Whould you be responsible for someone else's child?

Discussion in 'Theme Parks Community' started by Princess_Belle, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. Princess_Belle

    Princess_Belle DIS Veteran

    Feb 5, 2007
    Hi everyone! I'm having a major dilemma. We (DH & me) were planning on taking my 18 yr old DSIL to WDW this May. She has invited her cousin to go along. The cousin is 17, So I am responsible for her. I have never even babysat for more than an hour at a time. i know that she is almost an adult, but I dont like the idea of them roaming all over with out us. Now the two girls are mad because I am not going to let them do this. I know when I went to WDW when I was 17, we weren't allowed to leave the park we were in because we were there with out our Parents (it was a chorus trip). If my DSIL's cousin gets hurt that make me and my husband the responsible party. I am only 21 and he is 23. I dont think it is a good idea to even bring the cousin since she is underage. What should I do. I am going to worry the time we are there because of this. If you were me would you take this risk? Would you be responsible for a someone elses child before you have any children of your own? BTW I dont even have siblings so I have never been responsible for a child at all! Someone help?
  2. wildeoscar

    wildeoscar DIS Veteran

    Apr 23, 2007
    nope... it has difficult situation written all over it.
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  4. Mo-Yo

    Mo-Yo Mouseketeer

    Dec 15, 2005
    It's your vacation, and you should spend it as you wish...so don't bring your SIL and her cousin if you don't want.

    Now if it were me, if SIL was coming, I'd likely bring the cousin along to keep SIL busy and happy. I'd set ground rules ahead of time that include calling cousin's parents, etc if there is a problem.

    To me, 17 is more than old enough to be in the parks alone. IN some states that's old enough to marry and it's just a year off from being old enough for the military. So its not really babysitting. But again its your vacation and you call the shots. It can be difficult to do with some in-law relationships. I hope it works out for you.
  5. pigletforever

    pigletforever DIS Veteran

    Apr 12, 2006
    In 2006 we went with another family. Our son was 17 and their daughter was 17. It was great. They could go off by themselves for EMH when everyone else was too tired after dinner. We did require they have their cell phones in case of emergency and that they show up for meals that we had ADR's for. It was also understood ahead of time that there would be mandatory family time that they had to participate in. We gave and they gave and everyone had an awesome time. It was great for them because they had someone their own age to hang out with. 17 is old enough to be in the parks with a friend. After all they will be in college shortly. I would be fine with it but it is your vacation and you make the decisions.
  6. letthewookiewin

    letthewookiewin <font color=blue>"That's 'cause droids don't pull

    Feb 23, 2006
    It really depends if I would do it or not. Did the 18yr old ask before she invited the 17 yr old, or did she just inform you after the fact that she invited the 17 yr old to go along? If she didn't ask, I wouldn 't take them b/c I wouldn't be able to trust that they would not hop to another park we were not in. If she did ask, I would take them. However, I would make a strict rule that they HAD to stay in the same park you were in. If they didn't, home is just a plane away and you would not hesitate to send them right back home.
    With that being said, I do not know the 18yr old & 17 yr old. If you are having concerns already, I would listen to that "mommy instinct" and just tell them no.
  7. Dawn68PA

    Dawn68PA DIS Veteran

    Nov 12, 2007
    We were going to take my DDs boyfriend on our next trip (he's unable to go now) and what we had was a notarized paper that pretty much stated that if he was hurt I could sign for medical care and such and that he had permission from his parents to travel with us during said dates. That way everything was covered. You can find samples online, that's where I found mine and the notary said it was perfect.

    We stated in advance that no one was going alone in the parks. It was still a family trip. Now if DH & I wanted to go to bed early & the kids still had energy then fine...they could go for a little while. At 17, I would have no worries about that. We always have loads of fun together so it really wasn't an issue.
  8. Mickeefan

    Mickeefan DIS Veteran

    Aug 25, 1999
    My situation is a little different because of the ages of the children. I'm a single woman (never been married, no children). I've taken all 3 of my friend's daughters to Disney World each when they were 12. The first one was 10 years ago. I would have been 33 at that time. Of course, there was no question about any of the girl's being on their own in the parks, we were always together. I did, however, leave them in a shop while I rode a ride they did not wish to ride or I waited for them while they rode a ride I did not wish to ride. I never experienced so much as a skinned knee. I did have the proper identification for each girl and I also had an insurance card and a notarized paper stating that I had permission to have said child with me in Florida. I've done it before and I'd do it again, so problem.
  9. kimluvswdw

    kimluvswdw <font color=darkorchid>I just can't put my finger

    Oct 22, 2005
    My kids take their friends all the time. They are too busy having fun to get into trouble. I am sure everything will be fine.
  10. Princess_Belle

    Princess_Belle DIS Veteran

    Feb 5, 2007
    Ive noticed that most of you already have children of your own. But if you didnt have any children, would you as willing to take a someone elses child. That is my main concern. Since I was only 17 a few years ago, I dont really know what its like being responsible for someone younger than me.

