Author Topic: Babysitting the "Precious" child  (Read 11491 times)

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cass2591

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #60 on: August 08, 2013, 03:14:14 PM »
I don't understand why a well behaved, polite 12 y/o kid needs a baby sitter for a few hours in the afternoon, especially since it appears the OP lives in a safe neighborhood.
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Oh Joy

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #61 on: August 08, 2013, 03:15:32 PM »
...
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'.

In general, I'm 100% on board with the concept of 'my house - my rules' and can also see how this boy could try one's patience and empathy.  I do expect a healthy 12-year-old to display a certain amount of maturity.

There are just two reasons why I'm not so comfortable with the park scenario.  First and foremost, the activity you required was beyond your scope of observation - you can't know for sure he was 'safe' there, even though he does tend to cry wolf.  Second, your watching him was a one-off and not a routine.

For this day, I would have considered requiring an alternate activity within my range of observation, similar to BeagleMommy's approach.  'Fine.  Go play alone in the back yard or read a book in the shade of the porch.  But be outside and no electronics.'  If it were a routine arrangement, I'd work out the parameters of expectation with the mother and child and decline to watch him if he doesn't follow.

Best wishes.

hobish

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #62 on: August 08, 2013, 03:17:32 PM »
OP, this boy sounds a lot like a playmate I had when I was a child. We were neighbors, the same age, and both our families attended the same church. So I spent a lot of time with this kid. He was very sensitive in similar ways, and unfortunately his mother and much older sisters only fed this. Not saying your situation is just like this (as in the parents encouraging it), but IIRC correctly it was exhausting dealing with him, and I was only a playmate!

He sounds kind of like my brother at that age, too. Someone’s heart breaking for that poor child is just what he wanted. He knew that was how to get his way. Everything was a slight, everything hurt his feelings, everything made him cry. Then one day he went too far and got caught throwing himself to the ground and pretending to cry when it was obvious no one even touched him, let alone pushed or hit … things got better after that. I spent a long time as a kind having to work around his precious feelings, believe me. He did outgrow it, and we’re great friends today but I’d like to have killed him back then.
Thinking back … I think being very matter-of-fact with him worked best, and not giving in to the bouts of self-pity. I don’t remember him using the, “…but my mom lets me,” very often so I’m no help there. I think spending more time with Dad helped, too. He was less likely to get coddled by Dad or the babysitter than by Mom (or me, too; I fell for it lots when he was younger and I didn’t see the manipulation.)

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lowspark

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #63 on: August 08, 2013, 03:29:06 PM »
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.

The bolded above indicates to me that the park/outside part of the story is a red herring. For me, it boils down to
- you tell all the kids what is expected of them
- the other kids follow your instructions
- he doesn't

And my reply to that is, you just need to enforce your rules and make him understand that regardless of what his mom lets him do, when he's under your care, he needs to do what you say.

The repeated asking for something that has already been denied is a tried and true method kids have of wearing down adults till they give in. Nothing new there. It's up to the adult to make it clear enough to the child that that method won't work so that the child will stop implementing it.

I taught my kids that two times was my maximum on answering the same question. After the second no, my answer would be silence (and I usually diverted my attention elsewhere as quickly as possible to indicate that the conversation was over).

LadyL

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #64 on: August 08, 2013, 03:32:37 PM »
OP, this boy sounds a lot like a playmate I had when I was a child. We were neighbors, the same age, and both our families attended the same church. So I spent a lot of time with this kid. He was very sensitive in similar ways, and unfortunately his mother and much older sisters only fed this. Not saying your situation is just like this (as in the parents encouraging it), but IIRC correctly it was exhausting dealing with him, and I was only a playmate!

He sounds kind of like my brother at that age, too. Someone’s heart breaking for that poor child is just what he wanted. He knew that was how to get his way. Everything was a slight, everything hurt his feelings, everything made him cry. Then one day he went too far and got caught throwing himself to the ground and pretending to cry when it was obvious no one even touched him, let alone pushed or hit … things got better after that.

Thinking back … I think being very matter-of-fact with him worked best, and not giving in to the bouts of self-pity. I don’t remember him using the, “…but my mom lets me,” very often so I’m no help there. I think spending more time with Dad helped, too. He was less likely to get coddled by Dad or the babysitter than by Mom (or me, too; I fell for it lots when he was younger and I didn’t see the manipulation.)


