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Babysitter Incident

(59 Posts)
dixia Sun 27-Feb-05 11:30:21

We had a really nasty experience last night. We have been using the
daughter of a good friend of ours as a babysitter. She is 15. We used her lots
last year, without incident. Then we were away for 9 months. Since we came back she has been coming every week (or twice a week) since we arrived back in December. My son (2) always screams
when she comes, and I mean really screams. He clings onto me for dear life.
Now, he is going through a very clingy time, and doesn't like anyone
touching him really, apart from the people he knows well. We put his
behaviour down to the fact that he relates the coming of the babysitter to us leaving, which is why he is so upset. Last night, the
same reaction happened. I was due to go and meet my partner at a juggling
convention (where he was already), about 30kms outside Malaga. After
leaving the flat I decided to listen outside the door to see what
transpired. The babysitter has always said that he has calmed down within 5 minutes
of us leaving. I wanted to check. So I waited. He screamed. She told him
to shut up. He was clearly in a different part of the house from her. She
told him to shut up again. Then she went into the front room (he was in his
room at the back), turned on some music, and turned the volume up really
loud (you could have heard it down the street). Then she went onto the
balcony and had a fag, leaving him crying in his room. Obviously, this was
too much for me and I stormed in and told her what I thought of her and her
'child care' methods. I spent 40 minutes having it out with her. She was
very apologetic and I know I got through to her. I calmed my son down and
told her exactly what I wanted her to do. Then I left and went to get my partner.
We both came back straight away. She was reading to him in his room and he
was fine. We sent her home and rang her dad, our friend, and told him what
had happened. So the question is, what do we do now? Part of me doesn't
want her to ever look after him again, because no matter what I think is
happening, I don't know. But part of me thinks that she should be given
another chance. I guess if we decide that, we will have to set very clear
parameters and keep checking on her for a bit. It goes without saying that
I don't want to put my son in a bad situation, with someone 'looking after
him' who isn't treating him properly. But I'm not sure that this will be
the case again.

We don't have many other options for babysitters. We had her because we know her family very well. I know her Dad will talk to her too (they have a good relationship), he is a very good father.

I feel guilty about leaving her at all last night. I wish I had told her to go home straight away, don't know why I didn't. Emotional reaction,not thinking clearly? Benefit of hindsight.

So what do you reckon? What should I do?

jampots Sun 27-Feb-05 11:33:58

Find another babysitter. Its just not worth leaving your ds in this state.

daisy1999 Sun 27-Feb-05 11:34:05

Never give anyone a second chance with your children. Your child obviously doesn't like her.
Trust your child and your own instincts.

hercules Sun 27-Feb-05 11:36:17

Sorry, but I would never consider using her again. She is obviously far too young for such a responsibility.

Pinotmum Sun 27-Feb-05 11:41:24

No Way - no second chances. She's obviously too immature to the responsibility.

daisy1999 Sun 27-Feb-05 11:43:26

My personal opinion is that teenagers should never be used as babysitters. I babysat when I was a teenager but looking back I realise that I would never have coped with an emergency. Before you have children yourself I don't think you have any idea of how to cope with an illness or accident in a child.

SenoraPostrophe Sun 27-Feb-05 11:46:30

I think this is a symptom of teenage self-centeredness. Since she was so apologetic, I would give her another chance, I think, BUT like you say I would check up the first few times.

Whenever we get a babysitter I put dd down to sleep first and then go out, because I know she sometimes plays up if anyone else puts her down. Could you do that?

If you don't think you can trust her again, why don't you ask around at the local nurseries for someone who can offer the occasional "canguro" service - nursery workers don't get paid much and might be willing.

biglips Sun 27-Feb-05 11:46:33

yeah, 15 is far too young. best to find another one as if you carrying using the same babysitter, you'll be miserable for everytime you go out as you be thinking about your baba and wondering whats the babysitter is doing now, is she looking after my baba, etc..

SenoraPostrophe Sun 27-Feb-05 11:47:33

Daisy - I would have coped at 15. At least i would have been able to offer comfort and phone for help, but that's all a baby sitter of any age can do really.

biglips Sun 27-Feb-05 11:47:53

but if you feel you can give her a 2nd chance then thats entirley up to you, hope it be all better.... for me, i would change my babysitter.

Yorkiegirl Sun 27-Feb-05 11:50:09

Message withdrawn

Pinotmum Sun 27-Feb-05 11:54:10

I was a babysitter at 14 and took the responsibility seriously but the kids were 3 and 5 and could tell me what they wanted. I once took a friend with me with permission. She kept saying lets nip to the chip shop, we won't be gone long and couldn't understand why I couldn't leave them. Some teenagers are more repsonsible than others I s'pose.

daisy1999 Sun 27-Feb-05 11:54:15

I have no problem if people know and trust a teenager babysitter but I personally don't wish to use them.
My comfort zone extends to family and close friends only.

soapbox Sun 27-Feb-05 12:00:01

No way would I give her a second chance - and I would also make sure that anyone else she babysits for knows what happened.

