Thursday, September 15, 2011

Help This Woman: My Friend's Kids

We've all been there.  Someone else's kids behaving really badly and you have to deal with it diplomatically when you really want to lose your schmidt.  But this case is a little more complicated. Please help this woman.

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Dear Kate & Lydia,


I've had this dilemma and I've been trying to get some perspective on it. Let me preface my questions by saying that I just had my first baby last year, so while I'm a mommy, I'm aware that I'm a new mommy and still have much to learn. I'm not trying to be a Sanctimommy here (though if I'm being one, please tell me).

At any rate, we had a special family party recently. We invited our friends and their kids. One pair of kids are somewhat of a problem. They're young (both under 5) and have been to our house on several occassions.  Every time they come over, I count the minutes until they leave. They act like complete monsters and their parents? Do. Nothing. It's like they're on a parenting vacation.

Now, after the last time they were at our house (which was an adult-only event that their parents brought them to anyway) I spent a week cleaning up the food the kids smeared all over my house (curtains, under the sofas, on the sofas, etc.). I got to thinking that perhaps since their parents don't bring anything for them to do, I should pony up and buy some toys and stuff for them to do the next time they came over.
At any rate, the kids absolutely destroyed the toys and furniture I bought. Play-doh smeared over everything, fish crackers ground into the floor, bubbles coating every surface of the table and all over the floor, crayon drawings all over the table and chairs I JUST bought... I could go on. Plus, they ran around screaming at the top of their lungs, shoved an adult attendee of the party, backtalked any adult that attempted to intervene and - the worst - put their hands ALL OVER the food. Like, bare-handed dipping into the hummus, which they then wiped all over the walls.
Ladies, when I tell you the parents did nothing, I mean they did nothing. Dad was outside enjoying a beer, mom was in the kitchen talking with other ladies enjoying her vino. My own mother was about to jump out of her skin and we had a very... tense... conversation about how it would be unwise for her to mention any of this to the parents. It was extremely stressful to say the least.

My trouble is that the dad in this family is my husband's BFF. Hence, it's likely they'll be invited again. How the heck do I deal with this?!? How can I manage to tactfully get the parents to oversee their kids even a little while they're at my house? It's really bothering me. I don't expect perfect behavior, but I honestly getting to the point where I don't want to spend time with the kids or the parents, because of their behavior and the inattentiveness that goes along with it. Plus, I'm terrified that they'll get hurt, or that I'll absolutely lose it and say something I'll regret. Then there's the whole thing where my own kid gets older and sees them acting this way.

Help.

xo, Confused & Upset

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

158 comments:

  1. Welllll...
    My first thought is that I'd go to whichever parent of these little Demon-Cupcakes is nearer, and say, "Oh, my!! Come on over and see what your kiddo is doing. She must be excited by all the ... ADULTS ... and whatnot. She's getting into a bit of mischief!"
    THEN? Every time the kids would start misbehaving again, I'd repeat it. And perhaps a sympathetic, "I know! Whenever I'm at a party with MY kids, I have to spend every minute with one eye or hand on them!" ..sigh.. "It's tough being a parent, isn't it?"

    Since you have only a baby, you might use other parents to help you with this.

    What little monster-munchkins.
    ---kate in MI

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  2. My husband has suggested that when they bring their kids to an adults-only even you should handcuff one child to each parent. They get unlocked when they leave.

    I would suggest that you only see them at neutral locations, such as restaurants or parks. When your child gets older you can loudly praise him/her for behaving so well in front of the other children and parents.

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    1. This is such a hilarious idea! I love it! haha

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    2. It has taken me years to become comfortable gently reprimanding my friends' children in my home, but boy does it make things less stressful around here! I love my friends and I love their children (despite the chaos and the messes!) but if they are at my home and I see one of the kids making off down my carpeted hall with a messy, dripping fudgesicle instead of eating it at the table (or better yet - out in the backyard!) I will speak up in a loud, but kind voice and say "Oh, sorry Timmy - we don't take messy popsicles down the hall in our house! You need to bring that back to the table please!" I have found that this works perfectly for me because the kid either A) comes back to the table with his mess or B) ignores me, in which case the parent is forced to step in and handle the situation since I have pretty much aimed a spotlight on their kid's behavior and everyone heard me ;-) haha It has been a great tactic for me to keep the peace AND keep my house (mostly) in one piece as well

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    3. ID LOVE to see the handcuff bit! You know they understand what their children do but ..... its not their homes or their things. Sounds like a case of IDK or care neighbors.. sorry.

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  3. Oh my. When I first started to read the post I thought you would be over-reacting. Boy I was mistaken. First off, props to you for putting up with it.

    Get in a plce near the parents and watch the kids. Say, "oh sweetie please do not smear hummus in the wall. Mommy, can you please help me?" and throw a rag at her. If she's not going to etch her kids, she needs to clean their mess. Maybe she'll get it then.

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  4. Must. Press. Disinvite. Button.

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  5. I would loose it! Honestly I would just not invite them to the next adult event. When they ask why tell them that it was adults only and it seems they don't know how to respect that. If the husband really is your husbands bff your hubby needs to talk to him about what the kids are doing. Or you could send them a cleaning bill for what their kids mess up.

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  6. I'm not subtle. I would hand their mother a sponge, wet paper towel, whatever and ask her if she wouldn't mind wiping that up before it has a chance to dry (stain, what ever the case may be). Say that you would normally do it, but you are on your way to the bathroom or you are going to check on a noise you heard coming from the baby's room. If she has an ounce of dignity, she will be shamed into looking after her monsters and cleaning up the mess. If she gets upset, so be it. You are not rude. Allowing her children to raise hell in your home is rude.

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  7. I'm not a mom, so I'm going to tell you what my parents did with my brother and me. At home we were pretty well behaved, but as kids are, we liked to push it as far as we could when we were out or at someone else's house. When we started jumping on sofas and things like that and people complained to my dad, he simply said "it's your house, your rules!".
    So my suggestion is: take those monsters aside when they get to your house and tell them they better behave or you'll throw them to the lions. Those parents don't have the right to complain about anything you say to those kids because they're not parenting them.
    A little red in the face can win you some peace of mind.

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  8. Do you know if they let the kids do that kind of thing in their own home? If they don't, then they absolutely shouldn't be allowing them to do it in yours.

    Personally I'd call them out on it (in a mature and unemotional manner). If it's getting stressful to the point where you really don't want to spend time with them anyway, you've got nothing to lose if they take offense.

    The other option is to put it on your husband's shoulders, since he has the strong relationship with the father.

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  9. I have always had one absolute rule - when other children visit my house, they follow the basic house rules. If they don't, I talk to them nicely about it. If they still refuse, the unruly kids are not invited back for a while, if ever. I don't mean kids getting rowdy and running about, etc. Kids are kids after all. I'm referring to rude behaviour, writing/marking up wall and furniture and purposely smearing food everywhere. Totally unacceptable.

    I stress to my kids to behave whenever they are at someone else's home and it's drilled into them. I expect other parents to have at least the common courtesy to do the same.

    That said, it's not easy to bring this up with someone who's close. But, it's necessary I believe. Since your DH is BFF with the father, maybe have your DH approach him about the kids? Starting off with mentioning that the kids are very active, and perhaps they get too bored with all the adults and no other kids to play with at your ADULTS ONLY functions?

    I've had to do the "talking about your kid" thing couple of times in my time as a parent, and one didn't go so well. The other did, after a few days of cooling off time by our friend who realised that it was a problem.

    However you approach it, hope it works out for you. Wishing you luck!

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  10. this sounds exactly like my sister-in-law and brother-in-law...they have 5 kids with #6 on the way. After 9 yrs of this crap I have written them OFF. They are not allowed at my house or anywhere near me. AND this is my husbands BROTHER! I tried...I really did, but they are crazy!!! I have two of their children in the same grades as my two children at school. My life was a nightmare until I said NO MORE!!!

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  11. Just an aside, but have you read Christos Tsiolkas' "The Slap"?
    http://www.bookdepository.com/Slap-Christos-Tsiolkas/9781848873568?utm_medium=api&utm_campaign=usbooko&a_aid=booko&utm_term=9781848873568&utm_source=book_link&utm_content=The-Slap
    Good luck!
    Cate

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  12. Living in the parental world, we have to learn to be diplomatic. Learn how to keep our mouths shut and not judge even though that is EXACTLY what we are doing. I would say in this case, since your husbands are BFFs call the mother after the fact and ask her if she has a steam cleaner/vacuum/window wash/magic eraser and could she possibly spare a hand to help you clean up your house after the party you recently had. Then point out that her children were the only kids over and that as much as you love having them over it would be AWESOME if she had them pack a bag of things to do and remember that they are still her children, to keep an eye on them....that is if they have a problem finding a babysitter. I would assume that the relationship between the two families is somewhat solid and you could totally admit having only a toddler doesn't make you out to be an expert, but that you would appreciate if so-and-so would have parental supervision while in your home.

    OR. I say be up front and blunt about out. Just tell her you're upset about the way her children acted at your house and that if the parents can't find a babysitter for adult only parties, please be mindful that not all the adults in the house are watching their children for them. Bring something to keep them entertained (don't buy things for them unless you want said things anyway) and keep an eye on their own children. I'm sure they'd be SHOCKED to know their kids weren't sweet little angels, but at the same time if we all kept our mouths shut to things as appalling as what you've described then how on earth would the parents or kids know it's just not acceptable. Don't be a push over!

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  13. Hard though it is, something needs to be said to the parents in this situation. A simple "Hey, I think your kid just ran off with , and I'd rather it and he not get hurt. Can you go recover it for me?" Should get the point across. If it doesn't, you will have to be more forceful. Have a sitdown with the parents (at their house, after bedtime) and tell them that you don't appreciate them bringing their kids to adults-only events. Offer to help find a babysitter for them, if that is the issue. The other option is to not invite them to anything anymore and do the neutral meeting place thing for a while. If they ask why they no longer come over, be kind but honest: "Well, we really love having you over to our house, but we spend so many days cleaning up the messes your children leave while you are enjoying yourselves, that it takes too much out of us, and we'd rather enjoy our time with you than resent it."

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  14. I'm all for you saying something, to the kids and thier parents, if the parents seem to be ignoring it. Next time that they bring them to an adults only event, politly remind them that it is for adults only, and that the children cannot stay.

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  15. I say why not let your mom have a little chat with that other mom? It's like recruiting another parent to have a word with them.

    I know kids are kids and have energy to spare...but what you are describing is more than just high-energy kids and it needs to be corrected...especially at your house!

    I'd say invite those parents over as little as possible...or choose a location that is not your house.

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  16. Eeek! Truly AWFUL situation! I am a firm believer in "MY house, MY rules!" I use that line on every child under the age of 18, that walks through my door! When one of them is acting a fool, I say that one line {one eyebrow arched} and look the child in the eyes. Boy does that stop the fool...er...well spirited child in his/her tracks! I probably use that line 20 times a day with my lovely-10 going on 20 year old-daughter! Love, love, love being a mommy. Is it too early for some Bailey's in my coffee???

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  17. My first instinct was to say, "Unfriend them!" Anyone who would treat you this way, even if it's just by not doing anything. I don't care how overworked they may be, they are parents and should act like them all the time, and especially when in someone else's home.

    Actually, honestly, it sounds like your husband is the one who is the biggest connection with this family, so maybe you should just leave it up to him to spend time with his best friend and leave you and your child out of it.

    If you are really bent on saving this friendship, however, I would sit down with them and be honest. Outline the damage the kids have done, the inattention, and how it has affected you and your family. Share your concerns for the future. And say that if they and their children continue to be disrespectful in your home, then you'll have to start only meeting at neutral locations or their house. If they choose to be angry about it, maybe they aren't the best friends to have anyway.

    Good luck! I hope everything works out for the best!

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  18. What is your husband's response? Is he inviting BFF over and then leaving you to clean up the little monsters' messes? Have DH clean up once or twice, and see if his attitude toward inviting BFF over doesn't change, perhaps?

    My husband and I have a code for Other People's Children...OPC. When one of us use the code word, the other is sure to jump in and help out in keeping the OPC from damaging our home, our children, our sanity! Good luck!!!

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  19. I think this is a time for honesty-- you need to tell those "Parents on Vacation" that unless they bring a babysitter with them next time, the monsters need to stay home. And if they ask why..... maybe a picture history of all the things they have destroyed would help.

