Author Topic: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?  (Read 8488 times)

COlady

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Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« on: September 21, 2015, 12:40:47 PM »
Do you say something to a friend and her husband that are often careless with their children? Examples:

– routinely leaves their baby unattended on changing table (i.e. walk to kitchen from nursery to grab something, not turn around to grab something in nursery…although neither are a good idea, the former is really bad.)
– allows 16 month old to play in the back yard by himself (it’s a 1/4 acre fenced yard but there are things he could get into at his age…the grill, yard tools, he could injure himself on the rocks, etc.)
– she mentioned the other day that she found a steak knife in her 16 month olds toy box and wasn’t sure how it got there. She thought it was funny.
- when her now 16 month old was about 4 months old she routinely put him in his car seat for walks in the stroller but didn't buckle him.  She pulled the car seat off the stroller when they were done walking and he fell out of the car seat because she forgot that that she didn't buckle the car seat.

These are just some examples of the things I’ve witnessed. Her 9 month old fell off the changing table last week and hit her head on the wood floor and immediately started vomiting. She thought she was vomiting because she was crying hysterically…could be that or a head injury. She took her to the ER after waiting an hour for the on call pediatrician to call her back. She called me in the interim and I told her “I’d take her to the ER immediately if she’s vomiting”. They did a scan and found that she was just fine.

I do not think they are intentionally neglectful, I think they just don't think and have no common sense about how to care for children and tjey did not take any child safety classes during pregnancy.

These were great childhood friends of ours before we all had children. Now I’m always on edge around them due to their parenting. Do I just keep my mouth shut? What do you do in this situation? My husband tell me that I should stop judging them.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2015, 12:45:35 PM »
They have two children 9 months apart? It would be hard to parent optimally in that situation. That said, the things you're concerned about are real and frightening. It's my guess that they are totally overwhelmed and not thinking straight. I'm not sure how you can go about helping them, though. Other people that are better in social situations will probably have good advice.

COlady

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2015, 12:47:11 PM »
My months are slightly off. They are exactly 11 months apart.

iknowiyam

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2015, 12:57:52 PM »
You could find an appropriate parenting class and invite the mom to go with you. If your kids are too old for that to make sense maybe try and pair her with other new moms you may know.

My advice: Make it look like she is doing someone else a favor by going to a parenting class with them.

FLBiker

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2015, 01:03:51 PM »
My experience is that you can't really change people.  Sometimes, if they're looking for help, you might be able to suggest some things that worked for you, but that's about it.

Kaikou

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2015, 02:00:14 PM »
Just by what was given, it seems like that is the kind of parent  (THEY) are. If you care for the children's well being I'd say something. But if this is what you know about, then its probably routine for them to do such things. Did you ask your friend why she is not more careful?

RetiredAt63

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2015, 02:01:34 PM »
You are not "judging" them, you are judging that their pathetic parenting skills are going to potentially cause serious damage to their kids.  Eleven months apart is tough, but there is no attention to safety here, no planning.  Could the casual reactions be because you are there and they are trying to minimise things?

You mention "they" but if I am reading context right, all your examples are the mother.  Is she just exhausted and not thinking?  If so, maybe your DH could suggest, guy to guy, that the husband take on more responsibility and let the mom catch up on her rest?  He probably thinks she has it easy being home with the two little ones, when NO, it is full-time all the time responsibility and exhausting and nerve-wracking.  Of course if one or both of them have a track record of never planning ahead or anticipating consequences, this is their normal approach to things.

Shane

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2015, 02:02:59 PM »
Quote
These were great childhood friends of ours before we all had children. Now I’m always on edge around them due to their parenting. Do I just keep my mouth shut? What do you do in this situation? My husband tell me that I should stop judging them.

IMHO Just keeping your mouth shut would probably be the safest and best thing to do.

Alex321

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2015, 02:15:12 PM »
Tangent. The falling and vomiting is really scary, BUT so is the "scan" you casually referenced. CT scans are a LOT of radiation. Request them with caution. Pediatricians have told me, privately, that doctors order them too often because missing a concussion is, of course, a concern for a malpractice lawsuit. The negative effects of radiation don't have to weigh into that physician's decision process.

