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What would you do in this situation? (not WR)

Oh kids…

This friend of mine has 3 kids: 4 y/o boy, 3 y/o boy, and 11 mo/o girl. Every time I have talked her on the phone she clearly sounds busy with kids yelling/playing in the background. FI and I had dinner at a friend’s house last night, it was the first time for me. To say she has her hands full is the understatement of the year.  FI had warned me before that her kids are so misbehaved that he has made a valid point to not invite them to our house. I found his statement offensive…. Until last night.

The two boys were jumping off furniture, yelling in my face, pulling the cat around by her tail, dragging me around by the arm, climbing under and over the kitchen table, throwing food at each other, wiping their food on the chairs, and one of them even groped my boob on the couch. You know the show, the Nanny? Yeah, picture that kind of chaos in real life. It was all I could do to politely talk to the kids and ask to not be yelled at, dragged around, not be groped and not have food wiped on me.

Their parenting skills were a sight to be seen. I never saw them talk nicely to each other, much less to their kids. I saw the parents pit the kids against them, and then yell across the room at the kids to stop XYZ (arguing, pulling, jumping, etc). The parents did so much yelling, spanking, and smacking their hands away; it really bothered me. And to think this goes on day in and day out. I had to try really hard to keep my tongue tied and remain polite, but I really wanted to tell the parents to (at the very least) calm their voices, and their kids might follow suit.

I know kids are kids and can be rowdy, but I have never seen anything that bad. When FI and were home later, we talked about it. It brought up a really good conversation for us in regards to discipline, rules, how to handle a situation like that if/when our kids get unruly. We also hashed out what kind of boundaries we will place, and at what age is appropriate for different types of disciplineHow would you have reacted? What do you consider would have been appropriate reactions to the kids and your friend if you were in my position?

Re: What would you do in this situation? (not WR)

  • Yikes... sorry about the shitty font and paragraph breaks. It didn't do what I wanted, and I am blocked from editing my posts at work.
  • Yikes!  It's hard not to say anything when kids act like that, but I think you did the right thing by keeping your mouth shut.  I definitely agree with your FI though that they should never be invited over to your house, I really wouldn't be able to keep my mouth shut if someone else's kids were acting like that at my house.

    But at least good came out of it in bringing up that discussion with your FI on how you'd handle your kids.  It sounds like your friends never talked about it....
  • In Response to <a href=" Topic Wedding BoardsForum:136Discussion:1152a54d-c8e9-4361-98f1-9443b08c86d2Post:ea7ede5b-de78-4a5e-aab6-feb31c0bc62e">Re: What would you do in this situation? (not WR)</a>:
    [QUOTE]Yikes!  It's hard not to say anything when kids act like that, but I think you did the right thing by keeping your mouth shut.  I definitely agree with your FI though that they should never be invited over to your house, I really wouldn't be able to keep my mouth shut if someone else's kids were acting like that at my house. But at least good came out of it in bringing up that discussion with your FI on how you'd handle your kids.  It sounds like your friends never talked about it....
    Posted by jemmini6[/QUOTE]

    Took the words right outta my mouth.  

    It depends on how close I am to the person as to whether I'd say something to the kids or the parents.  One of my close friends has a son who was about 7 when we first started hanging out and he would act out like that non stop.  I know it mostly came from the fact that my friend was very young when she had him and the dad is barely there.  One day after he was particualrly rude I refused to speak to him and when he asked why I told him that I didn't care to have a conversation with someone who was mean and disrespectful.  He did the whole "well you aren't my mom thing" and I said I may not be (thank God under my breath) however I am an adult who has been asked to watch over you and when you are with me and you speak to me you will do so with respect and act right or you will do it in silence.  Every time I have been with him in the last several years he speaks respectfully to me...still doesn't to his mom though sigh.

    Some people just aren't good parents from some of the things I have seen out there and they never put any effort in to changing that.  I definitely agree that the fact that you and Fi were able to have an honest discussion regarding your views on kids, their behavior and your potential actions towards it is a great outcome for the two of you.  BF and I regularly use situations like that to have talks about what we'd do if it were us.

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  • bethsmilesbethsmiles Denver, CO member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I wouldn't have said anything, I don't think it would've been my place to. It's not how I'd raise my own kids (BF and I have had lots of discussions about that) but if that's how they are choosing to live their lives that's their decision.

  • Honestly, I probably would've left.  I would've said I felt ill or something (which, in your case wouldn't entirely be a lie) and left.

    I can't stand screaming and chaos...and I hate watching people be bad parents.
  • @shoes - The thought crossed my mind. I don't think I will be going over there for dinner anytime soon.
  • In Response to <a href=" Topic Wedding BoardsForum:136Discussion:1152a54d-c8e9-4361-98f1-9443b08c86d2Post:1f9672d2-2c29-4413-9d73-a4b8847fd98b">Re: What would you do in this situation? (not WR)</a>:
    [QUOTE]Nursey, kudos for handling that well.  I'd be livid.  FI's niece is NOT well behaved, and it makes me so mad.  Even on Saturday getting ready for the wedding, FBIL's wife just brought the kids in and went about her own stuff.  If I hadn't been there, her 1 year old would have torn apart the bouquets.  FI and I have more or less discussed that our kids will be properly disciplined and taught proper behavior, but honestly we're really far out from having kids that we don't discuss specifics.   I'd be afraid of saying anything to my friends because I <strong>wouldn't want to come off as a judgy-non-parent,</strong> but I would definitely turn down any offers to hang out with the kids.  
    Posted by yaga13[/QUOTE]

    That's exactly what I wanted to avoid! I'm not a parent, so I am in no place to say more than I did.... and I still felt guilting for even having to ask the kids to not touch my boob or drag me around the house or wipe food on my clothes. 