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  20. "My husband has suggested that when they bring their kids to an adults-only even you should handcuff one child to each parent. They get unlocked when they leave." husbands have the best ideas! ha!

    i second the invite them only to parks and restaurants suggestion.

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  21. Very Very Tough!!
    I have 2 boys who are real boys (and no ones angels!) but very well behaved especially in other peoples homes.
    At adult only events I would suggest REPEATEDLY they get a sitter as there will be nothing for the children to do as you only have a baby.
    And when they do trash your home I would . . . Cry I suppose! This is a VERY tough call!

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  22. I have a friend who's kids, while not nearly destructive as this, made me crazy when at my house. They had no respect for boundaries, pulled DVDs off the shelves, climbed on work out equipment, went into my room (closed door) and went through my things, etc. It bothered me enough that I stopped inviting the mom to my house so that her kids wouldn't be there either. We met in neutral locations or her house. Her kids got older and more controlled and it became less of an issue. Our friendship is intact. I don't think she knows I ever disliked her kids or her parenting style.

    In your situation, if your husband can see the problem and feel the frustration as you do, perhaps he can arrange to see his friend solo or, in cases where family gatherings are a must, he'll agree to a different location - like a park. Eventually the kids will get bigger, someone with less self-control than you will tell them to get control of their kids and your relationships can remain intact.

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  23. Husband's BFF?

    Time to tell him to man up and handle it.

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  24. Only parks and restaurants is the way to go. Also beware because not only do you risk your child emulating these precious snowflakes, but you run the risk of your toddler getting knocked over and hurt by them as well. Mention this to your husband now so that he doesn't act all surprised and hurt when you ban them from your lives a year from now.

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  25. My suggestions really depend on how valuable this relationship is to your husband, how far you're willing to go for it, and whether your husband is on your side or a member of the Other Team. You may be a new parent, but unless you've really exaggerated the description, you're totally justified. I mean, my nephew is 4 and autistic, and he can manage to play in my house without ruining it. (Of course, I have no standards anymore.)

    I like the idea of just meeting in neutral places. If that means you don't invite them to your parties anymore, so be it. But if they are great people who just have this one glaring flaw, maybe it's worth going further.

    You could try to drop giant hints about parties to which the kids aren't invited. "Oh, were you able to find a babysitter for Friday? We had a hard time, but Little Bobby is going to spend the night with John's parents."

    You could hire a really good babysitter to supervise a playroom during your parties. This might actually be nice for all the parents at your parties, not having to watch the kids during the party.

    Finally, in a couple of years, go to a party at their house and "forget" a Sharpie in your child's pocket.

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  26. I would have gently stopped the children from their destructive behavior, taken them to their parents by the hand, and straight-forwardly told the parents what was going on. It would be "take charge of your kids, clean up this mess, or leave. I don't care." But I have no problem offending people, so that might just be me. No way in hell would I put up with someone's kids destroying my house. My kids don't destroy our home and they do not do things like that at other people's houses.

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  27. In these type of situations, I give my DH an option. If he wants them invited to our next event he MUST talk to the parents in advance. If he's unwilling to do that then they don't get invited. If he does talk to them and they come then he must watch the children during the event. Something tells me he'd rather socialize than prevent hummus from being spread on the walls. As soon as it starts affecting his good time, he'll probably step up.

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  28. My ONE thing in defense to the parents -- and seriously, ONE THING -- is to question how many other kids are among your group of friends? I remember when the first of our friends started having kids and those of us without kids did not get how hard it could be to get a sitter for an "adult only" party. Looking back now to how snippy I got about it is embarrassing! For a while, we ended up separating into groups with kids and groups without kids, until we ALL ended up with kids and we all got it.
    That said, this situation SUCKS. I wish I had something better than that for you!

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  29. Invite them, but tell them they can NOT bring the children to the house as they have caused too much damage and it's adults only. If they still show up with them, ask them to come back, sans kids. It's a rule for everyone.
    For parties with everyone, still invite them, and when they get out of hand, ask the parents to clean it up and control them, or they'll have to go home.
    Husband's BFF or not, it's rude and they should know better. Don't coddle the parents.

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  30. I can totally relate to this. My husband's BFF has a daughter that drives my husband bonkers. She isn't destructive, per say, but she is a whining, demanding, annoying pain in the arse. Watching her whine and carry on until she got her way was not his idea of a good time. It stressed my husband out to be around her, to the point he would decline invitations to hang out with them. I did eventually say to the mom, who is a good friend, that "Hubby just isn't used to girls and it kind of freaks him out to be around her when she is acting that way." Her response was, "I know, she's a total pain in the arse." These parents know that their kids are evil, you need to call them on it. Let your husband be the one to tell them, and let him totally throw you under the bus to save face. He could say to the BFF, "I know our kid is small and will get to the destructive stage eventually, but for now your kids are totally freaking wifey out. She's not gonna let us hang anymore if the kids keep trashing our house." This is also where my husband would insert a joke about not getting any booty after these parties, that's a language they understand.

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  31. When we have other kids at our house, I use the "These are the rules at OUR house... sorry." I have 3 kids of my own, so my own kids are USUALLY following those rules, like only eating in the kitchen, or shoes off once inside. If I see a kid not following the rules, I just say, "Oops. Sorry honey, the rules at our house are that we only eat in the kitchen. Sit here, and you can finish your snack. THEN, you are welcome to go and play somewhere else." It's your house, your rules. Mention those rules to the kids in front of the parents, and if they don't help you enforce them, then you need to have a chat with them. Real friends don't stand back and let their children destroy your house!

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  32. I agree you should say something to them! We also have a rule in our house, unless I carried you for 9 months you will never have playdoh/crayons/bubbles/markers or chocolate pudding in my house, lol. It tends to keep me from wanting the throw everyone out! A little OCD but hey it works. And as far as barehanding the food, I would hand a plate to the wino-mom and simply say "I think your little darling is hungry" She will take the hint

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  33. First I would have an open and honest talk with the parents. Maybe they are blind to what their children are doing. Tell them exactly what you are feeling and thinking. Honesty is always the way to go. If they don't shape up, then ship them out! No more allowing them to come to your house. As for bringing kids to an adults only party? thats just rude. I have had to NOT GO to parties before because I couldnt get a sitter

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  34. I don't have kids yet but I do have lots of friends with kids, and my house is hang out/party center. I have it posted on my freaking WALL that "No children at adult parties. Parents must care for their own children when bringing them over. Any damages by a child WILL be fixed by a professional and billed to the parent." ALL of those rules had to be learned the hard way. A TV from a kid with a baseball bat before I could get to him and his parents were both too drunk to control him.

    Don't think of "I'm a new mommy" Think of "THIS IS MY HOUSE"

    When I have a public party, I post the house rules on the FB invite too.

    and I LOVE the handcuff idea!!

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  35. I would encourage your husband to meet his BFF elsewhere. Those kids would not be allowed back in my house, ever, nor would I want to be friends with people who obviously have so little consideration for others. Ick. Parents on Vacation need to get a babysitter, not just let the little animals run wild! So sorry you have to deal with this!

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  36. I babysit in my home and I often say things such as "Hey kiddo, please don't stand on/throw our toys. The rule at our house is that we treat our toys nicely."

    I would also alert the parents to their misbehavior as if you are SO SURPRISED they would do that! "Oh Children's Mom! I know you would never want your hellion to wipe hummus on my curtains! It must have been an accident! Whoops! (NOW GET PARENTING WOMAN!)"

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  38. My daughter's "best friend" (they're both 5) is a holy terror and has her mother (my good friend since high school) completely bamboozled. If she does something bad, her mother gives the token,"That's not nice" and let's her kid keep on truckin'. And by truckin' I mean acting like demon spawn and destroying everything she touches while incessantly whining. I gave up on her mom taking control of her a long time ago. Now, if her kid is bad, I don't hesitate to put the little monster in her place and make her clean up her own messes. I tell her straight up,"If you want to come and play here, you have to follow the rules." She still incessantly whines, but at least she quit biting my daughter and throwing toys until they break and rummaging through my fridge. Her mom seemed a little uneasy when I first started reprimanding her daughter, but now, after we've been doing this for a while, she seems relieved that someone has taken some of the discipline burden off of her shoulders. If the parents are really not taking the reins, you should. And if they get offend, then you have a perfect chance to nicely explain the situation. "I'm really sorry about this thing with your little Susie, but you seemed busy in the kitchen, and she was smearing food all over herself and the living room. I figured I'd handle it." The only issue with this approach is the parents might forever make you the nanny instead of watching their own kid, but if they were going to do that anyways and you can't avoid them, someone has to take the initiative and give the kids some boundaries, especially if you're hosting them at your house.

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  39. Have you thought about hiring a babysitter to watch the kids when you have a party at your house. Tell the parents of the offending children and any other parents that might want to bring their kids that you will have a sitter watching the kids and everyone can pitch in to cover the cost so that the adults can enjoy the party and the kids will be entertained and supervised. I imagine the parents would not even bat an eye if a babysitter is correcting the kids' bad behavior. Think of it as an invesent in your sanity. We've done this for years st an annual New Year's Eve party. Some of the kids are now teenagers and they look forward to the party such as the adults. We have our party downstairs while they have their's upstairs in the playroom.

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  40. Can your husband talk to his BFF? He could do it the guy way, "Dude, your kids are trashing my house and upsetting my wife. Fix it." This shouldn't be all on you . . .

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  41. I agree with "your house, your rules". Its my house dammit, you aren't going to wipe boogers on my wall or yell in my face. That's going to get you a time out right next to your momma, quick like and in a hurry. And if it came to it, I would just straight up tell the kids mom, hey, listen, I know kids are kids, but I don't appreciated your kids rubbing HUMMUS on my walls. I don't think you'd like it if I came over and let my lovely junior puke all over your carpet and then not offer to help clean it up. So, you think you can deal with this please?

    And if they can't take care of their kids? Let husband know you're only going to hang with them in public places. And he's welcome to hang with his friend at his house from now on. Most of the time this doesn't turn out too well, as the friends will have to hear that they are less than perfect parents. IF that happens, know that they are teaching their children a lesson they seem to already know - the world is all about them. And those kinds aren't really good friends anyway.

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  42. Why are the kids staying inside? Why not banish them to the out of doors and make the gentlemen watch the kids? Tell them they aren't allowed inside unless they can listen to and follow instructions from you and the other adults.

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  43. I sat here and thought about all the things you "should" do and what's right and all that....but here's what I would probably actually do:

    * Say something in a somewhat joking way to them, like "Wow I have a lot to learn and get ready for when my kid gets to be a toddler...your son/daughter just smeared hummus on the wall!" and I'd probably continue to mention how I'm just not used to that kind of behavior yet (because, honestly, you're not...and while they DEFINITELY should be curbing their kid's behavior while at your house, none of the behavior sounds too odd for a toddler...)

    *I would possibly ask a third party friend (somebody who's opinionated and not soft-spoken in general), who maybe doesn't know them or interact with them very often, to go up to them and be like, "Yuck, did you know that your son/daughter is touching all the food?" Then, if they get mad at that person for saying something, who cares.

    * I would watch for the opportunity when they are in ear shot and call their child out on what he/she is doing...like "Hey, if you color on the table and chairs you are going to have to help me clean it up!"


    I know the kind of parents you are talking about...and it is SO. ANNOYING.

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  44. the bottom line here is this. They are the parents, thus have the responsibility for their children. when they begin acting up, if the parents aren't present, either bring them to the child, or bring the child to them. These kids are being done a huge disservice by their parents if they allow them to behave this way as guests (imagine the home situation!) because eventually they will be shunned as a family. You shouldn't have to put up with it, and neither should anyone else. If you bringing their quite horrific behavior to the attention of the parents doesn't work, then you may have to stop inviting them over to your house as a family as suggested by others. There is only so much you can do since you're not their parent. but don't make yourself suffer, again... you don't deserve it.

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  45. Find a teenager that babysits in your neighborhood. Next time it is adult only say "Let me know if you can't find a babysitter for Friday night, Laurie down the street is 16 and is fabulous with kids. She charges $10/hour and it is on the way to our house. How convenient for you! Let me know if you need her number she books up fast."

    Then no matter the excuse (too expensive, kids don't like change, etc) say "it is too bad you won't be able to join us Friday night. We will have to get together later when the kids can joins maybe at the park for a picnic". Stand strong. Say: I know it hard to be a parent and have a social life but on Friday our home just won't be set up for children and their busy activities and I need to be a host to the my other guest. I just don't have time to babysit Suzie & Joey, and my Saturday is already packed so I won't have time to clean up their messes all day. I am so sorry you won't be able to join us.

