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AIBU to think perhaps I need to raise my parenting standards if I want this kid to hang out with us?!

(58 Posts)
motherofallhens Sat 04-Mar-17 21:14:32

Hi all,

Not sure this is a case for AIBU but thought I’d give it a go. DS1 (14) has a best friend, let’s call him Toby. They hang out together a lot at school and like to do things out of school too. However, the problem is that Toby’s mum clearly finds my parenting skills wanting and this is beginning to impact on the boys’ time together.

For example, when Toby and DS want to organise a sleepover, it is almost always at Toby’s house. Whenever I invite Toby here there is usually some reason he can’t come so DS goes to his house instead. This is fine by me but DS would like him to come to us sometimes, which seems fair enough. The odd time he’s come, Toby’s mum meets the boys from school to walk them to the bus stop. The first time I thought “that’s nice she must have been in the area” but she seems to do it each time, suggesting that she’s not happy with them getting the bus together even though my son does this every day on his own and I can't see the problem as the boys are teenagers.

Another time, we organised for the boys to sleep out in the garden (in the summer, of course!). She made it clear she didn’t think it was a good idea even though the boys were really excited and texted various times during the evening to make sure Toby was ok.

Then, final straw was on Friday evening when I was picking DS up from school (unusual occurrence as I’m normally working). Toby’s mum took me to one side in the playground and asked me “what was I thinking?” as she’d seen DS out on his bike the other day without a helmet. Full disclosure here, he never wears a helmet – he rides a decrepit bike with no gears on a bike lane with no cars on it so I’ve never really thought about it although I probably should have done. I told her this, probably confirming once again that I am way too relaxed about my kids, although I’ve since been beating myself up for being pathetic and feeling the need to explain my parenting decisions to her!

So, I’m sure this sort of thing happens all the time to other people so I’m curious to hear what you think I should do about this. Should I just accept that if we want her son to hang out with us I should be a bit less relaxed about things and make sure we pick him up/drop him off and avoid potentially health and safety-busting activities while he’s here? Or, assuming that this is Toby's mum's plan, should we just let the boys hang out more at their house? Perhaps there's another strategy I haven’t thought of or maybe I'm just totally overthinking this!

Somevampsarehot Sat 04-Mar-17 21:22:48

It sounds like Toby's mum is a helicopter parent. I think she's just very protective of her son and would rather have him nearby and 'safe' where she can see him. The only thing I think she's judged you about would be the lack of a helmet. Which I actually agree with. Get him a helmet! But I don't think she's judging your parenting with the other instances, she just sounds like a worrier. Is he her only child? It's very pfb imo.

Somevampsarehot Sat 04-Mar-17 21:24:02

Also, absolutely be laid back and relaxed and let the kids do fun, exciting things! I don't imagine poor Toby gets to do much of that at home!

WorraLiberty Sat 04-Mar-17 21:27:25

My DS2 had a friend whose mum was exactly like that!

I totally refused to pander to her and just got on with my way of doing things.

Her 'little Toby' eventually got too old for her to mollycoddle, but my god those few years nearly sent me blind, the amount of times my eyes rolled out of my head.

Her favourite was to try to insist my son got in her car on his 5 minute walk to school, because it was raining and the 'poor little mite' would get wet...

KindergartenKop Sat 04-Mar-17 21:27:47

Poor old Tobes!
She's over careful, she risks Toby rebelling.

blubberball Sat 04-Mar-17 21:30:43

I don't know the answers, but definitely be glad that your ds has a good friend to hang about with. My ds is in primary, and he had a best friend. I was in a similar position to you, in that the mother didn't seem to approve of the friendship, like my ds was never good enough. She would blank me at the school, but occasionally invite my ds over for tea on her terms if that's what her ds wanted. He was never allowed to come to us, and never turned up to my ds' birthday parties. My ds had to move schools, and was very upset about not seeing his best friend any more. He wrote him a very sweet letter, including all of his contact details, and delivered it to their house. We suspect that the mum binned it. sad

So, I suppose I would advise to keep the mother sweet, so that the friendship can continue. I don't know if that's the right thing though.

GeorgeTheHamster Sat 04-Mar-17 21:33:53

I think you could either change some small things you do or else let them hand out more at Toby's. they'll find their own way as they get older.

I do think your son should be wearing a bike helmet though.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Sat 04-Mar-17 21:34:09

Has any parent of a teenager ever managed to convince them to keep a helmet on?

On the case in point she sounds a bit of a pain, Toby's going to tell her to sod off soon.

