What are "dealbreakers" when it comes to your kids' friends' home environments? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-17-2013, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I have an interesting question to pose to you all that caught my attention on my Facebook feed last night. It hit me personally and I wanted to get your opinions on this somewhat touchy subject.

 

I have a good friend who is a stay at home mom of two darling kids, ages 3 and 5. She runs 4 small businesses from her home as a way to fill in the gaps that occur despite her husband working full time as a social worker. Two of those businesses are completely innocent and "normal"...but the other two are much more adult in nature. She sells sex toys and other adult romance enhancement products...and is a phone sex operator. Now I know this friend very well, and she makes absolutely certain that her kids are not exposed to anything adult in nature. Her products are stored in locked tool boxes (literally, toolboxes!) and when she goes on call after her kids are asleep, she has a makeshift office in her attic to take those calls. She is very careful to not have catalogs or anything that would be considered adult in nature laying about because she is an incredibly devoted mother...

 

All that being said...she has gotten a lot of flack and straight out rejection from her choice of home-based businesses. One neighbor in particular refuses to allow her kids to play with my friend's kids. Apparently they are very concerned that their kids are going to run across something inappropriate while playing at their house, or that she's going to be off on a call when she should be supervising the kids' playtime. I know for a fact that she only receives calls after her own kids are asleep, so that concern is a moot point, at least to me.

 

What really bothered me was that her character and ability to be a fit parent was called into question repeatedly in this Facebook thread. She takes great pains to make sure her own kids aren't exposed to what she does for work, let alone other kids who visit her house, but the way some parents in that thread were talking, you'd think that she had toys and graphic adult materials plastered all over her house and that she was taking phone calls while in the same room as a bunch of kids. Her morals and even her mental state were trashed in this thread and I was appalled. 

 

So here's what I wanted to ask you all - what would you do if you found out that the mom down the street who is a pillar of her community, who you trust to watch your kids, who you may have even bought some adult items from yourself...was also a phone sex operator? Would you still allow your kids to visit her house? Would you shun her from play groups or would it make no difference? What would you do??


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Old 06-17-2013, 09:43 PM
 
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Honestly, although I do not approve of some of what she does for a living, if I knew her well and she took all the precautions you said she did, I would never shun her or not be friends with her. Sounds like people are being extremely judgmental.

 

As far as kids going over to play at her house, I always have to be good friends with the parents myself. The parents could be straight-laced model parents-of-the-year but if I didn't know them personally AND very well, my kids aren't playing over there without me. However, when it comes to playdates and mom's groups and I am present I do my best to not discriminate against anybody unless it is very obvious and intolerable faults (abusive behavior and language, constant cussing around my kids, excessive drinking, drug abuse, ect.). I would not have a problem with this mom being in a playgroup or having playdates with me and my kids. If we became good friends and I knew I could trust her, than being over at her place without me would be fine too.

 

This is an interesting topic. We are dealing with this now. My 6 yo desperately wants to play at our new neighbor's house all the time (they have a pool, playset, trampoline). They said she is always welcome BUT, here are my dealbreakers in this situation.

 

The pool is not secured and it is an above-ground hack job where I think the whole thing has water over her head.

They smoke like chimneys all day, even around their 2 yo twins (despite having health problems of their own).

They often drink a  lot on the weekends. I don't have a problem with people drinking, we drink too. BUT, it seems to start early in the day and I just don't trust others who have been drinking around my kids, especially to the extent that they do.

I have occasionally smelled a very distinct scent wafting over the fence that is definitely not cigarettes. Again, I don't have a huge problem with people doing that, but not around my kids, especially since it is still illegal in our state.

 

Now I have to figure out how to explain to my DD why she is not allowed over there. They are actually very sweet friendly people and I don't want her to think that they are bad people because they aren't. They just have a different lifestyle than we do. But again, the dealbreakers are there and she wants to know WHY.


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Old 06-17-2013, 10:57 PM
 
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My dealbreakers are:

 

1. Unsecured guns

2. Drug use

3. Huge bonfires with intoxicated adults supervising

4. Head lice

5. Level 3 sex offenders, and sometimes level 2, depending.

6. Stomach virus

 

I wouldn't think anything of a phone sex operator, except that maybe she's probably got some really interesting stories to tell and it might be fun to hear them sometime. I expect it does take a bit of intelligence and talent to do what she does, not everyone could do it. Fascinating woman!

