Are we doing the right thing?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 08-29-2006, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My niece who is 17 lives with us. She has a new baby who is less than 3 months old. She had the idea that she was going to start working 5-6 hours a day, going to school 8 hours a day and working some weekends. My husband tried to have a rational conversation with her about how there is no way that she could do this and spend quality time bonding with her baby. She basicly told him that she had already made up her mind and she wanted to work and was starting work the next day, then went to her room. My husband told her that her daughter should be her first priority, then school, and that really doesn't leave time for working until she graduates from high school. She thinks she needs to work to buy "clothes and Christmas presents" for herself and her daughter. My husband went to talk to her some more and discovered that she didn't even have the baby with her, and had left her to spend the night with her boyfriend and his mom. He went ballistic on her about this. Ultimately, she had to call the boyfriend and have him bring the baby home. Now, we have told her that her baby is not to spend a night away from her. The boyfriend, as I mentioned in another post, has been overheard telling the baby, maybe 2 mos at the time, to shut up. Yeah, I would want my baby to spend the night with this idiot, NOT. I cannot make her understand why it is so important to bond with her baby. And the boyfriend's mom says we are not allowing the baby's dad to see the baby, even though he has been with her for several hours today. She thinks the baby should be allowed to spend the night with the dad, because she is there, teaching him how to parent. She, who allowed a 16yo runaway to stay at her house for 6 months and get pregnant under her roof. Great parent that she is. Anyway, is there something wrong with her thinking that she is so okay with having her baby spend the night away from her and that she is so ready to spend so much time away from the baby? Or are we wrong in not allowing the boyfriend to keep the baby overnight? I told his mom that he should have thought of that before he decided to have sex with a 16 yo. Her answer was "It takes two." Any teen moms out there, please give me your insight too. I know there are always different ideas on any topic. I want to provide her the support and education (when she will listen) to help her be the best mother/parent that she can be. Thanks Mandy, mom to 4, A-8, J-3, my preemie, S-2, and J-5mos, my baby.
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#2 of 9 Old 08-29-2006, 11:34 PM
 
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Who was she thinking would be watching the baby ALL those working hours?

That said....if she doesn't want to be AP and cosleep and nurse on demand and all that stuff you really can't make her and if she isn't doing that stuff then I think the baby should be able to have overnights with the dad. I heard you about the disrespect of the dad but unless there are other indications he would be abusive I don't think you can keep him away....I probably said that to mine.
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#3 of 9 Old 08-30-2006, 04:24 AM
 
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Hmm..sticky sticky situation. I am a former teen mother by choice myself, so when I made the decision to have a child, I was fully aware of my choices and formed a very tight bond with my child-I would have NEVER let her spend the night with her dad at that young of an age, in fact I never let her spend that much time with her father but that's another story.

Perhaps you can sit down and talk with the baby's father with his mother present, and discuss your concers with them. There have been many instances when teen fathers will get very angry at their child's crying and lash out violently, and end up hurting or killing their babies. Not because they really want to hurt them, but because at that age teens are prone to outbursts and sudden anger that just kind of boils over and they don't really think about the consequences as they are doing it. Maybe you could work it out so that if he takes the baby, he will always be supervised by someone older as he learns to parent? Arg..I do feel for that child..it seems as if the mother still has her head in the clouds as well, and probably needs some guidance to pull herself back into reality. I hope everything goes well..sorry I don't have much advice.

Bethany, crunchy Christian mom to Destiny (11) Deanna (9), and Ethan (2)

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#4 of 9 Old 08-30-2006, 04:39 PM
 
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Does the father seem as attached as the mother? All the things being said about the father could be said about the mother. Only women can nurse but both parents can be attached and sometimes the father is the more attached parent.
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#5 of 9 Old 08-30-2006, 08:27 PM
 
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I think it is very common for a teenage mama to still want to be a teenager at points. She's in a very hard place; she wants to be able to be an adult (provide the "stuff") and she wants to be able to hang out and not be a mama.

Give her time. Be gentle and peaceful with her. I think she'll choose the right thing. If not, allow her to make her mistakes, because well, they are her own to make. It's painful, but it's the way we learn wisdom.