    Let's do lunch at McDonald's on Sunday.

    **Just to let you know as a mom of 4, I will get after someone else's child in public if it is affecting others. If the child is hurting someone, something. At my house if the kid can't follow my rules they won't be invited back. Sometimes the kid isn't aware of doing wrong. Joey we don't smear food on the wall here is a rag why don't you and mommy clean it up and then we can BLANK when you are done. Talk to the child with mom/dad in ear shot. Coral the kid toward the parent. Suzie go find mommy and see if she will help you with that problem

    BEST OF LUCK!! There is so great advice on here! Life is short to go through things like that.

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  46. Your husband needs to take his mate to one side and have a quiet word. Explain that you expect a certain level of respect from the adults AND kids that visit your home. Be clear that it's not a judgement, show the appropriate amount of empathy "Gosh it's hard work isn't it?" etc but also ask him to consider your situation when you are left to clean up the unholy mess. I would hope that between them they can find a happy compromise.

    Then here's the kicker. If the awful behaviour continues you'll need to consider drawing the line in the sand and not inviting them back. Family trumps friends and these kids will only go from bad to worse. Then you'll have to deal with your kids hanging out with their kids. Do you really want that? Parenting is hard, no?

    I realise my POV is harsh and not right for everyone but, it's what I'd do.

    Hope you find a solution that works for you.

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  47. I think catching on of the kids in the act and quickly collaring one of the parents and dragging their butt over to the scene of the crime and saying something like "I was shocked to see Demon Child doing x and just *knew* you'd want to correct their behavior *yourself* so here you go!" And then look pointedly at them both until they interact with each other. Ditto for your hubby. They will think you are high maintenance and/or uptight which is a good thing. They will either think you are not fun enough to hang out with or will realize that their kids cannot be heathens at your house. Win/win.

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  48. First - discuss with DH and tell him to MAN-UP, or next time he gets the 'Clean-up'
    Second - Have them around to dinner, with or without the kids on their own and ask them if they think what has happened is responsible parenting???

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  49. Personally, those kids would NEVER be invited back. There is no excuse for behaviour like that. Hubby needs to tell BFF that is unacceptable on the kids and parental parts.

    If those kids ever came back, they'd be duct-taped to the furnace till the parents decided it was time to go home. (just kidding)

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  50. I think you said it all when you said "I spent a week cleaning..." Unless that was a typo, I take that to mean your husband isn't helping with the situation, either before or after. I would personally hesitate telling you to be the one to say something to the other couple, but clearly your husband needs to talk to his friend. He can ask him directly if he needs sitter references so he doesn't have to bring his kids. The guy won't take the hint, probably, and chances are your husband won't explain in detail why the kids aren't particularly welcome. So this is where you step back and tell your hubby that HE is in charge of the entire problem. Make him deal with the kids at the party, make him clean everything up afterward. And let that be the standard - if he insists on inviting them and will not say anything, then he is completely in charge of the clean-up. It won't resolve the situation, but it was (mostly) remove your stress.

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  51. Dad needs to step-up and confront his BFF. Frankly, it should be NBD.

    "Dude, your kids are killing me."
    "I know, they're awful"
    "My wife works hard to keep them entertained, but everytime they come over they're wrecking my house.WTF?"
    "I'm sorry. My house is a total shit-storm. We bring 'em cuz we can't get a babysitter. Last one went into witness protection."
    "Well, I love ya, but until they stop treating my house like the Spahn Ranch, they can't come over."
    "I know. Sorry"
    "Wanna nother beer?"
    "Sure."
    -Benedick

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  52. What does YOUR husband say about all of this? I would have to say something, LOUDLY, to the kids in.the.moment. If they are so close that they are invited to a lot of events then you are close enough to them to discipline them if the kids are messing up YOUR house. I have no problem "parenting" kids who are in my house if their parents have abdicated responsibility. If it appears that the parents are completely oblivious to your intervention then you need to grab the parents' hands like the five year olds that they are and MAKE them do something. If THIS doesn't work then it's time to sit them down and have THE TALK. I don't see a graceful way out of this one. As Sarah said, it's time for honesty and, if they choose not to be your friends anymore because of this, then perhaps they aren't good friends to have in the first place. You are not being a sanctimommy.

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  53. Send the kids outside.

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  54. ITs your house You make the rules....If you wont let your child do that, why is it okay for someone elses child to do it? I'm a fan of plain speaking and yes it might hurt them and they may not talk to you for a bit, but if they are as good of friends as you say they are, then they should have the respect for you to comply with your wishes. If they don't, then just don't invite them!

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  55. Before we had kids we had friends that would bring their kids over when they would come over and bring absolutly nothing for them to do, I couldn't believe it. And much like your friends' kids they would run rampant and cause all kinds of destruction. I finally (after putting up with it for close to a year) sat my friend down and told her while I loved her and her family that it was unfair to both her children, myself and my home that she would bring her children over and expect them to be entertained for 2 or 3 hours in a home where there are no toys for children thier age. I asked her to either bring things over that she could leave at our place for times they were over or to pack them an entertainment bag to bring with them everytime. I didn't point out all the cleaning up after them I had done because I was trying very had not to attack her. She was really upset with me to begin with but after some time she contacted me and apologized for not thinking to do it before. We never had problems again. It was well worth the risk to the friendship because I was literally at the breaking point, my husband and I were saying we would never have kids because of theirs. I also say this helped me become a better parent, I always have a bag of entertainment in the car in case we end up at someone's house that don't have kids or kids the same age as ours.

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  56. first of all, NEVER let other children play with playdoh in your house. It is a supervised activity for this reason. it gets everywhere! second, i would definitely ask the mom to pack a bag of toys for her kids to keep them entertained as you do not have anything age appropriate for them to do and you do not want them getting bored. I personally would also suggest telling the parents to supervise their kids at a party. its not romper room after all.

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  57. Since you are new at the mommy thing, and your friend is an old pro, maybe you could ask her for cleaning tips. Especially after the "adult only" part... (If you are better at subtlety than I), you could ask her very specific cleaning tips about the things her kids were into the night before...how to get hummus out of curtains, for example.

    Although, how could she not know/see what is happening right under her nose...maybe the vino is blocking her view...

    You are in a tough spot!

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  58. Oh yikes, that's awful. Absolutely agree you shouldn't have to put up with this and I like a lot of the ideas people have posted for things you could say to get the parents to pay some attention. I'd be inclined to say something before the next gtg, like "I noticed last time that your little darlings got into the hummus and you probably don't know but they left a huge mess. Since I don't have a lot of experience with kids their age, I was hoping you could come by early without them and help me kid proof a little. Maybe we can figure out what snacks to put out of the way and what movie to put on tv for them so everyone can have a good time."

    Make it the parents responsibility. But even without their help, I'd do those things at a minimum - keep messy things out of reach, have a movie you can use as an electronic babysitter, maybe set up a kids table somewhere that's not on carpet and tell kids and parents there's a rule in your house that kids have to eat only there. If you do buy toys, nothing messy - no bubbles or playdoh or balls they will want to throw. Maybe puzzles or legos or something if you really want to.

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  59. What does the friends house look like? Is it a disaster? If so, doubt they are much in to controlling their kids anyway. So, next time, to make it easier on you and your house, confine them to the room where they can do the least amount of damage and is easiest to clean. You make them plates of food. Tell them if they need anything else, they need to ask you for it. Yes, it puts a little more work on you as the hostess. However, it might keep them in check a wee bit more. And, if they end up bored and complain to their parents, you have every right to state that the last time they were there they wrecked the house. You are just trying to prevent it again.

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  60. You are stuck, me thinks.

    Best thing is to parent the kids yourself. If the actual parents mind they will stop showing up and you've done what you can. But I bet if they don't do anything at your house they don't do anything at their own.

    Feel sorry for their kids. THey are probably looking for attention.

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  61. Passive Aggressive is the way to go here.

    Hands on the food: "Oh, it looks like your kids are pretty hungry, can you make them a plate to eat outside? Little ones, let's keep those cute fingers off the food. I'm a bit neurotic, and I totally have a germ-phobia" Say this in front of Mom/Dad. Repeat if necessary.

    Property Destruction: "Hey BFF/Wife, we have a new party rule - all kids stay in this room for the party unless they are with Mom/Dad. I put some fun stuff in there for them to do. And I have a magic eraser, just in case. And I have put protection on the carpet - there were lots of accidents at our last party."

    Toy Destruction (First just get them junk from the Dollar Store) when it is time to go home: "Here are the toys that I bought for you to play with, you should take them with you! What, you say they are broken? It looks like they had so much fun with them. You should take them, as they are not age appropriate for my little one."

    All else fails, see if you can hire a mothers little helper. 10-12 years olds are great at saying it like it is. And if they are loudly complaining of destruction and rudeness - then it is not on you.

    Yeah - I just threw a tweener under the bus. Better than it coming from you!

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  62. You should not have to pay for a babysitter - after all, you're already hosting a party at your house & having to do all the clean up involved! These parents need to be made aware of what their little monsters are doing (especially since they weren't invited). When they are wiping stuff all over the walls or furniture or breaking things, the parents should be made to clean it up. We have 3 children, now in their teens & preteens. We've dealt with the monster kids in our house before. The best way to deal with it is the "My House, My Rules". It's your house & that should be respected. If these parents can't deal with that, too bad ... DH's BFF or not.

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  63. I agree with other posters - don't invite them to your house, meet at parks or other locations. your husband can go hang out with his bff on his own time individually if he wants. you shouldn't have to put up with that in your home!

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  64. This is not easy, but I have to say that I usually do not have a problem telling someone else's kids the rules in my house if their parents don't discipline them. I have a very good friend whose son is always misbehaving and then my kids look at me like 'WTF? he doesn't have to eat his dinner??' I have been known to say to him (as mom looks on and does nothing) "(Name), We cannot have toys at the dinner table in my house" or "Can you please leave my girls alone while they are eating dinner?" or "That wasn't a very nice thing to say". It has made things difficult with this friend because I really don't like to be around them together, so we usually just hang out without kids.

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  65. Wow! In my semi-professional opinion, just flat out tell the parents that their children's behavior is not acceptable in your home. Explain that you have attempted to guide the children, but you are not their mom. Let the parents know, in no uncertain terms, that the children are to be redirected by the parent, but that you will help to be extra eyes/ears and alert them when you see a situation arise. Finally, make it clear that, if the behavior of the children does not improve immensely on their next visit, the children are not welcome in your home.

    Be prepared for one or both parents to take offense. I'm fairly willing to bet that there is no discipline in their own home. Truthfully, you may lose a friendship over this (however, I'd bet that your husband's friend will still be willing to be friends, his wife will not). In the end, you do not want your child(ren) exposed to a family that works th is way in others' homes. If the way the kids behave is not ok with you, then it is not ok for your kids to witness it over and over again. First, kids are mimics. And it seems clear you do not want any part of these children to "rub off" on yours. Second, one day, your kid(s) will be old enough to question you, and you don't want to have to explain why your house/your rules doesn't apply to all kids.

    I can see the neutral location thing working a bit, but again do you really want your kid(s) exposed to their kids? Anywhere? Ever? Until it was proven to me that they are better behave elsewhere, whether in their own hom or in a "neutral" location, I'd simply not be around the kids at all, even if that meant not being around the parents.

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  66. For me it's simple. When my children's friends are over (with or without parents) they will follow the house rules or they won't be asked back.
    Being a mom is stressful enough when you're watching/cleaning up after/disciplining you own kids without having to parent someone elses.

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  67. Well, if they're in my house and not disciplining their kids, then I will. I have time-out spots and I know how to use them. I also would not be afraid to take the offending child to one of the oblivious parents and tell them that they need to supervise their child. You could also take the child to the parent with a cleaning rag and say, "Daddy/Mommy will help you clean up that mess you just made. Thank you for cleaning up! You're such a big helper!" And, I would also stress the adults-only aspect next time you invite them over. Let them know that you like to visit with them but this event is adult only for a reason and you ask all your guests to observe that.

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  68. Fascinating. While I totally agree that the parents have to be the ones responsible for their own children, I also have a whiff of sympathy for them. Their kids are out of control. I doubt they haven't noticed. I doubt they haven't TRIED (though perhaps not at your home, which sucks). Any chance we could approach it with some compassion for the Mom? That's what we do in every other post...

    "You must be wiped out. Kids can be so hard to handle. In our house, we don't allow playdoh on the carpet/drinks outside of the kitchen/toys in the dining room/etc." And yes, My House, My Rules. I totally agree.

