Etiquette Hell

Etiquette School is in session! => "I'm afraid that won't be possible." => Topic started by: CrochetFanatic on June 16, 2013, 02:28:01 AM

Title: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: CrochetFanatic on June 16, 2013, 02:28:01 AM
This probably won't be an issue for some time, but knowing my extended family it eventually will be.  If the subject does come up, I know that there will be a ruckus no matter what I say, but I'm trying to figure out a way to run damage control.

Here's the issue: things have mostly been swept under the rug with my uncle and his family, and my mother is on speaking terms with them again.  Things are okay, but I stand by my decision to only interact with them when we happen to be getting together.  Recently, my mother agreed to watch my two little cousins, aged 3 and 1.  To say that the 3-year-old is busy is an understatement, and though I love the kids to death, I wasn't pleased that I got roped into being "hands-on" when it was my mother who had signed on for it.  The 3-year-old, who still isn't potty-trained, took off her wet pull-up and sat on the couch before I could stop her.  I was really out of my element there!  Babies I can handle, but the older one wore me out.  We discussed it after the kids went home, and she said she would respect my decision next time.  Yeah...we'll see.  ::)

Thing is, when their parents came to pick them up (an hour late, but we expected that), my uncle mentioned having the kids sleep over one of these nights.  This is a problem for several reasons.  One, we don't have a spare bedroom, and the 3-year-old won't obey.  Two, the dog and cats would be upset.  And three (because my grandmother once said, "Oh, she can stay in CrochetFanatic's room" the last time the subject came up), my room is a child-free zone.  I like my privacy, the bookcase is not anchored to the wall, and I've got all sorts of things that I don't want the kids messing with or breaking.  In short, an overnight stay is not gonna happen!

So, here's my question.  We're going to say no, because it really doesn't work for us, but I'm trying to think of a polite way to put it that will be less likely to start something, and doesn't involve JADEing.  I can see it now...

Me: My bookcase isn't anchored to the wall--
Them: Well, can't you just anchor it to the wall, then?

First of all, it's not my wall.  Second of all, I don't tell them what to do with their living space.  Would it be rude of me to say, "Sorry, I don't want them going in there."?  Please don't interpret this as my saying the kids aren't welcome.  They are, the just can't spend the night.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: Danika on June 16, 2013, 02:54:21 AM
Your best bet is to not JADE and to be firm. Your answers have to be vague so they don't try to give you a solution like "just anchor it to the wall, then."

You need to be a broken record. Answer the same way every time.

Aunt/Uncle: 3-year-old is excited to stay the night with you!
You: Sorry, that won't be possible.

Aunt/Uncle: What about next month then? Do you have plans then?
You: Sorry, that won't be possible.

Aunt/Uncle: But, surely, you don't have plans that far in advance. What weekend does work for you?
You: Sorry, that won't be possible.

Aunt/Uncle: Don't you like my 3-year-old?
You: Sorry, that won't be possible.

Aunt/Uncle: But I don't understand. I thought you adored her.
You: I do. It's still not possible.

Aunt/Uncle: But we want to have a romantic date night.
You: Sorry, that won't be possible.

Aunt/Uncle: Grandma said you were free to babysit Friday night.
You: She misspoke. Sorry, that won't be possible.

Grandma: Come on. Aunt and Uncle need a night away.
You: Sorry, that won't be possible. I'm sure there's a babysitter in their neighborhood.

Grandma: But I told them you'd do it. You told me you were staying in on Friday night.
You: Then you misunderstood. Sorry, that won't be possible. Now, you must tell Aunt and Uncle that you misspoke and I will not be watching the 3-year-old all night.

Grandma: But why can't you call them? I will not be telling them any such thing.
You: Sorry, that won't be possible. If there's a knock at the door Friday night, I will be unable to answer it.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: rashea on June 16, 2013, 05:58:16 AM
Once again, I think you're in a bit of a pickle. You live with your parents. So, in many ways you don't get a say. If Grandma wants the kids over, she can have them. But, you can choose to not be there. You can choose to tell your Mom that you will leave if they show up, and that she should never count on your help unless she clears it with you first.

I would think that if she wanted her grandkids to spend the night, she could have them use an air mattress (or even a crib still) in the living room.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: camlan on June 16, 2013, 07:40:29 AM
While I agree with Danika's approach--that you find one response and stick with it--it is a little harder to pull this off with family, for several reasons.

