...to stop providing holiday care for my best friend's child? And, if so, how?

(193 Posts)
Jhm9rhs Fri 13-Nov-15 13:18:08

Hello AIBUers,

I will keep this as brief as I can...my best friend has relied on me for holiday care for her six year old daughter for the last 18 months...in fact as long as we've known each other. This isn't a problem in itself. I'm not working currently and my friend is a working lone parent. Her DD is at school with my older DCs, who are also six. Her mum doesn't take the mick, it's 3 days a week in each holiday. I'm very fond of the little girl.

However, her behaviour is pretty bad most of the time. She is selfish and manipulative to an extreme. The atmosphere in the house is toxic when she is here.

Every holiday, I think 'I can't do this any more'. In the summer I actively discussed the situation with her mum, which was difficult, but her DD's behaviour did improve for a while.

I've tried various ways of dealing with her and I have pretty much got rid of stuff like hitting, not taking turns...the basics. But it's the more complex manipulative behaviour that's trickier, as I can't explain exactly why what she is doing isn't ok.

I have tried to tone it down to be reasonable, so I don't think it's coming across just how challenging her behaviour is.

I think my friend doesn't see any real behaviour issues, although several people including myself have discussed it with her.

I don't want to do the holiday care any more. The atmosphere in the house is miserable for everyone. Today is only a teacher training day...it's only been 5 hours and I am ready to gouge out my own eyeballs.

But AIBU? I am not sure what my friend would do. Her parents work, sometimes her DD goes to her dad's parents, but they're getting on a bit. She can't afford to pay for childcare and the other school mum who helped out has apparently told my friend she won't be able to have her DD any more due to her behaviour.

Which brings me to the second part of my question...is there any way I can put an end to this without losing my best friend?

Well, I have failed to keep this brief...but any opinions or suggestions are very welcome!

Thanks x

AlwaysHope1 Fri 13-Nov-15 13:21:23

I think it's best that you be honest with her about the behaviour, she has heard it before from the other mum but she's chosen not to do much about it. She's knowingly leaving her child With awful behaviour and expect others to just deal with it. That's really not being a good friend as well.

Therewasanoldladywho Fri 13-Nov-15 13:22:32

In the nicest possible way, it's not your problem what she'll do for childcare. It's up to you to continue or not. It seems you have tried to sort the problem with no success.

If she's a good friend hopefully she won't drop you because of this. You have been making a big commitment!

YANBU good luck

brokenmouse Fri 13-Nov-15 13:23:32

Tell her it doesn't work for you. If it's holiday only then she's got a month to sort something out before the Christmas holidays. If the friendship goes over this then it wasn't a real friendship.

Skiptonlass Fri 13-Nov-15 13:23:49

"It's just not working for me. As of time X I won't be taking little whatever her name is anymore."

She's not just using you for holiday care, she's making you parent her child. At the detriment of your own family time. Be polite but firm.

Arfarfanarf Fri 13-Nov-15 13:25:18

If your friend is only your friend for free childcare, she is not your friend.

So no, you won't lose your best friend if you can no longer be her childcare.

If she is not in fact your friend but has been using you for childcare (I note you say you have been her childcare for as long as you have known her...) and you are no longer willing to provide it then yes you will lose her.

It is unfortunate if she has childcare problems but they are her problems. You have helped for as long as you can but really are you going to make your entire household miserable for three days every week for fear your best friend only wants you for childcare?

I wouldn't.

I would say sorry, I will not be able to help you with childcare after X date.

If she drops you, you haven't lost a friend, you've had your eyes opened to a user.

DiscoDiva70 Fri 13-Nov-15 13:26:39

You just have to be straight with her and tell her you won't be continuing minding her child for much longer.
If I were you I'd give her a month or so to find another mug minder.

Tbh if you lose her friendship because of this then she isn't really a friend. Not only this, she has a nerve expecting you to do this for free on a regular basis, friend or no friend!

MythicalKings Fri 13-Nov-15 13:26:47

YANBU to want to stop this. I think you will lose a friend but that is better than a toxic atmosphere for your family.

You've tried to tell her that the behaviour needs to be addressed and she doesn't seem to have done anything about it.

whatdoIget Fri 13-Nov-15 13:27:10

Is she entitled to tax credits? I think if she gets WTC, they will contribute towards the cost of childcare

annielouise Fri 13-Nov-15 13:27:27

Just say sorry you can't do it as it's making your kids unhappy and affecting them in their own home.

FrogFairy Fri 13-Nov-15 13:27:42

As a lone parent on a low income, she will be able to claim tax credits that cover the bulk of child care costs so don't feel guilty.

P1nkP0ppy Fri 13-Nov-15 13:27:43

It's difficult but she's using you, that's not being a good friend !
You presumably have her child for c.3 months a year, totally unreasonable especially when she knows that the child's behaviour is a problem.

I'd tell her it isn't working for you and your children so you have to say, as of now.

SwearySwearyQuiteContrary Fri 13-Nov-15 13:28:13

You're only responsible for managing the care of your own children. You're a good friend. You've tried as much as you're able to help. If it's too much now (and you sound WAY more tolerant than I would ever be) there is nothing wrong with saying you can't do it any more.

wickedwaterwitch Fri 13-Nov-15 13:29:36

YANBU

You just need to say "I can't do holiday childcare any more"

And if she asks why say "I don't want to"

It's really that simple. You've been very kind.

itsmeohlord Fri 13-Nov-15 13:30:08

You are not responsible for childcare for your friends DD. It is up to her to work it out. If she can't afford childcare, she needs to discuss childcare costs with the child's father.