    Love the idea about sending them outside. Buy bubbles and sidewalk chalk.

    Maybe I'm too soft here, but let Mom have a drink and cry on your shoulder. She's probably been criticized by others about her kids for a long, long time. A lot of us have been there (justified and not). It sucks.

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  69. I remember when I was a kid, my then BFF was a holy terror. Her mother and my mom had been best friends since high school, and it was just expected we would continue. That is, until one day when the demon child threw boxed cereal, oatmeal and flour all over my mom's kitchen. The girl got her first (and I believe only) spanking, and she was left to clean up her mess while waiting for her mom. To say this put a strain on my mom's friendship is putting it lightly (and the girl and I rarely hung out after that), but to this day I think my mom did the right thing-as an adult, it's "My house, my rules". If you don't feel comfortable confronting the parents about their children's behavior, make your husband do it-if the dad is his BFF, I'm assuming he's the one who wants to preserve the friendship. And I agree with the posters above-if he refuses to confront his friend, tell him it's his responsibility to either corral the kids during the party or handle the cleanup. Good luck-I predict that if my husband and I ever wind up moving closer to family (we live across the country now) I'll be having this little chat with him about his sister's kids.

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  70. I like the previous posts about repeatedly telling the mom and dad of the kids what they are up to and throwing a rag at them! ha! I would sit the kids down firmly but respectfully and tell them the rules of your house. This is what I do when other people's kids come to my house and they act up. Then matter of fact-ly correct them and get their parents involved. If it is still a problem, I'd employ the method I use with my husband's family (since this is your husband's BFF) that HE has to address it with the husband and get it resolved. You don't want to be the one coming between him and his friend's relationship, but it MUST be dealt with!

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  71. When I was a new mom to a small boy and also an instant step mom, I really didn't know about all of these "parenting etiquette at other people's houses" thing. I will be ETERNALLY grateful to the husband of one of my best friends who very clearly laid out the ground rules for my kids (ages 3 and 5) when we arrived at thier house. An I mean, as soon as we walked in the door. He got on the kids level and said, "hey guys, I need to go over my house rules with u, ok? ". He then listed a few simple to follow expectations. AND he said to them, clearly for my benefit, " if your mom corrects u and you don't listen, or i have to correct u because your mom doesn't, I will put u in time out. If that doesn't work I will ask your mom to take u home.". It made me really keenly aware of anything my kids were doing that day...and for two reasons: one, I didn't really WANT anyone else to have to parent my kid, and Two, because I didn't want to be the parent who got asked to leave because of misbehaving kids.
    It's your house and your rules! Believe me you will be doing these parents a favor. Stay strong, mom.

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  72. More food for thought...If this is an Adults Only party, my guess is that these kids are up way past their bedtime. Overtired kids are absolute monsters. It may be helpful to have a nice relaxing videos (Little Bear, Kipper or Oswald are really good) at the ready. Chances are the little ones would fall asleep or at least be quietly entertained.

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  73. "Anonymous said...
    Find a teenager that babysits in your neighborhood. Next time it is adult only say "Let me know if you can't find a babysitter for Friday night, Laurie down the street is 16 and is fabulous with kids. She charges $10/hour and it is on the way to our house. How convenient for you! Let me know if you need her number she books up fast."

    Then no matter the excuse (too expensive, kids don't like change, etc) say "it is too bad you won't be able to join us Friday night. We will have to get together later when the kids can joins maybe at the park for a picnic". Stand strong. Say: I know it hard to be a parent and have a social life but on Friday our home just won't be set up for children and their busy activities and I need to be a host to the my other guest. I just don't have time to babysit Suzie & Joey, and my Saturday is already packed so I won't have time to clean up their messes all day. I am so sorry you won't be able to join us.

    Let's do lunch at McDonald's on Sunday.

    **Just to let you know as a mom of 4, I will get after someone else's child in public if it is affecting others. If the child is hurting someone, something. At my house if the kid can't follow my rules they won't be invited back. Sometimes the kid isn't aware of doing wrong. Joey we don't smear food on the wall here is a rag why don't you and mommy clean it up and then we can BLANK when you are done. Talk to the child with mom/dad in ear shot. Coral the kid toward the parent. Suzie go find mommy and see if she will help you with that problem

    BEST OF LUCK!! There is so great advice on here! Life is short to go through things like that."

    This post echoed my sentiments, so I wanted to repeat it. When you look back on this situation someday you will most likely say, "why did I put up with these people's behavior?" the adults are NOT friends if they let their kids do this. Why do you value them as friends? You are being too kind to people who are treating you horrible. If they knew how to treat people their kids would not be the only ones at an adult only party and they would work with you to correct the behavior and fix what might have gone wrong. This is a bad situation and you have power to end it - stop inviting them to your house. If you REALLY want to be friends with them, then meet them in park or restaurant. Seriously, value yourself and keep your door closed. You and your family and real friends are worth a warm and comfortable home of your choosing. Don't worry about what they will think, they don't worry about you. Sorry to be harsh, but you need to stick up for yourself, your family, your home and your sanity. Use your power to end this situation.

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  74. Honestly, since they come over pretty often it sounds like, I would feel free to make the kids clean up their mess...
    First time kids visit my house if they start acting like that and the parents don't seem to do anything then I talk to the parents and do the "oh wow little johnny is making a huge mess!" and feign shock.. but a repeat offender in my house and the parent's aren't doing anything, well then I see it as my place to keep it from getting out of control..

    Don't get me wrong, I would never interfere if the parent was doing something about it, but if they aren't then I sure as heck will and I will make it clear to the parents that this is not acceptable..

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  75. I am surprised by the number of commenters that seem to be annoyed that these parents don't "just get a baby-sitter"... there are many reasons why people can't get a sitter or CHOOSE not to get a sitter. That being said, I have utmost respect for adult time... just make sure you clearly state that it is ADULTS ONLY when you invite them. Then if they still bring the kids, it's fair game to act surprised, say that you don't have any kid events planned and re-iterate again that it was supposed to be adults only so they'll have to find things to entertain the kids themselves.
    I am also a big believer in 'My house, my rules'. If you feel you can't confront the parents and can't get the point across by hinting at them (some great suggestions above), I wouldn't be afraid to address the kids in front of them. Nicely, but firmly state the rules of your house which they are breaking and let them know that it is unacceptable. Chances are that will get the mum's attention better than anything. She might be annoyed at first to hear her kids being told off, but hopefully she'll be a little embarrassed too and smarten up.

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  76. Even though you are a new parent...think back. Did your parents allow you to act like this in their friend's houses?? If I had acted like that as a kid, my arse would be red and I wouldn't be able to sit down for a week.

    I would seriously blow a spark plug if there were kids in my house smearing hummus and play dough and what have you on the carpet/drapes/walls. I have two kids that are 6 and 7, and I watched them like hawks when they were little and at others houses. At first I didn't get the "bring a bag to keep them out of mischief", which basically meant I was holding one or more kids the entire time. After the first time I had stuff in the car at all times. Manners are a big thing for me. Now as long as they have access to a tv with cartoons, they are golden.

    Your hubby needs to step up, first off. It's his BFF. IF they get invited again, don't be afraid to parent the little monsters. That behavior is not acceptable at any level.

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  77. I am very non-confrontational so all the things I could think to say to these people, I probably wouldn't say. My advice is get a little table and chairs and try to make it special that the kids can only eat and do art at this table (preferably on a hard surface) and fix them a place if there parents don't. Then I would ask Mom the bring the kids favorite DVDs or video game and set them up with a TV. When you invite them to an Adult party mention that you wanted to give them plenty of time to arrange a babysitter so they can enjoy themselves without having to watch the kids. Maybe they can take a hint.

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  78. My husband and I have a code for this: "DIFFERENT PARENTING STYLES".
    I'm usually all for the direct approach, but when you're talking about people's kids, that usually ends badly. No one wants to hear that their kids are brats, and it's much easier to believe that you're a bitch. Sorry.

    The sad and bad news is that these kids are not angels at home who suddenly morphed into demons. I promise you, those kids are holy terrors at home, too. The parents are exhausted and defeated. Worst of all, they have NO IDEA WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT.

    This usually happens when two people reproduce and neither one has a freakin' spine. They'll say, "No, no, no?" while not moving their asses off the sofa. Or maybe they just think everyone's kids act like this. Or everyone is lucky to have easier kids than they do.

    So here's the deal: if you sit down and explain that their kids' behavior is unacceptable, THEY ALREADY KNOW IT. You accomplish nothing except offending them. So don't bother.

    And yes, your kid will soon wonder why the Holy Terrors get to jump on the sofa and he doesn't. Why they get to wander around the restaurant, tripping the waiters, and he doesn't. Why they get to push kids off the playground equipment, and he doesn't. And, most of all, why they get to throw mulch in his face, take his french fries, etc. This is why the parks-and-restaurants solution doesn't work past the baby's infancy.

    You have two options: 1) ditch the friendship (very sad, but yes, we have done this) or, 2) maintain it in venues where the kids cannot possibly be included, like meeting them in a bar. Dads can still play tennis or whatever, moms might go shopping, but you just decline any invitations that involve the kids.

    I'm sorry. It's really sad when awesome friends turn out to be crappy parents.

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  79. grab each child by the arm and hand them a rag to clean the mess up with. you will not tolerate that kind of behavior from children their age. they WILL clean up their mess or go explain to mommy and daddy why they are no longer allowed at your house. sound cruel? so is cleaning hummus from your drapes after you supplied things to keep them busy. when they weren't invited in the first damn place. because they're evil wrapped in child suits. and i hope their mother is reading this now. clue in vacation mommy, your friend is not on vacation when your kids come over!

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  80. My kids are the type who behave themselves in public (mostly, about 8 times out of 10, anyway) and save all the crazy for when they're at home. All of their friends know that they are expected to obey our house rules when they're here, and if they don't, they know that they will not be invited back for awhile. It works well, we've only had to disinvite one kid in the 4 months we've lived here.
    I'm the type who will go straight to the kids' parents, friends of mine or not, and let them know that their kids are not behaving themselves. I usually phrase it as, "Hey, this is what's going on. I know I would want to know if it was MY kids doing something like that, can you please keep a closer eye on them?" And make sure to point out the mess that's being made, or the potential for danger involved. It makes it harder for the parents of those little "angels" to claim that you're overreacting.

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  81. Kate - not *the* KateSeptember 15, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    I'll admit I have not read all of the comments, but we have friends whose kids act like this as well. Last kid's birthday party that was held at my house will go down on the books as the last one in history due to chewing gum (like 10 pieces) on my rec room carpet, and dog poo tracked through my house. I ended up in tears. And never invited them over again.

    Since my kids are older, and I've been doing this a while, I have absolutely NO QUALMS AT ALL about enforcing the my house, my rules law. We have a pool, and this is particularly important IMO when swimming. Running by the pool? Time out. I'll give it, I don't give a rip. If you don't like it, take your kids to the public pool. Your kid pukes all over my bathroom floor (yes this happened!) here's a rag and cleaner. I don't give a schmit. I Wouldn't come to your house and trash it, and expect the same from you and yours thank you muchly! :)

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  82. yea its time to talk to the parents and tell them to watch their kids or they wont be welcome. my sister is the same way. except hers dont splatter food everywhere.. they are just out of control, so i limit time we spend with them.

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  83. all good ideas... here's another, maybe: when they start misbehaving, have your mom, or a friend, go up to the kids' mom and say "um, i think i just saw your kid doing ____, if I were you I'd sneak in there and clean it up before ___ sees it -- she's a real neat freak and it will totally ruin the party for her if she sees that!"

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  84. Sorry kiddo. I'm for, "my house, my rules." If they don't like it don't come. I assure you if my kids are acting up id want someone to handle it. Sounds to me like those parents need am @$$ whoopin too.

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  85. Cattle prod? Taser perhaps? What? No? Too forward?

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  86. So much good advice here! I'm on the "Talk with them" team! And, truly, if the parents cannot notice their kids are destroying your home, then they will not respond to subtlety.

    So...
    1. Talk w/ BFF. He needs to be in this with you.
    2. Invite the family in question over for dinner - just the 7 of you.
    3. At some point in the evening, DH and his BFF are going to go outside for a beer, yes? Instruct hubby to bring up his buddy's holy terrors. (See excellent scripts above.)
    4. While they are out back, demon child 1 or 2 WILL do something provoking. Swallow your fear, turn to Mom and say "Do you mind if I speak with Tommy/Jane about what they are doing right now?" Mom WILL go look at what they are doing - then you will have 3 possible outcomes:
    a. she will go handle it.
    b. or she will give you permission to handle it.
    c. or she will get mad at you for even insinuating her kids are less than perfect and you will have grounds to never invite them back.

