Friends with kids

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Colton, Jul 22, 2005.

  1. Colton

    Colton Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    Messages:
    795
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Okay, my wife and I are feeling like "bad people" because my long-time best friend moved back into our area after being away for fifteen years. Him and his wife (and their two children) live only a few miles away from us and it's great to be friends with them, but ...

    Their two kids (ages 3 and 7) run them ragged. Having a nice adult conversation with the kids around is impossible as they demand attention and don't mind when told to settle down or go watch television. Don't get me wrong - they are great kids, but we don't want to be their playpals when we have them over to our house or when we visit their apartment to have a nice adult chat and play some cards.

    Now, my wife and I want to plan for some last minute summer fun, but we want to go to Six Flags and the kids are just too young to ride most of the rides. Are we asking too much for them to find a babysitter to watch their kids for the weekend while we make a dash to the amusement park (about 4 hour drive) and ride all the wild and crazy rides and have a great time without the kids to slow us down. Am I sounding like a horrible person?!

    I'm very torn about this whole situation. My wife and I aren't planning to have kids for a long time (if any) and now I feel that our social time with our friends (with kids) is going to be less and less. We think they are a great couple and we have a great time with them, but I would like to just spend time with them without having the kids involved in everything we do.

    I need counseling. Help!

    - Colton
     
  2. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 1999
    Messages:
    1,609
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0



    Unfortunately being a parent requires your friends to have the kids involved in everything they do (or at least it should be).

    Kids do not have a "pause" button so you can play poker or go out to a nice dinner. That's called a babysitter and is typically not an option that should not be over-used.

    Being a parent is a lifestyle and you've got to respect the lifestyle your friends have chosen.

    And yes, not taking the kids to Six Flags is a horrible option (imho). Why can't you take the kids, then take turns alternating who has to accompany them on the kiddie rides ? One of the simple joys in life is seeing the glow on a kid's face as they ride the twirling teacups....

    Kids are a big change, but it doesn't last forever as they grow up WAY too fast. Please don't make your friends feel guilty for trying to be good parents. They'll be "single" soon enough when the kids age a bit more. [​IMG]
     
  3. Dick

    Dick Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    6,312
    Likes Received:
    2,334
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Maine
    Real Name:
    Rick
    If having these kids along for the (long) ride - which is bound to be sort of hellish from what you have indicated - when you go to Six Flags will irritate you and make the trip unpleasant, then find a diplomatic way to tell your friends you want this to be an adults-only affair. If they are unwilling to comply, I would suggest doing the trip with your wife alone.
     
  4. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2003
    Messages:
    3,469
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0


    If you are talking about overnight for the weekend, yes I think you are asking too much as one of their children is only 3.
     
  5. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2001
    Messages:
    534
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0


    I think "last minute summer fun" meant the last minute of summer, not thrown together at the last minute. Or maybe not. [​IMG]
     
  6. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2003
    Messages:
    12,013
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    and I don't mean that in a mean way, it's just that some parents get way too involved with their kids and don't understand that there are people out there who don't love them as much as they do.
     
  7. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2003
    Messages:
    3,469
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    0

    Wow. We're talking 3 and 7 year olds here Mark. I only wish more parents did get more involved in their kids because way too often you see just the opposite.

    Anyway, Mark, it sounds like you and your friend have worked out a nice balance and each of you are respectful of each other's lifestyle.
     
  8. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2002
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ah youth, when my parents.... actually all of the neighborhood parents would cattle-drive us kids into a garage with 12 other kids, some Star wars figures, & a Hungry Hungry Hippos game while they did their saturday "Booze & Fondue" party thing.

    But those were far more innocent times. I've seen Law & Order SVU and know what a modern 7 year old can do if he finds-out Mom & Dad went to 6 Flags without him, and it ain't pretty.
     
  9. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2000
    Messages:
    8,967
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I haven't much advice to offer except I can relate. This one group of friends gather every couple of months for an evening of board games, where drunkedness and hilarity is the norm... except when this one person brings her child.

    The kid is terrific but his mere presence turns what should be a fun evening among adults into a G rated affair where one must refrain from cursing and such.

    I think someone did speak out at some point, because the last couple of gatherings were kid-free.

    That is for those who subscribe to the "slave to your kids" mentality. Since when does being a parent mean stoping to be an adult?

    Call it a cultural difference but where I grew up, those two world where quite "segragated". Kids are simply not allowed to even be around when "adults are talking". When friends would visit my parents, we would be brought to say hi, perhaps share some soda, then sent off to go play outside or something, not hang around disrupting conversation between elders. And should I ever have a family, that's how it will be.

