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Its none of my business, but I kind of wish I'd said something

14 replies

soyabean · 06/02/2003 20:33

I was at a soft play area with ds (3.5) today and overheard a nanny or au pair say something to a child who was with her friend (also an au pair)that really upset me.
She was very off hand with the child she was looking after, and then called over to the younger of her friend's charges (they were mixed race)'hey, chocolate, do you want a drink?'. The other girl looked a bit surprised, laughed, and the first one said 'I think thats what I'll call him'. English was not her first language but she spoke it well. Maybe she wasnt aware how racist it sounded, but then again, I cant think that it would be acceptable anywhere? It wasnt exactly in an insulting tone of voice, but really not affectionate either. He was only about 2 so I think it would have gone over his head, but I did feel upset, and I feel pathetic now for not having said anything.

It has been on my mind. What would you have done.?

OP posts:

aloha · 06/02/2003 21:08

Ooh, I really sympathise with you. I bet you were too shocked to know what to do at the time. I still wouldn't know what to do. If I knew the mother I would definitely tell them. Do you think you'll see them again? Could you earwig a bit to hear what's going on generally and maybe see if anyone else knows whose children they are. I would really want to know something like this if it was my child - I would wonder what else they did, frankly. What a tough dilemma.


soyabean · 06/02/2003 21:11

Hi Aloha NO I dont know them at all, never seen the children before and its not somewhere I go very often. If I were to see the kids again with parents, I would say something, but its unlikely. Makes me wonder about what is said to children when you're not there to protect/explain.

OP posts:

aloha · 06/02/2003 21:29

I think it's every working mother's nightmare, this sort of thing - and I am one. Don't feel pathetic, I can hardly think of anything you could have done that would have helped. I do think it was 'your business' though, IMO children have to be all our business, which is why good people like you think about and worry about other people's kids. I would hope someone like you was about if anything happened to my ds.


soyabean · 06/02/2003 21:40

Aloha I agree that children are all our business, despite the title of this thread! Thats why wish I'd spoken out. Next time...
Mind you, I used to see a friend's son with his childminder occasionally and was less than impressed with what I saw. Not neglect at all, but just a general lack of warmth and enthusiasm which I found sad for the child. He seemed to wander around the playgroup and she never went to him, tho she was fine with him when he went to her. I did feel like saying sth to my friend but decided that I wd only do so if she asked. It didnt seem specific enough, and maybe I have too idealised an idea of how carers should be. I know its hard, have done it myself and didnt always feel motivated either but I know I could not have constantly ignored a child to chat with friends. I do chat with friends a lot (!), and leave my kids to get on with stuff, but I do think its different when you're employed to look after other people's children.

OP posts:

Clarinet60 · 06/02/2003 22:11

Exactly. I've seen this a lot, which is why I've been so freaky about childcare for mine.


Batters · 07/02/2003 06:43

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gosh2 · 07/02/2003 09:00

Blimey Batters.


mears · 07/02/2003 09:26

When I was collecting dd from school yesterday, the woman in the car next to me had a baby and a toddler in car seats then an older young child in the middle. The was a child (about 4 or 5 ) sitting in the front seat. She collected another child ( ?6 yrs) and strapped two of them together in the front seat. I couldn't believe how irresponsible that was. I also can't get over how many parents drive away from school with children unrestrained in the back, or worse standing between the 2 front seats. One woman who I see doig that regularly is a school teacher !


Scatterbrain · 08/02/2003 21:04

On the childminder thing - that's happened to me and I did mention it to my friend - result ? Never hear from her anymore - but know she is still very pally with the childminder. No longer her childminder as both are in late pregnancy with their 2nd babies - but it was me who lost out for saying something.


breeze · 09/02/2003 10:18

i hate it when i see people shouting at there kids, one of my neighbours about 5 doors up lets her kids play out in all weathers, ages bout 4 & 6. She is always screaching at them, shouting, swearing etc etc. I always feel as though i want to say something.

Back to your problem, my dh always says to me 'you do not know the full story', you said she didn't say it in an insulting tone, maybe she didn't realise how it sounded.

My friends dd eats lots of peanuts, and thats what a lot of people call her now, maybe it is something like that. I just find it hard to believe someone could be the nasty to a little kid.


mam · 09/02/2003 11:11

How awful, like aloha said it must be every parents nightmare as children can seem very contented/happy with their carers whether family or not and it can be years before you find out some things. I don't think it would have made any difference at all just maybe hidden such attitudes in public and then any warning signs of verbal abuse would be kept under wraps. With any luck the person will be somewhere and slip again and this time someone who knows the childs parents can tell them what's going on/being said.


jac34 · 10/02/2003 18:34

I saw a childminder I know today, while shopping in the high street.She had her own DD(younger than my DS's 4yo), two younger walking toddlers, and a double buggie with two even younger children. In total she had 5 children, under 4yo.
Does anyone know, if she is allowed to have so many little ones at once ????
I thought it was 3 under 5yo, and some older ones.


soyabean · 10/02/2003 19:26

jac34, I know childminders arent allowed to have more than one under one y.o. but am not sure abt the number of older ones. I agree this sounds like too many!
Scatterbrain, sorry to hear your story. I suppose at the back of my mind with the friend's childminder was that it could end up like that. And she wasnt being actively cruel to the child, just not actively kind either.
Breeze, you're right, the 'chocolate' comment may not have been meant; but I had a feeling that despite her not being a native English speaker, she did realise that it wasnt appropriate: something about her tone of voice.
Ah well, thanks everyone for your comments, maybe I'll be a bit more proactive next time. Then again, maybe not!

OP posts:

Bozza · 11/02/2003 11:15

Definitely no more than 3 under 5 and that includes own children. Its the same for all forms of childcare (eg nursery) as well.

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