The last straw... withholding heat in a cold winter - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 61 Old 04-11-2012, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have had issues with my 'friend' for a while now.  The short back story is that my dd and another little girl Natalie became friends in preschool.  They were two peas in a pod and really loved each other.  Natalie's mom and I have many things in common and always have lots to chat about.  I really thought this could be the beginning of a long friendship.  It has proven otherwise.

 

I am all for parents parenting their children how they see fit.  Whether to parent AP, or feed sugar, or play with plastic, or not... really every family situation is so dynamic and we are all living in this blended world... live and let live is a good way I view the world.

 

Okay so I think this mother has extreme practices....  An example of this is that her children can not keep gifts, they can only have old worn toys (books and a few toys are okay, but nothing plastic or nice),  they eat very traditionally (whole foods in the vein of Nourishing Traditions) which is fine, but I really can't see why MORE food isn't available.  Her children are all rail thin and whenever they came to my house they would eat as much as I could give them (of a similar variety as their mom provides).  This screams bad parenting to me, but I don't say anything because it is really none of my bussiness.  Also, one child can not have a playdate or parkdate without the other... and mom is always making sure that when 'friends' are mentioned that both girls say their sister is their 'best friend'.  There are more examples, but you get the idea.

 

So this winter when I went over for the only playdate we had with Natalie in many months the mom explained to me that they are not heating their house because... hmmm, well the only reason she gave is that they didn't want to spend the x number of dollars on the heater.  Now we live in the SW and so it isin't a brutal freezing winter, but regularly drops below 35 at night.  Isn't this going waaaay tooooo far?   When I got there one of her rail thin girls was huddled next to the space heater in bare feet on the concrete floor....

 

by the way, both parents have advanced degrees and both parents work for the major employer in town and I know they are not rich, but um... isn't this going too far?

 

 

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#2 of 61 Old 04-11-2012, 03:59 PM
 
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Her children are all rail thin and whenever they came to my house they would eat as much as I could give them (of a similar variety as their mom provides).  This screams bad parenting to me,

Mama please be careful - this is judgement. just coz they are rail thin and eat large meals in your house doesnt mean they are being neglected - which you are implying. under 5 dd always found someone elses food better than ours. so right after a meal she could go over to the neighbors and eat another meal with them. i lived through so much embarrasement during that phase.

 

So this winter when I went over for the only playdate we had with Natalie in many months the mom explained to me that they are not heating their house because... hmmm, well the only reason she gave is that they didn't want to spend the x number of dollars on the heater.  Now we live in the SW and so it isin't a brutal freezing winter, but regularly drops below 35 at night.  Isn't this going waaaay tooooo far?   When I got there one of her rail thin girls was huddled next to the space heater in bare feet on the concrete floor....

to me this is not neglect either. the girls could wear something warmer. perhaps they are at the stage where they are refusing. but it makes sense to me to turn down the heat at night. why have heat when everyone is under the blankets anyways.

 

by the way, both parents have advanced degrees and both parents work for the major employer in town and I know they are not rich, but um... isn't this going too far?

mama you have some issues with this mom. i think because of your issues perhaps this is clouding how you look at this family.

 

yes the mom goes to extremes. but you are implying neglect. that can be v. dangerous.

 

from what little you have written - no i dont find it neglectful. however it depends on how the kids are. if they are old enough to clothe themselves then they could easily grab socks and grab a jacket which it seems they dont want to do.

 

 

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#3 of 61 Old 04-11-2012, 05:51 PM
 
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I don't know. Some things might be extreme or odd but not really neglectful or harmful. It sounds like they are living pretty different from you though.
 

Have you actually seen that your friend does not provide her children enough food or are you assuming they are not providing enough just because her kids are thin and eat a lot at your house?

I would not judge by appearance or appetite the amount of food a child has at home. My dd has always been very thin- way below average weight on the growth chart- no matter how much she eats. She is not unhealthy or restricted in the amount of food available to her. I was the same way as a child.

 

I think having a space heater is providing heat. Do the children also have access to warm clothing and blankets?

I had a very cold home when I was a kid. It did not have great heat or much insulation. We had space heaters, blankets and warm clothes. We put plastic on windows and covered them with blankets. We sat near heaters. We were a little cold sometimes in winter. It wasn't harmful even if it was uncomfortable at times. That's just the way it was.

