Parenting and Guilt

Today, I had my niece again. My SIL asked if they could come over and hang out for 45 minutes then her daughter would stay with us until we dropped off my step-son. I said fine. Of course, SIL only stayed for maybe 20 minutes, but that didn’t surprise me. She won’t give her daughter up for adoption, but she isn’t the one taking care of her either.

DH’s mother died the year his son and niece were born. When his niece was 18 months old or thereabouts, she was taken from her mom for a lack of clean house/neglect. Their grandparents took his niece in. Once my SIL was able to have her daughter back, she still didn’t take care of her much. Or at least the last 2 years since I’ve been living here in Enid, she hasn’t been.

I think the grandparents are using my niece as a replacement for their daughter, or at least the grandmother. She talks as if no one else is capable of making sure DN’s homework is done, or even that DN is safe when we have tornado warnings. Umm yea, I was a single parent for 10 years, I don’t know anything about making sure that kids do their homework.

It’s really draining on me to watch this. I watch grandma treat DN as a baby. We’re talking about a 7-1/2 yo still drinking out of a sippy cup. She gets whatever she wants, all she has to do is start a screaming fit. Well, everything but one, she doesn’t get her mother’s attention like she should. Instead, she’s living with the grandparents (who are in their late 70’s/early 80’s). No one fun for a 7 yo to live with.

I watch as everyone gives in to what DN wants. The grandparents don’t like the tantrums, so give up and tell her she can do whatever she wants. SIL just gives in. I’m not sure if it’s because of guilt, or what is on her mind. She’ll say no the first time, then after the 3rd or 4th time, she says yes. DN doesn’t even bother asking me a 2nd time when I say no. She knows I won’t change what I say.

My heart breaks for that little girl. I really wonder what she thinks when she can get whatever she wants. Candy and sweets are the least of it. She’s so defiant, even with me. The only way I can get it to stop is to give her a time out. Of course, the first time out lasts about 30 minutes because she doesn’t stop screaming long enough for me to run the timer for 7 minutes. I finally have to tell her no, for the last time, she is not getting a drink until she is out of time out. I don’t care how thirsty she is. All she has to do is sit quietly for 7 minutes. If she hadn’t thrown this tantrum, she’d already be out of time out.

Actually, the last time I gave her a time out, she was quiet almost immediately. I think she finally gets it. Now if I could handle having her more often so I could help her. Before she goes too far and turns out like her mom, never able to hold down a job, always just living off others, mooching money for cigarettes and gas. Spending what money she does get on beer or other alcohol. Blowing her tax return on game systems for the latest guy she’s trying to keep.

Poor kid, my heart really breaks for my DN. One of these days, the grandparents are going to be gone. At that point, I suspect that DH and I will be the ones who are taking care of her. I only hope it is not too late.

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