When I was a camp counselor I had a camper like this too. He was very much the boy who cried wolf about his feelings getting hurt. He was spoiled by his mother and would cry if he didn't get his way - I think he was around 9 or 10 so too old for that kind of temper tantrum.

One time about 20 of the kids were playing in a small courtyard where I could see everyone. I watched "Tom" walk up to the line to play a game, then turn around and walk over to the bench where I was sitting. He had not interacted with any of the other kids.

"Tom, did you want to play the game with them?"
"They're being mean. They won't let me."
"Did you ask nicely if you could play?"
"No, I just know they don't want me there."
"Go ask if you can play, and if they say no, tell me and I will find out what's going on."

Tom sat and pouted. I'd called his bluff. I knew from working with him he just wanted me to tell him "oh poor baby" like his mom would. So I told him "You can sit here if you want but it would probably be a lot more fun if you joined the game." And I got up and walked away, and sat on a different bench. He looked around, disappointed that his pity party was over.

And then he walked up to the kids, asked if he could play, and was happily enjoying himself within minutes.

Zizi-K

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #65 on: August 08, 2013, 03:39:52 PM »
OP, this boy sounds a lot like a playmate I had when I was a child. We were neighbors, the same age, and both our families attended the same church. So I spent a lot of time with this kid. He was very sensitive in similar ways, and unfortunately his mother and much older sisters only fed this. Not saying your situation is just like this (as in the parents encouraging it), but IIRC correctly it was exhausting dealing with him, and I was only a playmate!

He sounds kind of like my brother at that age, too. Someone’s heart breaking for that poor child is just what he wanted. He knew that was how to get his way. Everything was a slight, everything hurt his feelings, everything made him cry. Then one day he went too far and got caught throwing himself to the ground and pretending to cry when it was obvious no one even touched him, let alone pushed or hit … things got better after that.

Thinking back … I think being very matter-of-fact with him worked best, and not giving in to the bouts of self-pity. I don’t remember him using the, “…but my mom lets me,” very often so I’m no help there. I think spending more time with Dad helped, too. He was less likely to get coddled by Dad or the babysitter than by Mom (or me, too; I fell for it lots when he was younger and I didn’t see the manipulation.)


When I was a camp counselor I had a camper like this too. He was very much the boy who cried wolf about his feelings getting hurt. He was spoiled by his mother and would cry if he didn't get his way - I think he was around 9 or 10 so too old for that kind of temper tantrum.

One time about 20 of the kids were playing in a small courtyard where I could see everyone. I watched "Tom" walk up to the line to play a game, then turn around and walk over to the bench where I was sitting. He had not interacted with any of the other kids.

"Tom, did you want to play the game with them?"
"They're being mean. They won't let me."
"Did you ask nicely if you could play?"
"No, I just know they don't want me there."
"Go ask if you can play, and if they say no, tell me and I will find out what's going on."

Tom sat and pouted. I'd called his bluff. I knew from working with him he just wanted me to tell him "oh poor baby" like his mom would. So I told him "You can sit here if you want but it would probably be a lot more fun if you joined the game." And I got up and walked away, and sat on a different bench. He looked around, disappointed that his pity party was over.

And then he walked up to the kids, asked if he could play, and was happily enjoying himself within minutes.

That sounds like a success story! He was used to a certain pattern of behavior, you prodded him to change it and showed him how, and he ended up being happier and more social as a result. Nice work.

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #66 on: August 08, 2013, 03:48:52 PM »
I haven't read all the replies, so I am sorry if I am repeating anything, but you don't seem to like this kid.  At his age and with his mom explaining he won't go socialize, there is a problem with this child that an adult needs to look at.  Precious (in the way you use it) is a term I would use for a child that throws temper tantrums to get their own way, is manipulative, or a general pain to be around.  This kid sounds like an unhappy child.  A 12 year old boy who won't even leave the house, who has anxiety attacks over going to the playground..someone needs to quit being frustrated with his behavior and start listening.  I think you were wrong in your approach OP.  Even though you told the mom you were going to send the kids to the park, one came back which means you are responsible again.  You can't shirk the responsibility of being in charge just because you don't want to deal with it and want to watch tv.  Had that been your own child, in obvious pain, would you have said "Suck it up buttercup and go outside til I am ready to deal with kids again?" .  Yes, kids benefit from outside play, but they only benefit if they want to be there..if it is causing them anxiety attacks, then it just makes the situation worse.  My heart goes out to this kid, who doesn't seem to have anyone he is comfortable with, just with people who are pushing him into something he can't handle.

