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to expect friends visiting us to not ignore us?

(43 Posts)
FunkyChicken Wed 20-Jul-11 01:36:05

Couple we are friends with (pre kids), live some distance from us. See them infequently now (all busy lives etc). When we do, instead of adults chatting/catching up letting the 4 kids play together nicely (which they seem quite capable of doing!) our friends spend a lot of the time hovering around their kids (age 3 and 4), reading to them, doing puzzles, interacting with them etc. in a way that seems pretty rude to me when they have come to see us? I would never dream of reading my ds a (long!) story whilst adult friends I had come to visit were obliged to sit and listen because I had curtailed conversation with them to fulfil the story request for one dc (other dc were in another room)! AIBU?

jasper Wed 20-Jul-11 01:55:42

No, you are not. I know people like this and I find it very odd. Rude, actually.
Also , it is important that children learn at a young age that they need to accept that their parents will want to interact with their adult friends without the child being the centre of attention all the time.

I was once in the company of a woman and her two kids , about 3 and 4 , who was at another friend's house for lunch. She brought a CRATE of toys, games, puzzles for her children and completely dominated the airspace with a loud running commentary of her playing with her kids . Baffling, really.

HighBrows Wed 20-Jul-11 02:30:33

You are not being unreasonable.

It's rude at best, down right smug and irritating at worst!

What they are doing is placing their kids in the centre of their universe. Sadly the kids will grow up and think they should be the centre of everyones universe and will grow to be displeased with their lot when they realise they are not....

At 3 and 4 kids should be able to entertain themselves for a while and their parents should be relaxed enough to let them be.

hairfullofsnakes Wed 20-Jul-11 04:27:10

I agree it sounds a bit smug. Maybe the time has come to accept they are not worth being around?

Dozer Wed 20-Jul-11 05:32:04

Yanbu, had friends like this stay for a weekend recently. Was funny. But boring. Won't be inviting again!

Also feel smug that am not like this!

sunnydelight Wed 20-Jul-11 06:41:43

YANBU, sounds like they wanted an audience for their "look what good parents we are" routine. A little bit of benign neglect while adults spend some time together is a good lesson to kids that grown ups have needs too!

TheProvincialLady Wed 20-Jul-11 06:45:46

YANBU I also know people like this and it is both boring and baffling.

Othersideofthechannel Wed 20-Jul-11 06:47:00

Are they staying with you or just visiting for a couple of hours?

If staying all day rather than for a couple of hours, I don't think it is unreasonable for them to interact with their own children. I don't see why they can't read to their child in one corner of the room while the adults carry on their conversation. They must have really loud voices!!

I have 'ignored' friends in this way. DD loves books and until she could read independently would want any new book she came across read to her. I don't think it ever got in the way of the other adults socialising. But I wouldn't spend the whole of my visit doing it and am very glad she can read independently and go off and be anti-social in a corner by herself.

MumblingRagDoll Wed 20-Jul-11 08:10:05

Well yes Otherside but they need to learn that they''re not the focus of attention ALL the time! And I am sure your DD wold have learned to read independently even without you spending a lot of your visiting time readng to her. There's a time and a place and it's important that children learn to socialise and play alone sometimes.

I have a friend who does this OP....her DS is 9! She will spend the whole time involving him in the conversation so nobodody can speak as adults....I have tried to involve im in other things....to no avail, he always sits with the adults. No SN or anything....it's very irritating.

ThePosieParker Wed 20-Jul-11 08:17:03

I too loathe the parent who stops conversation mid flow to speak to their child unnecessarily.

wordfactory Wed 20-Jul-11 08:25:01

Life is too short and there are too many fun and interesting people out there to waste any time on dull people...and that's what these people are. Dull, dull, dull.

Othersideofthechannel Wed 20-Jul-11 08:31:11

I didn't mean to imply that it's because I read to her when other adults are around that she can read independently now. What I meant is that I am relieved that she can read independently so now when we visit friends I don't have to divide my time between adult chat and reading to my child.

I still maintain that it depends on the length of the visit. I think it is unreasonable to expect 3 and 4 year olds who live so much in the present to have to wait hours to do something with their parents.

It also depends on who is initiating the activity. If the adults are getting the puzzles out and saying 'come here DC, lets do this together' then that's definitely not on. But if the request comes from the child, then why not, especially if the kids have spent a lot of the time playing well together.

How does your friend involve her 9 year old in the adult conversation?

exoticfruits Wed 20-Jul-11 08:33:41

Don't invite them anymore! They sound deadly boring.

exoticfruits Wed 20-Jul-11 08:35:28

The good thing about getting DCs together is that they should amuse themselves, have fun and you don't see them. It is healthy for them to have benign neglect.

WriterofDreams Wed 20-Jul-11 08:44:31

Otherside if a friend of mine was visiting for the day and cut off conversation to read to her child I'd be pretty miffed to be honest. A child can survive one day without being read to. Pandering to demands to be read to is the same as giving in to other unreasonable requests only the child is clever enough to have learned what gets her mummy's attention without having to have a tantrum. If you're visiting friends then you're there to talk to your friends. Yes the children need to be looked after but they should be taught from a young age to play on their own with a little supervision and not to interrupt adult conversation unless they're willing to join in the conversation sensibly (unlikely) or they have a genuine need.

nbee84 Wed 20-Jul-11 08:57:33

I'm with otherside on this - it depends on the length of the visit. If you are visiting for a whole day then you cannot expect a 3 and 4 year old to play quite happily without an adult for all of that time but they should be able to play independently for big chunks of it. I find that a bit of interaction here and there leads to them playing better in between - better than having a whiney child at your ankles trying to get your attention.

