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TJ Friend's Kids' behaviour

TheCaterpillar posted 2/6/2019 15:07 PM


I didn't want to TJ the other thread about the behaviour of other people's children but as a childless woman whose friends have kids I was wondering if you could help me with a particular scenario. I don't want to offend the adults in question or overstep boundaries so input from parents would definitely be welcome

Friends often have us over just to hang out and we usually go to C & N's house as they have two kids and this means they don't need to find a sitter. Usually Boy (5) and Girl (8 but has learning difficulties and acts younger) are usually in bed if we go around dinner time or are off playing if we're there in the afternoon and will entertain themselves. Most people in the group smoke (some smoke cigarettes, others will occasionally smoke weed) so we alwasy have to sit in the garage so they can chain smoke. Since I don't smoke either I'm not wild about sitting in a cold grotty garage but it's not my house and to be frank, it's nice to just be with people.

Well on a couple of instances they've come here and (as usual) we sit in the garage as this is a smokefree home. What bothers me is on a couple of occassions they've had the kids with them, which in itself is not a problem, but there's no "kid stuff" here except to stick on some Disney movie on Netflix. Everyone immediately buggers off to the garage and I go too, but the kids are left. How do I politely suggest that one of them minds their kids? On a couple of occassions things have ended up broken, not out of bad behaviour or maliciousness but simply the fact that little kids left unattended will get bored of tv. In future I want them to either be checking on their kids or bring some toys or whatever to keep them entertained. I did wonder about buying cheap colouring books and crayons but they're my only friends with kids and I kinda feel like it's not my duty since they just dropped by because they were in town. If I'd planned the invite in advance I would have had a chance to "child proof" the place but surely it's not on me to always have kiddy toys to hand or have the place set up to cater for kids just in case.

Am I being mean? Should I say something to the parents or not? I really don't want to offend them or make them feel that they can't drop by. I'm happy to have the kids here but I don't think it's fair on the kids for them to be bored and it's not fair on me to feel like I have to baby sit the kids.

devotedman posted 2/6/2019 15:50 PM

I would be very uncomfortable leaving someone else's children unattended in my house. If the kids get hurt, who do you think is going to pay for it? You are.

In future I'd make it quite clear to the parents that the kids are not to be Left alone in the house. That's a liability nightmare waiting to happen.

Holly-Isis posted 2/6/2019 16:12 PM

As a parent, I think their (the parents) behavior is problematic. Those kids are too young to be unsupervised for an extended period in a kid-free home.

I'm not sure how sensitive they are, so I'm kind of at a loss as to how to approach them. My first thought was to ask them if they could possibly have some toys that are "visiting toys only".

For instance, one of my friends had a collection of fast food toys. She kept them in a bag in her car. The kids could only play with them when they were out and about. Besides not caring if a toy got lost (how brilliant was that), she said they didn't get bored with the toys as quickly.

TheCaterpillar posted 2/6/2019 19:44 PM

I didn't even think of the liability/legal side. They do drop in and check but on one visit Girl were playing on my electric piano (which WH told her she could, Boy was at his bio mom's so she was alone). She went to pick up the headphones, I told her no, you don't need them see and showed her the volume if she wanted to get louder etc. THe following week I realised my headphones were snapped (I rarely use them so hadn't thought to check).

On another visit one of them (pretty sure BOy) poured an entire tub of turtle treats into the tank. That one was on WH, he fed the turtle when they arrived so they could watch him eat. WHen i came back in the room I saw them looking at the jar. I said no, he's been fed, he doesn't need more and put the jar on the bookshelf. Well when they were getting ready to leave I noticed something floating on the surface...someone had poured in the whole container. C and N were mortified, very apologetic and offered to pay for the food (as I was scooping out the food with a net so turtle didn't gorge). THey didn't drop by with the kids for ages after that one.

Truth is I lose track of how long we've been out there, but then again, I'M NOT A MUM! I shouldn't have to be watching the clock and checking on them.