Back on topic, I'm not sure that the things you describe really constitute neglect. But your concern is also well-placed. I would say just try to stress, casually if possible, how easily certain accidents can happen.

asiljoy

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2015, 02:32:39 PM »
Send her an email linked to a mommy blog that addresses some of the things you saw. In the email say something along the lines of, "OMG, it would have never occurred to me, but now that I read this I'm totally going to change the way I do XYZ." Hopefully they'll get the drift.

mm1970

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2015, 02:39:11 PM »
I don't know - send her links of accidents that happened?  I'm anal about clipping my kids into carseats, because I've seen too many fall out when the stroller went off a curb.  (And because the fireman who told us about how important carseats were, mentioned a local accident.  Large family, nobody clipped in, baby clipped in incorrectly.  Baby landed right in the middle of the highway.  Survived, but scary stuff.

http://www.silcom.com/~pordecon/carseat.htm

These kind of stories are what remind me to be careful.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 02:40:58 PM by mm1970 »

BlueHouse

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2015, 02:45:11 PM »
I like the idea of getting her on a mommy blog - especially if it's local to her.  she can make friends and get a ton of advice.  It may be an environment where she can learn without feeling judged. 
My SIL was the same way.  It's a miracle her son survived, but her daughter was always tame and not too adventurous, so no problems there.  No one could say anything to her about her mothering skills because she thought we were too cautious and overreacting.  Even when her son almost lost his life falling in the shower onto a sharp metal beam.  And even when he was drinking windex, she thought we overreacted by taking it away from him and making him spit it out. 

COlady

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2015, 02:52:40 PM »
You are not "judging" them, you are judging that their pathetic parenting skills are going to potentially cause serious damage to their kids.  Eleven months apart is tough, but there is no attention to safety here, no planning.  Could the casual reactions be because you are there and they are trying to minimise things?

You mention "they" but if I am reading context right, all your examples are the mother.  Is she just exhausted and not thinking?  If so, maybe your DH could suggest, guy to guy, that the husband take on more responsibility and let the mom catch up on her rest?  He probably thinks she has it easy being home with the two little ones, when NO, it is full-time all the time responsibility and exhausting and nerve-wracking.  Of course if one or both of them have a track record of never planning ahead or anticipating consequences, this is their normal approach to things.

No, it's both of them.  Their 9 month old fell off the changing table under her father's care. She is overwhelmed and confided in me on Friday that she thinks she has PPD.  I encouraged her to go to the doctor and she texted me this morning and told me that she went and they prescribed her antidepressants. Hopefully she will regain the energy to properly watch over the kids. I would help her but I have 6.5 month old twin boys....I'm kind of in my own kind of baby overload. 

COlady

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2015, 02:54:33 PM »
Tangent. The falling and vomiting is really scary, BUT so is the "scan" you casually referenced. CT scans are a LOT of radiation. Request them with caution. Pediatricians have told me, privately, that doctors order them too often because missing a concussion is, of course, a concern for a malpractice lawsuit. The negative effects of radiation don't have to weigh into that physician's decision process.

Back on topic, I'm not sure that the things you describe really constitute neglect. But your concern is also well-placed. I would say just try to stress, casually if possible, how easily certain accidents can happen.

Agreed!!

RetiredAt63

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2015, 03:07:56 PM »
PPD is a very real thing, I hope her prescription helps.  You are super on overload too, I remember when my sister had twin boys, yikes.  I am sure you have discovered  the careful way to change a diaper by now, she learned the hard way  ;-)  I had a girl, much easier at that age, although once she learned how to roll, she was everywhere!  And my babyproofing was obsolete, we had to do it all over again once she was mobile.