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Old 06-17-2013, 11:44 PM
 
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Since I've considered being a phone sex operator, I see nothing wrong with that.


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Old 06-18-2013, 12:00 AM
 
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I think the mistake she made was letting neighbors who weren't close friends know what she does for work. If you are a phone sex operator who takes calls after the kids go to bed, don't tell people who you don't know well.

 

Before my children are allowed to go play at someone's house, I have to do some socializing with the parents first, at the very least getting together and chatting over coffee. Beyond that, my dealbreakers are:

 

- Smoking indoors.

- Housekeeping that is bad enough to make me uncomfortable (trash, pet feces inside).

- Illegal drug use.

- Any conviction involving harming children.

- Sex offenders.

- People who use spanking or physical discipline often or as a first resort.

- Me feeling uncomfortable about them going over there.

 

Quote:
But again, the dealbreakers are there and she wants to know WHY.

 

I would go with "Because I'm not comfortable with it." Or you could tell her why.


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Old 06-18-2013, 08:04 AM
 
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I'd feel completely comfortable with visiting and participating in playgroups with this mama based on the information given.


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Old 06-18-2013, 08:33 AM
 
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I would be more concerned with guns, violent video games and movies, and spanking than her being a sex phone operator. If my kids found out what she did I would just tell them that she's a kind of "social worker" too LOL (kidding).

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Old 06-18-2013, 08:55 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post

I think the mistake she made was letting neighbors who weren't close friends know what she does for work. If you are a phone sex operator who takes calls after the kids go to bed, don't tell people who you don't know well.

 

Before my children are allowed to go play at someone's house, I have to do some socializing with the parents first, at the very least getting together and chatting over coffee. Beyond that, my dealbreakers are:

 

- Smoking indoors.

- Housekeeping that is bad enough to make me uncomfortable (trash, pet feces inside).

- Illegal drug use.

- Any conviction involving harming children.

- Sex offenders.

- People who use spanking or physical discipline often or as a first resort.

- Me feeling uncomfortable about them going over there.

 

 

I would go with "Because I'm not comfortable with it." Or you could tell her why.

ALL THIS - plus the guns are deal breakers for us but I do have a problem with a person that lives/leads a double life - fine if her kids are really young but she (IMO) has to say it's one of her real jobs to them and what it really means and if she doesn't want her kids to know, that is an issue - sooner or later they will know from others

 

if she is going to this great extremes to hide (room in the attic would bother me), I personally find those who have to hide "somethings" are usually hiding lots of things and that equals to me being very uncomfortable and that would mean NO to a friendship or playdates

 

if she enjoys what she is doing and it works for her, she should be very open about it -  a child should not have to make up what mommy does for a living

 

 

 

if someone (a neighbor has a problem with) I would respect their view - if you have no problem with your children there, there is no question but you seem not comfortable and I would state "because Mommy sometimes makes decisions and sorry but that is the way it is going to be" and I would add "we treat everyone with respect and we act polite but we don't go to everyone's home and not everyone comes to our's" "we are not friends with everyone, some people do not share our values/morals,etc, that still means we show them respect but they are not our friends, they are acquaintances" or "we only go to homes of people we are very good friends with"

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by CrunchyMama19 View Post

 

 

Now I have to figure out how to explain to my DD why she is not allowed over there. They are actually very sweet friendly people and I don't want her to think that they are bad people because they aren't. They just have a different lifestyle than we do. But again, the dealbreakers are there and she wants to know WHY.


