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Your Life: Dear Miriam - Daughter's pal is dumped on me; HEALTH ADVICE.

Byline: DR. MIRIAM STOPPARD

Dear Miriam,

My daughter's friend often comes over to my house after school. They're both aged six and she's a lovely little girl but I suspect her parents are using me as an unpaid babysitter.

The mother usually asks me in the morning if I'd mind collecting and keeping her daughter until she gets home from work. This has been happening more often - three times last week.

Of course, I can't feed my daughter and leave the other child out. It's not the extra food that bothers me, it's the feeling of being taken for granted. What do you think I should do?

Alice

Dear Alice,

One challenge of being a working parent is finding reliable childcare. Arrangements can fall down suddenly and you may be helping this family out of a jam. Don't think the mother doesn't appreciate you just because she hasn't expressed her gratitude in words.

There's also a bonus in it for your daughter. She's getting some extra playtime with another child she likes and they could be forging strong bonds for years to come. For now, why not just let it go if you're not being inconvenienced and your daughter's benefiting?

But it is human nature to resent being taken for granted. If you think it's a purely one-way traffic or you're badly out of pocket you can always say no or set limits. You're under no obligation to have the child in your home.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 23, 2009
Words:244
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