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Kraken
06-17-2012, 12:02 PM
So this is an awkward situation that my wife and I have been trying to figure out how to work through. We have come up with lots of options, but not sure any of them will end on a positive note. I will try and keep this as short as possible.

My wife and I have some friends. He works with my wife, and their kids are the same ages as our kids. Our kids have all become best friends. They play a couple sports together (one of which I coach), and until next year, have been in school together. Frequently, we will ask for favors from the each other like "Hey, do you mind watching the kids for a few hours this day so I can...". It's usually no problem and the kids enjoy the play time.

Now, the problem. Their kids aren't horrible or anything, but, they have some issues that seem to be getting worse, and it's from lack of follow through on discipline and spoiling. It's getting to the point that we dread that phone call that they ask us to watch the kids. It's also getting to a point that we are even starting to dislike our family dinner time get togethers with them because of it.

The little girl screams constantly and has this ear piercing little voice, and screams about everything...when she is sad, happy, whatever. If she's not screaming from excitement, then she's usually crying forcefully about something because she didn't get her way. When you try to discipline her, she tries to do something cute to side track you, which, of course, we don't go for, but our verbal discipline has no effect on her. We almost have to go to do a spanking, because she is so immune to verabl warnings etc. Their parents don't spank, btw.

The little boy, at first, appears to have ADHD horribly or even a bit of autism. The more time you spend with him, the more we realize "oh snap, this kid is ignoring me!". He plays the ADHD card (he's only 5 and had already figured out he can just ignore his parents and they still think it's his attention span). Once I was right in front of him, down on one knee to be on his level, tapping on his knee, and he still acted like he didn't know I was there. This was the first time it hit me that this kid doesn't have an attention span as bad as the parents think.

This is getting so bad, that we don't even enjoy being at their house anymore. The entire time we are listening to the little girl cry because she's not getting her way or enough attention, or the little boy completely fooling his parents and making them call his name 50 times and never get a response. The worst part is, thinking about if or when our kids will pick up on this and start doing it all.

So anyway, we are trying to figure out how to handle this. Do we...

1. Ignore it and hope it gets better on its own (yeah, riiiiiight)
2. Confront them about it and hope they take it well
3. Just start finding excuses to why we can't watch their kids

I have even thought about just having a talk with the father, because the mother is most likely 80% of the culprit, the father is just an accomplice by not stopping it. She might get overly sensitive about it, as she is about a lot of things, and he might take it better if I talked him about it over a beer or some relaxed and neutral atmosphere.

eomrat
06-17-2012, 12:09 PM
These peoples company makes your wife unhappy. The answer is obvious.

mslman71
06-17-2012, 12:09 PM
Well, if you tell them, and they are pissy about it, worst case is option 3 might happen 'organically,' best case maybe they'll realize that they should probably do something before it gets worse.

BloodySalad
06-17-2012, 12:12 PM
Well first thing is: Whatever you do, do NOT spank their kids.
Hitting someone else's kids is a fast-track to Sh!tsville.

Personally, I'd simply tell the parents that you're not willing to look after their kids because you can't cope with their behaviour. You can be out and out honest, in which case you'll have to be diplomatic or you can weasel it a little bit and shoulder some of the burden by saying that you can't cope because you don't have the skills to deal with them. Me, I'd go for the first. If they're real friends, their kids' behaviour shouldn't affect your relationship. They should switch on and realise that you're doing them a favour as it's probably something that they don't even recognise because of familiarity. But like I said - you'll have to be diplomatic - nobody wants to hear that their kids are little sh!ts - even from their closest friends or family.
If the wife is sensitive, then talk to the guy alone if you have to, but ideally, you should be looking to talk to them at the same time.

Kraken
06-17-2012, 12:13 PM
These peoples company makes your wife unhappy. The answer is obvious.

We enjoy the time we spend with the parents, just not really the kids.

I have the boy in one of my leagues that I coach. Honestly, I pulled him from a few games and was tempted to suggest they not put him back in the sport.

This feeling has been cumulative. The more we are around the situation, the more it annoys us. They are still good friends though, it's just the kids we are annoyed by.

eomrat
06-17-2012, 12:16 PM
Well first thing is: Whatever you do, do NOT spank their kids.
Hitting someone else's kids is a fast-track to Sh!tsville.