 

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Old 06-18-2013, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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ALL THIS - plus the guns are deal breakers for us but I do have a problem with a person that lives/leads a double life - fine if her kids are really young but she (IMO) has to say it's one of her real jobs to them and what it really means and if she doesn't want her kids to know, that is an issue - sooner or later they will know from others

 

if she is going to this great extremes to hide (room in the attic would bother me), I personally find those who have to hide "somethings" are usually hiding lots of things and that equals to me being very uncomfortable and that would mean NO to a friendship or playdates

 

if she enjoys what she is doing and it works for her, she should be very open about it -  a child should not have to make up what mommy does for a living

 

 

 

if someone (a neighbor has a problem with) I would respect their view - if you have no problem with your children there, there is no question but you seem not comfortable and I would state "because Mommy sometimes makes decisions and sorry but that is the way it is going to be" and I would add "we treat everyone with respect and we act polite but we don't go to everyone's home and not everyone comes to our's" "we are not friends with everyone, some people do not share our values/morals,etc, that still means we show them respect but they are not our friends, they are acquaintances" or "we only go to homes of people we are very good friends with"

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by CrunchyMama19 View Post

 

 

Now I have to figure out how to explain to my DD why she is not allowed over there. They are actually very sweet friendly people and I don't want her to think that they are bad people because they aren't. They just have a different lifestyle than we do. But again, the dealbreakers are there and she wants to know WHY.

It's not that she's going to lengths to hide (ie. the attic room), it's simply that their house isn't that big and she doesn't want to be overheard. I had to LOL at the comment about her being a bit of a "social worker", because she prefers to maintain her callers' confidentiality as much as possible and can only be achieved by having an "office space" in her attic. She wasn't the one who outed herself as a phone sex operator; she had told a friend, who told a friend, and as in any small town - the next day everyone knew. She knows that she'll have to tell her kids someday, and she and her husband are committed to having a sex-positive, open and honest household. She runs three other businesses from home, so her kids (ages 3 and 5) have plenty of other answers to "What does Mommy do for work?" Considering the ages of her kids, telling them that Mommy does a lot of talking and acting on the phone is basically what she's telling them right now, which I'd say is very age appropriate.

 

She's definitely not ashamed of what she does, and is more hurt and surprised at the malicious nature of a few of the parents she considered friends. I have to say, I'm very happy to see the replies I've gotten so far from you lovely mamas. I told her that most parents don't care as long as their kids aren't exposed to something adult in nature....and now I can show her the posts to back up my opinion! Keep them coming, please!!


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Old 06-18-2013, 11:40 AM
 
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I would be totally ok with my kids going there if I knew and trusted this mum, with the info from this thread.

But that's how it is, I have to know the parents well and trust them with my kids.

 

My dealbreakers are many of the same as above:

Guns in the house
Drug use
Drinking
Smoking
Horrible housekeeping
People who are physically violent (spanking or such), or yell at their kids all the time, or don't treat them with respect at all
And if I knew about it, any conviction that involves harming kids in any way

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Old 06-18-2013, 03:35 PM
 
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Echoing the PPs to say that what you've described in this thread wouldn't stop me letting my kids go over to play. And not would it stop me being friendly with her at playgroups or whatever our relationship had been before I knew about the sex work.

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Old 06-19-2013, 05:20 AM
 
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I'm not sure if I have actually vetted anyone for all the things that I may feel uncomfortable having my child around in a family's house. I certainly don't go down a list and as my DC gets older I know the families less and less... 

 

If it came up that someone was a big pro-gun person or there was some other indicator that they may have a gun, I suppose I'd ask about how it was stored. I'm way, way pro-gun control and would prefer to think that none of my DC's friends families have a gun but in my city that's not a good assumption. I think I'd go the "how is it stored" route if I knew they had one. 

 

Same with a few other things mentioned - I'd need to know the nature of how things are kept in the home. Pot, no big deal. Big bong sitting on the livingroom table, I'd rather not have to deal with that and feel like that would indicate some other problems with the family. 

 

Sex toys...?  I assume that at least half of the houses my DC goes to have a sex toy here or there and that they are not locked. ROTFLMAO.gif That would not bother me, though I do want to be the person who talks to my DC about that sort of thing so I'd appreciate them being kept from her. Phone sex operator...I don't think I'd care, again, so long as I wasn't put in a position of having to explain that job option to my 11 year old.


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Old 06-19-2013, 02:50 PM
 
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I am assuming that most of the people on this thread with the lists have young children or live in a small town where everyone knows everyone else, because really, how would you know most of those things aobut people in your average community. When my school age children want to go a friends house I don't ask do you have lice? are you a sex offender and if so which level are you? (by the way what are the different levels of sex offender, I've never heard of that!). Parents of kids we have had over have never asked me anything like the things on these lists. In our school community it seems to be if the kids want to get together, and the parents seem normal they let their kids go to each others house. I've met some of the parents before at the school or on field trips, but I by no means know them well.

