Is this neglect or abuse?

United States
July 15, 2007 3:16am CST
I have a relative who has 2 small boys, ages 3 & 4. They are both still on the bottle and neither are potty trained. I asked her again today when she was going to do this and she said they scream and cry when I try to get them to do this. I told her she has got to get them off the bottle and potty trained. They cannot go to Headstart, Kindergarten or even Sunday School like this. I can't believe she hasn't done this already. Both parents are home all the time, I mean there is really no excuse for this. I'm afraid they will grow up with emotional problems, I know the other kids will tease them if they ever find out how old they were before being trained. Any thoughts or suggestions that might would help her with this? She doesn't have internet so I will have to relay any messages. Does this sound like neglect or abuse?
10 people like this
38 responses
@Nardz13 (5056)
• New Zealand
15 Jul 07
Hi there. Look no offense, dont take this to heart, but to answer this question of yours and soley give my views on this matter, I have to speak my mind and say the parents are just outright lazy and irresponsible they are not pulling there weight at being responsible parents... These boys are far too old to be on bottles most importantly, to not be able to use the toilet at 4 years old. Your relative needs to know all this, so these boys do not suffer humiliation as they get older My husband took it upon himself to train our boy to use the toilet, which we had a little potty and stall for him too use, it may have taken 2 weeks to really set in, but we did it and we persisted with it and then he really got excitied that he could go by himself, he was only 2-1/2 going on 3 years old... Boy! I was proud he went by himself and I through out all the nappies or diapers... This simply is some form of abuse, for there health and definetly neglect on the parents part... They need to grow up and take responsibilty, so they can show there boys some... All the best with this issue, I hope for your relatives sake it gets sorted... Maybe they need some professional help on parenting... Well Good luck to them and thanks for sharing...
• United States
16 Jul 07
Thank you so much for being kind in your response and not to judge me as being insensitive for bringing this subject up. I dearly want to help this relative. I love her and I love her kids, I only want to help her find a solution and I do appreciate all the kind words of advice I have rec'd.
1 person likes this
@Nardz13 (5056)
• New Zealand
17 Jul 07
Hi there. Reading your comment to my response I made a day ago, tells me you really care about your relative and I hope the best solution and help comes out of all comments made on this post, most of all good on you for being a caring and strong relative to actually care and want to help her and the children... Thanks for getting back to me... I appreciate it...
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Jul 07
I would have to say neglect. Neglect is not taking care of your kids properly. Obviously she doesn't, she needs to get into gear and start working. I bet she goes out on Fridays and Saturdays doesn't she?
2 people like this
@Calais (10898)
• Australia
15 Jul 07
It sounds just like PURE LAZINESS...Who are the parents here...So what they scream, that dosnt mean a thing, give them some guidence and maybe the time of day and they will look forward to learning new things, Sounds like neglect to me...It sounds like a really sad situation. And that she has got no patience what so ever.
2 people like this
• United States
15 Jul 07
I have a friend that can't deal with her children crying or nagging so she gives in to every little whim. I admit that hearing a child cry hurts my ears and grates on my nerves but there has to be tough love somewhere. We are the parents and they are the adults. If a child cries about something they want/don't want and the parent responds by giving in, they see that it works so they continue in this manner. I would too if it got me what I want when I want it. It works the same way in a reverse situation. When a child realizes that they're not going to get their way, they eventually give up trying. If they were to divert their attention to something else and not give in to the crying, it will eventually stop. I don't think they should let the kids get to the point where they can't breathe or are making themselves sick. She needs to get them adjusted to drinking from a sippy cup and then throw away the bottles. Potty training is easy for some and trial and error for others. Consistency is the key here. I didn't have any luck with pull ups since they feel like diapers and absorb liquid. I put my kids in regular underwear and took them to the bathroom every 20 minutes whether they needed to go or not. When they did go I jumped around clapping and acting excited while saying "yeah, it's a potty party for (insert child's name here)" This boosted my kids egos and helped them feel they were doing something good. It's better to have fun with it rather than make them feel stressed out over it. Never punish them for accidents either as it will make things worse. I hope this is helpful and they take action soon. I agree that other kids will be making fun of them if they don't get on the right track. The parents are only hurting the situation by giving in so easily.
@GardenGerty (124403)
• United States
15 Jul 07
It sounds like neglect moreso than abuse. I do not think that kids in school discuss "How old were you when you quit the bottle, or were potty trained? Are the children developmentally delayed? The big concern with the bottle is not just how the teeth grow in, but how the constant exposure to juice or milk is decaying their teeth. The thing that I remember is a child who had every tooth in her mouth rotting out and in great pain because of this. If she were willing to do this, I would work on the bottle first, as it will help determine when and how much they are toileted. She needs to suck it up and listen to the crying and screaming for a day or two. Give them plenty of fluids available in cups and just do it. Give them popsicles to keep them hydrated if they are absolutely refusing to drink. I can understand how she fell into the trap of treating them both like babies with them being so close to the same age. She does not need to reason with them, because this is comfort for them, and is something they have always known. Children are able to reason, but not often, and not well. Summer is a good time to do both of these things. If the children are developmentally delayed, there are programs that help with that, and yes, in many communities there are preschool programs they can attend. I worked in a program that incorporated both Head Start and preschool for special needs children, and we potty trained. Bottles were not allowed. Why is she and her husband both home all of the time? Is there something wrong, or are they incredible well to do? I wish her luck, but it sounds like she needs some help or support from her community.