Hillia

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #67 on: August 08, 2013, 03:54:57 PM »
Where are we getting anxiety and 'can't handle' being outside?  That could be it, sure...or it could be that he'd just rather play games and watch youtube.  'My  mom lets me do it' is manipulative, and untrue; his mom *doesn't* allow him unlimited computer time but tries to get him to do other things. 

A 12 year old should be able to entertain himself for 30 minutes, inside or outside.  It may not be doing what everyone else is doing (and OP has stated he didn't have to go with the other kids, he has other options that he knows about), but he should be able to find something to do.  Read a book, walk the dog, play in the sprinkler, lie on the grass, whatever; the fact is that he refuses to find any other entertainment options for himself when denied the one that he wants.

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gen xer

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #68 on: August 08, 2013, 03:55:04 PM »
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.

POD.  The kid has anxiety issues and this problem is not going to go away anytime soon.  I think you should decline to babysit in the future because I believe that this boys knows he irritates you and that just ramps up his anxiety level even more.

I wish I hadn't mentioned the twenty minutes of Mad Men :-\   Not because I think I did anything wrong but because it seems to have catapulted me into Betty Draper territory.

Did I mention I had a disaster of a house to clean up which is much easier when the kids are outside?  I am having a hard time equating this with cruelty to children.

I spent ages with those kids providing lunch, snacks and activities and I find it a little insulting to be portrayed a kid-hating, negligent parent when all I did was ask them to go outside for a while which they seemed happy enough to do at the time.  Telling kids to go get some fresh air is not child abuse....especially considering I relented and let him stay in and tried to find out what was wrong.

I have never treated him with anything but friendliness and kindness.   

I am not going to speculate on what is wrong or not wrong with him - what I was asking is how to handle this with respect to the other kids who are perceiving the disparity in the rules. 


DottyG

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #69 on: August 08, 2013, 03:55:42 PM »
I haven't read all the replies, so I am sorry if I am repeating anything, but you don't seem to like this kid.  At his age and with his mom explaining he won't go socialize, there is a problem with this child that an adult needs to look at.  Precious (in the way you use it) is a term I would use for a child that throws temper tantrums to get their own way, is manipulative, or a general pain to be around.  This kid sounds like an unhappy child.  A 12 year old boy who won't even leave the house, who has anxiety attacks over going to the playground..someone needs to quit being frustrated with his behavior and start listening.  I think you were wrong in your approach OP.  Even though you told the mom you were going to send the kids to the park, one came back which means you are responsible again.  You can't shirk the responsibility of being in charge just because you don't want to deal with it and want to watch tv.  Had that been your own child, in obvious pain, would you have said "Suck it up buttercup and go outside til I am ready to deal with kids again?" .  Yes, kids benefit from outside play, but they only benefit if they want to be there..if it is causing them anxiety attacks, then it just makes the situation worse.  My heart goes out to this kid, who doesn't seem to have anyone he is comfortable with, just with people who are pushing him into something he can't handle.

I agree with the above.

No one said you were abusing a child, OP. Thats not fair to those just expressing another view. You may not like the other view, but don't put words in mouths that aren't there.

But it might be wise to not agree to watch over this boy for a while. For your sake and for his. It's not a good match. That's not a failing on your part.



« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 04:03:12 PM by DottyG »

TootsNYC

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #70 on: August 08, 2013, 04:03:31 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.

Actually, Ia gree with this.

and if he isn't enjoying the time at the park, why should he have to stay there? Can't he have control over his "leisure" time? All that matters is that you get what you want/need, and it really isn't "for him to be outside" or "for him to be at the park." It's "for him to leave you alone."

Or it's "for him to be out of your hair while you clean."

