Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sorry, but that kid is a dealbreaker...

A couple of weeks ago Frank and I went out to dinner and then over to a friend's house afterwards.  It was easily 9:30 when we got there and their five year old was still up.  The first thirty minutes were quite pleasant and then they (the other couple) decided to call their little darling in to the room.

Now, let me just stop and say that I grew up babysitting.  LOVED to babysit.  I worked as a mother's helper one summer, I adore my nieces and nephews.  I have worked for years in the church nursery, I was in charge of the children's ministry portion of MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and even worked as a childcare worker for them.  I like kids.  

I do, however, have an issue when people refuse to discipline their children in any way, shape or form and believe that the whole world must love their child like they do.  As a parent, I have been accused of being the opposite of that - I love my boys but don't feel the need to inflict them on everyone that I know and when we have company over and the adults are hanging out, my children are not to be seen.  It sounds harsh to some but that is what we do.  When I was growing up, my sister and I stayed upstairs and out of sight when our parents had company.  We did not accompany them on every outing and when we went to other people's homes, we actually were put to BED there - so that we weren't a nuisance to anyone.

My in-laws did the same thing, apparently.  There is a time and place for parents and children to be together and then there are times when it is GROWN UP time and little people should go to bed.  

This would be a completely new concept to the couple whose house we were at.  

After making Frank and I play some sort of fishing game with their child AND watching her sing and dance (did I mention that we were on a kid-free night?), we tried to get the grown up conversation back on track but now the child wanted to continue being the center of the universe and turned on the TV (loudly) and expected us to all shut up while she watched Hannah Montana.  Seriously?  

Frank and his buddy went upstairs to check out some music so that left us gals in the living room with this holy terror.  She alternated between kicking a step stool around the kitchen to pulling her mother's hair while NOT speaking.  When her mother asked her what was the matter, the child replied (in her best pouty Shirley Temple-esque voice) "You don't wanna play with your baby!"

I only wish that I was joking.

So her mother told her that they had company and she needed to behave and the child said "Well when are they leaving?  They've been here all night!"  At this point it is well after eleven and I'm thinking "Why is this FIVE YEAR OLD still awake??"

I finally rounded Frank up and we were walking out the door around midnight - and yes, the child was STILL up - and when we got in the car I turned to him and was like "Never again!  That kid is a deal breaker!"  I mean, I like this couple but I will never hang out with them at their home or with their kid again.

It's a shame, really, because I really do like them.  But on a night out without our own kids, I don't want to play with somebody else's!  And bad manners, parents, to keep your little brat up that late!  Sadly, this is not the first time we've had issues with friends about their kids and we've let some relationships go because of children's bad behavior which is really bad manners on the parents part.  If your child is throwing things at your guests, or shoving them or sitting in on conversations that don't pertain to them...then you have done a poor parenting job.  I'm sorry, that's the way I see it.

My kids are not perfect and I know that.  They misbehave plenty.  But they know the boundaries and when Frank and I are sitting with another adult couple, my children have been taught that you say "excuse me" when you have something to say and that they need to find something else to do during that time.  I mean, they have toys, TV's, movies and video games to play, why do they need to horn in on the rare times that we are hanging out with other adults.

I'm actually okay with not hanging out with these people...


Lin said...

I'm with ya on this one, Stacey.

Before we had kids, we had friends who had a 3 year old daughter. They expected me to sit next to her at dinner, help her with her food, and actually demanded that I brush her teeth for her and read her a bedtime story at their house!!

When I think back on this, I wonder what the hell I was thinking being roped into that crud. I would never have done that to anyone with my kids.

Yeah, I think I would have left when the kid said that you were there too long already. I would have agreed and left.

Grampy said...

I believe you are right all the way Stace. You can't be with someone that can not control their kids. I went up to Maine one time to visit my brother and brought my two girls. We were in the computer room talking and my brother just stopped. Where are the kids. I told him downstairs playing or watching TV.He couldn't believe how well mannered they were. We expect it of them and they know it. Let them know right off what is expected out of them and everyone will be happier.
Way to go.

Tara Beaulieu said...

I am SO in your corner, Stacey. I have 3 boys ages 13, 7 and 5 and they know these are the rules too. That doesn't mean they don't TRY periodically but all in all, we arrange for a sitter or if we're hosting at our house, they are in their rooms, fed and ready for bed before our guests arrive.

Like you said, they have video games, TV, toys and each other. They know when adult company is over, it's not time to watch Sponge Bob or make everyone watch them build with their legos.

I don't blame you one bit for not wanting to hang out there again.

Tammy said...

I'm right with you. My kid's always knew there place when we had people over. Now as teens they just take off. They know.

Petula said...

I totally agree with you. OMG, I can't believe the kid was still up. Was this a school night? Geez, how rude. That's one reason I don't see one of my best girlfriends on the weekends that I don't have my children. She has her daughter 99 percent of the time when I don't have mine, and she's in the same age group, so I don't want to play, correct, interact with her when I want adult time.

In the early 90s I had a close girlfriend who was married and we got pregnant around the same time. She was a month behind me. I actually stopped spending a lot of time with her because of her son. He pretty much ran things and she "let the kids stay up late" when my daughter was over. They were about 1 or 2 years old at the time. She let him eat whatever and do whatever. After one sleepover where my daughter came back with bags under her eyes (AS A TODDLER!) I didn't let her spend the night again.

You're right about the way we grew up when adults around. Even if we were up that late; we'd hear the what-to-for if we interrupted or involved ourselves in parenting time. I remember lots of times going to bed at my cousin's house 'cause the adults wanted their time.

Oh well, you'll meet another nice couple who has parenting etiquette. :-)

Anonymous said...

We actually just had a parenting seminar and tried to explain this same concept to people in our session. You should have seen the looks on some of their faces when we told them that their kid was not the most important thing in the world, and that the kids should not be the most important member of the family or allowed to make decisions for themselves before they're school aged.

Geez - you'd think we told them to put them in a box and mail them to a foreign country.

siteseer said...

I'm with you.. I think kids actually welcome boundaries. And if I've paid for a sitter there is no way I'm listening to someone elses kids. lol. just sayin