Personally, I'd simply tell the parents that you're not willing to look after their kids because you can't cope with their behaviour. You can be out and out honest, in which case you'll have to be diplomatic or you can weasel it a little bit and shoulder some of the burden by saying that you can't cope because you don't have the skills to deal with them. Me, I'd go for the first. If they're real friends, their kids' behaviour shouldn't affect your relationship. They should switch on and realise that you're doing them a favour as it's probably something that they don't even recognise because of familiarity. But like I said - you'll have to be diplomatic - nobody wants to hear that their kids are little sh!ts - even from their closest friends or family.
If the wife is sensitive, then talk to the guy alone if you have to, but ideally, you should be looking to talk to them at the same time.


^^^^Screw all this noise.^^^

You dont have to "do" anything. These people have ****ty little kids and they are probably ****ty parents. Screw them. Life is too short to put up with stupid people.



The more we are around the situation, the more it annoys us. They are still good friends though, it's just the kids we are annoyed by.

Understood. However, families are a package.

Kraken
06-17-2012, 12:18 PM
Well first thing is: Whatever you do, do NOT spank their kids.
Hitting someone else's kids is a fast-track to Sh!tsville.

Personally, I'd simply tell the parents that you're not willing to look after their kids because you can't cope with their behaviour. You can be out and out honest, in which case you'll have to be diplomatic or you can weasel it a little bit and shoulder some of the burden by saying that you can't cope because you don't have the skills to deal with them. Me, I'd go for the first. If they're real friends, their kids' behaviour shouldn't affect your relationship. They should switch on and realise that you're doing them a favour as it's probably something that they don't even recognise because of familiarity. But like I said - you'll have to be diplomatic - nobody wants to hear that their kids are little sh!ts - even from their closest friends or family.
If the wife is sensitive, then talk to the guy alone if you have to, but ideally, you should be looking to talk to them at the same time.

Thanks for taking the time to post all that. Spanking them was never an option, but it was more to show that we are at the point in which verbal discipline was worthless because they have found ways to avoid it or just not take it seriously. They need something more at this point to show them that there are consequences to not listening to verbal discipline.

I'll def take the rest of that in to consideration. Would probably be better if the mother heard it from us, because she doesn't really listen to her husband as it is. lol

SP1966
06-17-2012, 12:19 PM
Mind your own business.

Kraken
06-17-2012, 12:20 PM
Mind your own business.

We watch their kids, they watch ours, they made it our business.

Please don't troll.

SP1966
06-17-2012, 12:22 PM
We watch their kids, they watch ours, they made it our business.

Please don't troll.

Not trolling, mind your own business.

Option A: Tell them what you think of their kids and their parenting abilities: Lose friends.

Option B: Stop hanging with them: Lose friends.

Option C: Put up with it.

Redstyx
06-17-2012, 12:22 PM
You can't spank their kids if they don't. If it were me OP, Id start listing the problems to them every single time they came to get the kids. They will quickly grow tired of hearing bad things about their little demons, and stop asking you to babysit. Bad side is....... it will pretty much be the end of your friendship with them, but that seems destined to happen no matter what....

latebloomingmom
06-17-2012, 12:31 PM
was being open and honest one of the options listed? sit down in person or on the phone with the father and let him no in no uncertain terms that watching his children is not working and you are having difficulties disciplining them and because they are not your children, you have chosen not to do this any longer. the end.

SP1966
06-17-2012, 12:35 PM
was being open and honest one of the options listed? sit down in person or on the phone with the father and let him no in no uncertain terms that watching his children is not working and you are having difficulties disciplining them and because they are not your children, you have chosen not to do this any longer. the end.

And lose friends. LOL

It is what it is...

UnaChispita
06-17-2012, 12:46 PM
OP-
You could potentially open up a conversation with them by saying something like: "You know, we're having trouble disciplining little Jimmy because he won't listen to us, is there something you find that works?" or "You know, little Susie really had a rough day with us, she wouldn't stop screaming...it seems to be getting worse. Are you finding the same thing at home?"

