Author Topic: Babysitting the "Precious" child  (Read 13816 times)

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whatsanenigma

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #30 on: August 08, 2013, 12:40:57 PM »
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.

The OP is not his parent. She not there to teach him to "get over it" - that's not her decision to make. She knew this kid was sensitive when she agreed to babysit him.

Honestly, the tone of the OP really annoyed me. So, I may being more harsh than is actually merited. But if you tell me you are really irritated that a kid you are babysitting is actually needing your attention, I have a hard time not feeling bad for the kid.

Also, just sending him to the park in hopes that he will "get over it" is not going to work.  If it was going to work, it would have worked by now.  If a responsible adult went with him to the park and actually observed what was going on, then maybe he could be helped to "get over it" with whatever help he needs. 

Maybe he's being bullied, maybe he's annoying to the other kids and needs social skills training, maybe he just doesn't want to do what they are doing-the possibilities are endless.  But nobody is going to know the truth unless/until they observe it.

That said, I don't think it's the OP's responsibility to do this, but if she wanted to talk to the kid's mother about the problem and maybe work out some kind of plan to try to help him, that might be nice.  But it would involve someone directly observing what happens at the park, if the goal is for him to get along with other kids at the park.  (If the goal is just to keep him quiet and happy and out of everyone's hair, well, if he's not causing a disturbance in the house, if he can occupy himself,  just let him stay there, in my opinion.) 

Because I agree also that if something is happening at the park, just asking him about it will probably not get to the actual needed information.

Zizi-K

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #31 on: August 08, 2013, 12:41:08 PM »
I think it's doing a disservice to this kid to label him "Precious." Yes, maybe he's a bit addicted to videogames and hasn't learned how to entertain himself otherwise because his parents aren't good at enforcing rules. But maybe there's something else going on? He can be dismissed as "precious" or someone can actually get to the bottom of what's wrong with him! It could be something social/psychological, or it could be something medical (like his eyes being light sensitive). Why not just ask him?? "I know you said everything was ok, but here you are moping and acting a bit depressed. What's actually bothering you?" And if it IS that he just wants to play videogames, how about redirecting him? You can teach him how to occupy himself with a couple of suggestions. "Playing videogames all day isnt' good for you. If you don't want to play on the equipment, you can either read a book, sketch, or write." Etc.

Library Dragon

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #32 on: August 08, 2013, 12:44:30 PM »
I'm going to call the 12 year old 'Fred'.

It sounds like Fred is just not an outdoor kid and doesn't like the outside play that the other kids do.  But I do think it is good for him to get some fresh air.  Is he a reader at all?  If so, maybe next time you send the kids out to play, 'Fred, here's a lawn chair and your book.  Why don't you take them with you, set yourself up in the shade somewhere and read while the others play on the playground?  You don't need to stick with them.'  'Kids, when you are ready to come back to the house, make sure you grab Fred to come with you.'

At 12, he should be able to understand that you (and his Mom) need some time to yourselves occasionally.  So explain it to him, let him know he doesn't need to play with the other kids but he does need to entertain himself for whatever time you (or his Mom) tell him.

At 12, he could probably stay home by himself, too.  So maybe the next time, the twins come over but Fred stays home to do what he'd like to do?  Or maybe he comes over for lunch and then goes back home?  This is all provided that Fred and his Mom are OK with that.  He may not want to stay home by himself.

POD

At 12 this isn't so much "babysitting" as supervision in case of emergency.  Back in the Dark Ages many of us at 12 were the babysitters. 

Fred doesn't have to play at the park, but he can be told that he needs to be outside even if that means reading.  He can sit on a lawn chair in a shady part of the yard.  Part of life is learning you don't always get to do what you want to do when you want to do it. 

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gen xer

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #33 on: August 08, 2013, 01:01:20 PM »
OP here.....

We both babysit each other's children.....and we both send all the kids to the park.  He initially went willingly and he is not expected to babysit as my children are allowed to go on their own as well.  My point is that these children are plenty old enough to be at a park a few doors down form us and it is status quo for both of us to do so. 

