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Cher, Teacher
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 91
Experience:  Extensive Experience working with Children/Teens; M.A. Teacher/Tutor 40+ yrs.; Parent of 2
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Need help. I have been 11-year-old nephews second parent all

Customer Question

Need help. I have been 11-year-old nephew's second parent all his life. He and my sister lived with me until he was 5 and I've had him a night or two a week ever since. She has been dating and living with an unemployed, bipolar man for last year and broke up with him for about the 5th time in as many months a few weeks ago. She had to get a restraining order because he wouldn't leave her house and he got so mad he threatened both her and me. Then she found out the reason he's been such a deadbeat and so emotional is because he was on meth. Now he has a job and swears he's clean and that he's sorry and she's forgiven him. My nephew doesn't know these details and he's happy they are back together. He loves us all and wants us all to get along. I am scared about our safety, concerned that my nephew will be exposed to drugs if the boyfriend relapses, and hurt that my sister wants to be with someone who threatened me. I haven't been able to pretend everything is ok and now my nephew is mad at me because he doesn't understand why I don't like his mom's boyfriend. What should I do?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Walt-mod replied 6 years ago.
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Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.

HELLO...What is the relationship like between you and your sister? Have you witnessed any negative actions of the boyfriend around your nephew?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I've always been close to my sister, but we've had more fights than we used to have over recent few years because of my nephew. She does a lot of things that don't seem to be in his best interests and she doesn't want me to say anything about it. I feel like I am entitled to voicing my opinions since I help raise my nephew.


As far as negative actions of the boyfriend around my nephew go: I haven't witnessed any myself, but I don't see them together very often. However I have heard from both my nephew and my sister that the boyfriend shuts himself up in a room for hours and sometimes days, even if he alone is responsible for watching my nephew. He left my nephew home alone one time without telling him where he was going and no way to reach him. He's gotten really loud and in my sister's face in front of my nephew a few times. And he's driven my nephew around a lot - on his motorcycle or in my sister's car. I'm not sure if meth impairs a person who is driving but I imagine it would.


My concerns are less about physical violence to my nephew than to me and my sister, and frankly I think that is a small risk. However, I have had nightmares since he made those threats so I do believe that risk is real, however small. My greater concerns are that my nephew will catch the boyfriend doing drugs and think that is ok because someone he cares about is doing them. Or that the boyfriend will leave my nephew alone again or disappear in his room for hours on end and something will happen while my nephew is unsupervised. He's 11, so the risks are low here too, but he is pretty immature and needs some supervision. He still does completely illogical things that only children do that can be safety hazards. I'm also concerned about what this yo-yo relationship is teaching him about relationships. My sister leaves every time she and her boyfriend fight, sometimes up to two weeks at a time. That really disrupts my nephew's life and isn't showing him that people should work their their issues. Yet in this case I don't believe staying home is the best option. They only have 800 square feet and he is right in the middle of their yelling and slamming sessions and their silent treatments. It just all seems bad.

Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.
I will be out of the office until later this evening. I will respond to you then. Is that a good time frame for you?