 

It may be that they are financially strained even with degrees and jobs. If they truly do not have enough food at home and can't afford to heat their house maybe you can help them find some help. You might ask your friend if she has checked with her utility company for ways to keep heating costs down like an equal payment plan.


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#4 of 61 Old 04-11-2012, 06:16 PM
 
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 Not sure, but how are the children  - do they seem distressed, unhappy, anxious, scared, sad, anything off in any way?


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#5 of 61 Old 04-11-2012, 07:01 PM
 
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While I can't say for sure that everything sounds hunky dory, I haven't read anything that is definitely off. As others have pointed out, being thin doesn't mean neglect (my daughter is in the 3rd percentile for weight, and believe me, we offer her tons of food). Eating a ton at your house doesn't mean anything either. They could eat the same amount at home, or they could just have a case of the grass is greener. Sometimes DD eats more elsewhere than at home.

 

As for the heat, while the idea of sleeping on concrete sounds a bit extreme to me, I personally don't find it necessary to heat the house when it goes down to 35F at night (it's not 35F in the house, more like in the 50s). You'll find DD prancing around the house with no socks often. Sometimes in summer jammies even. I'm always telling her to go put on socks or a sweater but she's just not cold, what can I say. We have plenty of blankets, but she'll kick them off at night. She gets hot.

 

We really can't conclude anything either way from what you've observed.


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#6 of 61 Old 04-12-2012, 05:10 AM
 
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I feel like you pretty much described my family... and I'm not neglecting DS or anything!

We are a bit minimalist I guess, we regularly declutter & donate DS's toys (and many other items throughout the house) and we do generally return or donate gifts that we don't feel comfortable with DS playing with. Most of his toys & books came from the thrift store. DS has never complained and other kids love his playroom so I don't see the problem with him not having "plastic or nice toys."

DS eats non-stop from morning to sundown and yes, he always prefers other people's foods, and yes, he is on the tiny side (I wouldn't say 'thin' but he's only around the 15% for weight). It's embarrassing sometimes that he's constantly asking other people for food (even though I always keep a huge bag filled with food with us all day). I have joked to people, "I swear I do feed him at home!!" DS has been on several different diets (as in vegan, whole foods, paleo, etc. -- not weight loss diets of course! smile.gif) and I don't think the type of diet he is eating has had any effect on how much he eats on playdates so I don't see how following a NT-type diet would be an issue. I don't see any problem with their eating habits at all, based solely on the info your provided here.

I also don't see a huge issue with the heat, if they have a space heater then they do have heat. We live in the northeast & don't always keep the heat on (unless it's below freezing) and even on very cold nights we are likely to keep the heat low and just close the bedroom door & it stays plenty warm. We have blankets and sweaters and socks (which DS never wears, he's always in bare feet no matter how cold, just what he prefers I guess).

So I think you are over-reacting to some differences in your parenting/lifestyles... but I also know that sometimes it's hard to convey the whole picture in an online post. Does the mom provide food for her kids? Are there blankets or warm clothing available (even if they aren't being used)? Are there a few toys (even if they aren't "nice" ones in your opinion)?

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#7 of 61 Old 04-12-2012, 05:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

While I can't say for sure that everything sounds hunky dory, I haven't read anything that is definitely off. As others have pointed out, being thin doesn't mean neglect (my daughter is in the 3rd percentile for weight, and believe me, we offer her tons of food). Eating a ton at your house doesn't mean anything either. They could eat the same amount at home, or they could just have a case of the grass is greener. Sometimes DD eats more elsewhere than at home.

 

As for the heat, while the idea of sleeping on concrete sounds a bit extreme to me, I personally don't find it necessary to heat the house when it goes down to 35F at night (it's not 35F in the house, more like in the 50s). You'll find DD prancing around the house with no socks often. Sometimes in summer jammies even. I'm always telling her to go put on socks or a sweater but she's just not cold, what can I say. We have plenty of blankets, but she'll kick them off at night. She gets hot.

 

We really can't conclude anything either way from what you've observed.