No, it's both of them.  Their 9 month old fell off the changing table under her father's care. She is overwhelmed and confided in me on Friday that she thinks she has PPD.  I encouraged her to go to the doctor and she texted me this morning and told me that she went and they prescribed her antidepressants. Hopefully she will regain the energy to properly watch over the kids. I would help her but I have 6.5 month old twin boys....I'm kind of in my own kind of baby overload.

justajane

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2015, 03:14:08 PM »
I understand your concern. My neighbor does things sometimes that make me very nervous like letting her kids play with scary tools and dangle off second story decks. I got to the point where I didn't feel comfortable allowing my own kids to go over there as often. One time my eldest told me that their four year old found a fish hook and was stabbing it into the couch during a playdate. WTF?

It might change things, since you two are friends, and thus you are more in a position to talk to her than I am to my neighbor. But there's not that much you can do. None of these things are CPS worthy, at least I don't think so. I would try to be subtle about it and discuss things in terms of what you have learned about safety and your own baby. Like, for instance, you could say, "OMG, my baby almost rolled off the changing table yesterday when I turned my back. It was really scary. I've learned to always put my hand on him/her when I turn around to grab something." 

I think letting the 16 month old alone in the backyard is concerning, especially if there are grills and other things around. That would concern me the most. Also, if they are that neglectful, how are baths? Does she allow the 16 month old to be in the bath unattended?  I would be extremely concerned about that. I know this sounds terrible, but if you ever see tragic stories about babies or kids dying, you could also mention that offhand - like "did you hear about that poor little baby who drowned in the tub last week?" This would be less confrontational yet still wake her up to the reality that bad things can happen, especially when very young children are unattended.

On the car seat issue, I have real problems with how people put their car seats on shopping carts. It is completely dangerous to put your seat dangling on the top. Kids have died that way. The seat should be in the cart itself, but most people don't do this. I often want to say something, but I know it's not my place.

mozar

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2015, 03:14:41 PM »
It is sad, but it may be you just have higher standards than they do. I fell out of a car going about 20 mph when I was little. I think when you start to recover yourself, you can offer to watch her kids once in awhile so they can get a sense that the way they are treated isn't "normal"

honeybbq

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2015, 05:02:11 PM »
Tangent. The falling and vomiting is really scary, BUT so is the "scan" you casually referenced. CT scans are a LOT of radiation. Request them with caution. Pediatricians have told me, privately, that doctors order them too often because missing a concussion is, of course, a concern for a malpractice lawsuit. The negative effects of radiation don't have to weigh into that physician's decision process.

Back on topic, I'm not sure that the things you describe really constitute neglect. But your concern is also well-placed. I would say just try to stress, casually if possible, how easily certain accidents can happen.

Imaging 'gently' is important as you noted. But if a infant or young toddler is vomiting after a head injury, they need to check for internal bleeding which could kill a child with a soft(er) skull.

Not every bump needs an x-ray or CT but this case certainly warrants it in the information presented.

okits

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2015, 06:47:08 PM »
What makes you feel you can't be direct(ish) about it?  A toddler and infant are a lot of work to care for, and the lapses/parenting choices you've seen make you concerned that they're overwhelmed, over-tired, not recovering well post-birth, etc.  There is really no shame in admitting that and asking for some help/a break.

If they just need parenting advice or education, ask if you can share tips or sources of safe parenting information.

You'll maintain good relations by butting out, but I'd try to say something, just in the hopes of preventing a future accident.  If something bad happens from their carelessness (serious injury, a resulting disability, death) will it have been worth keeping quiet and avoiding damage to the friendship, if the outcome is that?  Infants and toddlers are resilient, but not indestructible.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2015, 07:57:58 PM »
I am glad to hear she is getting mental health help. I hope it works and she becomes more attentive. I'm impressed you have spare worry capacity with your twins.

jeromedawg

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2015, 08:18:32 PM »
My months are slightly off. They are exactly 11 months apart.

