Babysitter Has Friend Round Without Asking/Telling Us(86 Posts)
Just back from a night at the cinema. 16 year old boy (S) from next door has been "babysitting" (DS1 is 11, DS2 is almost 9). It's the third time he's done so. Nice polite boy from a good family and the boys like it when he looks after them. He got here at 7.15pm. We went out at 7.30pm. Back at 10.45pm. Boys went to bed at 8pm.
DS2 just woke up. Told me that S had a friend round. Didn't stay long but was a nice boy and good fun apparently. Said he was just passing by and asked S if he could pop in. Clearly S said yes. In this half-hour window between us going out and the boys going to bed?! And this friend told our DCs not to tell us he'd been round in case S got into trouble.
DH and I feel very disappointed that a) S didn't check with us first (and if he had we'd probably have said no), b) didn't tell us a friend had been round when we got home and c) his friend told our children to lie to us.
We've never met this friend. We feel very uncomfortable that he's been with our children and in our house.
Is this a reasonable response? I don't have S's number or email - we arrange babysitting duties with his mum whom we don't know massively well as we have only lived here for a year. He's meant to be babysitting next Saturday night. So I guess I need to email her to say it's unacceptable to invite friends over.
If he's old enough to be babysitting your dc, he's old enough for you to communicate directly with him re friends around - or any other concerns.
Though, tbh, if you don't know his mum that well, or him, then why are you asking him to babysit for you?
I dunno. This whole thing kind of reeks of double standards to me. Hire a babysitter through the proper means or at least someone you actually know.
When I say I don't know them well I mean that we've not known them for years and years, and we're not good friends. But I've met up with her for coffee etc. We knew him before he first babysat for us. He has a part-time job for a reputable company and is at sixth form college. He's a good kid. We don't think this was malicious. It probably didn't occur to him that this is not the thing to do although it clearly occurred to his friend as he asked the boys to lie.
Really I just want to know how others would feel in the same situation.
I think you ought to know your babysitters a lot better!
Oh ffs we do know him. Of course we know him. And we know his mum, and his dad. We know him better than we would know someone from an agency, or an ad in a newsagents' window, if that's what you mean by proper babysitter.
To be fair to your babysitter, this appeared to be an unplanned visit from his friend, who, yes, was wrong to ask your children to lie to you, but was clearly just looking out for his mate by doing so.
I have to say I think it is a little unreasonable of you not to allow a babysitter to have a friend; i did a lot of babysitting in my teens and often brought a friend for company (though the friend would arrive with me, not surreptitiously). No one minded.
If you are unhappy though, you must lay down some ground rules about what you expect / allow from a sitter. That is quite reasonable. I do think you should have done this from the outset, however.
I think you either trust him or you don't. If you do, then you'll be able to talk to him about not letting his friends in. If you don't then find another babysitter.
Can you people not just answer the bloody question I asked?!
I always asked if I was bringing someone else when I babysat, even if I was watching my cousins. It's a stranger in your home without permission, and that's just not acceptable to me. Just because that boy is nice doesn't necessarily mean his friends would be, it could have been anyone.
I wouldn't kick off or look elsewhere for babysitters if he is a good lad and the DCs like him, but I'd have a word with the boy and just say if he wants friends over again to let you know first and get permission as it's your home and you should know who is in it and when.
I think you're overreacting a bit.
So this nice boy popped in for a little while, did no harm and he told your boys to lie not S?
Are you upset that he didn't tell you or that he had a friend round?
I think the first makes sense and I would just say "you know it's fine if you want to have someone round, can you just let me know after because its a bit confusing when the kids are talking about something I don't know about".
If it's the latter than I can't fathom why, if they're just teens, I used to always encourage my teen babysitters to have a friend round with them, its boring sitting in someone else house while their kids are asleep.
It doesn't matter what we think. You clearly are not happy about it, so tell him. I wouldn't email his mum....if you are able to trust him to look after your children then you should be able to discuss this with him directly.
YABU. You are upset because you don't know the friend that well and yet you admit that you don't know the 'babysitter' or his family that well
I would be annoyed about him asking your kids to lie, but he is a 16 year old boy, not your employee. What were you expecting from him?
