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krose1223's avatar

What is the best way to handle a situation when you know you're being taken advantage of?

Asked by krose1223 (3254points) December 29th, 2008

So I offered to babysit for a co-worker or mine during the holiday time. She has her daughter for two weeks and I wanted to help because I know she doesn’t see her very often. When she asked me how much I wanted her to pay me I told her whatever she could afford. She told me it wouldn’t be a problem because her ex husband was letting her keep the child support she pays for this month. Anyway, I’ve been watching her little girl for some time now. She picks her up an hour later than she says she is going to and drops her off atleast 30 minutes earlier than we had planned. I end up watching her little girl 16 hours a day. I was trying to be nice because I am a single mom and I have had so much help, but I would never be this inconsiderate. I don’t get much sleep as it is, and because she threw her daughter on me last minute today I only got 2 hours of sleep after working a graveyard shift. It also wouldn’t be so bad but the girl is, bluntly put, a brat. I love kids and I am good with them but she is very mean to my son. I have caught her tripping him, hitting him, tackling him, throwing him down, grabbing toys from him… You get the point. I understand she is an only child, and probably taking her parents divorce kind of hard, but the mom won’t help me out at all. I have told her how she treats my son and she just goes “Oh yeah?” I don’t think she’s ever tried to talk to her daughter about it.

I guess all of that wasn’t necessary. My point is she hasn’t paid me yet, and I hate to sound that way, but as much as a burden as it has been I need something to make me feel better. Her daughter doesn’t go back home until the 6th and I don’t know if I should say something to her mom about being on time. I just don’t know what to do!! Help!

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14 Answers

krose1223's avatar

co-worker of*

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

No good deed goes unpunished.

Tell her that you have some family matters that have come up, and it isn’t convenient for you to continue the arrangement.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Normally, I would say to just eat the cost of looking after the little girl and never babysit again. However, if you’re babysitting a lot and this woman still hasn’t paid you, Tell her flat out that you need the money. You have your own child to look after. Tell this woman that. If you are friends with her and are afraid that she won’t take kindly to you asking for the money, then Alfreda’s suggestion really is best. If this still doesn’t work and she gets mean or shows up at all hours to thrust her daughter upon you, tell her that you are concerned with how her daughter is treating your son and that you do not want to subject him to that. Good luck, I hope things work out.

krose1223's avatar

I wouldn’t want to show her the lack of courtesy she has shown me though. I’ll tough it out I just don’t know if I should try to talk to her about her daughters behavior, and I don’t know if I should ask her about pay. Her daughter is getting a little better about it because she doesn’t like when I am mad. We have lots of fun together so I think it really hits her hard when I scold her. Once I get after her she will be nice for a little while, but no more than an hour. I have watched “only children” before and in my experience they are always a little more difficult.

@kata- That’s what I want to do but I am just scared to cause tension since I work with her. I try very hard to avoid confrontation with my co workers. Although, I am putting my two weeks notice in tonight…

KatawaGrey's avatar

@krose: I understand. There have been times when I have babysat for someone and never gotten paid, but because of the nature of our relationship, I can’t ask them for money.

And we’re not all difficult. All of my friends’ parents say they wish their kids were more like me. :)

krose1223's avatar

haha, I don’t mean that in a rude way. I have several friends who are only children that are amazing now! Pretty much just under the age of 12 they are a handful. I guess it depends a lot on the upbringing too. An exception is made for everything, so maybe you’re one of them. :)

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

In my experience, most kids are either great for their parents and hellions away from home, or hellions at home and great for other people. (Only a small percentage are consistent at home and away.) Discussing her daughter’s behavior with her will only make things really bad, because you are in essence criticizing her parenting. And it sounds like she’s the non-custodial parent. If you’re watching her 16 hours a day, how much quality time is the daughter getting with her mother? That may be at the heart of the behavior issues.

augustlan's avatar

The 6th is too far away to let this continue. Let her know that it’s important to you that she be on time, and that you can’t handle babysitting on days you weren’t planning to do so. You can ask for the money nicely, just say something like “Wow, I didn’t realize I’d spent so much on Christmas…do you think you could pay me on <insert day>?” As far as the girl’s behavior, I’d stick to correcting that on my own. She is not with this child all the time, so I wouldn’t expect her to be able to correct that in a short period of time.

cak's avatar

You know, I used to be this way, but somehow, I got over it! I used to babysit a friend’s daughter, she would drop her off in the morning, in pjs…needing to be bathed (if it was right after a weekend), fed…the works. I would return her to her mom, in the evening, ready for bed. Bathed, ready to go. I would do everything for her, even send food home. Then the payments would be late, or stop. Meanwhile, I had a husband that never stayed home long enough, in the evenings to either help or pay attention to our daughter and I wound up spending less time with her (my daughter). Enough was enough and I had to talk to her.

