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To be close to giving up volunteering because I can't stand one of the parents?

(197 Posts)
listsandbudgets Fri 23-Oct-15 14:36:14

DD does Brownies and for the last 18 months I've gone along to nearly every session to help. The girls are lovely as are Brown Owl and her helper Snowy Owl. However some of the parents are driving me mad.

At the end of the meeting I usually stand by the door and make sure each child goes out with the right parent. EVEiRY week the same parent is late - not by a couple of minutes but by a minimum of 10 - last week it was 30 minutes. Never a word of apology. Brown Owl couldn't wait as she had an "owl meeting" to go to so DD and I had to wait with the other Brownie. The parents weren't answering their phone so we could do nothing but wait with an increasingly upset little girl. Finally her mother turned up and without apology snapped at her DD to hurry up because they were running late.

I said politely "We did finish at 7.30 it would be really helpful if you could pick her up on time next week please" She snapped back "I pay you to be here, I'll pick her up whenever I like". For the sake of her DD I just said "yes I see but we do finish at 7.30"

The subs are £1.50 a week for an hour and a half of activities with all materials and room hire included. All the guiders and helpers are volunteers.

Its been rankling with me all week and dreading seeing her tonight. It wasn't that she was late it was that she treated me like some kind of underling, DD was late to bed and DS (3) was upset because we were so late back.

Sighing Fri 23-Oct-15 14:40:12

That's out of hours childcare. As it's every week send a lettter to parents stipulating the end time of Brownies and how much per 10 mins you will charge for childcare. OR take the three overstays and you're out line.

PausingFlatly Fri 23-Oct-15 14:41:56

Sounds like the child should be the one who stops going, not you - if you enjoy it otherwise.

ShatnersBassoon Fri 23-Oct-15 14:42:55

I think Brown Owl needs to speak to the parents. Phone her and tell her what happened so she can tackle it before the next meeting.

Don't stop volunteering because of one selfish cow. You're a great help to the leaders and children.

HPsauciness Fri 23-Oct-15 14:43:07

The Brown Owl needs to have a word with her about it. Our Brown Owl is quite forceful, let's say, with lovely smile too, but the parent are a tiny bit scared of her and so if there's any lateness or non-payment or anything, she just sorts it out in a very nice but frank way- after all, she is in charge!

spanky2 Fri 23-Oct-15 14:43:24

What a rude woman! If she's 'paying you' tell her that you finish work at 7:30, and if she's not there your rates go up! Really, get Brown owl to deal with her. Brown owl is in charge, so shouldn't leave you to deal with the parent. Always have somewhere to be at 7:30 so you don't have to be talked to that.

Tokelau Fri 23-Oct-15 14:43:28

Cheeky woman. I would make it quite clear next time you see her that you are not paid, you are giving up your free time, and that if she continues to be late her DD will not be able to attend Brownies, as nobody is available to wait in the hall for 30 minutes.

Do not dread seeing her, she is in the wrong not you. Could you have another volunteer with you for support?

Alternatively, perhaps one of the Owls could have a word with her, saying that the way she spoke to you was unreasonable, and they would like her to apologise to you. Hopeful, I know, and probably won't happen, but I think people who are this rude are like it because they are not challenged about it.

Can you tell I used to be a Brownie leader? grin

Pantah630 Fri 23-Oct-15 14:47:35

Pass this to Brown Owl, if it happens so often then she shouldn't be allowed to stay in Brownies. Harsh for the little girl but her DM is taking the piss.....and knows it. Safeguarding wise I'm surprised you were the only adult/leader left but then if you're not a uniformed leader that may not be relevant. Refuse to stay later than normal times from now on, if BO and SO have to wait they will sort it out. Don't let one parent ruin your enjoyment of volunteering. there will always be one sad

kungfupannda Fri 23-Oct-15 14:47:37

She was way out of line. She's not paying you, and even if she was, she wouldn't have a right to pick up whenever she felt like it!