    We had a version of this, except Demon Child in our case was screaming at his Mom and being an all-around 4 year old jerk. I asked Mom if i could say something to him and she said YES. I sat the kid down and explained, not meanly, not yelling, not sweetly either, that yelling at Mommies was Not Allowed in our house and that if he wanted to come back, he needed to be nicer to everyone. They went home soon-ish after that, but they've been back and the kid is nicer. We still have flare-ups, but now i just go address the kid myself and then check in with the Mom after, which she is fine with. I'm not that kid's favorite adult - and i'm ok with that!

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  87. I can honestly say I don't know how they survived the first visit let alone a second visit. As the dad is one of your husband's BFF's, give him an earful and tell him if HE doesn't handle it, you will. On the other hand, if that's what type of dad the BFF is, maybe it is time for hubby to get a new BFF. LOL!

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  88. Ok, 1) your "friends" are clearly slacking off in the parenting department. What's it like when you go to their house? That might be key to determining how to approach this. If they're uncontrolled demon spawn at home, too...probably more difficult. If not, the parents may just have some "Well, she doesn't seem to mind if they blow off a little steam; I guess she'd say something if it was a problem" attitude.

    And 2)...Oh, honey. In an attempt to amuse children who like to engage in activities like smearing food on your walls, you gave them Play-doh, crayons, and bubbles? Lesson from an old mom: Any play item that has mess/stain potential should be given to a small child only after deliberation and some trial runs with close supervision. Or outside, perhaps. These two never need to have anything in their hands that will smear, draw, or crumble. They need a couple of Dora the Explorer dvds put into a player by an adult, and maybe a nice picture book. A BOARD book or two. Those are hard to destroy. Or possibly a set of Fisher Price My First Straitjackets.

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  89. Have you tried setting them in front of the tv? And next time you invite them ask their mom to bring their favorite toy or movie because they seem to be board at your house.

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  90. I have a similar problem with my niece though instead of destroying things and suslide kicking me and lies and tries to tell the other kids to do bad things (a little sociopath I tell you).

    I have started whenever she does something (like kick me) I say loudly enough for everyone to hear what it is she just did and then drag her to her Mom or dad and say loudly what she just did and that I'm guessing they want to do something about that. The embarrassment of having theirkids behavior pointed out in a group setting has helped them to keep better tabs on things (though the kid is still a bit evil)

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  91. On our block, the families all have very small children and we have parties at each other's houses all the time. I can say that while ALL children will act up from time to time, the majority of parents will handle it swiftly or WANT to be alerted to the issue so that they can teach their child NOT to act that way and clean up the mess that they are embarrassed their kids did. For any child under 5, the parent should always be on constant guard. Power outlets, cords, falling items and other dangers take just a split second to hurt someone. Point that out! "Oh no, she is WAY to close to that cord and the lamp might fall" If the parents do not go over and correct the child, then say what I said to the kid down the block when he put a 1 year old onto a skateboard. In a loud voice. "Dude, you are going to give me heart failure if you continue to do that. Get her off of there now."

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  92. Ummm... I'm pretty cranky today, but I gotta say - I think the bigger point is that these "friends" are disrespectful to you and your home.

    I was invited to a party, with kids last week. I got a sitter. I know my kids. I know that the only other kids that were going to be there are 1 and 9 months, and I know that my 6 1/2 year old would have been bored and would have ended up destroying that house in ten seconds flat. And I would have been stressed, and felt bad and would have ended up leaving almost as soon as I got there.

    Your friends are not considering your feelings. They are allowing their children to destroy your home. And your child will learn this bad behaviour from these demons.

    Don't invite them back. If Hubby complains, tell him why you feel this way. And stand firm.

    My own neices are not permitted to be in my home. They are evil. They teach my children bad behaviours. My kids have enough bad behaviours, they don't need a tutorial, thanks. My sister and I talk on the phone. We don't get to hang out much. And IF I have to see her kids, I always make sure that I.Can.Leave.

    People will treat you exactly how you allow them to treat you. If you let these parents disrespect you, they will.

    Good luck.

    Lori

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  93. I am not sure if I saw this part actually. If hubby wants to keep inviting them after you tell them of all the work related to that, then announce that HE will be the one cleaning anything they mess up and paying to replace anything they break immediately after it happens. During the party, hand him the rag and point out what he will be cleaning the second it happens. My husband is a stay at home dad and is an awesome cleaner. Most guys are too, they just pretend not to be so they can get out of the work.

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  94. I've encountered problems similar to this, and after a while I become suddenly and inexplicably unavailable to get together. It's kind of passive-aggressive, but my kid doesn't destroy our house, and I won't have someone else's kids doing it, either. Let your hubby and his friend get together one-on-one outside of the house.

    I have friends with 4 kids under 10, and while I love them and their children dearly, my house looks like the aftermath of a tornado after they visit. They don't wipe things on my walls or furniture, but they do tend to drag out every toy my kid owns and leave a mess all over the house. They leave lights on in every room they exit, and whine incessantly. They aren't bad kids, but their parents are a lot more "laid back" than we are about that kind of stuff, and tend to not notice it. So, I take matters into my own hands. Like a lot of people have mentioned here, "My House, My Rules." Sorry, sweetie... we only eat in the kitchen. Oh honey, we play with toys, not my knick-knacks. Hey guys, how about if you help my kid pick up toys, and then we can have a snack! Remember to turn off the lights when you're done in a room, kids! If you use your big kid voice, I can understand you better than when you whine at me.

    It's extra work for me, and I'm still kind of relieved when they go home, but at least I don't have to spend my entire next day undoing the mess they made.

    Also, I drink while they're here. It helps.

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  95. I'm really sorry you're stuck in such a challenging situation. I have a hard time with any kind of confrontational conversation and I understand how difficult it is to open that dialogue.

    My son is a preschool age autistic sensory seeker. Put those three things together and you get a whirlwind of destructive potential. Every single time we are invited somewhere I explicitly ask the host if children are included, and I accept that I won't be able to attend if I can't find a sitter. I spend every single moment we are at someone else's home making sure he's not doing something inappropriate. If I have to pee, he either comes with me or I make sure another adult who understands him gets tagged. I can't for one second imagine letting any child - neurotypical or otherwise - get away with such blatant disrespect!

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  96. I love the anonymous comment where she was grateful for the dad who got down to the kids level as the first walked in and went over the ground rules and consequences in front of the parents!! That is what your husband needs to do!! And he needs to follow through! You need a code word and he needs to respond immediately to that code word that really means "get your bff over here NOW to restore chaos!!!" Good luck!

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  97. This is precisely why your circle of friends often changes once you have kids. My circle of friends is completely different now that I have three children than it was before I have children. Parenting styles differ so drastically, but you don't know it until you see it. Now that you're in the midst of it, it's showing up ... that you're not THAT kind of parent and your husband's BFF and his wife ARE. I'd either quit inviting them over or only meet at places other than your home. Eventually it will become obvious that you have different parenting styles, and people naturally gravitate toward like-minded people. i.e. it will work itself out. Until it does though, don't let them in your house or you will begin to hate them.

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  98. No. Just no. My house, my rules. They are explained at the door. One warning is given, then I handle it myself. Your child will be instructed to make it right/clean it up/apologize. Any more issues and they're out.

    Those parents have no control over their kids. If I take mine out and they behave badly they go home. Period. I found a lot of the time the kid looks shocked at being disciplined and behaves while the mother mouths "thank you" behind their back. Pitiful.

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  99. I think it needs to be taken seriously I would never approach this in a joking manner unless you want her to not take you seriously and continue to let her children to run roughshod over you and your house. Friends are people we can enjoy being around and like to continue their company, she really doesn't sound like she meets the criteria. Before you ever consider being near these children again I would have a serious conversation with the parents (both if possible, this isn't the 50's, parenting isn't only the mother's responsibility). Explain to them that their children's behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Give specific examples of what was damaged and what had to be done to rectify the situation. You do not want a repeat of the evening but would still like to enjoy their company. If they indicate that they would like to step up and parent their children set up a time to socialize but be prepared for a huff and stomp out. They sound like the "my precious can do no wrong type". If you do have another adults only evening and they bring the children meet them with a very nice smile and a "I'm sorry you couldn't find a babysitter but there are no children here for them to play with. We sure hope you can make it next time. Thanks for stopping by and letting us know you wouldn't be staying." Always gracious but slightly pushy, hand on the back steering them towards the door. I've thrown politicians out of party's with a similar speech done right it always works(and politicians are harder to get rid of than mold).

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  100. I think your husband needs to man up here and say something. If that sounds harsh it's because it is. Your feelings should come before your husbands friend here. It's your house for goodness sakes. In my house it's "my house my rules" I enforce them with his sisters kids in front of her and my mother in law. They may not like it but they know it's MY house and they all respect that. This makes my so thankful that my husband is as neurotic as he is and would never let this fly in our house. I agree with another comment that said let you husband clean up the mess and maybe he might understand if he already doesn't. Good luck!

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  101. We dealt with something similar in our family - although I must say that the behavior of the kids sounds even worse in your case! It was years of barely suppressed anger for some of us and apparent cluelessness on the part of the parents. Eventually it came to a head and we had an impromptu intervention! We really tried to frame our discussion in terms of "I feel that my home and my family are not being respected when your children behave in X manner." There were definitely some hurt feelings for a while - and I worried that the relationships might be permanently damaged. BUT - the next time we had the whole family together (some months later because we don't live close by) the change in the kids (and the parents!!) was amazing. And now that we're not all quietly seething over the kids' behavior, it's really fun to all spent time together again. In the end I'm really glad we went the direct route and talked it all out. You, your family, and your home deserve to be respected by your friends and their children. If these friends don't want to respect your house rules, they really aren't friends. Good luck!

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  102. Are you still reading comments? If so, you are more dedicated than I am. But I will comment anyway! Look, don't make this a thing about the adults-only parties, because the bottom line is, you don't want these kids over in ANY situation, other kids or no. They are just hell on wheels and cannot come back! But I would say this is a dad-to-dad conversation. I'm going to overgeneralize here and say that while most women on the planet would take criticism of their brood as a serious personal attack, for dads, not so much. Lines can be drawn without serious family feuding erupting - and everyone can play happily in a public park/Chuck E Cheese.

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  103. My first thought is the whole "Adults only Parties" - as a parent with no family around, usually this means either my husband or I will stay home so the other can go to the party.

    BUT after hearing your story it sounds like you have an issues of the kids not being well behaved. It sounds like even if it was not "adults only" and you had allowed kids to come, you would still have this issue.

    I agree with the other posters who say to have those kinds of parties somewhere else. If you have to have it at your house here are a few ideas (I've had to deal with this issues ALOT, but I never feel I can say anything as a I am a parent and know how awkward it can be, but I am also a school psychologist...so ANY time I say anything even positive it makes people act all weird like I'm judging and analyzing their children). Ok here are a few suggestions:

    Put the messy food up high and make a smaller table with crackers and cheese or other kid friendly stuff lower. Or better yet figure out a way to get all the food outside with a kiddy table out there for them to sit. Have a few other adults and parents on the look out, there job is to 1) keep the food outside block any kids coming in with food in hand to stay outside until they are done. 2) when child is misbehaving the volunteers will make nice comments to BOTH mom and dad about the children like "oh look I think Billy just broke that toy." or "Oh little Alison just smeared poor Jane's wall with food. Maybe you can clean that up before Jane sees it. I would hate for her to have to clean up that mess with the new baby and all."

    One way to point out a broken toy is to then offer it to one of the parents. "Billy accidentally broke this toy and I can have a broken toy around with the baby. Would you like to take it home and try to fix it? you can keep it if you do. I'd just hate to throw it away." - of course that might be too rude...but really they are kinda being rude by allowing this behavior to continue - or they truly are unaware of what is happening because they are both enjoying themselves... or parents in denial. It sounds like they are in denial to have children who are shoving and yelling other guests. If they are that bad it won't be hard to find recruits to help you in your mission.

    It would be nice for BOTH parents to get this message from lots of different sources. This usually will inact the part of the brain that helps regulate us in social situations. Then both parents are more likely to either leave the kids behind next time or pay better attention.

