Author Topic: Babysitting the "Precious" child  (Read 13380 times)

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gen xer

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Babysitting the "Precious" child
« on: August 08, 2013, 11:01:53 AM »

A friend of mine asked me to babysit her three boys - twins aged 9 and an older one aged 12 for a few hours.  We are neighbours as well as good friends and my two girls enjoy having them over to play / hang out with.  For the most part they are polite, well-behaved children.

However, the oldest one is a little...precious - and he doesn't like to play / socialize with the others very much.   He is very sensitive and gets upset very easily.  His mom relates many incidents of how he is always the one that comes home crying / upset from the park etc.

Anyway....I fed all five kids lunch and let them goof off around the house for a while and then told them that it was time to go outside for a while.  It was a beautiful day and the park is only a couple of houses down.  I wanted some peace and quiet and a chance to tidy up without kids underfoot.   I had told their mom beforehand I would likely be kicking them out to the park for a while after lunch.

Ten minutes later  I am sitting watching the last half hour of Mad Men when I hear the darn front door open and I am a little annoyed.  "Precious Child" ( PC ) is back.  He comes in, sits on the couch and looks down.  I ask if everything is OK and get a tiny voiced, eye contactless yes.  I ask again - if everyone is getting along, nobody's hurt, are you sure everything's OK.... - same response.

I am quite frankly irritated and ask him why he came back to which I got a shrug and eyes on the floor.  I asked him to go back outside explaining that I asked everyone to go out for a while and if I made exceptions it wasn't fair to the rest.  Tiny voiced answer with tears welling up : "my mom lets me come home when I want."

At this point I look at the clock and realize his mom will be back within the half hour and I relented.....but I felt like a bit of a sucker.  I relayed this to his mom when she came by and she told me that she had been having a hard time getting him to go outside at all - he just wants to play on the computer, etc all day.

My question is - am I OK in enforcing a bit of outside time or should I be letting him away with it?  My friend used to babysit my children as a job and I always told them "her house - her rules'.   

Roe

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2013, 11:06:20 AM »
You agreed to watch them so that means you are responsible for them and their physical and emotional well being until their mother gets home.  That means taking care of them, even when you'd rather sit and watch TV.  The child was in distress, so what if he is sensitive and cries at the drop of a hat?  You knew that going in. 

Sending him outside when you knew he didn't want to go out would be wrong IMO.

Shoo

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2013, 11:09:24 AM »
This kid obviously has some issues.  I wouldn't force him to go outside and interact with the other kids if he doesn't want to.  He's twelve years old -- not a little kid.  You expecting him to hang out with and play with the younger kids and be happy about it is a little unfair to him, I think.  I would let him do his own thing and not force him to go outside and "play" like the younger kids.  He's too old for that.

Sharnita

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2013, 11:11:59 AM »
Honestly, babysitting is not sending kids to  the park against their will while you wztch tv. If they want to go it is one thing but it is unreasonable to force it on him.

Wanting to be undisturbed by children while you are babysittingcouldcome off as a bit "precious", too.

Goosey

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2013, 11:12:30 AM »
Personally, I don't think the connotations of the word "precious" apply here.

He doesn't sound spoiled. He sounds sensitive.

I think it's kind of strange to agree to be responsible for these kids, fulling knowing this ahead of time, then send them off unsupervised so you can watch TV and actually getting annoyed that one dared come back when he obviously wasn't feeling like part of the play group in the first place.  :o

This kid sounds like he doesn't jive well with the other kids. I know as a kid, I preferred reading to running around at the park. I think sending him back would be insensitive at best.

Eden

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2013, 11:16:24 AM »
He actually does sound spoiled to me. His mom says she has trouble getting him off the computer. To me, that means he isn't forced to do what he is told. I don't think you need to force him to play with kids he doesn't want to play with, but I don't think there would have been anything wrong with telling him he had to play outside even if he didn't want to stay at the park with the other kids. Take a book. Swing on a swing, whatever.


