Approaching Parents about their child. HELP!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Galactus, Oct 7, 2007.

  1. Galactus

    Galactus New Member

    Due to a family illness, we needed a babysitter for our 4 year old son. His friend's parents (also a 4 yr old boy) graciously agreed to watch him while we went to the hospital. Upon returning approximately 2 hours later to pick up our child, the mother of the other boy said "you may want to check his underwear, some feces was found around the toilet."

    Our son has never had a problem making it to the bathroom. He wet his bed once after being potty trained and cried. He has never had another accident either at home or daycare.

    We arrived home with our son, I promptly checked his underwear and there was no evidence he had any sort of accident. I asked my son if he had an accident, he bluntly said "No". I asked him where the poop came from from.

    He said "Daddy, KidX pooped in the bathtub." I asked if KidX had an accident. He said "No daddy. KidX looked at me, screamed, laughed and pooped in the tub."."Daddy, he didn't even TRY to go potty."

    My son then informed me that kidx proceeded to pick up his entire bowel movement, squeal and smear it and finally drop it in the toilet.

    The incident had an effect on my child as he was in the tub with KidX at the time. I know I have to tell the parents, but I am not sure how to approach it. KidX has had NUMEROUS BMs, which I am beginning to believe are not accidental. Other parents have also called the child's parents, including one who said KidX put his hands down a girl's pants.

    I WILL NOT have my child exposed to this type of irreverant behavior.

    Any ideas on how I should approach the parents? For my child's sake I can end my friendship with them in a blink of an eye. How do I tell them that I don't think our children should play together anymore?
     
  2. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Hi there, and welcome to the board!

    What a strange situation to be in. I am sorry that your son was affected so!

    I think it is best to just be honest, and brace yourself for these parents not to believe you. You may want to let her know that you are concerned that their child may have a problem. Does not sound so accusatory.

    Weekends are generally slow on the board here. Hopefully more wise mommies will be along with advice for you.
     
  3. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi Galactucus, welcome to our forum.

    You can bet that KidX's incident wasn't isolated and that the mother has been dealing with this all along. From the wording I gather the mother wasn't denying her son had the feces problem neither was she accusing your son in this incident. She was likely just covering the possibility that your son would tell you what had happened.

    Your choices here are fairly limited:
    1) Cut off them playing together, with or without explanation to the parent.
    2) Let the boys play together in totally supervised situations. in my opinion, two four year old friends probably shouldn't have been in the bathtub together without constant adult supervision.

    If you do decide to talk with the parent, keep it focused on your son and not hers. Put it in the context that you were uncomfortable with them bathing together and that your son was uncomfortable with the BM business. This probably isn't a time or set of circumstance for you to be suggesting her son has a problem, etc.
     
  4. Ohio

    Ohio New Member

    I agree with SRL. Let me just ask you this, what do you expect to gain out of confronting the mother? What do you think will happen?
     
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think the child could be dangerous to other kids. What if something is in his feces? And he put his hands in a girl's pants? Did anyone do anything about it? This little boy needs help. I have no clue what's wrong with him, but that isn't typical behavior.
     
  6. Ohio

    Ohio New Member

    The kid probably accidentally pooped in the tub, or purposely ( he is only 4), then brought it to the toilet so he wouldn't get into trouble. Why would the little boy have his hands in a girl's pants? I am sorry, but I don't get your reasoning.

    Maybe the mom needs to supervise her son more, but I doubt that she is going to want to hear it from another parent. If he does have deep rooted issues, then I am sure that the mom already knows it. Confronting the parent is only going to make her embarrased, uncomfortable, and :censored2: off at the messenger; especially, if in so many words, you tell her that her kid isn't good enough to associate with your child.

    No one can control how others parent, we can only control how we parent our own children. Galactus has the right to end the children's friendship, for the sake of her own child. I just think that the matter can be handled without conflict. Maybe she could just avoid this family, and always be busy. I have done this with an associate of mine, and it works.
     
  7. Galactus

    Galactus New Member

    Honestly,

    I don't expect anything out of the mother or father. As one poster said, this is not an isolated incident as far as the BMs go (it happens quite often under various circumstances). It's not about confrontation as it is about what is best for my son. The parents WILL want an explanation over "Sorry, my kid won't be hanging out with yours.". They are in the same daycare, will most likely be in the same school and we are somewhat friends with the parents.

