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Old 10-19-2020, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Leaving Tacoma, WA Soon!
282 posts, read 249,207 times
Reputation: 562

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I need some advice from parents and it needs to be anonymous- so no FB I do not have kids and am a 49 yr old female (not sure if this matters). My friends grandkids are city kids, and are in the single unemployed mom category. There are 6 kids ages 2-10. Somehow, the two oldest (9 yrs and 10 yrs) caught the "horse bug" as we call it, they love horses. I am very involved in the horse world and the oldest has started riding at the barn I go to and the second oldest will start in January. I thought long and hard about this because it's expensive and also there are 6 kids and not a real great family structure going on. I am glad I made the decision to go ahead, it has been a great environment for both of them. They get to have an outdoor activity, they get to learn about animal care and the responsibilities, they get to make friends, and they get to be around people who are supportive and constructive. They also get to go to horse shows, and the younger who is a boy, gets to do "guy" stuff like hanging out with the guys roping or doing other ranch type stuff (he loves it).

I knew there would be hurdles or issues that came up but this is a weird one. Or to me it is. They don't go to bed! I think before when school was in they may have but now that school is not due to COVID, they stay up until 2 or 3 am watching TV with their mother. Saturday the oldest's lesson was so bad she could barely think while riding and her instructor had to repeat herself 2-5 times. She also almost ran into another horse and rider (that rider handled it but had it been another inexperienced kid someone could have gotten hurt). She also slept both to and from the barn in the car. I know when I go to the barn this weekend the instructor will want to address this.

I am going to make a rule that they have to have "x" amount of sleep or be in bed by "x time" but I have no idea what time kids go to bed lol. I am an old accountant, I go to bed at 8, read a little then asleep by 9 pm lol

We also have a breakfast issue- they don't eat breakfast and fend for themselves. I think I can get the breakfast issue though- I'll bring it with me!

So, parents. What time? I am open to ideas on how to phrase this too.
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Old 10-19-2020, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
19,157 posts, read 20,408,692 times
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I would discuss getting enough sleep, with both Mom and child, as a non-negotiable safety issue. Explain what happened during the last lesson and how dangerous it was for the child as well as for the other riders. If things like that continue it is quite likely that the child will be banned from riding lessons/riding at that facility.

As to betimes for 9 and 10 year old children. It can vary dramatically. Some may go to bed at 8 PM and get up at 6 AM and others may go to bed at 9 or even 10 PM and get up later. Some children need more sleep to function well during the day. However, I do not know any good parents who allow their young children to stay up to 2 or 3 AM. Frankly, with a parent who does that, I would be very concerned that she is neglecting her children in other ways. Hmm, if Mom is awake until 2 or 3 AM who is watching and caring for her 2 year old in the morning? Two year old children are certainly not old enough to "fend for themselves" without adequate adult supervision. And six kids, 10 and under, need a lot of care and supervision. Unless, your friend (their grandmother) lives with the family and has taken over the parenting, I suspect that Children's Protection Service will be involved sooner or later. This sounds like a very precarious situation.

Good luck.

PS. You sound like a very loving, caring friend, but please be careful. If you are the person paying for the lessons, doing the driving, making sure that the 9 and 10 year old have breakfast (and maybe more meals) I would be careful that the mother does not start to "take advantage" of your kind heart. It is a slippery slope and I have seen that happen. Maybe the children need new, sturdy shoes or boots to be safer near the horses and special clothes for riding or money for entrance fees, etc. And, Mom (and maybe Grandma) start to expect you to pay for all of those things and do more for the family.

Last edited by germaine2626; 10-19-2020 at 10:53 AM..
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Old 10-19-2020, 10:47 AM
 
3,808 posts, read 3,821,414 times
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My 11 and 12-year-old go up to bed at 9pm during the week, and usually about 9:30p on weekends. They don't have to turn the lights out at 9/9:30 just up to their rooms. My daughter falls asleep fast, so she's probably asleep within 30-45 minutes. My son takes longer.

If the horse riding kids aren't getting any exercise during the week and just hanging out, that explains the late nights.
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Old 10-19-2020, 11:21 AM
 
6,389 posts, read 7,529,366 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fassopony View Post
I am going to make a rule that they have to have "x" amount of sleep or be in bed by "x time"

Framing it this way won't be received well. Setting a bed time or length of sleep for your students is overstepping into the parent's domain.

I would explain to both the mom and the kids what happened, why it's important that the kids be alert and on a "full night's sleep". Let mom and the kids determine what constitutes a "full night's sleep".

If they show up too tired again there can be consequences like not being allowed to ride that day (but maybe still doing other related activities, or even taking a nap if you have a portable cot or something), or kicking them out of the program if it's a repeat problem. If the kids are excited about the program, they'll put themselves to sleep if they understand the situation.

Last edited by ferraris; 10-19-2020 at 12:21 PM..
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Old 10-19-2020, 11:33 AM
 
2,213 posts, read 1,353,850 times
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I don't understand your involvement. Are they staying with you? Are you driving them to their horse stuff? Are you paying for it?

If they're staying with you, set "lights out" at about T-10 hours prior to when they need to be up. You can also google sleep requirements by age.