    We told my MIL to ask the cousins parents if they thought they could afford to give her money to go. After MIL asked she was supposed to get back with us. Me and DH were going to talk it over, come to a decision and tell DSIL if we though it was a good idea or not. WELL last night MIL asked the parents and then asked the cousin to go. Before consulting with us! So now I'm in a position to either have to take on a huge responsibility or tell someone the cousin I'm Sorry you are uninvited. Neither of which I want to do. Im just really confused.
  11. NMAmy

    NMAmy Can speak food in German

    Oct 25, 2000
    I've been doing it for the last 3 years. We always take a friend along for dd to hang out with.

    Last year, they were both 16 and I allowed them to go to the parks on their own. DD is extremely familiar with WDW transportation and has been many times.

    DD is 17 now. She can drive. She goes many places without me by her side. Heck, she flies across country without me.

    Now, if you're not comfortable with the situation, then just say no. I wouldn't want to spend my whole vacation on pins and needles worrying, if I were you. But just a word of warning--if you do take the cousin with you, they will pester you unmercifully to let them go off on their own.

    I'm fairly immune to pestering but you haven't had much practice yet. ;)

    I hope you have a great trip however it works out for you.
  12. linzbear

    linzbear Flirts with Chip

    Nov 18, 2004
    I would not do it for a few reasons:

    1. You are only 4 years older than she is - she would not see you as an authority figure, and it would only strain your relationship with your SIL, because SIL will also not see you as an authority figure, and is much closer to your cousin.
    2. Not sure of the laws, but how old do you have to be in order to check a 17 year old into a hotel? I know there has been discussion in the past, and an 18 year old cannot be the 'adult' in a room with a 17 year old. You should check this out too (heck, it would make it very easy for you to say no, anyway! Just say "sorry, I found out that you have to be 25 years old in order to check underage teenagers into a hotel room in florida - you have to bring a friend that is 18")
  13. pearlieq

    pearlieq <font color=green>They can sit & spin<br><font col

    Aug 3, 2004
    DH and I (no kids) took my godkids to WDW when they were 17 and 14. I was 24 and DH was 27 at the time. It was our idea and we enjoyed the trip thoroughly, but I knew the kids very well and was pretty experienced with kids.

    In your situation, I would recommend against taking the cousin, for several reasons. First and foremost, it's your vacation and you deserve to be able to relax and enjoy it. With the 2 kids it will be much more babysitting and much less just hanging out and enjoying each other.

    It was out of line for your SIL to extend an invitation to her cousin without clearing it with you first. I can't believe they have the nerve to get upset--you didn't invite the cousin, and your SIL is getting a trip to WDW, for pity's sake! I would just lay out your decision and if she's still going to be bratty about it, she can go pound sand.

    Finally, I think you're a bit young to take both girls, especially since you don't have much experience with kids. I imagine you still even have a friend or two close to their age. Unfortunately, you won't be able to deal with them as friends, but at the person "in charge". I suspect that might be awkward and kind of a drag for you.

    This is your trip, you get to say who goes along. If I were you I would stand firm and tell them no.
  14. savannahjean85

    savannahjean85 going to college to one day work for the mouse

    Jun 18, 2007
    I am only 22 myself but as my graduation gift when I was 17 my best friend and I got to go to WDW. My mom took us but was sick so she stayed at the hotel. I do feel 17 and 18 is old enough to go to the parks by themselves (esp. if you are staying on the property.) With that being said you need a game plan everyone needs to have the cell phones at all times, there needs to be a game plan each day knowing what park is being attended (if it differs from yours). Now if you do not feel that they are not mature enough then say," sorry you can not do the trip this go around." But for the most part I think the parents are trusting their children as young adults, ask the parents if they feel the child can handle it. You are not that much older than them, level with them tell them you take this seriously and the only way you will take them is if they behave. But at 17 and 18 you are not really babysitting, teenagers at that age are normally allowed to leave the house without their parents and go places and are trusted to act properly. I mean esp at WDW I am not saying there isn't crime there but they do a very go job on trying to prevent it as much as possible with their security. They have very nice, safe transportation areas and transportation they provide between the parks. I understand when going down on school trip them not letting 17 year olds leave the park but that is because when you are with a whole group of other teenagers things get out of hand compared to two teenagers by themselves. Anywho best of lucky with you trip, remember it is about having a great time so do what is best for you and DH.