    One poster is correct. I've never been a fan of the kids in the tub thing (I didn't know that was going to happen. It wouldn't have happened had I known).

    I asked my son about the incident again after making the post just to clarify. I asked him how it made him feel and he said "gross". He also said he never wanted to be in the tub with KidX again. Of course he will never be in the tub with the child again.

    The problem is that this is not an isolated incident with this child. The parents HAVE to know. If they don't, then they should. Maybe the boy has a legit medical condition, or maybe he's crying out for help. Either way, my job is to protect my son from any and all comers. Their issue is not mine to solve. What parents do with the information is for them to decide. If the child was killing small animals should I not tell them because the parents would get upset?

    Crapping in the tub with another child in it is about the most disgusting thing that can be done. The parents know their kid has a problem... Don't insinuate that it is a problem with mine.
     
  8. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I've read all posts on this thread several times and didn't read where anyone insinuated that the problem was with your child. I don't understand the hostility.

    I do think it's a stretch to go from pooping in the tub to killing small animals. The child may have a legitimate medical condition or developmental or mental health disorder. The parents may or may not be aware of it. He's 4 years old. 4 year olds don't know how to form intent, so it wasn't like he was deliberately trying to harm your son.
     
  9. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Like the poster above, I'm having difficulty in understanding your comments. This is generally a very helpful group and I suggest that you give the posters the benefit of the doubt. You can count on the fact that posting here will yield a variety of answers and if you don't agree with the advice then simply disregard it. There's certainly no need to meet other posters with attitude simply because they see things in a different light or don't agree with you. I know that you were disturbed by what happened to your son (and many of us here would be), but before you declare outright that pooping in the tub with another child it in is about the most disgusting thing that can happen you might want to get to know us a bit. I promise you, there are far, far more horrific things that can happen to children in this world...and parents of children who've been through those things are part of this community.

    Throughout your parenting career you will be faced with situations where you don't approve of behaviors that your child's peers exhibit, and at those times you will be faced with the decision whether to let it go, confront the child, or confront the parent. If you feel strongly that you need to confront this directly with the parent then I suggest the following:
    1) Stick to the immediate situation--your children bathing together, BM sitution. Inform her of what your child reported and what you have decided to do in light of that. I'd venture a guess that mom will act surprised but I'm pretty sure she has plenty of knowledge of what's going on.
    2) Don't bring up various other situations which involve other children, especially since you noted above that other parents have already called.
    3) Focus on your son and his/your discomfort level and not on the behaviors of the other boy.
    4) Expect a cool reception from the boy's mother.
     
  10. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I have to agree completely with SRL. by the way, the other child of which you post could very well be one of our children on this board. I'd personally appreciate it if you were to proceed in a much more compassionate and respectful manner. Not one of us here asked to have disordered or difficult children. I, for one, was offended by the following:

    "I WILL NOT have my child exposed to this type of irreverant behavior.

    Any ideas on how I should approach the parents? For my child's sake I can end my friendship with them in a blink of an eye. How do I tell them that I don't think our children should play together anymore? "

    Trust me, if they were to read this, they'd dump your friendship in a blink of an eye.

    "Crapping in the tub with another child in it is about the most disgusting thing that can be done. The parents know their kid has a problem... Don't insinuate that it is a problem with mine."

    No one has insinuated that the problem is with your son. But it may be with YOU. If this friendship is too much for you to maintain, I'd suggest dropping it because I doubt these parents are staying up at night worrying about poor little ole you. They are probably worried sick about their son.

    You are right about this:

    "Either way, my job is to protect my son from any and all comers. Their issue is not mine to solve. "

    Just remember, that's also their job in regard to you.
     
  11. Galactus

    Galactus New Member

    Originally Posted By: tiredmommy
    I have to agree completely with SRL. by the way, the other child of which you post could very well be one of our children on this board. I'd personally appreciate it if you were to proceed in a much more compassionate and respectful manner. Not one of us here asked to have disordered or difficult children. I, for one, was offended by the following:

    "I WILL NOT have my child exposed to this type of irreverant behavior.

    Any ideas on how I should approach the parents? For my child's sake I can end my friendship with them in a blink of an eye. How do I tell them that I don't think our children should play together anymore? "

    Trust me, if they were to read this, they'd dump your friendship in a blink of an eye.