What kid doesn't walk around naked in the winter and then complain that they're cold? ROTFLMAO.gif
 

 


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#8 of 61 Old 04-12-2012, 05:30 AM
 
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It sounds like they're choosing a pretty monastic lifestyle, and that they have some kind of agenda, but there are worse things than having idealistic although possibly slightly misguided and overly controlling parents. The kids might harbor some resentment, but they'll survive assuming they are being provided with some source of warmth and an adequate amount of food.

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#9 of 61 Old 04-12-2012, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I guess the 'I'm being too judgmental" have it... I suppose I am.  I do have issues with this mom and I see from the replies I have gotten that my issues are clouding my judgement.  I am all for choices and freedom.  I have chosen not to contact these folks anymore.  It just bothers me too much to see the monastic choices that they are making... I think the kids are fairing pretty well.  I mean they don't have chronic health issues and they do play and laugh and such when out and about.  It seems extreme living to me, but that is their choice...  just for the record I know they are making their choices not based on lack of $$$$.  I don't know exactly what they earn but I know the choices are moral in nature.   Oh well, some friends lost, some friends gained...

 

thanks for all your insight.

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#10 of 61 Old 04-12-2012, 10:48 AM
 
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It sounds like they're concerned about overconsumption - like not having processed food, not using heat when they live in a warm climate and instead relying on dressing differently, not having a ton of toys. There's a lot to be said for that, though I'm not there.

My kids always eat a ton at friends' houses. They are thin but not rail thin, but some kids are naturally rail thin, and most kids will eat a ton at friends' houses, particularly if they only get whole healthy foods at home and are offered more variety elsewhere.

So I agree that it's judgement, and I'm happy to see you recognize it in yourself. I'm still working on stepping back and recognizing when I'm reacting out of judgement, but it's a good thing to learn to do.
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#11 of 61 Old 04-12-2012, 10:52 AM
 
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I live in the SW and I know people who don't use heat or don't even have working heat (and not from poverty). I don't see it as a big deal, although I can't do it.

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#12 of 61 Old 04-12-2012, 10:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Felicitymom View Post

Well, I guess the 'I'm being too judgmental" have it... I suppose I am.  I do have issues with this mom and I see from the replies I have gotten that my issues are clouding my judgement.  I am all for choices and freedom.  I have chosen not to contact these folks anymore.  It just bothers me too much to see the monastic choices that they are making... I think the kids are fairing pretty well.  I mean they don't have chronic health issues and they do play and laugh and such when out and about.  It seems extreme living to me, but that is their choice...  just for the record I know they are making their choices not based on lack of $$$$.  I don't know exactly what they earn but I know the choices are moral in nature.   Oh well, some friends lost, some friends gained...

 

thanks for all your insight.


I've gotta say, mama...I'm, like, SUPER scratching my head at how you are reacting to this family. You are seriously going to phase this mama out over what you described?? You've described the way that I live pretty spot on.

I mean, aside from the heat thing...but that's only because we heat with Anthracite and we cant help but have tropical temps around here during the winter. But if it's before mid-November or after mid-March...I don't care what the temperature is, I'm not heating the damn house. That's what we have sweaters for. If it gets too cold, I'll bake a lot and the house will get toasty (and bellies will get full!) that way. But it's funny that you mentioned the space heater as particularly offensive to you, as my children have, on multiple occasions, made a little tent on cold days and huddled in it while I pointed the space heater at the entrance of it to heat the space up for them. So...am I a monster?

 

The food thing...OH PUHLEASE! Yeah, you invite my kids over...they will make you think they haven't eaten in DAYS. Truth is, just about all they do all day is snack and snack and snack....CONSTANTLY. We are traditional/Weston Price style/sometimes paleo-ish eaters over here, so if we go someplace where there is high sugar, high carb, more "junky" type food..or, gasp, their favorite EVER: processed food made especially FOR kids (think capri sun juice, crackers/cookies in the shapes of animals, fruit roll-ups, etc) they will sit in the kitchen and just look at the the fridge/pantry and will eat anything you give them and nod like bobble heads if you ask them if they want more. They will eat you out of house and home...because I don't buy that shit around here. I don't restrict if we are out and about and it's offered to them, because even I enjoy an occasional piece of junky food...but I'm not going to spend money on gut rot, so they don't get that stuff at home. They LOVE the food I give them here, they eat it all day long happily....but when we go somewhere with "new and awesome-r" food, they gobble like they are starved at home. I know SOOOOO many kids who eat like that at other peoples houses.

