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AIBU in bringing this up with dd's friend's parents??

(11 Posts)
callmethisfornow Sun 02-Nov-08 12:44:34

Have name changed for this as it's a delicate subject

DD came back from friends yesterday, apparently the mum had been stressed and upset. DD's friend told DD that dad's business has just gone under and the family are really worried about 'everything' - the house, bills etc. DD told me all this quite matter of factly (girls are both 12 so have some awareness of current financial situation - DD knows that atm a lot of people are losing jobs, unable to sell houses etc). She wasn't overly upset, but obviously concerned about her friend.

Thing is, as a family we are reasonably friendly with the parents and bump into them around the village at least a couple of times a week. I don't know when all this happened but they certainly haven't shown any sign of any stress when we've seen them, so it could be that they're putting a brave face on and don't want people to know. I don't know whether DD's friend was telling DD something she shouldnt or not. I've probed a little bit with DD and it all sounds genuine - she talked about the bank having called in loans etc - the kind of stuff a 12 year old wouldnt make up.

How should I react towards the parents? DD's friend is coming here on Tuesday after school, so we'll see her mum or dad at some point on Tuesday evening when they collect her. Do I bring up the subject or not? Sorry I know that sounds clueless but I honestly don't know. It almost feels like a taboo subject, but on the other hand, I know sometimes when something bad has happened, people really wish others would talk about it and not treat it as a no go area. Anyone had any experience from either side of the fence? DD has been talking about it again this morning, and asking questions like 'Do you think they'll have to sell their house? Will they move away?' etc. It feels wrong to be talking to DD about it when I know I'll see the parents soon and they don't know that I know.

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 02-Nov-08 12:47:58

I have this situation with DD's friend too. I say NOTHING unless the parents bring it up.

Lovesdogsandcats Sun 02-Nov-08 12:49:02

Well I personally believe there is so much truth in 'a problem shared is a problem halved'

however I am not sure that you should be the one to broach it.

If you do, I would go in with 'hows things, dd was saying that you are having a shit time of it at the minute' rather than nail her down with specifice ie. bank/loans etc.

callmethisfornow Sun 02-Nov-08 12:49:17

How long have you known Katie?

twinsetandpearls Sun 02-Nov-08 12:50:17

You could maybe talk about how hard you are finding things and see if she volunteers anything. If she doesn't she does not want to share and you should leave it

callmethisfornow Sun 02-Nov-08 12:56:05

Thanks - I think a general asking how they are is probably the best way to go - I certainly wouldnt go diving in with any specifics at all.

I think what bothers me is what to do about things like if the girls go to the cinema or whatever - things that cost money. I don't want to assume they've got spare case when they clearly won't have. They've been pretty well off in the past so it's never been an issue if the girls want to go out. They see eachother quite a lot, and I know they've been planning to book tickets for a band next month etc. This sort of thing is really tricky.

pointydog Sun 02-Nov-08 12:56:17

don't bring it up at all. Leave it to them

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 02-Nov-08 12:56:18

About 3 years. Business went down the pan, her DH left, she's stuck in expensive house with IS paying most of mortgage so she would need to find a job that pays megabucks to compensate. I know the specifics because she has told me, however I never pry. It's hard as her eldest DD (13) is at the age when her mates are very materialistic. I've offered her advice when asked in my professional capacity, but only when asked.

callmethisfornow Sun 02-Nov-08 12:56:31

cash not case!

JJ Sun 02-Nov-08 13:18:45

I have had a situation similarish but in reverse (ie I was the one having a hard time). I preferred it if people just said "I've heard you're having a hard time" and offer some support or a friendly shoulder or whatever they're comfortable with.

I would rather know they know, especially if my son is talking about it. And it makes it easier to chat rather than worrying about hiding it if it's not something that's really for public consumption. In your case, it might be worth letting her know that you are aware they won't be able to afford the stuff for the kids that they usually do.

But that's just me, of course! She might be different, so do what feels right to you.

wehaveallbeenthere Sun 02-Nov-08 13:29:23

KatieScarlett has it straight away. Little girls (children in general sometimes overhear what they shouldn't) learn things from observing adults. She was correct in talking to her mother (which I hope she always feels secure in coming to you regardless of whatever problem comes up) but finances are a personal problem.
A lot of people are struggling right now. It just isn't right to bring it up though unless they initiate the conversation. I would tell your daughter that part too in case she relays a conversation back to her friend and she to her parents.
You don't want to embarrass anyone...and you wouldn't want to embarrass yourself.

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