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To get involved or not get inlvolved....

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
...this is the question...

My brother and sil are not the cleanest of people and sil openly admits it.
Their son is always sick and makes my ds ill anytime we get together...I can almost always count on my ds getting sick 2-3 days after being around my brothers son, because they *forget* to mention until we are already in the door, that my nephew just had this or that, or is at the end stage of whatever, and my ds always gets it (just got ds over a cold he got from going to nephews #2 b-day party, which nephew was wiping snott all day off his nose with his arms and hands.... he also picked up rota virus from him and had to be hospitalized-we have no other children in our home and ds does not go to daycare).
Well, my poor nephew of 2 years of age has had impetigo 2x, and now has ringworm and when I talked to sil today she told me that he got it from playing outside all day at my mothers for a cook out we had there this past Sunday...(who does not have any animals): :
He always seems to have a dirty face and runny nose and my sil is less than attached, if you will, as a parent. My brother has no say in a lot of things as sil is very controlling.

Long story short, my mom and I were talking about this issue (my nephew never being "clean") and I was encouraging my mother to discuss this cleaniness issue with my brother, but my dh says this is a bad idea and will only make my brother mad(as well as his wife).

So, should my mom step in and gently talk to my brother and try to "teach" him these "skin rashes" can be/should be avoided by daily bathing and a clean house and cleaned up yard from dogs..or should she just stay out of it and hope for the best for my poor little nephew?

Appreciate any thoughts good or bad here....
post #2 of 27

thats a tough one to answer

They could take it the wrong way, and blow up and cut off contact with you guys, I wish I could be more help to you, good luck....
post #3 of 27
You would think their doctor would have said something the second time the child had impetigo or with the ringworm.
If you are willing to alienate your in-laws, I say tell them. Find the nicest, most tactful way, but go in knowing they might just tell you to MYOB.
I feel really bad for your nephew, he deserves to be clean.
post #4 of 27
my feeling is someone being that "loose" w/their kid's cleanliness is not going to take criticism in the spirit in which it is intended. kwim? they obviously don't care and that is sad.

but i do agree that if you or your mom get involved, it should be by talking to your brother w/out the wife first.

and as for playdates - why don't you make it a point to call b4 you leave the house and ask flat out - 'does nephew have a cold?' and you can always blame it on yourself by saying, 'b/c son is just getting over something and i wouldn't want nephew to catch it esp. if he's already feeling ill.' this is just common courtesy and my best friend and i call the morning of any scheduled playdates to make sure there's no illnesses. her kids ALWAYS have something.
post #5 of 27
Well, if they are anything like my bil and sil, then it won't matter what you say...they just don't care.

My mother-in-law has had numerous discussions with my sil about her kids. They have 5 kids and they are constantly filthy. One of them always has lice. They rarely bathe them. They smell like urine. Its disgusting! My mil bathes the kids as soon as they get to her house, and she shaves the boy's heads if they have lice...sil doesn't even care about that. What's really horrible is that my sil is a freakin nurse! She works in a nursing home. I feel really bad for the people she cares for.

Some people just don't care, and its sad. Kids deserve to at least be just a little clean.

Right now, I don't have to deal with bil and sil since we live out of state, but we will be moving back there soon. I don't know what I will do then...maybe just limit our contact to family get togethers. My dh feels the same way though.

I hope you figure something out!
post #6 of 27
Tricky question. I agree that if they are already this lax about cleanliness, they aren't going to change just because you say something. I would just be really careful when it comes to exposing your son to them, and as someone above said, always ask if the children are healthy before having a visit.

I can sympathize - a friend of mine has a not-so-clean house and never washes her kids' hands, so they are often sick, and I hate for dd to have any contact with them.
post #7 of 27
That is tough... One question I would have is if you think that their child is dirty and sick because they don't care or if it is simply ignorance (that is--just not knowing that being dirty can be problematic). If they don't care, then saying something will just get them mad. In that case, I would think your main goal should be to keep your child healthy. Maybe when you set up a get together you could say something like, "Last time DS got sick, he was really tough to handle. Since then, I'm trying to keep him away from sick kids to preserve my own sanity. Is everybody healthy?"

If it's ignorance, then I would probably try to find a way to talk to them in a way that allows them to preserve their dignity. Maybe you could find an article that talks about cleanliness and one of the illnesses that your nephew has had? Then you could just say something like, "I came accross this article and I thought you might be interested in it, too." It might be best if it were about something that your DS picked up from your nephew (because then there would be an obvious reason that you'd be interested in the article).

It's certainly a touchy subject... Good luck!
post #8 of 27
Especially as it is causing illness, that is neglect, and I would seriously consider calling CPS. They might smarten up after that.
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
all good thoughts everyone...
Irishmommy funny you mention calling the CPS b/c that exact idea came to my mother and I tonight on the phone(as we are racking our brians how to approach this issue) but we both decided we would feel even worse if they took our grandson/nephew away.

