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Old 05-09-2011, 10:12 AM
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I have a niece who will be 4 in July. She is an only child who lives with both mom, dad, grandma and grandpa at grandparents house. There is a lot wrong with the whole situation here, as well as the relationship with everyone in the house. Parents are in mid 30’s and got pregnant after only one month of dating. Married 6 weeks later. So as you can probably tell, the mom and dad do not have a good relationship at all…They do not watch their daughter EVER, do not parent EVER and the child has no life at all other than TV. She has no set schedule in her life and pretty much is ignored daily. She goes to bed at 2am when her unemployed dad goes to bed and they both wake up around 12-1:00pm the next day. She cannot sit for any length of time. In fact last night my mother n law was trying to feed her and she would chase my niece around the house with a bowl of rice feeding her like a baby… OMG I was floored to see that…

I am very worried about my niece and her development and wonder if something could be wrong. I know that a lot of her issues are due to lack of parenting, constant fighting in the home among all of the adults and many other issues. Also, she is a bubble baby. She has NEVER left the house other than going to doc appts or to major family events. She has never had a play date other than my own son who is a week younger than her. My son tries to play with her, but get’s frustrated of the lack of communication as well as her not understanding personal space……
My niece has no ability to hold any form of conversation what so ever. EX. I will ask her wow that is a nice doll, what is her name, or what is your name. Maybe even ask her what color is your dress. She will look up to the sky or wall and repeat lines from a movie. She will not make eye contact with you in anyway.

When she asks for something to drink she will say sasa want juju. She cannot be given any form of direction to follow through with at all. She is also not potty trained. She is very sweet, and I know she wants to be able to talk with us, but she cant. One of the best descriptions that I can give, is that she reminds me of the movie rainman where he went around repeating tv ads and tv shows. She does the same thing all the time. ask her a question she responds will lines from movies or Dora.

Last night, she did something that actually amazed me, but not sure if I should be amazed or not. As always, a movie is turned on for her and my son. I decided to sit and watch the movie with the two of them. My niece was able to recite the movie lines almost word for word. I was impressed that she could memorize the lines. I mentioned it to her mom and she said yeah she watched that movie for almost 12 hours yesterday…………………WTH who lets a kid watch that much tv…

Anyways, I am very sad about my niece and don’t know if I should say anything to my sister n law about it. Do you guys think that any of this is abnormal? Do you think that if she were to get socialized in a DC or preschool she might change, or do you see the red flags that I see??
I really want to help without stepping on toes and really want to talk with my sister n law, but I just want to make sure that my thoughts of her having some issues are correct. What do you guys think?
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:18 AM
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In my opinion this to me is serious abuse and neglect and should be reported to the proper child welfare agency so that the situation can be monitored and assessed. The little girl needs help and it is obvious that this is not a good situation for her. If you really care about your little niece report this!
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:21 AM
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Sounds like neglect and possibly a learning disorder to boot. But in this case, I wonder if the learning disorder stems from the neglect, or vise versa? Either way, it is sad.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:27 AM
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oh yeah... it seems to me that her delays are because of a lack of interaction with other people.

i would report it, or offer to take her in, or step in somehow.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:27 AM
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In my opinion this to me is serious abuse and neglect and should be reported to the proper child welfare agency so that the situation can be monitored and assessed. The little girl needs help and it is obvious that this is not a good situation for her. If you really care about your little niece report this!
I know for sure that there is no abuse going on, however, a child should never be put in the middle of anyones arguments.
She is not neglected in forms of eating and hygiene, they just put her in front of the tv non stop, which is really sad. She is spoiled rotten my gma and pa.... I am not sure if putting your child in front of a tv is for hours on end is abuse or neglect, as they are meeting her needs for survival....ugh I dont' know what to do here, but I really do appreciate your response and am not the only one feeling like something is wrong here...

I am for sure going to talk to my sister n law, if not her I will talk to my mother n law......something here has to happen.. and fast.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:30 AM
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oh yeah... it seems to me that her delays are because of a lack of interaction with other people.

i would report it, or offer to take her in, or step in somehow.
I was so desperate to help last year that I offered free full time DC. But the dad is so lazy that he won't drive the 20min one way to drop her off at my house. He rather stay home and watch tv or play video games all day. He is one of the major issues in all of this, as NO one in our entire family or friends like the guy... He's a leech and a bum in my eyes who does nothing. We all want for them to get a divorce, but for some reason my sister n law keeps him there......
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:32 AM
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Sounds like some stereotypical signs of autism but based on everything else you said it may be lack of developmental stimulation that has caused some delays.

