Favorite ?

Received Sunday, June 8, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion
Hi. I am not a nanny but I babysit. One of the families I babysit for, the father and my father are friendly. My Dad thinks this guy is a nice guy. And he is, he is always nice to me. He is cheerful and happy around his children and he shows me respect as a babysitter. I can't help notice and I feel bad for even thinking there is a problem, but the father has a strong preference for his daughters. I can see this as a babysitter and the two other girls will tell me about things that the oldest gets to do or gets away with that they cannot, and these are not age specific things, more like behaviors. All three girls are close in age and participate in the same activities. I have also noticed that the father disciplines the other two girls appropriately but with her, he either avoids discipline or does discipline and then soon after does something to make up for it. (?) Like I said, I feel bad even thinking it could be something weird. The daughter doesn't seem unhappy but she definitely behaves in a way that makes me think and I know this is so strange, but it makes me think that she could have something on him. What are the chances that something is wrong? If I was more certain, I would say something to my parents, but I don't want them to think I even think like that, especially since I only babysit for him 2 or 3 times a month.


Anonymous said...

How old are the girls?

If there is "something weird" going on, the chances are that the father would treat the eldest girl worse, not better, than the other two.

I would not say anything to either parent at this point. If it is simply favoritism, there is nothing you could ever hope to do about it as the family babysitter. Keep watching and listening and if you see any red flags typical of abuse, that would be the time to consider moving.

kaitlyn said...

Oh man. That's a tough situation, especially since you only babysit for them a couple times a month. I would tell your parents that you think there might be a possibility of something inappropriate going on, and ask them to keep their eyes peeled, but not to say anything (unless they get some hard evidence). Either way, it should not be you (because it seems like you're young-ish) to take responsibility for this situation--just tell your mom and dad, and they'll handle it. Hopefully, like 5:09 said, it's just favoritism.

Anonymous said...

Something is triggering a "warning" flag in you...maybe your instincts/intuition is kicking in - who can know for sure. If I were you, I'd definitely say something to your mother about what doesn't "feel" right to you about the preferential treatment of the older child, and just keep your eyes and ears open to learning more. If there is a problem between dad and his oldest girl, be prepared to tell your mom about your concerns. Your dad, being this man's friend, may discount your observations because it would certainly put him in an awkward position. Reach out to your mom to help you with this.

KeepitOntheDL said...

Is the dad a stepdad to the younger two or the real dad for all three girls? Do the girls all have the same biological mother?

In any case, I think I kind of know what you mean that the older girl "could have something on him." But it's just too hard to tell without really knowing anything or having any evidence at all.

If it was me, I wouldn't say anything because if feel like it would be worse to even hint that something that was going on that really wasn't. Anything that was going on would be really personal and will probably come out withiin the family.

That's just my opinion though.

Anonymous said...

It may also just be that since she is oldest she gets away with more. I feel that my brother get away with more than I do, but that is my opinion.

Could you ask her or would that not work?

UmassSlytherin said...

I don't know if you have seen enough interaction between the father and the kids to make a judgement call. I can tell you are concerned, though, and I would seek advice from your parents if I were you. They know these people and may be able to offer some perspective.
It is a bad situation, because even if nothing horrible is going on, it's still horrible for a parent to favor one child over another. And I disagree with the poster who said that if something bad were going on, the father would be treating her worse, not better: this is not true. Abuse, (God forbid that is what this is) is a strange and horrible thing: many times the abuser will shower the one he is abusing with affection.
Good luck, and keep us updated...

lucy said...

Thank you, Umass. I was practically jumping out of my chair rushing through the comments so that I could tell 5:09 how completely wrong they were.
My father treated me like gold while he treated my other 2 siblings like crap, because I was being sexually abused. It's part of the "grooming" process, and the abuser wants to keep you happy so that you don't tell.

But I do want to say to the OP that you better be damn sure that your instincts are correct before you open a whole can of worms and ruin this man's life on just speculation.

