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Author Topic: Babysitting defience  (Read 13999 times)

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Re: Babysitting defience
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2013, 06:15:59 AM »
He's been doing what children often do when left with sitters, pushing the boundaries to see how far he can go, but you stayed firm (hooray) and he didn't get away with it. Who knows, if you did take him again he might well not try it on, knowing what happened last time. But personally, I wouldn't offer to do so, on the grounds that inviteseller posted.


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Re: Babysitting defience
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2013, 07:30:14 AM »
Wow, this takes me back to my time as a nanny. Not that the kids I watched were little terrors, but the question of rules and how to enforce them.

I knew instinctively, even when I started taking my babysitter training course as a tween, that kids would go as far as you let them. I knew not to escalate, and to meet anger and boundary-pushing with calm-but-firm consequences.

When I watched a child, my first question to their parent after getting emergency phone numbers was "What are the rules and what happens if they break them?" I developed a rep among the parents as the 'fun' sitter who the children loved to play with...while among the children I was known as the 'strict' sitter who was even harder to mess with than their parents - and both reps were completely true. >:D

If I don't get any guidance from a parent, then it becomes a "I'm-in-charge-so-we-go-by-my-rules" situation. Misbehavior means lost privileges. If a child wants to do X, they must do Y first (i.e. say 'please' if they want something, or eat their vegetable before they can have dessert). Isolation, however temporary, is a very powerful tool. Consequences, consequences, consequences.

I remember when I got push-back about rules from kids, it always helped to offer to call their parents and clarify. If I didn't choose to allow them to do it, kids that were fond of playing the "my Mom always lets me" card got told "Well then you can ask her when she picks you up." >:D

Totally agree with Softly Spoken here. I have a rep as a 'fun' parent with my kid's friends but I've heard on more than one occasion that I'm 'scary'.

When I'm watching my friends' little kids, one is a nightmare. It's very rare I watch her because this little girl figured out quick I can't be manipulated. So she doesn't like to come to my house unless she really wants to spend time with my kids (who are really good with little ones). When I do watch her she would spend her first 15-30 minutes with her nose in the corner, depending on how stubborn she felt like being, then she'd behave. She would come in like a tidal wave: yelling, stomping, kicking, spitting (this is, of course, after the innocent crying jag while her mom was leaving).

It's a shame about that kid Snowdragon. By the fact he was put in your care with no instructions for discipline + that level of misbehavior means there is no discipline at home. His future will not be bright.


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Re: Babysitting defience
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2013, 08:59:10 AM »
I only watched these kids once, because there regular sitter was not available, but the following happened to me, and I learned a lot from it.

There were 2 boys, pretty close in age, once was more of a wallflower, the other a little more boisterous, but they were both good kids.
The morning I watched these 2, LMB, took a bowl of leftover popcorn, poured salt on it, some pepper, some other things, and I just watched him, I never said anything.

He finally says, aren't you going to yell at me?

I replied back, no, why would I do that?

He then proceeds to clean up the mess he just made without even being asked.

Of all the kids I ever watched, I had one little nightmare child. He lived across the street from me, and until I watched him I had no idea how little discipline he had. The first time I watched him I limited him on sweets and treats, when he asked, made sure he ate lunch, etc. The next, and last time I watched him, his mother told me he could eat whatever snack he wanted. Who am I to go against what mom said, especially when the kid is right there. He ate an entire box of ice cream sandwiches, and because of what his mother told me, in front of him, I could not say no.


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Re: Babysitting defience
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2013, 10:55:28 AM »
Would anyone object if I started a thread in Off-Topic for Tales of the Babysitting Variety?  I can see we all have some common experiences!

OP - I totally back you on not sitting for this child again.  As for future, "better" ways of handling it?  I think everyone has covered the "ask up front" aspect of touching base with parents, even if you know them in other settings, but I actually think you did very well in sticking to boundaries and not allowing yourself to be provoked into an unpleasant reaction.
"We ate the pies."


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Re: Babysitting defience
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2013, 11:36:09 AM »
I think that the "how to handle discipline issues" should be an automatic thing for parents as well as babysitters.


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Re: Babysitting defience
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2013, 12:16:22 PM »
 ::) - can you add ex's to that?
In search of a tag line


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Re: Babysitting defience
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2013, 12:27:16 PM »
At 8 or 9, he is old enough to be spoken to like a reasonable person.

"Look, the way you are acting is not going to work with me.  Your mom left me in charge, so that means I make the decisions.  If you listen to me and treat me with respect,  we can have fun. But if you keep on doing x, y, and z, I am going to have to treat you like a little toddler, and that means I just ignore everything you say and make sure you are safe until your mom comes to get you.  Is that how you want this to go?"


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Re: Babysitting defience
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2013, 12:35:42 PM »
I agree with the suggestion to ask the parents how they would like discipline handled should it become necessary.  As for the time out thing, when my kids were smaller I carried a "time out mat", so no matter where we were, I could lay out the mat and there they would sit for however long they needed to calm down. It was actually just an inexpensive, small bath mat in a color that I didn't use at home, but it was easy to fold up and carry in my car or diaper bag.
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)


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Re: Babysitting defience
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2013, 02:27:32 PM »
I would add a caveat - don't try to introduce any method of discipline, such as a time-out, that a child has not been used to at home.  Some personality types will just escalate, and you wouldn't want to, for example, engage in a physical wrestling match to make a 9 year old sit in time-out if he is just going to get up and run away.

Whatever you do, make sure it is something you have permission, ability, and committment to follow through with 100%, without it becoming unreasonable in proportion to the behavior.  For example, if a kid ate in my car after being instructed not to, I would pull over and throw his food away, then make him vacuum the car.  This is not unreasonable or disproportionate. Otherwise a truly defiant kid will "call your bluff" and push you beyond the zone of a sane and measured response. 

Most parents and other authority figures who fail to discipline, do so because they do not know what to do other than "nothing" or "going nuclear".  So anything that is not worth going nuclear, gets nothing.  You need a wide range of middle ground, and don't be afraid to take your time and think over your response.


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Re: Babysitting defience
« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2013, 08:46:50 PM »
Two lessons I've learned over the years are:

1. Ask what sorts of misbehaviors I might expect and how the parents expect me to handle them.
2. If the parents just stare at me blankly when I ask them for discipline techniques or or tell me that they don't believe in discipline or -- my personal favorite -- that they don't believe in saying "no" to children as "discipline dampens a child's natural instincts" [yeah, that's the point], then I will decline to babysit them. In other words, my agreement to babysit is contingent upon parents exercising discipline in their regular lives. Experience has taught me that parents who exercise no discipline at home have children with whom I do not want to spend one unnecessary second and certainly do not want in my care or in my home/car.


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Re: Babysitting defience
« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2013, 09:24:24 PM »
Off-topic but what does "PT" stand for?

Thanks, I was just going to ask too!  I am terrible with figuring out abbreviations.

Physical therapist.

Thanks for all the advice folks.  It helps a lot.


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Re: Babysitting defience
« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2013, 02:52:27 PM »
People have given excellent advice.  I just thought I would add that I think you now know whey she was so desperate to find a sitter.  >:D
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss