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This is a touchy subject... - Page 2

post #21 of 52
Hmm. If I were in the mom's shoes, I would have the same concerns. But I would also not have a male babysitter for my children. I had a professor in my graduate Social Work class who led a discussion on this, and it stuck with me. Freaked me out, but stuck with me.
post #22 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flor View Post
Honestly, the mother bring that up might be enough to make me rethink the situation just because she might accuse my child of something. But, my thoughts might be tainted her because of a particular biomom I have in mind.
That was my first thought. Unfortunately, in some situations, one parent will use anything and everything to damage the relationship between their child the their child's other parent and if my stepdaughter's Mother had come to me with her concerns, I would be on red alert and it would be hard not to be offended and put on the defensive that MY child would do something like that, that I would put any child in that position. Know what I mean? Not knowing your son, she very well may be legitamately concerned, but it would scare the Hell out of me to have someone confront me like that. So many repercussions that could happen if she wanted to make a big deal out of nothing.

My second thought was, as a Mother of a 12 year old boy, I'm not sure it's not asking too much of a twelve year old to expect him to take care of not one, but FOUR younger siblings. Many adult have a hard time handling four children at once.
post #23 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by boobybunny View Post
WOW!!!

(especially since the boy's bio father is in prison for "sex crimes")
Umm, what? The young man's father is a bad guy, therefore the young man is a bad guy? How unfair is that?
post #24 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjawm View Post
Hmm. If I were in the mom's shoes, I would have the same concerns. But I would also not have a male babysitter for my children. I had a professor in my graduate Social Work class who led a discussion on this, and it stuck with me. Freaked me out, but stuck with me.
Why would you have those concerns? Why wouldn't you have a male babysitter? I don't get it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
I'm not sure it's not asking too much of a twelve year old to expect him to take care of not one, but FOUR younger siblings. Many adult have a hard time handling four children at once.
Totally get this and agree. You might want to check the laws - RC cert or not, there are limits to age of sitter/ages of children/how many children are legally allowed, and I'd be surprised if this wasn't on the edge of legality or over it. Not to mention not that safe.
post #25 of 52
[QUOTE=DaffyDaphne;9374823]Why would you have those concerns? Why wouldn't you have a male babysitter? I don't get it.[quote]



My professor discussed the intense hormones teenagers experience. He also brought up the fact that, statistically speaking, males are far more likely to sexually abuse children.

It's not a risk I'm willing to take.
post #26 of 52
I totally agree.
post #27 of 52
I agree with booby and harley that, regardless of sexual concerns, 12 is mighty young to be watching not one, not two, but four kids, especially with one still a toddler. Even mature and responsible kids are still kids, and I just think that responsibility for so many at once could be overwhelming, especially if anything "crisis-like" or unexpected should arise.

Our neighbor girl babysits our 20-month-old, and she is 13. She has a lot of experience caregiving for her younger cousin (5), who lives with them, so we trust her (and her parents are always right next door). But I think I'd be pretty anxious about leaving her with more than 2 kids; honestly, when baby #2 is born, we'll probably wait longer to leave the kids with her than we will with our other babysitter, who's a very mature and experienced nanny in her 50s.
post #28 of 52
[QUOTE=jjawm;9379052][QUOTE=DaffyDaphne;9374823]Why would you have those concerns? Why wouldn't you have a male babysitter? I don't get it.
Quote:



My professor discussed the intense hormones teenagers experience. He also brought up the fact that, statistically speaking, males are far more likely to sexually abuse children.

It's not a risk I'm willing to take.
I find that really, really depressing. Also, I'm guessing you don't have an adolescent, beloved boy of your own?
post #29 of 52
another thing, does the bio mom have any step siblings of her own? my mother married her husband when i was 12 and i had a HUGE crush on his son. it was a bit complicated for a while when he came to visit. i had no reason to view him as family right off the bat. i doubt it would have been much different if i'd met him at 10 or even 8. so it can happen even in healthy families. there's nothing sick about the attraction. it's quite natural and it might just be unreasonable for adults to assume kids will develop full scale family type feelings as quickly as adults can build full scale attachments to new spouses. if your kids truly see each other as siblings it might be that the biomom does not have a model in her experience for such a relationship. if one has never seen it before in practice then it could be hard to believe.
post #30 of 52
oh and what if her dd said something about her brother being "cute" or something similar. she might not want to repeat that and could see addressing the situation with you as a way of nipping the problem in the bud. just that from your post it didn't mention her placing the blame for any potential expiramentation on your son, just mentionin the babysitting as a time without adult supervision. assuming she was civil and seememed genuinely concerned why assume it's necessarily about your ds. it could be a million things you'd never know unless you asked her.

sorry no spell check nak.
post #31 of 52

many sides to story

I've been thinking about your question for over an hour, and don't think I have come up with any firm opinions or ideas, and I'm not an expert, but here are my thoughts. I should mention we have a blended family situation, although my partner's children, now 18 and 20 (they've been coming to stay with us for 15 years) lived full time with their mum. My partner and I have two children, 11 and nearly 4.

