Author Topic: If/when to tell my inlaws: your not supervising your kids in our home is not OK  (Read 6321 times)

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bigfun

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OP here. Grandpa uses the balcony to smoke, so it was definitely not off limits. Did I have an essay prepared on why the balcony isn't ok for kids? No, we decided to handle things as they came up. Unfortunately it took us 5 years to realize that common sense was thin on the ground.

Kids on the balcony in theory didn't upset me as much as the fact that we couldn't get a clear consensus from the powers that be on how to handle it. The balcony parable is indicative of MIL and SIL's dynamic and inability to make a judgement call. There are so many variables with kids that I never could have imagined, that without a clear and authoritative point of view, it just became not worth it for my nerves alone not to mention my liability.

bopper

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Kids run around because they are bored.  Can you give them something else to do?  Watch a video? Coloring books (with those Crayola Wonder no mess markers, perhaps)? Bubbles?

As far as the balcony, lock it.  Tell grandpa if he is out there smoking, he is in charge of any kids out there. Otherwise he needs to lock the balcony.  Tell the parents that grandpa is in charge of supervising the balcony and if they aren't comfortable with that, then they need to keep their kids off it or supervise themselves. 

TootsNYC

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OP here. Grandpa uses the balcony to smoke, so it was definitely not off limits. Did I have an essay prepared on why the balcony isn't ok for kids? No, we decided to handle things as they came up. Unfortunately it took us 5 years to realize that common sense was thin on the ground.

Kids on the balcony in theory didn't upset me as much as the fact that we couldn't get a clear consensus from the powers that be on how to handle it. The balcony parable is indicative of MIL and SIL's dynamic and inability to make a judgement call. There are so many variables with kids that I never could have imagined, that without a clear and authoritative point of view, it just became not worth it for my nerves alone not to mention my liability.

Here's the thing: In your house, YOU are "the power that is."

And so you state your rules and enforce them. If the kids' parent(s) object(s), you say, "I'm sorry, but these are my rules. If you won't enforce them, I will. This is my home, and I do not allow anyone to put their shoes on the furniture or go out on the balcony if they're under 16. Please respect my home."

And if they don't, then you put the food away and say, "It's a shame, but we'll have to wrap this up now."

(though I totally think you're smart to just move the celebration elsewhere)

doodlemor

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Here is another awful thought about the balcony.  Children that naughty might decide to throw things off and could hurt people.

I think that you are wise to just move the party, or plead your work schedule and just not do it.  It sounds like you have dealt with a great deal of unnecessary aggravation and stress over the last few years.  It doesn't sound as if the family dynamics will change, either.

TurtleDove

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Children that naughty might decide to throw things off and could hurt people.


Honestly, I have not seen any evidence that these kids are naughty at all.  From what the OP has said, they are simply kids.  I grasp that she is not okay with their behavior, but it's not like they are torturing animals or doing anything that kids don't typically do. Not all people, or even all parents, have the same rules or expectations for their children, but that does not make kids naughty. For example, at my house, it is absolutely okay for my daughter to put her feet on the couch.  Not when her shoes are muddy, but assuming she's wearing slippers or just regular shoes, I don't think it is a big deal.  My DD is not naughty, it simply isn't viewed as wrong by some people.

The OP can set rules for her home, absolutely, but labeling these kids as "naughty" seems really over the top.

turnip

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It does sound like you shouldn't have these kids at your place anymore.   I understand what some posters are saying about 'your home, your rules', but if no one else is going to back up you and your husband then it sounds like you would need to spend every minute policing these children.   I like kids and I'm pretty lax on rules in my home ( shoes on the couch are fine with me ) but I wouldn't be able to be a good host, or a happy host, if I felt I was responsible for making sure two children didn't fall off a balcony or into a pool. 

I would probably skirt the edge of honestly if asked for reasons - 'Oh, we just feel like our place is too small for two active children', or something like that.  That way, if pressed, you could try again to get some support from your in-laws.  "We can try hosting at our place again, but we will really need your help making sure the kids stay safe and out of trouble".   

BeagleMommy

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Children this young are incredibly fast and wily.  Even if the balcony meets all safety standards children are amazingly quick to figure out a way to do what they want.  Example:  when DH and I were first married we lived in an apartment building that was six stories high.  One afternoon we noticed a little girl (about 4 years old) climbing the rail of the balcony of the fifth floor apartment (we were on the first floor).  Apparently she wanted to "pat" a pigeon that had alighted on the edge of the balcony.  Her parents were just inside the door.  We started shouting "Stop! Stop! Go back!".  Her mother came out and grabbed her off.  Had we not been outside at the time I shudder to think what may have happened.

OP, if SIL and Grandma won't enforce the rules I think it best to move it to another location.

LilacGirl1983

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[/quote]

It sounds like in your scenario the kid was supervised but you still weren't okay with it? I may be reading too much into it but it sort of sounds like you're nervous around children in general and are maybe muddying the waters between what is okay as far as protecting your house and what you're comfortable with for the kids' activities/safety (which is really more of their parents' call in my opinion).

