I'm Being Taken Advantage of for Free Daycare

Updated on February 02, 2010
C.L. asks from Elcho, WI
10 answers

Not sure how to address this or leave it alone. There's a boy in my sons class for last three years, who also just happens to live near us too. His dad waits in his truck til the kids get off the bus, then he takes off in opposite direction as the kids. The boy then follows my son home, they will sometimes play outside but when it's cold, of course they come in. So whether the dad is going to work, the bar or where ever...I can't help but feel that the parents are using me. It wouldn't bother me so much if they would have asked. Not sure if I'm the 'in between' caregiver if parents work opposite shifts, but that's the feeling I get. He's here 5x a week unless I make an excuse to go somewhere with the kids.
The other thing that bothers me is this boy goes to school without mittens or gloves on no matter how cold it is. I've asked him if he has mittens at home, he said he does just doesn't wear them. Not ever! I feel like I should be giving him something to keep
his hands from getting frost bit, but if the parents aren't keeping after him, there's no purpose.
Need advice for what to do with these two situations.
BTW...I never send him away when it's dangerous windshields.

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answers from Boston on

I agree with Debbie P and her suggestion to approach the childs teacher. You need to do something, this "arrangement" is absolutly not okay. Something fishy seems to be going on with the father and/or other caregivers in this boys life. Just from reading what you wrote, my heart goes out to this little boy who seems to be neglected by his father. I hope this gets resolved in a positive way for you all. Best wishes!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Minneapolis on

THIS sounds familiar :) What has worked for me in the past (with 6 kids and being a mom who works from home, this has come up a time or three), is when the child shows up at my door, they have to call home first thing and say where they are, then I talk to the parents and say something along the lines of "we think it's great that your son/daughter was able to come and play today, but we usually plan these kinds of things in advance. Next time let's talk first before sending him/her over to play." USUALLY this works. I have had a couple of parents really hang in there and still try to take advantage over the last 21 years :) For those dear folks, when there child shows up, I simply call the parents right away and say "I'm sorry, apparently Johnnie/Susie didn't realize that we weren't having company today. Please come and get him/her right away as we have other committments." If they won't pick the child up, I drive them home myself (I do all of this before said child even gets their stuff off at the door). If the child states that there is no one home or the door is locked, they can stay, but the next morning I call the school to report that the child is being left without appropriate supervision or is being locked out. As far as the hat/mittens thing, it could be that he has plenty and refuses to wear them OR he doesn't have any. To play it safe, I would make a call to the school social worker or guidance counselor and mention your concerns and play the angle that you are simply worried that this family doesn't have access to adequate winter clothing and could they follow up on it. They will.

Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I would report it to the kids teacher...they are required to contact social services if there is a reason to believe there is child neglect going on at the home. This way you can be anonoymous. Maybe ask the kid for his phone number and call the parents...say you were just checking to see if he has permission to be at your house after school. You can get a hint of what is going on at home. Then decide if he can still come to your house every day. You may be the angel that the kid needs for a few hours until someone is home for him.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

Parents often forget there is an ettiquette to social activities for their children. I think a short note home with this little one letting the parents knwo which days a week are best for you might do the trick. Let them know you love having their little one, but homework and dinner prep and evening family time are very important to you and that Tuesdays and Thursdays would be fine, but Wednesdays and Fridays are not so good might make them take a look at how often their child comes home with you. If that hint doesn't work, you may need to turn the young man away a few days in a row, letting him know that he needs to have permission from his parents and you before coming over, and that you need a call from mom before he shows up. If you do not set boundaries the problem will not go away.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

As the Dad takes off in the opposite direction... CALL OUT to him and say wait your son is here.... and tell the boy to follow his Daddy.
Or call out to the Daddy BEFORE the kids get off the bus... and wait there by his truck TOO.... and then tell the boy "here's your Daddy..." then grab your son's hand and go in YOUR direction, without the boy or tell him to get in the truck.
Or before the kids arrive and get off the bus, go up to him, and explain you cannot watch his child. Period.

