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grandparents drinking

(38 Posts)
joolsangel Mon 13-May-13 14:13:07

I would like some advice please from some grandparents. my dd is 4 yrs old and we live 2.5 hrs drive from inlaws. my dh and I have recently discovered that, although we knew his parents were drinkers, we didn't realise quite how much until they came to stay with us 2 months ago. we have now found out that they drink when they have our DD to stay over with them for 3 or 4 nights every so often. they drink a 1L bottle of vodka every night. they even drink this amount when they have our dd staying alone with them. I am horrified and very concerned for the safety of my dd. they open the bottle at 5pm every night and it is empty by 8.30pm. I asked my DH to talk to them about this which he reluctantly did about 6 weeks ago and now they whole family is against me including my husband. he thinks its not a problem. I am concerned that they aren't fit to drive should anything happen and they need to get her to hospital. I am worried that her gran keeps insisting on carrying her upstairs to bed. she is drunk when she lifts here and she is perfectly capable of walking up the stairs to bed herself but her gran likes to carry her all the time. her gran has now had 4 mini strokes over the past 3 years and is still drinking every single night. her gran now wants my dd to go down and stay for a few nights with them and I said no. she phoned me being abusive calling me names and saying whats the harm as she hasn't dropped her and put her in hospital yet. I am so utterly disgusted with my husband and with them. they have now said they will compromise and instead of opening the vodka at 5pm, they will wait till she has gone to bed. my dh and I are now in separate rooms and the atmosphere in the house is terrible. I will not give in and he is adamant that he will drop our daughter off with them for a few says as they want to see her soon. why cant they just not drink at all when they have her? what do I do. im told by my dh that I have now caused irrepairable damage in the family and no one in the family wants anything more to do with me. im fine with this as I am so disgusted with them but I am so concerned about my daughter. how do I handle these inlaws

Nonu Mon 13-May-13 14:24:36

Seems there is a big problem , you are right they should not be drinking when they have the child . I believe I am on your side .

What the solution is , I do not know . All I can say is Good luck . {smile]

bluebell Mon 13-May-13 14:24:56

As long as you are sure it is true about the amount that is being drunk, then you are absolutely right to do what you are doing. It is hard for your husband but the simple worst case scenario is dead or injured daughter vs fractured family relationships - no contest. You are in an awful situation and I think you are being really brave - I hope you will get support from your husband. Obviously you can offer them a visit to you so that they can see their dgd

whenim64 Mon 13-May-13 15:01:25

I agree with you, joolsangel. This is alcoholism if they are so dependent on drinking excessively and can't put the child first. I would be concerned about them falling asleep or falling with the child, who is being put at risk.

I won't even drink hot tea with a young child on my knee, and I never have alcohol if I am taking care of a child. Too many things can go wrong. There is an offence called 'being drunk in charge of a child.' They need to moderate their drinking and confine it to when the child is not in their care.

petra Mon 13-May-13 15:01:49

Stand your ground. You are right, they ( DH and in laws) are wrong.
If you give in to them and God forbid that something happens, you will live with that guilt all your life.
Your child comes before all of them.

joolsangel Mon 13-May-13 15:04:06

thank you for your advice. unfortunately I am right about the quantity they drink. they have hidden the bottle from us too and never denied it. I understand my husband is torn between his parents but I feel strongly he should be concerned about his DDs safety and wellbeing. we know he hit a raw nerve when he spoke to them and when he did he did say it was more me than him who was concerned. I told him to tell them they could come and stay with us for a few days to see our dd but they don't want to come to our house. im terrified she drops my daughter down the stairs or is unable to make a good decision should she be ill or if she spills a pan of hot water or something from the cooker over her as she drinks from 5pm every night. each glass is a half pint tumbler filled 3/4 full with vodka then a dash of coke. when she called me since my dh spoke to them she started by saying that her husband is angry with me as I have called them a couple of drunkards and I don't want to get him angry. I told her I was totally livid that they are irresponsible to drink heavily when they have her and it is my wish as her mother that I don't want anyone looking after my dd when they are drinking heavily. I then said that I am absolutely under no circumstances afraid of her husband and I will tell him so. Ive just got to keep digging my heels in but I do know my dh intends to take our dd to their house for a few days soon. im going to be worried sick. many thanks once again for your advice.