That's crazy to think both kids are within a year of age from one another! It sounds like having twins but possibly even harder in some ways. At least with twins you'd know what you're getting yourself into right away... this is just delayed torment! I can see why she might have PPD - it's complete overload as new parents even with one kid. We just had ours (4 weeks now) and it's tough - my wife has been getting much less sleep than I have and I'm tired, so how much more so for her and on a daily basis. At times she said she's felt like she has PPD so I'm trying to keep aware of all the happenings. It has been stressful as a new parent though, but "fun" (I guess in unconventional ways) at the same time.

cchrissyy

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2015, 11:17:43 PM »
Depression (including PPD) can include confusion, memory loss, personality changes, and problems with thinking, planning, and comprehension. 

Maybe with the antidepresents she will feel better and think better too.

MMMaybe

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2015, 02:39:43 AM »
Just to put all this into perspective, those of us who are 40 plus were all brought up in a state of benign neglect. We did survive (mostly!) intact...

Neustache

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2015, 06:10:22 AM »
When it comes to safety...speak up.   Do it gently and kindly, but I wouldn't be round about with it.  Be direct but understanding "I know how hard it is to raise two kiddos close in age and I've noticed that...it worries me because...."

How will you feel if something happens and you didn't say anything?  Personally, I would feel terrible and while it's not your area of responsibility, and you shouldn't feel guilty if something does happen, I suspect it will still weigh on you.  They more than likely won't listen to you, but if I were you I'd try.  You have to be willing to lose a friendship over it, though, as they might feel judged and won't want you around as much.  I'd be willing to lose a friendship over safety concerns, though. 

Pick your battles - mention the things that are most appalling to you but don't mention the smaller stuff.

I have a neighbor that lets their 4 and 2 year old out back with no supervision.  This is not as bad as an 18 month old, but holy hell their little one was screaming bloody murder and it took ages a parent to come out (meanwhile I was in our backyard after hearing the screaming from inside trying to figure out if she was okay or not, but both kids ignored me).  I haven't said anything to them about it, because I think overall the kids are safe and I don't have a relationship with the parents, but I will if I notice something really dangerous. 

An interesting aside, unintentional injuries were the #1 cause of death for kids age 1-4 back in 2007.  I'm sure this includes car accidents/drownings/etc. but it's a sobering statistic... http://www.hrsa.gov/healthit/images/mchb_child_mortality_pub.pdf

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2015, 08:42:15 AM »
I understand your concern about the safety of your friends' kids.  Some of those things seem genuinely unsafe.  But in my opinion, the danger in some of these situations is overestimated.  16-month-old playing alone in a fenced back yard?  I see nothing wrong there, even with a grill, yard tools, etc.  Steak knife in the toy chest?  Well, I suppose a kid *could* hurt themselves on that, but our kids start cleaning out the dishwasher at age 2, including the sharp kitchen knives.  Yeah, yeah, there's a big difference between 16 months and 2 years, but it's actually a lot harder to hurt yourself with a knife than we tend to think.

Alone on a changing table?  Yeah, that's dangerous.  Unbelted in a car seat for a walk?  That's no big deal as long as you're mindful when taking the car seat out (and it seems they are not).

Matt_D

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2015, 08:54:27 AM »
I understand your concern about the safety of your friends' kids.  Some of those things seem genuinely unsafe.  But in my opinion, the danger in some of these situations is overestimated.  16-month-old playing alone in a fenced back yard?  I see nothing wrong there, even with a grill, yard tools, etc.  Steak knife in the toy chest?  Well, I suppose a kid *could* hurt themselves on that, but our kids start cleaning out the dishwasher at age 2, including the sharp kitchen knives.  Yeah, yeah, there's a big difference between 16 months and 2 years, but it's actually a lot harder to hurt yourself with a knife than we tend to think.

Alone on a changing table?  Yeah, that's dangerous.  Unbelted in a car seat for a walk?  That's no big deal as long as you're mindful when taking the car seat out (and it seems they are not).