 

The toy thing is weird to me...you say "nice/plastic"...what do you mean by that? I do not buy new things for my kids. They have a few really, super awesome toys. There are a few things they have that are plastic or have plastic parts, because they were just too completely neat-o to pass up for their plastic alone...but for the most part, they have WAYYYY less toys than any other kids I know and they are mostly wooden and "activity based" - think tools, kitchen stuff, dress up, big wooden dolls house). I was raised the same way (cherishing a few precious-to-me toys) and, ahem, funny enough...never really developed that "good old American consumerism" - my kids are too busy playing with dogs and chickens outside to play with toys much inside anyway.

 

 

I'm not trying to rag on you at all, but mama, I really think you should think hard about why you are judging this woman so harshly. If you are THIS turned off by her lifestyle...I can only imagine that you are living a lifestyle I would find very uncomfortable...but if I liked you and our kids were real friends, I would never stop being your friend over it. You would trade friendship over these things??

 

IMO, true friends are too hard to come by to let things like what you've described get in the way. All I can think of is how skinny I was as a kid. My knees were SO huge, like a baby horse or something, my feet stuck out like I was wearing water skiis...I wonder now, how many people thought my mother was starving us! lol.gif  Oh well.

 

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#13 of 61 Old 04-12-2012, 11:14 AM
 
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i dont want to be this family but i wish i knew people like this family. everyone i know is normal

:(

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#14 of 61 Old 04-12-2012, 12:12 PM
 
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I don't think there's anything wrong with distancing yourself from people if the way they live bother you. Even if you intellectually acknowledge that it's fine. There's no law saying you have to be close to everyone, or even that you have to justify distancing yourself.


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#15 of 61 Old 04-12-2012, 12:21 PM
 
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      Quote:

Originally Posted by BroodyWoodsgal View Post


I've gotta say, mama...I'm, like, SUPER scratching my head at how you are reacting to this family. You are seriously going to phase this mama out over what you described?? You've described the way that I live pretty spot on.


You don't let your kids keep gifts, and they have to have playdates together and have to refer to each other as "best friends?"  I mean I'm all for simple living and valuing family, but I can't get behind that kind of control. I wouldn't call CPS over this family or anything, but based on what the OP has mentioned, I can't say I blame her for not really wanting to be friends. 

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#16 of 61 Old 04-12-2012, 08:53 PM
 
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      Quote:


You don't let your kids keep gifts, and they have to have playdates together and have to refer to each other as "best friends?"  I mean I'm all for simple living and valuing family, but I can't get behind that kind of control. I wouldn't call CPS over this family or anything, but based on what the OP has mentioned, I can't say I blame her for not really wanting to be friends. 


I'm with you. I found the OP really sad, and then was surprised by the responses. I went back and re-read the OP to see if I had misread it the first time.

 



Quote:
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t they are not heating their house because... hmmm, well the only reason she gave is that they didn't want to spend the x number of dollars on the heater.  Now we live in the SW and so it isin't a brutal freezing winter, but regularly drops below 35 at night.  Isn't this going waaaay tooooo far?   When I got there one of her rail thin girls was huddled next to the space heater in bare feet on the concrete floor....


This is just a sad picture. It would be one thing if the family were living in poverty and needed assistance, but to live like this by choice shows a lack of mental balance.

 

Living frugally, eating simple foods, and reusing items are one thing. Living in misery with trashy things is quite another.

 

I have a old friend who is always extremely tight for money, but her children are well cared for. All their clothes and toys are second hand, but everything is in great shape. All the food is inexpensive, but her children have a healthy glow from eating right and playing outside. Caring well for children doesn't have much to do with money.

 

I think that what the OP is seeing is intentional neglect. Her friend sounds unbalanced to me.

 

We've lived in Arizona. Before we moved there, I assumed that we would never use a heater because we are not weather wimps. It turns out that low 30's at night is cold, even if you have cacti in your yard. Living in Arizona isn't an excuse to let your children freeze.