@sid556 (30987)
• United States
15 Jul 07
sounds like laziness to me. I once babysat a 4 year old that could change his own diaper! Since he could not attend kindergarten in diapers, he got rid of them the week before and with no problem. he was perfectly ready to use the bathroom right. His pacifier was another story. His mother took it from him on his first day of school. He cried for days. emotional problems? i doubt this will have a strong impact but you would have to wonder what else these parents are neglecting!
@jaichen (142)
• Philippines
15 Jul 07
for me, it sounds like negligence... if she is a good parent her kids would not turn out that SOOO baby.. but anyway, someone close to her should advice her on that, who would even help her... no one... and you are right, it will be the kids who will suffer which is really unfair... they don't deserve any emotional abuse in school in the future just because their parents did not do something right.. it would really affect them.. she has got to do something to the kids
2 people like this
@brendalee (6083)
• United States
15 Jul 07
I wouldn't call it neglect or abuse either. Boys especially can be difficult to potty train. Mine wasn't trained until he was almost 4. They say you shouldn't force the issue. I bought my grandson one of those seat that fit right on the big potty and a stoll with his name on it so he could get up there. He loved it. Now the bottle thing can be bad for their teeth but it can be difficult to give that up. Like someone else said, buy those cute little sippy cups and try that.
2 people like this
@Gemmygirl1 (2868)
• Australia
15 Jul 07
I don't think it's neglect or abuse, maybe just slack parenting. The bottle thing probably isn't as bad as the potty training thing - kids need to go to kindergarten & be toilet trained for that so that's definitely the worst of the 2. Perhaps you could encourage her to get the kids off the bottle by buying them both a cool sippy cup each & tell your relative to use those rather than bottles - it's not a hard transition. My daughter loves her bottle & her sippy cup (she's 1) so we use the cup during the day & the bottle only for bed time. I dunno what you could tell her about the toilet training, except that if her kids were actually toilet trained, then she'd have a lot more money to spend on other things, like, outtings for the kids, presents & so on, coz she wouldn't have nappies/diapers to buy!
• Philippines
15 Jul 07
my mother said i was still on bottle till my grade one.. i dont have any emotional problems,.. i really dont know if its neglect or abuse,,, what i'm trying to say is i was on bottle till 7 years of age, and have no emotional problems
2 people like this
@anirc750310 (3424)
• Romania
15 Jul 07
I rather say neglect, indiferrent atittude about it.Maybe they think the potty will come in time but it is kind of late for them esspecialy for the 4 years old kid. Maybe they will need to ask for specialized help, for a babynurse or some this kind of help. As I know a kid must be put on potty arround 6 months when it stays on his touchy right. I try with mine but he did not want to do anything in his potty untill he was 1 1/2 years old, but now when he is 3 he do it in the toilet, no problems anymore.
2 people like this
• United States
15 Jul 07
Sounds like neither neglect or abuse, sounds like boys being boys. My son was almost 5 before he was completely potty trained, yet I had my daughter done by the time she was 18 months old. I have a granddaughter that turned 3 years old in May and she has not even begun to understand about potty training, she just flat refuses to do anything about it and she also still drinks her nap juice from the bottle. I don't neglect my children or grandchildren, not everyone can be potty trained by the time they are 3, being home or not, perhaps you should back away and let the parents try to raise these children instead of you wanting to call them for neglect.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Jul 07
Before you go making nasty comments maybe you should know more about what you are talking about! For one thing, this parent has 4 children, the only reason she has the 2 boys is b/c all the relatives have refused to raise these 2. We, meaning all of us have helped in raising the first 2 children. This discussion came to thought after a conversation with my mother about whether child services would think this neglect or abuse. These 2 boys going around with bottles in their mouths and diapers when most all the other children their age are using sippy cups and at least an attempt has been made on pottty training. If this discussion hit a nerve that angered you, perhaps you should have refrained from answering it. Mylot is here for those of us seeking information. I for one have found an abundance of knowledge and helpful information from others who have been kind and helpful. If you don't have anyting nice to say or anything to contribute to this discussion, then please keep your judgemental comments to yourself.
