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Children unattended at a theme park

(66 Posts)
ChaChaChaCh4nges Tue 22-Mar-16 06:03:10

STBXH and I are going through a very acrimonious divorce. We have three children, aged 8, 6 and 4. DC1 has epilepsy, which is currently controlled through medication although we are aware that as DC1 grows them the dosage needed to control the epilepsy will change and we should expect what are termed breakthrough seizures at some point (at which point we'll rebalance his meds).

I genuinely don't know if I'm over-reacting to something that happened last weekend because, frankly, I'm struggling to see any good in anything STBXH does at present. I'd really appreciate the view of the MN on this.

Last weekend, STBXH took the DCs to a theme park. The DCs seem to have had a brilliant time, which is great. From their excited descriptions, I understand that for most of the rides DC1 was tall/old enough to go on unaccompanied, and that STBXH was able to accompany both DC2 and DC3 at the same time - so all four of them were able ride together.

However, there was one rollercoaster that DC3 was too small/young to go on at all, and DC2 could only ride with one-on-one adult supervision. STBXH queued with all three, then let DC1 ride unaccompanied while he waited to with DC2 and DC3. I''m OK with that.

The part I'm not comfortable with is that STBXH then went on the ride with DC2, leaving DC1 in charge of DC3. I think for around 5 minutes. They weren't in a special family area, as far as I can tell, they were at the side of the ride. DC1 says that DC3 tried to run away (which I can completely believe of DC3, who would have thought it was funny) and DC1 had to 'hurt him a little bit to make him stop'.

None of the DCs can recite STBXH's phone number; what if DC3 had succeeded in running away? What if DC1 had run after him and they'd both got lost? What if DC1 had had a seizure (far less likely, but possible)? What if DC1 had hurt DC3 more seriously to make him stop running away?

So - MN jury - am I over-reacting?

VinceNoirLovesHowardMoon Tue 22-Mar-16 06:05:13

I think an8 year old in charge of a 4 year old for 5 minutes is possibly ok, I wouldn't do it but I used to do it as a child and was quite capable. Depends how sensible your kids are really.

Sirzy Tue 22-Mar-16 06:06:51

It's certainly not something I would do. It sounds like he didn't really plan his trip very well as with 3 under 8s it is pretty easy to predict that their will be supervision problems.

Spandexpants007 Tue 22-Mar-16 06:07:35

I think 8 is too young to be in charge of a 4 year old. There was no way your ex could stop what he was doing and come and see them immediately.

differentnameforthis Tue 22-Mar-16 06:12:14

Depends how sensible your kids are really. The fact that op said her dc3 tried to run away points to dc3 not being at all sensible.

I don't think this is ideal at all, so no, you are not overreacting op!

Lighteningirll Tue 22-Mar-16 06:19:14

His dc his parenting decision though possibly one he won't make again. You need to get used to letting go of control once you've split up he gets to parent his way not yours. I think it's fine as a one off.

Jessbow Tue 22-Mar-16 06:39:33

I'd be more concerned about an unaccompanied epileptic child going on a ride, at 8, on which a 6 year old needs 1:1 adult supervision.

There are times when having a child with epilepsy is going to involve some risk if they are to live a normal life. On the face of it, it would have been a bit unfair for DC 2 not to have had a ride because DC is epileptic and must be supervised at all times ( which seems to be a big part of your concern.)

HOWEVER , any 8 year old is a bit young to be in charge of a 4 year old even for 5 mins in any case, although it was perhaps a fairly safe environment ( no cars/roads).

Witchend Tue 22-Mar-16 06:47:27

That's usual arrangement for theme parks.

Arkwright Tue 22-Mar-16 06:51:21

For 5 minutes I don't think it's a problem. I only have 2 and wouldn't take them on my own. A lot of rides need one adult per rider.

VinceNoirLovesHowardMoon Tue 22-Mar-16 06:53:03

I didn't read that bit blush

FayKorgasm Tue 22-Mar-16 06:56:32

Whilst it is not something I would do it was one of those situations when a snap decision had to be made. An 8 year old in charge of a four year old for 5 minutes is not ideal but its not neglectful. I hope they enjoyed themselves.

Eva50 Tue 22-Mar-16 07:00:09

Ds3 is 9, dgs is 4. Hell would freeze over before I left them unsupervised at a theme park or any other public place. You are really in a difficult situation because I'm not sure how much say you can have in his parenting but YANBU.