 


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#17 of 61 Old 04-12-2012, 09:40 PM
 
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      Quote:


You don't let your kids keep gifts, and they have to have playdates together and have to refer to each other as "best friends?"  I mean I'm all for simple living and valuing family, but I can't get behind that kind of control. I wouldn't call CPS over this family or anything, but based on what the OP has mentioned, I can't say I blame her for not really wanting to be friends. 



It was these issues that stood out to me as well. The diet, eating a ton at a friend's house, and the use of space heaters didn't really bother me. Though, I do wonder... do you really save more money using space heaters though out the house as opposed to keeping the thermostat set at a reasonable temperature? Most people I know that use space heaters are those that don't have central heat, so I guess I've never considered it.

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#18 of 61 Old 04-12-2012, 10:49 PM
 
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. Though, I do wonder... do you really save more money using space heaters though out the house as opposed to keeping the thermostat set at a reasonable temperature?


You are much more likely to have a house fire using space heaters. They just aren't as safe. Esp with small children.

 

 

 


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#19 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 12:30 AM
 
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I really can't see what is going with what we have been given here.  Though if you're uncomfortable with this family it is best to distance yourself.  It really doesn't sound like abuse though. 

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#20 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 05:38 AM
 
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OP, chances are you are seeing something in your friends that is "off" but listing things doesn't give the full picture...


Quote:
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It was these issues that stood out to me as well. The diet, eating a ton at a friend's house, and the use of space heaters didn't really bother me. Though, I do wonder... do you really save more money using space heaters though out the house as opposed to keeping the thermostat set at a reasonable temperature? Most people I know that use space heaters are those that don't have central heat, so I guess I've never considered it.


We use space heaters in the rooms in which we spend the most time. It's a big old uninsulated house in the north east US. So we keep the thermostat low and keep our living room and bedroom comfortable with space heaters rather than heating a ton of rooms we aren't even in.

 

My ds will totally huddle in front of a space heater in light weight clothes and no socks... He insists his feet can't warm up with socks on, since the socks insulate his feet from the warm air. We keep explaining that wearing socks and a sweatshirt will keep him from getting cold in the first place. But if he gets too hot, he complains he's dying of heat and strips down. Drives me nuts.

 

And tons of mamas on here talk about what they do if people give their kids gifts of which they don't approve. Made in China, plastic toys, Barbies with their disproportionate figures, battery operated toys, noisy toys, big toys that take up too much space. People on MDC frequently complain about those things and encourage moms whose children are recipients of those items to explain to their children that they are against the family values and to donate them.

 

The best friend thing could be the mom's idea about how to avoid sibling rivalry.

 

Anyway, I'm sure the OP is sensing something more than just this list of things. And there probably is something a little strange about this family. But there is really no way to judge and nothing sounds actually neglectful. One also can't judge the family's finances. Even if they have good jobs, they may have huge student loans from their advanced degrees. They may have medical bills. Even healthy people can easily rack them up, being told to go get a certain test done only to discover it isn't covered by the insurance afterwards. Breaking a bone can result in needing surgery with an overnight hospital stay and months of physical therapy, not just a xray and cast... My dh has had hospital stays that cost more than our combined yearly income. If the accident didn't happen at work, if we didn't have insurance, that would have screwed our finances for a very long time.

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#21 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 05:47 AM
 
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I grew up in the Chicago area, so cold, and I spent many winter times huddled barefoot in front of various kinds of heaters. I don't find that odd at all. That just seems like life in the winter. Now that I'm older, I put socks on. LOL. Don't know why I stayed barefoot as a kid and huddled in front of heaters or heating vents. I remember doing it at my grandma's house mainly - it was an old house and particularly drafty.

I will say that I think living in the level of austerity this family chooses to live in is way outside of what I'd choose, and I question whether their kids are learning to be less consumery as they (as I guess) hope. But I don't think they're pushing neglect. I don't get the calling their sister the best friend thing, but people can overhear things and misinterpret them, so I am not going to make assumptions based on that.
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#22 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 06:01 AM
 
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       Quote:

Originally Posted by MamaInTheDesert View Post

Though, I do wonder... do you really save more money using space heaters though out the house as opposed to keeping the thermostat set at a reasonable temperature?

