Author Topic: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK  (Read 7153 times)

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katycoo

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Can you host it somewhere outside - in the backyard or a nearby park?

bigfun

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We have tried to enforce all of Hmmmmm's suggestions and they didn't work. 8 year old nephew ran, I gently restrained him and explained about no running and he didn't acknowledge me. SIL said "here, I'll get him" and then no follow-up. Nothing happened. Like I said, they don't get it. All 3 of us were uncomfortable after this.

Eden, the point of the balcony anecdote is lots of times there are some opinions, some are listened to and others are ignored. DH and I tried to establish the "buddy rule" on the balcony as a way to appease my MIL (the guest of honor) and it was disregarded. If SIL OKs a behavior, that's up to her, but she doesn't make a judgement call for every little thing they may or may not get into. Just as often there are no opinions and kids go running, and nobody says anything or chases them down.

We tried the brunch, it didn't work, it's time to move on. We will just host at a restaurant and work something out with the server that food is on us, but drinkers can start their own tab to keep our costs down. Thank you guys for the help!

Hmmmmm

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We have tried to enforce all of Hmmmmm's suggestions and they didn't work. 8 year old nephew ran, I gently restrained him and explained about no running and he didn't acknowledge me. SIL said "here, I'll get him" and then no follow-up. Nothing happened. Like I said, they don't get it. All 3 of us were uncomfortable after this.

Eden, the point of the balcony anecdote is lots of times there are some opinions, some are listened to and others are ignored. DH and I tried to establish the "buddy rule" on the balcony as a way to appease my MIL (the guest of honor) and it was disregarded. If SIL OKs a behavior, that's up to her, but she doesn't make a judgement call for every little thing they may or may not get into. Just as often there are no opinions and kids go running, and nobody says anything or chases them down.

We tried the brunch, it didn't work, it's time to move on. We will just host at a restaurant and work something out with the server that food is on us, but drinkers can start their own tab to keep our costs down. Thank you guys for the help!

I think it's probably best. When dealing with kids you have to constantly tell them over and over and stay on top of them.  On Sunday I Had to tell my 3 yr old niece 3 times to not throw leaves into the pool. After the third time I picked her up and delivered a screaming child to her father. He kept her inside for about 10 minutes. She came back outside, looked straight at me and picked up more leaves. I told her if she threw them she wouldn't be allowed in my back yard for the rest of the day. She decided it best to put them back down. I went in a little later and DH caught her immediately starting with throwing stuff in the pool. He carried her in and delivered her screaming to her mom with instructions that she wasn't allowed outside for the rest of the afternoon.

Even though other adults were outside, they didn't see an issue with leaves being thrown into the pool because they aren't the ones cleaning it. It didn't dawn on any of them stop her. DH and I know there are certain rules that we have to monitor when kids are visiting.

Rusty

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To Hmmmm, I'd be more concerned about the 3yo possibly falling in the pool, than worrying about a few leaves.  Are you saying that a 3yo was left outside alone with an uncovered or unfenced swimming pool.  Perhaps next time that happens you could draw  the parents attention to the amount of deaths each year of toddlers and children in unsupervised backyard pools.

TootsNYC

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Our building does have a party room, but it would be a lot of trouble to bring food down for only 7-8 folks and then we'd be back to square one, because they'd be running around a different room that I'd have to clean up and be liable for.

Other venues could include a restaurant with a patio or playground, but then it would cost more for me to host. A good idea though, and maybe the best option.

SIL lives 40 minutes away and I actually work later that day on the other side of town so driving there won't be an option for me.

My home doesn't have a lot of breakables, but a lot of issues I'd never think would come up. Like my nephew turns on a reading light for no reason and this light has a temperamental bulb that falls out sometimes, stuff like that. These kids cannot play by themselves.

To demonstrate the lack of "meeting of the minds", this is what happened in the past with our 19th floor balcony:

Nephew 1: "Can I go out there?"
Grandma: "No, that makes me nervous..."
SIL: "Well, it's OK..."
DH: "What if we had a buddy system where you have to hold an adult's hand?"
Everyone: "Good idea!"
--Kid goes out without holding a hand--
Me: "What about the buddy system?"
SIL: "It's OK, Grandpa's there..."

YOU need to decide. And speak up. And say a rule. Your house rule.

Children may not be on the balcony until they are old enough to drive. Period. Sorry, SIL, bu that's my house rule. No, I'm sorry, but it doesn't matter if YOU don't mind. *I* mind, and it's my house rule.

I also tend to speak directly to the kids. "Please don't get your shoes on the sofa. It can get marks on it, and I cannot put it in the washing machine because it won't fit."

"I don't allow people to have food in the living room until they are old enough to get their driver's license. You'll have to eat in here. Or I'll take the food away, I'm sorry. No, SIL and MIL, this is my house rule to protect my own belongings. Junior can sit here at the dining room table."

But it sounds like the kids are also bored out of their minds.

Rusty

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I agree with TootsNYC that the kids are bored.  2 hours sitting at a table is unrealistic for a 4yo. 

However you do need to reinforce the houserules suitable for you.  No balcony, no office, no bedroom. 

I think its time though to move the gathering to a different venue.   I've seen the most houseproud people do a complete 360degree when their own little darlings come along and suddenly anything goes.

