Continue caring for my nephew, or stop? (UPDATE post #75) - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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#91 of 115 Old 10-14-2010, 04:40 PM
 
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OP From what I can gather from your posts the little boy sounds neglected to me. Not intentionally I'm sure, but still sad. I'm glad that your interactions with him are getting easier and you're able to redirect him. I hope you will be able to continue as his advocate and a positive force in his life, he is very lucky to have you looking out for him.

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#92 of 115 Old 10-14-2010, 05:30 PM
 
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for hundreds and thousands of years people did not have multiple changes of clothes or bathe on a regular basis. And yet we survived as a species.
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#93 of 115 Old 10-14-2010, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to you both. He is currently napping upstairs at GMILs house, she's feeling a bit better. She noticed that I'd bathed him and I got a weird look for it, but you know... I had to. Someone had to do it, and it is unfortunate that his parents weren't the ones to do it.

His mother is working now and has been for a few months, but was a SAHM for the first two years of his life. However, most days he was brought to GMILs house. She spends weekends and evenings with him, as far as I know, though on weekends they do visit here alot so he's with the rest of the family.

My DH told me, the other day, "They just don't care. Don't you see a trend in my family? Cousin M (his older cousin who has 3 children, 2, 5, and 8) doesn't use car seats even though they know the risks." I told him "Yes, but although those kids are not safe in their car, they are fed breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and are always in clean clothes and bathed regularly. Their basic needs are being met." He thinks it's just something that people in his family are at fault for, and that it's just not DN and his issues. He says that it's how things are, have been, and always will be. I just don't know what to think about that. Just because it's the way things are and have been doesn't make it right and doesn't make it okay for my DN to suffer the way he has at such a young age.

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#94 of 115 Old 10-14-2010, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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for hundreds and thousands of years people did not have multiple changes of clothes or bathe on a regular basis. And yet we survived as a species.
I know what you're trying to say. I know that he's going to survive. But this is 2010- and in this day and age, people bathe. Would you really make your child stay unbathed for over a week and in dirty clothing when you are perfectly capable of bathing them and changing them into fresh clothes? I think it's cruel, personally. If his mother and sister are both showered complete with hair done and makeup perfect, and well-dressed, why can't my poor DN get even his hands and face washed?

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#95 of 115 Old 10-15-2010, 12:20 AM
 
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I have hesitated to post on your threads about your nephew because I really do hear your concern for this child shining through. I would hate to say to anyone that whatever is going on is okay when in reality it is abusive. I am a big follower of gut feelings and if your gut feeling is that this child is being abused, you should take action.

However, as some others have stated, some of your concerns are really subjective. It sounds like this family is one of those families that may not feel that children are as precious as you do, or at least this child. Which, although I don't agree with, is not necessarily abusive. It isn't their right to be abusive but what I have read online so far isn't necessarily abusive. Crappy, yes? But abusive no. There might be many reasons for not bathing a child or for not changing that child's clothing that the law would not classify as neglectful. Not buying clothing that fits is on the line but again, probably not something that CPS would call them out on. CPS allows spanking, CIO and many other things that I, personally, think are much more harmful than a messy house, dirty clothes or no baths.

It is illegal to not have carseats. That I would totally bust someone for. It isn't illegal to not treat children like they are the precious beings that I feel they are. It isn't illegal to benignly neglect them. Whether this qualifies as benign neglect or outright, call CPS neglect is something you and your community that actually has contact with this child has to determine. I don't think the online community can make that kind of determination.

So again, I think we can all agree that this is most likely really crappy parenting. But in the end, it sounds like your options are do what you can for your nephew and let it go, or if necessary, stand up for his needs and call the authorities. Otherwise I think it is going to drive you insane.
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#96 of 115 Old 10-15-2010, 05:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post

My DH told me, the other day, "They just don't care. Don't you see a trend in my family? Cousin M (his older cousin who has 3 children, 2, 5, and 8) doesn't use car seats even though they know the risks." I told him "Yes, but although those kids are not safe in their car, they are fed breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and are always in clean clothes and bathed regularly. Their basic needs are being met."
This is totally subjective. Not being in carseats MASSIVELY increases their risk of death. Car accidents are a major cause of early death in the U.S. and most rich countries.

I have to agree that if that is not something you'd call CPS for--and I would consider it, if I spoke to the person personally and told them how I felt, the statistics, and the law--then why worry about the baths?

Yes, he ought to have a bath but to me, the carseat issue is way, way bigger.

I agree, at some point you need to step back and let go. They aren't good parents. Watch for true neglect.

http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/fac.../whatiscan.cfm

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#97 of 115 Old 10-15-2010, 05:57 AM
 
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ETA... I really meant, "So they do not SEEM like good parents from what we're hearing here."

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#98 of 115 Old 10-15-2010, 11:50 AM
 
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Now no carseats is an issue!
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#99 of 115 Old 10-15-2010, 12:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post

My DH told me, the other day, "They just don't care. Don't you see a trend in my family? Cousin M (his older cousin who has 3 children, 2, 5, and 8) doesn't use car seats even though they know the risks." I told him "Yes, but although those kids are not safe in their car, they are fed breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and are always in clean clothes and bathed regularly. Their basic needs are being met." He thinks it's just something that people in his family are at fault for, and that it's just not DN and his issues. He says that it's how things are, have been, and always will be. I just don't know what to think about that. Just because it's the way things are and have been doesn't make it right and doesn't make it okay for my DN to suffer the way he has at such a young age.

I think you should listen more closely to your husband. First, short of the shoes that were too little, I wouldn't say your nephew is "suffering." It's not an ideal situation, but it sounds like he is watched, clothed (even if they're dirty), and fed. Your husband's point, though, is that you'd be taking on an entire family's culture, and that's a difficult prospect. I have limited contact with my own family because I cannot stomach the things that go on with them, but I also realize that when DH & I are 2 of 26 people, we're not going to make much headway in convincing people that their way is wrong.


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Would you really make your child stay unbathed for over a week and in dirty clothing when you are perfectly capable of bathing them and changing them into fresh clothes? I think it's cruel, personally.
It's not cruel. Being cruel to a child and not bathing him for a few days are worlds apart. I think if you drop the hyperbole from your thoughts on your nephew, you all will benefit. To me, you're just so caught up in saying that everything in awful, cruel, terrible that you're having a hard time being rational about whether and how to help him. Look, it's crummy that his parents don't seem to care, but it's not cruelty. It's not abuse. It's just...sad.

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I agree, at some point you need to step back and let go. They aren't good parents. Watch for true neglect.

http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/fac.../whatiscan.cfm
Yes. This.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#100 of 115 Old 10-15-2010, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all. I do agree. It is unfortunate but maybe I should just let it go.

Oh- and I once called the police on the people with no car seats. I don't know what happened, other than the mother deleted me from facebook. I obviously didn't want to ask her "Oh, did you get pulled over the other day" because I wished to remain anonymous, again, because of our living situation (they live in the attic). But I agree. That's incredibly dangerous. I don't know what else I could have done in that matter.

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#101 of 115 Old 10-15-2010, 02:10 PM
 
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Today DN was wearing the same clothing he wore yesterday when we came up to see him at GMIL's house (I was helping her find something- she had eye surgery yesterday). He went home with his mother and came back in the same clothing, and I know it wasn't washed because the ketchup stain from lunch was still there.
My kids often wear the same clothes two days in a row (with new underwear!). It has to pass the sniff test, but with the amount of laundry that four kids produce, I don't mind if they are seen wearing the same shirt the next day.

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#102 of 115 Old 10-15-2010, 05:02 PM
 
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I don't know what else I could have done in that matter.
You spoke to her to her face first, right? Not just called the police behind her back? As in, "I'm really concerned. I know it seems like an overprotective hassle at times, but you know that death rates actually dropped a lot, right? I bet you could even get reduced cost ones from [insert local charity here]?"

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#103 of 115 Old 10-15-2010, 09:04 PM
 
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Thanks for the replies, I agree, there are many things that I need to consider and reconsider and discuss with my husband.

Yesterday, I saw DNs older sister and I mentioned it to him. She told me "Oh gosh, I know, but it's annoying to bathe him because he splashes water all over the place and just wants to play... he's such a troublemaker." So I'm now wondering if his sister is in charge of bathing him and just doesn't.

My husband is going to speak to his grandmother about it, and we hope that she'll get the point across to her daughter (DNs mom).

Today I am caring for my nephew, because GMIL needed the help (still recovering from surgery). I bathed him and changed his clothing into some of DDs g/n things because he was still in the clothing from the other day.

I don't know.. I mean, my daughter has and does wear the same thing twice, but if it is dirty-feeling to the touch I won't make her wear it again, you know? And if she's dirty, I bathe her.

