I have a bit of a dilemma and i am hoping that someone can help me out!
I have 2 godchildren - a 3yr old boy and a 19 month girl. I see them every week and have them both to stay every couple of months or so. Thing is though, i am becoming more and more concerned about their welfare. To set the scene:-
The family is living in a static caravan while they build a house. The father is out at work all day while the mother is at home in the caravan. She can't drive and doesn't go out so is pretty much totally isolated with the kids. When he comes home from work he goes straight out to the new house to carry on plastering etc. The childrens grandmother lives next door but doesn't really spend time with them.
My concerns began when i discovered that she stays in bed til 10am and doesn't bother to get up to see to the kids. They are awake from 6.30am and just stay in their locked room (shared) hungry and in dirty nappies til she gets up.
The little boy goes to nursery once a week and after xmas is due to go four times. She is reluctant to send him because it means she has to get out of bed early (8am). He is still in nappies - he was dry day and night and in proper pants and then she decided to put him back in nappies because he wouldn't poo in the toilet! He must be so confused! He also has quite delayed development - to look at and hear him talk you would think he was 2.
When the father comes home from work she often joins him in the new house, whether the kids are awake or not. They just get left to play unsupervised. They are often both put to bed during the day whether they are tired or not. They are just locked in and told to go to sleep. While i was there the other day they were in there for an hour wide awake.
The latest revelation which has prompted me to post this message is that when i went round last week the mother told me that she wasn't giving the kids lunch anymore cos then they ate their dinner better at night!!! Oh my god!! I actually contacted the father to discuss this and he agreed with her and backed her up!!!
I have tried talking to her gently about my concerns but she dismisses them. I know she loves her kids but i worry for their welfare.
I am a mother to a super little 4 year old girl and i can safely say that i wouldn't dream of treating her like these children are treated. i think its unacceptable.
I am considering trying to contact her health visitor to alert her to the situation. I have spoken to others about this situation, some have told me to get involved and do something and others have told me to leave well alone cos it could open up a can of worms so to speak.
Opinions on this matter would be greatly received, especially if someone has been in the same situation.
Thanks so much!!
Now this is just my opinion but I would contact the health visitors. I am a mother to a fantastic 15 month old little girl and I wouldn't dream of treating her like this. I'm not saying that this mother is horrible..in fact I think she should be checked for depression. Sometimes PPD doesn't show up until more than a year after a child's birth. The fact that she locks her kids in their room and doesn't give them lunch really concerns me. Toddlers of that age need to eat little and often to sustain their energy and grow/develop.
How cares if contacting someone "opens a can of worms"?? The childrens' welfare is much more important.
Tigger - thank you for your reply! I agree entirely that depression could be the problem as she isn't a horrible person and really does not see what she is doing is cruel/neglectful. I know that depression can cloud your judgement and make you see things in a different way. I did try to tell her as nicely as possible that small children do eat little and often cos they use so much energy and also have little tummies. She is convinced she is right though so this did no good whatsoever!
Will keep you posted!!
I have two children who are much older- daughter-17 and son 12, and when they were infants & toddlers I deffinately didn't do things like your friend is doing. Children that age really should not be left unsupervised, and they deffinately don't need to have lunch kept from them. And if I understood you correctly, they leave those children alone and locked in a room while they go work at the other house at night? That is totally neglectful at the very least.
I am not saying your friend is a bad person or that she doesn't love her children, but her parenting skills are horrible. You have spoken with her about this and she sees nothing wrong with it, but I'm sure the health visitor would see something wrong with it. Please, for the sake of those children, call the health visitor and explain your concerns.
I hate to think of any child being locked in a room to keep themselves occupied while mom sleeps in until 10 am, and then left totally alone with no supervision, and also going without proper nutrition. Oh, it breaks my heart!!
As far as the lunch thing. My 20 month old refuses to eat lunch. I fix him things I know he likes but he's just not hungry at that time. I always offer it to him anyway. I talked to his doctor and she said as long as I offer food he'll eat when he's hungry. Are her kids just not wanting lunch? Or are they not eating dinner because they eat lunch? Either way she should still offer breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks. I think leaving them in their rooms so she can sleep in is neglectful. I would defenitly look into the depression aspect though.