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Old 06-19-2013, 02:50 PM
 
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My dealbreakers are:

 

1. Unsecured guns.

2. Illegal drug use.

3. Bonfires.

4. Intoxicated adults supervising.

5. Head lice.

6. Sex offenders.

7. Stomach virus.

8. Pink eye.

9. Strep throat.

10. Smoking indoors.

11. Housekeeping that is bad enough to make me uncomfortable (trash, pet feces inside).

12. Any conviction involving harming children.

13. People who use spanking or physical discipline often or as a first resort.

14. People who scream or shame their children often or as first resort.

15. Domestic abuse between adults in the home.

16. Lack of supervision.

17. Any other lifestyle that made me uncomfortable for any reason.

 

 

While selling sex toys or being a sex hotline operator is not my choice of lifestyle, as long as my children were not exposed to it, I would not have a problem with my children playing with her children.


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Old 06-19-2013, 05:24 PM
 
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I am assuming that most of the people on this thread with the lists have young children or live in a small town where everyone knows everyone else, because really, how would you know most of those things aobut people in your average community. When my school age children want to go a friends house I don't ask do you have lice? are you a sex offender and if so which level are you? (by the way what are the different levels of sex offender, I've never heard of that!). Parents of kids we have had over have never asked me anything like the things on these lists. In our school community it seems to be if the kids want to get together, and the parents seem normal they let their kids go to each others house. I've met some of the parents before at the school or on field trips, but I by no means know them well.

Yeah, I don't readily shake someones hand upon meeting them and then say, "Are you a sex offender?"

I go with my gut. If I meet someone and have a good feeling and see how they are with their kid then I usually will feel good letting my kid play at their house. But at this age I'm normally with him anyway because he's only three!

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Old 06-19-2013, 05:47 PM
 
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Yeah, I don't readily shake someones hand upon meeting them and then say, "Are you a sex offender?"

 

my state system just lets us enter out zip to know who is one and how close they are - if they are a neighbor of the place where my child is going 


 

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Old 06-19-2013, 05:49 PM
 
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my state system just lets us enter out zip to know who is one and how close they are - if they are a neighbor of the place where my child is going 

Ahhhhh, that makes sense!

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Old 06-19-2013, 08:32 PM
 
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Yeah, I don't readily shake someones hand upon meeting them and then say, "Are you a sex offender?"

I go with my gut.

 

I was absolutely shocked, completely floored, when I found out that the father of the little boy who lives across the street was a level 2 sex offender, convicted of raping two 4 year old girls and molesting one 4 year old boy in the daycare where his mom worked. I would have never, ever suspected such a thing of him. His name popped up when I searched the sex offender registry for our location.

 

My gut fails me in this sort of thing. I'll bet yours might, too, given how no parent, no worker, and no child in that daycare ever said "man, he's kinda creepy." I suspect the successful sex offender has some rather refined social skills and is generally perceived as quite likeable.

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Old 06-19-2013, 09:53 PM
 
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I don't think those things would bother me much.  IF I knew the person.

 

I have a friend who does both of those things as well.  (plus a few completely socially acceptable side jobs) and she owns and runs the best preschool in town.  The state uses her preschool as a model for all other preschools. 

 

I would not ever hesitate to leave my kids with her.  I wouldn't ever hesitate to let my kids spend weeks at a time with her, because I know she is a great parent, a great teacher, and keeps her other hobbies completely separate.

 

********************************


The parents that I THOUGHT were going to keep my child safe and happy were the ones who let me down the most.  One night, during a sleepover, she called me from the girl's closet because the parents were fighting in front of all the kids, and the mom had a knife.  I had to go over there at nearly midnight and take my child, and three others home to my house, and the parents kept fighting.  They were the ones I trusted completely.

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Old 06-20-2013, 01:21 PM
 
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Like most of the previous posters, I'd be more concerned about violence, drugs, and the possibility of physical injury.