I always thought fresh air was good for kids and I insist on mine going out regularly.  They don't have to play together - it was just getting outside for a while that I wanted....and tbh I don't think asking for a few minutes peace and quiet is that egregious.   These children are not babies and i am withing shouting distance.

I am not being paid to babysit either if that makes a difference - my issue is that it seems a little unfair to make special rules for him and it is a little tricky to negotiate those waters with the other children.

I think you were fine to send them out just as you did.  I also think different people have differing ideas of "babysitting".  Some take it to mean you are actively interacting with the kids the whole time.  For me, at the ages given in the OP, I take a much more hands off approach.  I'll give snacks and meals and referee a major dispute but otherwise they can occupy themselves.  Here's the board games, the badminton set, the frisbee, go out and play.  Others may see that as not caring, but it just depends on your style and what both parties expect.

Your house, your rules.  You weren't asking anything extreme, you had reasonable expectations of exercise and fresh air. I can easily see the other kids demanding to know why he got to come and watch tv (or whatever) while they were expected to be outside and playing.

This is the parenting camp I am in - my kids are seven and eleven so if anyone is a bit out of their league it is my seven year old.  Most of the time they are just fine amusing themselves with games, crafts, movies etc and I am just there to feed them and make sure nobody gets hurt etc. 

« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 01:21:31 PM by gen xer »

gen xer

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #34 on: August 08, 2013, 01:20:05 PM »
Well, yes, fresh air is goog for kids. It is good for you and me, too. Yet, instead of going with the kids to the park for some good fresh air you really felt the need to relax with Mad Men. And this morning I could have enjoyed the benefits of fresh air but went the Pawn Stars route instead.

But after a morning spent with five kids making meals, doing housework, refereeing etc what is wrong with catching the last 20 minutes of a show on Netflix? 

I don't force them to play with each other and actually they don't even have to go to the park although the other four seem to love going there above all else.  They can go in the backyard, play in the sprinkler, ride bikes in the cul-de-sac whatever.   

I did spend some time trying to get to the bottom of it including asking my eldest daughter ( whom I trust to tell me ) and I broached it with his mother.  It's just that even when she babysits and the kids are sent outside ( and they are ) it is getting a little hard to explaing why PC doesn't have to follow the rules that everyone else has to follow.  My kids are happy to go outside when my friend is babysitting - no issue there...but they do ask why they have to stay out when PC never does. 

This is what I am having a hard time with - I don't want to be cruel but I don't actually have any reason like "he's autistic or Asperger's etc" which I would expect them to understand.

Goosey

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #35 on: August 08, 2013, 01:23:45 PM »
"Because you're my kids and he's not"?

kitchcat

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #36 on: August 08, 2013, 01:25:01 PM »
OP said she wanted some quiet time. No problem with that. It sounds like 12YO is pretty quiet though from the way he was described. If he wanted to read a book, what's the problem with letting him do so inside? I know I have a difficult time reading in loud places like parks. Maybe he wanted quiet time too. If he is being quiet inside, not causing trouble, I don't see the need to insist he go out simply because "it's good for you." It's like a parental alternative of a non-reason. It makes it sound like OP wanted to watch a tv show that may not be appropriate for children more than peace and quiet.
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DottyG

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #37 on: August 08, 2013, 01:25:10 PM »
I think it's doing a disservice to this kid to label him "Precious." Yes, maybe he's a bit addicted to videogames and hasn't learned how to entertain himself otherwise because his parents aren't good at enforcing rules. But maybe there's something else going on? He can be dismissed as "precious" or someone can actually get to the bottom of what's wrong with him! It could be something social/psychological, or it could be something medical (like his eyes being light sensitive). Why not just ask him?? "I know you said everything was ok, but here you are moping and acting a bit depressed. What's actually bothering you?" And if it IS that he just wants to play videogames, how about redirecting him? You can teach him how to occupy himself with a couple of suggestions. "Playing videogames all day isnt' good for you. If you don't want to play on the equipment, you can either read a book, sketch, or write." Etc.

