Reyna - posted on 11/22/2011 ( 15 moms have responded )
I am not a parent, but a fairly new wife to a man with an adult daughter with 3 kids (so he's a grandfather). My husband's daughter's smallest child - a toddler, about 2-1/2 years old - has gotten lost on numerous occasions (so I have heard). Once in their neighborhood, once at a party (at a public fairgrounds where he was found wandering 2 parking lots away from the building where the party was), and once climbed up a ladder almost to the top of a roof. Whilst at my home, he was let to wander in the street and be in the backyard alone with a lit BBQ (albeit the type that has 4 wheels, a propane tank and a cover where the food is concealed). I have heard more instances of him getting loose from his mother and her not knowing where he is.
My issue is that her father does not want me to address this issue. I have decided that she is not welcome in our home unless she can agree to personally watch this child (she often delegates to her oldest, an 11 year old daughter at which supervision, understandably, this 11 year old often fails as well). I have addressed this and she claimed he is just so active, and that I need to learn her "story" to understand why she is the way she is. In essence, my husband's daughter did not respond to the substance of the issue, just shifted the blame to some "story" that she claims explains things. After addressing this with her after the first event (street wandering, lit BBQ), she let it happen again (this time she was inside the house while her son was atop the pool ladder; other adults were outside and could see him, but all of them have a hands-off approach in addition to not wanting to either pick up the mantle of caring for the child, or telling her to). This family seems to ignore the risks associated with her neglectful supervision.
At each of these events, my daughter-in-law sits with the adults and enjoys herself, pays no mind to this child unless he comes around her (she remains stationary at these events) while I am extremely nervous about this child's safety and end up running around trailing the child to make sure he keeps out of things/harm's way. If it helps, I suspect part of her story is that she is a single mom, on welfare, with the father of her youngest 2 children in prison (for theft, most likely). This mom has no relationship with the father of her first child, the 11 year old (he was a brief fling where DNA was required to prove paternity), and after her first child by the second man, he was put in jail/prison; when he got out they decided to have their 3rd child. Thereafter, he was put back in prison before that 3rd child could be born -- the toddler discussed here -- and remains in prison today. I give these details not to make this mom look bad, but because she raises the spector that her "story" explains her current behavior.
This is causing marital conflict, and my husband has actually told me that I get great satisfaction from telling his daughter that she is a neglectful parent (he bases this on the series of texts I had with her where her "story" comments were made in response to me asking her why she doesn't feel she needs to watch her child while they are at our home, where I specifically gave the pool ladder, lit BBQ and street wandering as examples). This entire current issue (my husband telling me I get satisfaction from reminding her she's neglectful) followed me texting her to say her two children are invited to a holiday event, but because the little one requires constant supervision and based on her past iniability to do that, this event is not for her son or her.
Does anyone have any advice for me? Insights?