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Dilema - can't bear the thought of looking after best friends daughter

(17 Posts)
LouMacca Thu 21-Aug-08 12:13:52

Help! A few months ago I offered to have my best friends 10 year old daughter (I'll call her Minnie) for a few days in the summer holidays as my friend works 4 days a week. I had her for 3 days last year and it was just about bearable as the weather was ok and we could get out of the house. Over the last 12 months Minnie's behaviour and attitude has become a disgrace. My own 6 year old daughter asked me why Minnie is always so angry and nasty! My friend does not discipline her at all and at times I have told her off in front of my friend and nothing has been said. My friend has told me herself that she works because she can't stand to be with Minnie for long periods of time. I want to be honest with my friend about why I don't look to look after her daughter but don't want to ruin a 30 year friendship. BTW I have 2 children of my own and neither of them look forward to Minnie's visits. What do I do? Thanks.

WorzselMummage Thu 21-Aug-08 12:17:00

I think you have to be honest with her..

Rather you then me though

jennieflower Thu 21-Aug-08 12:19:55

Well since you offered to help I think YABU.

If you withdraw the offer now after offering a few months ago it's going to leave your friend without childcare, I'd be really pissed of if it was me.

Look after Minnie, make the best of it but don't offer again.

Lazarou Thu 21-Aug-08 12:20:45

Her mother can't stand to be with her. That's terrible.

MrsTittleMouse Thu 21-Aug-08 12:22:41

I think if you've already offered then you can't really withdraw the offer and leave your friend in the lurch. I would just do the minimum and think twice before offering again.
Poor Minnie though, if things have become so bad that her own Mum is trying to get away from her.

bubblagirl Thu 21-Aug-08 12:23:48

i think the girls behaviour is because she feels unwanted

i would want to look after her regardless to show her she can have fun and tell her what behaviour is acceptable in front of your girls and set the rules poor girl i feel sorry for her obviously screaming out for attention

LouMacca Thu 21-Aug-08 12:24:17

Yeah, thanks you are right. I did offer and my friend has never let me down. Will do it through gritted teeth for the last time.

LIZS Thu 21-Aug-08 12:26:26

You can't very well say no now . However I do think you need to be quite clear that your chidlren find her hard to deal with and your friend needs to prepare Minnie for behaving well and accepting the rules of your house while she is there. You need to agree what you can use as sanctions if she is a pita. Also say if it doesn't work out better this time you are very sorry but you won't be able to repeat the favour.

AbbeyA Thu 21-Aug-08 12:46:29

Since she is 10 I think she old enough to talk to. She probably feels unwanted and dumped.
First of all I would ask her what sort of things she likes doing and see if you can accommodate them at all. If she is at all creative you could start a project that is time consuming.
I would get some books from the library and buy a couple of puzzle books and anything else that you think she could do in a solitary way. Then you could set aside a space for her somewhere, tell her that you hope that she would like to join in but if she wants some time on her own you will quite understand and you have given her a place to chill out.

jesuswhatnext Thu 21-Aug-08 14:34:07

poor little beggar, no wonder she is a pita if even her own mum cant stand her sad

silvercrown Thu 21-Aug-08 18:50:44

I had a friend's daughter at the last minute to help her out and it was an absolute nightmare all day long. She was sulky and miserable and wouldn't play with my kids at all - only spoke to them to tease them and take things from them. I never offered again!!!

pollyblue Thu 21-Aug-08 19:07:03

If her own mother thinks she's a pita then she probably won't be surprised if you say this will have to be the last time you have Minnie. It's a tricky postion to be in though! I think AbbyA's idea is a good one, see if you can get any ideas from her what she would really like to do with you as a group or would she rather have some quiet time on her own, with you just keeping an eye on her?
Is it possible that something has happened in the past year that has caused her change in behaviour - perhaps being bullied at school? My cousin's dd was bullied badly when she started senior school and became almost unbearable, but it was a while before she admitted what was going on.

AbbeyA Thu 21-Aug-08 19:07:48

If your DD2 is younger than 6, it is much easier. I think the one thing that Minnie is calling out for is time and attention. I was in a similar position when I was a single Mum with a 4yr old going out with a divorced man with a 10yr old DD. I wasn't involved in her parent's break up but she didn't want to know me! I took it very slowly and the things that cemented our relationships were the things that took time but not money. One of the best was making table decorations at Christmas by going into the woods and collecting holly etc and then using silver spray, candles etc. If you tried something like minature gardens all the DCs could do it at their own level and she would have something to take home.If they are both much younger don't lump them together, treat her as a helper.
I would start by saying that you know it wasn't great last time but, since she is stuck with you, you would like to work together to make it better.
Don't just expect them to amuse themselves without any help.

desperatehousewifetoo Thu 21-Aug-08 19:12:27

Poor little girl. She sounds very unhappy.

I think you do have to look after her as you have offered but keep strict boundaries as you would with your dcs.

Try to have a very structured few days and maybe tell her what the plan is for you all to do together - cinema, bowling, treasure hunt in forest/park, etc. If she missbehaves, you can tell her that she will not be able to take part in a certain activity, again, I imagine as you ould with yours. Maybe even give her the choice of what to do together at the end of the few days if she has behaved.

Good luck. Hope it goes well

Habbibu Thu 21-Aug-08 19:23:10

Poor little girl - tough situation for you, but rotten for her. If she's older than your children, could you maybe try to make her feel more responsible, by helping to plan activities, etc?

LouMacca Thu 21-Aug-08 21:21:48

Thanks for all your replies, I really appreciate your advice.

I suppose I never thought about how unhappy she may be, this makes me feel guilty. She really is so vile to my friend at times. My friend is a lovely and thoughtful person but there has always been problems bonding with her daughter. Her own mother left home with another man when she was 12 leaving her and her 9 year old sister with their dad. Maybe this is where the problems stems from.

I will really try and make an effort as I did last year, cinema, picnic, walks etc. I will let you know how it goes!

slim22 Thu 21-Aug-08 21:42:28

10 years old is old enough to talk.
Maybe this is a good time to start building bridges?

Where is her dad? AWOL too?

Obviously she needs to feel valued and to talk to someone and be listened to. Could you be a mediator?
I think that in a situation like this I would try and get closer to the chid and talk.

Teenage years are looming and this will get much worse.

Of course this is not exclusive of setting boundaries in your own house and enforcing them regardless. Generally a child with ishoos will do better on a strict routine as structured days makes them feel cared for.

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