He very well could be allowing the slightly older girl more privilages just because of her age, or maybe she behaves better or completes all of her chores and earns it ... who really knows?
And it would've been nice to know their ages.

Anyway, if you are really that concerned, there is nothing else you can do except to talk to your parents. If you say anything to the girl, it will more than likely get back to dad.

Good luck and keep us posted.

chick said...

Well, I think at this point you should let your parents know you feel something is "off" in the way the dad treats older daughter, without mentioning any sort of abuse scenario.

If it's simply favoritism, that's an issue that can't be solved without the dad being willing to see there may be a problem.

If it's more complex than that, unless you are observing specific signs of abuse, you may have to simply keep your eyes open, and keep your parents updated on any other issues you observe.

This is a tough spot to be in, especially as someone who isn't around on a regular basis. It's easy to either misinterpret or overreact to "normal" behavior, but it's equally easy to justify "abnormal" behavior.

IMO, there is no easy or obvious answer here, excepet to err on the side of protection for the child if any obvious signs or signals of abuse occur.

Linkage and info:


chick said...

And I have to add, to 5:09, as others have already said, generally child sexual abusers favor their victims to encourage cooperation.

Anonymous said...

"And I have to add, to 5:09, as others have already said, generally child sexual abusers favor their victims to encourage cooperation." Yes, this is true, and I do believe you have a right to be concerned here!

OP, talk to your mom, tell her your fears, perhaps you can both keep your eyes open and search for any signs of abuse together...two heads are better than one! It'll also be easier on you, if you aren't holding in all of this concern and fear (that's got to be a lot to deal with all on your own.) Talk to your mom, and watch this family as closely as possible! Also, if you are close to this child at all, why don't you try to "feel" the situation out? You could simply say something about your dad (maybe something that irriatated you???) and ask her about her dad?? Sometimes, kids (in bad situations) are just searching for someone to tell, you might be able to get her talking, and if nothing else at least you've shared something with her and she might be more likely at a later date (as she gets to trust you more) to share something with you as well.

Good luck!

LindaLou said...

seriously? we're going to rely on the *feeling* of a teenager who baby-sits a couple times a month, and based on that, start looking for signs and having conversations about another human being being a potential child molester? like i've said before, some of you all have pedophilia on the brain. i don't think it's quite normal to immediately jump to that conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Lindalou. Once again, the voice of reason.
I'm all for keeping your eyes open, but for a kid that babysits 2-3 times a month, and knows nothing about this families dynamics - could potentially ruin this man for life.
And if he was a pedophile, she would be feeling creeped out herself by him, but she said he's a nice guy.

Anonymous said...

Watch carefully. Ask questions when it is appropriate, say right after an incident you notice where she hasnt been disiplined. Ask him what her punishment should be if she does that while they are away. Ask lots of questions, but try not to seem too prying. If the safety of a child is at risk and you are the only one who knows, its up to you. If you are only a teenaged babysitter you should let your parents know.

just anonymous said...

Even if you have a slight inkling of sexual abuse going on, please please please call it in to CPS! It's anonymous. I was sexually abused my entire childhood and I wonder how many ppl 'thought' like you but did nothing about it and I sufferred and remained in an abusive setting that many people had no idea about because people are good actors and other people tend to look the other way. Please help this girl if you honestly suspect something/anything going on. It would have made a world of difference for me.

mpp said...

You should tread very carefully here. I'm concerned that this is a home that you don't spend very much time in, so you really don't know what is going on.
But if you honestly think something is amiss, go to your Parents.

Anonymous said...