I agree that the Brown Owl needs to have a word and warn her that any further late pick-ups will lead to her being asked to remove her child from the group as there is no-one available to provide out-of-hours childcare after the session ends. It might also be worth sending a letter to all parents reinforcing the rules and expectations.

summerainbow Fri 23-Oct-15 14:47:40

Ring social services see if they can help.

notquitehuman Fri 23-Oct-15 14:52:55

You shouldn't be the one stuck waiting for her to turn up. If you're asked to stay past 7.30 again then just say no and leave. It's the leader's problem really.

AlbusPercival Fri 23-Oct-15 14:54:53

Wow, I am a brown owl, and if this was said to one of my volunteering Mums, I would go ape in private and then be very clear with the mum how unacceptable that was.

Georgethesecond Fri 23-Oct-15 14:55:44

Social services?! WTF?!

Booyaka Fri 23-Oct-15 14:56:12

Ring social services? Are you fucking serious?

kimlo Fri 23-Oct-15 14:59:52

I work in childcare, if a parent is more than 20 minuites late its policy that we have to ring social services and get them to come and collect the child.

ForeverLivingMyArse Fri 23-Oct-15 14:59:56

I'd be asking about the policy for uncollected children which should actually include escalation to social services at some point. Half an hour is a hell of a long time with no contact.

I run groups and if there was no contact after 15minutes and I couldn't get a hold of parents I'd be calling other emergency contacts then eventually it would,be,social services.

This procedure needs to be written up and communicated to parents.

kimlo Fri 23-Oct-15 15:00:45

Sorry that would be late and uncontactable.

HSMMaCM Fri 23-Oct-15 15:01:23

Brown owl will definitely not want you to feel this way, as you're offering a great helping hand to her. You can say it has upset you and you would not like to deal with late parents any more. That would be fair.

That parent needs to be told she is not paying any of you and even paid childcare has a finish time

Damselindestress Fri 23-Oct-15 15:01:26

summerrainbow Are you being serious? The mum is being unfair by picking her daughter up late and being rude to a volunteer but there is no evidence of abuse! She just needs to improve her time keeping and people skills, social services have much worse things to worry about. The group leader just needs to have a word with the mum about picking up on time!

MythicalKings Fri 23-Oct-15 15:01:46

Brown Owl really needs deal with this. Maybe she should greet the woman on arrival and tell her that if the child isn't picked upon time it will be her last visit.

ForeverLivingMyArse Fri 23-Oct-15 15:03:43

Absolutely social services, I'm surprised people are shocked actually!

That parent could have been run over, collapsed, died, overdosed, done a bolt or any number of things. Staff/volunteers can't hold on indefinitely waiting to see if someone turns up when they aren't getting any information about why someone's late.

Mistigri Fri 23-Oct-15 15:05:25

Yes, it sounds like you need a policy for uncollected children - and to make parents aware of it (not you personally, of course).

It's not impossible that one day a parent won't turn up because they've been in an accident or something, and then you would need to know what to do. If you're left alone with the children you need at the very least to be given a list of emergency contacts for each child.

listsandbudgets Fri 23-Oct-15 15:09:31

I've not managed to speak to Brown Owl about this yet but I will be tonight. Its really unusual that I'd have waited alone but last week Snowy Owl was ill and I was the only adult there other than Brown Owl - we also had a young leader in as well but she's only 15 so could hardly be left with a child.

Booyaka Fri 23-Oct-15 15:09:49

It might be a policy but it's a fucking stupid one. I wouldn't leave my child in an organisation which had that policy. 20 minutes without a phonecall could just be being stuck on a tube or a phone out of battery.

If you want to put a child and family through a referral to social services and waste social services time for that then more fool you.

I agree with the poster who said that if a plan is put in place to make improvements and the parents are informed of the policy, reminded and asked to improve then perhaps an escalation to social services would be a reasonable step. But to do it in this situation, where it's not even the policy and the parent doesn't appear to have been given any official notification of the problem is monumentally heavy handed.

Jesus wept. No wonder social services are so overstretched if they have nurseries phoning up for a whinge every time someone is 20 minutes late.

Janeymoo50 Fri 23-Oct-15 15:10:47

Is there a valid reason why she is late every week? Is she collecting her on the way home from work or something?

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