General Etiquette > Family and Children

Not sure what I should have done

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Before I start, let's not get into any legalities here.

We just spent a week with friends at one of their houses. 8 adults and one 18 month old (let's call her Jane) in a house for a week was interesting. The house was at a small farm 30 minutes drive from a resort town. Nice house with 5 bedrooms, pool and so on.

The couple with the child (Barry and Sue) have a different parenting style to me. They tend to sit around, play with their phones and let others look after their child or just let her entertain herself. I love them as people but it was a little annoying being around it for a week, with either others looking after Jane (the whole group did that) or have her making noise out of boredom. Jane was dragged to everything we adults did. Mornings were kids stuff (and Barry and Sue insisted we all stay together for it) and afternoons Jane was brought to wineries, breweries and bars. In the evenings we all then went back to the house. Barry and Sue seem not to want to change their lifestyle at all now that they are parents. Jane is an absolute darling and is much loved by the whole group. She is not the only child in the group, just the only one there. Other parents and kids in the group didn't join us this week and my son is much older (15) and was not with us.  So that's some background.

Last night was the final night of our stay. The plan was to have a bonfire after dinner. The bonfire was situated in a field about 300m (546yards) from the house. We ate dinner at about 8pm with Jane and then she was put to bed. BF and I headed up to start the bonfire with the host (John) (The hostess, Gina, was still at work at the time)

You can probably see what's coming.

About 10 Minutes later, Barry and Sue and the other couple came up to the fire. I asked if Gina had come home, hoping that she was in the house. Nope, she was still at work. Jane was alone in the house, presumably asleep. But Barry and Sue said they'd check on her occasionally.

I was furious. We could neither see inside the house nor hear anything from the house from where we were and Jane can open doors.

I said nothing to Barry and Sue, but just made my apologies and said I was going to bed. Apparently my anger came across so obviously that everyone assumed that BF and I had had a fight.

I went to the lounge room and found that the pool door was left open from when her parents and the other couple had gone up to the bonfire (there is a door direct from the lounge room to the pool deck then a gate out to the field.) There had been nothing stopping the little one from waking up and going out to the pool. Luckily she hadn't. I ended up sitting in the lounge reading listening out for her for a few hours until her mother came in to bed. They did not check on her at all in that time.

Hints were given throughout the hours by people around the bonfire that Jane was alone and that the pool door had been open (I messaged BF to let him know that) but Barry and Sue stayed put.

If the baby had ended up in the pool, John would have been held criminally responsible for having an unsecured pool. So he is furious with Barry and Sue. And I'm still angry at them too.

A few questions then:

So what should I have done at the time? I'm sure what I chose was wrong but I was very angry and I do have a bad temper unfortunately.
Calling the police or DOCS (Child Protection) was not an option so don't suggest it, please.

Was it unfair or rude to suggest one night where either Barry or Sue stayed back at the house with Jane (One of us would have stayed with them if they'd asked)?

And, what can we say to them now, if anything?

Thanks very much.

If I were John or Tina, Barry and Sue would never get another invitation to my home again. I don't know if I would say anything unless they asked.

I think, in a case like this, less hinting and a more direct approach could have been taken. The parents should have been told in no uncertain terms to get back to the house and look after their child.


--- Quote from: MizA on April 25, 2014, 06:12:30 AM ---I think, in a case like this, less hinting and a more direct approach could have been taken. The parents should have been told in no uncertain terms to get back to the house and look after their child.

--- End quote ---

I agree. And, if Iwere John, I would've gone back to the house if the parents refused to do so.

Pod to the first two posters. Direct and no more invites until they either a) start parenting or b) are done parenting. One or both should have been told, then shamed into going back to the house. But at least you made sure kid was safe even though Barry and Sue couldn't be bothered to.

This is not a 'different parenting style'. This is not parenting at all.


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