 

Generally, it's less expensive to use space heaters than central heat since you can just heat certain areas. When we lived in an old house when I was a kid, we would turn the heat way down and use space heaters. We had oil filled electric ones, not the old kerosene type that are so dangerous. They make even safer ones now. 

 

ETA - This guy as a pretty good run down of the issue http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/heating.html  He also says to wear socks or slippers!

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#23 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 06:19 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

And tons of mamas on here talk about what they do if people give their kids gifts of which they don't approve. Made in China, plastic toys, Barbies with their disproportionate figures, battery operated toys, noisy toys, big toys that take up too much space. People on MDC frequently complain about those things and encourage moms whose children are recipients of those items to explain to their children that they are against the family values and to donate them.


But I always see quite a few people here that disagree with doing that.  Also, I think there's a difference between finding a certain toy or type of toy objectionable and not allowing children to keep gifts period.  As radical as some on MDC have been over the years, I've never seen anyone say they do the latter.

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#24 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 06:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AbbyGrant View Post

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But I always see quite a few people here that disagree with doing that.  Also, I think there's a difference between finding a certain toy or type of toy objectionable and not allowing children to keep gifts period.  As radical as some on MDC have been over the years, I've never seen anyone say they do the latter.

Yes, and that would be... extreme, to say the least. I think most of us assumed that the OP meant the kids aren't allowed to keep gifts mom doesn't approve of, not no gifts period. Unless maybe they are Jehovah Witnesses or something (I don't think they are allowed to give/receive bday gifts?)

I don't get the 'best friends' thing either.

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#25 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 08:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AbbyGrant View Post

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But I always see quite a few people here that disagree with doing that.  Also, I think there's a difference between finding a certain toy or type of toy objectionable and not allowing children to keep gifts period.  As radical as some on MDC have been over the years, I've never seen anyone say they do the latter.

Sure, I'm one of them. But the people who start the threads really seem to want support to toss/donate the toys they don't like. It always seemed like a 50/50 mix of opinions to me, over the years. 

 

We are just reading about the OP's interpretation of what she sees. She says they have toys. We aren't hearing an explanation from the mother. Even if the mother explained to the OP that she didn't want her children to get gifts, it could just be a strangely worded version of wanting to have a no-gifts party.  Easier to discourage people from giving them any gifts than to have to get rid of them for whatever reason.
 

 


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#26 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 08:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post

We are just reading about the OP's interpretation of what she sees.

 

Of course, but this just a chat forum and not court, so I feel okay making a judgment. smile.gif  Given everything the OP has stated about herself and the family in question, I think something is very different about this family.

 

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#27 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 10:07 AM
 
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You don't let your kids keep gifts, and they have to have playdates together and have to refer to each other as "best friends?"  I mean I'm all for simple living and valuing family, but I can't get behind that kind of control. I wouldn't call CPS over this family or anything, but based on what the OP has mentioned, I can't say I blame her for not really wanting to be friends. 


The can't keep gifts part is not how I roll *personally*, unless it's a really offensive gift, but I know a TON of parents who operate that way.

 

The play dates and "best friends" things..ugh. Yeah, I don't really love the way that sounds, but I think I understand where the mama is coming from. I VERY actively support and encourage family bond and sibling bond...my kids are very close and it's important to me that they be able count on each other as they grow up, as I am still able to count on my siblings. I do not go about it the way the mama in question is trying to do things, but I think her idea is a good one. It's just crappy execution.



As for everyone who is losing their minds over this "rail thin little girl huddling around a space heater" - oh for pete's sake, are you serious??

So, let me ask you this: If the girl were fuller figured, would it be such a "sad picture"?? If she were a bratty child that the OP disliked, would she have described it in such a sympathetic way?

 

"Rail thin girl huddled in front of a space heater" = A child who is, like MANY children, a thin little kid, is sitting hunched over (because it is chilly in the room) in front of the space heater her parents have set up, because they know that it is chilly in the room...but because it's freaking April, they don't want to turn on the central heating and burn oil/gas/whatever to heat the whole house.

 

You guys are seriously going to get all mopey about that? I live in one of the coldest regions of the country and it gets cold from Sept/Oct all the way through early May. Here's the thing though, one day in March it's 70-80 degrees...and a day or so later the temp is hitting 20...maybe even 10 degrees at night. So, the morning time all the way through mid day can be very cold...then the sun heats the house up and I'm opening windows and we're wearing tshirts.

