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To say 'no' to 14 year old niece taking my 5 year old out on her own?

(48 Posts)
lollystix Sun 24-Jul-11 22:58:06

WWYD? 14 year old niece (nice girl plus sensible) wants to take ds(very almost 5) out to the library as she wants to spend time with him (tbh think she wants to meet mates there and show him off a bit). Her mum, my SIL, would drive them there and pick them up. It's a medium sized UK town and library in centre.

I'm not totally sold on the idea. I'm quite laid back, not super precious and both DS and niece sensible BUT I suppose if I'm being honest I feel a but cross because:
A) MIL suggested that niece wanted to do this last week. I said wasn't that keen and she like always can't bear to say no to anyone so I now receive email from niece saying granny says she should check with me. (could granny not have told SIL no so I wasn't put on the spot by niece who I may have to directly disappoint).
B) SIL is super precious about her children. When they were similar age I suggested that we babysit (in her house) whilst she had night out and was flatly refused - knew she didn't trust mr with her kids - so why should I trust mine with her 14 year old. She has Also recently told MIL that she has concerns around niece being in town the other day. So why would you throw a 4 year old into the mix.

Don't want to be seen as bad aunty and don't want to upset niece whose intentions are sweet.


MoonGirl1981 Sun 24-Jul-11 23:04:37

It's up to you. If you feel any way uncomfortable about it then you'll have to say no.

It depends on the maturity of the neice, not the age.

My friend's daughter is 14 and I've let her look after my son. I also have a colleague who's 20 and offered to babysit but I turned her down as she honestly isn't sensible enough!

Is there any way you can hang about in a nearby cafe or shop with your mobile turned on. So she can take him out but you'l still be nearby??

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 24-Jul-11 23:04:51

I'd judge the kid on her own merits, not her mother's neuroses or grandmother's toe-treading. There's really not a lot a 14 year-old and a 4 year-old can do wrong in a library if they've been taken there and picked up again afterwards. If they were just 'in town' hanging around shops or cafes it wouldn't be appropriate. Limit the time perhaps and give her very clear instructions, mobile phone numbers in case of emergencies etc.

Birdsgottafly Sun 24-Jul-11 23:06:19

My DD would have been sensible enough to take out a child of that age at 14 and probably since about 12. She has been on day release in a nursery since she turned 15 and has done all of her certificates in childcare. So it depends on your DN.

If you can trust the arrangements of them being picked up then i would say it will be fine.

It is the right way to start rather than packing them off for the day on the bus.

oreocrumbs Sun 24-Jul-11 23:06:49

I would go with your gut instinct, if the idea of your child in the care of a 14yr old is uncomfortable then you don't have to do it. My SD is 14, also a lovely and very responsible girl but I won't leave DD with her, It just doesn't sit right with me. Could you maybe offer to go with them both and they could have some time alone together while you potter around near by? or offer to take them somewhere else where they could do an activity together and again you be around but not actually sitting with them.

skybluepearl Sun 24-Jul-11 23:12:03

i don't think i would, even with a very nice 14 year old. If she was a responsihle 18 year old then yes.

lollystix Sun 24-Jul-11 23:15:14

I can't be near - that's the problem. If I could also go into town too and leave then there for an hour I'd be happier but were heading there for the weekend, dropping kids with MIL and heading off for the day and overnighter for our anniversary. I do trust that SIL would drive them in and pick up as agreed but I also sense that niece will have arranged for mates to be there too to check out the cute cousin - there seems to be some kudos in toddler cousins. The reason i suspect this is that she says she wants spend some time with him and do arts and crafts but she could do that at grannies house couldn't she? Dh is not too comfortable either. He's worried that if something upsets her/goes wrong she could run off and leave him (bit extreme I know) but also if mates are on the scene could she take her eye off him for a while. He doesn't know the town well enough to know his bearings (not that a four year should be able to find his way home)grin

ChristinedePizan Sun 24-Jul-11 23:17:57

I think you need to take your feelings about your SIL out of the equation and just think about whether you trust your niece and the sort of child your DD is.

If they are being dropped off and picked up, I can't see what could possibly go wrong in a library but I don't know how big yours is, whether your DD is the sort of child to run off, whether your DN is the sort of girl who will get chatting with her mates and not notice if your DD has wondered off or what.

I would have with my DN when she was that age but she is very sensible.

Dawnybabe Sun 24-Jul-11 23:18:18

I wouldn't leave my 4yo at home with a 14yo sibling. I certainly wouldn't let them out on their own.