I do think a different venue or declining to host this year are the best options.
[/quote]

I guess I am going to have to disagree with that statement. It sounds like she is trying to set limits but the parents and kids are brushing them off. What she wants is really common sense for most parents with kids. IE no running in the house (safety) no playing with things off limits (safety) no one on the balcony (Safety) and staying out of personal areas (boundries). It sounds like the parent doesn't respect her rules or wishes by stating after she said she prefered not to have them on the balcony that it was ok..as for needing minimal supervision these kids have proven they need more then that..just because they should only need that doesn't mean that they don't need more since kids are different..

I would recommend doing it at a park. Maybe one that has a grill or something so maybe doing a BBQ or something like that. Also if you do change venues make sure you aren't held liable if the children break something...if its a park let mom/dad chase them instead of you worrying about their safety. Also for that many adults there should be someone there that can watch over them that aren't you..I would expect the parents or grandparents to watch them if the parents aren't.

gramma dishes

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Bigfun ~~  I think you and your husband have made the right decision by moving the venue to some place other than your home. 

I admire you for your patience and perseverance in sticking with hosting in your own home this long!  I'm pretty sure I couldn't have.  I'd have probably just stopped hosting this group all together.  And if they had asked why I would have told them.  You're taking a much more mature way to get around it.  As I said, I commend you.    :)


TootsNYC

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I just keep thinking of an 8-y-o running inside an apartment!

Hmmmmm

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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.

Niece wasn't unsupervised. There were 6-8 adults there, including me which is why I was able to tell her 3 times to stop throwing things in a pool. I also mention in the last sentence of my post that there were other adults present but wouldn't recognize a problem with a pool full of leaves.

Would you let me know what I put in my post made you think you'd need to inquire whether my family would leave a 3 year outside alone, let alone un-supervised near a pool? I'd hate to give others that impression.

Rusty

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To Hmmmmm, I have reread your post and yes you did say there were other adults around, but NOT her parents.  Were these other people watching out for the 3yo.    I would never have let my 3yo wander around a pool without my supervision or her father.  I think its a bit much to expect other people to be responsible for my child.  Other people can become involved in conversations and distracted, it only takes a minute for a child to drown.  Anyway I was not implying you were at fault.

CakeEater

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Children that naughty might decide to throw things off and could hurt people.


Honestly, I have not seen any evidence that these kids are naughty at all.  From what the OP has said, they are simply kids.  I grasp that she is not okay with their behavior, but it's not like they are torturing animals or doing anything that kids don't typically do. Not all people, or even all parents, have the same rules or expectations for their children, but that does not make kids naughty. For example, at my house, it is absolutely okay for my daughter to put her feet on the couch.  Not when her shoes are muddy, but assuming she's wearing slippers or just regular shoes, I don't think it is a big deal.  My DD is not naughty, it simply isn't viewed as wrong by some people.

The OP can set rules for her home, absolutely, but labeling these kids as "naughty" seems really over the top.

Yes, I agree.

I'm perfectly fine with my kids running through my house. I wouldn't let them do it somewhere else unless that family were fine with it as well, but they're not naughty to be running in the house at home.

Same with feet on the couch, or food away from the table.

Hmmmmm

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To Hmmmmm, I have reread your post and yes you did say there were other adults around, but NOT her parents.  Were these other people watching out for the 3yo.    I would never have let my 3yo wander around a pool without my supervision or her father.  I think its a bit much to expect other people to be responsible for my child.  Other people can become involved in conversations and distracted, it only takes a minute for a child to drown.  Anyway I was not implying you were at fault.
Rusty, your family dynamic is very different from ours. As home owners with a pool, we take responsibility for any children in our back yard to make sure they are well supervised. My two teens are also well trained in acquatic life saving and also take responsibility for monitoring activity around our pool. Additonally, the childs grandmother and other aunt was out there and if anything there is over supervision. Our family knows that if they send a child outside with any of us, it will be well supervised and they are free to remain inside. 

Has a child ever accidently fallen into our pool.  Yes, but it happened when his father was sitting beside him helping him play with an electronic boat and they both reached over the side too far to pick it up. So in my experience having parent present does not equal safety for child, especially one that is uncomfortable or knowledgeable about pool safety. As the pool owner I never assume a parent will adequately supervise their child around my pool unless I know that parent well and have seen how they manage and monitor their children in my back yard.

I would have the same reaction to having the balcony that the OP in this story has. It's my house and my responsibility to make sure that everyone is safe and I would never assume the parent of a child would recognize the dangers that could occur with a child on a balcony. Therefore I would establish my own rules for either not allowing children on the balcony or having one of my family members who did undestand the dangers always present when a child is on the balcony. 

I still think you leaped to an interesting assumption considering I stated that I was monitoring the childs activities well enough to catch her throwing items into a pool. 

Rusty

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To Hmmmmm, well we will just have to agree to differ on the subject of leaving a 3yo without parental supervision in the vicinity of a swimming pool.   I wouldn't care if Michael Phelps was a guest, I or the other parent would be there.