I did the print off sheets about both the ring worm and impetigo and how it discusses the cleanliness issue of both rashes.

This is very hard...my mom knows she only wants to talk to my brother but she also wants to still have her son respect her. SO she wants to try to approach this gentley as she can and giving my brother(not sil-we know how she works) the benefit of the doubt that maybe he really does not know anything about how these rashes come about.

All I know is here is a 2 y/o little person who cannot speak up for himself and I would hate for someone or him someday to say "why didn't anybody do anything?" Kwim?

Thanks for all your thoughts and suggestions...need them all....
keep them coming

post #10 of 27


absolutly confront them you have to keep your child and home clean they should know enough to keep their kids away when there sick everyone will gwt sick but there are tons of ways to prevent it if they get mad then thats ignorant you are family you lve them and want them to be healthy if they get upset oh well try to explain to them with some evidence to back you up GOOD LUCK
post #11 of 27
Ok, as the mom of a dd who recently had impetigo I am *trying* not to be *too* offended by this thread.

Just FYI, read this from AskDrSears.com (this page http://askdrsears.com/html/10/t110241.asp )

"It's important for parents to be aware that impetigo, like head lice, is not a reflection of sloppy housekeeping or poor hygiene."

My kids have not had ringworm, but I've known kids who have and they are not from bad homes. By the way, it doesn't have to be caught from pets. Again, Dr Sears "The fungi in the rash are contagious by direct contact with the rash or from the hands of an infected person who has been scratching the rash. Your child can also catch it from infected pets, especially dogs and cats."

I would take issue with a kid coming to my house sick without me being told and I think that should be brought up. I find it pretty harsh however, that there is talk about calling CPS for impetigo and ringworm!!!

Please think long and hard before talking of CPS. Maybe someday your child will be the one with impetigo or ringworm and people will be shaking their heads and thinking what a bad mom you are because of it.

edited to add - Um, let me just say I didn't mean that as angry as it might have sounded. But still, I think there are a lot of misconceptions on this thread so I felt the need to say something.
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
I am sorry you are hurt by this thread that was not my intent and if anything I apprecaite you bringing to my attention that *clean* kids get it too.

If you have read any of my other posts concerning my sil and my nephew you would know that there are many other issues that play into this whole scenario and that my nephew is really kept unclean.

That is where my concern lies and since this is my sil and brother, I have been to their home, where in their back yard among my little nephews toys, are piles of dog poop not cleaned up or if it is it is just racked to the one side of the yard.
The house has trash baskets over flowing and just a sour smell about it anytime we are there.

My sil openly admits that she is not a *cleaning* type and even said when her son picked up food off the ground to eat that the grass was probably cleaner than her own floors and the food would be ok to eat.

I stated that we are not calling the CPS I agree that that is too harsh, but if you knew other factors you may have let that thought cross your mind as well.

I am truly sorry you were offended and I apologize to any others who may feel the same.

This was not my intent.

I appreciate the facts form Dr. Sears as I have read them already too...You forgot to also print out about prevention part which is washing hands, taking daily baths, and just good hygine in general, all of which my nephew does not get.

post #13 of 27
Thank you for the clarification. No, I have not read any other posts since I thought this one stood alone.

For the record, I didn't "forget" to print out the hygiene info. I posted the links so people could educate themselves but no, I didn't copy and post the entire page. Just the parts to show where some are misinformed about aspects of impetigo and ringworm.

Yes, hygiene goes a long way in the prevention of illnesses/rashes, etc. Hand washing can help prevent the common cold, but no one says that only dirty kids with neglectful parents get colds, right?
post #14 of 27
Maybe you (or your mom) could offer to help clean?
post #15 of 27
This is one issue that is my absolute pet peeve.....not telling when youre kids are sick. Its common curtesy.

If youre close w/your brother and have a good relationship, I would try talking to him first. OR take the opportunity next time there is a get together to call first and voice your concerns that you dont want your dc around anything conagious as you have an event coming up or whatever. If shes offended, tough doo doo. You cant do much about how they raise there dc, but you do have a voice in what you will subject yours to. THEN it will be understood that those are the rules if they are to be around you and your family. Im sure it wont go over well, it wouldnt in my family either.
post #16 of 27
Cloverlove - I was just thinking something along the same lines. How about a gift of a cleaning person that comes once a week - at least the house would be clean. But of course they would still need to be more responsible and bathe their son regularly. <sigh> poor kid!
post #17 of 27
alrighty I am going to jump in here....

A messy or "dirty" house does not a bad parent make... I am not a big cleaner myself.. Especially not during pregancy... Right after we had our 1st we had family members threatening to call CPS because our house wasn't clean enough according to them... My kids are clean, and so are their clothes.. I give them good food, and take care of them.. THey are amply loved and cared for... Some people have it all together.. Some people can't do it all..