Do you have early childhood intervention in your area or ECFE/ECSE? What about preschool screening? In our area both can be contacted and they can try to encourage mom to have child screened or signed up for classes (free in many cases). Once they have her and mom in a class they can start the process of figuring out their needs. If neither are available call your licensor, tell them you are concerned about a child developmentally and want to know what county agencies can help. Otherwise call public health, they can do home visits but will likely need moms consent.

Also, I think as much as it hurts you need to directly talk to her and tell her you are noticing X, X, X and you want to get her help. I have a 5 yr old boy in care who was DX with autism after his aunt came right to his mom and said something wasn't right. Mom had no clue and now he is doing great. Mom is VERY THANKFUL for her sister coming to her and telling her what she was seeing.

Good luck, that would keep me up at night.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:40 AM
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All that fighting in the house and sitting in front of the T.V. all day IS neglect and emotional abuse. She is failing to thrive because of this. You really should step in and report this. If you are licensed, you are a mandated reporter.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:41 AM
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Sounds like some stereotypical signs of autism but based on everything else you said it may be lack of developmental stimulation that has caused some delays.

Do you have early childhood intervention in your area or ECFE/ECSE? What about preschool screening? In our area both can be contacted and they can try to encourage mom to have child screened or signed up for classes (free in many cases). Once they have her and mom in a class they can start the process of figuring out their needs. If neither are available call your licensor, tell them you are concerned about a child developmentally and want to know what county agencies can help. Otherwise call public health, they can do home visits but will likely need moms consent.

Also, I think as much as it hurts you need to directly talk to her and tell her you are noticing X, X, X and you want to get her help. I have a 5 yr old boy in care who was DX with autism after his aunt came right to his mom and said something wasn't right. Mom had no clue and now he is doing great. Mom is VERY THANKFUL for her sister coming to her and telling her what she was seeing.

Good luck, that would keep me up at night.
the topic of my niece has caused many arguments between my husband and I. Its his only little sisiter's child and he is very stuborn and refuses to see that there could be something wrong. I know you can't compare kids, but i tell him....Look at the 2 year old in DC. Even she can follow trough with a simple request, like go get your shoes, or sit down.

I am going to go over my husbands head on this one and I am sure that my in-laws will scream and yell at me, but I just can't sit back and fear a fight from everyone and let this go on another day. All of the adults in her life see NOTHING wrong with how she is...........It will not be pretty when I go to talk to my sister n law about it....
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:45 AM
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All that fighting in the house and sitting in front of the T.V. all day IS neglect and emotional abuse. She is failing to thrive because of this. You really should step in and report this. If you are licensed, you are a mandated reporter.
I am not trying to argue with you here, and I certainly would NEVER allow any child to sit in front of a tv all day, but how do I report it? Say I feel she watch's too much TV? Too me that sounds silly. I just don't know if I could call CPS with out first trying to talk wtih them to help them. I want to make things good, not bad. then if they refuse to get the help, I will report them. I am about to put myself in a frying pan on high heat.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:56 AM
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I agree that you should try helping without including CPS. I would try talking to your sil alone and see if she is open to getting some help. Maybe you could suggest early childhood intervention? Can you get some information together to show her the types of help your area offers. We have Parents as Teachers here and if I need information I just call them and they send me what I need and I can pass it on to the parents. At least if you talk to the mom or the grandparents maybe they will see the light and get her some help.
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:10 AM
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I think if it were me in this situation, I'd offer to have my niece stay over for a week or two and call it "Auntie and Uncle time" or "Cousins Week" or something. I'd tell mom & dad how hard they work () and that they could probably use some kid-free time.

Then, I'd use the time to really focus on interacting with this girl, taking her to the park, playing with her, letting her play with the dc kids, having her sit down to family meals at the table everyday, etc, etc. After several days of that, she may either open up and I might see a different side of her, or I might be able to get a better idea of whether she is being neglected. I'd be keeping her in a safe environment for a bit, while deciding whether to report the parents or not.

I don't know if your licensing & ratios allow for something like that, but maybe something like this might help? Or at least solidify in your mind what you need to do as a more permanent solution. At the very least, it would expose your niece to an Aunt, Uncle & cousin who love her dearly and want the absolute best for her .
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:12 AM
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I work for ECFE in our area and we get calls from concerned family members all the time. If you can get an agency on board you can somewhat pass the fire onto someone else while you support your sister in law in getting the help this kid needs.