(heck, maybe he'd prefer to help you pick up stuff, or maybe he'd be willing to mop the floor. But he's only been told to go outside.)

I think grownups often decide the solutions for kids and then just dictate them. But it doesn't actually help that much.

It's also hard to "entertain yourself" for 30 minutes when you're at someone else's house. Your stuff isn't there (so, none of the books are yours, and if this kid is older, maybe there aren't any in the right age range; or if you start, you can't finish in the day).  I think I'd have tried to suggest some alternate activities since he didn't want to go to the park.


Quote
- what I was asking is how to handle this with respect to the other kids who are perceiving the disparity in the rules. 

It's just so weird to me that you think of this kid as "breaking the rules" when he just didn't want to go to the park, and hanging around outside while *not* at the park was boring, so he came inside.
   It just doesn't seem like "misbehaving" to me.

As for how to handle him--first truly define what you want from him. And then ask whether it's fair. It's not fair to tell him he has to go to the park. It's fair, perhaps to tell him you want some "no kids in the house" time.

And then, since he is a minor in your care, it's up to you to give him the equipment and **coaching**  he needs to succeed at that. So tell him to go home and get a book and bring it back to read on the porch, or something.

hobish

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #71 on: August 08, 2013, 04:04:30 PM »
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.

POD.  The kid has anxiety issues and this problem is not going to go away anytime soon.  I think you should decline to babysit in the future because I believe that this boys knows he irritates you and that just ramps up his anxiety level even more.

I wish I hadn't mentioned the twenty minutes of Mad Men :-\   Not because I think I did anything wrong but because it seems to have catapulted me into Betty Draper territory.

Did I mention I had a disaster of a house to clean up which is much easier when the kids are outside?  I am having a hard time equating this with cruelty to children.

I spent ages with those kids providing lunch, snacks and activities and I find it a little insulting to be portrayed a kid-hating, negligent parent when all I did was ask them to go outside for a while which they seemed happy enough to do at the time.  Telling kids to go get some fresh air is not child abuse....especially considering I relented and let him stay in and tried to find out what was wrong.

I have never treated him with anything but friendliness and kindness.   

I am not going to speculate on what is wrong or not wrong with him - what I was asking is how to handle this with respect to the other kids who are perceiving the disparity in the rules.

I was thinking Ms. Hannigan  ;)
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bopper

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #72 on: August 08, 2013, 04:09:46 PM »
"Sure you can come in.  You can either help me clean or read a book."

Hillia

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #73 on: August 08, 2013, 04:13:20 PM »
The rule is, kids go outside when I say so.

Fred knows this is the rule; it's the rule at his house too.  He's stayed with the OP before so he can reasonably expect that at some time during the day, OP will say 'Everybody outside'.

The other kids are wondering, 'Why does Fred get to say he's bored and come right back in, but we have to stay outside?'

Fred knows what his other allowable options are but chooses to take none of them.  Perhaps his mom could be more proactive in sending him with an activity (book, art project) to do when it's outside time - something that he can take *outside*.  But this seems to be Fred's pattern.

And babysitting kids at this age does not mean constant observation.  It means constant availability and regular checkins, and the OP provided that.

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paperlantern

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Re: Babysitting the "Precious" child
« Reply #74 on: August 08, 2013, 04:22:44 PM »



Quote
- what I was asking is how to handle this with respect to the other kids who are perceiving the disparity in the rules. 

It's just so weird to me that you think of this kid as "breaking the rules" when he just didn't want to go to the park, and hanging around outside while *not* at the park was boring, so he came inside.
   It just doesn't seem like "misbehaving" to me.

As for how to handle him--first truly define what you want from him. And then ask whether it's fair. It's not fair to tell him he has to go to the park. It's fair, perhaps to tell him you want some "no kids in the house" time.

And then, since he is a minor in your care, it's up to you to give him the equipment and **coaching**  he needs to succeed at that. So tell him to go home and get a book and bring it back to read on the porch, or something.
[/quote]

^^ I agree with this.  Have the other kids mentioned any perceived disparity with the rule? It sounds like the other kids enjoy going to the  the park, so would they even care if the 12 got to quietly hang out and read a book? If the other kids like going to the park I don't think you really need to address it with them at all.