    Colin,

    Perhaps you should talk to your buddy, from man to man (if that expression itself even means anything anymore...). Do you ever do anything just the two of you? Like go out for a drink, a game or fishing? If yes, then during one such outing, mention how it would be great to done something with just the 4 of you.

    In the end, if hanging with them ALWAYS means hanging with the kids then you're just gonna have to accept that fact and consequently reduce your interractions.

    There is a time for family, and there is a time for grown-ups. [EDIT] And a time for children.

    [FURTHER EDIT] And time for women. And a time for men. And a time for couples.

    --
    H
     
  10. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2003
    Messages:
    12,013
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That's how it was when I was a kid. When my parents friends came over, it was bed-time wether I liked it or not.
     
  11. Colton

    Colton Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    Messages:
    795
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Holadem,

    Yes, I got free screening tickets for "The Island" and took my buddy with me. He's a HUGE movie-goer and loves science-fiction action films, so this was a big treat to him. We had a GREAT time! He did say that he misses his youthful days of childless freedom, but what could he do? He agrees that we should all take a trip without the kids and just get crazy at Six Flags, but he would have to ask THE BOSS. *sigh*

    - Colton
     
  12. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2001
    Messages:
    13,063
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well lots of things change friendships. People go to different colleges, get different jobs, move to different states, and yes, change lifestyles. That might be getting married, having kids, become a nudist, whatever.

    Sometimes friendships are just not going to survive those changes. You might still be friends, but not at the same level.

    Think about it this way, Colton. What if some of your male friends, all single, from earlier in your life moved back near you, and they were pressuring you to go out and do things without your wife? Would they be unreasonable to ask you to take a trip with them and leave your wife behind? What would you think if they were constantly complaining about why your wife had to tag along?

    Having a wife, having kids, etc. entail responsibilities, and your life changes. If that means certain other friendships change, or fade away, well, that's life. I do know married people who blow off their spouse, and parents who blow off their kids (one of my wife's friends routinely leaves her 2 year old daughter with people she barely knows, so she can go out and party - with other men, while her husband is on a submarine tour of duty).

    Are your friend's kids more important to them than you? Of course. That's the way it should be for them and for you. If they expect you to maintain a heavy duty relationship with kids always there, they may be asking too much. If you expect them to maintain a heavy duty relationship and minimize the amount of time kids are there when you're together, you're asking too much. You guys need to adjust your friendship to a level that works for all of you. And that probably means you're not going to be their best friends and vice versa.
     
  13. ToddS

    ToddS Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2000
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    As a father of two girls 5 and 8, I will give you my opinion. If you want to go with adults only just say that the trip is adults only. As a parent I understand that not everyone enjoys my children, if someone invites me on something and says adults only, if I can make alternate plans then I go, if not I find something else to do.

    As far as going to Six Flags adults only being an all day trip that is a lot to ask unless there is a local relative the babysitting costs will be quite expensive. If you really want to go with this couple maybe make it a bit easier and say something like "We came across 4 tickets to Six Flags and would like if you guys could join us for a double date." I know it is not your responsibility to financially help them or their kids but it is a nice way to get the trip you want.

    As far as just talking and playing cards when I hang out with childless friends I prefer to do it at our house because it is a lot easier for the kids to entertain themselves. My children are very well behaved and always welcome at my childless friends home but it is much more relaxing for me to not have to worry about my kids entertainment. So if you can try to do things at their house. I say this because some of my wife's friends always want to get together at their house when we are the ones with kids. As with anything a little compromise goes a long way.
     
  14. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2000
    Messages:
    8,967
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well yeah, he is married you know, that means making joint decisions [​IMG].

    The other issue is that they might be feeling guilty because they know it's something the kids would love, and they would probably have to avoid mentioning the trip to them. It might be easier if you were going to a concert or something.

    --
    H
     
  15. Drew Bethel

    Drew Bethel Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Messages:
    1,209
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    We have a very young daughter and I guess I don't miss "being an adult" as it is defined in this thread. To me being an adult is taking responsibilty for my child. Now, I do think it is important to get out of the day-to-day routine every now and then and have some fun as a couple - without the kid/s. Everyone wins in this situation as the parents are refreshed.

    Our daughter is 13 months old and we are going out for our first real date since her birth the end of this month. Both of us would never leave her overnight with anyone at this stage. I don't see a problem dropping a seven year old off at grandmas for an overnight - not a three year old though.
     
  16. ToddS

    ToddS Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2000
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I think a three year old is quite capable of making it throughout the night without a parent. My oldest daughter stayed with my parents for a week when she was 28 months and they all had a great time. My wife's parents would occasionally watch our eldest daughter as a baby and no one suffered. As long as you have someone you trust, your child has no major medical problems, and your child adjust well to others I don't think there is an age limit to when you child can stay overnight somewhere. I realize that everyone is different but I don't think you can say that a 3 year old is not ready to be babysit overnight.
     
