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To think if I agree to babysit for 'friends of friends' someone should tell me if the child has SN?

(20 Posts)
notsoacademicallytormented Mon 15-Nov-10 19:57:11

I agreed to babysit for a friend of a friend (and her friends children) recently, there were 6 children in total, youngest 8.

Our mutual friend gave her my phone number and everything was arranged via text. I got to the house at the pre-arranged time and the parents left straight away. As they were walking out the door one mum called over her shoulder, 'Oh X had Down's Syndrome btw'

I have no problem with that and would have happily babysat anyway but AIBU in thinking I should have been told before? It wasn't like babysitting half a dozen 8-13 year olds, it was like babysitting 5 8-13 year olds and a 12 year functioning at about the level of a 3 or 4 year old. He tantrummed when the other children wouldn't watch what he wanted on TV, when the sweets were divided out 1 each and he only got one and would not go to sleep! I had no idea about to interact with him as no-one told me!

Really not sure if IABU? but do feel very annoyed I was thrown in at the deep end as it were...

Flisspaps Mon 15-Nov-10 19:59:32

YABU, why on earth should you have been told before?

Any one of the children could have had a tantrum at any time, or refused to sleep because all their friends were there.

HecateQueenOfWitches Mon 15-Nov-10 19:59:41

probably didn't occur to them.

I know I keep forgetting that my children have autism.

I think 1 adult babysitting 6 children was never going to be easy, whether one of them had downs syndrome or not!

maryz Mon 15-Nov-10 19:59:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lisad123isgoingcrazy Mon 15-Nov-10 20:00:56

in some ways yes they should have told you, I certainly would have but remember this is their child and they properly never considered it to be an issue.
6 childrens seems a lot fo just one person imo anyways! hope they paid you well

MadamDeathstare Mon 15-Nov-10 20:03:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Goblinchild Mon 15-Nov-10 20:04:08

I would have told you, but more because I wouldn't have wanted my son cared for by someone who might not have coped well, or who might have been unpleasant to him if they felt they'd been tricked.

notsoacademicallytormented Mon 15-Nov-10 20:04:17

hmm, flisspaps, not strictly true, can't imagine many NT 12 year olds having a toddler style meltdown over smarties in front of a new babysitter they've never met before...

saffy85 Mon 15-Nov-10 20:04:22

I do think you should have been told, if only because it wasn't fair on the child that he had an adult looking after him who was totally out of their depth. I can understand though why it may not have occurred to the parents to mention it.

Goblinchild Mon 15-Nov-10 20:06:36

Flisspaps, have you any experience of coping with a 12 year old in a meltdown who may outweigh you? You can't exactly pick them up and pop them into bed like a three year old.

onmyfeet Tue 16-Nov-10 00:29:51

You should have been told when they asked you to babysit. Their child may have coped better if you had had a chance to learn more about how to deal with him. My friends brother. age 12, was as strong as a grown man when he tantrumed...they eventually had to house him in a specialized home as he was too "dangerous" to the other children and his mother. He was sweet and gentle and still is,and he is loved dearly, but when he was upset, in a rage, he accidentally hurt his mum more than once.

colditz Tue 16-Nov-10 00:48:16

they may have forgotten.

I know that sounds bizarre, but I forget that Ds1 isn't your average bear all the time.

strawberrycake Tue 16-Nov-10 09:00:47

You should have been told, not for your sake though but for the child's sake. I always tell anyone looking after my ds a few helpful hints like how to get him to sleep easily/ recognise when he' hungry etc. I'm sure that's normal, not a long list but something about the child!

Lynli Tue 16-Nov-10 13:21:07


If someone is baby sitting they should be given some information about any DC special needs or not.

It is normal to tell the sitter anything about a child behaviour likes, dislikes or any problems they may need to deal with.

BeerTricksPotter Tue 16-Nov-10 13:24:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheFeministParent Tue 16-Nov-10 13:26:09

YANBU, children with needs outside of 'normal range' (I use that term carefully)should have people looking after them that can cope....they ahd no idea that you could and were putting their son at risk.

slightlycrumpled Tue 16-Nov-10 14:23:29

YANBU, I find it a little unusual too tbh. DS2 has SN and I find I am more careful to give a babysitter lots of info when the come or on the phone beforehand. I want to be able to go out knowing the babysitter is as okay as my child iyswim.

I agree that just saying 'down syndrome' isn't particularly helpful in terms of knowing what to expect.

Saying that however, you clearly coped well and I suspect they knew you would so were not concerned.

Onetoomanycornettos Tue 16-Nov-10 14:28:28

Yes, I would have expected to mention it, along the lines of 'X has Downs Syndrome, so you might need to do XYX to get him to sleep, call me if you have any difficulties'. My seven year old (not SN) has tantrums which are difficult to handle, and I absolutely wouldn't leave her with anyone without giving them a heads up and a few handy hints, for everyone sakes!

badfairy Tue 16-Nov-10 14:31:33

It's easy to get used to famiy members with differences ( believe me.) I am guessing that because they just accept their son for who he is that it isn't a biggy for them ( and nor should it be) but I can see how it might bea bit of a shock for someone not expecting it. I think I can see where your coming from but I don't think this was them deliberately misleading you, as a pp said they probably just forgot and when they did remember just didn't see it as a big deal.

MoralDefective Tue 16-Nov-10 14:38:47

YANBU..The Down's syndrome isn't necessarily a problem in itself but his levels of functioning could be.
Babysitting a 'three' year old is NOT quite the same as looking after a twelve year old.
People with Downs have a huge range of abilities,some are very able,others a lot less able.

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