So I'd find a response that includes the fact that you aren't willing to take the kids overnight, but also adds in what you *are* willing to do. It will make it seem as if you are trying to work with them, instead of just throwing stone walls up in their faces.

"I'm sorry, we can't take the kids overnight. We can take them from 5 pm to 10 pm, if that helps."

"I'm sorry, it's just not possible to take the kids overnight here. But I can watch them overnight at your house." *

"I'm sorry, we can't watch the kids on weeknights past 8 pm. But we can take them on a weekend until 10 pm, if that works for you."

*Watching kids at their own house is, IMO, a lot easier than watching them where you live. A house with kids tends to be child-proofed, all their toys and games are there, and if you have to put them to bed, it's usually easier to do when you are putting them in their own bed and not a strange bed in a strange room. The fact that your belongings stay safely away from the kids is an added bonus.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: amylouky on June 16, 2013, 08:41:57 AM
1- Put a lock on your door, if possible. If not, make sure Mom/Grandma know that your room is off limits.
2- Make other plans for the evening, or plan to stay in your room.

I really don't think you can make the decision that overnights are not allowed. It's not your house, and  you're not the one agreeing to babysit. All you really have the right to control is what your involvement will be, and if you want that to be none then you have to make it so.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: CrochetFanatic on June 16, 2013, 09:14:58 AM
Sorry, I wasn't really clear.  I didn't decide that they wouldn't stay over, only that my room was off-limits.  I know it's not my house, which is why I haven't bolted my bookcase to my wall.  I ran it by my father, and after inspecting the bookcase he said it wasn't going anywhere, so we didn't need to bother with that.  I'm also not worried about them pulling a fast one and just showing up.  My uncle will persist with his questions, but he doesn't take the sneaky approach.  I was just looking for something to say when I'm confronted with, "Why can't they stay in your room with you?"  I don't do well with confrontations, and I was afraid of blurting out the wrong thing.

Thanks for the feedback!  I see a couple good ideas that I might end up using.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: NyaChan on June 16, 2013, 10:39:55 AM
"That won't be possible, you'll have to think of something else."
"I'm not comfortable with it, you'll have to think of something else."

Or really, since it is your parents who are arranging these visits with your uncle, why not just put it on them ahead of time? "Mom, Uncle said something about an overnight visit.  They won't be able to stay in my bedroom, so where are you planning on putting the kids?"

That way when your Uncle actually suggests them staying over, your family already knows where the kids are going and it will be a joint front.  Though I have to ask - if he is leaving the kids with you overnight, how will he even know where they sleep?
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: gramma dishes on June 16, 2013, 11:29:06 AM
CrochetFanatic  ~~  I'm a little confused about exactly who lives in your house.  Is it your parents' house or your Grandmother's?  Do all four of you live there?

Because I don't think the problem is with Uncle and his kids at all!  So far with what I've read, it sounds like this is something that needs to be addressed with your parents and perhaps the Grandmother, since she's the one offering your room out from under you.

Even though it isn't your house (and therefore you can be overridden on the subject of overnights), you are a full time resident (I presume) and as such you should have a right to privacy at least in your own room and you should be able to protect your stuff from a curious three year old.

I'd revisit the subject with all of the other adults you live with first.  Not about the overnight itself, but about your room and your expectations of privacy there.  And if you don't want to interact with the child, make sure your Mom knows that you won't be guilted into babysitting.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: LeveeWoman on June 16, 2013, 11:43:32 AM
I'd put a lock on my bedroom door.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: gramma dishes on June 16, 2013, 11:46:25 AM
I'd put a lock on my bedroom door.

I fully agree, but we aren't sure she'd be allowed to since it is technically not her house. 
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: MrTango on June 16, 2013, 12:03:20 PM
Aunt/Uncle: Grandma said you were free to babysit Friday night.
You: She misspoke. Sorry, that won't be possible.

Actually, for this example, my response would be "That's Grandma's problem, not mine."
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: Tierrainney on June 16, 2013, 12:25:50 PM
Switch your bedroom Door knob with a locking one, Keyed if you can get one of those. Swapping door knobs is neither permanent nor damaging to a home. This is one of the times I would do it first, then tell your parents about it, rather than asking permission.

Tell your parents it is non-negotiable that children are not allowed in your bedroom.