If I fire up the stove and get the place nice and heated in the morning....it's going to be *sweltering* hot the rest of the day and we will have wasted our heating resources. So, instead of doing that, we put on freaking clothes and try not to be whiners. We bake bread. We snuggle and read books under a blanket...and if it's a truly cold day, I make a play tent for the kids, get out the tiny, electric space heater and point it inside the tent to heat it up. For the first few minutes, they huddle like little street urchins in front of the heater...it's a completely pitiful site, one that would have you "concerned" types all up in arms, I'm sure. But after the initial few minutes, they play happily inside the tent and I never have to run the space heater for more than five minutes at a time, every hour or so, to keep a nice toasty tent for them to play in.

The food thing that some of you are so hung up on..I'll say it again: My kids do nothing but eat all. day. long. If they go to someone elses house where there is "new and exciting" food around, they eat even more. I myself was a RIDICULOUSLY skinny kid who ate a ton everywhere I went.

You can't look at a kid and be like "oh, she's skinny and she eats a lot when she's over at my house" and feel comfortable judging their parent. Not cool. I'm really shocked at how seriously people are taking this situation.

If you want my opinion, yeah, the OP SHOULD stop talking to this poor woman....nobody deserves a such a shallow and judgmental friend.

 


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#28 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 10:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


You are much more likely to have a house fire using space heaters. They just aren't as safe. Esp with small children.

 

 

 



I don't think this is necessarily true. Hardly anyone uses the old style, dangerous fire-making kind of space heaters any more. Reaaallly safe, super energy effecient, high heat output space heaters are very cheap and easy to come by these days.


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#29 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 10:46 AM
 
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I had two daycare kids who were similar to this.  The mom (not so much the dad, he just went along) would not allow any toys for the children.  They were not to have toys in the house, ever, and all clothing for them had to be free.  So, very often, the 4 yr old girl came over wearing her 9 month old brother's jeans.  The largest pair of pants she owned were a 12 months, so she would unsnap the crotch and wear them that way.

 

They also didn't use heat, but we live in the Southwest too, so it wasn't really an issue.  We rarely turn our heater on here either.

 

The kids were never, ever, ever allowed a meal.  Even if the parents ate a meal, the children were "grazers".  So, they had fruits, vegies, and cheeses in muffin tins on the counter, and were not allowed to eat from each other's tin, but were also not allowed to fill up at one time.  At my house, she gorged because they were so hungry.  The only starchy food they were allowed (even at my house) was rice.  

 

The four year old would be sent out to stand on rocks in her bare feet, or on the hot patio almost every day because she was expected to learn to handle pain without complaints.  She could only come in when she stopped crying.  (our neighbor does this exact same thing with her grandson too, so it's possibly a cultural thing)

 

Mostly, I think it's just a parenting choice.  It drove me absolutely crazy!!!  But, the thing that bugged me the most was her comments about the other kids.  "Oh, I see Molly's parents allow Dora".  or "Oh, she wears princess panties?  A***** will never wear anything but plain white".  I wanted to say "stop openly critiquing these poor kids please".

 

 

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#30 of 61 Old 04-13-2012, 11:56 AM
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When temperatures drop too low, skinny kids can be in danger of hypothermia because they have no insulation.  Hypothermia is a serious cause of failure to thrive in infants.  These kids are older than that, but still, keeping warm takes energy and skinny kids don't have fat to burn - anyone can drop weight over the winter just from trying to stay warm, and skinny kids don't have weight to drop.  Once their weight is too low,  they can be more susceptible to infections and contagious illnesses, and can suffer other consequences of calorie deprivation like muscle loss and heart damage.  So yes, it is especially concerning when a skinny child is huddled by the space heater.  It's not just a problem because she looks like a poetically deprived Victorian orphan, it's that the kids with some additional weight can generate calories to maintain their body heat by burning lipids and the kids who are already bony cannot. 

 

To the OP, while nothing rises to the level of calling CPS for me, I would feel very uncomfortable with this family too.  Something seems off.  If I maintained the relationship, I would be doing it to reassure myself that the kids were occasionally getting a solid meal. 

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