I don't know how harmful not bathing a child is, but would you like to be dirty and not bathed for a week and in soiled clothing for a few days? (The stain is not the issue, the overall state of filth that the clothes were in from being on him for that period of time is the issue.)
How old is dn's sister? Is this really something you should be talking to another child about? I also do not quite understand how wearing dirty clothes, shoes too small and not bathing daily are worse offenses than driving around without car seats. I personally would be much more concerned for those children at least the two year old.
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#104 of 115 Old 10-16-2010, 12:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The older sister is 13 and extremely mature for her age, I was hoping to gain some insight.

The people with the car seats believe that since they grew up without them and are fine, their kids will be fine as well. They are also extremely religious and believe that God will protect them and their children from harm and anything that may happen will be in His plan. (I don't agree with this, but this is what they and other family members have mentioned and it is the rationale for the rest of the members of extended family who also do not use car seats.) They used a bucket seat when the kids were babies but that was because they couldn't sit up and would have gotten into trouble in the car. MIL and I have discussed this deeply and she believes that some members of her family may believe that car seats are to restrain children so they don't get into trouble and jump around in the car, or to hold babies in place- not to protect kids from an accident. Some members of the family (DNs mom, until I had a lengthy discussion) wouldn't tighten their kids in the seats because they worried that they'd become trapped in the car in an accident.

Now, I do not agree with any of this, I'm still RFing my soon to be 3yo. I just feel that I've done what I could in those situations. If the police didn't do anything, there is nothing that I could have done. Talking does not work, stats do not work, video does not work. DH has said that his family lacks common sense. In the past, when I had an extra car seat, I offered it to the mom for her 2yo, she declined. No one cares in DHs family and I think I'm just done. It's not just me, they don't listen to my husband either.

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#105 of 115 Old 10-16-2010, 05:09 AM
 
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Your DH's family really takes the cake. I'm sorry. Who doesn't use carseats?!?! The last time I heard that "God will take care of me" thing (it was re: vaccinations) I was in a remote village in Asia. When we asked if God built their house and personally dressed them and planted their crops with His hands, they laughed, but the next day came to sign up for the health program.

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#106 of 115 Old 10-16-2010, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, unfortunately. I think I just need to be done with his family. It is quite unfortunate because although we both have our faults, DH is such a wonderful person and very unlike his family. Yesterday he asked me if we could move to Idaho

I just feel like I need to cut my "help everyone" attitude in this case and move on with our lives. I feel sick to my stomach because of some of the things I see. I don't want to leave my DN in the dust, especially because he has become so attached to us. I just hope that whatever the future may hold will be in the best interest of all of us.

Thank you everyone for your words of wisdom and advice.

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#107 of 115 Old 10-16-2010, 09:25 PM
 
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Yeah, unfortunately. I think I just need to be done with his family. It is quite unfortunate because although we both have our faults, DH is such a wonderful person and very unlike his family. Yesterday he asked me if we could move to Idaho

I just feel like I need to cut my "help everyone" attitude in this case and move on with our lives. I feel sick to my stomach because of some of the things I see. I don't want to leave my DN in the dust, especially because he has become so attached to us. I just hope that whatever the future may hold will be in the best interest of all of us.

Thank you everyone for your words of wisdom and advice.
I think this might be a good idea. You can only do so much especially if the people who you are trying to help aren't receptive. My brother and SIL do a lot of things I wouldn't including using a lbb for my three yo niece. I bought them a carseat and recited the statistics, but it's not something that concerns them so I let it go. We can't parent all the world's children.
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#108 of 115 Old 10-16-2010, 11:17 PM
 
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"Yesterday he asked me if we could move to Idaho."

I don't know about Idaho, but yes, it's time for you guys to move somewhere. Two people can't plug a hole in the Titanic, but they can darn well get themselves and their child into a lifeboat without delay!
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#109 of 115 Old 10-17-2010, 02:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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"Yesterday he asked me if we could move to Idaho."

I don't know about Idaho, but yes, it's time for you guys to move somewhere. Two people can't plug a hole in the Titanic, but they can darn well get themselves and their child into a lifeboat without delay!

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#110 of 115 Old 10-17-2010, 10:45 AM
 
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My primary concern is that someone else will call DCFS, especially if they're mandated reporters. If the gymnastics coach feels that another parent might call, then the coach might take it into her own hands to call because not calling would be illegal on her part, and she would get in trouble. I'm worried that that might happen. I know that there are people who will call the authorities if you so much as breathe on your child the wrong way- I don't want anyone to see me with a very obviously unbathed child and figure "Oh, she doesn't care about her kids" or "Oh, she doesn't care about her son but cares for her daughters, poor thing" etc.
That's not exactly how being a mandated reporter works. I've been a mandated reporter in many different situations- teacher, education specialist, and foster parent. You are only mandated to report if YOU think there is possible abuse or neglect. There's a lot of gray area when it comes to cleanliness. It's very subjective. I don't think a gymnastics coach would be liable for not reporting a child being dirty, even if someone else did report it. There's just not enough context. It's not like seeing the child with a big burn or blatent malnourishment. Or a preschool teacher who sees the child daily.

