• February 7, 2016
February 07, 2016, 4:29:59 am *
Welcome, Guest. Please Log In to participate in forums.
News: Talk about how to cope with chronic illness, disability, and other health issues in the academic workplace.
 
Pages: 1 ... 4 5 [6] 7
  Print  
Author Topic: my friends with kids  (Read 5802 times)
prof_smartypants
Treasure-pilferin' and grog-swillin'
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 9,456

You're getting hosed by small minds with no game.


« Reply #75 on: December 15, 2012, 3:01:38 pm »

When I was a teen (14-15) people would actually invite me to parties like that without my mother (though she was occasionally there) with the intention that I'd participate in the drinking and cursing and inappropriate jokes with everyone else... I guess that's not as likely to happen in the US? My friends were always older than me.

Maybe your chair doesn't see her teenagers as 'kids' and thinks that it's OK because they're older?


I agree, it's very much a cultural thing. I find it strange that teenagers are assumed to not be able to at least pretend to enjoy themselves at an "adult" event. Why on earth should you "make sure that they're entertained"? In my view, being able to adapt to different environments, including ones that you may find boring, and behave gracefully is just another part of your education. I was an only child and from an early age my parents took me with them to social events. I was just expected to behave, take part in the conversation when appropriate, eat like a civilized person, and if I really was bored sit somewhere quietly with the book I'd brought with me (although that would be frowned upon). I actually learnt a lot from talking with my parents' friends, and as I far as I know they weren't angry at me for being there. Where I'm from, it's perfectly acceptable for older teenagers to drink some beer or wine with dinner (at the table and with the parents around, obviously.) For the younger ones, having some water or coke around isn't exactly a lot of work - there are also adults who don't drink for a variety of reasons so you probably need to provide soft drinks options anyway.

That's not the point. They weren't invited. Their parents do not let them drink, and they are not my friends. I invited friends of mine, not friends of mine + whomever they want to bring along. Normally, if you bring people who are not invited to a party, you ask the host first - "hey, I have friends staying with me, can I bring them along". You don't just assume you can show up with whomever you feel like bringing. Why should kids be treated any differently than any other uninvited guest?
Logged

crowie
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 3,546


« Reply #76 on: December 15, 2012, 3:28:20 pm »

I self-identify as a feminist and I don't see this line of analysis as saying feminism=evil.  The way I understand this argument, it's not the "feminist" "ambition" that's the problem (or "evil"), it's what happens when that (otherwise potentially positive and healthy) ambition suddenly gets channeled into a single, all-consuming task--child-rearing.  The phenomenon being described, I think, is when the perfectionism that a high-achieving female HS/college student puts into her 4.0 GPA ends up getting sublimated and channeled by that woman later in life into being the "perfect" mother, to the exclusion of anything else.

The idea is that for some mothers child-rearing becomes fetishized as the new arena for playing out one's ambition--precisely because one does not have enough other (outside, non-childrearing-oriented) places to put that ambition (whether by choice or otherwise).  I don't see describing this phenomenon as anti-feminist.  Indeed, describing and critiquing it could be seen as a feminist argument for encouraging women to put their energies and ambitions into more varied causes/vocations that may help both their society and their personal development.  

That said, I do think this is arguably a phenomenon that is a concern only for a small subset of people (educated, affluent)--the only class for whom the option/luxury of trying to aim for "perfection" in parenting even exists--but it is a topic of obsession for the chattering classes.  Not to mention the role of capitalism, consumerism, a trend-driven media culture, and advertising in defining successful parenting to that same class of people which has more money to spend on products to make them "better" parents and their kids "better" kids.

+1

Crowie, these points are EXACTLY what I was trying to say upthread. You've said it far more eloquently than I.

Crowie is excellent at eloquence.

Thank you both, very much!
Logged

macaroon
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,388

__/\__\0/__ Look out! Sharks!


« Reply #77 on: December 16, 2012, 12:01:50 pm »


My chair (also friend) brings her teenage kids to every social event, even if they are not invited. She actually brought them to a colleague's wedding which was a no-kid affair.