Get this kid out there. Offer to bring her to a community education class or a gym glass or something (where trained people will see her behavior and come right out and share with them you are concerned). Maybe your family isn't taking her out b/c they are afraid people will judge them and their parenting. Tell her its free (even if you have to lie and pay for it yourself) tell her YOU WANT to take her. Tell her anything to get this kid some outside her home exposure.

Find a way to get the mom supported by some community agency first and they will find ways to slowly work on her and help her understand that her daughter needs some help.

I can imagine that if someone came to me and said something was wrong with my kid I wouldn't take the message very positively BUT if she can build a relationship with a group first she will undoubtly be more willing to see what they are saying.

I have had many families disagree with my opinion of their child and the developmental red flags I've seen and that hurts but I promise you it is worth your effort. Even if you push her in the right direction and she doesnt yet do anything but hears your opinion you are helping this kid. It takes a long time for a parent to accept that something might be going on, many many discussions/examples, professionals might be necessary before she is willing to accept help.

Good luck, this tears at my heart. I can only imagine your feelings.
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:17 AM
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I think if it were me in this situation, I'd offer to have my niece stay over for a week or two and call it "Auntie and Uncle time" or "Cousins Week" or something. I'd tell mom & dad how hard they work () and that they could probably use some kid-free time.

Then, I'd use the time to really focus on interacting with this girl, taking her to the park, playing with her, letting her play with the dc kids, having her sit down to family meals at the table everyday, etc, etc. After several days of that, she may either open up and I might see a different side of her, or I might be able to get a better idea of whether she is being neglected. I'd be keeping her in a safe environment for a bit, while deciding whether to report the parents or not.

I don't know if your licensing & ratios allow for something like that, but maybe something like this might help? Or at least solidify in your mind what you need to do as a more permanent solution. At the very least, it would expose your niece to an Aunt, Uncle & cousin who love her dearly and want the absolute best for her .
I have tried tooth and nail to get the parents to drop her off at my house, even for a weekend. But they wont. My in-laws always always have her and they are in no condition to watch a child. My mother in law is terminally ill and dying, but she inables her own daughter by contactly doing all of the necessary parenting for my niece. My mother -n-law also works 45 plus hours a week running a local Kaiser hospital (stressfulk job). It is her culture to be a work horse. It's so sad to watch, as she works non-stop to come home to a house full of turmoil and having to deal with the needs of a grand child. I am going to suggest they drop her for a weekend again, as i don't have room for her during the week at this time.... thanks for the good advice.
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:19 AM
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I agree with jojosmommy. If there is a developmental center of some sort in your area, I would get in contact with them about screenings. Most will come to home daycares and screen all your kids. They bring paperwork for the parents to fill out, set a time, and then come do the screenings. If you could get them to come to your house, maybe you could let SIL know they are doing this and how wonderful it would be for her to bring DN for the day.

I'm so sorry you are in this situation. It is not a fun place to be
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:25 AM
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I work for ECFE in our area and we get calls from concerned family members all the time. If you can get an agency on board you can somewhat pass the fire onto someone else while you support your sister in law in getting the help this kid needs.

Get this kid out there. Offer to bring her to a community education class or a gym glass or something (where trained people will see her behavior and come right out and share with them you are concerned). Maybe your family isn't taking her out b/c they are afraid people will judge them and their parenting. Tell her its free (even if you have to lie and pay for it yourself) tell her YOU WANT to take her. Tell her anything to get this kid some outside her home exposure.

Find a way to get the mom supported by some community agency first and they will find ways to slowly work on her and help her understand that her daughter needs some help.

I can imagine that if someone came to me and said something was wrong with my kid I wouldn't take the message very positively BUT if she can build a relationship with a group first she will undoubtly be more willing to see what they are saying.

I have had many families disagree with my opinion of their child and the developmental red flags I've seen and that hurts but I promise you it is worth your effort. Even if you push her in the right direction and she doesnt yet do anything but hears your opinion you are helping this kid. It takes a long time for a parent to accept that something might be going on, many many discussions/examples, professionals might be necessary before she is willing to accept help.

Good luck, this tears at my heart. I can only imagine your feelings.
thank you for the very sweet response. I am going to try all of your suggestions, as well as others... Little history on my sister n law, she is also very spoiled. She is 36 and has worked the same job since the age of 18. She has only EVER worked 20 hours a week her entire life. Mommy got her the job at the hospital. She has never moved out of the hosue and has NEVER paid a bill in her life. She is the most unmoviated person that i have ever met in my life and her husband is exactly the same way.

