A child and his mother in my house
Posted Sun Dec 12, 2010 10:52 PM
The relationship between my brother and his girlfriend have some unhealthy things. Firstly, I note his girlfriend's sole intrest seems to be with him, and she started to stay in the house as well, detracting a big deal of sense from the "taking care of the child" first proposal. The first and problably the least important problem regarding this is that we're faced with the presence of the child unnecesarily, adding a certain disruption to our lifestyle. Secondly, we're having the motehr at home who also ends up breaking the peace of the house. The other day me and my brotehr invited over a mutual friend and his wife, and got proven that they together aren't comfortable to be with. We had the incident that, after an accidental tickling to my brother by my friends's wife with her hair, his girlfriend made a remark dyed of jealousy, and the moment I left to the bathroom and came back I found my friends had "scaped" from them to another place of the house.
But those are the stupid problems, there are more serious things happening. This thursday, I woke up at 9:00 PM (my bedroom is the remotest one of the house) and found neither her mother or my brother were present. I found myself left alone with the child. Later I came to know my brother and the mother were together instead of splitting to have one of them to take care of the girl. I had some really banal plans which i didn't hesitate to drop but they were my plans after all. I got rather angry and later that night gathered the whole family and explained that I don't want this to happen as I would feel a commitment to not leave the girl alone. Put simply, I won't take finding myself alone with the girl without a previous organization, as I know I wouldn't allow myself to leave her alone and that's not the kind of responsability I agreed to take. I explained it to the mother and to the girl as well.
But they don't seem to really understand how disrupting is to me finding myself with the child. It ties me to stay with her. I'm a teacher, it's almost instinctive for me assuming a role of responsability towards any kid I find as the sole adult.
Yesterday I knew that my brother would take the girl to her house today but I woke up at 5:30 PM and found the girl was left alone in the house for around 8 hours, when both my brother and the mother slept here. I found she had not eaten, and made her some food. When my brother came back to the house an hour later I told him once again that I don't want this to ever happen again, and I hope it doesn't. I didn't get as mad this time probably off my hangover, but it is unacceptable. I really believed that after the events of the other day this wouldn't happen.
The otehr problem is way more complicated. The mother of the girl has some issues and when she's here with the girl they're constantly arguing and fighting, which is beyond annoying. The other day during dinner I had to shut them as they were both children. The girl shows signs of physical abuse and at moments I feel a serious disgust towards the way she's talked by the mother. This is the main reason my mother agreed to have her at home as some kind of protection. My current approach is talking seriously and sternly to the mother about the way she treats her and interrupting any kind of violent situation but I don't know how much will this work nor how long I'll be willing to keep doing this.
My main fear is that all this situation end rather badly. I know that if I find myself again in the situation of being left with the girl without notice I won't take it any well. I also don't know how much can I witness the relationship of the girl and the mother without kicking her out of my home or take you might imagine what measures, but my mediation seems to be going fine for now. I know this also might fuck up my relationship with my brother, who is a serious asshole but I really love him. I also feel me and my whole family had been a bit cheated as the whole issue seems to degenerate into a strategy of the motehr to get to spend more time with my brother.
I don't really what the hell should I do about this whole thing.
Posted Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:06 AM
Posted Tue Dec 14, 2010 07:32 AM
Posted Tue Dec 14, 2010 07:47 AM
Posted Tue Dec 14, 2010 01:52 PM
I suppose Social Services in Argentina is not organized in the same fashion as in North America. My first inclination would be to talk to the mother with all members of the family present. The way I would raise the issue is to talk on the abuse first, and try not to drop threats so casually. I feel it's important to help first than take necessary steps, and I believe the mother would feel "observed" once the safety concerns are voiced.
Unfortunately, in many Latin American societies, parents feel that they can do as they please with their children. This attitude is generally tolerated by society at large unless there are serious safety concerns. When I was growing up, there were a couple of girls who every so often showed at school with severe bruises and cuts. In one instance, I recall some parents friends of the family approach the father (the abuser in this case) and asked him to stop in the most courteous manner. I think what may have worked in this particular ocassion is simply the shame that the abusing father felt when put on the spot. At that time, there was no government agency taking care of these situations, and so it was maily dealt with the help of relatives, friends and neighbours. It takes a village they say... However, the concept of a village has pretty much disappeared in first world societies. I would definitely intervene on behalf of the child, show concern, show disaproval to the mother... I think once this aspect is taken care of, the annoying issues will also disappear.
I'd like to say that even though I'm a single mother, I've never been prone to leave my children in the care of others. I never expect people to lend a helping hand without their consent, and the few times I've done it has been because friends or relatives insisted that I take a break from my children. If I go buy groceries, I take them; if I go buy a bra, they come with me; if I go to the doctor, they come with me too. I'm sure the lady in question has her own relatives and friends that can help her. I know it's difficult, but it's the basic sense of responsibility that a parent should have.