If the childrens behaviour worries you then you are the one who needs to be proactive.  Either enforces rules (kindly) or choose an alternative venue.  As it stands I doubt you will get any backup from either the parents or the grandparents.



bigfun

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I appreciate the concern for the kids' boredom, but we never sat at the table for more than 15 minutes. We have bent over backwards playing Wii with these kids, taking them outside, providing coloring books when they were younger - it's just not enough. We can't be full-time babysitters and provide food and drink while the parents are grandparents do nothing. If the toys or activities we provided aren't entertaining for them, then their parents need to bring an alternative and hold their attention to it to make sure they don't use the apartment as a "toy". I'm not that insensitive of a host!

The main problem, as was pointed out, is the lack of back-up when trying to enforce any rule at all. My only dilemma now is how to explain the change in venue, which previous posters have explained just saying "it's better for the kids and everyone to be able to spread out". Thanks y'all!

doodlemor

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You are wise to move the brunch out of your apartment, bigfun.  It sounds like these children are quite unaccustomed to following directions, and respecting adults.

8 year old nephew ran, I gently restrained him and explained about no running and he didn't acknowledge me.

This is pretty classic behavior for kids who aren't taught to follow rules.  I suspect that he didn't look at you, either, when you spoke to him.

Your home, your rules.  You are very generous for putting up with this as long as you have.

delabela

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I appreciate the concern for the kids' boredom, but we never sat at the table for more than 15 minutes. We have bent over backwards playing Wii with these kids, taking them outside, providing coloring books when they were younger - it's just not enough. We can't be full-time babysitters and provide food and drink while the parents are grandparents do nothing. If the toys or activities we provided aren't entertaining for them, then their parents need to bring an alternative and hold their attention to it to make sure they don't use the apartment as a "toy". I'm not that insensitive of a host!

The main problem, as was pointed out, is the lack of back-up when trying to enforce any rule at all. My only dilemma now is how to explain the change in venue, which previous posters have explained just saying "it's better for the kids and everyone to be able to spread out". Thanks y'all!

Well, and you can always use having to work later in the day as a reason to move it - you might not have time to clean/set up/take down/etc. 

I'm a parent and I would be uncomfortable with the behavior you describe, particularly your SIL not addressing it - in my family, if the house rules are more strict than my 'normal' rules, we go by the house rules. 

AnnaJ

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To Hmmmm, I'd be more concerned about the 3yo possibly falling in the pool, than worrying about a few leaves.  Are you saying that a 3yo was left outside alone with an uncovered or unfenced swimming pool.  Perhaps next time that happens you could draw  the parents attention to the amount of deaths each year of toddlers and children in unsupervised backyard pools.

There were obviously adults there - the OP, her husband, and presumable other people who were watching the child throwing things into the pool, so I can understand the concern about what the child was doing rather than the fact she was near the pool.

Craftymom

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Let's set aside the getting into things indoors and running for a moment...

Did I read that clearly? 19 floors up?! :o
I cannot honestly believe that any parent would not fully support the "buddy system" that OP and her DH tried to set up.

I would change the venue immediately, if not sooner OP.  Kids that young, active and not used to following directions are likely to get outside unsupervised and potentially fall. To me, it would be worth the added cost financially to not have to worry about one or the other of my unruly nephews taking a header off the balcony. Until they are at a more settled, mature age, I would not hold ANY family visits/celebrations at my home (where that part of the family would expect to attend). Until, perhaps 10-12 years down the road...

gramma dishes

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Let's set aside the getting into things indoors and running for a moment...

Did I read that clearly? 19 floors up?! :o
I cannot honestly believe that any parent would not fully support the "buddy system" that OP and her DH tried to set up.

I would change the venue immediately, if not sooner OP.  Kids that young, active and not used to following directions are likely to get outside unsupervised and potentially fall. To me, it would be worth the added cost financially to not have to worry about one or the other of my unruly nephews taking a header off the balcony. Until they are at a more settled, mature age, I would not hold ANY family visits/celebrations at my home (where that part of the family would expect to attend). Until, perhaps 10-12 years down the road...

Yes.  I totally agree with this.  I've been out on balconies lower than that and have been terrified to even look down.  Unless it is totally surrounded by full height plexiglass or something, I would NEVER EVER IN A MILLION YEARS allow a child out there and I wouldn't care one bit that his own mother didn't mind. I'd mind. 

BarensMom

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I was wondering when someone would notice that the balcony is 19 floors up. 

It's too bad that when SIL said "it's okay" to the kid being on the balcony, you didn't say, "Okay, then please sign this waiver."

TurtleDove

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I am not grasping why the balcony being 19 floors up makes it more dangerous.  Either the balcony is safe, or it isn't. I wouldn't let anyone out on an unsafe balcony, and I don't understand why this particular balcony is unsafe for people not holding hands?

Craftymom

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The balcony itself is probably perfectly safe, for normal, responsible people...

It is adding 2 fast-moving children who appear to not have any sense of boundaries, nor any effective parental supervision that renders it unsafe.

All it would take is one or both to slip out there and any youthful miscalculation/roughhousing/dare and there is a kid over the side.

For me, the ONLY way I would continue to allow this part of the family to visit is if I installed a deadbolt on the patio door (if possible to do so). This is dependent on whether the door is a standard type door or a slider door. You would then install the deadbolt in reverse, so that a key is required to go out, (as concerns over having thefts due to the twisty part being outside are pretty negated being so high up) then just not produce the key to/for those visitors.

You can tell them if asked, that you just aren't comfortable having people out there. If they don't like it, they don't have to come over.