    "Crapping in the tub with another child in it is about the most disgusting thing that can be done. The parents know their kid has a problem... Don't insinuate that it is a problem with mine."

    No one has insinuated that the problem is with your son. But it may be with YOU. If this friendship is too much for you to maintain, I'd suggest dropping it because I doubt these parents are staying up at night worrying about poor little ole you. They are probably worried sick about their son.

    You are right about this:

    "Either way, my job is to protect my son from any and all comers. Their issue is not mine to solve. "

    Just remember, that's also their job in regard to you.



    For one thing, the perception on this board that I am female is indeed incorrect. I am a concerned father.

    The friendship, believe me I can take it or leave it. "Poor little old me" is fine. They are the ones that continually blow up my phone. The needs of my son vs. my needs for friends? Well, they aren't even in the same galaxy.

    It would be much better if the parents simply said "KidX" had an accident while they were in the tub. Telling my wife to check my son's underwear to cover for a BM to me is paramount to deceit.

    All I expect from any parent is FULL disclosure of the truth (when it involves MY child). Anything less than the truth is NOT the truth. My 4 year old knows the difference between the truth and NOT the truth. If my child had an accident, as hard as it would be, I WOULD tell the other parents. To me, it is the right thing to do.

    If my child breaks something of another's, steals, hits, or has an accident in the same tub of another child, I would have to tell the other child's parents the truth (not some shade of the truth). Embarrassing as it may be, it is only respectful thing to do. As a parent, part of my job being honest with my child and honest with other parents who's child plays with mine. I don't expect them to rehash their personal history (frankly, it is none of my business), but what happens to my child is my business.

    The things I say in CAPS are not meant to be combative, but certain things do need to be emphasized.

    I do appreciate all the different responses. It is true that I am a relatively young parent, but having to hear how something really happens from a 4 year old instead of an adult just doesn't seem right.
     
  12. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Perhaps the parents are not aware of what happened? You did say that Kidx locked the door and did this, no?

    Perhaps you should call them and discuss what happened. Tell them that you appreciate that they watched your son. However, if the need arises for bathing, you'd appreciate them being carefully watched or bathed separately. If they can't handle the truth, then end the friendship.

    Exactly what are you looking for on this board? Do you have other children? Do you have a child who has special needs? It appears that you are just looking for answers from parents who have children with issues? I guess that would be commendable, but we, here are a much more compassionate group to parents who have children with issues, so you are going to hear answers from our point of view, not from the point of view of parents of kids who do not have particular issues.

    You see, you cannot beging to imagine what it is like dealing with a child with issues until you actually have a child like this. I was a snickerer. I was an adult who used to think that the poorly behaved and out of control child in a store was the result of poor parenting. That simply is just not the case all the time. More and more it is the result of the child having a particular disorder. Now, I have much more compassion for the mother of a child whose child is screaming frantically in the middle of Walmart, she is flustered and embarassed and is getting dirty looks from all around her.

    Your friends did you a favor by watching your son for you. Have compassion for them. Make them aware of the problems without coming across judgemental. Give them the chance to respond. If you choose not to allow your son to play with him, fine....but don't necessarily judge the parents. There are many parents on this board, including the former owner, whose child had encoporesis. It's embarrassing to say the least, but it certainly isn't the parents fault.
     
  13. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Galactus,
    I'm sure most of the parents that frequent this forum can give the reason why this parent wasn't apparently completely truthful about this incident. Each and every one of us has been burned because of the actions of our children.
    We've lost friends, been distanced from family, ridiculed or dismissed by the professionals from whom we seek help. Our child are seldom invited to birthday parties or play dates. They play alone at recess. Other families leave the playground when our children show up.
    It's a very lonely and painful existence to be a parent of a difficult child. The parent is often blamed and made to feel shame despite their best efforts to help their child. Most of us would happily settle for our children to be happy, productive and law-abiding. Some of our parents wish their child could make it through a school year without a stay in the psychiatric unit. Others pray they aren't causing more harm by having their children take powerful drugs to curb some aberrant behaviors. Others worry their child will be institutionalized, either in the mental health arena or the judicial system. They spend their sick time, personal time and vacation time picking up their child from school or taking them to appointments (at which every aspect of their parenting is scrutinized and critiqued). They often go into debt in order to get help for their kids due to woefully inadequate health insurance. Some lose jobs, homes or even marriages. They also worry what effect their difficult child may have on their other healthy children.
    And all they want is normal: a happy, healthy child in a happy, healthy family.
    You need to ask yourself when you talk of just dropping these people as friends (which is well within your rights, by the way) would you do this if the child had a heart defect? Or diabetes? Or epilepsy? I understand your concerns about your son, I just think you should also approach this matter with more compassion. Let your son lead the way, to a point. If he still wants to be friends with the boy than you should consider allowing it. Set up a context that will work for you and your family. Perhaps at daycare only, or at your home under you or your wife's direct supervision. But believe me, this little boy is the first of many that your son will come in contact with. It's inevitable, unfortunately.
     
