Post # 1
My friend is a single mom to a 7 year old boy whose father abandoned him. My husband and I don’t like kids, but we understand that she has to bring her kids everywhere with her because of her situation so we try to make the best of it. She came to our house last night so I could help her with something and I set her kids up with TV, but then she specifically asked my husband (who had other plans) to come downstairs and play video games with her son so he did that to be a good host. She asked me to take a picture of them together then said her son was going to get depressed after hanging out with my husband because he doesn’t have a dad at home. Today she texted me that her son loved his “play date” with my husband and is asking when he can come over and do it again. I just said “aww, cute, we’ll let you know!” and figured she’d let it go. She wrote back and said the kid had seriously been talking about it all morning and she wanted to know when she can leave him at my house alone with my husband while she and I went out with her daughter. I’m afraid to agree to this because the kid is in therapy over abandonment issues and I think he will feel rejected when he finds out that this can’t be a regular occurrence. I also think this is an odd and inappropriate request. I don’t want to be insensitive or judge her parenting, but I don’t think it’s healthy for the kid to get attached to a man who doesn’t want that kind of relationship. Any thoughts?
Post # 2
mseagles: Have you ever told her that you and your husband don’t like kids? If you haven’t, she may not feel the same way about her request.
Post # 3
Aughhhh it’s so frustrating when people impose like this. I’d tell her that your husband isn’t comfortable as a baby sitter but you would be happy to go out with her and BOTH her children any time.
I love kids, but we have a friend who brings his daughter over and then assumes that I want to care for her while he hangs out with Darling Husband in another part of the house. Finally Darling Husband started suggesting doing things all together instead of making me a baby sitter.
It’s such a tricky situation, but I think your friend needs to understand your position sooner than later. Maybe you could suggest big brothers?
Post # 4
Maybe just say to her that your husband was happy to occupy the kid for one eveing but that he is not comfortable with it being an ongoing thing. Honestly, I don’t think it matters how you word it, she’s going to be upset. She shouldn’t have taken it upon herself to decide that your husband should be the male presence in her son’s life but since she has, you are right to want to put a stop to it sooner rather than later. Again, she most likely won’t be happy but it needs to be said.
Post # 5
If you value the friendship it’s definitely time to be honest. Tell her exactly what you’ve said here: that your husband is uncomfortable committing to this set-up and it’s too unfair to encourage the relationship knowing that it can’t become a regular thing. It’s 100% better to set these limits/boundaries between your husband and this boy before it becomes a problem.
If you husband does want to take an active role in this kid’s life, he can make a commitment to one “guy” day a month, but if he’s not willing to commit to that, definitely draw the line now and stick to it.
Post # 6
mseagles: Doesn’t he have any other male role models he could spend time with, like a grandfather or an uncle? Do they have any organizations in your area, like Big Brothers?
I agree, your husband should not allow himself to be sucked-into this.
Post # 7
mseagles: this kid doesn’t have a father. I understand that you don’t like kids but imagine his life. He is lacking in something that most young boys have in their childhood. I don’t see why your husband can’t mentor the child and spend a little time. Think of the child’s innocend broken heart. The kid isn selfish or asking for money all he’s asking is for a meaningful connection that he doesn’t have in his life. Opening your heart to someone shouldn’t make you feel inconvenienced. Imagine if you were in the samw situation as the little boy and all you wanted was to spend time with someone you looked up to
Post # 8
mayamaya: It’s up to the kids mom to find a man who actually wants to be a fixture in his life. Picking a random friend’s husband to guilt into being a male role model for the kid isn’t right or good for anyone involved.
Post # 9
mseagles: What she’s doing, or trying to do, is only going to cause him more insecurities. What she needs to do is contact her local Boys & Girls Club and Big Brother program and get him a mentor. The program is made specifically for young boys like hers.
Post # 10
mayamaya: That type of relationship only works if both parties are willing. If the OP husband is unwilling or doesn’t want a relationship with the young boy, that doesn’t mean he is some horrible, selfish person. It means he is self aware.
I agree with the PP who mentioned Big Brother, Big Sister program. It is a great program that can potentially build life time relationships.
Post # 11
Thank you all for your responses. The kid does have other male role models that know him much better than my husband. I will consider suggesting Big Brothers. I told her about a similar program in the past and she blew it off. I should also mention that my husband has a serious lung disease that requires 4 hours of medical treatment per day. We are constantly stressed about his illness and lack of time to get everything done in a day so we don’t have time to babysit. Also, kids pick up a lot of germs at school and we are supposed to keep my husband away from these kind of situations because of the risk of getting a cold or an infection. I suppose I could remind her about that, too. We still feel like jerks though 🙁
Post # 12
I would have a serious conversation with your friend, draw a firm line and stand behind it. I don’t think its appropriate for her to impose on you this way, and it might be detrimental in the long term since the boy already has issues.
Post # 13
I think that request is very odd and inappropriate. Even if she doesn’t know that you don’t like kids, she can’t just assume that yor husband would be happy to play substitute dad! I also don’t get why she insisted on her son playing video games with your hubby in the first place. I thought she didn’t want him to watch TV at your house, because she might restrict the time spending in front of the TV or with media, but playing video games seems almost worse to me. It sounds like she set this up (the situation of the kid playing video games with your husband) on purpose, to be honest.
I can’t really suggest anything new, but I think you shouldn’t feel bad or guilty at all. She selfishly put you in this position and I think she also didn’t do her son any favors. She knows that he has potentialy abandonment issues, so she should REALLY make sure that a male role model also wants to be a role model and not force it upon someone on a whim.
Post # 14
I don’t understand why everyone is demonizing the mother of the child or saying she’s selfish. she doesn’t seem selfish. If the boy wants to spend a little time with the op’s husband I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal. the kid is just at the end of the day, an inoccent child. and all he’s asking for is to hang out with someone.
i really feel like there’s such a lack of community these days in usa. im my culture all my parents friends are my uncles and aunts and i can always go to them for advice without feeling like i’m inconviencing them. People are becoming too too selfish and think the world’s only without them
you should always do unto others as u want them to do unto you.
Post # 15
mayamaya: Kids ask for stuff all the time and if what they are asking for is appropriate, affordable and not harmful, then you let them have it. But as a parent it is your responsibility to only if it is appropriate, it is your job to be the filter. This lady has not filtered, this is not an ok thing to ask. It would be different if the OP’s husband had mentioned “next time” or if they had encouraged her to bring the kids, but he didn’t. He wasn’t interested in entertaining the child and the worst kind of mentor is an uninterested one.
No one is saying that the child is in the wrong, he doesn’t know any better. But his mother does and should not have asked. She could easily have left it at “he hopes there will be another time” and if the OP responded with “when are you free next?” She could have proceeded. But none of at happened. She is pushing for something she shouldn’t be pushing for.