In the op's case it does sound as if the parents errred on the side of too much pandering to the children.

Purplegirlie Wed 20-Jul-11 09:42:52

I agree with Rosieparker and Wordfactory.

I have a friend that I meet regularly at soft play. She is quite a "loud" look-at-me-aren't-I-a-fantastic-mother type of person. She never gives full attention to a conversation and will just start talking to her children halfway through something I'm saying. Or we'll be talking, one of her children will talk to her, she'll then stop talking to me to reply to them, then chase them to the slide, then tickle them, then watch them slide down the slide etc, by which time I've forgotten what we're talking about anyway.

OP, I couldn't put up with that from visitors. Stopping a conversation to read their child a story loudly is just plain odd. I would stop inviting them and find some new friends that aren't quite so obsessed with their children. Are they quite competitive people? Perhaps they do it to prove to themselves that they're a better parent than you and to show off?

Othersideofthechannel Wed 20-Jul-11 09:50:08

nbee84 "I find that a bit of interaction here and there leads to them playing better in between - better than having a whiney child at your ankles trying to get your attention."

This is certainly true of my children! It is also true of the children we visit. They sometimes want their parents attention and I don't get huffy because my hosts do something with their child.

I agree it certainly sounds like the OPs guests were rude in that she said that they hover round their children (as opposed to responding to children who are asking for attention) and they are incapable of interacting with their children in a quiet way that doesn't interrupt the rest of the adults conversation.

Writer of dreams I see a child's need for interaction with their parents as 'genuine need'. What do you mean by genuine need?

knittedbreast Wed 20-Jul-11 09:53:28

i can see how annoying you would find it, but also maybe the mum sees her children having so much fun she wants to be part of it and the memory?

sounds soppy but i hope yo understand

Othersideofthechannel Wed 20-Jul-11 09:56:35

Also, of course a child can survive a whole day without being read to.

But if you are in a house where there are 'new' books and the child wants to know the story and you haven't got the book at home, it isn't so unreasonable to read the book. Sometimes we borrow them but if the friends live a long way away and we aren't going to see them for months, it's sometimes easier to take a few minutes to read the book.

sims2fan Wed 20-Jul-11 10:00:44

I do think that children should be taught from an early age not to interrupt anyone who is speaking, and definitely by 4 they should be able to wait until someone has finished their conversation. I also remember being a small child and going on visits to elderly relatives etc and being expected to play quietly or just sit and be bored. It didn't do me any harm and I actually think it helped me as it takes a long time for me to get thoroughly bored in a situation.

But, the other side of this is that I hate it when friends visit with toddlers and then ignore the children for the whole visit and let them run amok in my house. Yes, it's nice to talk to my friends but I'm not so keen on toddlers rampaging around my bedroom, getting in cupboards, terrorising my cats, etc. I would prefer that the friends brought a few toys with them and we helped the kids to start a game and then talked while kids are then happily occupied. But yes, if we were in the middle of saying something I would expect a parent to tell a child to wait a minute and not interrupt.

Also, for whole day visits I wouldn't expect to have a family with small children in my house all the time with no acknowledgement of the children. I would factor in time for us to take them to the park or something, so we still got a chance to socialise but the kids could also do something fun.

create Wed 20-Jul-11 10:08:05

Yes, it depends onthe length of the stay - a few hours DC entertain themselves and they certainly shouldn't interupt etc. If it's a weekend, my DS1 would have played nicely for most of it, but there would be times when it all just got too much for him and he would come looking for some time with his parents. DH might have taken him out for a walk or I would have read him a story. Now he'll go and find a quite place where he can read on his own.

You could say it's quite rude to have friends (and their DC) to stay and expect them to ignore their DC all weekend grin

CalmaLlamaDown Wed 20-Jul-11 10:35:44

Oh no I think I am guilty of exhibiting some of this behavoiur....not reading lenghty stories when adults around but i do like to join in the kids play and probably do break off conversation if ds 4yo comes over and makes me laugh. I have also learned from mumsnet that we 'helicopter' parent too AND our only child is centre of our universe because we love him to bits. He is not a horror though, pre-school say he's a real pleasure to look after but perhaps we are storing up trouble for later...I am one of the dull and boring and annoying friends - argghhhh

TeenieLeek Wed 20-Jul-11 10:35:59

No, YANBU at all, sounds rude and utterly infuriating. But at least they didn't ask you to join in. I was once staying with friends and the Dad came in to my room AT 7 AM with toddler in tow because said toddler "really wanted to do a jigsaw" with me. Not that I let on of course, but I was absolutely fucking livid. Am mildly fond of the kid but I can't stand jigsaws. Or mornings.

Knowing my parents as I do, I am fairly sure that they ignored me completely when their friends were around. I am sociable, emotionally intelligent and went to Cambridge. I do sometime mix up my left and my right though - think it was lack of attention that caused it?

Who remembers Bridget Jones' irritation at her Smug Married friend Magda's inability to get through a sentence without being distracted by her children?

Purplegirlie Wed 20-Jul-11 10:36:44

Create, the impression I got from the OP was that she wasn't wanting the parents to ignore their children all weekend, but her guests were actually ignoring her and her husband and playing with their children the entire time, there was no balance.

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