  14. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Galactacus,

    No one here is telling you that you don't have the right to be concerned about what happened--at least to prevent it from occuring again with your child--and I appreciate that you took the time to seek out the opinions of other parents to see how best to handle it. When you post here you would do well to remember that there are parents in every difficult position imaginable as members here. Some are parents of children who have issues such as you have described with this friend here...ord much, much worse. Some are parents of children who have been witnesses or victims of similar situations...or much, much worse. We need to maintain this as a soft place to land for parents, and sometimes that requires us to step in and redirect discussion, tone, etc such as we did here.

    There could be many things going on with this little boy, including the possiblity that he has a mom that is in denial if it's been a recurring situation. That could explain why she handled this as she did. It's often very hard to face up to the facts and hard (not to mention often prohibitively expensive) to seek out appropriate treatments. If you are concerned that there are some ongoing issues with this boy you can address them with the parent as I suggested above. Think it through before you do so you know where you want to go with it--sometimes you can do more for a child and family by staying involved but putting appropriate supervisory restrictions in place. Other times you may decide you need to sever the relationship entirely. Where you fall in there really depends on the severity, the occurances, the nature of the relationship, the temperament of your own child, as well as your personal value system (such as hoping to be a positive influence on the life of the child in question).

    Only you can determine where you fall in there with this incident. Often when you are in the hot seat it's not so cut and dry. For instance, recently a neighborhood kid stole a handheld video game and some games from our house. We opted to confront the child and family but left our doors open for him to spend time at our house in the future because we've now seen what kind of family life he has and we know he needs positive influences in his life. He has also stolen from the home of a friend and they opted to let their son handle it, without they as parents interfering. They also have opted to keep their doors open to this boy, for the same reason that we have.

    Likewise I have had a parent tell me some flat out lies and now come to think of it she did the same to the mother I just mentioned above. It wasn't in a situation that would impact my kids so I had no reason to confront, but the deceitfullness did concern me so I kept my radar tuned more keenly in the future. The boy remained my son's best friend until he moved away and they still keep in touch by email 4 years later.

    Good luck with this situation, and we'll be interested to hear how it all turns out.
    SRL
     
  15. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    When that time comes - and it will for all parents - I certainly hope they show more compassion and less judgment than you have shown here. Comments such as "irreverent behavior" and "protect my child from any and all comers" (in context of this particular incident) are very judgmental and, honestly, dramatic when talking about a 4 year old.

    If the worst thing that ever happens to your son is that he was in the tub with another boy who pooped, you should truly count your blessings.
     
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Wow. I didn't see the hostility. If the intent is to blast the parents, I would let it go. Kids that do that are not typical kids and have problems. Sometimes sensory issues make it hard for kids to know when they have to go to the bathroom, or it could be something else completely. If you are going to be THAT hard nosed with your own child (he better NEVER lie to me even a little) you're going to be one frustrated father. I've raised five kids from age 30 to 11. Kids will sometimes lie, even "normal" kids, especially to get out of trouble. I don't know what you want from us, but you are blowing this way out of proportion. If you want to cut off your friendship, you don't need us to tell you to do it. If you don't want to make waves, then say nothing or make excuses--I'm sure you can think of something. Your child is going to be exposed to kids like this again.
    I personally don't believe this is "bad parenting." The child has a problem and maybe, perhaps because of your demeanor, they don't feel like sharing it with you. It was nice of them to watch your boy. Next time take him with you.
     