@sacmom (14250)
• United States
16 Jul 07
applsofgld, where exactly did texasclassygal make a nasty comment? It just sounds like she is trying to help and give out some advice. And yes, I agree with what she says. Please don't bite my head off, it's just that every child IS different and some can take longer to potty train than others and the same goes with weaning off of a bottle. It doesn't mean these parents are abusing or neglecting their kids.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Jul 07
She also wrote me privately.
1 person likes this
@crazynurse (7489)
• United States
15 Jul 07
I do not think that what the parents are doing falls within the defintion of neglect or abuse. The children are being fed/clothed/and kept safe (so no neglect). There is not mental or physical harm being done...so no abuse. As for being ridiculed by other children, I doubt that is going to happen, as they won't be able to be around other children!! As you say, no daycare or kindergarden will accept them if they are not potty trained! My biggest concern when I hear this is the children's oral health. To use a bottle once teeth have erupted is not good. The liquids sit on the teeth and cause what is known as 'bottle mouth.' The front teeth will likely rot. I have a neighbor who had to have her child's front teeth removed just a few days ago secondary to bottle rot. I see what is occuring as poor parenting rather than abuse or neglect. These parents need to read some parenting books. It sounds like the children already have the upper hand. ("She said they scream and cry when I try to get them to do this.") If they are in control to this degree at the ages of 3 and 4, pray tell what they will be like by 9 or 10 years of age! They really need some help! Most health departments have developmental speicalists who will come in and assist first time parents with meeting developmental milestones. They would of course evaluate the children for problems and then assisit with parenting strategies. Sounds like this family really needs the help of someone trained to deal with the issues at hand!
1 person likes this
@gberlin (3836)
17 Jul 07
There isn't much you can do if you do not live close to your relative. Somehow, kids get tired of being in diapers. Especially if they go to school. Most of the programs you mentioned will not let them in if they are not potty trained. That in itself may be an incentive for both the children and the parents to get them potty trained. It doesn't sound like the mother has control of the children. Maybe they need the "Nanny" to visit them. It is a TV show where a Nanny comes in and helps the parents get control of their children. She works wonders!
@charms88 (7540)
• Philippines
17 Jul 07
Hello applsofgld. I can't say this fall on the category of negligence nor abuse. Understand that our little ones have different growth and development pattern. Little boys tend to wean and potty trained at a later stage than their counterpart. Tell your friend that she should at least exert a little effort in helping her boys to outgrow this two habits. She can start using training cup and if possible buy one that's colorful and attractive enough to catch the attention of her boys. She can ask her husband to help with the potty training by showing them how to do it properly. Avoid pressuring the boys though. Let them learn slowly and eventually, they will get used to it.
@jennybianca (12912)
• Australia
17 Jul 07
Well, it is certainly neglect. I am not sure if I would call it abuse at this stage. The parents are clearly very incompetent & definitely need help. You are quite correct in that the boys will suffer teasing, if not trained soon. Not only that, it is not good for their physical & emotional developmet, to keep them so backward. If you can, recommend a particular agency that will help this relative. If she is unwilling to seek help, it may be that you will need to report her to the appropiate authorities.
1 person likes this
@us2owls (1681)
• United States
16 Jul 07
I don't think it is neglect or abuse exactly but sounds to me more like laziness and an easy way out on the part of the parents. I hate the things but why doesn't she replace the bottles with a pacifier and try letting them scream for a while. It would be annoying for a while but they would eventually get tired of screaming. Get rid of the bottles first then start in earnest on the toilet training. You say both parents are home all the time - so it sounds like no one has a job to support these kids - could be this family is starting a cycle of living off the system.
1 person likes this
• India
16 Jul 07
No advice to her as this is neither neglect nor abuse, its plain and simple “putting things off, until they can no longer be put off!” they just go on avoiding the trouble of screaming at the children, disciplining them, taking that extra pain of teaching your children manners and etiquette. They just hope that the kids will learn on their own, once they grow up. I have know mothers who have not been able to wean their children till the age of 8 or 9yrs. It put them into a lot of pressure and embarrassment in social circles, but they just could not stand up their children’s tantrums.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Jul 07
To me that sounds like neglect AND abuse...unless they are under certaincirumstances. If the children have a medical condition like Encopresis, this is fairly understandable. However, it sounds to me like this is a discipline problem and they need to correct it NOW.
• Canada
16 Jul 07
Maybe your relatives with the 3 and 4 year old children are simply inexperienced about how to get their children off the bottles and teach them how to use the toilet. Are these parents close to some support for these issues? These aren't things that people 'naturally know' just because they are parents. Also, potty training and bottle weaning aren't just 'set' processes - they will differ greatly from family to family, as each child has an individual and different capacity for changing behaviors. Instead of judging that the parents are awful, possibly neglectful, maybe they just need some help with learning how to teach their children new behaviors. Also - nobody will laugh at these kids when they're older - unless an adult carelessly tells their schoolmates or playmates about how old they were before being trained.
1 person likes this