DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My oldest nephew has significant emotional issues. He has slapped, punched, and bitten both his parents and his younger siblings, even when they were babies. For the last few years, my husband and I volunteered to take him for a week at the end of the summer to give his parents a break. Over the years, we’ve learned how to manage much of his difficult behavior, which was easier for us since there were no other children around.
That changed last year when we had our first baby. I know my sister-in-law and my brother are expecting us to continue taking their son for a few days in late August, but I am seriously not comfortable having him around our baby, who will be just one when my nephew would be arriving.
I know how much this week off means to my brother’s family, but I cannot justify potentially putting my own child at risk for injury.
How do I let them know we can’t help them out this time around? --- WORRIED FOR MY BABY
DEAR WORRIED FOR MY BABY: Callous as it may sound, your first responsibility is to your own family. If you don’t feel you can guarantee your baby’s safety around your nephew, then you need to be honest with your brother and his wife, and the sooner the better, so they have the opportunity to perhaps explore alternate respite arrangements for this summer.