    P.S. I don't have kids but if I did feel comfortable with the teenagers I was taking, then yes I would not have a problem with that responsiblity. I would want to two also because they could use the buddy system and keep each other company. I wanted to take future DSIL (16) last time but she had school.
  15. MickeyNicki

    MickeyNicki It is pretty darn sad when a valet picks you out a

    Sep 22, 2005
    Depending on the child yes. I took my sisters 2 girls with us (age 3 and 10) for their first trip ever and DH and I never had them for one night let alone a 4 night trip. It was fantastic but I think I was over cautious with them and it freaked me out a bit. By the end of day 2 I could unclench a bit and relax....

    I would do it again in a heartbeat.
  16. BabyPiglet

    BabyPiglet DIS Veteran

    Jul 5, 2003
    Since you're all so close in age, why don't you think of it as a trip with friends. Because at 17 she definitely doesn't need to be babysat. :)
  17. WDSearcher

    WDSearcher DIS Veteran

    Aug 20, 2002
    What does your husband think of all this? It's his sister, right? And his cousin? If he has no qualms about being in charge of his sister and cousin and he understands that he will be responsible for their welfare, then I think it's something you should consider. You're looking at this as if it's 100% on you to take care of these girls. It's not -- it's something you and your husband need to decide on TOGETHER. If he doesn't want to deal it, have HIM uninvite the cousin.

    You seem to be the only one worrying about something that you and your DH should be deciding on together, KWIM?

  18. born for this

    born for this Earning My Ears

    May 26, 2007
    i understand your situation and the fact that youve never been responsible for kids (heck - you are only my age haha) , but to be honest with you..if the cousin's parents are okay with her being alone in the parks..i would definitely consider it.

    after i graduated from college, me (18 at the time) and my best friend (17 at the time) went ALONE from ohio to spend a week at Disney World. To be honest, I think the two of them are definitely old enough to be alone in the parks - especially if you are only a park/resort/call away. i can understand why they would be upset about not being trusted to be alone. i can also understand why she wants to bring her cousin since without her she may feel like the third wheel...even though you might not feel like its that kind of situation at all. just discuss this with her parents. if your DH isnt worried about it, i wouldnt worry about it either.

    set some ground rules with them, since it is your vacation too and go have fun! :) hope everything works out for you!

    EDIT: I must have missed your second post.. if she was invited without your consent, and after you seriously consider it with your DH and still dont want to take her - do not feel bad about saying "Sorry, not this time." After all, the main point here is that it is YOUR vacation.
  19. Kate and Pete

    Kate and Pete You can't make footprints in the sands of time if

    Dec 5, 2006
    I think, if you decide to take the cousin, you should get a written note from the parents stating that they understand that the girls will be at the parks and might be unsupervised. Go over the rules with the girls (they have to be at the same park as you, they must call you every 2 hours, whatever makes you feel comfortable...)

    I don't have kids, either, but I do teach high school - and am traveling to CA with a ton of them in April - they will have some unsupervised time - so I know how you're feeling!
  20. DisneyTigers

    DisneyTigers Mouseketeer

    Jan 31, 2008
    When I was only 22 years old, I was a first year High School English teacher in South Carolina. Another teacher and I took a group of juniors down to WDW for a special trip...they had to work and pay for it themselves, it was open to anyone, but it ended up being about 12 or so kids. They were FINE. We stayed off property (no value resorts 13 years ago), but once we were at MK, for instance, they were allowed to go to EPCOT via monorail, as long as we knew where they were and who they were with. Now, in the days of cell phones, it would be even easier to do. I say if you have a long hard talk w/ this girl's parents, and you are comfortable after that, you take the friend along with you...if SIL is already going, like someone said, it will give you and DH somewhat of a private vacation, also.

    On another note, I went to WDW with a friend when I was only 16. We stayed at GF and POLY, but she and I went EVERYWHERE unchaperoned...we just knew when and where to meet her parents for dinner. It was great!

    Of course, if you dont' trust SIL, that's another situation, but if she's a good kid, I say you all go and have fun!!
  21. gatorgirl2

    gatorgirl2 Dizzy for Disney

    Feb 9, 2008
    My sons have taken friends many times--as early as when they were eight years old. I'm taking four boys skiing in Vermont for Spring Break and I'm much more nervous about that than taking four boys to Disney in May.

    We often break off for two hours at a time, but always establish a meeting place. I have left them at Blizzard Beach for the day too with no worries, but I've never let them take a bus or monorail alone--

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