  17. Colton

    Colton Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2004
    Messages:
    795
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well, we do compromise. My friend and I would watch the kids one day while my wife and his wife (the girls) go shopping and get pedicures. Also, since I get free screening tickets regularly I suggested that the girls would go to all the chick-flicks and my buddy and I would watch the horror movies. So, we take turns to allow the other spouse time to "be free" of the kids for a few hours.

    If you haven't been to Six Flags lately, it's not all kiddie rides. The rollercoasters are very intense and would be too much for any child to bare. Having to take the kids would mean that someone will be missing out on those exciting rides. Also, since it would be the four of us (adults) with two kids - someone is going to going to have to ride by themselves (no fun).

    They want to do things with us, but they also feel obligated to bring the kids. There's more to it, of course. They have this unique child-rearing discipline that drives my wife and I nuts. When their kids misbehave, we have to listen to ten-minutes of "No, Mikie! No! Stop it! Don't do that! No!" and when things get worse there's the dreaded count-down "5 ... 4 ... 3 ..." to let the kids know how close they are to a "hot butt". Funny thing is that NONE of their methods work and the kids think it's funny. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I know they get fed up with their kids and I feel sorry for them and would like to give them a getaway option so they can enjoy some fun for themselves. If I suggested the "Look! 4 tickets to Six Flags!" then they would probably see that as a savings and still take their kids and pay for the kids tickets into the park. [​IMG]

    - Colton
     
  18. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,749
    Likes Received:
    480
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    If you have kids, it's just a normal progression to gravitate towards other couples who have kids and can share the limitations that come with such responsibility. I've seen this happen to my friends over the past 15 years, the singles or childless couples remain fancy-free and hang out more so with each other than with those other friends who now have kids and have different priorities/responsibilities. It's just the way it is.

    For now, I'm in the singles category. There are a few yearly shin-digs that I attend with my friends, and spending the afternoon/evening with a slew of screaming kids is always a shock to the system. It's great to re-connect with old friends, and see how the kids are growing year-by-year, but they sure do demand a lot of attention, and their presence does curtail certain forms of expression, but for a few days out of the year, it's not an overall negative experience. But, I know that the days of seeing my friends with kids on a regular basis are over for now, perhaps until I get a family and, thus, gravitate towards the family-oriented activities that will occur.
     
  19. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2002
    Messages:
    1,962
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0



    This is the best analogy I've ever read in a message board and completely on the mark. Kids are a total pain in the ass, I can't tell you how many times I wished I could tranq my two boys with some sort of animal dart so I could finish watching an hour long show on TV. But they are also the best part of a parent's life, having a good day out with your kids is like bliss on tap.

    I don't know your friends Colton, but if they are anything like us as parents they don't really want to be away from their children. Sure, for a movie or a dinner or one night is awesome, but after that you really want 'family' time again. I might enjoy 6 flags or the zoo by myself, but the fun of doing it with my 4 yr old and seeing him jump up and down in excitement at the Carousel is just beyond words. Doing the rides without him would be fun, but not in the same ballpark of enjoyment.

    You can't separate them from your life, and if you are a involved parent you don't want to. So maybe your friends would go to Six Flags with you, but a whole weekend is really asking a lot. I would try for something closer that can be done in one day.

    I don't know though, different strokes for different folks. Maybe they would love it, go ahead and ask them. But don't present it as 'your kids are dragging us down', better to say 'hey, we were going to 6 flags anyway and were wondering if you guys wanted an adults weekend away?'
     
  20. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2002
    Messages:
    1,962
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0


    You know, it sounds cliche but they should watch a few of those Nanny shows on TV. The methods are actually quite sound, we added them to our bag of tricks and our kids (never too bad) are much better behaved. Timeouts work but the process of giving them are as important as using them at all. I think your friends are overwhelmed IMO. Raising kids is easy, supporting and developing them is hard.

    A little insight for the single folks: kids have a 1-3 hour window (depending an age) in which they can do any one thing and behave. After that, you can either give them something else to do or watch the slow meltdown into wild mis-behavement. No matter what, after 4-5 hours kids get tired and need some down time. The odd thing here is that when adults get tired, they sit down and rest. When kids get tired, they get more active and out of control. This is true for 99% of all kids. So when you see kids going crazy, screaming, and such at a gathering in the 4th hour, understand that they aren't full of energy, they are tired as hell. Until the parents take them someplace quiet and let them calm down (nap?), the behavior won't change.

    This is why people will kids will show up to a party for like 2-3 hours and bail even though the kids are being good. They know what their 'golden window' is and are getting out before the meltdown kicks into high gear. Believe me, it's better that way for everyone [​IMG]
     

Share This Page