How to let the babysitter go, please help.
06/07/2011 at 10:33 AM

My children (7 & 10) have been going to a babysitter (a stay at home friend) for almost 6 years. She has a son who is my daughter's age (7), and a daughter who is 3. The kids only go to her house three days a week after school. My friend is very socially immature and tends to engage in arguments with my 10 year old and a lot of times my son is right. The only activity she has is Facebook. I used to love spending time with her, her husband and children but as time has gone on, we don't have much in common and quite frankly, all she talks about is her children and nothing else. She is very competitive when it comes to her son and my daughter and gets really snotty if my daughter is better at certain things. When I pick my children up, all I hear is complaints from them about how horrible "Jane" is. Instead of them being at "Jane's" three full days a week all summer, I signed them up for YMCA day camp two days a week and one day at "Jane's" which was 'ok' for everyone. Since I did this, the sitter has gotten worse towards the kids and I'm considering going cold turkey and just put the kids in Camp, all three days and no more "Jane's". The problem, I work closely with "Jane's" husband and am friends with her family. I want to salvage what is left of our friendship but if she continues to babysit I might lose my mind. Thanks for any input or suggestions.

Teach him to play "Let's make a deal." Start at the very next snack time. Here's the rules.

First, explain that sometimes you can make a deal, and sometimes you can't. You can usually make a deal about what to play, what to eat, what to wear. You CAN'T make a deal about anything that is dangerous or breaks things. You can't make a deal that will make Mom or Dad late for work. (There may be other things that are not negotiable.) When you make a deal, you have to offer to do something I want and ask for what you want.


Tell him that either one of you can say "Let's make a deal." Then bring out something he doesn't like much (tomato slices, maybe?) and say, "This is the snack this morning. Remember, if you don't want it you can say 'let's make a deal.' The thing about making a deal, you have to trade something, too. Tell me what snack you would rather have AND tell me what you will do for me."

Be prepared in advance with some apples and peanut butter--have them out on the counter where he can see them. If he asks for something else, like ice cream, and makes a really generous offer which he can do immediately, GO with it. Talk about how and when and what each of you will do as part of your bargain. Conclude the deal, whatever it is, with a handshake. Then he starts to meet his end of the bargain, and you start to meet your end.


If he offers to do something he is supposed to do anyway, take him up on it. If he's supposed to tidy his room, then accept, and go in and support him as he tidies up. You can sit and brainstorm things with him that he can offer as his part of the deal. Write down the list, and add to it. Be sure to accept things that you can do together. If he offers playing catch or checkers, this is a wonderful opportunity for you to show that spending time with him is important to you!

All day long, remind him that he can say "Let's make a deal." Then give him lots of opportunities to deal.


Direct him at every opportunity to "Make a deal" before he gets into a tantrum. After about 3 times, point out that when he makes a deal, he might get what he wants, and that when he has a tantrum, he gets a time-out and a lecture. \


Also, defend yourself! Grab his arms firmly when he starts attacking you. Be more balanced in your concern, try to keep BOTH of you safe from being bruised, but he might get a bruise. I'm not saying you should hurt him, but you must restrain him. He needs you to be stronger than he is. He doesn't feel safe, because the person who is supposed to protect him is weaker than he is. That's scary.


If the time-out's and lectures don’t seem to be working, you have to be ready to take the next step. When my oldest was still in diapers he would kick his mother when she changed him. I told her several times to lift that leg up and give him a firm pop on the butt and tell him "No kicking", but she couldn’t do it. Finally one day he kicked her in the stomach while she was pregnant with our youngest. I watched her begin to cry from the pain and frustration. I finished changing the diaper, yes he got a pop on the butt, and no, he did not kick again. That was the last kicking problem we had. Snnygrl has the right idea. Personally, I refuse to make deals, give awards for behavior that is expected, or allow a child’s temper to run my household.


Snnygrl and SnglDad each get a yes vote from me.