Our expert says:
Thanks for the clarifications, Karen. It sounded, in your original message, as though your worry was about your own stepchild. So, these are concerns about your stepson : your partner's son ? : and his wife and child ? Otherwise, I think much of my original response could still apply, except that you make have less direct personal status to intervene directly.
The issue may be that what you're noticing is indeed clumsy and untalented parenting, but not necessarily what the authorities might consider to be neglectful or abusive. You could perhaps contact the Child Welfare authorities and discuss your concerns with them, and ask their advice about how to help. But from your description, it sounds as though making a formal complaint could alienate the child's parents and also your partner, with no major benefit. Maybe it's more useful for you to have continuing contact with the family so as to be able to keep an eye on the situation, to be able to intervene with the authorities if the situation deteriorated towards actual abuse or neglect. What do other readers think and suggest ?
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