Lindalou, and Anon 12:29:
I don't think this babysitter's "feelings" should be discounted just because she is a teenager. She admitted she didn't know exacly "what" is behind the favoritism of the dad with the oldest daughter, but her observation and concern is worth mentioning to her mother, who might be able to help her figure out whether there's anything to be concerned about at all.
Creeps can be good actors. They come across as "really nice" in many situations. They fool alot of people while, at the same time, doing some really "not-so-nice" things to a child when no one is looking. That's what makes them creeps.
People need to stop looking the other way, need to stop discounting that "creepy" feeling they get from something a "really nice" person does that doesn't quite fit. As far as I know, the statistics on child sexual abuse are still 1-in-4 for girls, and 1-in-7 for boys (that only reflects the cases reported). We don't have to get hysterical, and jump to the conclusion that everyone's a pedaphile - But keeping our eyes, ears, and minds open to the signs, making ourselves accessible to a child we suspect might be in trouble, and being willing to call CPS to intervene when we're fairly certain a child is being hurt certainly could make a difference, as 6:09 pointed out.

Anonymous said...

Why are so many of you obsessed with molestation? The poor guy may just regret the younger kids. Maybe they have overbites or scabies or something like that. My youngest two are routinely treated differently since an unfortunate infestation of ringworms in the summer of 04. Maria has strict instructions to crush their dreams and NEVER let them on my furniture. Better rush a teenage babysitter over here to set me straight!

Anonymous said...

I wish someone "with a feeling" had spoken up when I was younger. No one said a word, ever. Would've made a world of difference. Mine It can't hurt to share with your mom, OP, never ever discount your gut feeling, but always be cautious with what you do with it. Talk to your mom.

Anonymous said...

In my twenty years as a nanny, I have observed that it isn't unusual for a parent to favor the first child, and not even be aware they are doing so.
It sounds like there may be more to this however. I agree with those who advise discussing this with your mom. If your gut feeling is correct, this girl needs help.

Anonymous said...

My Dad favored my daughter over his other Grand Kids, and there was nothing funny going on there.
It caused a lot of ill feelings with my other siblings but there isn't much you can do about it.
Gut level feelings like this babysitter has should be paid attention to but I would wait before I said anything about my feelings until you get to know the family better and spend more time there. If OP is a babysitter then the kids can't be too old because they still need a sitter. You cannot just call CPS because you have a "feeling" about something.
The oldest girl is probably his favorite. I was my Dads favorite and he always took my side and I always got whatever I wanted (within reason) lol.
My former BIL had this done to him. His daughter from a previous relationship got busted for truancy and drugs. She decided after listening to the others kids in her jail about how they were molested and beaten to say she "thinks she remembered her dad molesting her". Cops showed up and their life went to hell in a hand basket. When the kid learns what happened to her half sisters she then tells the truth. Then we find out the Mother told her to say it because her probation would be lighter. Another couple we knew in FL who was a private contractor like my husband had a guy give him 8k in bad checks and when he sued the guy ,he called FL CPS and they took the mans kids even tho there was no medical proof and the kids said nothing had ever happened like this. 3 years later they had lost the home, the business and had to move out of state and he is still in the DOJ for a lie. He got the kids back and sued FL and won but too little too late.
OP be very careful. Watch what goes on and be friendly with her and maybe if something is wrong she will tell you . discussing this with her parents and them repeating it to someone else can cause problems for this family.

Phoenix said...

It is not unusual for a parent to favor the first born. I was the 1st child and I was the favorite. My younger sister always got it worse by both my parents.

Anonymous said...

OP, I agree that it's important to trust your gut feelings, even though you don't have much to go on. I do think it would be premature at this point to call CPS, and you really DON'T want to risk ruining someone's life over completely false accusations, but it's probably worth mentioning to your mom. I'd also NOT mention it to your dad, as he is friends with this guy so would likely discount any such possibilities.

Hellcat said...

Since we're bragging about favorites...
My adopted parents had 5 kids, and then me. I was the favorite :D Shocking, I know. Most of their real kids hate me for it.

I do have to say, if you call CPS on a gut feeling even if they find nothing they may still ruin this family. They tend to do that here.

Anonymous said...

Always trust your instincts. Talking to your mom is not going to ruin the family. She is just going to help you look into this further.

Anonymous said...

Geeze, are we really going to listen to a snotty nose teenager?