 

Judging a mother based on her behind-locked-doors sexual activities (including money-making endeavors) is really lame. How in the world does that affect her way to care for her children? Were all children in the OP's neighborhood conceived via missionary position through a hole in the sheet?

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Old 06-20-2013, 04:02 PM
 
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Like most of the previous posters, I'd be more concerned about violence, drugs, and the possibility of physical injury.

 

Judging a mother based on her behind-locked-doors sexual activities (including money-making endeavors) is really lame. How in the world does that affect her way to care for her children? Were all children in the OP's neighborhood conceived via missionary position through a hole in the sheet?

Thanks. Great laugh there. 

 

Irrational, violent, or agressive parents would worry me 10xs more than dildos, or talk thereof. The pp that mentioned parents fighting with a knife while her DD called from a closet would be a big deal breaker.

Sex Offenders would be #1,2 and 3 on my list, but there is no way to check here. (Wish there was). 

Guns, though here that would be totally illegal, not to mention just odd. 

Bonfires would not bother me, my kids have bonfires at their school probably once a week in good weather. Bonfires are also at the local parks... 

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Old 06-20-2013, 04:08 PM
 
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OT but what is a level 1,2,or 3 sex offender? I googled it, but it just said repeat threat to others or community. Not type of sex offense.

I mean, I would not have issue with someone who was accused of sex offense 10 years ago, say a 19 year old, having had sex with a 17yo, both partners willing, but parents intervene and do not agree. However, ANYTHING whatsoever having to do with young kids would totally freak me out. Is that what level 1 versus level 3 means?

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Old 06-20-2013, 04:34 PM
 
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ok so have a semi pertinent question, since having a RSO in house seems to be a deal breaker, my significant other is a RSO, a pawn in a ex-family members custody battle, and I can plainly see that this will one day be a very large issue, how should handle the inevitable issues when my children's friends aren't allowed over?  

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Old 06-20-2013, 05:37 PM
 
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OT but what is a level 1,2,or 3 sex offender? I googled it, but it just said repeat threat to others or community. Not type of sex offense.

I mean, I would not have issue with someone who was accused of sex offense 10 years ago, say a 19 year old, having had sex with a 17yo, both partners willing, but parents intervene and do not agree. However, ANYTHING whatsoever having to do with young kids would totally freak me out. Is that what level 1 versus level 3 means?

levels -It depends on the state, each are different

I will tell you someone recently in my area was arrested 20+ years later for the same type - he's not 19 anymore and went after a 16 year old this time

 

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ok so have a semi pertinent question, since having a RSO in house seems to be a deal breaker, my significant other is a RSO, a pawn in a ex-family members custody battle, and I can plainly see that this will one day be a very large issue, how should handle the inevitable issues when my children's friends aren't allowed over?  

I suppose it depends on your state laws - my forbid for certain crimes even having children in the home of RSO and there are restrictions on where they can even live, how they must report, etc

 

I don't know you personally handle it (I have no experience) but my answer to my child would be - NO, no, ifs and or buts, NO - the person used improper judgement-IMO to be connect, charged, have a record, it's a deal breaker

 

megan's law website in my state works great-easy to use and updated with zip search- and show photos and addresses and state the nature of the crime


 

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Old 06-20-2013, 05:39 PM
 
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Sex Offenders would be #1,2 and 3 on my list, but there is no way to check here. (Wish there was). 

 

you don't have Megan's law????? I would contact my state rep ASAP! 


 

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Old 06-20-2013, 05:47 PM
 
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Like PPs, I wouldn't be bothered by OP's friends' home environment.  As a friend I would hope to see this woman living without the financial obligation to engage in sex work, but as a mother I would absolutely allow my children to associate with hers and to play at her house.  Frankly I don't see how anyone's work is relevant to their ability to care for children unless they are choosing to involve children in their work activity.

 

1.  My children do not EVER enter the home of or associate with smokers.  My now-3.5yo is a former micropreemie who had many serious challenges when learning to breathe and still has a weaker immune system than his term-born peers, so this is non-negotiable.  We also don't really do social calls during RSV/flu season for the same reason.

