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AIBU not to offer to hold friends toddler

129 replies

pictureframenotperfect · 04/04/2021 17:19

Genuinely confused, me and a friend both got older kids, friend has 19 month old who is used to being constantly held. For example we are all eating lunch and the toddler is being held and mum says 'oh I just can't get a minute to eat' both having a drink and trying to chat and mum says 'oh I can't get a chance to drink' I think surely you can just put the baby down but always feel as though she's expecting me to offer to hold her child...

Is this the done thing? Should you have to take someone else's kid even though your eating/drinking at same time.

Always leave our coffee meet ups feeling she's pissed I didn't offer to hold the toddler so she could drink her drink but then it's not my child and I think you should be able to put children down.


OP posts:
Ploughingthrough · 05/04/2021 01:27

also op, sorry but I don't think you are 'genuinely confused' at all. You know that your friend is hoping you will hold her toddler for a few minutes and you are pretending you are not getting this hint. It is okay for you not to but perhaps don't meet her in this situation any more - maybe get a takeout coffee and walk round the park so her child can be in the pushchair or toddle round the park while you drink/chat.

I think you have forgotten how exhausting and exhasperating non verbal, headstrong, clingy toddlers can be. And 19 months is hardly 'almost two' for whoever said that.

MaLarkinn · 05/04/2021 01:27

@DYWMB I like my friends too! I imagine just sitting there watching your friend struggle. Who needs enemies with friend's like that, bonkers.

DYWMB · 05/04/2021 01:38

Just bizarre.
People suggesting never see her again.
I feel sorry for her.

1forAll74 · 05/04/2021 02:24

Strange parenting from this woman. and making her life more difficult,picking up a toddler all the time. If a high chair is available. the child should be sitting in it.. They have to get used to a high chair, even though they might not like it at first. So no, you don't have to pick up your friends child, a small child will just get used to being picked up all the time, which is not a good idea.

timeisnotaline · 05/04/2021 02:26

Are you sure the child isn’t high needs? In which case it’s not her parenting and she could really do with supportive friends instead of the judgemental type?

Bythemillpond · 05/04/2021 02:37

It's when people start foisting their kids on other people so they can eat/drink/whatever in peace whilst someone else has to deal with their child that it's a 'big deal'. Especially if that person is still eating or drinking themselves or if the child isn't well-behaved

As a friend I would have thought it was a nice thing to do to help someone who was struggling

Cowgran · 05/04/2021 03:07


It's fascinating the number of people who think very small children are "misbehaving" or "ruling the roost" by needing close contact with their mother. A basic read up on human brain development will tell you their brains haven't developed the ability to manipulate yet and that if they need you, they really believe they need you. Secure attachment comes from feeling safe and responded to, and that's what attachment parenting seeks to develop. In fact, attachment parented kids are possibly more likely to be confident, independent and less "clingy" as they know they have a safe harbour to return to anytime, as long as they need it.

Surely friendship means being able to have a whinge, or even sacrificing 10 minutes to help another friend have a coffee?

This absolutely.

That said, my friends and I would ask rather than hint, and we would also offer to take turns holding/entertaining each other's kids without waiting to be asked. The passive aggressive hinting would irritate me.
namechangeaga1n · 05/04/2021 03:46

Maybe kid is more clingy than usual because there has been very little respite for mums of babies and toddlers this year. Id help a mum out no question.

Laserbird16 · 05/04/2021 04:17

I suppose you are under no obligation to hold your friend's toddler, there is a good chance a toddler wouldn't want you anyway but if it would be a kind thing to do so your friend could quickly shovel her lunch in, yeah no worries. Kids get bigger and change. Chances are in a few weeks this won't be a problem and you've done something nice for your friend. 18 months to 2 years is when the molars are emerging so toddlers can need a bit more cuddling, this could just be a phase. But if you don't want to don't.

Josette77 · 05/04/2021 06:48

I can't believe you ignore her when she's struggling. You are not this woman's friend. If she is telling you how hard things are, and you look at your phone you are horribly rude.

drpet49 · 05/04/2021 06:52

* I think you have forgotten how exhausting and exhasperating non verbal, headstrong, clingy toddlers can be. And 19 months is hardly 'almost two' for whoever said that.*

^I couldn’t sit there we watch my friend struggle. I would happily hold/ entertain the child if it meant my friend could have her drink in peace for a while. Who wouldn’t help their friend out? Well apart from the OP obviously.

LolaSmiles · 05/04/2021 07:44

Secure attachment comes from feeling safe and responded to, and that's what attachment parenting seeks to develop
Attachment parenting doesn't mean holding a toddler all day though, and expecting someone else to hold them when out. If anything this toddler doesn't sound like they are particularly secure based on the OP's examples.
It's a bit like when some people think that gentle parenting methods and attachment parenting mean being a permissive parent and having no boundaries, but that's not what they are. I have heard/seen people attaching gentle parenting as a label to permissive parenting though.