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#6 of 9 Old 09-07-2006, 02:59 AM
 
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I wish I had some advice as well but as it was said it really is a sticky situation. I would be worried about a Father telling his 2 month old to shut up as well.......just seems not right ya know? I myself have to say I agree with not letting the baby spend nights with the Father until a bit older. Let him have as much of the daytime he wants but at night the baby needs to be with it Mother. I can see her wanting to work for spending money and that is another tough one. She needs to be with the baby is she is going to be in school everyday. School, work and a new baby just seems to hard on the baby if you ask me.....good luck!!

Blessings,
Kelly
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#7 of 9 Old 09-07-2006, 12:08 PM
 
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>She had the idea that she was going to start working 5-6 hours a day, going to school 8 hours a day and working some weekends<

You know, I know lots of grownup moms who have spent this much time away from their newborns. Of course, I think its horrible, tragic, awful, but it is common in our culture.

>I cannot make her understand why it is so important to bond with her baby.<

If she doesn't feel the mothering tug, I don't think you can talk her into it.
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#8 of 9 Old 09-07-2006, 02:16 PM
 
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I am not a teen mom, heck, not even a mom yet, just getting ready to have my first! BUT, I am a step-mom who has done a lot of research into parental rights and the effects of access to or lack of access to/with children. Please see the following link http://deltabravo.net/custody/overnights.php
It is a good article concerning leaving infants with non-resident fathers overnight. There are a few cited studies in the article that show that overnights with the father are beneficial to the child-father bond. There ARE two parents to take into account here, and you have to remember that the CHILD has a right to a relationship with it's father.

That being said, I think that 3 months is too young for overnight visits (and I am assuming that she is not breastfeeding this baby). I also agree that she should pick either work or school and not both. She needs to spend time with her child, period. That child is HER (and her bf's) responsibility, not anyone else's.

ps. good for you for taking her in

Mom to Kayleigh (05/07) Jacob (05/09) and Ned decluttering 615/2010
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#9 of 9 Old 09-07-2006, 07:59 PM
 
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I am not/was not a teen mom, but am the adult child of one. I am also Mom to 3ds (13/11/3).

I hope my thoughts don't come across as to "witchy", they are certainly not intended that way....

My mother had me when she was 16. She definately influenced my life and showed me how I did NOT want to parent.

It sounds like neither your niece, or her boyfriend are ready for this. She wants to be anywhere but with the baby (school, work) and he is telling a newborn to shutup. The reality of a baby is different than fantasy, sometimes people feel overwhelmed by that.

Mandy, you and your DH have more of an interest in the babe than your neice. We, that have parenting as a number one priority, have a hard time understanding how anyone could possibly choose otherwise. The sad part is we can't *make* others do as we would. The position that you are in must be so very difficult.

Here are my thoughts...

Quote:
She had the idea that she was going to start working 5-6 hours a day, going to school 8 hours a day and working some weekends.
Does she want all that, or does she just want to be away from her daughter? Has your niece been checked for post partum depression?

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My husband went to talk to her some more and discovered that she didn't even have the baby with her, and had left her to spend the night with her boyfriend and his mom. He went ballistic on her about this.
Sadly, it is not really his place (or yours) to do this. The baby was not where you (or I) would have chosen her to be, but she is your niece's daughter. I think if you hope to engage her in parenting issues, you have to be careful not to alienate her, or shut her down. Hopefully, between Grandma and the Dad, the baby would have been fed and changed and had a warm place to be. If that would be beyond their capabilities, then absolutely, she should not be there.

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I cannot make her understand why it is so important to bond with her baby.
You are right, and I think that may be the most difficult and sad part for you to accept.

Quote:
She, who allowed a 16yo runaway to stay at her house for 6 months and get pregnant under her roof. Great parent that she is.
They could have done the deed even if she wasn't living there. The positive is, your niece was safe and not living on the streets. The negative and blame will only hinder your interaction with the Grandma. Perhaps it might help to talk to the baby's Grandma and see if she shares some of your concern?

I suppose the unfortunate reality is the baby is your niece's and not yours. We can not own how others choose to live or parent. We can offer suggestions, support and assistance, but are limited to that. As long as life and limb are not at risk, we don't have the *right* to enforce more than that. (even if we know how it could be done better)


I wish you patience, understanding and courage to help you through this.

Micheline
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