If you're asking how would others feel, then I think it would bother me too. But if I trusted him I would just talk to him about it. If you say he's a nice kid, and his friend was there very briefly I can see how it might have happened. I would probably tell him I was disappointed that he never told me. If I had any sort of gut feelings/ concerns (that he might invite not so nice friends round) I'd stop asking him to babysit. It all depends on how you personally feel about him.
And in response to WWYD, I would do the above of asking him to mention it if it happens again, because it sounds as if today was spontaneous. I would also say its fine to have a friend over, in fact why don't you bring them with you at beginning that way we can meet them and they can stay for the whole time and keep you company.
Ok. YABU. If he's adult and trusted enough to take care of your children then at least talk to him in person about it instead of tattling to his mother about his "unacceptable behaviour". I did a lot of babysitting all through my teenage years and would have been mortified to be infantilised like that.
So, how well do you all know YOUR babysitters?! We don't have helpful grandparents round the corner. We wouldn't leave the children with someone we don't trust. He is a good kid and his parents live next door should he need them in an emergency. It's not that we don't trust him. It's that he's been naive on this occasion to think it's okay to do this without asking.
What Famzilla says. Speak to him in person if you're not happy.
Did a lot of babysitting as a teen. My parents would have skinned me alive if they'd heard that I'd invited someone in.
You are giving him adult responsibilities, contact him to tell him that it's only with permission or not at all depending on your preference.
Just tell him you would rather he didn't b have strangers in the house. I wouldn't be happy.
YANBU - I'd be furious too.
You've asked him to babysit and he's taking advantage of an adult free house, which is not on. My eldest teen babysits, and he wouldn't dream of doing this - not all teens are like that.
I think you need to decide whether you can trust him enough to babysit again (after you make it clear that you don't want anyone else in the house), or whether you'd prefer to look for someone else.
I think he fucked up. I think you continue to use him if you think he will be contrite about what happened, and truthful in future. Tell him clear boundaries when he shows up next week.
Again, FFS. It's not a case of tattling to his mother. I don't actually have his mobile phone number. He's at college all day. She works from home. It's just the easiest way that we've communicated. Short of waiting for him down the road when he cycles back from college I don't have the opportunity to talk to him until he next babysits, but I would like it cleared up before then.
Hit return too soon - was going to add that you could also say to him that he's welcome to bring a friend, but that you want to know in advance.
Why don't you ask his mother for his mobile number? Surely that would be more helpful in future to arrange babysitting.
I have a 16 year old neighbour who babysits for me. If this happened to me I think I would be annoyed at the 'don't tell anyone' bit, kind of more than the event itself. Agree that you talk to him directly, and don't pussyfoot around the bit about them keeping it secret.
I have no parents. The only people that take care of my daughter are my close friends or her registered childminder. What an odd question, as if anyone is going to say "well I don't know my babysitter at all, I just leave my kids with whoever I can grab in off the street."
Also his parents live next door - presume he does too? So surely no need for email address or text message?!
Mamapain I will now. I hadn't needed it before. He has the landline here if I need to get in touch with him when he's babysitting. Arrangements so far had worked just fine. This has never happened to me before. I was trying to gauge how to respond. I wasn't asking for lectures re choosing my babysitters better. Obviously I wouldn't have chosen him if I didn't have a good feeling about him. Thank you for the more constructive and helpful answers.
Well aren't you lucky to have close friends nearby Famzilla. We moved to this area a year ago. And the fact that you use a childminder - I'm guessing your kids are still young. When mine were that age I used their nursery carer. My children are 11 and 9.
Don't do it through his mum; if he's old enough to look after your children then he's old enough communicate with directly. Tell him next week face to face if you are happy for him to still do it (and I think you should, he sounds very nice and your children obviously like him).
That'll also give you a bit of time to calm down, tbh you sound a bit aggressive at the moment. I understand what you're saying about not wanting someone you don't know in your home, but first you say friend 'was just passing by and asked S if he could pop in,' and then that you are 'disappointed that S didn't check with us first .' How could he check with you first if he didn't know his mate was going to come round?
Yes, a professional babysitter probably wouldn't have invited a friend round, but if it's never been raised he might not have known you wouldn't like it. It's probably one of his first experiences working, and he's only young. As the adult, and the employer in this situation, it's up to you to set the rules in advance. While some things may not need saying (if you came home and found him and his friend had been drinking/going through your personal stuff, for example, then there would be no excuse) things like having friends round, being able to eat from the cupboards etc are more of a grey zone, and should be clarified.