Blu Sun 27-Feb-05 12:14:38

However old she is she is clearly not mature or responsible enough atm to look after a child, so no, I wouldn't giver another chance, at least until she enters a new phase.
Was she 14 when you used her last year? It seems v young.

collision Sun 27-Feb-05 12:19:01

No.....I wouldnt use her again. she is obviously just doing it for the money and doesnt really like children. You just cant take the risk and what if she was worse next time and you didnt know. Trust your child's instinct and try and find someone else.

WideWebWitch Sun 27-Feb-05 12:23:27

I wouldn't use her again.

dixia Sun 27-Feb-05 12:23:41

I babysat from age 14 and was quite reliable and trustworthy and sensible, so I don't think the age is the main problem really. I really don't know.

soapbox, she doesn't babysit for anyone else. Just us, and only because she is a family friend.

I wouldn't trust any old teenager. We only have her because we know her and her family well. I trust her father, and he suggested the arrangement in the first place.

Last night she said that she feels awful when he screams like that and doesn't know how to deal with it. She says she hates him! He wont let her touch him, etc. I guess that this is the problem with having a younger babysitter, she didn't understand that a 2 year old doesn't 'hate'. His reaction to her may have started off as a reaction to me leaving, but its obviously developed a bit into a reaction to her. She didn't know how to deal with this extreme reaction, so she stopped trying, I think.

I think the idea of getting her to play with him while I am around is a good one. This may be the way to start again with her.

I think, my gut reaction is that she could be brilliant again (as she has in the past). She has a sister of 7 and has been active in her 'parenting'. I think she wants to make it work. I kind of want to give her a second chance, because I think I could help her to learn a valuable lesson about trust, caring etc.

I'm still undecided though. It is a big responisbility. Hmmmmm.

Surfermum Sun 27-Feb-05 12:24:31

I wouldn't use her again either. I wouldn't be able to go out and relax as I would be constantly worrying what was going on at home.

Pinotmum Sun 27-Feb-05 12:27:32

This has reminded me of when my 16 yo neice came to say for a week last year. Everyone in the family says how good she is with children and how she loves them blah blah blah. Well, she would like them for half an hour in the morning and then get annoyed with them - I would hear her saying NOOO I don't want to to dd (3 yo at the time). She'd then retire to her room for a few hours. She wouldn't hold dd's hand if we went out unless she was in the mood. I was seriously confused. One thing is certain she will never be asked to babysit for dd or ds.

WideWebWitch Sun 27-Feb-05 12:29:01

She says she hates him?! No way would I leave her with him again in that case I'm afraid, she doesn't sound mature enough.

collision Sun 27-Feb-05 12:30:52

www, I think dixia meant that the babysitter thought that her son hated her....not that she hated the child.

collision Sun 27-Feb-05 12:33:15

dixia...not trying to stir here but if you had a decorator that did a bad job of decorating your kitchen, would you give him another chance of decorating your living room? If your child is so unhappy with her then it is a huge risk to leave him again IMO. Sorry to sound so horrible but I was a nanny and have seen lots of incidents of people being horrible to children and it is very distressing.

Blu Sun 27-Feb-05 12:35:02

dixia, I think it's v fione of her to be so open talking to you today - but to my mind, the fact that she admits to not beaing able to cope when he gets upset is her quite honestly admitting that she isn't emotionally mature or strong enough to cope with a distresssed child. And why should she be, she is young. I agree that age alone isn't always the decising factor - but emotional age and maturity is.
it isn't our job to take on a crusade to help her grow and improve, it's your job to make sure that your child's interests are put firts. yes - a good idea to get her to spend time with him while you are around, but babysitting with full responsibility? No. Why would you take that risk?

You also run the risk of setting her up to fail, and feeling upset with herself.

FairyMum Sun 27-Feb-05 12:35:18

My personaly opinion too is that I would not trust a teenager with such a young child. It's partly based on personal experience from my own childhood with teenage baby-sitters. As a mother of children with quite severe croup I couldn't even think of it to be honest.
I have only ever left with children with their grand-parents and tbh I wouldn't trust anyone who didn't have kids themselves. I am a bit extreme perhaps, but I have children who have croup, frequent nightmares/terrors and my Ds1 sometimes wet himself, so it's not really fair on them nor the baby-sitter I think.

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