I have a new year's party every year, and it's not a kid-friendly occasion. There is heavy drinking, a lot of cursing, and inappropriate jokes. She brought her teenagers last year. I kept feeling the need to find them soft drinks or make sure they were entertained. I ended up being resentful that she had put me in that position. She didn't notice at all.

Is it possibly to politely tell her (or anyone for that matter) that an event is not child-friendly?

No, it is not possible to politely tell her this because she is your chair.  I would let it go, and worry about a slippery slope of 4 year olds if and only if it happens.  And stop "entertaining" the teenagers.  Most likely, your chair thought you were enjoying their company - which is not exactly a wacky idea.  If I didn't enjoy the company of older teenagers, at least a little, I'd probably hate my job as a college professor. 

But....  but...  I know why teenagers come to heavy drinking, New Years Eve parties.  They are the designated drivers, prof_smartypants!  I think you need more teenagers, not fewer.
Logged
mouseman
Oh dear, how did I become a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 10,117

The Validater/Validator-in-Chief


« Reply #78 on: December 16, 2012, 5:55:42 pm »

I self-identify as a feminist and I don't see this line of analysis as saying feminism=evil.  The way I understand this argument, it's not the "feminist" "ambition" that's the problem (or "evil"), it's what happens when that (otherwise potentially positive and healthy) ambition suddenly gets channeled into a single, all-consuming task--child-rearing.  The phenomenon being described, I think, is when the perfectionism that a high-achieving female HS/college student puts into her 4.0 GPA ends up getting sublimated and channeled by that woman later in life into being the "perfect" mother, to the exclusion of anything else.

The idea is that for some mothers child-rearing becomes fetishized as the new arena for playing out one's ambition--precisely because one does not have enough other (outside, non-childrearing-oriented) places to put that ambition (whether by choice or otherwise).  I don't see describing this phenomenon as anti-feminist.  Indeed, describing and critiquing it could be seen as a feminist argument for encouraging women to put their energies and ambitions into more varied causes/vocations that may help both their society and their personal development.  

That said, I do think this is arguably a phenomenon that is a concern only for a small subset of people (educated, affluent)--the only class for whom the option/luxury of trying to aim for "perfection" in parenting even exists--but it is a topic of obsession for the chattering classes.  Not to mention the role of capitalism, consumerism, a trend-driven media culture, and advertising in defining successful parenting to that same class of people which has more money to spend on products to make them "better" parents and their kids "better" kids.

+1

Crowie, these points are EXACTLY what I was trying to say upthread. You've said it far more eloquently than I.

Crowie is excellent at eloquence.

Thank you both, very much!

Thanks for the insight, Crowie and others - it does help me understand this behavior.  It hopefully will help us here in figuring out how to guide the Mouselet as she grows up. 

I'm really just bookmarking here, but I do have a question:

My chair (also friend) brings her teenage kids to every social event, even if they are not invited. She actually brought them to a colleague's wedding which was a no-kid affair.

I have a new year's party every year, and it's not a kid-friendly occasion. There is heavy drinking, a lot of cursing, and inappropriate jokes. She brought her teenagers last year. I kept feeling the need to find them soft drinks or make sure they were entertained. I ended up being resentful that she had put me in that position. She didn't notice at all.

Is it possibly to politely tell her (or anyone for that matter) that an event is not child-friendly?

I agree that it is impolite of her, and I agree with all the others who are writing that her being your chair makes any polite suggestion difficult.  However, perhaps being tricky may work.  Maybe some remarks on how well behaved her teens are "considering that they were bored being surrounded by all these old folk", or "to bad that there weren't any other children their age, after all, the topics/music/activities were probably tedious for teens".  Maybe even a few minutes talking to the teens "it's great that you guys can hang out with your parents, most kids find us adults boring", plus an awkward badly-done reference to what was "cool" last year, especially if you add "as you kids today say, right?" will likely result in the teens refusing to go to any of these parties ever again.
Logged

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away -- -
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.
                                                  Lewis Carroll
kaysixteen
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 8,193


« Reply #79 on: December 16, 2012, 6:19:47 pm »

