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My mother (drinking while babysitting) [https://www.ihavehopetoday.com/forum/viewtopic.php?TopicID=78]

Sept 24, 2011 at 09:40 AM
My mother (drinking while babysitting)

My parents are drinkers, and have been for quite some time. Not to go into the whole details of everything, my basic (and unprofessional) assessment is that they are borderline alcoholics. They drink everyday to some extent (I'd say probably at least 3-4 drinks per day, to up to a lot more on frequent occasions). Dh and I rarely drink... like a glass of wine here or there and maybe 3 drinks on rare special occasions.

So here's the problem. Last time my mom babysat ds (which was in July) I asked her upfront to please refrain from drinking while she was here babysitting. She responded weakly "I'll try"... an annoying enough response, but yet she respected our wishes. My rationale is that we would expect the same from any babysitter we hired, so I expected the same from her. Fair enough?

Last night we went to Dh's work Christmas party, and my parents babysat (at our house) and I thought we could give them the benefit of the doubt that they would realize that the same rules applied re: drinking. My mom came earlier, and then after we left my dad arrived. When my mom showed up we didn't see any evidence of her bringing alcohol with her. But when we came home, there was a bottle of wine in her bag (don't know how empty or full) and a beer cap in the garbage can.

So I'm really annoyed, that not only did they drink while they were here, it seems like they tried to hide it. I'm not sure what they drank wine out of, since there were no dirty wine glasses, and I'm thinking that maybe they washed them to make it look like they didn't drink anything This only makes me further mad. That they clearly remembered what I asked them previously, and went out of their way to try to hide it? Dh is livid and is at the point of telling them they are no longer welcome to see ds at all (which I think is extreme). How do I handle this? Am I out of line? On one hand I appreciate the free babysitting, but I think I have a right to expect babysitters not to drink right??

Sept 25, 2011 at 09:31 AM
Re: My mother (drinking while babysitting)

Hi Smandypypedum.

Welcome to this site. I can feel your pain and this is a hard thing to have to deal with. I do think you are right in your views about your parents babysitting their grandchildren. I think that the main thing is you protect your children, not that your parents would intentionally hurt them, but a babysitter needs to be able to think and anyone under the influence has altered thinking. I wonder if it worked once, telling them no alcohol when taking care of the children, perhaps you need to remind them each time they babysit and if they violate this rule one more time, they no longer have the privilege of time alone with their grandchildren. If you expect this from other sitters, then you should also expect it from your parents. The thing here is there has to be boundaries, uncrossable ones, and even though this is not easy to do, it is necessary in my opinion. You did not mention anything about your parents behavior when they drink, so all I can go on is your personal beliefs about alcohol consumption and what you want to instill in your children concerning alcohol. So my opinion is you are doing the correct thing and I commend you for it.

[Edited by I Have Hope Today Administrator on Sept 26, 2011 at 02:20 AM]

Cookie Monster 
Sept 26, 2011 at 02:32 AM
Re: My mother (drinking while babysitting)

Free babysitting or not, a caregiver should not be under the influence of alcohol or any drug while watching a child. Granted, some parents of their children do drink, but that is up to the parent. A babysitter should never. Also, it would be quite different if your parents were only having one beer while being with your child. It sounds like they are consuming more than that, and I also think they may have some problems with drinking. Regardless of that, you need to make it clear to them that you appreciate them babysitting, but you do not want any drinking while they are with your child. You and your husband need to have a united front. I understand that, since these are your parents, you don't want to do anything extreme in regard to them not being able to see your child. I also understand why your husband feels it might be better if they do not watch your child anymore. You could bring up a hypothetical situation to your parents, regarding babysitters, drinking, and how you feel about that situation. Otherwise, you might try a more direct approach with them to explain your viewpoint. Explain that you do not like your child to witness drinking and you want a fully clear-headed babysitter. Without accusing them, explain why you feel as you do and what you expect from any babysitter. Of course, have a calm, rational discussion about this, but don't back down from it. This is for the safety of your child. Obviously, you have to be able to risk losing the free babysitting, but I think it is worth the risk. They will not change their drinking habits unless they want to, but they do need to change their drinking habits around your child. Best wishes, and keep us posted on how it goes.

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