Of course, they won't probably have an answer which is why their kids are poorly behaved, but at least is opens the conversation. You might find they are also frustrated and don't know what to do at which point they might ask for some advice.

You either tell them and risk them being offended or just put up with it. Personally, if the parents don't change their tactics, it is likely that their kids will end up even more obnoxious. I guess you have to decide if those are the kind of kids you want your kids around.

My guess is, the other parents on the team you coach are probably also annoyed, btw.

Big_Sky_Guy
06-17-2012, 12:51 PM
Do the right thing and sit down with them and let them know what your concerns are.

It is hard to do, but they deserve to know why it is not working for your family.

Kraken
06-17-2012, 12:51 PM
OP-
You could potentially open up a conversation with them by saying something like: "You know, we're having trouble disciplining little Jimmy because he won't listen to us, is there something you find that works?" or "You know, little Susie really had a rough day with us, she wouldn't stop screaming...it seems to be getting worse. Are you finding the same thing at home?"

Of course, they won't probably have an answer which is why their kids are poorly behaved, but at least is opens the conversation. You might find they are also frustrated and don't know what to do at which point they might ask for some advice.

You either tell them and risk them being offended or just put up with it. Personally, if the parents don't change their tactics, it is likely that their kids will end up even more obnoxious. I guess you have to decide if those are the kind of kids you want your kids around.

My guess is, the other parents on the team you coach are probably also annoyed, btw.

Wish it were like that. Everyone is aware of the behavior, they have even mentioned it. They act clueless how to fix it though. For instance, when she's screaming for attention, she will pick her up and just carry her around for an hour trying to quiet her down. She's 3.

I am starting to think we just need to find excuses not to be around them or their kids anymore. Some of the replies aren't giving us any hope of salvaging the friendship.

latebloomingmom
06-17-2012, 12:52 PM
And lose friends. LOL

It is what it is...unfortunately...at this point, yes.


of course you can just keeping making excuses and breaking dates in the
hope they catch the hint and leave ya alone....
same result..longer process.

SP1966
06-17-2012, 12:56 PM
Wish it were like that. Everyone is aware of the behavior, they have even mentioned it.

Well now, that changes everything. Kind of pertinent to your opening question, don't you think? :rolleyes:


They act clueless how to fix it though.

Its not an act.


For instance, when she's screaming for attention, she will pick her up and just carry her around for an hour trying to quiet her down. She's 3.

And theres the opening for that conversation you wanted to have.


I am starting to think we just need to find excuses not to be around them or their kids anymore. Some of the replies aren't giving us any hope of salvaging the friendship.

If you handle the conversation as well as you asked your original question it will not go well. It seems to me they would be open to a conversation if they have been open about the issue with you already, thats not to say it'll end well, but at least an opportunity has been presented.

dnb
06-17-2012, 01:03 PM
Father to father, as we guys tend to not be as emotional:

"hey John, we need to talk."
"yeah, what's up?"
"John, we've been friends a very long time, and patty and I love you and Delores more than you could ever know. But we're having a problem with your kids. We find as they get older, when their emotions are running high and excitement is in the air, we cannot seem to control them. Little Susie's screams of joy frankly hurt my ears, and little Turdus lack of acknowledgement when we talk to him is highly frustrating."

"John, we need your help, because frankly, we don't know what to do in these situations. What works for corrective action for you at home so we can implement it ourselves? "

"I realize this is a bit of a touchy subject, and were we all not so close I think eventually we would let our friendship drift, but you all mean so much to us, including the kids, that we really need your help on this one."

Ball is in his court now. He and the wife can choose to whiff it, or if you are important to them they'll find a way to stay in the friendship game.

mtpockets
06-17-2012, 01:36 PM
I'd tell them straight up, let the chips fall whre they may. They probably know anyway.

good luck on that its a touchy one.

Frnkd
06-17-2012, 01:44 PM
The basic premise of behavior is that to ensure that it repeats itself reinforce it. Pavlov's dogs. The bell ring and food appear, dogs salivate. Eventually the bell rings and the dog salivates even without food appearing. With this is mind here's one question you did not provide. What is the reward for the screaming, and the ignoring. What "bell" has caused the screaming and ignoring behavior to persist.