LemonBreeland Sat 04-Mar-17 21:36:34

He should wear a bike helmet. But as for the rest she is seriously ott.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Sat 04-Mar-17 21:37:07

And she walks them to the bus stop? shock, poor lads .

228agreenend Sat 04-Mar-17 21:39:59

She met them from school. At 14!!

MooseBeTimeForSnow Sat 04-Mar-17 21:40:41

Google "Ryan Smith". He's a teenager from Lincolnshire who refused to wear a helmet because it would mess up his hair.

Whyisitsodifficult Sat 04-Mar-17 21:40:42

Ignore the rest but you are DEFINITELY BU on the helmet issue! It doesn't matter how decrepid the bike is, if that fragile head hits the floor he could be dead or seriously brain damaged.

SpringsInMySteps Sat 04-Mar-17 21:41:23

Get him a helmet.
Get him a helmet.
Get him a helmet.

Seriously. The rest of it don't fret - she will look back in years to come and die slightly of embarrassment at how precious she was being grin

Dafspunk Sat 04-Mar-17 21:43:20

Bike helmets are a must.

AllllGooone Sat 04-Mar-17 21:45:07

Toby's mum sounds like a barrel of laughs.

Hassled Sat 04-Mar-17 21:49:03

Yes, get him a helmet.

But otherwise you can just sort of co-exist. I have a good friend with a DS who is good friends with one of my teenage DSs. I'm slightly ridiculous about road safety/why are they late back/why hasn't he replied to my text within 2 minutes etc. She's slightly ridiculous about health - why has he sneezed, that must mean he's coming down with something major etc. But we can take the piss out of each other about it and it works. So can you get to know Toby's mum a bit better and see if that helps at all?

Bunnyfuller Sat 04-Mar-17 21:50:54

There's a mum in my road who never lets her kids in anyone's house. Well, apart from the one family where Daddy has history with drugs/drink driving and ASB. She doesn't know this stuff but ironically they're the family she trusts! No idea what she thinks will happen in everyone else's house tho!

PuntCuffin Sat 04-Mar-17 21:51:54

Whilst I do agree that your DS should be wearing a helmet, her decision to pull you up on it, would really grip me. It would never occurred to me to challenge another parent on something like this.

VestalVirgin Sat 04-Mar-17 21:55:59

I don't wear a bike helmet, but then, I am not a male teenager. I drive very slowly and careful.
(And when I was a kid, my parents actually did make me wear a helmet)

Buy him a helmet. You might not always be able to get him to wear it, but you should at least try. There's a real risk there. Boys that age tend to like speed.

The other things ... meh. Do what is needed so that your son can have his friend stay at your place at least some of the time, and ignore otherwise.

StillStayingClassySanDiego Sat 04-Mar-17 21:56:01

Of course helmets are a must but have any of your teenagers ever actually worn one at your insistence when they didn't want to wear one?

Let me know the secret because none of my kids would ever wear one after the age of 12.

SpareASquare Sat 04-Mar-17 22:01:03

Has any parent of a teenager ever managed to convince them to keep a helmet on?

Umm, yes. Why would one need to 'convince'? No helmet, no bike. Simple.

OP, at 14, they'll figure it out. My kids have always slept at friends houses but we've come across some parents that don't allow this. I don't care, I don't take it as a reflection on me. Some parents just don't do it. It's really not a big deal. The other stuff? Meh. She's right about the bike but I don't think no sleepovers is that big of a deal.

StarryIllusion Sat 04-Mar-17 22:01:59

No child older than 10 is going to wear a helmet let's face it. Mine was off as soon as I was out of my mum's sight and I imagine my kids will do the same. I never wore one, don't wear one when I cycle now and don't feel a need to tbh. I never ride on roads either.

JayneAusten Sat 04-Mar-17 22:05:09

Such an assumption that all teenagers are idiots or that they care more about their image than about their safety. Plenty of teens wear helmets because they know it's a sensible thing to do.

You are B massively U about the helmet. The rest, just carry on doing what you're doing and let her make her own decisions about whether he's allowed to fit in with that.

Pooka Sat 04-Mar-17 22:11:41

Dd is 13 and ALWAYS wears a helmet. But then she does a lot of road cycling, as does dh. Plus she's been told the story of her dad (dh) T boning a car that jumped lights when he was cycling downhill. He flew, according to police (in court) and ambulance, about 20ft before landing on his head then rolling along the road. His helmet was toast. His head was undamaged. Without a doubt he would have died without one. Also she's seen enough cyclists skidding on debris/grease to be aware of how easy it is to be caught unawares.

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