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  104. Wow - a lot of posts I was reading were just too nice! If you don't feel comfortable confronting the parents while it is happening than I would confront the kids while it is happening. If kids are dipping their hands in the hummus and wiping it on the walls I would take the kids as gently as you can manage to their parents. Let them know that their children are acting inappropriately and that they need to take care of it. Sometime parents really are oblivious. But I have three boys (5, 4 with autism, and 1) and I usually attend things without my husband. I stay on top of my kids as much as possible but my friends are also willing to jump in if something is wrong and either speak with the kids or speak with me. Your house and sanity shouldn't take a hit because of this. Having a toddler and company over is enough of a stress!

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  105. Totally Been There, Done That. Our visiting monsters were at our house every week, for 3-4 hours. We had things like holes punched all down the toothpaste tubes with bobby pins, shaving foam all over the windows, the fridge door propped open with the open milk jug on it's side, while the milk puddled under the fridge, dresser drawers in ALL bedrooms ransacked and things missing, cars scratched with rocks, big toys like bikes deliberately dismantled and the parts thrown into neighbors yards, sugar bowls dumped on the floor and left... and mom stepped over it all. I tried to parent them, provide toys, say "we don't do that here", ask them to clean up... all met with blank looks and running off to the next devilment. I tried telling mom "your child just did such-and-such" and waiting expectantly, only to receive a "Yeah, they do that stuff.", I tried a "will you deal with your child for doing "x"?" and they gave a "Hey, you quit it, alright?" from the easy chair. This behavior was totally normal at their house, and it just didn't compute that it wasn't totally normal at mine. After about 4 months of this, I quit hosting them. any time they asked to come over "cause my kids just love it at your house" I was either busy or we could meet at the park.
    I am so glad that a previous commenter mentioned that we've all had some horrific mommy-moments, and that we need to give some room to others when they are having them. So definitely start with saying "we don't do that here, here's a rag so you can clean it up. I'll stay here to make sure you can do it". Next step, go to mom and say "your child just did "x", here's a rag so you can watch him clean it up" (that never worked for me though because she called it "clean" waaaaayyy before I could). Next step, take child to mom, then say "you did "x" after I asked you not to. Now you sit here with mommy till I say you can get up". Next step, go to mom and say "your child is doing "x" **again**, since he won't stop, maybe you should just take him home". and don't let him come back. The idea about "I've got a babysitter just down the street who charges $XX per hour in case you can't get one" is pricelessly perfect if you value the friendship and/or want to keep inviting them over.
    (you are NOT a sanctimommy. I have 7 and none of them would be allowed to act like that, and it is NOT normal behavior.)
    PS- even if it does work for you to parent them, do you really want to do that? If you don't mind it, then go for it. But if that's not how you want to spend your time, especially at your party, then you are not obligated to.

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  106. Screw that! Your husband needs to pull his supposed "BFF" aside and say that's quite enough (I say supposed because if this dude was really your hub's BFF, he wouldn't be allowing his demon spawn to run amok and wreck your house). There's NO reason you should be putting up with that crap. Either tell the hubster to step up and bring up the subject with his bestie, or the next time they bring their monsters to your house and you catch them rubbing hummus into your Oriental rug, beat the parents senseless with the cord to the mixer. For reals. That's just freaking unbelievable that they allow that shit to happen!

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  107. We had some friends just like that a few years ago. It wasn't long before we weren't freinds anymore because I couldn't stand it anymore and no matter when I did or said they still did nothing. When we went out for pizza and their two youngest kids walked down the middle of the table through our food I knew we were done! Dad's can be freinds without it being a family affair!

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  108. Oh Geez, lay it on the line! "I expect children to not smoosh food all over my house, draw on my furniture, put their hands in the food, and run around screaming and pushing people. We enjoy your company, but maybe a babysitter is in order next time". Tell them exactly what their kids are doing that is unacceptable (and it would be to any normal person, and parent, trust me). If they show up with kids again, go straight to the parents, "Could you please dish your kids up? They'll have to eat at the table only". "Uh oh, she dumped playdoh everywhere/drew on the coffee table, could you come deal with this please?" I realize you're trying to spare their feelings, but the bottom line is this stuff IS their responsibility, and they're either lazy or neanderthals. Don't let them just sit there.

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  109. Have a professional cleaner come in and clean it up then send them the bill.

    Next time plan outdoor activities and rent a portable toilet so they have absolutely no reason to enter your home. If it rains hold the event in the garage.

    I know they aren't your kids, but it's your house, practice your discipline with them so you are well versed when your child gets older.

    Sorry, I haven't really ever had to deal with something like this, so my comments may be off. But after reading your story I'm so thankful for the friends I do have.

    I wish you well.

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  110. There is no way I am the only person to think that "Confused & Upset" is being a Sanctimommy. Wait until that precious baby is doing the same things.

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  111. I haven't read through all the comments, though I wish I had the time for it! You obviously don't want to rock the boat with your hubby's friendship, and I can respect that (although my patience with my hubby would wear VERY thin after a few occasions like the one you described!). Here is my recommendation: hire a sitter for when they come over & ask the mom to help chip in to cover her fee. She may get offended, but tell her you would feel a lot more at ease if there were someone there whose sole job was to watch over the kids and make sure they were safe and well taken care of. The sitter can keep them entertained doing kid-safe (and house-safe!) activities, and if things do go to hell in a handbasket again, it won't just be you confronting the parents. You'll have some backup. Anyway, just my two cents...good luck!!

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  112. Wow. I COMPLETELY understand!!! I also have a friend who allows their 2-year-old to act this way in my home (or any of our friends' homes) and at restaurants to boot. When any of us are together the slack Mommie becomes non-existent. Unfortunately, my friends and I have taken a humongous stand and we do not associate with the Spawn of Satan or his Mommie anymore.

    We became tired of parenting another persons child in addition to our own. But in our house, it's OUR RULES. My friends know this and so do their children. Take it or leave it!

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  113. Anonymous said...
    There is no way I am the only person to think that "Confused & Upset" is being a Sanctimommy. Wait until that precious baby is doing the same things.

    September 15, 2011 3:16 PM

    Yes, it does seem like you're the only one who thinks she's being a Sanctimommy. Kids act out. But the examples she's giving (if not exaggerated) are beyond redonkulous to have to put up with.

    I can't be the only one to think that you're the type of parent that says "kids will be kids" as the littly tyrants break the heads of my kids barbies.

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  114. Do you have a garage?! Or a place you could put a tv and a teen aged babysitter? Maube say we are hiring a sitter to help wrangle kids so we can all enjoy the party? I have to imagine maybe they would love the idea and offer to help pay? Or could you suggest a sitter to them for thier house?!

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  115. That is a tough situation, but honestly, if they're doing it at your place then they're likely doing it everywhere else too. The problem is that most people are afraid to be brutally honest at the risk of offending others. So, as much as you might not want to, you need to talk to the parents ASAP. The next time you extend an invitation lay down some ground rules. Express your concern for the welfare of your home and be sure to explain how it has been destroyed on previous occasions. MAKE them understand that it is absolutely unacceptable.

    If it happens again when they're over, make an extra large scene about it. Be a little louder than usual. Make sure that people are aware that these children are misbehaving. Chances are that if you do that, the parents will be so embarassed that they'll have to step in.

    This tactic will not earn you any extra affection from the parents, in fact they might avoid you for a while. But here's the thing, their kids need to be one of their priorities. The parents are being disrespectful to you by letting their hellions loose on your home. If you dont put your foot down and set the boundaries, it'll just keep happening.

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  116. Ok - First of all that behaviour is TOTALLY unacceptable and you are well within your rights to take any of the above suggestions and you should definitely do something.

    That being said I want to tell you about a situation that sounds eerily similar. I know absolutely nothing of your friend's lives so it's just a hunch or a thought to consider:

    My husband's cousin and his wife were the same. They had four unruly children and they gave everyone a headache. People left early from Christmas Dinner just to get away from them and when they come into town they have now been asked to stay at hotels rather than be hosted with a family member because no one could take it.

    Then the truth came out that 'behind closed doors' their marriage was in shambles. In public I think it was enough just to remain civil towards another. It seems they craved being out because they couldn't stand each other at home anymore. They didn't know how to relate each other without the kids and they used their kids as the only way to communicate. In my opinion they were using the kids as ammunition... if you want to be mad at your spouse then it is an easy thing to say on the drive home "Spouse, why weren't you watching so and so, how could you let them do what they did?" NO parent truly believes those actions are okay.... how could they? The ambivalence cannot just be bad parenting. I think it has to be something more. For our family members it appeared that they used any opportunity to escape their lives and so when they could they 'checked out' of parenting and being in a marriage and would just pretend everything was alright for a night.

    As for the kids, they knew that when the parents were making a 'public appearance' that the yelling would stop... so they took full advantage and went wild. They must have had it rough at home with the parents fighting and so they acted out big time when the opportunity presented itself. In a funny way they may see your house as a "safe zone" -- especially since you have been extremely accommodating to them so far.

    Its not okay when a well meaning Grandmother has to say "Excuse me Daughter in Law but so and so is trying to stuff Lego into your Aunt's DVD player". So do something but may be also take the time to ask "Is everything alright?"

    Katie

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  117. This sounds like a Raising Arizona scene.

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  118. OK, this is horrible and I really feel for you but I just have to say it: you bought them play-doh and crayons and bubbles? To use in your house? Rookie mistake! :)

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  119. So Sorry for you! that super duper sucks...

    I didn't read all 114 comments at this point, so I'm sure someone has said it, but I think you r hubs needs to pony up and say something first. It is his house too and hopefully he feels upset that these monsters are destroying his property too. Hopefully he can tell his friend to keep a leash on the kids or they can't come over any more.

    I'm sure there are some other great ideas here too! Best of luck!

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  120. Did these parents spend time in Europe at all?

    The parents might be expecting the rest of the party to act like adults and tell the kids not to do bad things if they see it happening. I WOULD EXPECT IT. What happened to common sense? Why is everyone so afraid of offending someone?! You would honestly be offended if someone stopped your kid from drawing on a wall when you weren't paying attention?! I highly doubt no adult witnessed any of this. What did they do? They opened their mouth all dumbfounded and shocked and then talked about the parents behind their backs. This "no involvement" attitude is like poison. They are kids and you are grown-ups. It takes a village, people! Community is a good thing! (the parents should definitely clean up those awful messes though).

    As for the kids. Toddlers hear the first 3 words you say... maybe. A lecture and child psychology is pointless. An unsupervised toddler is a devious mastermind, even moreso in groups, even MORESO at someone else's house. You have to let those toddlers know that it is your house and that shit isn't going to fly. Don't be afraid of damaging their psyches. They'll be just fine. You catch them smearing food into your curtains again you better pipe up and say "NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT! Food goes in your mouth ONLY!". No please. No reasons. No "sweeties" or "darlings". It's not a request.

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  121. Ugh this was me this weekend...with my in laws and my fatherless so everyone feels sorry for him nephew. He destroyed my sons toys, peed on the floor in bathroom, stole toys from my eight month old and finally the cherry on top pushed my little guy over and kicked his face. I lost it after dropping several hints. Told them he wasn't allowed over agin if he wasn't going to be supervised better or set straight for hitting my baby. And if this sounds cruel he's five years old baby is 8 months. Then after they left I just keep pointing to all the destruction to my husband...guilt is a wonderful thing when used wisely...

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  122. Honestly is your husband as bothered by it as you are, then I say since its his bff then he do the talking.

    The unfortunate reality is that if the children are truly that misbehaved then they are most likely being raised in an environment with little to no discipline so throwing down the my house my rules thing won't work.

    I'd say talk to these people but I suspect that they are more than aware of how their little angels are behaving as they behave that way all the time.

    I hate to say it but it may be time to limit your interaction with them or say bye bye

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  123. I haven't read all the comments yet, but this is the ONE thing I can think of that doesn't include violence.

    Every time you catch one of their spawn doing ANYTHING, you take them by the wrist and walk them to Mommy and/or Daddy with a loud "Here you go Mommy/Daddy. I think you this may have followed you here, since there seem to be no other children to play with and no, I don't know WHY she stuck her entire hand in the hummus, but here you go!" And literally HAND the little darling to the parent, as messily as possible, then walk away.

    There are better suggestions, and everything I'd actually do is loud, obnoxious and probably violent (towards the darling parents) so this is a biiiiig compromise. Also use this tactic on your husband, handing him a little DARLING and telling him to find his BFF because the little darling has ruined the new table and chairs and someone has to clean them up...though they'll NEVER be the same...*HUGE SIGH*

    A tiny bit passive aggressive, but sometimes you gotta hit low.