My n-laws work dawn to dark daily, including weekends. they live 20 min from us and honestly, they come visit thier only grandson maybe once every 4 months. I hate taking my son over to their house becuase of all of the drama there. not to mention, they don't take him anywher and they throw him in front of the tv while he is there. He actually does not like to go very often. My husband does not understand why at all.

In the past, I have tried to sign her up for basketball thorugh the community rec dept. I have offered free child care, I invite my niece every where we go on outtings. But I am always told no, she's too little, she doesn't know how, or she just can't.

I am really going to have my work cut out for me on this one, but I am no choice. I love my niece and want to get her the help she needs and deserves.
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:56 AM
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I am not trying to argue with you here, and I certainly would NEVER allow any child to sit in front of a tv all day, but how do I report it? Say I feel she watch's too much TV? Too me that sounds silly. I just don't know if I could call CPS with out first trying to talk wtih them to help them. I want to make things good, not bad. then if they refuse to get the help, I will report them. I am about to put myself in a frying pan on high heat.
It's not that she is watching TV all day. You call CPS and say "I'm concerned about emotional neglect of this child. While they meet her physical needs of food and clothing and do not physically harm her, emotionally they are seriously neglecting her. They do not interact with her whatsoever, she does not leave the house. They literally sit her in front of the TV and leave her there all day."

And so on and so forth.

Personally though, I would speak to them first and let them know that what they are doing IS ABUSE and if they do not take the necessary steps to rectify the situation, as a mandated reported I will be reporting them to the appropriate government agencies.
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Old 05-09-2011, 05:28 PM
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She sounds like an Autistic Savant. How is her eye contact - that's a big one with Autistic children, especially Aspies - it's actually uncomfortable for them to look you in the eye.

As far as the reciting - she may have a gift. My son used to do the Blendi-Pen commercial - it was NUTS! It was on every commercial break for Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon and he memorized the whole thing. (BTW - I never did buy them for him.) Many years later I've found that if he hears something, especially if he reads aloud, he's retained it. Sort of gifted that way.

The fact that she is watching up to 12 hours of TV and not craving anything else tells me that there's something not right. Even a neglected child would want to do something else. KWIM?

Sorry to say that it seems like the parents are too wrapped up in their own little world to notice hers. Time will tell - maybe try to convince them to get her in a Summer Kindergarten course if their town has one.

Very sad. Sorry you are meeting up with opposition from your husband. I'm sure he doesn't want to meddle but please point out to him what you do all day - it's very natural for you to notice when a child isn't behaving right.
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Old 05-09-2011, 05:39 PM
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She sounds like an Autistic Savant. How is her eye contact - that's a big one with Autistic children, especially Aspies - it's actually uncomfortable for them to look you in the eye.

As far as the reciting - she may have a gift. My son used to do the Blendi-Pen commercial - it was NUTS! It was on every commercial break for Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon and he memorized the whole thing. (BTW - I never did buy them for him.) Many years later I've found that if he hears something, especially if he reads aloud, he's retained it. Sort of gifted that way.

The fact that she is watching up to 12 hours of TV and not craving anything else tells me that there's something not right. Even a neglected child would want to do something else. KWIM?

Sorry to say that it seems like the parents are too wrapped up in their own little world to notice hers. Time will tell - maybe try to convince them to get her in a Summer Kindergarten course if their town has one.

Very sad. Sorry you are meeting up with opposition from your husband. I'm sure he doesn't want to meddle but please point out to him what you do all day - it's very natural for you to notice when a child isn't behaving right.
I thought that same thing about being an autistic savant, however i would never suggest that she was to anyone. The parents are LAZY and won't get her involved in anything... Not even the offer for free FC from me. I am not sure how I will approach the situation, but I know that i will tread lightly. I am alone on this and will need to make sure that I have a facts straight before opening my mouth.

One of the other issues is that because she has no sleep schedule, she does not even wake up until 12-1:00 pm in the afternoon. This was one of the main reasons why they declined free DC from me because i said if she is going to come she needs to be here at the latest 9:15am when my classes start. She will also be required to take a nap with the rest of the kids. i learned taht her naps sometimes occured at 10pm at night and then woke again around midnight to go to bed sometimes after 2am.

Right now i don't have an opening for her, but am going to try my hardest to have mom and dad bring her for the weekend.. We shall see..
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:43 PM
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I thought that same thing about being an autistic savant, however i would never suggest that she was to anyone. The parents are LAZY and won't get her involved in anything... Not even the offer for free FC from me. I am not sure how I will approach the situation, but I know that i will tread lightly. I am alone on this and will need to make sure that I have a facts straight before opening my mouth.