  17. Galactus

    Galactus New Member

    After reading many of these replies, somewhat cooler heads have prevailed (at least at 6:10 PM EST). This is not to minimize what happened and just as I don't know how certain situations have affected your children (in a collective sense), none of us (including myself or "Heather") know how this incident has affected my son. It disturbed my child enough to tell us about the incident and that is enough for me to act.

    I came to this forum because yes, I figured that many posters here would have experience in how to handle this type of situation. Many parents of children with Conduct Disorder or ODD have been on the receiving end of these types of situations. I do not wish to persecute the child, but to dismiss it would be irresponsible on my part as my son's father.

    It's been discussed with the father of the child and he thanked us for bringing it to his attention. The dialogue was to the point and assessed only the situation that affected my son. At no time were anyone's parenting skills questioned or the state of the other child.

    Most of you are right. I do not know what situations you have endured. To those of you who think that this does not constitute "irreverent behavior" we will just agree to disagree. To those who think I am judgmental or dramatic in saying it is my job to protect my child "from any and all comers" in this or any similar situation, I have to ask...

    If I don't protect my child, who on this earth will? Little situations can become big situations. This I do know something about.

    I myself was a victim of abuse. I understand how unresolved "situations" of early childhood can affect someone later in life. No one can protect their child 24/7, but when an issue arises it must be addressed.

    I do appreciate all of your responses (even the ones I don't agree with).

    A special note to Heather. I do count my blessings and hopefully it will be the worst thing that ever happens to him. That still doesn't make it ok to minimize it. I am sure that you have perhaps dealt with far worse things and I do have compassion for parents and children with greater issues (I have relatives with autism, William's Syndrome and even clinical psychosis). I can only attempt to handle the situations presented to me in the best way I know how. I am sure you all do the same.

    Thank you all for your opinions. I sincerely wish all of you the best with each your unique struggles and triumphs.
     
  18. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Not a single person here suggested dismissing the situation. We took issue to the obvious disdain you presented in your posts. I personally took issue with how you talked about this other child and their parents as if they set out to deliberately harm your child. THAT'S what I referred to when I stated that "irreverent behavior" and "any and all comers" was dramatic. If it had been an intentional attack on your child, it would be a different story altogether...like the children who incessantly taunt my daughter because of her speech, saying things like, "T-t-t-t-today stupid". I am not going to get myself all worked up over what may have very well been an accident.

    You're right; we don't know how this affected your child. However, I have a hard time seeing long term damage from this incident unless you make an issue out of it with your son. You said he told you about it, but I thought you asked him about it...and more than once. The bigger an issue YOU make out of it, the bigger an issue it will become for your son. He will follow your lead.

    I'm glad that you talked to the other parent in a calm manner. Our children struggle just to get through each day. One more understanding person can make all the difference in the world.
     
  19. Galactus

    Galactus New Member

    Heather,

    I would be lying if I said the incident didn't upset and anger me on an emotional level. Perhaps it was better that I vented on this forum as opposed to venting on the parents. Hotheads do not think clearly. That was one of the reasons I posted on this forum before addressing the situation with the parents. I didn't know exactly what to do, but I knew talking in my emotional state wouldn't be good for anyone. My emotions came through on this thread in a way that, upon reflection, weren't conducive. I do apologize for jumping into this forum without the full knowledge of the myriad of situations each of you as parents undertake EVERY day.

    The parents were more than understanding. I think I will take a bit of advice from the "elf from middle earth" that suggested I allow my child to take the lead. My son likes the boy (and he IS a good kid) and his parents are nice people. We are all ok with the "no more baths" rule, but that is about all that has changed. I tried to put myself into the shoes of the parents as best I could. It couldn't be easy to hear it and it also wasn't easy to say. In the future hopefully this situation will make me more aware of how my actions can help someone else in a difficult situation. All of you have helped me gain a better understanding of a situation in which my knowledge is obviously limited. Having family members with special needs is a far cry from having a child of your own with special needs.

    Many of your situations (as a group), are surely more dire. Thank you all for taking time to respond and helping a parent become more aware of his own faults and shortcomings.
     
  20. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    And thank you, Galactus. I know what we responded back to you wasn't easy to swallow. I think, since this issue has been resolved now in the real world, that I'll go ahead and lock this thread. Please feel free to post again when and if the need arises.
     
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