Long post as usual, LOL - I can't do short ones!!
I am genuinely interested in receiving feedback from the lovely BH ladies about what we do, if anything, in this situation. It's starting to upset me, so I was wanting to know if my feelings are valid, or am I over-reacting a bit.
My nephew recently turned 4 years old and my husband and I have never been invited to babysit or to have him on our own for one-on-one time so that we can start bonding & developing a good relationship with him. I know that every family is different and not everyone is comfortable leaving their children with relatives, but in DH's family they have always been very open to building extended family relationships by the kids being minded, staying overnight and even going on week long holidays with other family members from a very young age (including these parents having other relatives children stay with them).
DH's children have stayed with his sister and BIL (the parents of the 4yo) from eighteen months old for both overnight stays and for up to a few days, and every school holidays I ensure that DSS has a night or two with his Aunty, Uncle and cousin at their place so that he can build a strong relationship with them - which they all love.
However, DH and I have never been invited to babysit our nephew, even though we only live 15 minutes away from them. From a suitable age we suggested that if they would like a date night we would be thrilled to mind our nephew for a couple of hours, and hoped to continue building that until at some point he could stay overnight with us. We take DSS & another two of his cousins on holidays every year, and we also hoped in the future that when he was old enough, our nephew might also be able to join us on this trip.
To date both our subtle and more direct asking has been met with a smile and a nod, but we've never been taken up on our offers to spend time with our nephew. Any interaction is always at the parents house and even though they have been invited to our house many a time, they rarely visit us. Our nephew is in daycare two days a week, so it's not that he isn't comfortable spending a little bit of time away from Mum... They are very tricky as a couple, and DH is not comfortable asking outright what the problem is, as if they think we are too much trouble they are likely to completely diss us (as they have with other family members) and then we won't get an opportunity to see them, or our nephew at all. My DH is the peacemaker of the family and hates causing waves, but our nephew is now 4yo and we're starting to wonder if it's personal.
DH and I are both great with kids, we have a safe house, don't drink or smoke, and we can't really understand why we've never been asked to babysit. It seems that it's fine one way - in that they think it's great that DSS comes to stay with them - but they aren't interested in supporting us in having a good relationship with their son. We were thinking about being more specific, for example, saying that we would like to take our nephew to the park with DSS on Saturday for an hour, can we pick him up at 2.00pm? And see what they say. Is that a good idea or not? Please don't think that we are trying to shove ourselves into their lives, we can go a couple of months without seeing each other, so we're not pushy by any means.
I'm likely missing something here - so if you have any ideas or feedback I'd be happy to hear them. We were so excited when they had their little boy, and wanted to be a great Uncle and Aunty, but seem blocked from doing that.
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15-08-2016 15:59 #1
WWYD? We've never babysat our 4yo nephew
Last edited by Summer; 15-08-2016 at 16:01.
15-08-2016 16:04 #2
It sounds like you want to be involved and that's awesome. I'd continue to offer, like we are taking to DSS to the park and we'd love to take nephew along if it suits
While my circumstances are different as we live interstate, my sister and my SIL and BIL have never looked after my kids. It's not that I don't think they aren't all lovely people who are great with kids, I just don't feel comfortable, like I'd be putting them out. Even though I wouldn't be. It's just how I feel.
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15-08-2016 16:10 #3
Some people just won't leave their kids with other people. Day care as different as there's so many people around they might feel safer leaving him there.
I know a few mums who won't leave their kids alone with others, no matter how much they love them. Often they're abusive victims whose parents trusted them with a family member and that trust was abused.
Give them space. Their child their choice. They are being overly cautious but that's their choice. Unfortunately although you want a super close bond with your nephew your not entitled one.
Just play with him as much as possible when you see them
15-08-2016 16:16 #4
@smallpotatoes thanks - DH is one of 4 and all live close together so it's always been very liberal between the four of them - as in "Hey sis, I have to do XYZ for a couple of hours can I drop the kids over?" which is why I guess we had an expectation that it would continue when they had their little boy.
@Wise Enough - great point and one that I didn't consider, thanks for bringing that up. We know we're not entitled to develop a relationship with our nephew, but we were very much hoping to, as we have with all his cousins. We will keep gently suggesting every now and again and as he gets older things might change. But you're right, I don't know what reasons they have, and it is their business, not ours.
15-08-2016 16:22 #5
I think the idea of asking whether you can pick him up and go to the park with DSS is a better idea. It's not over night but you get some time with him at least.
I have friends and family constantly ask to look after my girls where I always smile and nod. Its not that I don't trust people but I just don't need the date night or girls looked after. If they asked if my girls could go to the park, I wouldn't have a problem at all.
15-08-2016 17:09 #6
Is the child well behaved? Maybe they are worried he'll be too much trouble for you. Or he could be a crap sleeper?
Or maybe they just feel uncomfortable leaving him overnight? He might has a strict bedtime routine that they rely on and they are worried he wouldn't cope.
Fwiw I'm not comfortable leaving my dd1 overnight (3.5) , in an unfamiliar place, and I don't see that changing in the bear future. Nothing to do with the quality of care provided. It could be as well that you don't sound extremely close to your nephew yet. Plus they might just feel guilty and don't want to impose!
I agree with baby steps. A trip to the park. Work your way up.
Ps I think it's lovely that you are offering and keen. But don't force the issue
15-08-2016 17:20 #7
Thanks @BabyG4 & @Little Miss Sunshine - yes we weren't aiming for an overnight stay until we'd established a really good comfortable bond with him - sorry if my post came across that I was pushing for overnight straight up! I meant that if they wanted a date night, then we'd have him for a couple of hours max - or for a few hours of a weekend etc and eventually move to sleep overs. That's great that you think that something like a trip to the park for an hour to start with is a good idea - we'll start there and then see where it goes. We won't force it - not our child, not our rules - but we would love to be a bit more involved :-)
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15-08-2016 17:45 #8
I think it's really lovely that you guys would love to spend more time with your nephew and also babysit.
You might never know their reasons, but I think this is one of those times where you just have to be comfortable with the fact you've made your offer clear and if the parents are comfortable/ready, they'll let you know.
15-08-2016 17:49 #9Senior Member
- Join Date
- May 2016
I totally understand where you're coming from Summer. I grew up spending loads of time with aunties, uncles, cousins & hoped I could provide the same 'village' for my girls but my SIL is the same as you describe. It's not a trust thing (that I'm aware of) just that she doesn't desire to be apart from her children. Which is common. Also doesn't seem to value relationships with other family members in the way I do. It's not malicious, just different. I wish we thought the same way though so that the cousins could enjoy each other's company more.
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15-08-2016 18:04 #10
Our DD is always babysat by her grandparents rather than BIL & SIL whenever we need it. But we're also those people who don't want/need her to be babysat unless we're going somewhere not kid-friendly. MIL & FIL are often saying they're happy to babysit so we can go out for dinner etc but we would much rather take her with us. Nothing to do with trust, just we enjoy her to be with us.
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