Would I perhaps be correct in assuming that attitudes towards teenagers' appropriate socializing activities with adults are significantly different outside of the USA?  Some have suggested that it is acceptable to allow the teens to drink booze with the adults-- this USED to be true here but is nowadays both socially and legally unacceptable, and opens the hosts up to great civil and criminal liability.  What IS acceptable, on the other hand, is the notion  hinted at above that hosts (and parents) need to entertain the teens and allow them to act in surly, adolescent-centered ways, refusing to interact with adults, etc.-- methinks this attitude may well also be less than ubiquitous worldwide?
Logged
niceday
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 3,007


« Reply #80 on: December 17, 2012, 10:08:28 am »

Some of the disconnect people are describing is normal, in my opinion. Early childhood is a very intense time for the parent as well as for the kid. It's pretty natural that those with kids at that stage diverge somewhat from those who are not going through this stage. It's a bit like the way those on the tenure-track may "get" each other in a way, say, those working in the industry may not (they have their own set of issues and considerations).

On the other hand, this early intense period may make other problems which were kept at bay more apparent. There is less slack in the system once a kid enters the picture. Tenure-track is hard enough. Tenure-track plus small children may make things pretty difficult for those who are in a position to barely manage one (as both are pretty intense). Or, if there is an issue with the spouse not being safe or reliable (as seemed to be in the early case in this thread), the presence of the child may make greatly complicate things.

Then there are generally rude behaviors. Chair bringing uninvited guests? That's just rude behavior although it's possible that she's under the impression that it was communicated to her that it was okay (these kinds of misunderstandings do happen--you say "oh, I think your kids are awesome" and she hears "bring them along.")

I'm also on the early tenure-track, research-intensive institution, place values teaching and I take my teaching seriously, I also have a ton of extra-curricular activities going on. It's a patchwork for solutions for me. Sometimes, yeah, I find myself hanging out with people with kids because it is easier to swap baby-sitting and create an environment that works for the kids. Sometimes I leave the kid with spouse or other care-givers and run and do my thing. I enjoy both and I love parenthood and I also love my job.

I think I don't get to do enough of any one of the things that are part of my identity. I don't hang out as much with the mom's circles kind of environments as do other moms (and few dads) who either don't have as intense jobs or are more into parenting 24/7;  I am not as intensely traveling on the research/talk/conference circuit as my peers in that world. I also don't hang out as much with my friends without kids as they do with each other.

I think "not enough of X" is a common and predictable issue of having multiple intense and demanding identities. Getting lost in one or the other for short(ish) periods of times seems normal, too.

The cases where folks on this thread are complaining about seem to be more about people having difficulty striking an (always imperfect) balance either because the resources are just too scarce or the person is having difficulty navigating multiple roles. There are many broader issues there but it seems reasonable that kids bring out these issues of balance as they are both very demanding and also, ahem, pretty awesome (in my opinion!) so one does get drawn into their world.

I think the reasonable conversation (between peers, not your chair, I guess) for those with kids and without is to ask: "I'd occasionally like to see you without the kid but it doesn't seem to happen. If this is because you are having difficulty squeezing out the time or the money, maybe we can figure out a way to make this happen if we think about it together." And then listen. If it is a problem of logistics, it's likely a solution can be found. If it is a problem of parent lost in role, well, that is harder.
Logged
prof_smartypants
Treasure-pilferin' and grog-swillin'
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 9,456

You're getting hosed by small minds with no game.


« Reply #81 on: December 17, 2012, 10:10:25 am »

I don't want to hijack any further, but none of the teens at the party had licenses. They were 12-15, and didn't want to be there. They got dragged along (likely because their parents didn't trust them to be at home alone? I dunno.)

Logged

prof_smartypants
Treasure-pilferin' and grog-swillin'
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 9,456

You're getting hosed by small minds with no game.


« Reply #82 on: December 17, 2012, 11:30:08 am »

I don't want to hijack any further, but none of the teens at the party had licenses. They were 12-15, and didn't want to be there. They got dragged along (likely because their parents didn't trust them to be at home alone? I dunno.)

What are the options for leaving the kids somewhere?  Pretty slim in some cases is the problem.

One generally does not get a babysitter for a fifteen-year-old and yeah, leaving kids home alone on a holiday isn't very friendly to the kids.