I don't want them to feel kiddos can't come round, they're good kids. They just lost their grandma (who they lived with and was a second mum to them) so I want them to know that they and their parents have lots of friends around. But I resent the idea that if they do come over I'm gonna be the babysitter without being able to visit with them. I know they want a break from their kids too but then actively ask me to babysit them and give me time to prepare (aeither at their house where they have their own stuff and are settled or else bring their stuff here)

Maybe I need to be braver and say "shall WE go see what the kids are up to" and move things inside. SOrry but there's no need to be chain smoking while we chat. I know it's not ok to judge smokers but it's not a habit I enjoy being around

Sorry. I needed to vent a bit.

[This message edited by TheCaterpillar at 7:47 PM, February 6th (Wednesday)]

ibonnie posted 2/6/2019 20:13 PM

Maybe I need to be braver and say "shall WE go see what the kids are up to" and move things inside. SOrry but there's no need to be chain smoking while we chat. I know it's not ok to judge smokers but it's not a habit I enjoy being around

So... trying not to generalize too much, and yes, you could say this about a lot of things (there are two types of parents in the world -- those that breastfeed and those that formula feed; those that use cloth diapers and those that use disposables; etc.) BUT, in my 9+ years of being a parent, there are definitely two types of parents in the world. Those that keep and eye on their kids, and those that don't, because they'd rather have a good time.

I'm not talking about free range parents that let their kids walk to school on their own or go to the playground, that genuinely believe in teaching their youngins to be self-sufficient from an early age.

I'm talking about the parents that would rather be getting nicely buzzed (aka drunk) at a cookout while they have no clue where their little kids are in your house. The parents that try to justify having their kid's with them at an adult NYE party until 1am, meanwhile they're not paying attention to their overtired kids bouncing off the wall at all.

In my experience, you're not going to get far saying anything. Be prepared for them to pooh-pooh your concerns (but our kids are so well behaved! It was one mistake with the turtle food!), blatantly disregard them ("we'll keep a better eye next time," meanwhile nothing will change), OR (in my case what usually happens) they'll be more than happy for you to be popping into the house to check on their kids, or for you to buy them some special little toys or games to play with.

[This message edited by ibonnie at 8:15 PM, February 6th (Wednesday)]

pureheartkit posted 2/7/2019 00:41 AM

Double post

[This message edited by pureheartkit at 12:58 AM, February 7th (Thursday)]

pureheartkit posted 2/7/2019 00:55 AM

I'd leave them to their smoking and go inside and teach the kids something or play some games. Kids are great and love it when someone shows interest in them. Saves your stuff, they get attention, you get to see the world from their eyes. It's a problem that they don't listen about the turtle food or the headphones. That's a shame they are making a bad impression so early.

Kids know when they are being dumped in front of a tv. I remember hating that as a kid. I'd rather walk outside and collect rocks or even do chores like rake leaves or sweep or dust or anything. Sometimes I would ask for a book to look at or ask for a deck of cards. Most homes have cards. We played 8s or Uno if it was available. Intelligent kids get bored of tv fast and will be looking around at everything new in their surroundings. Parents should provide something they like to do. Still, a new space is a curiosity. We read books on visits or colored pictures.

8 year old girl can do crafts or self guided activities. 5 year olds need direction and attention. They can run into things or fall if they are not careful or horsing around unsupervised.

Bobbi_sue posted 2/7/2019 05:17 AM

I think in your shoes, I'd take it inside, where everyone can keep on eye on the kids (but in your house you know you will be more concerned than anybody else including the parents). I would absolutely tell the smokers they will need to take their smoke breaks outside.

I have found that most smokers are used to having to go outside and probably going with fewer cigs when they are socializing with non-smokers. I would not take a big deal about the kids. I'd just announce "We are going to be inside, but if you need a smoke break you will have to go out for that."

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