Yes, you live with your parents and thus have less flexibility than if it were your own home. But you don't have to be Voluntold for anything. I am very protective of my free time. If I was told, not asked, that I would be babysitting, for all hours of the day, at any time of the week or month, for any children, well behaved or not, It would bring out my "Big Angry Momma Bear" for myself. My room door would be locked, and I would either be inside that room relaxing, or I would be out of the house relaxing.

And, I actually like children and have lots of experience with them.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: CrochetFanatic on June 16, 2013, 05:01:07 PM
CrochetFanatic  ~~  I'm a little confused about exactly who lives in your house.  Is it your parents' house or your Grandmother's?  Do all four of you live there?

Because I don't think the problem is with Uncle and his kids at all!  So far with what I've read, it sounds like this is something that needs to be addressed with your parents and perhaps the Grandmother, since she's the one offering your room out from under you.

Even though it isn't your house (and therefore you can be overridden on the subject of overnights), you are a full time resident (I presume) and as such you should have a right to privacy at least in your own room and you should be able to protect your stuff from a curious three year old.

I'd revisit the subject with all of the other adults you live with first.  Not about the overnight itself, but about your room and your expectations of privacy there.  And if you don't want to interact with the child, make sure your Mom knows that you won't be guilted into babysitting.

In our house, it's my parents and my brother.  My grandmother lives with my uncle and his family.  There isn't really a problem now, but the last few times we gave a solid no to something it resulted in a huge fight.  We're all in agreement here.  No one minds having them for the day, be it here or over there, but an overnight stay wouldn't be comfortable.  Or, in the case of my bookshelf, safe.  So yeah, I keep my door locked while they're over.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: gramma dishes on June 16, 2013, 05:15:38 PM

In our house, it's my parents and my brother.  My grandmother lives with my uncle and his family.  There isn't really a problem now, but the last few times we gave a solid no to something it resulted in a huge fight.  We're all in agreement here.  No one minds having them for the day, be it here or over there, but an overnight stay wouldn't be comfortable.  Or, in the case of my bookshelf, safe.  So yeah, I keep my door locked while they're over.

Oh, okay.  I understand the situation better now.

It sounds like actually you have it all under wraps since all the people in your house are in agreement.   

And if Grandma decides to volunteer your babysitting services again in the future, you can tell her no, you have other plans.  Because you do!   Hopefully the rest of your household will back you up on this and it sounds like they will.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: kudeebee on June 16, 2013, 09:18:36 PM
I second getting a lock on your door if you don't already have one.

I also agree with being a broken record. "Sorry, it isn't possible." No explanations that they can argue with.

If they show up, do not let them in.  Greet them at the door and ask what they need.  When they say to have the kids stay, repeat "We told you it isn't possible. We can't have them overnight."  Then shut the door and do not answer if they knock again. 

If grandma gets mad, so be it.  "Grandma, we told them it wasn't possible.  If they thought we were kidding, that was their fault.  We mean what we say."
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: BeagleMommy on June 17, 2013, 09:14:30 AM
Since it is your parents who are supposed to be babysitting tell them "My door will be locked for the duration of the time the little ones are here.  I do not want them in there under any circumstances."

As far as them pawning the kids off on you, I would recommend saying that you will relieve your mom for an hour so she can have a break.  Otherwise, it's grandma's job.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: cwm on June 17, 2013, 12:52:30 PM
If you can sit with your parents and explain why it's not possible for you without having to JADE to them, maybe they can sit down with grandma/uncle and tell them. Sometimes when it's coming from a different generation, it makes a huge difference. It doesn't sound like they're too keen on the idea of an overnight stay either.

Otherwise, since when is it grandma's job to volunteer you and your parents to babysit the kids? Maybe it's just me, but if someone told my sister that child care was taken care of and then tried to pawn off her kid on someone else, even if it was family, there would be a huge problem. If it does become an issue, keep repeating to Uncle that it won't be possible. If he tells you that grandma already said you could, say that grandma does not, in fact, control your schedule and that it won't be possible.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: NyaChan on June 17, 2013, 01:46:04 PM
I know it isn't really relevant, but what are your uncle and aunt doing that they require childcare so often? It seems like they are near constantly unavailable to care for their own kids.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: hobish on June 17, 2013, 05:55:25 PM

So … Grandma lives with aunt and uncle, and is volunteering your room – in a completely different house where she doesn’t even live - for Aunt & Uncle’s kids to stay in? Do I have that right?
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: AnnaJ on June 21, 2013, 07:13:07 PM
I second getting a lock on your door if you don't already have one.