A possible solution (one I employed as a teenager to get out of being dragged to the boring parties) is playing matchmaker to the people who would love to come, but need babysitters with the old-enough-to-make-a-few-bucks kids.  This can be a win all the way around because little kids will almost always conk out before midnight and part of the deal can be some great snacks and videos for the babysitters.

Niceday puts the parent/non-parent solution very well as
I think the reasonable conversation (between peers, not your chair, I guess) for those with kids and without is to ask: "I'd occasionally like to see you without the kid but it doesn't seem to happen. If this is because you are having difficulty squeezing out the time or the money, maybe we can figure out a way to make this happen if we think about it together." And then listen. If it is a problem of logistics, it's likely a solution can be found. If it is a problem of parent lost in role, well, that is harder.

I wasn't kidding that I would be happy to do something at 6 am or a planned well-in-advance lunch.  If we plan well in advance, then certain times of the semester I probably could manage a dinner out assuming we could have "dinner" at 4:00 in the afternoon or possibly as a Saturday afternoon when Blocky is off doing something that only needs one parent to supervise.

Easy. You don't go. If you aren't comfortable leaving your 12-14 year old home alone, and you aren't willing or able to get a babysitter, then you don't go to a party. You stay home with your kids and do family stuff. That's what my parents always did. We had a great time.

You don't bring kids or any other guests to someone's party without asking. When did this become OK?
Logged

macaroon
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,388

__/\__\0/__ Look out! Sharks!


« Reply #83 on: December 17, 2012, 11:34:48 am »

I don't want to hijack any further, but none of the teens at the party had licenses. They were 12-15, and didn't want to be there. They got dragged along (likely because their parents didn't trust them to be at home alone? I dunno.)

What are the options for leaving the kids somewhere?  Pretty slim in some cases is the problem.

One generally does not get a babysitter for a fifteen-year-old and yeah, leaving kids home alone on a holiday isn't very friendly to the kids.

A possible solution (one I employed as a teenager to get out of being dragged to the boring parties) is playing matchmaker to the people who would love to come, but need babysitters with the old-enough-to-make-a-few-bucks kids.  This can be a win all the way around because little kids will almost always conk out before midnight and part of the deal can be some great snacks and videos for the babysitters.

Niceday puts the parent/non-parent solution very well as
I think the reasonable conversation (between peers, not your chair, I guess) for those with kids and without is to ask: "I'd occasionally like to see you without the kid but it doesn't seem to happen. If this is because you are having difficulty squeezing out the time or the money, maybe we can figure out a way to make this happen if we think about it together." And then listen. If it is a problem of logistics, it's likely a solution can be found. If it is a problem of parent lost in role, well, that is harder.

I wasn't kidding that I would be happy to do something at 6 am or a planned well-in-advance lunch.  If we plan well in advance, then certain times of the semester I probably could manage a dinner out assuming we could have "dinner" at 4:00 in the afternoon or possibly as a Saturday afternoon when Blocky is off doing something that only needs one parent to supervise.

Easy. You don't go. If you aren't comfortable leaving your 12-14 year old home alone, and you aren't willing or able to get a babysitter, then you don't go to a party. You stay home with your kids and do family stuff. That's what my parents always did. We had a great time.

You don't bring kids or any other guests to someone's party without asking. When did this become OK?

It's not.  But it's not worth the awkward discussion with your chair about her manners.   

However, you really COULD try to play babysitting matchmaker.  When you invite your chair, say, "Hey - Becky and Josh would like to come, but don't have a babysitter.  Do you think Sally or Frank might like to make some money?"  It doesn't have to be at your house.  It can be at Becky and Josh's house. 
Logged
prof_smartypants
Treasure-pilferin' and grog-swillin'
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 9,456

You're getting hosed by small minds with no game.


« Reply #84 on: December 17, 2012, 11:45:08 am »

Oh sure. I was speaking more generally. The babysitter matchmaker is a terrific idea!
Logged

macaroon
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 6,388

__/\__\0/__ Look out! Sharks!


« Reply #85 on: December 17, 2012, 1:06:35 pm »

Easy. You don't go. If you aren't comfortable leaving your 12-14 year old home alone, and you aren't willing or able to get a babysitter, then you don't go to a party. You stay home with your kids and do family stuff. That's what my parents always did. We had a great time.

