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DSD being left to look after DS with severe autism for hours on end

(7 Posts)
unleashingtheflyingmonkeys Sun 16-Feb-14 20:24:25

Hi all,

Im a lurker and looking for advice. We are due to have DSC this week for half term and are quite flexible with the ex when we have them It is whenever is good for her, as we are usually in anyway due to having three DC ourselves. DSD 13 DS 9. DS has severe autism, and other needs. Struggles with things like the toilet. Wont eat certain things. Has regular meltdowns over what seems to me random things, but obviously not to DS. Anyway, after the ex making a big display of how difficult DS, how depressed she feels, how she has no life as she is constant care of him etc etc, I had an interesting conversation with DSD. She is being left to care for him at every given opportunity for hours on end. For example, today the ex left the house at 11, with her DH and other children and hasnt been back yet. Kids havent eaten. DSD is expected to cook for herself and DS, despite him having particular requirements about what he will and wont eat, and often melts down.

We have fought for access for so long (four years in total, she is expert at ignoring orders), have spent thousands and tried so hard to make the ex see we just want to help. I have made sure DH built up access slowly, by himself, at his mums where they are familiar, then slowly phased our DC and me in, at a pace comfortable with the ex and the kids. They are brilliant when they are here, joy to have. There have been some difficulties, with things like the ex didnt tell us DS wets and soils himself in the night, but we muddle through. I am getting used to DSS little quirks,as have no experience with extra needs, but I am trying and really want this to work. I dont want to over step the mark, but dont want to be seen as aloof either, hard to know where the boundaries are. I wont lie, its been difficult dealing with kids, I honestly love to bits, but know I shouldn't have a say in parenting, its weird DH parenting by himself, though I know it is right. I just want to help.

Things have so far been ok with the ex. Civil to the point of almost friendly since the final order was put in place. She knows we will have them whenever, do whatever, including picking them up last min from school, or having them last min on her time so she can go out. But I am worried about the kids being left on their own and dont know how to approach this. I dont thinK dsd has the maturity to cope with her brother for long periods. It would be different if it were for ten mins while she nipped to a shop, but it is 7-8 hours at a time. They are left alone almost every day, ranging from half an hour to all day. I don't understand, if she wanted us to have them, she need only ask, surely it is better than leaving them unsupervised. Today for example, she only had to ask for us to have them a day early and it would have saved them being left, she feels happy to do it on other occasions. DSD isn't getting to go out to her friends, and is quite unhappy. Not helped by the fact that the EX always takes her other DC and DSS out to her DH family and they get left at home a lot.

Obviously there are concerns, but how does DH bring this up. We are not judging her, as her other two have extra needs too, and it cant be easy for her, but this isn't safe. I said to DH he should text the EX and go pick them up, but the ex has said not to, as she has plans with them. This was at 6pm and have just been told she still isnt back. We keep ringing or texting every 15 mins to check all is ok, and have offered to drop food in, but DH feels this will antagonise the ex. Offer was made anyway.

Does anybody know the legal implications of kids being left on a regular basis for this long. We want to work this out nicely, and dont want to upset the ex, but the needs of DSC come first.

Sorry for the rant, but just need help. I dont need flaming, just trying to do the right thing, not upset the ex, be there for DH and DSC and feel like im failing miserably.

TIA xx

cupoftchai Sun 16-Feb-14 20:55:54

So the 13 and 9 year olds have been in the house with no adult since 11am this morning? Your dp needs to find a solution with his ex where this does not happen. If she is not bak yet he may need to just go and get them. He has parental resp, he knows they r alone, he would be held responsible if anything were to happen. Maybe this is the wake up call their mum needs.

Icantstopeatinglol Mon 17-Feb-14 11:22:27

Op, that is definitely not right and needs dealing with quickly. Two children being left alone all day at home, anything could happen. It's not just the general taking care of dinners etc but what if something was to happen to the little boy and your dsd had to deal with it alone.
I'm not sure what the solution would be to be honest but your dp needs to sort this out. I would assume as your dsd gets older she'll be used more often for child care cos at the end of the day that's what it is. My dsd is older but she gets used too much to look after her dsis as far as I'm concerned. She should be out with her friends not acting like a parent before her time.

RedFocus Mon 17-Feb-14 11:57:27

So your husband would just rather leave them to it so he doesn't upset the ex when she is clearly neglecting his kids. FFS tell him to get a grip and go and collect them and text his ex to let her know he's got them and is taking them out for the day.

futuresurfingmum Tue 25-Feb-14 21:41:10

Agree with cupoftchai, this is definitely not acceptable, although generally I would always advise 'keeping the peace' there are situations where you have to take action and this is one of them.

Xalla Wed 26-Feb-14 05:27:31

13 is too young to be left in charge of any younger child but especially one with additional needs. Agreed your DH has a responsibility to intervene.

pluCaChange Fri 28-Feb-14 19:23:31

Does the information on this page place DSD as a young carer?

Does she feel she's losing out on any of the rights identified in the young carers' charter?

www.nhs.uk/CarersDirect/young/young/Pages/young-carers-rights.aspx

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