It's your prerogative to put whatever rules you like for your house, but you have to communicate them, and not expect a comparatively inexperienced teen to be psychically aware.
WWID? If I trust someone enough to look after my kids, I trust them to use their own judgment WRT inviting a friend in.
You don't have his mobile number?! Would you expect him to answer your house phone then?
In an emergency, how would you contact him if he was at home with your boys whilst you were out? I wouldn't answer somebody else's phone unless they'd asked me to; our babysitter wouldn't either (she tells me if it has rung whilst we were out).
Back to the question though - you need to make it clear to the babysitter that he's not to allow strangers (to you) in your house without permission.
There was/is no need to choose your babysitters more carefully - you've done what many parents do, and you've asked a teenager neighbour to babysit. Crikey, that's what teenagers rely on for cash! Hardly the end of the world.
He's just been a bit of a silly arse, but a quiet word in his shell-like and I'll bet he'll be very apologetic and will either never do it again, or will ask your permission next time (as he should).
Your children are 11 and 9, I think you are massively overreacting. I don't see anything wrong with your babysitter bringing a friend. It is a shame they tried to cover it up, but judging by how you have reacted, I am not completely surprised.
I have a 16 yr old who has just started tutoring a kid she met at the library and she's very keen but really not sure about how it all works. With younger kids it's easy to see 16 as very mature and confident. I'd say chat to him directly about your boundaries and work it out
My daughter is 17 and babysits for our neighbours. Sometimes she has a friend visiting from another town and is staying with us, so she goes with her to babysitting. My daughter always checks with the parents (of the children she babysits) first, and they have never minded her having a friend along.
It isn't something she does everytime,and personally, I prefer that she doesn't do it. I think that if she's being paid to babysit,she ought to concentrate on the kids she's caring for rather than her friend. However, she's a sensible girl and it has always gone smoothly.
My friends and neighbours organise the babysitting through me - but I have given the telephone numbers to my daughter so that all the details etc can be finalised with her.That way she is easily contacted when they are out and anything last minute can be communicated.
If I were you I would get the boys telephone number from his mum, call him and explain how you feel (in the evening, when he isn't at college). Tell him you don't mind if he has a friend drop in, but you have to know if there are going to be strangers in the house, or alternatively, that you think he's a great babysitter, but you'd prefer that he comes alone and doesn't have visitors.
Decide what you feel comfortable with and stick with it.
Yes I have told him that he should answer the landline if we need to get hold of him. This area isn't great for reception mobile wise depending on which provider you are with.
I'm not feeling aggressive about the situation. I was calm until I came on here!!
I think you are very unreasonable in not allowing a teenage babysitter to have a friend round. You haven't mentioned if you are paying him, I assume you are but even if you are he is doing you a big favour in giving up his evening.
Do 11 year olds really go to bed at 8pm on a Saturday night? My 4 year old stays up later than that if no school in the morning.
I would just make a point of saying that no one else is to be in the house while you are out and explain why.
Yes, but you posted in "Am I being Unreasonable", there's always going to be some kind of flaming on this forum....
You're getting a hard time, OP. I've no idea why. <bemused>
Don't blame you Pup - sometimes the responses on MN seem to come from a parallel universe
Although it is AIBU....
Having re-read the OP, I've clearly missed a few things.
He lives next door?! Get the number for future reference, but why don't you just knock on the door?
The kids are 11 and 9, I had presumed they were babies, so yes you are really overreacting.
I would take AgentProvocateur's advice.
We are paying him £7 an hour. For that he gets to sit on our big comfy sofa and watch our 52" Plasma TV. He is welcome to eat anything from the cupboard or fridge. My children go to bed at 8pm. He has time away from his parents. So yes, we pay him well and we treat him well.
Yes, my 11 year old has always needed a lot of sleep. He only dropped his day time nap the Summer before he started school. My boys are early risers, up at 6am to 7am even on the weekend regardless of what time they go to bed.
Thanks huftydufty. Never posted here before. Never will again.
