hates the babysitter - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 06-24-2012, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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My 7yo hates one of our baby sitters.  Idk why.  She doesn't know why.  She says her body just tells her to hate him.   My 9 yo has no problem with him, and can't come up with any theories about what might be wrong.  She has been upset with other sitters, but not to this degree.  This kid is a great kid, he's experienced and has been an occasional sitter with us for years.  He volunteers at his church to help with the kids, got an award for a credit he earned as a student TA at the local elementary school and wants to be an elementary teacher.  Dd is prone to misplacing her anger and being pretty irrational about everything when she's mad (for instance, once she was angry that I wasn't going to drive her to school and so she hated the shirt I was wearing at the time and insisted I not wear it), my best guess is that she's actually pissed off that we're leaving her at home and taking it out on this kid.  I'm surprised hes willing to put up with it really, i doubt I would if I were a sitter - she can be pretty miserable when she sets her mind to it.  At any rate, we've pretty much stopped using him at all lately because of her feelings, which sucks as we're rural and babysitters are literally few and far between. 


But, some friends of ours are having a party that hubby and I really want to go to.  We haven't been out together in months, and he's away on buisness most of the summer.  We've been trying to get together with this circle of friends for months, but things just haven't been working out.  All our other sitters are busy, parents out of town etc.  My last shot is this kid, but i know if I use him there will be massive fallout from dd.  She will punish him and be miserable to us for at least that day, and likely the next. I feel like I'm being held hostage or something.  One part of me says that I want my kids to be able to trust their gut, and I should respect that if they don't want to be around someone.  If it was my older dd, I wouldn't question, I'd just stop using that sitter.  The other part of me says that there is no reason I shouldn't be able to leave my kids with the competent sitter of my choice and take a much needed time out with hubby.  I totally resent her leveling control over this, it doesn't feel like she's uncomfortable with him as much as she's trying to make us stay unless she is placated with the sitter of her choice (who has now outgrown babysitting and has a real job).


Anyone have similar experiences? 

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#2 of 10 Old 06-24-2012, 12:02 PM
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I have a kiddo who is super irrational at times and misplaces his anger as well so I know how that goes. However, I think you *need* to honor her feelings on this. Not liking him would be reason enough to stop using him as a sitter, but her stating "her body" doesn't like him would be a huge red flag for me. Better safe than sorry. Also I think kids deserve the courtesy of being left only in situations in which they are relatively comfortable regardless of the inconvenience it poses to us. I think you overriding her gut instinct on this would be a huge mistake with potentially devestating consequences. Kids do abuse other kids, you know. And it happens more than most people realize. Nobody leaves their kid with someone they don't trust. Even people we trust can do inappropriate things to our kids. That is the worst case scenario but even if he's a perfect babysitter, she dislikes him and doesn't feel at ease with him. Honor that.
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#3 of 10 Old 06-24-2012, 12:11 PM
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I guess I'd level with her that you'd really like to see your friends and he's ended up the only available sitter.  


I'd assume that maybe he's either stricter or less fun than other sitters (both reasons I remember not liking some sitters as much as others) and see whether you can end up planning something she can look forward to anyway (favorite ice cream, order pizza, favorite movie, no real bedtime, she can call you a bunch).  


It's possible that knowing about it in advance can help her reconcile the situation somehow herself, and if it's really still a big issue I'd keep myself in a state of mind of being willing to cancel the party.    

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#4 of 10 Old 06-24-2012, 12:49 PM
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I would NOT use the sitter.  Your kiddo is old enough to verbalize that she does NOT like the sitter. IMO that is enough to stop using that person.

Ask yourself, if this person wasn't in a teaching program and didn't have the potential certifications, would you continue to use them?


Can you find out if any of the other people at the dinner party are having sitters and you can share a sitter with them?

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#5 of 10 Old 06-24-2012, 01:24 PM
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I am halfway laughing because I have a child that misplaces her anger as well and I could see her trying to make me change my shirt as well. Sometimes I make DD2 do things anyway, well because she is irrational, others times I might try to problem solve. The thing though, you have tried to problem solve, there is nothing wrong with the sitter, there is no one else to sit, it is this sitter or nothing. And while I like the idea of not sending children off with people they do not like, sometimes that is life with a irrational child. Cause changing schools because the boy next to the child picked his nose once is what they are going to come up with tomorrow. I would go if it were myself. DD2 alternates between liking and hating our sitter based on no real reason either and thank goodness my sitter puts up with her!

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#6 of 10 Old 06-24-2012, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Peony - What do you do with the misplaced anger?  I'm at my wit's end with this kid.  She had a 75+ minute meltdown this morning because everyone wanted buttermilk pancakes but her, I wouldn't make her a seperate batch and she didn't want the ones made with her favorite recipe that were in the freezer.  She can be the brightest ray of sunshine, she can light up a room if she's happy, but nothing can chase away those storm clouds if she's unhappy, bored or not being catered to.  I've seen her complain that it's too hot... too hot (sun goes behind a cloud) ... FREEZING!  miserably cold!  ... sun comes back out, TOOO HOT!   Of course no one else seems to mind... the only real problem seems to be that she's bored or not specifically doing something she wants.  We were fortunate to have been gifted a trip on a disney cruise, something we'd never be able to do ourselves and a real once in a life time experience.  At a port of call, we gave her the choice of going with us to see mexico, or staying at the kids club - she screamed and cried for 2 hrs because she only wanted to swim in the pool.  We accomodate, we problem solve, we try and make things comfortable but frankly when she's in a mood our best efforts are rarely enough and it seems like unless we all do pretty much what she wants when she wants it there's going to be trouble.  We can go to her choice of activity, do something that she wants all day, and she will not put up with doing something less desirable for 10 minutes because other people want to do it.  6 days out of 7 she's great, a joy even, but that seventh day... holy oly.  I have no idea what sets her off.  It's bewildering, frustrating, I don't know what to do with her and I don't think she knows either. 