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  124. So sorry you've had to deal with this! This is why we decline to have family parties here anymore, at least while my kids are younger and we would like to keep their toys intact. When others don't watch their kids it's tough to manage.

    Since he is hubby's BFF does he have an idea if this is how the kids are allowed to behave at home? If this is normal behavior, then I'd say no kids in the house until they are old enough to learn how to behave. As your little one grows and starts walking and seeing how others act, they are likely to either get hurt by one of these kids or start mimicking the behavior.

    Good luck!!

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  125. There are a lot of good suggestions here, which I won't reiterate. I will note that we just had our daughter's second birthday party at the house and there were 40-odd people here, 14 of them small children, and absolutely nothing got wrecked. And every parent who was there had at least half an eye on whatever kids were in the room at the time. It definitely needs to be a communal effort.

    You don't have to put up with your house getting trashed. Whatever problems they've got going on are not your problem and you're entirely within your rights to tell the kids when they're out of line, or hand the parents a rag (I love that idea, I know a few people suggested it). Good luck.

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  126. OMG, thank you all so much for the GREAT suggestions! I have been in a very similar situation...

    So my one friend was having a baby shower for another friend (mind you all our husbands work together) A guest came with her husband and 2 small children. Now the 4-year-old boy was an absolute TERROR. He was running in and out of rooms, pulling stuff out of bedrooms. He would antagonize the dachshund...that BITES. He put his fingers on ALL of the food spread out on the table...and his mother.did.nothing. She would send her son downstairs to be with his father and the rest of the boys, and he quickly ended up back upstairs for the shower festivities. During the games, he pinched the hostess's ass. He broke the timer we were trying to use. During the gifts he was trying to open them, and say that they were HIS while we all sat there waiting for the mother to do something about it. Finally, I asked him to come sit between his mother and myself and we can color. That seemed to help until....

    He gave me a hug and then TITTY-PUNCHED me!! I was 6 months preggers at the time, and we all know how sensitive mom boobs can be. We were all horrified! And what did the mother of the heathen say? "Now Now, you can't hit her, she has a baby in her tummy too!" After that comment and the evil looks she got, they said their good-byes and left...never to come back again.

    Now, what's awful is that we all wanted to say something, but didn't know how to approach it. The hostess (thinking that this woman is BFF's with the guest-of-honor) didn't want to offend the guest-of-honor. The guest-of-honor thought that the woman was friends with the hostess. I was just generally appalled. And then we come to find out that NONE of the women really knew her that well, her husband just works with the rest of our husbands and they had just transferred to the area.

    So if you are ever confronted with the situation again...Let the woman know that her kid's a heathen. But take heart in the fact that at least he hasn't titty-punched anyone....yet.

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  127. Ok, first of all, why did you prevent your mother from saying something? Sometimes a person outside the situation (i.e. not the owner of the home/carpet/curtains being destroyed) may be able to handle something more tactfully & with less emotion.

    Next, the idea of handing mom (or dad) a rag/broom/mop and enlisting their help is a great one. At best it MAY get them to open their eyes to what their little monsters are doing, at worst it may get a mess or two cleaned that YOU don't have to clean yourself.

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  128. Is it possible that the parents just don't know what to do? Maybe they're so exhausted with dealing with their children that they love the time off (and feel that the disaster their kids make of your house is worth it - largely because your stress doesn't cost them anything emotionally)?
    Can you live without these people in your life? Easy solution if the answer is yes! If it's no... then it's time to ask your hubby to handle the situation. But it really depends on what he'll say! I don't think he has the right to drop you in it (sorry to disagree with some of the other posters). He should speak on behalf of BOTH of you. Parents can get quite defensive about their parenting strategy and why should you be the only one in the firing line?
    Good luck (and you really should read The Slap - it was me who posted about it earlier).
    C

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  129. I am probably not the best person to answer this, but here it goes anyway.

    I have run into this very problem myself. I walked the child straight to her mother, explained to her mom what had happened, and then scolded the child in front of the mom. I very kindly explained to the monster child that if she couldn't behave in my house she would not be allowed back. Then I gave Momma "the look" and smiled and walked away!

    I guess the teacher in me comes out when I see children acting up. I don't care who your parents are, if you are acting like and asshole around me then I WILL tell you to knock it off! LOL

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  130. We are a "my house, my rules" kind of family. I discipline anyone's children any time in my home. This has always been the case. My BFF has children who don't always choose to listen (They are angels and I love them, but not always GREAT listeners). I will GLADLY put them in time out - whenever, where ever. NOW when we go out to dinner, to the gas station - wherever - my BFF defers to me saying, "OK, give them the pre-game speech." I always feel like I'm on Super Nanny - except I'M Jo-Jo. They listen, and we all have a nice time. Sometimes you gotta be the mommy and let all others defer to YOU! :)

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  131. 1 - Every SINGLE time the kids misbehave, bring them to Mommy or Daddy (or vice versa) and explain what happened.
    2 - Get your hubby to talk to her hubby, mano a mano and say that sh*t won't fly anymore.

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  132. I will offer the extreme minority counterpoint here - MAYBE you aren't used to the wanton destruction that can be left in the wake of normal toddlers. Case in point - as has been mentioned before, you (very nicely and proactively, I might add) bought them entertainment - but indoor bubbles, crayons, and play-doh? In our house, it was a given - don't give a toddler ANYTHING you are not willing to wipe off the floor or walls. Sticking fingers in the food? Toddlers generally don't use serving spoons. Using hummus as fingerpaint is horrifying, but kids having food on their hands and unthinkingly running their hands along the wall while rounding a corner... totally normal toddler, sadly. Trashing (with crayons) kid furniture? Also so very normal - it's why people have basement rec rooms and crappy minivans. So I think we should not all pile on the other family here, since there may be some lack of perspective going on. BUT I will wholeheartedly agree with everyone who said Your House, Your Rules - and bringing a kid to an adults-only party is just rude, whether the hosts are parents or not. So maybe don't approach this couple as "Your children are a freaking nightmare" (cause, my dear, your toddler is still in your future) but "Our house is not yet childproofed enough to accommodate your lively kids - please leave them at home for this visit."

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  133. If these is your husband's best friend's kids, then your man needs to pony up and talk to his buddy.

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  134. RosieLB said:

    I don't have anything really to add, as I tend to be on the shy side, and generally am totally cool with staying home with our Bugaboo when there is an adult gathering. I agree that when the kids are in your house, it is your rules that they need to obey. I know my parents were really strict with us, and we know the schmidt would hit the fan if we stepped too far out of line. I don't want my kid to fear me (not that I really feared my folks. More like I knew who was boss, and it certainly wasn't me.), but I would like to do as good of a job getting Bug to behave in public (which he doesn't always do. He's two. I can't say I'm shocked. We haven't even made it to three yet.) as they did with me and my sibs.

    That being said, when Bug goes out to gatherings with us, I hover over him, expecting that he will stage some sort of revolt and I will probably be embarassed by his actions. It's better for me to be Right There to nip the chaos beastie's behavior in the bud and to minimize the damage a two year old can do. (No, I'm not a perfect parent. I'm paranoid that I will be hated if Bug doesn't behave himself. Fear makes me hoover, and I suppose I expect that most other parents would feel that way, too. It's startling to discover that not everyone does.)

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  135. Don't hang out with these people unless it is an adults only event and they've hired a babysitter.

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  136. Your husband needs to speak with his friend, ASAP. Until situation is remedied, disinvite the whole monster family. Repeat disinvites until remedied.

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  137. I'm not one to mince words, so I vote for the direct approach. I'd give my husband the chance to speak to his friend first, since they're so close, but if he doesn't say something within a short time frame I'd take the lead. In a neutral setting, I'd just mention how much damage they did at the party and that they need to be vigilant about controlling their kids in the future. If they react badly, I'd chalk it up to embarrassment and just make it clear I won't budge. If they nod along and don't actually do anything about it, I wouldn't offer any more invitations. I'd only be willing to see them in public places or their home where I can leave and none of my stuff would be destroyed by their children.

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  138. I've been in a similar situation several times. The worst of it was with friends of our from another state that would come for weekend-long visits with their 3 boys. We do love their boys (so, I guess that's where this differs) but they never seemed to know how to behave at our house and their parents completely checked out of parenting mode in into vacay mode the minute they walked in the door. After visiting their home a few times I realized that it's no wonder the kids were so poorly behaved in our home. They didn't have any rules in their own home. They are allowed to jump on ANY piece of furniture. They eat wherever (hence the PB/jelly/cookie/cracker/banana-encrusted couch. They're not expected to take care of anything. I tried to put as many things up and out of the way as possible but there was always something I didn't think of but I always forgot that one thing. I tried letting the parents know a few basic rules (We take our shoes off when we come in our house. We only eat/drink in the kitchen and dining room. ...things that are pretty straight-forward.) but they would still hand the 18-month old pieces of banana to toddle around with and smear all over everything. Finally, I tried just addressing the kids myself with a very straight-forward, nice but firm "You know what guys, we don't climb on the furniture here." And it worked. And, so, every time they started doing something unacceptable, I used the same tactic. Sometimes, it took a second reminder but, it continued to work. And, 8 years later, those same kids still love coming to our house. And, that was all before I had my own kid. Now, I have a 4 year old girl. And we have play dates here. And it still seems to work.

    I think the key is to be super nice when you lay down the law (spoonful of sugar, if you know what I mean) so that the parents can't feel like you're yelling at their kid.

    Oh, and it's "We don't do that here." Not, don't do this or that". Because then, you're not flat-out reprimanding someone else's kid either. You're just explaining the rules.

    Well, that was long-winded but I had to speak up because, like you, I once felt like I was going to lose my mind because of someone else's kids. There are lots of good ideas in the comments. GOOD LUCK!!

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  139. We have lots of kids come and play in our house. They are neighbors, so the parents don't come. I am very firm about the rules and I tell it to the kids first thing. Do not fight, do not hit, do not draw on the walls... etc. I also tell them that whoever misbehaves, must leave. Most of them play nicely, but every now and then there is one who tests the rules. I simply tell the child what he did is wrong and guide him out of the house. They are welcome to come next day. One kid hit another, and I told him to leave. He came back, and when I told him 'Not today', he would not listen. I gently started to guide him out of the yard, and he tried to hit me. I took him by the shoulders, looked into his eyes and said in a very firm, serious voice: 'You do not hit me, any kids, or anyone!' He left, but ever since he has been really well behaving :)
    It is trickier when the parents are there, but I would still be very clear with the rules of the house. Get the child in a quiet place, go down into his level, look into his eyes and tell with a firm voice what the rules are, and you expect him to obey. If he does not, you can tell the parents that you explained the rules and looks like the kid is not obeying. Say ' Maybe we try again another time, bye bye'.

    The important thing is NOT to be afraid of the misbehaving kids. You need to be the boss of your house. If you stick with the rules, they will learn. Of course it takes time and when you have guests you do not want to spend the evening disciplining the kids.

    Also, not inviting them for awhile might be good for your mental health and cleaning budget.

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  140. Hit them in the pocketbook. I'm going to second what several people have suggested about having professionals clean and billing the monster family for it, but I would offer them the option of cleaning it themselves, first. Also the "hire a babysitter yourself" idea but have the family pay for that, too. Tell them in advance that that's how it will be, so they don't freak out about it after the fact - "This is an adults only event. If you bring your children anyway, I will hire the neighbor to babysit and *you* will pay her, so be prepared for that." Of course, for that to work you need to have a sitter who doesn't mind being on call for the evening, so that might be a challenge. FWIW, I have no problem with crayons or play dough inside - if and only if they're supervised. Honestly, children that young should never be unsupervised anyway, no matter what they're doing! But *given proper instruction and materials* I find that toddlers are often better behaved than older children.
    Also I should second the "have your DH talk to them" suggestion.

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  141. Next adult only party, leave a t-box unattended.

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  142. Wow. Apparently everyone has something to say. HA! So do I.

    Yes, these people were rude and the children's behavior was unacceptable, but a lot of times depressed, upset, barely-hanging-on-by-a-thread can look like that. Give your friends a huge benefit of the doubt.

    Then I would make sure that you and DH are really on the same page for what kind of rules you want in your house. You may think that "no rubbing hummus on the curtains" was a given, but don't be too sure. Talking about house rules now with your husband will save time in the future when your own kids get bigger, and make you both better prepared for future get-togethers.