Sunshineday1 · 05/04/2021 07:57

My ex best friend used to want us to go for lunch/coffee, knowing I had no child care so had to bring my toddler, then watch me struggling, I struggled for the first few years as she was very high needs and a few other issues, she would just sit and watch, expecting me to attempt to chat to her whilst also running after her or restraining her into the push chair which she hated, absolutely fine as her 1 older child was just off playing. I would literally want to cry, I won’t ever put myself in that situation again and will always offer to help a friend now!

Billandben444 · 05/04/2021 08:16

HRTWT and changed my mind. Initially I was in the 'she needs to use a high chair/bad parenting/not keen on other children' camp but have totally changed track.
A. Her style of parenting is her choice and, as a friend, I would support it
B. I can see she is struggling and, as a friend, I'd help her
C. She is indirectly asking for help and, as a friend, I would give it.
The important phrase in the above is 'as her friend'.

PrintempsAhoy · 05/04/2021 08:28

Goodness, people are so unsympathetic Confused

My youngest was velcroed to my hip until he was about 3 when he had to be surgically removed by playgroup staff

Some babies/kids are just like that, it’s not “bad parenting “. Thankfully DS key worker said it is not unusual and often kids who are very clingy at that age become very confident as older kids if they have their needs met age 1-3

For my DS that was true

Hope same for your friend!

I don’t think she’s cross with you, just with the situation. It’s exhausting Grin

It will pass. Please don’t ditch your friend

BigPaperBag · 05/04/2021 08:39

I don’t bother with my friends kids when I meet up with them. I had my son young (19) so he’s grown up now whereas there’s are all primary age or younger and annoying. I leave it to them and relish being the only one without a child when we’re out, just like they were when I had DS 😂

Bluntness100 · 05/04/2021 08:45

I can’t imagine not offering to help a friend and share the burden, but I like kids, I like my friends and offer to help them with things I don’t like, like the dishes or heavy gardening. Because we are friends and that’s the shit we do for each other.

But if you don’t want to help her then you’ve got to do you.

Peace43 · 05/04/2021 08:47

No, I don’t like other people’s children. I might hold a baby so someone could go to the loo... if asked. Personally I’d rather the baby was put in the pram. I was surprised to find my dislike of babies extended to my own (I only had one). She grew on me and I love her very much now but I don’t do other peoples kids!

Wherediditgo · 05/04/2021 08:47

I skipped to the last page after starting to believe that the majority of people on here are completely devoid of empathy!!!

YES to it being ok that a 19mo wants to be close to their mother still. That’s normal.
Also YES to spending 10 fucking minutes of your day helping your mate out. If you can’t do that, why even be friends with her?? You obviously don’t like her!

(Anecdata but I attachment parented my DS, he is 3 and definitely NOT clingy or pandered to!!)

mamahoo · 05/04/2021 08:58

In the nicest possible way, I think you might have forgotten what it's like to have a 19 month old baby.

My Daughter was a dream baby, but when I would take her out for a coffee around that age, she would turn in to an absolute fucking nightmare. She wouldn't stay in the high chair, would barely stay on my lap, just whinged and tried to get away etc. It was basically impossible to eat/drink in peace.

I personally wouldn't look after a friends baby/toddler when eating either as I have no idea what to do with other people's children. I have a friend though, who always offers to help out if we go for food/drinks. She will always hold my baby, or will look after my toddler so I can have a few minutes peace. I don't expect it, but it is absolutely the most helpful thing in the world and I'm always so grateful. I think it's a really lovely, selfless act. However, yeah I agree with you that I wouldn't help either.

Welllllllwellllllllwellllllll · 05/04/2021 22:53

How do people who don't 'do' other people's children let the their very young pre schoolers socialise?

B33Fr33 · 05/04/2021 23:06

I have a friend who expects me to run around after her son when we meet up and distract him at dinner etc.
I've stopped meeting up with our children in tow.

B33Fr33 · 05/04/2021 23:08

*I have 3 children, she has 1. Hers is the same age as my middle one. They are teens now. She still expects it. Even when my youngest was a baby.

SleepingStandingUp · 06/04/2021 00:33


How do people who don't 'do' other people's children let the their very young pre schoolers socialise?

Presumably you don't do pre schooler socialisation without the other parent?
orangegina · 10/04/2021 13:34

I often meet with the ladies I met through NCT: from day one; we've each had a newborn, then baby; then toddler and we all Managed to eat and drink just fine without having to take in turns to hold each other's kids

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