You don't bring kids or any other guests to someone's party without asking. When did this become OK?

Well, according to all the women in my family who have planned events for decades, what kind of person doesn't invite the whole family when you know they have kids who aren't holy terrors?  Those women would ask what kind of people would throw parties that it's not ok to bring kids, grandparents, visiting friends from out of town, and similar people who could reasonably be expected to be around and want to celebrate a holiday?

For example, my parents went out exactly once a year to a "grown-up" party that was thrown by a contractor who worked with my dad.  A sit-down dinner for 2N is a place where you don't bring other guests.  That's true for any catered dinner like weddings.

By the norms on which I was raised, the only time one would restrict the guest list is for something like a catered dinner or a party where groups of N are required to make the games work out (we had a lot of card parties when I was a kid).



That, or miscommunication about the welcome-ness of the teenagers.   

By the cultural norms with which I was raised, teenagers are incredibly welcome specifically at NYE parties to serve as designated drivers, or were farmed out to babysit the other guests' children.  This is how I spent many a NYE - babysat by other guests' teenagers, babysitting, or as the DD. 
Logged
tinyzombie
She of the Badass Abs, and a
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 16,572

elevate from this point on - chuck d


« Reply #86 on: December 17, 2012, 1:29:49 pm »

When I was a teenager, I would've asked to stay home from a party like yours, prof_s, unless my friends were going. I would have wanted to go to an NYE party with my friends, or babysit for money somewhere else.

Now, of course, I would be the first guest there!
Logged

Quote from: usukprof
I think we have three of them, but the smallest one seems to be the leader.
Quote from: dolljepopp
Who needs real life when Sandra Bullock is around?
Quote from: systeme_d_
You are all my people, and I love you.
chaosbydesign
"Are you alive?"
Member-Moderator
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 22,622

Make life take the lemons back!


« Reply #87 on: December 17, 2012, 3:15:05 pm »

Well, according to all the women in my family who have planned events for decades, what kind of person doesn't invite the whole family when you know they have kids who aren't holy terrors?  Those women would ask what kind of people would throw parties that it's not ok to bring kids, grandparents, visiting friends from out of town, and similar people who could reasonably be expected to be around and want to celebrate a holiday?

If I were having a party in my apartment, I wouldn't invite peoples' kids. If they brought teenagers I probably wouldn't care, but if there were young kids around I wouldn't be happy about it. My apartment is not at all 'childproof'.
Logged

I am expressing multiple attitudes simultaneously sir. To which one are you referring? -- Spock
spectacle
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 3,897


« Reply #88 on: December 17, 2012, 4:11:30 pm »

Well, according to all the women in my family who have planned events for decades, what kind of person doesn't invite the whole family when you know they have kids who aren't holy terrors?  Those women would ask what kind of people would throw parties that it's not ok to bring kids, grandparents, visiting friends from out of town, and similar people who could reasonably be expected to be around and want to celebrate a holiday?

If I were having a party in my apartment, I wouldn't invite peoples' kids. If they brought teenagers I probably wouldn't care, but if there were young kids around I wouldn't be happy about it. My apartment is not at all 'childproof'.

This.  My home is not even REMOTELY safe for children.  Delicate art, unanchored bookshelves (admittedly unsafe, but we just haven't gotten around to getting it done), uncovered outlets, sculptures and art that would have to be moved, a cat who is unused to children and not always well-behaved... I don't eve know where this would end.

what kind of person doesn't invite the whole family when you know they have kids who aren't holy terrors?

I don't do this to be mean or to be unfriendly.  Not every party that we have is appropriate for kids, unfortunately.
Logged

I think this thread is going well. Don't you think this thread is going well?
prof_smartypants
Treasure-pilferin' and grog-swillin'
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 9,456

You're getting hosed by small minds with no game.


« Reply #89 on: December 17, 2012, 4:18:20 pm »

I guess I'll start putting "no kids" on my invitations.

Then everyone will say *I'm* the rude one. Oh well. I've been called worse.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2012, 4:19:58 pm by prof_smartypants » Logged

Pages: 1 ... 4 5 [6] 7
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.