But, we can't all be held captive by her mood swings.  We can't change our plans and do everything she wants because we don't want to have to listen to her scream about it for 2 hours.  I don't want to be walking on eggshells because I don't know whether she's going to blow up or not.  But I also don't know how to get us out of this.  I'm afraid that we are somehow teaching her that she can get her way and control the family by being outrageous and emotional. 


She's also the kid that the teacher sits problem kids next to because of her strong leadership and calming influence, which makes me think she's got some kind of control.  How can she be such a sweetheart at school and usually awesome at home, but then be a head case other times?


So far as the abuse thing - I really don't think that's an issue.  This kid made a mistake once and hid a favorite toy of hers, trying to play with her, and she hasn't been fond of him since even tho that incident has been dealt with and discussed etc.  The last couple times we went out she didn't want us to go, it happened to be him sitting, and he got the blame.  Her using words like " my body doesn't like him"  is her code for "I can't control it"  - she will say her body made her hit her sister, for instance, or that her body is too sad to stop crying.  If this was an anomaly - if she wasn't like this with any other sitters, if I hadn't seen the same kind of behavior about having to go to school (even tho she loves school once she's there) and a bunch of other stuff; if her sister was at all uncomfortable; if it hadn't only escalated to hatred when we defied her wishes and went out anyways - I'd be right there with never using him again.   I really think her anger is about us leaving her when she doesn't want to be left, not about anything that this kid has done. 

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#7 of 10 Old 06-24-2012, 08:29 PM
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If the issue is having peace for one evening, get another sitter for that one evening. 



I'm not sure about the next part of what I'm going to say, but here goes.


If you are 100% that there is no fault in the sitter and that he's really fine, this is a good chance for skill-building for your daughter. You can arrange for her to meet with you and the sitter and discuss things. Preview the issue with her--discuss how you repair a relationship when it doesn't feel good, and why it's worthwhile to do that. Maybe you can make a list with her of what she wants to be different with the sitter. (Kids that age are really into having things written down, because it feels official--see Faber and Mazlish for more on that.) Invite the sitter to have an ice cream with the two of you and go through her list, and let the sitter speak for himself until she feels better. This models being able to resolve problems without having a tantrum. 

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#8 of 10 Old 06-25-2012, 01:12 PM
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It certainly sounds like your youngest doesn't like the babysitter. 

First, I would make sure your kids are safe with this sitter.  Have you asked your older child what happens when the sitter is over?  A parent must feel like their kids are safe.  Listen to your gut and your motherly instinct.

Second, I'm wondering if the sitter could do anything to help change your daughters mind.  Maybe he could bring a new toy/activity or craft for her to do.  Maybe you could let them do something out of the routine when he comes over that night.

When I go out of town my kids get upset.  My husband lets them have ice cream for breakfast.  It's just a little something that helps my kids to see that it's OK, and maybe even fun :), that moms not here.


Good luck and let us know how it turns out!

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#9 of 10 Old 06-28-2012, 08:11 AM
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Well, obviously, there are other issues going on.  But, for this one issue, I think I'd just cancel the plans if you can't get someone they all like.  


I don't like everybody either, and I had sitters I liked better than other sitters.  So, I think it's just a case where she just hates the guy.  I'd honor that.  Sometimes, when things aren't falling into place the way you'd like, there might be something better that may come along at that same time.  You might skip those plans, but maybe something else fun will come up.

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#10 of 10 Old 06-28-2012, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

 I think you overriding her gut instinct on this would be a huge mistake with potentially devestating consequences.



This.  Beyond any potential for abuse, just the principle of saying, "ignore that feeling" is bad news.

WHile I normally would be with you about just making her process and deal with this (I have an intense kiddo too and related to your stories above about being held hostage), even if the "my body doesn't like him" thing is potentially a code she uses in other situations.....it just still, I wouldn't be able to do it.  You know when something awful happens, and the people around always say, "I never would have guessed, he's the nicest guy!" "He volunteered with kids!" -  there's a REASON for that.  And if this dude really *is* as standup as he says he is, he should understand that absolutely - I know I would...if a kid reacted that upset to me, I would absolutely honor them and not try to make them be with me.  I always, always tell my kids to go with their gut when people make their tummies do flipflops.  Listen to that.  It doesn't mean you're mean to them, it just means you play it safe and smart.


At most, I'd maybe probe a little with her about whether this is the "body" kind of thing when she hits someone, or a different kind of body thing and suss things out from there.  I'm sorry you may have to miss your evening.

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