I would be honest - it might be the wakeup call your friend needs to address her daughter's behaviour.

And if she drops you because you wont provide FREE childcare, then she is not much of a friend after all.

Your own family should be your priority.

Gottagetmoving Fri 13-Nov-15 13:30:53

Tell your friend it is not working. You can't be expected to manage a difficult child and feel under an obligation like that.
It is up to your friend to sort out the behaviour issues and her childcare needs. You have been a tremendous help so far so she should appreciate that.
The problem with doing favours like this is that when you cannot continue the other person tends to blame you for the position it leaves them in instead of being grateful for what you have done.

If you lose her friendship over this, then it was never a true friendship. If that happens, just let her go.

comingintomyown Fri 13-Nov-15 13:48:37

I feel for you I had an easier similar dilemma years ago with child care for my best friend but in the end because of the effects on my DD I manned up and said to her I couldn't continue. She dealt with her DS and gave me carte Blanche to do the same ongoing and I never had any further problems with him.

Tell your friend you won't do it and maybe that will incentivise her to do the same

Hemlockinthegarden Fri 13-Nov-15 14:09:41

No good deed goes unpunished......

If the other Mum can't have her any more due to her behaviour, why do you have to carry-on indefinitely?

Just say you can't do it from x date and don't listen to any excuses.

DinosaursRoar Fri 13-Nov-15 14:10:11

I think you tell her now so she has time to sort Christmas - you say "I wanted to tell you now so you've got time to sort something else, but I really can't have [X] over the school holidays. It's just not working out with my children and I really find it too hard having another round that much time that I'm responsible for."

Jhm9rhs Fri 13-Nov-15 14:11:06

Thank you. I definitely cannot continue as things are. Well, that's not true. I can see myself just letting it slide...but I feel I'm doing myself and my own three children a disservice if I do.

It's not that I think she'll ditch me for not offering childcare....it's that she won't take a simple 'I don't want to do it anymore' without a detailed explanation, and she will be very hurt.

I thought about just saying I was finding looking after four children on outings too difficult, but it's a lie and would backfire when I no doubt took other friends of my DCs out in due course.

boopsy Fri 13-Nov-15 14:12:08

Ah I had this, helped out a mate with school runs which meant having her dd every school morning from 7 30 she did pay me a token amount but not as much as a childminder would get. This little girl was awfull, manipulative, blaming my kids for doing things they hadn't, rude to me, turning up mid tantrum over something between her and her mum in the morning with her mum briskly walking off leaving me to deal with her crying and creating
We were all miserable and it wasn't worth the money, however I chickened out by using the excuse I had joined a supply agency and had to be available in the morning in case I was needed! No bad feeling and I got rid!! Could u not invent a similar excuse? X

WhereYouLeftIt Fri 13-Nov-15 14:15:49

"the other school mum who helped out has apparently told my friend she won't be able to have her DD any more due to her behaviour."

"I think my friend doesn't see any real behaviour issues, although several people including myself have discussed it with her."

"In the summer I actively discussed the situation with her mum"

Whatever else it may be to this woman, it absolutely cannot be a surprise.

Be honest - tell her that you don't want to have her daughter any more, her daughter's behaviour makes your children unhappy. You're giving her plenty of time to make other arrangements, and whatever those arrangements may be IT IS NOT YOU PROBLEM.

It's in this girl's best interests for her mother to stop being in denial, and she's not going to do that for as long as she has free-to-her childcare.

Arfarfanarf Fri 13-Nov-15 14:16:47

Perhaps she needs to face the fact that she needs to help her child with her behavioural issues. Maybe she will finally take action if you also say I can't deal with this any more.
Maybe she just has to deal with her hurt feelings because helping her child is more important than her hurt feelings.

MerryMarigold Fri 13-Nov-15 14:23:02

It's hard one, because you want to be kind to your friend. However, you sound like a very nice, tolerant person and if you can't tolerate this kid's behaviour it must be bad! There are usually holiday schemes in holidays and I assume your friend can also take her holidays then.

You are actually doing your friend and a dd a favour by saying it is the behaviour. She's had a kind of warning from you in the summer anyway. You could make it purely about the behaviour and say you'd like a break for 6 months- 1 year, and if it can improve considerably after that you would give it a trial period or something again. It's not that you can't manage, but that her behaviour is upsetting you and your kids and you are finding it beyond bearable. She may grow out of it and be a lovely child again. Or she may get worse if her Mum doesn't deal with it. I don't think you need to put up with someone else's kid's bad behaviour.

chillycurtains Fri 13-Nov-15 14:31:15

How about just reducing it? You said you are very fond of the little girl. Could you just do one set day a week in the holidays and then ask for money, maybe a £5 each day then plan to do an activity that day and the cost is covered too. Swimming, cinema, cafe trip, library activities, arts and craft events. That way it might be easier to manage as the children are occupied and not fighting as much as they would all day in doors. You are still helping your friend but it's not as intense.

Well done for being such a supportive friend btw.

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