I also agree with being a broken record. "Sorry, it isn't possible." No explanations that they can argue with.

If they show up, do not let them in.  Greet them at the door and ask what they need.  When they say to have the kids stay, repeat "We told you it isn't possible. We can't have them overnight."  Then shut the door and do not answer if they knock again. 

If grandma gets mad, so be it.  "Grandma, we told them it wasn't possible.  If they thought we were kidding, that was their fault.  We mean what we say."

It's OP's parent's house and so it's up to them to decide who can come in their house.   That said, I'm glad the OP said her bedroom door locks.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: EllenS on June 26, 2013, 03:07:56 PM
OP, it sounds like you and your folks actually already have a polite spine.  I read your question as "how to stop people from getting mad and fighting with us when we say, "no".

Unfortunately, you can't.  Saying "no" is a perfectly acceptable and polite answer, but some people will choose to get mad anyway.  If you want to use pp's suggestions of offering alternatives that you *will* agree to, that is a good way to keep the conversation moving in a positive direction, or get back on track.  But if your relatives are going to blow up and cause a fight just because you won't do what they want, there is no special wording that will head it off.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: JenJay on June 26, 2013, 03:45:59 PM
Sorry, I wasn't really clear.  I didn't decide that they wouldn't stay over, only that my room was off-limits.  I know it's not my house, which is why I haven't bolted my bookcase to my wall.  I ran it by my father, and after inspecting the bookcase he said it wasn't going anywhere, so we didn't need to bother with that.  I'm also not worried about them pulling a fast one and just showing up.  My uncle will persist with his questions, but he doesn't take the sneaky approach.  I was just looking for something to say when I'm confronted with, "Why can't they stay in your room with you?" I don't do well with confrontations, and I was afraid of blurting out the wrong thing.

Thanks for the feedback!  I see a couple good ideas that I might end up using.

Re the bolded - I'd say "Because it isn't childproofed and won't be anytime soon, since I don't have a child." I adore my kids but there's no way I would have had them in my bed before they were fully, dependably potty trained. Their beds had waterproof mattress covers, mine does not.  ;)
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: EllenS on June 26, 2013, 03:51:36 PM
Why cant' they stay in your room with you?
It is not safe.
I am not comforable with it.
My parents and I have talked it over and decided that is not going to work for us.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: Twik on June 27, 2013, 12:19:46 PM
Teach them a valuable phrase to use with growing children.

"Why can't they stay in your room?"

"Because I said so, that's why."
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: SlitherHiss on August 01, 2013, 11:17:08 AM
I guess this really all depends on what your parents do or do not agree to, as the homeowners. I mean, you can arrange to be out of the house or refuse to babysit, but you don't seem to be in a position of power when it comes to actually barring these kids from the house.

If your parents agree, a locking doorknob might be a very good idea for your room.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: CrochetFanatic on August 02, 2013, 04:43:39 AM
Thanks a lot.  :)  I guess it's true that I was looking for a way to say no without ticking people off.  It's hard to break old habits.  Thanks for all the input.  I now have a lot of good ideas to fall back on!  The subject hasn't come up, and I hope it won't.  If it does, I think I'll know what to say and I'll be comfortable saying it.  I really appreciate the help!
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: DavidH on September 10, 2013, 02:13:51 PM
I know it's common to say there is no need to JADE, but in my experience, the surest way to annoy the person is to say no, and when they ask why say some version of because I said no without giving a reason. 

Here, you can give a number of legitimate reasons.  For example, your room isn't childproof, there are numerous breakable objects that might hurt a toddler, and perhaps most importantly, she isn't potty trained, e.g. taking off her wet pull up and sitting bare bottomed on the couch.  Suggesting an alternative might help, for example, how about her sleeping on the sofa in the lounge or in your parent's bed if they want her to spend the night. 

If they argued, snarky me would say that if she has an accident in my bed, I will visit the parent's home and have a similar one in their bed, but that is almost certainly rude. 
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: Luci on September 10, 2013, 05:24:36 PM
I know it's common to say there is no need to JADE, but in my experience, the surest way to annoy the person is to say no, and when they ask why say some version of because I said no without giving a reason. 