Seriously, there is a payoff for any behavior. For some reason these children is not lacking in discipline but in rewards/ and positive acknowledgments of their appropriate behavior. Most inappropriate behavior is shaped by something positive that is received or given, obviously there is something going on parenting wise, the kids are given more "attention" or rewards for their bad behavior.

Apparently the parents have been shaped by their kids very well, when they scream and ignore, they get attention hence the screaming, and ignoring has persist as a form of getting rewards. "I scream, I hear the sound of my name, I get attention, and I get what I want to shut me up, and I have a gradual step system that I have discovered that will get what I want"..what a perfect script that is planted in every child genes, ready to be used....Well I'm sure you've seen adults do this too, can you say borderline personality?

One way to find out is when they are at your place or you at theirs, count how many times their name is called and for what reason, good behavior or bad behavior.

How many times is good behavior responded to? and how is it rewarded.

If you are watching them I say, let the parents know that their kids as well as yours are under certain limits in your house. If they don't abide by them consequences are.....timeout, in a designated spot, etc. you name whatever it is, I'm sure you hold your children to some standards of behavior, and they know what is the rewards and consequences for displaying good and bad behavior.

This is not easy, it never is, so I do not want to appear that my suggestion is such....at least it can be a start.

Seems op you are looking for a first step to a solution, and part of the solution is maintaining your friendship. But there comes a point in time when you will see your children picking up on your friends kids behavior, what do you do then.

Kraken
06-17-2012, 02:11 PM
Very good replies all, I appreciate it greatly. This has been plaguing my wife and I for a month now and it's consuming us. :/



One way to find out is when they are at your place or you at theirs, count how many times their name is called and for what reason, good behavior or bad behavior.

How many times is good behavior responded to? and how is it rewarded.


This is REALLY good advice. Perhaps if I have something like this to help them out, they will feel like I am wanting to help more than I am complaining, that's def the last thing I want.

whatevergirl
06-17-2012, 02:31 PM
Do the right thing and sit down with them and let them know what your concerns are.

It is hard to do, but they deserve to know why it is not working for your family.

I had another reply, but this one I agree with moreso.

It's a sticky spot to be in for sure OP, but, just be frank with them. In a polite way.


A weight will be lifted if you go this route, me thinks. :o

gray73
06-17-2012, 02:32 PM
Me and my wife had the same situation once. After watching their kids a handful of times we realized what a hellion their little boy was. At the time my youngest was a newborn so I was taking care of him for the most part. Their daughter is the same age as my daughter and they would play together and for the most part occupied themselves. But, like I said their four year old was horrible and wouldn't listen to a damn thing I said.
The last time I watched him for them to go out for dinner and again, he was horrible. When my friends walked through the door, I asked them to sit down at the dining room table and told them how he had been acting. The whole time the little guy was sitting there looking at the floor and wouldn't look at anyone.
When I was done talking it took them a few seconds to react and made their boy apologize to me and my wife. They apologized and said it would never happen again. That was the last time I watched their kids. It did damage the friendship, but we are still on speaking terms. We are not as close as we once were.
You owe it to your family to speak up and let these people know you won't tolerate that kind of behavior in your house. No parent is perfect, but a child should know when they are a guest in someone's house, they shouldn't act up and be a pain the ass.

Smelly bull
06-17-2012, 02:42 PM
^^^^Screw all this noise.^^^

You dont have to "do" anything. These people have ****ty little kids and they are probably ****ty parents. Screw them. Life is too short to put up with stupid people.

Understood. However, families are a package.

Holy shiat, you hit the nail on the head. Repped.

JolietKev
06-17-2012, 04:26 PM
Do the right thing and sit down with them and let them know what your concerns are.

It is hard to do, but they deserve to know why it is not working for your family.This sounds like the best option. Be sincere and honest. Both children may be on the autism spectrum so try to see things from their parents side. You may be giving them some peace that they deeply appreciate. Being a friend is not always easy. But then again it is real hard to find a good friend. I hope everything turns out well.

Kraken
06-17-2012, 04:50 PM
This sounds like the best option. Be sincere and honest. Both children may be on the autism spectrum so try to see things from their parents side. You may be giving them some peace that they deeply appreciate. Being a friend is not always easy. But then again it is real hard to find a good friend. I hope everything turns out well.

