AIBU to be surprised by spoiled rude behaviour by young visitor - or is this normal for a 12 year old?(95 Posts)
DD's 12 yr old friend is visiting over August - she lives abroad.
She is very sweet and enthusiastic but god she has almost no manners: rarely says please or thank you, always running late making us late for things, leaves the table without excusing herself, leaves her stuff everywhere, spreads her stuff out all over the house leaving mess that doesn't get cleaned up, on her phone constantly ignoring questions or conversations, never offers to help and was baffled when I asked DD to unload the dishwasher (as she doesn't appear to do chores). Have taken her to lots of sights and she's just like 'meh'. Have taken her out for dinner and spent a fortune. I'm finding it hard. Is this normal for a 12 year old? I mean I have a 12 year old and she's not like that - yet!
Just to add she seems v spoiled by her parents - has a credit card (from her parents) and is spending 100s of pounds in the shops - bought 70pounds worth of makeup yesterday including brands I can't even afford. Has loads of expensive clothes and vast amounts of tech, makeup etc that she brought with her.
There's not much I can do for now. I can't change her while she's with us and being strict and barky will just make for a miserable time. And while I know her parents there's no point saying anything as they'd think it rude and I'm not going to change their parenting style.
But please tell me this is an anomaly and not all 12 year olds are like this. My sanity is eroding and I have 10 days left.
Not normal and I think it’s fine to have some rules which also apply to her. Phones down for meals, please and thank you, do basic chores.
If you let her get away with it she will continue to think it’s ok. In the long run you are doing her a favour.
I wouldn’t want to host her again though. I can’t stand bad manners.
Thx for advice Matilda. I am trying to keep some structure and continue to get my daughter to do chores etc. My DD looks up to her and I don't want her to think that becoming spoiled and also old beyond your years, wearing long nails and full makeup at 12, is the way forward.
Absolutely not, she’s spoilt & rude. I’d set some house rules in YOUR house. She lays the table, your dd clears away. No phones at dinner. She picks her stuff off the sitting room floor before she goes to bed.. that’s reasonable.
If she's staying with you on her own, I would certainly expect her to fall in line with your house rules.
This is very similar to a channel 5 documentary on TV last night - Rich Kids Go Skint - I'd put it on and make her watch it!
The please and thankyou thing may be cultural. I've hosted children from many different nationalities and lived in France for a couple of years and noone says please and thankyou as much as the British!
Being messy, leaving the table without asking, not doing chores is down to parental expectation tbh. If they've never asked her/expected it then it would be weird for her to suddenly realise it's expected.
She sounds like she's spoilt, used to being given everything without needing to do anything and so she won't be impressed by being taken out or spending lots of money as that'll be normal.
The only option for you is to say 'in our house...' and lower your expectations.
At 12 it's probably the first time she's encountered a different family's way of doing things. If she was an adult I'd expect more.
Is she from a different culture?
The please/thank you thing is very important in Britain but not necessarily in other countries. In France people find me quaint because I use a lot of pleases/thank you and in Greece they assume I am making fun of them.
The getting up from the table varies again from family to family. We don’t have it in our family, anyone can get up whenever they want so she may not be familiar with it. At 12yo she may not have quite realised other families have other etiquette rules.
She may not have chores at home and have her things picked up by her parents or a cleaner. I am not excusing this, it’s not the best way to bring up a child, but if she has been brought up this way she won’t know what you expect her to know.
The credit card and spending level is nothing to do with you really. If her parents are happy for her to spend this money then it’s up to them.
Yes, it may be cultural. You'd be doing her a favour by referring explicitly to British culture on 'please' and 'thank you'. Presumably she was after a cultural experience as well as a nice holiday when she came.
Same goes for all the other stuff I suppose, except buying stuff, which is not your job to police. However I might dash off a quick email in case the credit card was meant for emergencies...
This are the things you can and absolutely should pick her up on:
- always running late making us late for things - she needs telling immediately that she had made people late and the time she needs to be ready so as not to do that.
- leaves the table without excusing herself (I'm guessing that your kids also have to help clear the table, she should too)
- leaves her stuff everywhere,- "Put your things in the guest room please"
- spreads her stuff out all over the house leaving mess that doesn't get cleaned up - Ditto "Time to tidy up now, put everything away."