    We aren't close enough where I would even consider saying anything, either. We will continue getting our kid fixes through his (well behaved) nieces and nephew.
  • thejucheideathejucheidea East Nashville, Tennessee member
    Tenth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    A rolled up newspaper is how I'd deal with it.

    I kid, I kid.

    Tyler's already decided that if our kids are bad, he's just going to lock down the wireless and funnel off the ethernet from their rooms so they can't access the Internet. He says that will be punishment enough, and considering our joint Internet obsession, I believe him.

  • SwazzleSwazzle New Jersey member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Yikes. That's like my worst nightmare.  You definitely handled it way, way better than I ever would! 

  • I cannot stand misbehaved kids. I've babysat ONCE in my life. Once was enough. Working retail (especially when I worked at Wal-Mart) is the perfect opportunity to see every sort of temper tantrum there is. Me and FI generally don't like to be around children at all. It's not that we hate them, we just don't deal well with children. I'm sure we'll have our own one day, and if we do, we're pretty much on the same page as far as discipline.

    I think you and FI handled that situation very well, better than most. Hopefully, you'll never have to worry about those sorts of problems with your own children, but at least you already have a gameplan should the need arise.
  • I don't deal well with children. If I had been there I would have been so uncomfortable and eventually would have been to frustrated with them and started telling the kids to quiet down, do a different activity, or that food is for eating not for throwing. I probably would have made some passive aggressive comments to the parents throughout the evening as well. It's the worst when you see parents just allowing behaviour like that from their children and then they wonder why they get in to so much trouble when they're older and don't respect you as their parent. 

    I HATE when I go somewhere and hear children screaming or running around. I feel like there is a time and place for that behaviour, and out at a restaurant is not that time. If you bring your kids out to dinner, great, but have some respect for everyone around you and try to keep them quite and behaving. I'm sure parents think their kid is the greatest thing on the earth, but not everyone else does and we don't want to deal with them. We avoid going out early in hopes that children won't be around. Sorry, I'm not a bitter old lady who hates everyone, but I don't think kids misbehaving is cute/funny, it's rude and I needed to rant about it.
  • Quilt / HULU / RDR / stillwell - So I'm not crazy in thinking these kids are little terrors and that I will never let my kids get away with that. ;)
  • I'm not a fan of children at the best of times, forget unruly children. Disney was such a nightmare I refuse to ever go back. And if I ever have to go to Orlando for any reason, I'm flying to Tampa, renting a car then driving to Orlando, never ever flying into Orlando again. I probably would have told my friend that I was leaving because her kids were holy terrors. I wouldn't give parenting advice, because I'm not a parent, but I would not have stayed in that situation,
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  • I think you did the right thing by keeping your mouth shut in their home.

    In YOUR home, you'd be within your rights to ask the kids to stop doing whatever, and to ask the parents to intervene and stop their kids from doing things you didn't want them doing.

    I also think that it's okay for you to politely, calmly, but firmly say to other people's kids, "Please don't pull on me. I don't like that." Make it clear, where the parents can hear you, that you don't appreciate being pulled on/hit/groped. I think it is always appropriate, when it involves your person, to make it clear when you are uncomfortable. It's also appropriate to say, "Please don't speak to me/say xyz to me. I don't like that." if they say things that are insulting, rude, or inappropriate.

    There are ways to make it clear what kind of behavior you don't appreciate in other people's kids without making it a judgment on their parenting. All children misbehave sometimes, and as long as you're not actually disciplining other people's kids or lecturing the parents on their parenting, you are well within your rights to say something about words/behavior that is directed at you.

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  • The good news is, if the parents want to change their ways, it is not too late to break bad habits in the kids. The parents have created a terrible situation.

    I was at my friend's for dinner, and she has 2 great kids. But they are little (3 yrs and 1 1/2 yrs). Well the little one was crying uncontrollably, wouldn't let mom put him down, wouldn't go to dad/me/Donald. Then the older one starting getting a little whiney. Not bad...but enough to frustrate mom. And then I thought of something that this same friend taught me when the little Bean was a youngun-the art of re-direction.

    So I got down on the floor with the older one and asked if he'd like to hear a song. Within the first line, little one got down off of mommy's hip and sat down with us and enjoyed the song/playing etc. Instead of focusing on what they were whining about, they focused on the distraction-me.

    Now, this may not have worked in the situation you found yourself in, and the parents are already doing such a wonderful job themselves (sarcasm, anyone?), but try it the next time you're in a similar situation. So, little Sally is screaming her head off about something and mom is clearly at her wits end. You say, "Hey, Sally! I hear you have a favorite book you like to read each night. Want to read it with me?" Or, "Hey Sally! I just learned this neat game. Want to play?" No guarantee that it will work, but isn't it always fun to at least try? The other thing, is that this won't necessarily fix the behavior. Especially if it's just you performing it on your few and far between visits. Could it work with young ones if performed on a regular basis by parents? I think so. So-redirecting from undesirable behavior, to more desirable behavior, instead of losing your cool and screaming at kid, spouse, etc.

    As far as the parents go...they sound like they are the ones who need the big beating!
    "Stuart was scared, but he loved Margalo, Mommy. And there is nothing bigger than love." -The Bean
     "His farts smell like Satan's asshole mixed with a skunk's vagina. But it's okay, because I love him." -CSousa

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