supervising ds at a friend's house--WWYD? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 12-13-2005, 01:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,
I have a good friend who recently had twins and she also has a 3 year old boy. My ds and I went to visit them recently during the day and my friend seemed comfortable sitting in the kitchen while the boys played in the living room by themselves. My son is 2 1/2 and I still keep a close eye on him in my own home, never mind someone else's. He is not that inquisitive, but the room the boys were playing in had a computer table and I didn't want him playing with it. Also my friend's son was very possessive of his toys and kept taking things out of ds's hands. I know this is typical behavior and due in part to some need to control his situation after the huge upheaval of twins.
Also, obviously caring for twins is all-consuming but for most of our visit they were asleep.

Anyway, I was uncomfortable because my friend seemed surprised that I kept checking on the kids.

My husband and I were recently invited to a dinner party at the house with some friends and I have been encouraged to bring my son so that the boys could play together.

I'm thinking of leaving ds with my mil. It would be nice to have an evening out with my dh and if I did bring ds I don't want to be the noodge to constantly be the one checking on the kids. Also, an evening dinner party may not be the ideal time for social interaction for ds.

What do you all think? I do think it is a nice change for a friend to encourage us to bring our child along for an evening get-together but I don't want to be the only one supervising the kids.
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#2 of 8 Old 12-13-2005, 03:21 AM
 
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This is an interesting topic. My DD is 19 mos and very "busy" KWIM? When visiting someone else's house, I follow her around CONSTANTLY. If she finds a nice safe activity, I'll try to sit between the "adult" space and "kid" zone so that I can visit, but I'm ready for when she's off and running again. I always feel like I am the only one even remotely engaged with the children (with the exception of one dear friend, and we've talked about this a lot!) . The other parents seem content to just let them do whatever, and then yell at them when they do something "naughty".

I view my role as two-fold in these situations. One, I don't want DD getting hurt. I know *my* house, but when visiting someone else's, there are hidden potential dangers everywhere that I just can't anticipate unless I'm engaged with what she's doing. Two, I don't want her breaking something that's not ours. That's just common courtesy, IMO. I think you're awesome for being so involved with your child. Most parents seem to view social situations as a chance to escape, rather than interact with, their children.

As for your upcoming date, I would decide whether it's an evening out for you & DH, or a chance for your child to socialize with your friend's DSs- and then take your DS or not, depending on what kind of evening you want to have. We have learned that it really can't be both-- although DH and I do "tag team" her when we go somewhere so that each of us has a chance to relax for a little while!
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#3 of 8 Old 12-13-2005, 03:59 PM
 
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Your friend sounds like she could be me (except that I don’t have twins, a computer table in the other room, nor would I be surprised if you felt it necessary to check on your 2 ½ year old…) Different parents have different comfort levels and different opinions of what is considered good development for their children. At my house, we live pretty simply. We don’t have much in terms of electronics or other non-child friendly items, and our house is extremely child friendly and child proofed. I don’t think much about my DC (or even the children of others) being out of my site. (DS1 is 46 months and DS2 is 21 months) I feel like I know my kids pretty well, I can usually tell what they are doing by sound, and I think it healthy that they are sometimes able to play without my involvement or even constant supervision.

When others are at my house, I try to be a good host, sensitive the needs of my guests. If I need to do something out of the view line of my kids, I don’t expect that the guest will also leave their own view line with their kids but if they choose to do so, I don’t fret as I am confident that my house is child friendly, and I ASSUME that the parents are in tune with their own kid’s and would not have done so if not appropriate and within the parents and child’s level of comfort. When we are visitors elsewhere, I follow the lead of my inner voice. There have been times that I have gained a level of comfort to allow the children to play unsupervised, though more typically I don’t gain that level of comfort and stay very close the entire visit.

As for the dinner party…hard to say given the limited information, but I generally look forward to these kinds of things with my kids (though granted, my friends seem to take very similar approach to parenting as I do and generally things revolve around the kids) I would talk to the host, let them know that when away from home that your/your child’s comfort level is to be close to your child, and/or that you are concerned that your child is not accustomed to being around breakable items and/or that you are concerned that this event is intended to be focused around adult interaction and that you know that your attention will be drawn to your child, a.k.a. the love of your life!!, and that you are debating whether it would be more appropriate to leave the child at your IL’s and let the host reply. If you do take DS, maybe have him bring some of his own toys so that not all is on the terms of the other child. I would expect that if you do go ahead with bringing DS, that the kids will REQUIRE almost constant interaction and supervision based on their ages (and I am guessing that this will be obvious to all persons involved, including the hosts, lol) You mention the 3 year old hording his toys…in my experience this is normal behavior, and one that your son is likely equipped to handle whether he chooses to be passive and move to the next toy or to stand up and say no, or to try to negotiate and share/take turns. In my experience, at this age, when kids are on another child’s turf, they tend to lower their expectations regarding toys and such and tend to put more of their own energies into the human dynamics. For the child who is on their own turf it seems to be the opposite, but it all seems to work out much of the time, though in ways that appear to be ‘unfair’ from an adult vantage point.

