Going away with Friends - different rules for children

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Going away with Friends - different rules for children

Postby Glindora » Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:33 pm

Apologies if I don't explain things well - this is my first post on this site but hoped that objective eyes might help us to formulate ideas.

We are quite a large group of friends - now middleaged sadly - who have been going away together for a week every new year for the last 20 years. In that time of course, people have married and the majority of us now have children. The group this year is a mixed one now including one divorce (with no kids) one couple who have never had children and the rest are families with kids aged from 14 to 6. The kids have always had a blast together and enjoy themselves thoroughly. However, we as parents have also been careful to share pretty much the same discipline rules amongst us so no child gets away with bad behaviour and we've always been conscious that its' everyone's holiday - not just the kids. Basically this has meant that while during the day families and couples tend to do their own thing in groups which suit them, the kids have all been fed together and then put to bed at a reasonable hour and then the adults eat together.

This has particularly been the case on New Years Eve itself when the adults - all very sensible middle aged professionals the rest of the year enjoy getting very silly with karaoke, party games and discoing. Everybody enjoys letting their hair down without the kids and we've always been very conscious that for the non parents in the crowd, while they are good with our kids during the day and enjoy being with them, they have made it clear that they don't want their evenings dominated by them. One of the parents is a teacher and she has also always expressed the view that she adores her kids but spends all her working days with other peoples and wants to be able to enjoy an evening's party without them around.

This has been going on for 14 years and the kids have been pretty happy with it. They have a great time during the day with each other and doing activities focussed on them and haven't been botherered about going to the adults party. However, we have one family that doesn't want to do this and its causing problems.

With this particular family, it was the husband who was part of our close knit group and when he married, he and his wife spent new years with her family - she's not from England. They are both delightful people and we really pleased when they decided a couple of years ago to come with us with their 3 children - who are 6 9 and 11. They had a fabulous time and are now coming every year which is great - however they have different rules for their kids and don't seem prepared to change them. It is obvious to them that all other kids are in bed or quietly doing their own thing on New Years Eve but they bring theirs down to join in the party - until way after Midnight. It might not be so bad if the children were watching quietly but they want to be at the centre of attention and take over everything thats going on - eg karaoke mike, the games. Our friends seem oblivious to the fact that everyone else stops doing that activity and drifts away and also seem oblivious to the fact that no other children are there. The following day they boasted to all the others about what they did, meaning for the first time the other young ones started wanting to join in.

I feel very caught in the middle of it all - I am always the one who books the place and tend to be seen as the Mother Hen I think who will sort it all out. In some ways I have sympathy with the view of let the kids - and all the kids if they want - join in. I adore children and would be quite happy to have all 40 of us partying together. However, I know my view isn't shared and I also have a lot of sympathy with my friends who want to have a child-free party without small people taking over. I also have sympathy with all my fellow parents who have spent years ensuring their kids were well behaved who are now having to put up with this.

I'm also concerned in that my own son and his closest friend in the group are both 14. At the moment they are happy to spend New Years eve in a sitting room by themselves eating crisps and watching films. Soon however - they will want to join in with the adults and are getting to an age to. I don't want to prevent them but equally I don't want our friends to see this as opening the way for all children to join in.

I have to say that our friends are absolutely lovely with this one blind spot about their children. They are very kind sweet people and we are delighted to have them with us and I wouldn't want to fall out with them at all or have them not want to come away with us anymore. Equally however, the three without children are fantastic people and have come every year for 20 years. I know that the wife in that couple was very annoyed about the 3 children taking over New Years Eve and I wouldn't want them to not come.

Any advice about how to deal with the situation would be welcome.
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Re: Going away with Friends - different rules for children

Postby Bel Bel » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:36 am

I think you have to be straight and say we are having an adults get together from 7 on New Years EVE. If you want to do something with your kids that's fine but we have all (and get the others agreement and backing) decided that we want a kid free evening so you'll have to do your own thing if your going to have the kids.

There is no easy way to deal with these situations. Be truthful and if they get offended they probably won't come, which will solve the problem.

You can also point out that you have always had separate adults time and by letting their kids join ion it has upset the others. At the end of the day you may have to point out that you have been having these get togethers for many years and it has only become a problem since they bought their kids into the evening entertainment
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Re: Going away with Friends - different rules for children

Postby Glindora » Thu May 15, 2014 11:24 am

In case anyone's interested, an update on how it resolved itself.

It became apparent after this that it was even more of a problem for others than I had realised. At a gathering that neither us or the particular couple could go to, I was told afterwards that the subject had come up and everyone had different levels of annoyance but none were happy about the kids coming down and thought something should be done. My best and very sensible friend who has 3 kids of exactly the same age as the trouble causing trio sent an open email to everyone asking if it would be possible for her sake so she could keep her own kids on a leash, could we agree that no-one under 18 would be in the party area after 8.30pm. It was up to individual parents what happened after that and if they could stay up in their own houses etc - this year was the perfect opportunity to do this as what we had booked was basically individul cottages around a central hall which was the party area.

No-one disagreed and all went well til New Years Eve when after the kids had had their own party in the hall and we were clearing up the father in question made it clear his would be coming back for the adult party. I explained politely that it really wasn't on the cards. He said his kids were really looking forward to it and he couldn't believe anyone had a problem with citing specific people. In the end, I had to explain to him that those specific people had indeed specifically said that they did have a problem.He was a bit startled but obviously went away and thought about it and then told my bf that the kids wouldn't join in and he hadn't realised that people weren't happy with it. Neither he nor his wife mentioned it again, the kids didn't get to come in and no-one was unhappy. Both he & his wife looked like they were having a ball all night and said at the end of the week how much they'd enjoyed it and have booked to come again next year.
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Re: Going away with Friends - different rules for children

Postby reckoner » Thu May 15, 2014 1:48 pm

Awesome! New year always seems like such a headache, you guys have managed the best arrangement I've come across yet. Well jell, as the kids seem to say these days.
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Re: Going away with Friends - different rules for children

Postby snail » Fri May 16, 2014 12:43 pm

Thanks for the update - we're always interested to know how things resolve themselves :)

Surprising that it was so difficult to get the message across to them and that they read the email but still thought it didn't apply to their kids - it just shows how people can be blind about their own children, as you say. I hope you got some kudos from the rest of the group for tactfully explaining it to them and sorting it out.
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