Sarah - posted on 05/19/2011 ( 40 moms have responded )
i have a friend -two, really, a mother and her daughter who is 19 - who live downstairs from me. the mother has a 6 year old daughter, and the 19 year old has a two year old son. i could write a book about the issues these people have, but for this purpose i am focusing on the health and safety of the toddler.
while i have never witnessed the 19yo spank the boy or hit him in anger, she does things like eat her food before feeding him, even with him crying in front of her, specifically to spite her mother, because, as she has stated to me, she doesn't like being told what to do, and won't until she's ready. she says things like 'i don't want to deal with you,' and 'you're getting on my nerves,' directly to the boy.
the adults in the family stay up until 2am most nights and sleep until noon at the earliest. the 6 year old has missed school many times simply because her mother didn't get up. i know this because i'm the one who drives her to school (which has become a huge issue recently, i'll post on that later). because of the adults sleeping all day, the boy stays in his crib, alone in the room he shares with his mother because she sleeps on the couch. because of this, he is constantly in a dirty diaper. the apartment smells horrible. he doesn't get diaper rash, but i still think it is unhealthy.
he hasn't spoken yet. i know children develop at different rates, but i am concerned it is a symptom of neglect.
also, the 19yo smokes marijuana in the bathroom and living room almost daily, many times a day. never when the boy is in the room, but she is pretty much constantly high. all she ever wants to do is hang out with her friends and leaves her son with her mother more than twice a week, conservatively. her mother has no control over any of her 4 kids (3 who live with her) and they do whatever they want. all she does is cry and complain.
i decided to look into state and federal definitions of abuse and neglect and find out what i can or even should do, because a friend posted something about being the voice for children because 'you may be the only one,' and i was overcome with guilt. the laws i have found aren't specific enough for me, which is why i come to you all for your opinions and advice.
i appreciate anything and everything anyone can tell me.i'll report back what happens, in the interest of helping others in similar situations.