2.  Any home where illegal activities occur is also out of the question, not because I necessarily have a problem with those activities, but because if the home happens to be raided while my child is there, CPS will take them and I could be charged with failure to protect.  Ditto leaving my children in the care of someone involved in illegal activities.  I will not have my custody of my children jeopardized.

3.  Any person who disrespects my parenting choices or undermines my authority to my child is not a fit caretaker (e.g., I say "They are not to consume HFCS." and this person tells my children that this rule is silly or knowingly offers them a can of Coke, this person knows I co-sleep with my baby and tells my older child that they are worried that baby will suffocate, this person encourages my child to lie to me by not telling me about the ice cream they had before dinner, etc.).

4.  Any home where there are firearms, no matter how safely stored, is not a home my children will enter.  I know that the majority of gun owners are very conscientious, but everyone makes mistakes, and all it takes is ONE mistake at just the wrong moment.

5.  Any home with an unsecured body of water or an aggressive pet or where there are signs of compulsive hoarding is out of the question.

6.  Any person with unmanaged mental or physical illness, including addiction, cannot be trusted to fulfill the responsibilities of childcare.

7.  Obviously, anyone on the sex offender registry, anyone who is violent toward humans (including spanking/smacking children, getting in bar brawls, yelling/throwing stuff during rows with their partner, etc.) or pets (beating the dog, drowning their cat's litter), anyone who is emotionally/psychologically abusive, and anyone who gives me the heebie-jeebies, is also out of consideration.

 

I know I have high standards.  My children rarely go to other people's homes, and when they do, we basically never know enough about the home or the family to leave them there without me or DH.  We do meet their friends in neutral settings (the park, the zoo, etc.) and we sometimes have their friends over to our house, but that's about it.
 

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Old 06-20-2013, 06:09 PM
 
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well I talked this tread over with my DH and his thoughts were WHO is this person working for? That would bother us AND given how people can and DO find people today - who is to say someone who is not "thrilled with her service" or who is "REALLY thrilled with her service" decides to come "visit" when you child happen to be there? think it can't happen- we don't.... in this day and age if someone wants to find you, they will - I would not want my child there should it happen

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 Frankly I don't see how anyone's work is relevant to their ability to care for children unless they are choosing to involve children in their work activity.

 

 


 

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Old 06-20-2013, 06:45 PM
 
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well I talked this tread over with my DH and his thoughts were WHO is this person working for? That would bother us AND given how people can and DO find people today - who is to say someone who is not "thrilled with her service" or who is "REALLY thrilled with her service" decides to come "visit" when you child happen to be there? think it can't happen- we don't.... in this day and age if someone wants to find you, they will - I would not want my child there should it happen

I think it is either majorly unlikely or impossible to find someone who does the phone sex thing. The workers operate through a company and the calls are filtered through the company's system, not from the worker's home. The workers also have strict rules regarding what they can say. They would not be giving anyone their name or location.

Okay, I know all this because I had a friend that did it, not because I am a phone sex operator!!! I did listen to her answer some calls once and it is totally ridiculous LOL.

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Old 06-20-2013, 09:03 PM
 
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Were all children in the OP's neighborhood conceived via missionary position through a hole in the sheet?

 

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Old 06-20-2013, 09:49 PM
 
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well I talked this tread over with my DH and his thoughts were WHO is this person working for? That would bother us AND given how people can and DO find people today - who is to say someone who is not "thrilled with her service" or who is "REALLY thrilled with her service" decides to come "visit" when you child happen to be there? think it can't happen- we don't.... in this day and age if someone wants to find you, they will - I would not want my child there should it happen

 

I can understand that concern, but wouldn't that same apply to anyone's profession?  I suppose working in certain industries would put someone in contact with unsavory individuals, but I don't know many jobs that are totally free of crazy-people. I don't know if OP's friend is more likely to have someone come after her than say, oh, a cop, or a counselor, or a teacher.  

 

Please don't think I'm arguing who anyone should and shouldn't feel comfortable being around your child. The great thing about parents is we are allowed to make decisions about what WE  feel comfortable with and what gives us the heebie-jeebies. I'm enjoying this discussion because it has allowed me to think about these situations more critically than I have in the past. My children are still little and don't go on many playdates without me (only with our very dearest friends and family) but I know they will eventually and this convo has gotten me thinking.

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