What would you do?

JuneJune 4, 2001

Adult chidren never call or visit unless they want a favor. They haven't called or visited for several weeks, then out of the blue we got an invitation to dinner with them. We went and had a nice time. It seemed innocent enough, but we were sceptical. The next day, we are asked to babysit. Our hunches were confirmed and we feel saddened by it, as well as used.

This is always the pattern... don't hear from them, then all of a sudden a call or visit, seems nice and friendly, then we're hit up for a favor. There is never a call or visit just for that sake... only to get favors.

We don't want to say yes this time (we always did in the past). And to confront the situation would cause a blow-up.

We have helped out on many occasions, cheerfully, and more than asked on some of those times. We've done many many nice things to help, etc. But they don't seem otherwise interested in us.

What would you do?

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Invite them for no reason, maybe it will start a trend. While visiting you can emphasize how wonderful it is to get together for no particular reason, that it always seems like when you get together it is for another purpose. Maybe they will feel obligated to return the for-no-reason invite. Or make "standing date" on say, the second Saturday of the month or whatever works.

Offer to babysit when it is a good time for you, let them make their plans around when you offer your time. "I'm free next Friday, why dont' you go out then."

    Bookmark   June 4, 2001 at 9:51PM
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Be honest with them and next time they ask to take you out to dinner, go, but when they ask to babysit-say Oh Gee, we have other plans, but we could baby sit on such a such date. If these are your children let them know how you feel used. They will probably get angry, but you are still the parents and should do what YOU want to do. Do they call and just visit, etc. Be firm and be honest.
I am honest with all my kids and they too are outspoken with me. It makes for a great relationship. We get along great.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2001 at 12:19AM
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I agree with Marie..
Be honest with them, Outspoken so to speak. It may only seem like favors is what they are out for, but, babysitting your grandchildren is not always considered a favor to some, but a pleasure.
Like for instance.. My sister in law "loves" to babysit her grandbabies, and I am not the same overwhelmed lover of it as she is. But.. to our children, they think we should love it. Personally, I love to just go and pick them up, take them home for the night and spoil them... but, at my convenience.
The fact that they asked you to dinner is a sign that they are at least giving back if nothing else. Try opening up to them. Try explaining that you would like a more open relationship with them about all topics..
It "does" sometimes end up in fights but, it sure makes it alot clearer, and in the end, you will all get along alot better.

My oldest son is getting ready to ask me to babysit my 1 1/2 year old grandson for the weekend, and I am dreading the confrontation I will have with it.. BUT.. He is very difficult, and crys all the time. I do not feel that he is old enough for me to watch right now, and he is to hard. I do not want to watch him for a whole weekend, and so, I too will have to tell him no in some way.. It isn't easy when they get older to confront them or have to tell them no to something but.. We "ALL" have to do it!! Honesty is always the best policy....
Good luck...

    Bookmark   June 5, 2001 at 9:30AM
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Thanks all. Unfortunately, with them, they will probably just walk out on us and avoid us for a long time, then just appear out of nowhere as if nothing happened. If we confront them on that, it will happen again and again. They will NOT take any sort of confrontation of any sort. We've already tried that a number of times, and this pattern continues to be repeated. That's why we just want to say 'no' this time and see what happens.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2001 at 1:52PM
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June, I think you're on the money here. Say "no" to being used; "yes" to dinner. Don't get into a lecture; they don't do any good. If they're capable of doing it, they don't think it's wrong. You just have to draw the line. You're busy, that's all. If they want a favor bad enough, they'll hang around awhile.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2001 at 5:19PM
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Don't feel too hurt. I think your situation is more the rule and not the exception. Your children love and appreciate you even if they don't show it.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2002 at 2:40PM
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I'm going to disagree with everybody. Be glad they ask you to babysit! You can always tell them "no." Don't assume they're just using you. Have you thought of the possibility that by inviting you to have dinner and then to babysit your grandchildren they may be wanting to have a better relationship with you and a better relationship for you and your grandchildren?

I only have one granddaughter, and I wasn't able to have any contact with her until she was 14 when her legal guardian (maternal grandfather -- mother isn't capable because of mental illness) decided it was "appropriate" for her to know her paternal family. (My son also wasn't allowed to see her until then.)

I waited all those years for my granddaughter, and now that I have her I plan on spending as much time with her as I can. I don't think I could ever feel used.

Can't you just say to your children, "We'd love to babysit, but we already have other plans for tomorrow and we'll have to take a rain check"? Seems to me there's a lot of adversarial family stuff going on here. Somebody has to bend here.

Sorry for the sermon, but I have strong feelings about this.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2002 at 12:33AM
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"Gee, it's too bad we aren't available then." And that is that. Although it would be nice for you to take the kids from time to time without being asked, just so you can spend some time with them alone, without it being "babysitting". Kids know when you are spending time with them out of obligation.

Just be nice and upbeat about it, make no explanations other than you aren't available, and be ready and willing to accept that they may be a little ticked the first few times you refuse.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2002 at 11:14AM
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Well I always say someone (includes kids) can only use me as much as I allow them to, but that being said I still do alot for them (I"m Mom). The advice to tell them your not available is good (if your not available)because it does hurt to feel used . On the other hand the poster who wrote maybe they are trying to have a closer relationship with you had a great attitude. I think you should enjoy them taking you out. My kids would pass me the check. CS

    Bookmark   July 25, 2002 at 11:54PM
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Do you ever call your kids up and invite them and the grandchildren over just for the heck of it? I often hear from my grandmother how nobody ever comes to visit or calls her but she never takes the time to pick up the phone or stop in and see her kids. I think if you build a closer relationship with your kids so they feel they can just stop in, maybe you won't feel they only use you? Have you ever also just taken the kids just because you wanted to or do you have to be asked? Your children may feel that you need to form a stronger bond with the grandkids and are doing this because of that.

Also, how often are we talking about watching the grandkids? Do your kids ever get out on their own? Do others watch the grandkids? Parents need time alone and often don't get that these days. Many marriages fail because the couple doesn't get to go out and have fun, just the two of them even just once in a while. My fiance' and I were having a lot of problems and our parents kept saying we needed more time alone...however do you think any of them would offer to take our son? He's not a bad kid either. Never once have we been told about something horrible he's done while we were gone. It seems these days too many grandparents don't want bothered. My MIL says she did her time and this is her time. What's that about? You have kids to raise them and then have grandkids and family members to surround you. But that's a different story...

Hope things get figured out and turn out okay.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2002 at 11:58AM
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