You need to talk to her about the hours and payment, and immediately. Be clear with her that you don’t mind helping, but you do need to be paid. Also, be clear on the hours. It is just as important for you daughter to have some time with you, as she wants time with her daughter; however, I’m still trying to figure out just how much time she’s spending with her daughter. Set your availability and stick to your guns!

IF her behavior leads to something that truly hurts your child, then I would discuss it; however, if it’s what you’ve described, handle it on your own – for the reasons augustlan mentioned above. She may be acting out, being away from her “normal” home could be triggering this and then, adding the separation from her mother, could have tipped the scales. If it escalates, you need to discuss it with her. Maybe sit the girl down and go over the rules, clarify the rewards/punishments. With the mother’s response of “Oh Yeah” I wouldn’t expect much in the way of assistance in the discipline issues.

I know where you are and how you feel, but you need to do what is right for your child and yourself. Maybe your friend is overwhelmed with the child and the time, but still, you need to look out for yourself. Just be tactful and to the point. If she puts up too much of a fight about the issues, then it’s time to be very direct about the early & late drop off/pick ups and the lack of payment.

I’m fairly certain she wouldn’t do this for free and would want payment in a reasonable amount of time, you should expect nothing less.

amanderveen's avatar

I’m with cak on this one. It might not appeal to you, but you should talk to your coworker to clarify your boundaries, expectations and needs. You can help, but you also aren’t available 24/7 for her. You’re working and have a family of your own to attend to, not to mention yourself. If you don’t talk to her about it, you’re effectively telling her that her behavior is acceptable. Children aren’t the only ones who test boundaries and need to have them clearly set out on occasion.

cyndyh's avatar

I’d agree with a lot of the above. I think you do need to talk with her right away.

You might also, for the kid’s sake, ask the mom what she’s planning on doing with the daughter while she’s in town. I mean I hope the kid gets to do something out with mom. Otherwise, how sad is this visitation situation for the girl?

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

She agreed to take her daughter over the holidays, and I’m sure her daughter is/was looking forward to spending time with her mother. That doesn’t include 16 hour days with you. You are not a party to the custodial arrangement,.

Just remember, that in all this, you are consenting to be the doormat in this arrangement. The words, “Sorry, I have other plans and cannot watch your daughter tomorrow” could end all this. You are an adult and are entitled to having a life that does not include being at the beck and call of a co-worker.

You are an adult, and you have choice. In this situation, choose what’s best for you and your son. Don’t give your co-worker permission to ruin what’s left of the holiday season.

Carol's avatar

It sounds as if you have a difficult time setting boundaries and limits for people. You need to be very specific with people about the limits of your time, energy and commitments. If you don’t clean up this part of your act, your life will be spent as a living doormat.

Your arrangement with her had nothing whatsoever to do with money. You told her you’d watch her kid and you have honored you promise to her.

Its not up to the woman to control her daughter when you are present and she isn’t. Even her daughter “pushes you around” through her unkind treatment toward your son and you do nothing. Timidity has no place in responsible parenting. When you are the adult caring for another person’s child, you are, in effect, the parent. Whatever you witness, you teach!.

The holidays are now over. Tell the woman you’ve enjoyed her daughter’s company and perhaps you can do it again sometime. Compliment her and her daughter in some way so there is no bitterness and take control of the situation and your life. Take no money from her since she will continue to abuse you. Simply end the arrangement. Its over. You’ve done your job.

krose1223's avatar

Oh, no she got punished for being mean, I have no problem repremanding children. I don’t really have as big of a problem with the girl as I do with the mom. Kids will be kids.

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