I enjoy most children, but am not a parent and don’t know how to handle some situations.
My friend “Ruth” is friendly with an 11-year-old neighbor girl “Helen”. The girl and her siblings are being raised by their elderly and rather dotty grandmother. The family is very poor. I had some nice toys from when my niece was younger, and I told Ruth I would bring them over so that she could give them to the family.
When I arrived at Ruth’s house, four children descended on my car. Ruth had not told me that the children were there. The pack included Helen, her younger sister, and Ruth’s grandchildren. Apparently Ruth had told the kids I was arriving with gifts, and they were in a frenzy of greed. As soon as I opened the car door, Helen grabbed a large toy from the box and announced, “I want this”. The other children then started grabbing toys from the box.
I managed to make it into the house with a few items still left in the box. The children kept yelling, “What else?” and Helen asked what I’d brought for her siblings who were at home.
Other than the greediness, the children were sweet and well-behaved. They didn’t fight over the toys, they thanked me profusely, and I even got a few hugs. But honestly, I felt like a wounded deer surrounded by a pack of hungry hyenas.
- Was it rude of Ruth to not warn me that the children would be there?
- Was it rude of Ruth to get the children all worked up about me coming with toys? (Note that the toys were not intended for her grandkids, who wound up with toys that otherwise would have gone to the needy kids.)
- Did I have a responsibility to not reward the children’s greedy behavior? If so, how could I have done this?
- How could I have politely prevented Ruth's grandkids from taking the toys that should have gone to the needy children?