bluebell Mon 13-May-13 15:07:46

If he insists he is going to take her then you have no alternative other than to say the minute he leaves the house with her you will ring social services child protection in your in laws area and then do so.

merlotgran Mon 13-May-13 15:07:54

You are absolutely right to stick to your guns, joolsangel. We had a similar dilemma after my father died and my mother re-married. He seemed like a nice, caring man to begin with but after a year or so we realised his drinking was way out of hand and my mother, not a heavy drinker herself, chose to turn a blind eye.

One evening he picked our son up from Cubs (without our permission) and drove into a ditch. Fortunately DS was not hurt and was able to run home as the 'accident' happened just up the road from our house. From then on we refused to let them have the children to stay and if they visited us we picked them up and drove them home. I felt sorry for my mother because her husband was excluded from all family occasions other than at our house so I ended up hosting endless get-togethers so she could see the rest of the family.

I never doubted we were doing the right thing. It often caused a lot of bad feeling but you cannot put children at risk. You DH will have to realise it is better to be safe than sorry.

Nonu Mon 13-May-13 15:12:45

Surely though your husband be taking a more pro-active role , in all this ?


bluebell Mon 13-May-13 15:17:50

Well Nonu clearly he's not!! Read the posts

Mishap Mon 13-May-13 15:18:32

Oh dear - I do sympathise with this situation. When my 3 DDs were little my MIL took to the bottle. She would insist on coming to the village shop with me and buying me a present of a bottle of sherry - she knew that I did not drink alcohol.

When she was staying I used to find bottles of sherry in hidden places like the airing cupboard.

My biggest concern was that she was also a smoker and, when she was staying, I would not sleep at night till I had looked in to make sure she was asleep and unlikely to set fire to the bedclothes in a drunken stupour.

We NEVER allowed our children to stay with her and FIL for the very reason that we couod not be certain of the children's safety.

So.....I think you have to stick to your guns; but what a very difficult situation for you that your OH is not backing you up. I can understand that he is in a difficult position and somewhat torn, but your DD's safety has to be your top priority. I suppose that the line to take with your OH is that alcoholism is an illness and that you both need to pull together to try and help them; but not at the expense of your DD's safety. I can understand that you are a Mum fighting for your child and that does tend to bring out the tiger in us all - but trying to keep the discussion on an objective footing by researching how they might be helped with their alcoholism might perhaps assist in keeping relations with your OH on an even keel.

We got round it by inviting them to stay with us where we were on the premises and able to keep an eye on what was going on.

I do wish you good luck with this problem.

whenim64 Mon 13-May-13 15:21:02

Well done joolsangel. Your concerns are real, and if they behave like that....well, they will just have to come to terms with the fact that they are a couple of drunkards.

There are several Gransnetters on here who can speak with some authority about child protection, alcohol abuse and your responsibility as parents to ensure your child isn't placed at risk.

Why should you collude with them? Your husband should find out more about his responsibilities as a parent and congratulate you for what you have done.

shysal Mon 13-May-13 15:35:43

I think if your DH insists on taking DD to stay with his parents, you must tell him that you are going to stay too. I grew up with an alcoholic mother and I never allowed her to be alone with my children or grandchildren. The risk is just too great!
I hope you reach a satisfactory decision.

Nonu Mon 13-May-13 15:40:08

Hard as it is you have to get the message across to husband .

Butty Mon 13-May-13 15:52:12

joolsangel I wholeheartedly agree with when's post.

Although my circumstances were different, I have experience of having to stand my ground against a whole family. So I've an idea of what you're feeling.

Please don't give ground. Easy to say, but I think your concerns are valid.
I suspect your in-laws will do nothing until they realise that their behaviour will prevent them from seeing their granddaughter.

Try to encourage them to visit you, and enlist the support of your husband in helping them to cut down on their drinking in your daughter's company.

It may help you to contact various agencies. Al Anon, and/or the NSPCC Family Centre. Explain that you feel your daughter is at risk in your in-law's company.