For the record.. IF there are 2 parents there are 2 people who are responsible for keeping things clean and straight.. I know here we do have to parents, but dh expects it to all fall to me.. Perhaps that is part of the problem as well..

As far as someone else cleaning their house.. Perhaps they would welcome it, but i know when people come in with out my asking I feel very uptight, and intruded upon... If i am asking for their help that is another issue, or if i am paying them to do it..

If this is just a symptom of a much larger issue it definately should be approached, but if it's just about the way their house looks I can't get behind that....

Best of luck and Warm Squishy Feelings...

post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
Ok ...
I do not want any more people getting upset here w/o reading my original post in full....

My nephews clothes are dirty

My nephew has a dirty face everytime we see him

My sil's house smells and is trash laying around(food boxes and dog doo-doo) and stuck on food to tables and pacis laying on the floors and dirty sippy cups.....

I am not making a blanket statement about a group of people
All I wanted was some advice on how to handle the issue not cause a debate on clean kids vs dirty kids and germs or how we like to clean our houses.

Please you guys...I am serious....
post #19 of 27
Ok, I'm not upset anymore, but did want to say I *did* read the original post and all the replies to it and the impetigo and ringworm were featured as being the main issues.

"So, should my mom step in and gently talk to my brother and try to "teach" him these "skin rashes" can be/should be avoided by daily bathing and a clean house and cleaned up yard from dogs..or should she just stay out of it and hope for the best for my poor little nephew?"

I was just pointing out that children from picture perfect homes can still get impetigo and ringworm so if that is the main reason to talk to your SIL, then I wouldn't. If your kid plays at a playground, has contact with other kids (playdates, cousins, school), ever pets a dog, etc, then they can get stuff like this (and lice! That's usually a school thing). It's just part of life.

As for your question, I would vote to stay out of it! To be honest, the only thing that struck me as really wrong in your description is the dog poop. That's nasty. Well, and overflowing garbage. Other than that, you mentioned runny noses, dirty clothing, dirty faces? Those are all normal kid things IMO. I guess it depends on HOW dirty? (I am not trying to be argumentative, but just mentioning this!). My dd is quite the mess maker If she is playing outside then within minutes her clothes are dirty. Period They get changed at *least* once a day but you might not know that from looking at her. My 11 month old is always cleaner than her because he's still a baby and usually in arms. In short order, he'll be joining her in becomming a messy little, happy ragamuffin

CPS is, IMO, only for severe neglect and abuse. Something that is so bad you truely think it would be better for the kids to be taken from their family (because that is always a possibility). So I'm glad you said you aren't really going to do that.

The reason I vote to not bring it up is because it will ruin the relationship with your SIL and will most likely not do any good. If you honestly believe she will be able to say "oh, really? Ok, I'll clean more" than that's different, but that's not likely. Instead, it will make her angry, it will cause stress between her and your brother, between her and you, between her and her MIL. She might even decide she and her kids won't be seeing the in-laws for awhile, yk?

The idea to offer a cleaning service is a good one IF you bring it up in a totally non-threatening way. Maybe "We know how hard it is being a mom so we all chipped in and got a cleaning service for you for as a Mother's Day present!" Well, even that might not work, but you can try.

How about Flylady.net? I adore her Though even Flylady says it's not really polite to tell people they need her :LOL! What she suggests is something sneaky, like sending your SIL a link to the She Shouldn't page and saying "hey, this is hilarious! Read this sometime!" or to the gift idea page or recipe page (etc) and hope she browses the rest of the site while there.

Really, there is no polite way to come out and tell someone that their house and kids are not clean enough. I agree that your brother and his wife should be cleaning up the dog poop and taking out the trash, but if they somehow grew to adulthood without learning these things then one talk from your mom is not going to do much.
post #20 of 27
I was on the verge of being offended (looks around...overflowing trash...food boxes...) OK lol, I am actually having a good day here, but my house does often resemble something that should be partitioned off by police tape (wreckage, tornado site, hurricane...etc) But I totally understand what you are saying about these people.
I tend to agree with Shannon though. The only thing bringing this up will do (I think) is alienate you from them.
If I were you I would address the issue that effects me personally;bringing a sick child over, or letting a sick child be around my child without letting me know before hand. I would say something about how dc has been sick so much and we would appreciate it if you let us know if ds has been sick lately before the children play together.
I know that sounds selfish and like I don't care about her child, but if I thought talking to them about their cleaning habits would make any difference in his life I would do it. I just don't think they would change, but rather just get mad.
The dog poop is the part of the story that really bothers me. That just ain't right. Can you annonimously call the pet cops and turn them in for not taking care of the dog well enough? I mean if the kid is living in poop than the dog probably is too. The pet people might tell them to clean up the poop and that problem might be solved. Not that I am saying take their dog away. Maybe they just need an official warning to clean up the poop or something.
Just a thought.
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