I agree with almost everyone. What your friend is doing is very neglectful. Locking the kids in their room, skipping meals, and leaving thm alone is just plain nuts. This is very harmful. She is an adult and a parent, she should know better. Your concern needs to be with those childrren. Under such circumstances, whose to say one if not both could be seriously injured or even end in death. Theyned the help!!!
Hi there, as the mother of a just turned 2 yr old and 3 yr old who are BOTH finicky eaters I can understand the frustration and trying anything to get your kids to eat, but to COMPLETELY skip a meal and not at least TRY and get the children to eat is just plain bloody LAZY in my opinion. I dont think she is worried about them eating their dinner, she just cant be bothered getting them to eat full stop. Im only going by what you have told us IE sleeping in till 10 am etc. I think she should be reported too. I am probably way too lenient on my children, but I just try and offer them things to eat pretty much all through the day rather than have world war 3 trying to get them to eat all their meals. But I wouldnt dream of not at least offering them their lunch etc. Poor little kids locked in a room in dirty nappies Its heartbreaking !!!!! DEFINATELY report her. You have to think of the welfare of the children not what they think. If she didnt want the responsibilty of caring for her children and wants to sleep half the day she shouldnt have had them and it sounds like the father is just as slack in the parenting department Hope you do the right thing by the children and let us know what happens ok. GOOD LUCK
What if there was a fire while these parents left these children locked in and without an adult to help them. What if one had a seizure or an allergic reaction to food or a high fever spike while they were left alone. I know that you are in England but here in the US I would call the police while she left them alone so that they could catch it while it was happening. If the health visitor talks with her she could just deny that it occurs. Here in the US these things have to be caught by the authorities because nothing can be proved otherwise. No wonder the 3 yr old is behind developmentally. This parenting is a crime!
hi I have to agree with everybody she has to be reported I was in the same spot this summer my friend of many years was neglecting her children it turned my life upside down I have a daughter and cant imagine treating her this way she is my life I enjoy spending every second with her She might be upset with you but something very bad can happen with my friend she was leaving her two year old in his high chair when she would go back to bed well one morning he fell and broke his arm another time when she was sleeping her two year old took a bottle of cleaner and sprayed it in her five month old eyes another trip to the ER it kept on getting worse and worse and I was getting very concerned when finally she called me saying her son was missing because she put hertwo year old and 5 month old for a nap and she went over to the neighbors for about half an hour when she come home the front door was open and her son was gone he was missing for over one houre nothing bad happend but thats when I called to report her For her it did open her eyes and she is working very hard but you must think of the childrens safety
I don't know about anyone else but I'm wondering why you're even asking anyone what to do they should have been reported right away. I found out my friend was using drugs in front of her kids and the oldest who at the time was 8 or 9 found her bag of dope I didn't think twice and reported her and her kids went to live with their grandmother. This was a person I was friends with my whole life she's like a sister to me and the way I saw it was you want to screw up your life fine but don't ask me to stand by and watch you put your kids at risk that just ain't happening. That was 9 years ago and I'd do it again and again because I knew they were safe.
Please help those kids apparently both parents are completely and utterly incompetent.
how far away is the house?
If she sleeps till 10 does that mean they eat breakfast around 11 and what time do they eat dinner. It sounds like she is depressed if you arent comfortable making the call then try a straight conversation about your fear she is depressed. I would be out there isolated. With some treatment she may realize she should be enjoying her babies. Also it sounds like they arent getting much stimulation or excersize. I think she will take it ok if you approach her as her advocate rather than an attack. Best wishes
This is neglect and it needs reporting.
WHen you report a concern to social services you don't always have to give your name.
It's not a bad thing to get ss involved as very often the family will get the help and support they need, the children will be protected and the mom help and advice for her possible depression.
Try not to worry about the reaction of your friend after the situation, it will be a far better reaction than for her to retun home to find something awful has happened to her children.