I'm not lucky. I've had 2 child-free evenings since I became a parent. Are you always this much of a drama llama?
Are always this much of a judgemental witch? (No need to answer that).
he is doing you a big favour in giving up his evening
What a load of rubbish.
Re knocking on the door, his mum would be there so that defeats the object of trying to handle it without involving her.
No-one is being a 'drama llama' - the OP has perfectly justifiable concerns, and plenty of us on here have said that we wouldn't be happy with the lies or strangers in our house either.
Thank you SirChenjin. I'm not even sure how I feel about it for the future. It came as a complete shock. It's never happened before with any sitters. I don't believe he's not to be trusted. We want to keep him as a sitter because my boys think he is so cool and they really enjoy him coming over. I think I feel slightly odd about it because of the gender involved. Again, not that I don't trust him. But I think I would feel more relaxed if a girl I'd not met had come round, rather than a boy.
I would say that you need to just talk to him and say that you would rather he didn't let friends in. He sounds like a nice lad, and I'm sure he'll take it on board.
Then thank your lucky stars you didn't find an almost empty wrap of cocaine under your bed, like i once did after using the 15 year old girl from over the road...
You are quite right not to feel happy about it - and I'm speaking as a parent of teens and as someone who has used teenager babysitters in the past when the DCs were younger. Every one, without fail, asked in advance if they could bring a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend, and now my eldest teen does the same when he babysits. It's just common courtesy - it's not your house, so you can't invite someone in without their knowledge, and you certainly don't tell the children you're babysitting to hide the fact from their parents.
But wouldn't you just knock on the door and ask to have a chat with him? Rather than his mum I mean.
I think it's really minor and if this boy just popped round it's harmless. I suppose he could be gay but I would be much more about him having a girl round.
You are sounding even more ridiculous now. So it wasn't that it was a stranger, it was that it was a male?
He sounds naive, not malicious, and you just need to gently outline that it's not ok for him to have guests over (or it is ok but you'd like to know about it in advance). FWIW it sounds like an impromptu visit that he was pleased about so he didn't realise that it would be overstepping a boundary - esp if your kids liked the visitor and were happy for him to join in. If you're his first babysitting gig then it's perfectly reasonable that he didn't twig.
Just bite the bullet and talk to him. If you knock and he's not in, ask his mum for his number. You employ him, not her, so there's no reason to discuss it with her at all.
I wouldnt be happy either but if he lives next door, wouldn't there be an opportunity to see him "over the fence"? I would wait until I saw him and then "thank " him for his last babysitting gig and then let him know that you are not happy and reiterate the ground rules for future babysitting.
I am uncomfortable with it for the reasons stated Brabra. And I am wondering if feel more uncomfortable because it was a male.
Why do you think you're more uncomfortable that it was a boy?
Very simply say "XXX, I understand that last time you babysat, a mate of yours dropped by for a bit. I know we never talked about that before but in future we'd prefer that you NOT have friends in when you are sitting. No harm, no foul for last time, but now you know".
Sir the boy is doing the OP a favour. She needs a babysitter and from what she has said her choices are limited.
He's a teenage boy, I doubt "the big comfy sofa and plasma TV" are quite as thrilling as the OP thinks. Presumably his own house has furniture?
And as for "help yourself to as much as you like from the fridge" big deal- every one says that to babysitters and in my experience (both of being a baby sitter and a parent) hardly anything gets touched.
He gets away from his parents? Well he could do that by going out with a friend.
Perhaps because of abuse I suffered as a child (by a music teacher my parents sent me to for lessons). Perhaps because paedophiles are mucy more likely to be male. Perhaps because boys tend to be more aggressive/don't mature as early etc. (Not saying our neighbour or his friend are like this. The point is we've never met the friend). I don't know. I'm just trying to get to the bottom of it so that I can deal with it in a considered and not unreasonable way.
He's studying for his exams. He's not the kind of lad who goes out with his mates on a Saturday night. He is grateful for both the money and the experience.
I love how you posted asking a reasonable question about your babysitter and you got people questioning your DSs' bedtime. MN is an odd place sometimes!
If you are paying him, he is NOT "doing you a favour" (this is one of the weirder things I have read here!), and you get to call the shots as it's your house. Get his mobile number from his mum, call to confirm and mention that he's not to have friends over - totally reasonable.