They aren't autistic. My wife and I work with autistic children regularly, and these children don't have anything that indicates they are autistic. I only said that at first the boy seems autistic, or has ADD, but then you realize he's just ignoring you. All other social behavior is completely normal.

GuyJin
06-17-2012, 05:43 PM
FWIW, sooner or later someone is going to snap from all the bad behaviour going on. We've dealt with kids like that in the past and the best way--not the nicest way--is to be up front and tell the parents their kids are acting like little s**ts. Yes, you may lose the friendship, but what's more important, your sanity or theirs. It's not a happy situation no matter which way you slice it and yes, other parents may say something about why you're being so 'mean' to little Johnny but that's how it is. You may want to be a nice guy and all that but this situation will not end well if you continue to let things go on as they are. My two yen....

crupiea
06-17-2012, 05:46 PM
They know their kids are rotten and choose not to address it.

Time to start trimming back on the visits.

sometimes people grow apart.

You could try talking to the dad. maybe he thinks that you dont mind the cravy behavior. Dont accuse, just let him know that its bugging you. if he cant accept it then your problem is solved.

rendylee
06-17-2012, 05:49 PM
Things get so sticky when people think there are issues with there children. I wonder if they already know but don't know how to correct it themselves....and are releived that they think you beleive the ADD/autisim "story??".

You're likely going to strain the friendship, to what degree I couldn't say... but the parents really do need to know as hard as it will be to sit down and talk with them. The kids are younger now, but it will only get worse as they grow older.

I don't think that the friendship is going to be damaged because they will be upset with you, I think it will be strained because they will likely feel embarressed and feel they are being attacked for "bad parenting"....but it will open their eyes to see how the kids are acting and hopefully will have them change the things that need to be changed.

I also think that if you are able to say something, go out of your way to invite the parents out....don't let it get awkard...the weekend after talking call them up and say let's get together.

I feel for you, cause this is a tough one.

erinlee01
06-17-2012, 07:31 PM
^^^^Screw all this noise.^^^

You dont have to "do" anything. These people have ****ty little kids and they are probably ****ty parents. Screw them. Life is too short to put up with stupid people.




Understood. However, families are a package.

Have to agree with all of this. How you can like the parents when they are raising obnoxious kids is beyond me.

What conversation are you planning on having with them? Tell them that you don't like how they are parenting their kids? That's not going to go over well, and perhaps rightly so. I'm sure you wouldn't want anyone nosing into your family and passing judgement on what you are doing.

If it's so bad that you need to come onto an internet forum to ask advice, it's time to just cut the ties. No need for explanations or anything. Just start being unavailable.

Edit - forgot to address the ADD point. The boy is young, so there is nothing anyone will do about ADD, if he has it. The behavior you are describing is consistent with ADD. It takes a lot of patience to deal with kids with ADD and it doesn't sound like you have it. It would be better for the boy if you were to stop watching him. Kids are very astute and once they pick up on the fact that you don't like them, they will become more difficult.

so-tex
06-17-2012, 07:34 PM
Have to agree with all of this. How you can like the parents when they are raising obnoxious kids is beyond me.

What conversation are you planning on having with them? Tell them that you don't like how they are parenting their kids? That's not going to go over well, and perhaps rightly so. I'm sure you wouldn't want anyone nosing into your family and passing judgement on what you are doing.

If it's so bad that you need to come onto an internet forum to ask advice, it's time to just cut the ties. No need for explanations or anything. Just start being unavailable.
^^^ This. I have to agree.

Kraken
06-17-2012, 08:48 PM
If it's so bad that you need to come onto an internet forum to ask advice, it's time to just cut the ties.


It was more the fact that it was a very touchy subject than anything. Wanted to get as many opinions as possible.

You're absolutely right about the rest though. If these kids ever got the idea I didn't like them, ugh, I would be so horrible. I had family on my step father's side that didnt like me, and boy, did that make me feel like crap. That's the last thing I want.

powernpain
06-17-2012, 10:04 PM
First off, I would say although your friends apparent parenting skills may not be up to par, this by far in my opinion would not change my feeling towards a good friend. Also it would be narrow minded to consider scraping your friendship over this. People handle certain scenarios differently, one could simply understand that your friend have not acquired the proper skills to handle their children under the said circumstances. Be it of not tapping into the proper networks that can assist them, teach them, and or guide them to help. to just throw them to the wolves would be irrational and quick handed.