I was babysitting when I was 12, but I think I was too young - I had situations that were beyond me. The legal age is 14 where I live. I wouldn't leave my younger children with a 12 year old.

I share your shock that bm suggested such a thing, and my first reaction was that it was OTT. Twelve year olds are still innocent, or hopefully still are.

Then I considered the fact that yes, they are not birth siblings, and that some children are sexualised that young. Also, I don't know your personal situation.

So yes, it could happen.

But I am assuming you and your husband are capable parents, and that you are intuitively connected with your children. In which case you would probably know if your 12 year old was sexualised himself and likely to pass it on to younger children. Are we talking about flirtation or something more serious? Parenting calls for intuitive calls of judgement all the time. Fear is not always the right guide for parenting.

If you are tuned in to your kids, then you intuitively know what they are ready for, what they are capable of.

The problem is, your husbands former partner has a different criteria. She isn't tuned into your children, doesn't know them as well as you do, and her only concern is her own children. If I was her, in that situation, I would find it very challenging. Hopefully, rather than reacting to fearful thoughts in a controlling way, I would raise fair and reasonable issues tactfully.

If she is open to reassurance, your husband could reassure her that your son is not sexualised, if that is the case, which I'm guessing it is since the suggestion shocked you, and that you as a matter of course observe the behaviour of the children, know instinctively what they're up to, and you can assure her there is nothing to worry about. Keep an eye on the situation, but in a way that preserves the childrens' innocence. Keep everyone's best interests in mind, including your son, including your partner's children.

If you are not sure, or have any doubts about the safety of the situation for either your children or your husband's children, then err on the side of caution. Listen to your intuition. Seeing my 11 year old and his friends, it's obvious who is sexualised and who isn't.

Having said that, I flirted with my cousin from the age of four til 14 but there was never any chance of it being acted on because we were none the wiser; to have interfered with our friendship would have been the wrong thing. That alas, was a more innocent age.

My partner's children from a previous marriage have babysat my children, with the oldest, the boy, babysitting from the age of 14. Some 14 year old boys would have been a bad choice for babysitting, but he was not. The main problem I found was that when they were younger, they didn't send my son to bed when he needed to go, and when they were older, the daughter was too interested in her own social life to do the job well, although the kids were still safe. But all in all, they helped us out when we had no money to spend on babysitters to alleviate the stress of parenting. It wasn't a bad thing. We would have pulled the plug if we'd found the situation detrimental.
post #32 of 52
i have to add, having read some of the other posts, that a 12 year old looking after a toddler plus three others isn't a good idea. That maybe is the real issue.
post #33 of 52

Many sides, yes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cameliabrowne View Post

But I am assuming you and your husband are capable parents, and that you are intuitively connected with your children.

If you are tuned in to your kids, then you intuitively know what they are ready for, what they are capable of.

The problem is, your husbands former partner has a different criteria. She isn't tuned into your children, doesn't know them as well as you do, and her only concern is her own children. If I was her, in that situation, I would find it very challenging. Hopefully, rather than reacting to fearful thoughts in a controlling way, I would raise fair and reasonable issues tactfully.

If she is open to reassurance, your husband could reassure her that your son is not sexualised, if that is the case, which I'm guessing it is since the suggestion shocked you, and that you as a matter of course observe the behaviour of the children, know instinctively what they're up to, and you can assure her there is nothing to worry about.
These are pretty big assumptions and ifs. I would venture the guess that most folks do think they are capable parents, that they are intuitively connected to their kids, and that they can guage what they're ready for, or if they're "sexualized." Lots of parents miss a lot, to wit, the legions of adults molested as children whose mother never knew, etc.

I think it is grossly unfair to paint the biomom in this situation as being "only concerned about her own children." I find her request reasonable and understandable regardless of whether she herself knows the stepmother's 12 yo son and adores him herself. She's got every right to make reasonable requests of surrogate mothers of her children. And it isn't necessarily because of anything that may have happened to her or unnaturally skewed her opinions in any way, and no one really has any position questioning her about it at all.

She made the request; if she wanted to enlighten anyone about why she made it, she probably would have already. I think it is a huge sign of respect and trust that biomom believes her request will be honored.

I don't think it's for the step mother to "find out why" or "find a way to reassure her." It places a question before the biomom that casts doubt on her ability to parent her own child... she, after all, is probably intuitively connected to HER child, and maybe her dd has communicated something. Maybe not. Maybe what will reassure her enough to come to you with more information is doing as she asked; doing the honorable thing. And not questioning her, or doubting her ability to know what her child needs.