I don't know if this child is being truly neglected (to a legal degree.) It happens. Both of my children were removed from their birth homes for neglect. It actually takes a lot for CPS to actually step in.
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#111 of 115 Old 10-18-2010, 02:43 AM
 
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OP, all I can say is that you need to keep your eyes on the prize and get out of that house as soon as possible. I get that you truly are concerned about your DN, but I imagine it is incredibly stressful to be in such an unhappy and unnurturing environment 24/7. Being a SAHM which I think you are, you and your children literally swim in that environment all day and it can't be good for you (or them), to see evidence of neglect and lack of discipline and poor choices everywhere you look. And since you have little ones yourself, of course you are going to focus on parenting styles and how children are treated/ behaving. That's your world right now.

If I wasn't broke as a joke I would be tempted to send you a dollar for your moving out fund! ; )

Life is to be lived! Pull waaaay back from your DH's family, and just get real busy caring for your own little ones. Love your DN but stay away from the rest. And find a way to get the heck out of there sooner! Great creative in terms of housing you will consider. Because this place, no matter how cheap it is, still seems too 'expensive' for your family. The stress it is putting on you to be in that environment can't be good for your LO's.
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#112 of 115 Old 10-18-2010, 02:21 PM
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Op I just have to say I am thoroughly impressed with you general level of
Composure in general with the whole situation. That said, I think you just need to try
to distinguish between things of real concern (the carseat issues) as opposed to wearing
dirty clothes or not being bathed. I have to admit to feeling guilty when reading your
admonishments about not bathing. Dd is almost 17 months and she only gets bathed once
A week. It has been eight days since her last bath. Yeah she has a little dirt under her
nails but she isn't sweaty and she doesn't smell. She loved to bath and swim all summer
but now she has major bath freakouts and I prefer to not torture her as opposed
To having a squeaky clean kid. She gets her face and hands scrubbed each night but
What you said about it being cruel toucheda nerve with me. Sometimes maybe just
think about what you write because some of the minor stuff just sounded flat out preachy.
It actually retracted from the more pressing concerns
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#113 of 115 Old 10-18-2010, 03:09 PM
 
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Yeah, another vote for being concerned about *REAL* issues (ie carseat), and not over stuff thats irrelevant and simple opinion/preference. My boys get a bath, 1-2x a week, on average, and occasionally go much long stretches without. DS1 (3.5) simply hates baths, always has, and its really not worth the screaming and fighting to give him a bath every day. Its really not. DS2 (14 months), gets a bath when ds1 does, or occasionally with me. So, he actually gets bathed more than ds1.

And, tbh, I've gone a solid week to as much as 2 weeks between showers at various points in my life, and I'm quite happy to report that I'm *JUST FINE*. Some of those times were out backpacking/camping, some were while traveling around europe. And I frequently go 2-3, even 4 days between showers even here at home.
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#114 of 115 Old 10-18-2010, 06:12 PM
 
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OP -- I remember how many upsetting details I got worked up over toward the end of a six month stay at my mom's. It wasn't the exact same situation -- I'm just saying I know what it's like when you're living right in the middle of a really stressful situation.

It's hard to keep our perspective when we can't ever step away. I think you'll find it a lot easier to separate the big stuff from the small stuff when you're out.

By the way, Kansas City is also in the Midwest and I think (but am not sure) that the opportunities here are similar to those in Chicago. Plus the cost of living is a whole lot lower. Just thought I'd mention this city as a place to consider if you're thinking about relocating.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#115 of 115 Old 10-18-2010, 07:48 PM
 
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[QUOTE=WindyCityMom;15946748]

My DH told me, the other day, "They just don't care. Don't you see a trend in my family? Cousin M (his older cousin who has 3 children, 2, 5, and 8) doesn't use car seats even though they know the risks." I told him "Yes, but although those kids are not safe in their car, they are fed breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and are always in clean clothes and bathed regularly. Their basic needs are being met." QUOTE]

Their basic needs are not being met if they are not properly restrained in a car. They are less safe, overall, then if there hygiene, clothing, and food was substandard. I'd call 911 in a heartbeat if I saw an unrestrainted 2 year old in a car.
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