You certainly have to address it with the parents. They don't say anything to you about it nor any recognition of it.... and your "extra" burden of having their child... and IF ANYTHING HAPPENS TO THAT CHILD when in YOUR "care"... they could sue you.
You NEED to be aware of that. And protect your "butt" so to speak.

All the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

You don't say how old the kids are. I had the same problem with a friend of my sons (they are 12 yrs old) Same grade at school, off the bus together, single dad working, not at home after school. Friend hangs out at our house has an after school snack and drink, usually here at dinnertime, so we end up feeding him most nights. Dad calls usually around 6pm but some days 7pm or 8pm. Son then goes home, where dad has usually stopped and bought fast food for dinner. We have spoken to the dad in the past, before all this started, but not lately. It all happened over a long period of time and when we didn't say anything in the beginning, it just didn't seem right to say anything later on. We just looked at it as if we were being "angels" for this kid, and possibly giving him something he wasn't getting at home. After awhile my son and this friend got ito a disagreement and he hasn't been here since although they have ironed out their differences and are friends again at school and in the neighborhood. During their squabble, my husband told my son to tell his friend that he was no longer welcome at our house (because of his actions towards my son in the squabble) . He did try to apologize to me for his actions, but I told him that he would have to come here when my husband was home and apologize to him since he was the one who banished him. He has not been back. Don't know if he is afraid to apologize to my hubby or what. I can't say I miss him hanging here all the time, but I feel like we did what we should have done for the kid during the time we did it. So for us, it all worked out in the end, and I will think twice before allowing it to happen again with another friend. Yes, I do feel like dad was taking advantage of us, providing care for his son until he got home from work, but he may have felt that his son was old enough to stay at home alone for 2 hours. His son just didn't like to or want to be there alone. I don't know. I guess I would tell you if you are not uncomfortable confronting dad with the issue, I would suggest you give it a try, or get the phone number from the child and call the house and see if you can talk to mom or dad. If that doesn't work confront dad at his truck (but he will probably drive away once he sees you coming. He more than likely knows he is taking advantage of your kindness)



answers from Minneapolis on

I would contact cty child protective services to ensure that he is being cared for. You don't say how old the boy is... But kids can stay by themselves for limited amounts of time. I don't feel comfortable leaving my 9 yr old home alone for even 5 minutes. But some parents think it's fine. Maybe his dad is that type. I guess another option is to drop a note in their mail box saying that your family's schedule has changed and so his son can no longer come to your house after school.



answers from Dallas on

How do you make the excuse? Do you just send him home, or do you let them know in advance? If you know them well enough you should really talk to them. If you picked your son up for, say, two weeks. The dad would have to figure something out or make arrangements with you.



answers from San Francisco on

If he has coat pockets, he's probably fine without mittens. As for the boy, you have to figure out if the parents are people who just don't realize that the burden of caring for their son is falling on you every day (that is, they think he's just out in the 'hood every afternoon like we all were when we were little) or whether they are consciously using you to save on the cost of childcare. After you figure it out, catch the dad before he leaves, or go over there when the mom is home, and either tell them that you are willing to keep an eye on their son every day, but you want to know where you can reach them in case of an emergency, or tell them that you're not willing to care for their son for free every day, and that if they don't deal with the situation you will report them to CPS for failing to supervise their child. If you decide to report them, however, be aware that CPS is no joke, and you could do some serious damage to their family, if CPS takes their son.



answers from Phoenix on

You've got a lot of unanswered questions here, so you need to find the answers first. Where is the mom/does she know whats going on/is she open for afterschool visits and if she is, can she give a monetary stipend/are the parents at home and he just chooses not to go home/does he just really like your son????? Everyone has their own parenting styles, but depending on the kids age, if he doesn't pack his own mittens, that's his problem. Once you get these answers and you are truly concerned about the child, I would call the school and get them involved. But not until you know everything and they have to report it to cps many times, so you need to tread lightly on these issues.

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