonstrate that.

Vivacia Tue 16-Jul-13 17:23:00

I don't think you need to worry about your nephew being placed with another family. They try to go with family first, I believe .

I think you should have an open, honest conversation with your sister. No blame, no judgements, nothing that will push her in to face-saving over-reactions, "your lifestyle at the moment is a bit chaotic, how about Nephew coming to stay with us for a couple of weeks?". I think you need to acknowledge your sister's love for her son, and her permanent place as his mother, but show that you're offering your love as his auntie.
I'm just not sure if this comes before or after social services involvement.

redrubyshoes Tue 16-Jul-13 17:24:04

Tricky one. No advice to give but blimey it reminds me of the life of John Lennon (Google it) and that did NOT work out too well. I really would not envisage a happy outcome if you did take on your nephew full time.

Sorry OP not helpful I know - he is their child and yes they need a kick up the arse and a MASSIVE wake up call. While they are being supported by others they will not change.

They need a professional kick up the arse.

Could you stay with them for the weekend and start cleaning up the house rather than taking the child away from a dump and returning him to a dump?

HappyAsASandboy Tue 16-Jul-13 17:24:33

I would have thought social services would place a child with a caring relative rather than in external care, providing they see for to remove the child from his parents.

In your situation, if I had given up hope that my sister could turn it around (and I would have given up by age 3 :-( ), then I would phone social services, making it clear I would be happy to have him short or long term and at short notice if necessary.

Social services shouldn't tell your sister that it was you who reported the situation, so hopefully the existing arrangements will continue if social services are unable to do anything.

Good luck OP, and well done for giving that little boy love and stability.

MumnGran Tue 16-Jul-13 17:24:33

X post harder smile

Please do be careful though, when following advice about constant reiteration. The right people need to know, but you also need to ensure no-one thinks you are just trying to get the child for personal reasons (other than his safety)

Please make the call this afternoon. He is potentially at so much risk.

ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmmmmmmmm Tue 16-Jul-13 17:24:37

" Neither of them work (not that this makes them bad people-just setting the scene) but sit around all day doing not much except for the baby?s dad smoking weed pretty much constantly. Their house is a health hazard, the little one?s bedroom is full of dirty nappies."

This is what makes them bad people,not unemployment.
They sound like scum. Do whatever you think to safeguard the child. Your sister lost her right to your consideration when she became scummy.

AlmostToiletTrained Tue 16-Jul-13 17:24:59

Thanks unobtanium-I hope I can go someway to mkaing up for his bad luck even though I can never replace his mum.

To be honest the relationship with my sister, although obviously not something I want to rid my life completely of can never be my priority again when it comes to this situation MumnGran sad I just keep remembering how things USED to be when we were small. It's so sad.

I have no idea how to bloody bring the idea up but am going to have to just grit my teeth and do it. MrT (LOVE the name) cheers-mentioning my commitment at every stage is very useful advice, I imagine it doesn't take much for things to get lost in the paperwork so to speak. I am glad to hear that family are usually the first option when it comes to fostering, it would break my heart to lose him.

I am just about to leave work but will be back as soon as I can given how manic this evening already is smile

I knew mumsnet would come good-you're a lovely bunch thanks Can't think why I've lurked for so long without posting!

Jbck Tue 16-Jul-13 17:25:10

When my Mum was young her Gran took her cousin away from his parents because they neglected him. He spent a lot of time with other family members anyway but they just accepted that he was better off elsewhere and didn't put up any argument.
Wouldn't happen nowadays but maybe they are hoping you will suggest something similar but for them to say it out loud would make them seem even worse parents.
Could you broach the subject before you involve SS?

AlmostToiletTrained Tue 16-Jul-13 17:25:40

Oh bugger loads of cross posts! As I say. I'll be back as soon as I possibly can-thanks all!

TSSDNCOP Tue 16-Jul-13 17:26:14

If a person contacts SS in an instance like this can they request anonymity. If I were you OP, whilst you would want to stress your relationship with DN you clearly don't want it to be outing you to your DSis.

Jenny70 Tue 16-Jul-13 17:27:43

He deserves more, you know that.
You either need to chat to them about making a more permanent home env for nephew - do you think they would consider fostering or adopting him to a family member? Would you be happy to take responsibility full time for him? What about when you have children etc?
Or if you think they will kick off and not do best thing by nephew then SS is only option unfortunately.

Neglect at this age and an uncertain home env damages a child for life - their ability to trust people, feeling safe and loved, being allowed to be yourself are important in developing the sort of person you become.

This is hard, but he needs you to protect him.. either through makkng his parents step up or stopping them damaging him.

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