Aka Mon 13-May-13 16:06:12

If your inlaws are drinking a bottle of vodka, between them, every night they are alcoholics. No way should you ever consider leaving your DD in their 'care'. What would happen if she had a nightmare or become ill or there was a fire?
And yes, I would contact Al Anon as Butty suggests.

Notso Mon 13-May-13 16:15:32

There are laws about being drunk in charge of a'd need to do some googling but I seem to remember it's punishable by a fine or up to several weeks in prison.

I agree with bluebell, if your husband insists upon taking her, phone the authorities. Social Services and Police. Even if your daughter is asleep in bed, if they are found to be drunk, they are still in charge of her and committing an offence.

Good luck.

Movedalot Mon 13-May-13 16:17:54

I would suggest you ask your DH to contact Alanon and tell them about the issue. Perhaps they can make him see that his parents are alcoholics. I can understand that he doesn't want to believe it and that can be a perfectly normal reaction to hearing such an accusation about those you love. Alcoholics often seem to think they can 'take it' but they can't they just think they can.

Perhaps one way of explaining to your DH is the alcohol limits for driving and ask him if he thinks that someone unsafe to drive is safe to look after a child. I think you need to find ways of making him face up to their situation as it can be impossible to make an alcoholic admit it.

I agree that if he insists on taking her to his parents and leaving her with him that you need to contact the Social Services in the area where they live.

Looks like you have 100% support for your action.

JessM Mon 13-May-13 16:39:44

Good advice here. Addicts get stroppy when they are confronted like this - denial comes with the territory.
It must be very hard for your DH to have them behave like this. He needs to talk to someone else who is detached from the problem and can help him see that you are in the right on this.

grannyactivist Mon 13-May-13 18:25:39

The law relating to being drunk in charge of a minor relates only to offences committed in a public place.
IF there was an accident and a child was injured then the grandparents could be convicted under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.
IF the child was injured and taken to hospital (a public place) by the grandparents then they could be convicted of the first offence.

I remember one of the early discussions on GN was about this very thing and I think the consensus of opinion then, as now, was to say that you need to prioritise the safety and well-being of your child. I would not permit my child to be in the care of someone who was drinking that amount of vodka.

ps Mon 13-May-13 19:32:22

There seems to be no argument here. Drinking that quantity of alcohol every night, in fact on any night is just wrong and anyone permitting a child to be under the supervision of anyone who has consumed that quantity is just being irresponsible and compromising the health, safety and wellbeing of the child. Sadly those who do consume those quantities do, in time, appear totally in control - that is a bad sign and tantamount to being classified as alcohol dependant.
If your husband cannot see this then I am afraid he has made the wrong choice. Your daughter and you should be his sole priority and consideration. It is not for me to say but please get him to see the error of his ways.
I would be mortified if I ever felt my daughter put me before my grandaughters, her children. She never would, but that is effectively what you say your husband is doing. That is just plain wrong and must not continue.

susieb755 Mon 13-May-13 19:50:59

Under the Children Act 1989 and 2004 , as a parent you are responsible for ensuring adequate care for your child, if you 'choose' to leave her with someone you know to be an alcoholic, and something happens, you, as well as they, will be guilty of neglect - make your husband aware of this,

I have so much sympathy - my father was an alcoholic, and I had huge arguments about it with him -luckily my mum was not a drinker, so I had no worries there, and she always said if she needed to she would calla taxi rather than let him drive.

JessM Mon 13-May-13 20:21:56

DH just worked out that this is equivalent to 7 double vodkas each, assuming a 70 cl bottle or 10 each if it is a litre bottle.

joolsangel Tue 14-May-13 10:29:53

ladies, many thanks for your views and support.

Stansgran Tue 14-May-13 14:12:57

Do they drink it neat or with a mixer? It just seems a lot of fluid for one body to have. And are we talking about a litre bottle here? My DD says that if you can't get results one way change your tactics ie your daughter can stay if you and your husband can stay. No room? Oh well sorry. They can stay over to see yourDD . No room or your house is "dry" .their choice.