This is exactly what I was going to post.  I would see if there's a way to find out what's really going on with Fred.  And that's probably going to be beyond a simple, "Hey, what's wrong?" type of question.  It could be that he doesn't even know what the problem is - just that there's a reason why he's not eager to play outside.  It could be anything - bullies that are, conveniently, "sweet as pie" when an adult is looking so no one realizes what they're doing.  It could be, like the above poster said, his eyes hurt in the light.  It could be that he's not able to do the things the other kids are doing for some reason.  It could be that he doesn't know how to entertain himself outside.  We don't know what the problem is.  But there, obviously, is something going on.  And I feel really sorry for this poor child.  I get the impression that he really wants someone to help him figure it out but doesn't know how to express that.
 
This really caught my attention.  Something's not right.  This breaks my heart. :(
 
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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 got a shrug and eyes on the floor....Tiny voiced answer with tears welling up

Granted, this isn't, necessarily, the OP's job to determine the problem.  The parents need to help him figure it all out.  But, in the meantime, the OP may need to be a little gentle and realize that something is going on that she's not quite understanding.  The OP isn't an ogre; I realize she's just frustrated.  But maybe just be a little more patient with him.  And, if the opportunity comes up, maybe be the adult that he can go to to help him.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 01:26:52 PM by DottyG »

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #38 on: August 08, 2013, 01:27:34 PM »
I think you and his Mom need to explain to him that you guys need your downtime, too.  And that is why he needs to go outside when the other kids do.  Let him know that he doesn't need to hang out with them if he doesn't want to but he does need to give you (or his Mom) X minutes of time to yourselves.  And he also needs to go outside so the other kids don't think it is unfair that he gets to stay in and they don't.  He's 12, not 2.  He should understand.
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Ontario

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #39 on: August 08, 2013, 01:28:32 PM »
Frankly, if this is the norm for the OP, her friend and the kids, I have to say that the 12 year old is plenty old enough to deal.  She's not a stranger to him.  Sounds like they all knew this was the plan from the outset.  This was nothing out of the ordinary.  For him to come back within 10 minutes, come in the house, mope and then cry seems like a reaction that's way out of proportion, given the "normalness" of the situation and the age of the child.

Maybe he doesn't get along with other kids.  Fine.  Take a book, take a walk, sit under a tree and count the leaves.  But when the adult that's in charge of you for the day tells you to do something--once again, something normal that these children have done many times--you do it.  The kid is 12 years old!

The OP did all of the right stuff when the kid came back.  She tried to ascertain whether he was hurt, whether people were being mean to him, etc.  He barely responded.  In my book, if you don't do what I tell you, will barely communicate with me, and then when that bare-bones level of communication elicits tears for seemingly no reason than not wanting to follow directions, that's just a bit too much. 

OP, I'd say that the kid is either old enough to stay by himself next time or his mom needs to tell him who's in charge and who sets the rules.  If he doesn't like what you tell him to do, then he needs to deal with it or communicate with you and come up with an alternative.  Like I tell my kids, if you want me to treat you as if you're more mature, then act like it.

Allyson

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #40 on: August 08, 2013, 01:43:45 PM »
Yep, specifically making him be with the other kids wouldn't be cool, but "Go outside and read" is fine. I was that kid, too, and what I mostly resented was adults trying to make me *socialize*.

It sounds like the 'outside time' with a break for babysitter/Mommy was an expected and normal thing, and something both families were aware of. It's not like the OP is getting paid to babysit kids and immediately sent them out all day while she kicked back. I'm kind of a little surprised that at that age, someone supervising kids is expected to be with them 24/7--that wasn't my experience growing up and I had a pretty paranoid mother!


gen xer

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #41 on: August 08, 2013, 01:44:46 PM »
"Because you're my kids and he's not"?

I'm sorry....but I don't understand what you are trying to get across.

I actually did relent and let him stay in and went to some trouble to suss out if there was any problem.   Some of the posters who took exception to my asking the children to go outside seem to be forgetting that fact.

My etiquette issue is trying to delicately...and kindly....explain that the rules are for everyone.

I might add....and this is a bit of a separate issue but it seems to be going this way so I will include it : He is a loner which is fine....but i will expressly tell them that nobody is to be on the computer ( it just degenerates into fighting over it in the past ) and he will ask to go on when i have expressly and clearly said no.  Same old thing - the other kids move on and he asks over and over in twenty minute intervals with the same tiny voice and "but my mom lets me".

