Hello, long time lurker, first time poster
I have a question that has been bothering me for several months. The BG is a bit legal, but that is needed to get the whole story. I don't need help with the legal side but I felt it pertained to my question so I included it. It's all a bit long, so please bear with me.
*BG* My Inlaws have custody of my two nieces (my husband's brother's kids). They took custody about 9 months ago, hoping it would be a temporary deal so my BIL and his ex could get their lives together and be able to raise their kids as adults. Things between my BIL and his ex are the things bad late night talk shows are made of and it was felt that two small children did not need to be in that environment. The custody became legal about a month not quite a month ago, but it is not permanent yet due to the court system still needed to make a full investigation. The odds are, honestly, that they will be retaining custody. The girls are currently both under 5.
My inlaws are in their very early 60's. Both were planning on being retired by this time. My MIL has had to put that off due to money issues with having to raise the kids. Neither really wanted to take the kids but felt it was the best thing to do. Comments were made a few months ago when it became apparent that they were most likely going to be keeping the girls permanently that maybe my husband and I should step up and take the girls. We are younger and have a daughter at home, so the thought was that we were better prepared to take on two more kids. The problem is that 1) our daughter is over twice the age of either girl, 2) we would have to sell our house and move, having only a 2 bedroom home and 3) we did not want to deal with the craziness brought on by the BIL and his ex. As in, fear the ex may come burn the house down, craziness.
So, now it looks like my inlaws are going to have these girls permanently. My inlaws are exhausted mentally. Neither truly feels up to raising these two girls. They are resentful of my BIL for putting them in this position. The main issues stem from the fact that the oldest girl is out of control. They have both been allowed to basically run wild and do whatever they wanted. Their parents never put them down for naps or a regular bed time, simply letting them sleep whenever they dropped. Food was placed out around the house for them to eat whenever they felt like it, but it mostly dry cereal and granola bars. My inlaws are trying to change that, but it is a huge battle with the oldest. She won't listen, hits, bites. I had to chase her down in a parking lot when she took off and refused to stop when called.
My inlaws *won't* discipline them. They say they do, but it consists of them talking about the bad behaviors with the kid, telling her why it's wrong and please stop doing whatever it is. That's it. They talk about it. Their excuse for not being stricter, like putting her in time out or taking away the stick she hitting with, is that "she has been through so much, she needs time. She doesn't want to stay in time out, so what can we do?"
It is driving us nuts. They are the kids that are dancing around the restaurant bothering the other customers while my inlaws look on. They run wild at any event, getting into things, interrupting adults, taking off and hiding, yelling and screaming to get their way. My husband and I have tried to maintain our distance, but feel *someone* needs to step up and rein them in. We declined to take them ourselves, but it is truly awkward being out with them. Can we discipline them? Or do we just have keep quiet and bite our tongues? The girls are getting worse, not better.