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Old 02-25-2005, 12:18 PM   #1
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LadyoftheLake HB User
I feel that there is a problem with my niece

I don't know if this is the right board to post on but I feel it has something to do with parenting...

Yesterday I was watching my soon to be 2yr old niece for my SIL. I have a 2 1/2 yr old son and I didn't mind that he would have a playmate for the day, and he seemed immensely excited about it. Just a little background is that we haven't seen much of her in the last few months due to my SIL's jumping back and forth with her boyfriend ( she is only 17 by the way). Anyway when she brought her down she seemed shy which was to be expected and my son of course was trying to break her out of her shell. Later on as the day wore on she seemed to adjust though I noticed that she wasn't as spunky as 2 yr old usually seem to be ( from what I experienced) and she lacked interest in practically everything. It seemed that all she did was eat, she played a little with my son but lost interest immediately and cried a little, mostly whining. I took this as nothing serious at first, expecting that she was a little weary of us and that her mommy was gone. Then towards the mid-afternoon I took out a few books and flash cards that my son and I play with, the flash cards are of colors, pictures of animals and shapes. Well I thought I caught her attention when I sat both of them down to read a book, at first she seemed interested, but I think it was only because my son was excited, then mid-way through the book she just started staring off into space.Then I did the flash cards and I was asking her to show me the colors or to point to the puppy etc, she had no interest though she did mumble the word puppy.
When my SIL returned we got to talking, I didn't want to say anything so I just told her that her daughter was good which she was, but I didn't want to tell her that I feel she is lacking speech and interest especially for her age, I didn't want to oppose. But I kind of brought up asking her if she reads to her and my SIL said "No." then she said that she hopes that my son could help her daughter talk since she doesn't say much. I didn't say anything and just left it go, but I feel that my SIL isn't really helping her daughter with development, and I feel that it might turn into a problem for her in the future. I know also that my niece was very slow in learning to crawl and to walk but I don't know if that was because no one took the time out to help her or if she has a problem. What should I do, I feel horrible if I stay silent yet horrible if I say something.

 
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Old 02-25-2005, 07:47 PM   #2
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Re: I feel that there is a problem with my niece

I know how you feel because I am in the same boat with my sister! We fight all the times regarding the way she raises her kids and the way "she fails to teach them". Firstly, I think your sister is a very young mother and probably doesn't realize that she need to teach and educate her child. I doubt it is anything clinical it is probably just lack of educating in the home. If I were you I would sit your sister down and talk to her. That route fails for me becasue my sister thinks I am always judging her, but it is worth the try. Let me know how it goes. Hey, if you have to step in and teach, go for it. You will thank yourself in the end.

 
Old 02-25-2005, 08:36 PM   #3
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Re: I feel that there is a problem with my niece

lady, i have the same problem with my sister and her daughter, who is now six years old and in 1st grade, so it's been going on for some time. and i have the same problem with my sis as lilykelly w/ the judgement thing, so she and i cannot talk. what we have reached is a compromise of sorts-- her daughter spends a lot of time at our house. i mean A LOT of time. we take her every where, and do many things for her, icecapades, dinner outings, soccer, swim lessons, you name it. we even buy her clothes and get her haircuts. she's still having some acting out issues, as might be expected, but we do what we can. luckily my husband and son are absolutely wonderful about including my neice into our family. i don't know what else to do, and there aren't really many options available to families with this issue. good luck to you, and to your neice and sister-in-law too, sounds like they really need you.

 
Old 02-25-2005, 09:24 PM   #4
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Re: I feel that there is a problem with my niece

I've really been trying to "be-friend" my SIL, I want her to know that I am not out to accuse her like the rest of her family, but to let her know that I too go through the same problems. I just don't want to sound like a hypicrite since I clearly state that I don't want no one telling me how to raise my child and in turn I won't tell no one how to raise their children. My husband said he might have a talk with her, but I feel like she might think I'm accusing her of being an unfit mother or something. I was talking it over with my husband and he says that from his understanding she uses the baby to get to the boyfriend and vise versa so he thinks it could be due to the fact that our niece is suffering from all the fighting and moving that seems to go in their house. I'm feel good though that you agree with me, I really felt like I was judging her just because my son did those things early,but then again I really encouraged alot of reading and counting etc. I don't expect her to do what I did but it seems that she just does the basics and doesn't encourage her to do nothing, though I don't know exactly the family enviroment that she is in all the time either. Any advice on how to tell her without really telling it to her straight?

 
Old 02-25-2005, 10:49 PM   #5
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Re: I feel that there is a problem with my niece

i don't know that i would talk too much about it at all, really. with my sis, since we really don't get along all that well, and, like you said, i wouldn't want anyone telling me how to raise my kid, we don't really talk about it. i mostly focus on how much i love my niece, how much i want to see her, how we all miss her, etc. i'll mention swimming, for example, that i've signed up my son and her daughter. or that i've got tix to the icecapades and can she come with us. or i'll invite my niece over for a slumber party for the whole weekend. sis is happy to have her kid doing things that she knows are good for her, in a really safe, loving place, plus she gets free child care, no questions asked. my niece gets to participate in activities that she couldn't otherwise, also tons of love and affection and good, solid family stuff, dinner around the table, hugs and kisses, no dramas, no boyfriends, and (this is most important to me, esp as she gets older) a totally safe environment in which she can say anything, tell us anything and she will be taken care of absolutely, no matter what. my son gets a playmate he loves, and i get to know that i am doing the best i can by "my baby girl" my husband has to put in the occasional overtime, paying for double lessons and such, but it's only money... *lol* and they don't stay kids forever do they? eventually they will grow up and we'll just have to live with the choices we made, or didn't make, on their behalf.

sounds to me like you're doing the right thing. maybe next time you watch your niece you could report to your sil any progress she's made. like, "we were reading the counting book and when we got to five i said 'five' and she said 'five!' and pointed to the number five, isn't that great? did you know she could do that? what a smart little girl!" sometimes you just need to give the tiniest little push. a self-fulfilling prophecy, the shrinks call it. just keep saying it until it's true! and spend as much time as you can with that kid, even if mom doesn't get it. especially if mom doesn't get it. bless you, you are in for a challenge girl. but it is worth every bit of it. every bit, every cent, every god-i-could-kill-my-sister rage goes away when i see my niece smiling and laughing without a care.

i so feel for you. and for your niece too. but she's actually a pretty lucky kid because she has you.

 
Old 02-28-2005, 11:30 AM   #6
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Re: I feel that there is a problem with my niece

AROCK! You are awesome! You sound like a beautiful, beautiful person and your neice and sister are very lucky. I will follow your advise as well. It is about the kids and my sister does nothing with them and I guess i can start. I used to get so angry with her and I wouldnt call and months would go by without seeing my neice and nephew. This will change though. You are a kind person and I will take your advise

Lily

 
Old 02-28-2005, 12:23 PM   #7
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Re: I feel that there is a problem with my niece

I don't know if I would bring it up. She is only just two. My youngest brother is almost 3, and he has only just been starting to talk in the last 5-6 months. Before then, he was almost always silent. Some kids just develop much slower. If she were older I may be concerned, but not at that age. Also, your son may be much more spunky and alert than she is because he is a boy, and she's a girl. I used to babysit a 2 yo girl, and she was sooo sedate compared to my brother at that age. She watched tv, ate, played a bit but never got overly excited, and jupming around or anything.

I agree with Arock, maybe you could offer to watch her more or something, and you could help her with her development, or she might benefit from being around your son who seems to be doing very well in those areas.
I really hope everything is ok, but it doesn't sound like anything to be TOO concerned about .
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