As others have said, kids go to bed whenever and sleep schedules depend on family/school/work schedules. Ours stay up much later than their peers, get up later, and also take a daytime nap.
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Old 10-19-2020, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Leaving Tacoma, WA Soon!
282 posts, read 249,207 times
Reputation: 562
Quote:
Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
I would discuss getting enough sleep, with both Mom and child, as a non-negotiable safety issue. Explain what happened during the last lesson and how dangerous it was for the child as well as for the other riders. If things like that continue it is quite likely that the child will be banned from riding lessons/riding at that facility.

As to betimes for 9 and 10 year old children. It can vary dramatically. Some may go to bed at 8 PM and get up at 6 AM and others may go to bed at 9 or even 10 PM and get up later. Some children need more sleep to function well during the day. However, I do not know any good parents who allow their young children to stay up to 2 or 3 AM. Frankly, with a parent who does that, I would be very concerned that she is neglecting her children in other ways. Hmm, if Mom is awake until 2 or 3 AM who is watching and caring for her 2 year old in the morning? Two year old children are certainly not old enough to "fend for themselves" without adequate adult supervision. And six kids, 10 and under, need a lot of care and supervision. Unless, your friend (their grandmother) lives with the family and has taken over the parenting, I suspect that Children's Protection Service will be involved sooner or later. This sounds like a very precarious situation.

Good luck.

PS. You sound like a very loving, caring friend, but please be careful. If you are the person paying for the lessons, doing the driving, making sure that the 9 and 10 year old have breakfast (and maybe more meals) I would be careful that the mother does not start to "take advantage" of your kind heart. It is a slippery slope and I have seen that happen. Maybe the children need new, sturdy shoes or boots to be safer near the horses and special clothes for riding or money for entrance fees, etc. And, Mom (and maybe Grandma) start to expect you to pay for all of those things and do more for the family.
Your concern is valid. Yes, CPS has been involved before. The grandma is staying with them so there is a second set of eyes on the kids That is how I know about the late nights.

I don't have boundary issues and have no issues saying no but I understand your concern. Horses are very expensive, I went into this with input from the barn trainer (a friend) and my own life experience with horses knowing that this would be on my dime. I am fine with that. I have pointed her to various sale sites for small things but anything horse related will be on my tab. Horse kids are resourceful, I paid for much of my MBA working part time braiding show horses on weekends. I hope to teach them that resilience and perseverance. There are lots of kids, teens, and young adults in the horse world who piggy back onto others to get access so it is not unusual for unrelated parties to be together in the horse world.
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Old 10-19-2020, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Leaving Tacoma, WA Soon!
282 posts, read 249,207 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riley09swb View Post

If the horse riding kids aren't getting any exercise during the week and just hanging out, that explains the late nights.
This is an issue unfortunately.
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Old 10-19-2020, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Leaving Tacoma, WA Soon!
282 posts, read 249,207 times
Reputation: 562
Quote:
Originally Posted by ferraris View Post
Framing it this way won't be received well. Setting a bed time or length of sleep for your students is overstepping into the parent's domain.

I would explain to both the mom and the kids what happened, why it's important that the kids be alert and on a "full night's sleep". Let mom and the kids determine what constitutes a "full night's sleep". This could work!

If they show up too tired again there can be consequences like not being allowed to ride that day (but maybe still doing other related activities, or even taking a nap if you have a portable cot or something), or kicking them out of the program if it's a repeat problem. If the kids are excited about the program, they'll put themselves to sleep if they understand the situation.



Quote:
Originally Posted by wac_432 View Post
I don't understand your involvement. Are they staying with you? No Are you driving them to their horse stuff? Yes Are you paying for it? Yes
Thanks!
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Old 10-19-2020, 01:24 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in America
13,463 posts, read 12,296,971 times
Reputation: 23172
You don't get to dictate when the kids go to bed. You may just have to explain to the mother that they need to be well rested for safety reasons and if they aren't then they can't ride. To me this would be the one and only warning. If it happens again, I'd say they're all done with horses - ALL of the kids.
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Old 10-19-2020, 01:46 PM
 
505 posts, read 122,051 times
Reputation: 857
Fassopony, thank you so much for doing this for these children. You have no idea what a wonderful impact this can have on them in so many ways. I would hate for them to lose out on this opportunity but am aghast at the danger they were in and other riders with their lack of sleep. The horses get confused as well and can act in unpredictable ways through no fault of their own. Would it be possible and carry more weight if the instructors had a talk with the kids and explained all the safety issues and how it can be very dangerous, not only for them but for the animals and other people. Dealing with large animals like this entails great responsibility etc. etc.The children need to be alert and vigilant. Maybe have them sign a short contract with consequences spelled out. It's heartbreaking for the kids to lose out on such a tremendous opportunity for them, again directly related to the mother's negligence/abuse. Sadly, you have to wonder what programs they're watching until 3:00 a.m. Keep us posted and I really hope that something can be worked out as this opportunity is amazing and could teach them so many of life's useful lessons.

So maybe the instructor's message would have more impact and you wouldn't have to put yourself in the position of putting Mom on the defensive. The onus would be removed from you. I'm just so impressed by your gift to them.
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