Here, you can give a number of legitimate reasons.  For example, your room isn't childproof, there are numerous breakable objects that might hurt a toddler, and perhaps most importantly, she isn't potty trained, e.g. taking off her wet pull up and sitting bare bottomed on the couch.  Suggesting an alternative might help, for example, how about her sleeping on the sofa in the lounge or in your parent's bed if they want her to spend the night. 

If they argued, snarky me would say that if she has an accident in my bed, I will visit the parent's home and have a similar one in their bed, but that is almost certainly rude.

I found that if I JADE when talking to anyone, it simply trains them to argue against my refusals and expect to go through the whole rounds of discussions for everything.

People know I won't give explanations now, so don't try it. I almost kicked my husband when he told his family that we had a wedding and graduation from my side of the family long since planned, so I wouldn't attend the shower. I did get by the next one without being querried, though, so all is good. I thought 45 years of habits had gone down the drain.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: MrTango on September 10, 2013, 05:30:49 PM
With a reasonable person, giving a reason for your decision to say "no" to their request is a way of softening the blow.

The reason people here frequently advise against JADE-ing is because some people (unreasonable, entitled, gimmie-pigs, etc) will use any reason/excuse given as a crack in your resolve.  They think that if they can counter your reasons, that you'll eventually crumble.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: DavidH on September 10, 2013, 06:45:00 PM
Mr. Tango, I think we agree. 

I don't think you need to go multiple rounds with someone, but a brief explanation can a be very helpful.  Even Luci45's example, saying only no I won't attend the shower could be seen as anything from I'd rather pull out my fingernails than spend time with you to I have prior plans I cannot change but really wish I could have been there.  Stating she had a graduation and wedding to attend is going to make the refusal more understandable. 
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: PastryGoddess on September 10, 2013, 06:59:34 PM
I know it's common to say there is no need to JADE, but in my experience, the surest way to annoy the person is to say no, and when they ask why say some version of because I said no without giving a reason.   

Here's the thing though...if they are annoyed, that's their problem.  I try my best not to be rude when refusing to do something.  However, I do not take responsibility for someone else's feelings.  If someone says that my response hurt their feelings, I can apologize.  But I cannot stop them from feeling whatever they are feeling at the moment.  I can only try to sincerely mitigate any harm I may have done.

As an adult I am no longer accountable to anyone but myself, the people that pay me to be in a certain place/available at a certain time, and the people I've made a promise to be in a certain place/available at a certain time. 

There are ways to soften the blow of NO without giving reasons for it.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: Luci on September 10, 2013, 07:37:12 PM
Well, it's not that bad! I usually say that I am unable to attend, just don't give the reasons.

They also know that we graciously host 2/3 of the family gettogethers (linen and china at Thanksgiving for 40) where we do all of the major serving, and we are always there for emergencies. They also know that I don't push for reasons if they refuse us. Oftimes someone will ask why someone else isn't coming and I just say I don't remember, because I don't remember. It goes in one ear and out the other.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: Tea Drinker on September 10, 2013, 08:43:14 PM
A reasonable person is going to accept "she has a graduation and a wedding to go to." An unreasonable one is going, next time, to say "but she skipped Sue's shower for those things for her family, she has to come to Livia's!" and/or try to find ways that the person could go to the shower as well as the pre-existing events.

With reasonable people, I say things like "I'd love to, but I'm busy, maybe next time" or "I'm sorry, I can't come to that, but are you free for dinner sometime soon?" (if it's someone I actually want to see). But not everyone is reasonable; most of the people posting here have an idea, by now, of which of their relatives, friends, or acquaintances will take "sorry, I can't" as the opening statement in a negotiation of how you are, really, no matter what, going to do what they asked for.
Title: Re: No, They Can't Spend The Night
Post by: MissRose on October 16, 2013, 08:59:47 AM
I remember being "voluntold" when I had to live with my parents for a short time as an adult to do certain things and act a certain way (mainly by my mother).  At times, being told to watch my young niece and nephew for long periods of time then being criticized for how I handled the kids under her roof.   

The other time was when my grandmother came for a few days visit to see her family in the area after being dropped off my by my aunt & uncle.  I was told that I had to give up my room that also had my computer in it for the stay (and was not allowed much time to use it), get my daily clothes and place them in my sister's old room, get up and go to bed at certain times (even if I had a late work shift, my mother wanted me to go to bed immediately after getting home), etc.  Telling them it was not possible I was not given that choice.