Yvaine

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2013, 11:17:42 AM »
Question: Was he expected to be the "supervision" on this park trip, as he's the oldest? I think that would be kind of unfair as you're the one getting paid for it.

I could see an argument that you might have had the authority to send everyone outside, and even a non-outdoorsy kid can sit and read or play Gameboy or something in the park. But the supervision issue seems sticky here.

Goosey

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2013, 11:19:40 AM »
Actually, what the mom said was that she was "having a hard time getting him to go outside at all - he just wants to play on the computer, etc all day". I don't think "forced outside play" is a good thing if you're kid is "always the one that comes home crying / upset from the park etc."

I feel sorry for this kid.


Idlewildstudios

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2013, 11:19:50 AM »
I'd have no problem sending him back outside.  My neighbor girl hates to be outside for any reason but if she wants to come over she has to be willing to go out on a nice day.  I've told grt I don't care if she sits on the porch and mopes as long as she's in the fresh air.  Kids need to be outside.  Heck mine would rather stay in and play video games but if it's nice you go out, willing or not. 

snowdragon

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2013, 11:20:14 AM »
Your house - your rules. but he des not have to play with anyone he does not want to I would have told him he needs to be outside, but he can be outside in the yard with a book, but he was not sitting in front of the tv. 

 

Sophia

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2013, 11:21:13 AM »
He seems a bit precious to me. 
Plus, I don't think it is fair to throw the OP under the bus for not properly babysitting, when kids being at the park was part of the original agreement.  And, really, 9 and 12  should be able to be without parental supervision at the park. 

I am curious, what did your daughters say?  Was there someone that was picking on him?

Yvaine

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2013, 11:23:33 AM »
Another question--what is it that happens at the park? His reaction seems over the top for just not wanting to be outside. Are there bullyish other kids there, or do his own siblings pick on him, or is it something else? If the park always makes him cry, per his mom, what is it about the park?

Teenyweeny

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2013, 11:24:10 AM »
I am an easily irritated person. To that end, whenever I get irritated, I ask myself one question. "Why does it matter?"

If you are honest with yourself, the answer can tell you a lot. Plus, it helps you to find solutions instead of just being cross.

So, why did it matter? If it's purely that he didn't do as you asked, I say get over it. You aren't his parent, and it won't hurt him to not go to the park. That's a battle for his parents to fight.

If it's that he's a loud, disruptive child, then I'd offer him a choice of a few quiet activities, but not insist that he goes to the park.

If it's that you were relying on him to watch the littler ones, then you should be doing that yourself.

It sounds like you really don't like this kid, which is fine, but then don't babysit for him. It's not good for either of you.



Curious Cat

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2013, 11:27:41 AM »
Honestly, babysitting is not sending kids to  the park against their will while you wztch tv. If they want to go it is one thing but it is unreasonable to force it on him.

Wanting to be undisturbed by children while you are babysittingcouldcome off as a bit "precious", too.

I very much agree with the above post.
I know you told the mom you'd be kicking the kids out but your whole op really rubbed me the wrong way.

I think the best thing to do would be to decline to babysit for them again since you find it annoying to actually watch the children for an extended period of time.

Eden

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2013, 11:35:01 AM »
Actually, what the mom said was that she was "having a hard time getting him to go outside at all - he just wants to play on the computer, etc all day". I don't think "forced outside play" is a good thing if you're kid is "always the one that comes home crying / upset from the park etc."

I feel sorry for this kid.
Being forced outside to play does not automatically equate to having to interact with other kids. It could simply mean go for a walk, read in the fresh air, etc. Anything to get him out of the house and off the computer. Again, from an etiquette perspective, all fair things for the OP to require of the kid.

Beyond that, at 12 years old if you're always the kid who comes home crying, unless there's a specific bully situation, you sound pretty precious and oversensitive indeed. Depends on the kid and the specific situation, but in many cases being forced to learn to get over it is exactly what is needed.