Our library has automatic doors. If you go anywhere near them they open straight out on to the pavement beside the busy road. So I may be biased. Think 14yo is too young though.

ggirl Sun 24-Jul-11 23:18:50

I left my 14yr old dd with her brother who was 3 at the time..but I trusted her and they were at home.
SOunds like you don't trust her so go with your gut instinct.

oreocrumbs Sun 24-Jul-11 23:22:10

You don't sound comfortable with it so don't do it. And if you upset Mil and co then too bad. Obviously I don't propose you are nasty but just be firm and say Dh and I really don't think DS is old enough to be left in this situation so maybe next time. Then offer for DN to visit you perhaps if she really is keen to spend time with your son. You won't enjoy your break if you spend the time worried.

spiderpig8 Sun 24-Jul-11 23:25:38

It sounds as though the only reason you don'twant her to is to get back at your SIL.I really can't see much can go wrong with this arrangement.You sound too precious by half and the bits about showing him off because he is sooo cute (rolls eyes )

Shinyshoes1 Sun 24-Jul-11 23:26:31

I leave my 14 yo with my 3 yo if I need to go out.

I would also leave my 3yo with my 14 yo if I were to drop them at the library then pick them up as you've described under the STRICT instruction they were there when I picked them up (prearranged time) and not to go off wandering.

That's me, everyone is different.

Trust needs to be built and as long as this goes well then i'd be inclined to give a little more each time.

It's nice the 14yo wants to spend time with a 5 year old smile

Shinyshoes1 Sun 24-Jul-11 23:28:15

also, I wouldn't take into account what MIL or SIL say it's not about them

snippywoo2 Mon 25-Jul-11 00:22:24

but I also sense that niece will have arranged for mates to be there too to check out the cute cousin - there seems to be some kudos in toddler cousins.

more the reason to let her, its not just her watching out they all will be. He will have a great time having so much attention.

musicposy Mon 25-Jul-11 00:27:19

I think it depends on the 14 year old. My eldest, 15, would have been more than capable of keeping a 4/5 year old utterly safe at that age. I would trust her implicitly with most situations now - they can be very grown up and savvy by this age.

If you let her, run through an emergency procedure with her so she knows what to do in any given situation you can possibly think of.

musicposy Mon 25-Jul-11 00:29:54

"He's worried that if something upsets her/goes wrong she could run off and leave him"

Once again, I guess it depends on the 14 year old but DD has lots of friends still 14 and I honestly couldn't imagine any one of them being silly or immature enough to do this - they all have far too much sense to do something quite so stupid. I'd say this scenario is unlikely.

sunnydelight Mon 25-Jul-11 00:35:37

YABU - what on earth do you think is going to happen? A sensible 14 yo (who is well old enough to babysit) takes a 5 yo - not a baby, not a toddler but a school age child - to the library. They are even being dropped off and collected. We all want to keep our kids safe but I think you are way over thinking this.

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 25-Jul-11 00:36:53

It depends on the DN. When I was 14, I was picking my 3 younger siblings (11, 8 & 3) up from grans after school, taking them home, lighting the fire and making dinner before my folks got in from work. I never lost any of them as much as I may have wanted to.grin

snippywoo2 Mon 25-Jul-11 00:38:56

My twins turned 15 last week and they love kids. My son is also a sports leader and helps out with sports at the local primary every week during Games/PE etc he also helps during Summer fairs, Xmas fairs etc as does my daughter. I would totally trust them to look after a 5yr old even a younger child. People really should give teenagers more credit tbh

Gotabookaboutit Mon 25-Jul-11 05:53:59

14 yrold with mates and looking after 4 yr old for 1st time in a busy town ??? No to be honest - if she had babysat or been for other walks before and was aware how impulsive a 4 yr old could be, then yes maybe but the added distraction of mates would just make it a no no for me.

hairfullofsnakes Mon 25-Jul-11 06:35:21

Can you talk to your niece and stress how important it is to not take her eye off your child?

But still... The more I think about this the more I just know it is not something I would do. Don't do something you are not happy with or you will just worry and fret and if he does get lost in town you will never forgive yourself for not trusting your instincts

SofiaAmes Mon 25-Jul-11 06:40:19

I use a teenage babysitter with my kids who are 8 and 10, but ONLY AT HOME. I would not have her looking after them around town. And they are 8 and 10 and sensible (I even leave the 10 year old at home alone). I certainly would not let a 14 year old take my 4 year old out. And especially if it's a 14 year old whose mother is expressing concern about what she is doing with her friends in town. You may want to keep peace however, by saying that you don't think your de would be comfortable, so that it doesn't turn into an issue about the niece.

mathanxiety Mon 25-Jul-11 06:47:17

I agree with Goabookaboutit. Your DS is not a toy.

The fact that she is pestering you for this and the other adults around her seem to be ganging up on you says to me that she is a bit headstrong and maybe spoiled, with the adults wrapped around her finger. Maybe not the sort of girl you could give instructions to with any confidence that you would be listened to.

mathanxiety Mon 25-Jul-11 06:50:10

My DDs and DS are all babysitters (youngest hasn't started yet), but they have never taken the children they sit for out anywhere except to the park up the street, and the parents who hire them would not want them meeting up with friends while babysitting.

<sorry, GOT abookaboutit>

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