Wanted also to respond to something phaeon said,
Quote:
...The other parents seem content to just let them do whatever... Most parents seem to view social situations as a chance to escape, rather than interact with, their children.
I think if you saw me at this type of event, you would classify me as one of 'those parents', but I disagree with your statement. I think it important to expose my child to all kinds of situations, sometimes while interacting with me, and sometimes more independantly. We go to Library group, Open play group, neighborhood park, neighbor's houses, family get-together's and more, and usually the kids are the center of attention and have constant parental/adult interaction. But there are events that are geared also towards adults where the children are sometimes allowed more independant play, and I think that's great too. I find it hard to keep from jumping out of my seat each time I hear a voice raise, but in hindsite, I have always found it to enriching and a learning experiance for both my child and myself. I would never choose to escape from my children, but there are times when I choose to let them have some space from me.
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#4 of 8 Old 12-14-2005, 12:02 AM
 
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I've spent many a gathering hanging out with the kids rather than the adults. My ds wasn't comfortable w/o me in such situations so it wasn't completely a choice on my part. However, I felt that my presence was really neccessary in guiding interactions. I do think it's rather odd to let young kids play together w/o supervision.

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#5 of 8 Old 12-14-2005, 01:22 AM
 
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My family is very social and attend dinner parties, dances, bonfires, festivals, etc.... We also have a diverse social circle that includes many people without kids and many with in a wide range of ages. Dd (28 months) is a night owl and very social. She enjoys nothing more than a good dinner party or card night. She visits with the adults and plays with the kids of whatever age is available be it 10 (her best friend) or 8 months. I do not feel the need to wtach her constantly and yes I enjoy socializing myself....but would not call it "escaping". We hang out in houses I know well with adults that i trust. We all keep an eye on each other's kids and the older ones also keep an eye out. I do not let dd out of earshot. On the other hand, if she were uncomfortable, I would definately stay with her as much as she needed. And I hold nothing against anyone that does want/need to spend their time.

If you think both you and your dc would enjoy it, fine. if not get a sitter or stay home.
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#6 of 8 Old 12-14-2005, 01:27 AM
 
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If you dont think you will have fun at the party because you will be too busy keeping track of your ds, I would leave him with your mil.
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#7 of 8 Old 12-14-2005, 03:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThinkBlu
Wanted also to respond to something phaeon said,

I think if you saw me at this type of event, you would classify me as one of 'those parents', but I disagree with your statement. I think it important to expose my child to all kinds of situations, sometimes while interacting with me, and sometimes more independantly. We go to Library group, Open play group, neighborhood park, neighbor's houses, family get-together's and more, and usually the kids are the center of attention and have constant parental/adult interaction. But there are events that are geared also towards adults where the children are sometimes allowed more independant play, and I think that's great too. I find it hard to keep from jumping out of my seat each time I hear a voice raise, but in hindsite, I have always found it to enriching and a learning experiance for both my child and myself. I would never choose to escape from my children, but there are times when I choose to let them have some space from me.
Actually, I think we are similar in our parenting styles. I completely agree with you that our DCs need to find their own way and learn to do things independently. I also think it's VERY important that they learn that they are part of the family, not the center of it...KWIM??!! That said, there are definitely times and places where it's perfectly acceptable to let the kids go off and do their own thing. I guess I was thinking of specifically visiting a friend's house, not necessarily a playgroup or park setting. And I was also thinking of a few parents in my circle who show up to an event and turn the kids loose, without any concern for the children's safety or the host's possessions. Not everyone has a childproofed home (and everyone has a different definition of "childproof!"), and I feel that it's my responsibility to ensure MY child doesn't get damaged by or do damage to someone else's things when we're a guest. Anyway, I guess I was just trying to let the OP know that she's not the only one who "hovers" nearby.
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#8 of 8 Old 12-15-2005, 02:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the replies.
I think everyone has made good points. I didn't want to go into too many details but I basically was asked to bring my son for entertainment for my friend's boy and with the expectation that the kids would go off and play and the adults could have time to themselves.

Not that I think that is a bad thing for kids to go off and play by themselves--I am noticing my son doing independent play more and more and it is exciting to see--but I don't want to turn him loose at someone's house he has only been at once, with another child he has only met once.

I think Phaeon wrote: And I was also thinking of a few parents in my circle who show up to an event and turn the kids loose, without any concern for the children's safety or the host's possessions. Not everyone has a childproofed home (and everyone has a different definition of "childproof!"), and I feel that it's my responsibility to ensure MY child doesn't get damaged by or do damage to someone else's things when we're a guest. Anyway, I guess I was just trying to let the OP know that she's not the only one who "hovers" nearby."

Exactly! And even in the best of childproofed homes, things can happen. I consider our house to be very well childproofed but one time dh was "in charge", he went to take a shower in the bathroom (right next to the playroom, where ds was playing) and had forgotten that he left a pen out, in ds's reach. Well, does anyone know how to get pen marks out of an ottoman? Because our ottoman is now covered in pen marks. Little things like this can happen that aren't even treacherous but I wouldn't want ds to do this over someone else's house.

Also, someone mentioned that she attends lots of gatherings where the adults regularly check on the kids or are in earshot. Unfortunately, I have been to too many of the parties where the opposite happens--where the kids are left to their own devices and the adults don't check on them regularly. I just think age 2 is too young to leave a little one unattended for long periods of time.
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