Thanks Nandocushion. Yep, I thought they were odd responses too (but stopped short of questioning why a 4 year old is up much later than 8pm - sleep is as important to a child whether they've got school the next day or not...).
I'm going to get his number and talk to him. I will speak to DH about what the boundaries will be in the morning and we'll go from there. Thanks for those of you who have been supportive and helpful.
It's normal for teens to have friend around while babysitting
I find you views rather odd, do you really think this young lad will sit back and watch your child being abused.
Well based on that reasoning, I think I would confidently say YABU, about the issue of the friend being male. I think you've obviously had some horrible experiences but they are currently clouding your judgement, I really don't think there is any reason to feel more comfortable about it being a girl rather than a boy that comes over.
As I said, I would be extremely about a girl having been round, as whilst I'm happy for friends to be over when teens are babysitting, I'm not happy for my home to play host to them getting their end away.
B the way, I don't agree he is doing you a favour, but just because he doesn't go raving at the weekend, doesn't mean he has no social life. Its more likely he has friends round or goes to their houses and you just aren't aware, I highly doubt he is studying at 9pm on a saturday night, regardless of how studious he is.
Paying someone doesn't stop it being a favour. He's not running a babysitting agency.He's doing you a favour as you need a babysitter.
He could be out with friends or he could be in studying; he's decided to do neither which allows you to go out.
Of course I don't HadABadDay2014. It's just a fleeting thought because I've never met this other boy. I have no gut feeling about him.
Due to a mix up in dates I couldn't get my cats in the cattery, a friend's daughter did me the massive favour of cat sitting. She was generously paid for her time, didn't stop it being a favour.
OK so you aren't comfortable. You need it not to happen again.
The babysitter is a teenager who probably doesn't really get the ins and outs of his responsibilities.
Just talk to the teenager and express that you'd rather he didn't bring friends around. Help him understand why./
Regards the who's doing who a favour, he has a choice. He doesn't have to babysit, he could just say he's busy. It works both ways. He earns more than his retail job and he sits on his bum watching TV.
Op Yanbu, my teenage son babysit and he would not have done this.
Fair enough to check first and ask if he could have a friend round but you don't just invite them in.
Is it likely his friend was just passing by? Or could it have been pre arranged?
Just talk to babysitter and establish rules.
I think slightlyu re the gender issue but you have reason to be.
Hope you can have a chat with babysitter and Malay your fears.
It's not a favour. OP has a job that needs doing and is offering money for someone to do it. He wants the money, so he is doing it. He is not doing it out of the goodness of his heart. It's a basic commercial transaction.
Seems odd that his friend should just be passing, given the geography of where we live, and given the time window was so small. Not impossible, but odd.
No yanbu but you need to discuss directly with him. Next time he babysits bring it up before you go out. I would cover what your expectations are and also that you can't continue with him as a babysitter if you ever hear that the children have been encouraged to cover something up. You can do it in a fairly light hearted way, if he is a decent child he will probably feel a bit mortified and won't try the same thing again.
I personally would also get his number. My babysitter and I communicate by text while she's here which makes those quick queries easy to manage. She has previously texted to ask if a friend can pop in (teenagers are spontaneous an did can't always be arranged in advance).
DS1 woke for a wee a little after DS2 and was annoyed that DS1 had told us. He wouldn't want to get S in trouble as he looks up to him. But I can't have DS2 feeling bad for telling me and I'm glad he felt he could. He didn't say it in a mean way - more "this funny friend of S's came round".
So, I know what I need to do now. Thank you again for your advice,
I've had a few youngish babysitters (16-19) & it's always been a matter of courtesy that they let me know if they want to have someone else in the house.
I'm not seriously worried that a babysitter's mate will assault my dc or abscond with the spoons; but I wouldn't be keen on impromptu drop ins, simply because IME if teen#1 is babysitting, the only reason teen#2 knows where to find them is because they've been texting each other.
At which point, if it's not been agreed with me, I'd expect teen#1 to say 'no don't come round - I haven't cleared it with raven - see you tomorrow'.
I'm perfectly amenable to being asked - on several occasions a sitter has wanted to bring a mate/boyfriend round. They get to spend a pleasant evening in front of a dvd & it funds a night out on the lash for them the following night/weekend - fair enough!
