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Ugh! How would you handle this?

We're staying with MIL and BIL until Saturday morning when we leave for home. BIL is slow...he has numerous things, and he just doesn't have the mental capacity to understand some things. DD is 3. Yesterday, I was in the spare room working and the window was open...when I heard DD playing outside. I thought "Oh, that's good...she's been cooped up here all day." Well, then I hear both MIL and DH talking in another room...yeah, DD was outside with BIL! He's capable of handling simple situations, but I was highly uncomfortable with him watching her outside alone. We're in a private community of older people with virtually no cars, but still! I went to get her and then told DH, and he thought that was totally normal! Not to mention, I keep telling her not to do things...and then he will turn around and tell her she can do them. In his mind, he's an adult..he can do this. And in HER mind, he's an adult so he can do this. In MY mind...he doesn't understand WHY she shouldn't do certain things so I would prefer for him to cut it out. But he tends to get cranky and argumentative, so telling him directly would get me nowhere. And if DH doesn't respond THIS time, I'm going to lose my mind! Advice? I don't want to cause a big stink and ruin our time here, but DD becoming defiant because BIL (and even MIL to some extent) keep telling her to go ahead with things I've already said to stop doing because I KNOW she will get crazy if I don't. Ugh!


Asked by Anonymous at 2:35 PM on Dec. 9, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • That's tough. Good thing Saturday will be here soon. I think you do your best to keep the peace, but at the same time some things can't be relaxed, especially when it comes to safety. Without knowing how challenged your BIL is I can't say for sure, but if he isn't capable of living on his own then I don't know that he is capable of looking after a 3 year old. Like you said, his ability to think ahead to the fact that she could fall from something or get hurt, etc, he may not harm her intentionally but wouldn't keep her from doing something that could harm her. If DD literally says to you "BIL told me I could" I would flat out tell her that "I told you you COULD NOT and I am the one you need to listen to or you will get a time out/to bed early/whatever discipline you would use at home." Kind of like if she tried to get away with doing something because her friend at the playground told her she could. And just keep a close eye.

    Answer by MaryMW at 4:04 PM on Dec. 9, 2010

  • He will say things... like "don't do that" but he doesn't know to enforce them. He will just stand there talking to himself as she runs away laughing. (Or, I could see that happening...because that's what he does in other situations). He also has cerebral palsy and I think even if he knew running after her were the right thing to do, he would be physically incapable of doing so. He walks slowly and has a tremor and lacks muscle tone. DD loves him to death and he's good with her...but he's just honestly better as a playmate than as a caretaker or authority figure.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 4:20 PM on Dec. 9, 2010

  • If BIL is not good as a caretaker or authority figure then don't leave him on that role. Keep your DD under your own supervision. Problem solved.

    Answer by Mom_to_Skyler at 12:55 PM on Dec. 27, 2010

  • "in" not "on" sorry. Typo'd on mobile.

    Answer by Mom_to_Skyler at 1:00 PM on Dec. 27, 2010

  • Um, I DON'T have him in that role. That's kind of the point. I would be sitting RIGHT THERE watching her and I'd give her an instruction...and then as she'd go to do whatever it was...he would tell her she didn't have to. I would make her follow MY lead instead of his, but even him telling her she didn't have to would make her brave enough to throw a hissy when I made her behave. It's not that I can't control her, it's that it was annoying having to constantly deal with a situation where she wanted to listen to him and I had to let her know who was in charge while we were meant to be relaxing and having a fun time with family.. And he never stopped. Even while I would be, for instance, moving dd away from the drawers he would be continously saying "No, she can dig in those drawers. That's fine. She can do that." So she would fight me even more. And MIL was "watching" her during the outside episode.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 1:10 PM on Dec. 27, 2010

  • If you can't trust either BIL or MIL then you keep your DD away from them unsupervised. In your OP you said BIL had your daughter outside without your knowledge that he was the only "responsible" adult.

    That is your fault. Not MIL or BIL. If you can't trust them then keep your daughter close.

    Answer by Mom_to_Skyler at 2:09 PM on Dec. 27, 2010

  • I know that NOW and she was not left with them unsupervised again. Before the outdoors incident I did trust her. She has ten kids, thirty grandkids, and has been great with dd previously. And I never once said he was the only responsible adult. I said I discovered she was outdoors alone with BIL...when I left them, everyone was outside aside from me...including DH and MIL. DH went inside first, and Once I discovered she was crazy enough to leave her alone with BIL I stayed closeby even when she said "It's okay...I can watch her." because she obviouisly can't be trusted to care for her without me around. You seemed to have missed the entire point of this post. The problem is not whether or not MIL is a trustworthy sitter. I learned that lesson and kept dd with me from then on. The problem was BIL TRYING to be an authority and causing more drama than there needed to be.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 2:57 PM on Dec. 27, 2010