Yeah I was thinking the same thing here. Some of these things are safety issues (that fall etc), and some of them are just parenting choices in terms of level of acceptable risk. OP, I don't know if your twins are your first kids or not... but we found ourselves much more paranoid with our first than our second (and we weren't nearly as paranoid as some friends!). So be cognizant that it's at least possible that some things you'll be nervous about but others may not be. Also, the PPD as mentioned above may not be helping (good for you for encouraging her to get help!).

mm1970

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2015, 09:04:24 AM »
Quote
I have a neighbor that lets their 4 and 2 year old out back with no supervision.
I let my 3 year old out back without supervision.  Sometimes it's the only place to pee!

Neustache

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2015, 09:12:46 AM »
I let my 7 and 3 year old out by themselves, and the 3 year old for a minute or two if I need to run in to get something...but if one of them is screaming at the top of their lungs I'm in earshot and will be there in a few seconds flat!  It's possible that the dad knew what had happened and saw it, whereas I didn't, but they were moving in so I think they weren't within earshot and then heard me asking the kids if they are okay. 

COlady

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2015, 10:47:57 AM »
I understand your concern. My neighbor does things sometimes that make me very nervous like letting her kids play with scary tools and dangle off second story decks. I got to the point where I didn't feel comfortable allowing my own kids to go over there as often. One time my eldest told me that their four year old found a fish hook and was stabbing it into the couch during a playdate. WTF?

It might change things, since you two are friends, and thus you are more in a position to talk to her than I am to my neighbor. But there's not that much you can do. None of these things are CPS worthy, at least I don't think so. I would try to be subtle about it and discuss things in terms of what you have learned about safety and your own baby. Like, for instance, you could say, "OMG, my baby almost rolled off the changing table yesterday when I turned my back. It was really scary. I've learned to always put my hand on him/her when I turn around to grab something." 

I think letting the 16 month old alone in the backyard is concerning, especially if there are grills and other things around. That would concern me the most. Also, if they are that neglectful, how are baths? Does she allow the 16 month old to be in the bath unattended?  I would be extremely concerned about that. I know this sounds terrible, but if you ever see tragic stories about babies or kids dying, you could also mention that offhand - like "did you hear about that poor little baby who drowned in the tub last week?" This would be less confrontational yet still wake her up to the reality that bad things can happen, especially when very young children are unattended.

On the car seat issue, I have real problems with how people put their car seats on shopping carts. It is completely dangerous to put your seat dangling on the top. Kids have died that way. The seat should be in the cart itself, but most people don't do this. I often want to say something, but I know it's not my place.

I've never been around during bath time so I don't know if they leave him unattended or not. I hate seeing car seats on the tops of carts too! Every time I go to Target I see at least one person doing this. I've also been tempted to say something but I know I'd probably be given "the look".

COlady

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2015, 10:50:51 AM »
What makes you feel you can't be direct(ish) about it?  A toddler and infant are a lot of work to care for, and the lapses/parenting choices you've seen make you concerned that they're overwhelmed, over-tired, not recovering well post-birth, etc.  There is really no shame in admitting that and asking for some help/a break.

If they just need parenting advice or education, ask if you can share tips or sources of safe parenting information.

You'll maintain good relations by butting out, but I'd try to say something, just in the hopes of preventing a future accident.  If something bad happens from their carelessness (serious injury, a resulting disability, death) will it have been worth keeping quiet and avoiding damage to the friendship, if the outcome is that?  Infants and toddlers are resilient, but not indestructible.

I don't want to sound like a know it all. I have 6 month old twins, I'm new at this myself, but I try to always think about their safety (even when I'm completely overwhelmed and overtired!).

catccc

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Re: Our friends are careless with their children. Advice?
« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2015, 11:25:23 AM »
One way to bring it up without sounding like a know it all is just to ask what she is comfortable with, and maybe put your "carefulness" under the microscope as a contrast.  Like, if you see the baby unbuckled in the car seat, say "Does it worry you to have your baby unbuckled like that?  I always buckle up my boys because I've heard such horror stories about people putting the seat in the car assuming it is buckled, and then getting into an accident later!"

Or something to that effect.  I'm more focused on the infant, as I'm of the same stance on some of the others here.  I give my 4 & 6 year old a fair deal of independence.