One of the other issues is that because she has no sleep schedule, she does not even wake up until 12-1:00 pm in the afternoon. This was one of the main reasons why they declined free DC from me because i said if she is going to come she needs to be here at the latest 9:15am when my classes start. She will also be required to take a nap with the rest of the kids. i learned taht her naps sometimes occured at 10pm at night and then woke again around midnight to go to bed sometimes after 2am.

Right now i don't have an opening for her, but am going to try my hardest to have mom and dad bring her for the weekend.. We shall see..
maybe you suggesting that should might be a "savant" could be your ticket inside KWIM? if you contact a local agency that will come to your home and evaluate a child the first thing they will need are signed forms from the parents. you can TELL the parents that you want her to come over because someone from a local agency will be evaluating some of the children in your care, and you want them to evaluate HER to see if she is a "savant" or gifted or however you want to phrase it. dupe them into it by using flattery. after they're flattered/excited mention, "oh yeah, you have to sign this paper before they'll be allowed to give their opinion about her." or whatever. when the agency comes out and evaluates the child they will want to speak with the parents afterward and then it's sort of "out of your hands."
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:46 PM
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maybe you suggesting that should might be a "savant" could be your ticket inside KWIM? if you contact a local agency that will come to your home and evaluate a child the first thing they will need are signed forms from the parents. you can TELL the parents that you want her to come over because someone from a local agency will be evaluating some of the children in your care, and you want them to evaluate HER to see if she is a "savant" or gifted or however you want to phrase it. dupe them into it by using flattery. after they're flattered/excited mention, "oh yeah, you have to sign this paper before they'll be allowed to give their opinion about her." or whatever. when the agency comes out and evaluates the child they will want to speak with the parents afterward and then it's sort of "out of your hands."
this is a great idea and think that this might be my best option. this way I don't have to say anything at tall once she has gone through the eval...

Also it will be someone else that determines if there are issues or not instead of me. thanks so much for giving me this idea. It sounds great.....will also keep me from getting an argument with any of my family members..
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:59 PM
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this is a great idea and think that this might be my best option. this way I don't have to say anything at tall once she has gone through the eval...

Also it will be someone else that determines if there are issues or not instead of me. thanks so much for giving me this idea. It sounds great.....will also keep me from getting an argument with any of my family members..
i wouldn't call them to say this. i would go over to their house just for a visit like last time and then when mom is around be like, "omg, i can't believe how she recites all of those lines. i was telling my friend about that. that's amazing!" then while she's all glowing with pride, say something like, "you know, i have someone coming over to my daycare next week to evaluate some of the kids for kindergarten readiness (or something). i think you should let her come over so she can see her and see what she thinks. she might be gifted!"

i know it's bad, but desperate times call for drastic measures, right?

if she's up for it then say, "you know, i think i might have the paperwork in my car from when i spoke to the lady that's coming. all the kids have to have permission forms signed. let me go get one."

get her to sign the papers giving permission, set up the time for the eval, and then just make sure she gets the kid over there!!
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by QualiTcare View Post
i wouldn't call them to say this. i would go over to their house just for a visit like last time and then when mom is around be like, "omg, i can't believe how she recites all of those lines. i was telling my friend about that. that's amazing!" then while she's all glowing with pride, say something like, "you know, i have someone coming over to my daycare next week to evaluate some of the kids for kindergarten readiness (or something). i think you should let her come over so she can see her and see what she thinks. she might be gifted!"

i know it's bad, but desperate times call for drastic measures, right?

if she's up for it then say, "you know, i think i might have the paperwork in my car from when i spoke to the lady that's coming. all the kids have to have permission forms signed. let me go get one."

get her to sign the papers giving permission, set up the time for the eval, and then just make sure she gets the kid over there!!
I think that this is the most non confrontational way that I can do it....sounds really good....I don't care if it is sneaky, it just needs to be done..

I think this is great way...thank you again
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:40 PM
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Nice suggestion Qualit.
Be careful Daycare and good luck.
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:36 AM
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Default failure to thrive

I would discuss this situation with the appropriate authorities for them to make a determination. It's possible that the child is autistic or has some other disorder - but in this situation, it's probably unlikely. I think what you're seeing is a classic case of failure to thrive and neglect. Parenting consists of love, affection, food, shelter, clothing, bonding, socialization, etc. Without it, children exhibit a variety of obvious socialization problems early on.
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