But I'd take a dim view of the situation OP describes, not least because of the suggestion that her dc should lie about it. I would have been fine, though, if I'd had a text saying 'My mate Sam's just texted, is it OK if he comes round for a bit?'.
Since you don't have this lad's number, I'd drop round next door, ask to have a word, & tell him it's not to happen again. Then exchange numbers for future reference, & say that if he wants to have a mate round for company just to text/call you so you can say yes or no.
Well, I almost always brought a friend when I was babysitting. But they arrived with me, met the parents and was no secret.
If I were you, I would tell the boy when he arrives for the booked session that you do not want him to open the door to anyone and to keep all doors locked, and also, no friends over please. I would not call his mother, unless something untoward went on.
I do think it's great that DS2 told you, and it might be worth reiterating to DS1 that nobody should be telling him to keep anything secret from you.
I used to feel I'd crossed the line if I took a phone call when babysitting (before mobile phones). I don't think it's unreasonable to say he can't have a friend round that you don't know about. Maybe he went to knock for him and was redirected?
Good point Countess, regarding secrets.
This has recently happened to my ds from the opposite pov. We had agreed to have his friend to stay for the w/e (parents away) and then ds was asked to bsbysit. He asked the mum if it was ok if friend came with him but was perfectly prepared to accept it if answer was no. He did recognise that the children he was bsbysitting needed to know that an unknown person would be coming with ds whilst their parents were out.
I would have a word with your sitter, explain that you need to know who is in the house whilst you're out, and ask him to let you know if he's bringing a friend with him but that impromptu drop-ins are a no-no. I imagine that it just hasn't occurred to him that he should have asked but friend clearly knew you might not have approved.
Hmmm, tricky one but I do feel 16 is a bit young to be babysitting. Rather use a proper agency if you can or do date night swaps with friends.
16 might be a bit young to be in sole charge of a couple of toddlers, but OP has an 11yo & a nearly 9yo.
My dc are 9, 8 & 6 & don't really need 'babysitting' as such. They get themselves to bed quite happily.
The babysitter just needs to be a sensible person who can tell them to go to bed, & then sit on a sofa watching telly so that there's someone in the house who can ring me/999 if there's a problem. I'd be quite concerned if one of mine couldn't manage that aged 16!
Some of the responses on here are bonkers...
As he hadn't asked it was of course wrong for S's friend to pop by without you being asked. I suspect that you would want the kid to come around before being left in your house with your kids so that you can meet him/her, I know I would.
I know you like and trust S but kids or adults even can succumb to peer pressure and if you don't know this kid you don't know if he's going to be a good influence on S, and thus your kids, or whether you'd prefer he not come around. If it were something like "Hey I have your algebra book". I'm babysitting at X, can you bring it round?" The friend should never have crossed the threshold of your home (unless it's a long drive and needed to pee quick). The kids wouldn't have had the opportunity to see him let alone be told not to say anything.
I would also NEVER dream of bringing a friend to a job! I might text, I might email but I wouldn't bring a friend around. It is a job contrary to what some people have said. It's not a favour unless it's a last minute "we have no other options" thing that I didn't necessarily want to do but I'm doing to be nice. It's a job... and even if it WERE a favour I would never presume to eat out of the fridge, or use the phone, or invite friends over or even turn on the bloody TV unless I had been given the all clear.
~~~ So OP to answer your question, I would pop next door and ask mum for his mobile number, or ask him to pop round when he's back, so you can talk about details for the next time he sits. Then I'd talk to him, probably outside or somewhere non-threatening about how you know he had a friend over. You would have preferred to have been asked and what your stance is on him allowing friends to come over.
I really don't think it kills people (adults or kids) to sit around being paid to watch TV without their friends around!!
I find it interesting the mobile coverage is shite yet the friend knew where he was/was going to be. I also find it interesting you don't have his number 'cause the reception is bad but his friend had no problem. Sounds like it was a pre-planned visit to me.
16 is also not too young to be babysitting. Goodness! I actually baby sat my TEACHERS toddler (good kid), as well as my Doctor's/mum's boss's son's 2 boys (little shits) when I was about 15/16. I was perfectly able to survive without the company of friends.
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