- her phone constantly ignoring questions or conversations - phones away during meal times.
-never offers to help and was baffled when I asked DD to unload the dishwasher (as she doesn't appear to do chores) - Too bloody bad, give them a list of things to do.
The please and thank you and 'meh' at the trips you can't do much about. I would assert myself calmly and politely on the other stuff.
It is tricky when people aren't used to what you think of as a reasonably basic expectation
I tend to pick a few basic rules (eg staying seated during meals, no food taken upstairs) to enforce with a firm but cheerful "well, in this house we..." and grit my teeth and ignore the rest, simply so I'm not driving myself mad nagging all the time. I agree it's not your job to give her a whole new parenting ethos if she's not there long.
When the guest is gone I do remind my DC that other people may be used to different expectations, and that my rules by and large are about make life pleasant for one another, which they generally agree with in theory if not always in practice.
This girl is going to be a menace to flat mates etc. I could tolerate it for a week but any holiday longer than that she has to consider your house rules.
she sounds a delight! You say she's from overseas? Does her family have staff? That would explain the lack of understanding around mess etc.
I would be worried about my DD looking up to someone with those lack of manners. And yes, I would pull her up on it, in front of DD, to make it absolutely clear where my families standards lie around these issues.
As above and don’t ask her again to holiday with you
If I'm looking after another child, I treat them in exactly the same way as I treat my own and that includes expecting basic manners.
Tbh, she's not a child I'd want influencing mine. A credit card at 12? No way.
You can't do much with the please, thank you and the credit card but the other things you can explain to her.
If she is a friend of your daughter's you need to explain to your daughter you expect her friend to help you do her chores, and tell the child to help your daughter when she is doing them. If she questions it explain as a family you all do your bit to help out and as she staying with you, you want to treat her the same way.
Also get her to start clearing up after herself. You can dump - yes I mean literally dump - all her items in a box in the hall and if they break tough.
Tell her why she can't just get up from the table by explaining you use meal times to talk to each other as well as eating, and she doesn't just randomly leave conversations without indicating she is going.
Get her to join your dd with chores or split them. Definitely no phones while eating. Start with basics and insist all the way.
Thanks for all your good suggestions. I don't want to be a downer and want to be a fun host, but I think the problem lies in that her parents want to be 'fun parents' too. She seems to get whatever she wants and is completely waited on.
She lives in the US. I'm good friends with her parents. They are lovely people but it's a bit different over there in terms of expectations and as they have money I think a cleaner and house help means kids aren't expected to do much.
If she goes home and complains about her time here in poor, strict Britain I will go beserk!!
In hindsight you should have talked about house rules straight away. If she's here for the rest of the month I'd do it now.
Just sit her down and say we normally expect DDs friends to follow the same rules as DD when they visit.
Pick out the big ones that bother you most, don't list the whole lot or she will feel unwelcome.
Windy I grew up in the States and unless she's straight out of Gossip Girl her behaviour is NOT normal. Not at all. It's really common to do chores for an 'allowance.' I was expecting you to say her family were expats in a location where it's usual to have domestic staff, like the Middle East or HK/Singapore.
I think that your house means your rules.
You are pleased to have her there but in your house kids help out, pick up after themselves and say please and thank you. She's in your house so house rules apply.
I hardly think her parents will mind that you treat their daughter the same as your own.
Ooh, she sounds awful! But it’s not the girl’s fault. Her parents appear to have encouraged her to act like an entitled brat.
Another 10 days? Poor OP - I feel your pain.
The credit card might be usual though although I am surprised she's using her phone over here. Yikes.
Dunno. Even the wealthiest people I know in the US did chores growing up/waitressed etc. Don't let her pull the 'culture' card.
And for 100% she should be saying please and thank you. That is nuts.
Are her parents monitoring her credit card? I wonder if she’s taking advantage of something meant to be used for emergencies.
In terms of the other stuff I agree with the others. Basic rules which everyone needs to abide by.
Not normal no but I do remember going on the German exchange many years ago at school and at the parents' meeting the German teacher told parents that when the dc stay in the U.K. not to expect pleases and thank yous - they don't mean to be rude, it's just not done in their culture, so some of this could be cultural and can be dealt with by having a meeting to set out how your family works and the expectations you have for those in your home.
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