As for dealing with what to say. I would think non threatening and non combative would be the way to go. Be sympathetic to the situation but also descriptive in your frustration and fears that you may not be able to provide the level of supervision that is needed. Personally I would just say to my friend, " Myself and wife ( sorry don't know names) are somewhat concerned of late when the kids are together. We have been having more of a difficult time with the kids when together. Not sure if it is something we are approaching in the wrong manner, maybe we are missing something but of late it has concerned us. ( give example of kids acting out) usually we do not condone this and it seems we are not communicating well enough to get our point across to the kids, ( ask for advise, if different from your thought converse options, and clearly state what will work for you in a non threatening manner) again stress that you are uncomfortable dealing with this challenge, your wife is concerned she may not be able to continue taking on the responsibility. Hopefully they bite and see your concerns and are willing to free you of the burden. Again what you are telling your friend should not be considered to be a threat, they are his kids and he should have an idea. If they are friends I would also think they would not want to place you and your wife into any uncomfortable situations. The entire conversation doesn't have to be about good kids bad kids, and or parenting, but rather than your ability to work with and handle them to you comfort level. You might even spur on additional conversation where your friend admits to his own challenges and uncertainties on how to handle his children. Maybe from there you to can help provide outsources to help him and his wife get the support and knowledge to work positively with the kids.

For myself I would suggest this is the least you could do, if infact they are good friends and people.

tobymax123
06-18-2012, 08:14 AM
I am not a parent, so take it or leave it: You said your friends were aware of the kids' bad behavior and admittedly don't know what to do. Therefore, if you have "the talk" with them, come armed with some resources to help. My 30-year-old niece teaches parenting classes for a CFS agency, and there are numerous other non-governmental organizations that offer them. If they don't reach out to you for help and seem like they'd be receptive to such an idea, then don't advise them to take parenting classes unless you're prepared to end the friendship on the spot. But in case they are truly at the end of their rope about what to do, and if they reach out, you could come prepared with a list of phone numbers and websites. Just Google "parenting classes" and the name of your town or city.

Or call ABC and tell them you know some good candidates for The Super Nanny.

beachguy498
06-18-2012, 11:05 AM
I've seen kids like that, had them over my house but thankfully never got into it so deep. Some of these kids run out of places where they are welcome, you might be their last refuge. I've had to deal with kids whose parents would be drunk when they dropped them off and picked them up... they wondered why I turned down offers for them to drive my kids home.

I would try to talk to them since they are aware that the kids are difficult. Just say its not working out and causing friction within your home. I think most anyone would be able to accept this.

Word gets around town in sports circles, cub scouts, etc where there is always "that kid". My wife ran a cub scout pack of the kids that nobody else would take in. Some of the meetings she would cut short.. come get your kid. I pitched in when I could, but really wondered what these kid's home lives were like. Some of the parents were weird too, outcasts in their own right.

Rob

Frnkd
06-18-2012, 11:14 AM
I am not a parent, so take it or leave it: You said your friends were aware of the kids' bad behavior and admittedly don't know what to do. Therefore, if you have "the talk" with them, come armed with some resources to help. My 30-year-old niece teaches parenting classes for a CFS agency, and there are numerous other non-governmental organizations that offer them. If they don't reach out to you for help and seem like they'd be receptive to such an idea, then don't advise them to take parenting classes unless you're prepared to end the friendship on the spot. But in case they are truly at the end of their rope about what to do, and if they reach out, you could come prepared with a list of phone numbers and websites. Just Google "parenting classes" and the name of your town or city.

Or call ABC and tell them you know some good candidates for The Super Nanny.

People may make fun at what super Nanny does, or wonder how these families get into the situation that they are in, but the concepts that is talked about is what you have to get out of it.....of course what you see is the worst of the worst, but the parents denial and the children's responses are "real".

sorta like "the dog whisperer"

hochspeyer
06-19-2012, 01:56 AM
I didn't read any of this. The first things that come to mind are "NO" and duck tape.