How about focusing on how important it is to the enduring happiness of the whole family constellation to respect the biomom's request, plain and simple? How about looking at this from her point of view? She's asking, nicely, and it is reasonable without even considering the sexual inappropriateness fears/ possibility. Why rock the boat over this?

Oh, and to whoever said you can tell the children that have been sexualized... this is very, very wrong and could be terribly misleading, imho.

VF
post #34 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5 kids blended! View Post
Hi everyone,

Today, my step childrens mother, brought it to our attention that she is not comfortable with him babysitting because she is worried about the kids becoming sexually curious with each other. She thinks we should not be leaving them together unsupervised to avoid any chance of someone, being tempted to act out sexually with one of the other kids.
I was so shocked and upset by this because our kids are being raised as brother and sisters.
Am I wrong to feel completely insulted that she would think that we would put any of our kids in a situation where they could be in danger of being molested? and that it could be my son doing it?

I'm curious to hear your opinions on this...I am at a loss for words.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Viewfinder View Post

I find her request reasonable and understandable regardless of whether she herself knows the stepmother's 12 yo son and adores him herself. She's got every right to make reasonable requests of surrogate mothers of her children. And it isn't necessarily because of anything that may have happened to her or unnaturally skewed her opinions in any way, and no one really has any position questioning her about it at all.
The request that the 12 year old not babysit, I agree is reasonable. That the children are never left unsupervised is not reasonable at all without some further explaination.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viewfinder View Post
She made the request; if she wanted to enlighten anyone about why she made it, she probably would have already. I think it is a huge sign of respect and trust that biomom believes her request will be honored.
But it's not all about her, the OP is a "biomom" too. If the wife-in-law has a reason to believe that the 12 year old is capable of molesting the other children, then she needs to state what those reasons are for several reasons -- first, to ensure her daughter is safe and also, if she has reason to believe this, then the step-mom needs to have that information in order to get her child help so that other children are not harmed. Sexual predators don't victimize out of "horniness" they victimize out a specific mental illness that needs to be addressed. That's why it disturbed me upthread for some posters to imply that hormones could drive a young man to sexual predation -- it simply isn't so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viewfinder View Post
I don't think it's for the step mother to "find out why" or "find a way to reassure her." It places a question before the biomom that casts doubt on her ability to parent her own child... she, after all, is probably intuitively connected to HER child, and maybe her dd has communicated something. Maybe not. Maybe what will reassure her enough to come to you with more information is doing as she asked; doing the honorable thing. And not questioning her, or doubting her ability to know what her child needs.
Again, the honorable thing if there truly IS a reasonable concern is to speak to the stepmom about it, not simply dictate whether stepsiblings can be alone together in a house that is not hers.[/QUOTE]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viewfinder View Post
How about focusing on how important it is to the enduring happiness of the whole family constellation to respect the biomom's request, plain and simple? How about looking at this from her point of view? She's asking, nicely, and it is reasonable without even considering the sexual inappropriateness fears/ possibility. Why rock the boat over this?
Again, I don't think it's reasonable at all to insist that stepsiblings are always "supervised" in the OP's own home. As a stepmother, I would and have done many things to make my "wife-in-law" comfortable, but I'm not going to adhere to unexplained, unreasonable expectations in my own home just because she wants me to and asks nicely.
post #35 of 52
I do think this is a matter of respect for the bio-mom. I have also read statistics that young men are far more likely to molest a younger child than are young women. It may have been in Gavin DeBecker's book, The Gift of Fear, or Protecting the Gift. While a 12 year old may seem innocent, you do not know what he has heard or seen at school. Now there is talk of making contraception available in middle school. I prefer not to leave children unsupervised, especially if someone else's child is visiting my home. I prefer to have doors open if the younger kids have gone into another room to play. Kids can be curious. Bored kids can get silly in various ways. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I think that caring for that many younger children is a lot of responsibility for a 12 year old and that the bio-mom's request should be respected. In an emergency, letting him care for them would be a different story, but as a regular thing, no. Really, what do you need to do and where would you need to go that you'd have to have him babysit anyway? If you need to go to the store, take the stepkids with you and leave yours home with 12 yr old if that's what you want to do.
post #36 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennlyn View Post
I do think this is a matter of respect for the bio-mom. I have also read statistics that young men are far more likely to molest a younger child than are young women. It may have been in Gavin DeBecker's book, The Gift of Fear, or Protecting the Gift. While a 12 year old may seem innocent, you do not know what he has heard or seen at school. Now there is talk of making contraception available in middle school. I prefer not to leave children unsupervised, especially if someone else's child is visiting my home. I prefer to have doors open if the younger kids have gone into another room to play. Kids can be curious. Bored kids can get silly in various ways. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I think that caring for that many younger children is a lot of responsibility for a 12 year old and that the bio-mom's request should be respected. In an emergency, letting him care for them would be a different story, but as a regular thing, no. Really, what do you need to do and where would you need to go that you'd have to have him babysit anyway? If you need to go to the store, take the stepkids with you and leave yours home with 12 yr old if that's what you want to do.
But these aren't kids "visiting" your home, they're not on a playdate, they are family. These kids are siblings.

