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Question
Posted by: CJ | 2008/01/27

ADVICE PLEASE - DESPERATE

Hi there
Well here goes with my story.. My partner's son and girlfriend had a baby in June 2006, and we have looked after the baby virtually from day one. I used to jump in the car at 11 at night and rush down to their place because the baby wouldn't stop crying, etc. We have bought just about all her clothes, nappies, etc, and have looked after her during the day for the past 6 months. I have cooked all her meals since she started eating solids, even to the point where they are home over weekends and ask me to make a sandwich for her lunch. Until 5 months ago I did her washing as well.
The mother now works, and has developed a habit of going out after work and not returning home all night. She then sleeps all the next day, and the dad is left "holding the baby". The mother cannot / will not cook, and the dad cooks all their meals. They have braais whenever possible, and get horribly drunk. Sometimes they go out, leaving the baby asleep at home with us having the monitor in case she wakes up. We have pleaded with them not to do this as it's not as simple as if she wakes up... if a fire were to start or anthing like that there would be a big problem. They have asked for advice on many many occasions, but seldom take it. We love the little thing to bits and just don't know what to do anymore. It's the worst thing to see the terrible nappy rashes because she hasn't been changed for 5 hours. I am at the stage where I want to cut myself off completely for fear of being hurt anymore, but that would mean the end of my relationship with my partner, and I couldn't cope with that.
I have given you the story in a nutshell, but it does in fact, go much deeper.
Please bear in mind that the father is arrogant, and the mother.... well...... i don't have words. Please help.

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Our expert says:
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Is this lazy couple expecting you to be a good grandmother, or a servant ? Can't they even make their own sandwiches ? How did they summon up enough energy to make a baby ? So the mother works --- so do most mothes in the world. They also manage ( and your son should be doing fully his share of the chores, too ) to do their own washing, cooking, and child care. The mother can't be bothered to cook ? I bet she would if nobody else would cook for her --- how obscenely lazy ! And for her to go out, presumably partying or worse, all night, and expect others to do her chores, and then to miss work while she sleeps it off --- what sort of creature is she ? Hardly a fit mother, from the sound of it. They are apparently seriously neglectful of the child, and CHild Welfare ought to be called in to assess the situation --- and be frank with them about what has been happening.
sw is absolutely right in his/her comments. Only the child's best interests should be considered, not the wishes of neglectful and selfish biological parents who apparently couldn't be bothered to be genuine parents.

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Our users say:
Posted by: sw | 2008/01/28

hi there,
Legally this could potentially be classified as neglect and the child could be removed by a court order. Usually, a social worker involved will try to get a next-of-kin or at least someone known to the child to be its foster parent, while the biological parents receive counseling and perhaps attend parenting skills courses. Once they have proven their ability to be better parents, the child can be returned to their care. My advice would be to contact a local social worker to get an assessment done. If the social worker agrees with the seriousness of the case, either a court order can be obtained or an informal agreement can be reached with the parents, depending on their willingness to acknowledge the problem and cooperate through counseling. You can contact the South African Council for Social Service Professionals (012-329-9164) for a practitioner in your area, or contact your nearest Child and Family Welfare institute.

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