He knows full well he shouldn't be asking and I do tell his mom about it later. 

I say no but feel like the ogre.  I personally think he just doesn't think the rules apply...and yes I will admit I find him trying.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 01:46:46 PM by gen xer »

Eeep!

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #42 on: August 08, 2013, 01:46:31 PM »
First of all, I had a very hard time with the OP using the term "precious" and I find her palpable disgust for the kid rather off-putting.  I really think it is probably best for her not to watch him in the future as I'm sure her opinion of him colors all of their interactions. And I understand that "sensitive kids" can be trying - my nephew is one of them and it is sometimes very exhausting dealing with him. But I feel for him that he gets upset so easily and I know my SIL worries about it a lot and has been trying to help him as much as she can- she reads books, she is considering taking him to counseling, etc.   

That said, regarding the situation at hand -
Did Fred come over to the house with a book or a game or anything? Because I can tell you for sure that at 12 I would have no idea what to do for any length of time at a park.  At 12 I wouldn't have been into playing on the equipment any more. Or at least not in the same fashion that several 9 year olds probably would want to.  So if he didn't have any other alternative with him, then what exactly was he supposed to do at the park? Perhaps if the OP does decide to watch the kids again, it would be best to suggest to Fred's mom beforehand that he bring something that he can do outside while the younger kids go to the park. 
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Goosey

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #43 on: August 08, 2013, 01:47:59 PM »
"Because you're my kids and he's not"?

I'm sorry....but I don't understand what you are trying to get across.

I actually did relent and let him stay in and went to some trouble to suss out if there was any problem.   Some of the posters who took exception to my asking the children to go outside seem to be forgetting that fact.

Sorry, it was in response to this:

but they do ask why they have to stay out when PC never does. 

I'm not a big fan of "the same treatment is fair treatment." Sometimes, we DO need to adjust our expectations and standards for different kids.

Quote
My etiquette issue is trying to delicately...and kindly....explain that the rules are for everyone.

I might add....and this is a bit of a separate issue but it seems to be going this way so I will include it : He is a loner which is fine....but i will expressly tell them that nobody is to be on the computer ( it just degenerates into fighting over it in the past ) and he will ask to go on when i have expressly and clearly said no.  Same old thing - the other kids move on and he asks over and over in twenty minute intervals with the same tiny voice and "but my mom lets me".

He knows full well he shouldn't be asking and I do tell his mom about it later. 

I say no but feel like the ogre.  I personally think he just doesn't think the rules apply...and yes I will admit I find him trying.

Have you tried the "ask again, and you can't use it at all for the next 5 times you come over" or "why don't you read this book/do this puzzle/help me make lunch/other distracting thing?"

This asking over and over again would annoy me to - I was raised, "Ask once, if the answer is no - you better not ask again!" No means no for the whole day!
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 01:56:20 PM by Goosey »

Eeep!

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #44 on: August 08, 2013, 01:50:52 PM »
"Because you're my kids and he's not"?

I'm sorry....but I don't understand what you are trying to get across.

I actually did relent and let him stay in and went to some trouble to suss out if there was any problem.   Some of the posters who took exception to my asking the children to go outside seem to be forgetting that fact.

My etiquette issue is trying to delicately...and kindly....explain that the rules are for everyone.

I might add....and this is a bit of a separate issue but it seems to be going this way so I will include it : He is a loner which is fine....but i will expressly tell them that nobody is to be on the computer ( it just degenerates into fighting over it in the past ) and he will ask to go on when i have expressly and clearly said no.  Same old thing - the other kids move on and he asks over and over in twenty minute intervals with the same tiny voice and "but my mom lets me".

He knows full well he shouldn't be asking and I do tell his mom about it later. 

I say no but feel like the ogre.  I personally think he just doesn't think the rules apply...and yes I will admit I find him trying.

I'm sorry OP - I missed this post before I posted mine.  I think I understand more your frustration.  That goes beyong being sensitive into very annoying territory.  Going on someone else's computer when expressly told not to has nothing to do with being sensitive and everything to do with being disrespectful.  I think i would tell his mom that he is only allowed over if he follows your rules, period.
"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