Toffeelatteplease Tue 22-Mar-16 07:04:15

Yes probably but understandably.

I'd be having a chat with DS3 about how running off is not funny and how he will have to stay at home if he can't behave well. I have seen 4 year old wait on their own in these circumstances no problem.

If DC 1 had a seizure first aid would have been called and DS would have to wait while the emergency was dealt with. Almost exactly the same as if STBEX had been there.

Probably would be more concerned about DC1 riding the rollercoaster alone.

BrieAndChilli Tue 22-Mar-16 07:05:28

What ride and theme park was it? I assume there were park staff there and he might have said to them was it ok for the loss to stand there. A lot of rides do parent swop etc so are used people and small children standing next to the ride

Youarentkiddingme Tue 22-Mar-16 07:06:16

It's perfectly normal practice from what I've seen for children to wait whilst parents take them on rides.

My biggest concerns here would be an 8yo with epilepsy travelling alone on a ride - far more dangerous if he had a seizure than being ride side and a 4yo who felt it was acceptable to try and run off. Lots of 4yo are at school already and know you don't do that.

Sootica Tue 22-Mar-16 07:08:24

I have considered doing this as to wanted to take my three children to a theme park on my own. I checked out the rides and realised DD1 could ride a lot on her own but DD2 was going to miss out as she'd need an adult with her. I thought about whether I could ride with DD2 alone. At the time DD3 would have been strapped in a buggy at 1 so couldn't run off and DD1 a very sensible 8. I still decided against it, too much responsibility. A pre schooler who liked to run off? Epilepsy ? No way.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 22-Mar-16 07:11:32

It is not what you would do, but now you are separated you will parent differently and things like this will be seen as different parenting styles. I say this as a divorced parent whose ExH parents totally differently. Talk to your DC about how we all have to help and support each other now.

Notso Tue 22-Mar-16 07:11:49

I think there is no point going into what ifs.
I am assuming they were waiting at the side of the ride with lots of staff and other riders around rather than some hidden location. We have done the parent swap type of thing and while there has been nobody directly supervising the ones not riding there was someone manning the queue.
Even though the youngest tried to run away the eight year old was able to stop him all be it with harsh methods.
Perhaps if they complained to their Dad enough about the running off/hurting then he will think twice about doing it again. In any case they have passes or similar I imagine this is a situation that will arise too often in the future anyway.

JennyOnAPlate Tue 22-Mar-16 07:12:39

It's not something I would do. Completely unfair to make a 8yo responsible for a 4yo IMO. Especially a 4yo who is likely to run off! Sounds like it was a stressful experience for your 8yo.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Tue 22-Mar-16 07:21:27

They stand by gate to the ride. The ride operative knows they are there and keeps an eye on them and parents can see kids from ride. It's not like just leaving them unattended. I've done this before swapping my kids over. If you'd seen the set up I suspect you'd be less worried. It's definitely a formal thing many theme parks offer.

Aeroflotgirl Tue 22-Mar-16 07:29:36

Yanbu at all, what if dc1 had a seizure, in charge of a 4 year old. What if tge 4 year old had run away, poor dc1 would have that responsibility. My ds is just 4, and sounds just like your ds 4, usually it needs an adult to keep control of him, as he is strong. At that age, with your ds disability, either ride together, or not at all. It takes a few seconds for the little one to escape.

Squiff85 Tue 22-Mar-16 07:31:50

My 8 year old is lovely and sensible, but no way would I leave him alone in a theme park and in charge of a 4 year old!! Not a chance. YANBU.

Marilynsbigsister Tue 22-Mar-16 07:33:26

If they were with their father, it really it's up to you. He gets to parent how he sees fit in his time.

If this were me and my ex husband thought to comment on my decisions he would be told to fottfsofafosm. My parenting choices go hand in hand with any consequences, should I make a wrong decision.

When mothers/fathers start criticising (especially in the middle of an acrimonious divorce) there can be no good outcome. Believe me - my DH and his ex wife are still tearing each other apart using the children, over a decade after they split. Unless the children are unhappy, and they have actually told you as much. Let it go.

LynetteScavo Tue 22-Mar-16 07:54:53

If your 4yo is a runner I'd insist he wore a wrist band with a contact phone number on it.

Does the eldest DC have anything alerting medics to their epilepsy?

kelda Tue 22-Mar-16 07:57:33

I have three children, one with epilepsy, and I would never take them on my own to a theme park. It sounds like he arranged the whole day very badly.

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