    I would offer to babysit the offending children. Without the parents around, you can discipline (nicely) and get them used to what is expected in your home. And give them one-on-one adult attention, let them explore the new environment, ect, all while you are able to watch them like a hawk.

    Also, offer sugary, up-all-night, treats that they could take home with them if they behave (OK, slightly passive-aggressive, I know).

    I've found that most kids have an easier time adapting their behavior from place to place than adults do - as long as they know exactly what is expected of them.

    Good Luck!

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  143. I have a very 2 1/2 year old boy. You have my sympathies...I worry about him being tainted by bad behavior too!

    Going to an adults only party: BABYSITTER. Yes, it's expensive. Yes, it takes me away from my child. Guess what, though? I HAVE MORE FUN! and so does everyone else!! including my child.

    But you know what? I'm not worried about taking him places, because when we're out, I watch him! Like I do at home. Play doh, colors, food, etc? AT THE TABLE! No matter where we are. I don't want my house destroyed...no one else should, either.

    You know why I watch him? He's TWO FRIGGIN YEARS OLD!!! I don't sit next to him or play with him, but no matter what, one of us has our eyes on him. To make sure he's treating property and people properly, and he's safe. That's BASIC.

    So, here, you have a different parenting style...and that's totally their right. The same way it's your right to refuse to invite them until they get a clue and don't bring their kids to destroy your home.

    Oh, and we're unanimous here...it's totally DAD's responsibility to man up and talk to the BFF. No passive aggressive mom BS, no humor. Just man to man honesty and reality check.

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  144. Being friends with people before kids and then after, can be tricky. And although your husband is BFF with the kids Dad, it doesn't mean you have to friend the ENTIRE family. We have friends that we don't see as families together because we don't want our son exposed to the behavior of their children. I don't want my son thinking these things are ok and having to discipline him for something he would never come up with on his own. My advice, seems like they would make great friends to double date with and leave the kids with a sitter, NOT at your house :)
    Good luck!

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  145. I realize your baby is still little, but I would talk to your husband about whether you want your baby learning these little monsters' bad habits... Because that is in your future if you continue to spend time with this family. And then you'll really have it rough! Your husband can hang out with his BFF one-on-one to enjoy his friendship without inviting the chaos of the entire dysfunctional family over to your place.

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  146. No way. I would never have these people in my house again. Some spills and mess are expected but not anarchy. My sister had a friend who believed you should never say no blah blah and her kids were horrible. Like, jump on the rabbit cage horrible. If you must see them in a group( and why must you? Send the bfs out bowling or drinking or collecting for the poor, ANYTHING they can do together) then yeah see em someplace outside.

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  147. Update needed! How did you end you end up handling the situation? Did it get resolved?

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  148. Totally late to the pary here...

    But, if it's at your house, they play by your rules. That means you are allowed to step in and redirect them. And if that is not working, you need to be direct with the parents about watching their children. Obviously, these poor kids are NOT being taught manners by their parents, any responsible adult should step in and help them. If the parents get offended or mad, just tell them "I'm not going to let them tear up my house. You watch them, or I will, but really, please don't bring them to an adult only function". And when it comes down to it, you might just have to stop inviting them and if they wonder, then just be honest with them.

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  149. My friends and I havean open disipline policy between all of us. What I mean by this is we are free to put eachothers children on time outs and whatever other punishment is deemed nessacery(sp?) If the child is old enough to run around then they are old enough to clean up their own messes. I would also send the parents a bill for cleaning and childcare. :) If it is your husbands best friend then he should be open to a conversation about how their children are acting and the rules of your home. They may get angry at first but in the long run it will save your friendship. Also make sure they know adults only means adults only and they will have to find a sitter or not come

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  150. I know I'm way late to the party, but I had to chime in because exactly this kind of lack of parenting in others is what drives me craziest!

    A. Enlist your husband - he is your domestic and parenting partner. He really could have a talk with his best friend.

    B. Enact your own boundaries with these children. It will be great practice for when you have a crazy toddler and preschooler. Your house is your territory, and kindly reminding and redirecting children (no matter who gave birth to them) is 100% appropriate.

    C. I agree with the above suggestions about neutral places. You can still see these people, but in places where your nest isn't disrupted in ways you aren't okay with.

    D. I assume you and your hubby occasionally do things without each other? These times might be just the opportunity for your husband to see his closest friend without torturing you.

    E. If things continue as they have been or get worse, consider having a clear, non-judgmental, non-passive-aggressive AND COMPLETELY HONEST conversation with the parents. It will be a difficult conversation, and your relationship will be different when you finish than when you started, but sticking up for yourself and your family is your #1 job. Friends who don't understand and honor your need to take care of yourself probably aren't the kind of friends you want around your growing children.

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  151. This is painful to read and really gets my blood boiling...because I experienced the same thing. Only difference: it was MY FRIEND'S children. How do you talk to your extremely sensitive friend about her horrible children? You can't! It is virtually impossible to do this without offending her!

    So you bite your tongue and deal with it, right? I did.

    Until my son's 6th birthday party.
    Her children DESTROYED my son's room! Every-single toy he owned was on the floor, some were unfortuately broken that day (of course!). The sad thing about that particular mess-my son, his sweet little friend, my mother-in-law and myself had to clean it up. On my son's birthday! That was when I discovered the cake that was nicely smeared all over the walls, his bed and the floor. At that point I quickly (and red-faced, my blood boiling) ripped his sheets off his bed and passed the living room to throw them in the laundry room. She had the audacity to ask me if I needed help with the party. I shook my head and thought to myself, "you can remove your demon children from my house."

    One of the little terrors ran around screaming (that loud high-pitched scream) like a psycho. She didn't seem to hear it (?!). It rained most of the day and she let them play in my son's sandbox. They proceeded to drag their dirty, sandy-selves through my house leaving a trail of mess behind them. How rude and inconsiderate. When her son was spitting at the other guests in the living room (yes, spitting at the fellow adults) she asked him to please stop and then claimed, "he never acts like this at home." Quiet scoffs were heard from the dining area.

    That was ONE DAY people! ONE DAY! 3 HOURS TOPS!!
    Needless to say, my husband asked me to never invite them over again. The whole thing was humiliating!

    I have left restaurants with the back-door alarm going off because of these children. I have had evil eyes glaring into the back of my head as I have left countless locations with my friend and her demon spawn. I eventually figured out that it wasn't the children who deserved the blame. It was my friend and her parenting skills. The dislike began to turn from her kids and was directed more to her.

    Over the years our outings became fewer and fewer. Party invites were sometime "lost" and we already had "plans" for the day so we were unable to make it to said party. It made me so mad that she ignored her children's behavior and made the rest of us suffer that I began to ignore her phone calls.

    I am a mother. Our son's are 2 months apart in age (6, almost 7) and they are like night and day. My son is quiet and laid back but has his moments. All it takes is a look from me and he stops what ever mischief he is into. If he acts braty, I get down to his level, tell him that what he is doing will not be tolerated and he stops. If he is being a stinker-I make him stop. When we are in a public setting, I always keep my eye on him.

    She doesn't seem to notice their bad behavior. How is this possible when EVERYONE around you is staring with hatred in their eyes?

    I have avoided all contact with her (emails, texts to my phone, texts to my husband's phone, phone calls, unannounced visits to my home) for the past 3 months and she doesn't seem to get it. I feel like I am being stalked. My stomach turns when she calls-because it could turn into another unannounced visit where I have to hide from her in my own house.

    Mommy from OK

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  152. Wait, what? Oh, hell to the no. These little untamed, feral creatures are not to return to your house. EVER. Do you hear me? It's completely outrageous that you think you have to tiptoe around this. They. Are. BARRED. Period. If hubby and friends don't like it, too bad. No really, too bad. They destroyed your home and you think you have to allow them back just because they're his best friends? NO. Not happening Not at all. Girlfriend, this is YOUR HOUSE. Stand up for yourself and tell him -- and these .... /parents/ -- that the children are not welcome because they are clearly untrained. Stop worrying about offending them. That whole post offended ME -- who lets their kids destroy someone else's /house/? I mean, really? My mom would have skinned me alive and made me clean that all up. Your parental status has NOTHING AT ALL to do with getting basic respect in your own home.

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  153. I totally agree. I got so upset last night because someone asked me, why do you want sateen paint in your home? I said well so when children come over and get food on my walks because their mom lets them walk around for hours with it on their faces and hands, I want to be able to wipe it off easy. My sister and brother in law were making a big fuss, as if I'm worshipping our new home. I'm not doing this. I just hate that our friends let their 9,5,4 year old do whatever they want. Oh and their all BOYS. We all know boys are nasty. I met this family thoroug my husband, the dad is his best friend. I already have a problem correcting other peoples children, I hate doing it. I get angry when they let them jump on my couch sit on my kitchen counter, lay in my bed. She yells at them if their in her room. So why let them tear up my home. Her house is already gross. Dog hairs and junk everywhere. She doesn't make the boys cleanup after themselves, she lets then go all in my fridge wat up our food( I don't mind, but I don't want their nasty hands in my fridge) I tell them if you want something ask and I'll get it. They don't dig in their fridge. They sometimes make them sit at the table the entire meal, but sometimes let them go back and forth eating. I didn't grow up that way so to me that's bad manners. At my home they don't make them sit at the dinner table. Once at their home the kids uncle told one boy take that pizza in the kitchen, of course he didn't listen. The uncle said to the dad aren't you gonna make him eat in the kitchen he said well he should but he doesn't have to. I was in shock! They let one kid eat fried chicken in my living room with no plate and didn't make him wash his hands. My hubby washes their hands and faces a lot. Once the family came to our parents house, the mom told my hubby hey don't let blank leave with chocolate on his hands, I thought that's your child not us... After he got through eating the cake he was walking straight to a 2000 couch to go rub his face on like he does to mine. We stopped him. The main problem is I hate the parents acting like their on vacation when they come over. I wouldn't let my kids tear up others homes. And you can't really be rude and say keep a close eye on your kid. My hubby said well enforce our rules constantly( something the parents don't do) look I get their TIRED but that's your full time job you don't get a break when your around other adults. It's like my hubby and I are their parents because the mom is beat and the dad doesn't give a Shit what's going on. He makes his wife do everything. We just have to enforce rules and that's how you solve it and make sure the parents are aware of your rules. Like ex those kids aren't allowed on my room. They love to let their kids go in our room to watch tv to get rid of them....

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  154. I'm in the same situation. You would think that parents would watch their children and enforce rules all the time. Some don't. The post sounds exactly what is going on to us. My hubby's best friends kids are boys ages9,5,4 and they have a nine month old boy. The older boys have no home training. They walk on kitchen counters, sit on coffee tables, walk on couches, walk all around eating food( parents don't make them eat the entire meal at once) I didn't grow up that way, if I got up I was done. They discipline them sometimes but not consistently. It's kind of annoying, the mom will say "go wash your hands and wash your face" do they? Of course not. Then later she'll still see food on them and won't say a word. This is a problem at my house I have to clean walls when they leave my home. My hubby and I just bought our first home we got built, I'm concerned they'll tear it up. You should see their home. Mom doesn't clean, the house is gross. I don't worry about food on the floor that's a easy fix just sweep and vacuum. I hate deep cleaning as soon as they leave. My hubby is always washing their hands and faces because he knows I worry about the mess I'll find when they leave. You would be uneasy to if you like a clean home like me and saw kids walking around with pizza sauce all over them... I guess the mom doesn't care because she's not as concerned for a clean home like me. Problem is I hate correcting other people kids, it not my place. They act like their on a Hawaiian vacation when they come over, no worries or responsibilities. I'm just going to stop worrying because people will think you "worship" your home if you act like this, I've already encountered this. I don't worship my home but I want to take care of it and if no one set rules for those boys, they would treat my home just like theirs. I'm will not let my home get torn to shreds and food on walls on and on my furniture. So my hubby and I said we will set rules and make sure the parents hear these rules, ex hand washing and faces wiped after meals, eating entire meal at the table, their not allowed in our bedroom to lay on our bed(yeah), no jumping on my couch, sitting on coder table, walking and sitting on kitchen counters(they let them do this at home). We love to entertain but I ONLY feel this way when their kids come over. Other friends actually watch and make their kids behave. I don't expect the kids to no better when they let them do this mess at their house. Advice to anyone struggling like I still am, ENFORCE YOUR HOME RULES THAT NEED TO BE FOLLOWED CONSTANTLY. The parents will pick it up once they keep hearing it. This should open their eyes to how wild and not raised their kids are.

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