Again, I definitely agree that a 12 year old should not be supervising/babysitting that many young kids, but the message that it sends to ALL the kids, not just the boy, is unacceptable to me. This is not some stranger off the street, it's family. As I said, if bio-mom has a legitimate reason other than "he's a boy" to ask for the kids to be supervised together, that's one thing, but she should say what that reason is so it can be dealt with.
post #37 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaffyDaphne View Post
But these aren't kids "visiting" your home, they're not on a playdate, they are family. These kids are siblings.
No, they are not. They are step-siblings who have only been living together for two years.

I would respect the bio-mother's wishes on this issue. I think it is the only decent thing to do. I understand the desire to defend your son, but OTOH molestation does happen, a lot. And if she does not have the trust you do about whether the situation is safe for her children, that matters.
post #38 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by thismama View Post
No, they are not. They are step-siblings who have only been living together for two years.

I would respect the bio-mother's wishes on this issue. I think it is the only decent thing to do. I understand the desire to defend your son, but OTOH molestation does happen, a lot. And if she does not have the trust you do about whether the situation is safe for her children, that matters.
I'm sorry, no they are not what? Family? On a playdate? Or siblings?
post #39 of 52
One thing isn't clear here- which kids are whose? OP said the 12 yob and 3yob are hers, is the other boy hers as well? Are the two girls the stepchildren? If the girls are the stepsisters, maybe that is why their mom is concerned about an older boy being in charge. Is the 8 yog the stepsister? If so, is she comfortable with the older boy being in charge? Maybe the children expressed concern to their mom or are uncomfortable with the oldest boy being in charge. I am not saying he is irresponsible in any way or incapable of actually caring for the younger kids. How often are they together? If it is only a couple of weekends a month, I don't know if that is enough time to feel brother/sister close to the other children. If they had all been raised together since a young age with oldest boy usually being in charge the dynamic might be different. The oldest stepchild might not like the situation as they have been displaced as the oldest. If I were the mom I would not want to feel uncomfortable with what was going on in the other home while my children were there. Everyone has different comfort levels. Some parents don't care if their children run in the streets with whoever stops by. Some don't want T or M rated videogames. Some don't want TV. While the mom may not be able to control what her kids are eating/viewing at the dad's home, if she doesn't feel her kids are safe when there because the 12 yr old is in charge, she should have her wishes respected.
post #40 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennlyn View Post
One thing isn't clear here- which kids are whose? OP said the 12 yob and 3yob are hers, is the other boy hers as well? Are the two girls the stepchildren? If the girls are the stepsisters, maybe that is why their mom is concerned about an older boy being in charge. Is the 8 yog the stepsister? If so, is she comfortable with the older boy being in charge? Maybe the children expressed concern to their mom or are uncomfortable with the oldest boy being in charge. I am not saying he is irresponsible in any way or incapable of actually caring for the younger kids. How often are they together? If it is only a couple of weekends a month, I don't know if that is enough time to feel brother/sister close to the other children. If they had all been raised together since a young age with oldest boy usually being in charge the dynamic might be different. The oldest stepchild might not like the situation as they have been displaced as the oldest. If I were the mom I would not want to feel uncomfortable with what was going on in the other home while my children were there. Everyone has different comfort levels. Some parents don't care if their children run in the streets with whoever stops by. Some don't want T or M rated videogames. Some don't want TV. While the mom may not be able to control what her kids are eating/viewing at the dad's home, if she doesn't feel her kids are safe when there because the 12 yr old is in charge, she should have her wishes respected.
Yeah, you're right that the details are fuzzy. But she (biomom) didn't just have a problem with the babysitting dealeo (I would too, I think that's reasonable) she said they should not be together unsupervised specifically because of some vague (so far as we know) suggestion that she feels one child might molest/prey on another.

What does "together unsupervised" mean, in that case? In the basement while mom and dad are upstairs? Playing a board game while mom does the laundry? Riding bikes in the woods behind the house? See what I mean? Unless she has some reason to request this (and is willing to share it) I think it's an unreasonable request.

My SS, fwiw, is quite definitely a sibling to his sisters, even though he's 10 years older than one and 13 years older than the other, and he certainly wasn't "visiting" us or having a playdate or something when he was with us, he is our family!
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