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AIBU

No thank-you from unknown parents of daughters staying

(51 Posts)
Witzend Thu 23-Jan-20 11:36:08

We are in loco parentis to two nieces from abroad who are at boarding school here, 6th form stage. They usually come to us for at least one weekend per half term, plus half terms, though at different schools so not always at the same time.

One of them has several times asked to bring a friend for the weekend, one who has no family near and would otherwise have to go to an ‘official’ host.

All the girls have always been very pleasant, polite and ‘easy’, and apart from the need to stock up the fridge! it’s never been a problem at all, they’re old enough to pretty much look after themselves.

However, not once have I had any sort of thank you from the parents of the extra girl. Not a phone call, not a text or an email. They must know they come to us, since the girls have to get their permission.

There will be the 2 + 1 this weekend, Friday to Sunday. I’m very happy that niece in question feels comfortable to bring a friend, but I don’t think I’m BU - am I? - to feel irked with parents who don’t seem to think any sort of thanks are called for.

janeainsworth Thu 23-Jan-20 11:43:22

Witzend If the girls are 6th form stage, I think they could be expected to thank you themselves.
If the parents haven’t told their daughters to thank you in an appropriate way, then that’s remiss of them.
I think you’ll just have to shrug it off, but I’d be tempted to say something to your niece along the lines of “I hope whenever you go to stay with someone’s family, you remember to send a thank you card.”
At least it will have been a learning experience for your niece!

Witzend Thu 23-Jan-20 11:58:06

They do of course thank us, JaneA - as I said, they are all very pleasant and polite - but I can’t help thinking that if I were one of those parents in such circs, I’d at least send a text or email.

notanan2 Thu 23-Jan-20 12:00:41

That would just make me want to host them more! Not only have they nobody from their family arranging to see them but their families dont even seem interested in where they go instead!

notanan2 Thu 23-Jan-20 12:02:26

I mean my children do not stay over at friends houses unless I have communications with their friends parents!

I would never sign a consent for my kid to be sent to an unknown non official host without knowing anything about them.

Poor kids

rosenoir Thu 23-Jan-20 12:07:52

I do not think it is the parents responsibility to thank you, the girls are adults or virtually adults they should be doing it.

When I send gifts or cards to older teens I would be annoyed if it were the parents that thanked me rather than the recipients.

Witzend Thu 23-Jan-20 12:13:54

Notanan2, it’s usually the case that they can’t go to any family, since they’re all too far away - in many cases a long flight away, so impossible for weekends.

They will know that their daughters are going to people who are in loco parentis for a fellow pupil, and since such people like me and dh are chosen by the parents, I dare say that’s why the other parents think it’s all right. I don’t for a moment think that their parents don’t care about them.

sodapop Thu 23-Jan-20 12:18:21

I think that's quite remiss. If it was my child I would be thanking the host and offering to defray the cost of food etc. At the very least some flowers or a gift.

Witzend Thu 23-Jan-20 12:21:16

These are not optional weekends, BTW, the girls have to be out of school at such times, so if there’s nobody else, they have to go to a (presumably paid) officially sanctioned host.

Still, since everybody seems to think I’m BU, I will stop letting it irk me, even just a little.

Witzend Thu 23-Jan-20 12:30:14

Except sodapop, thank you, @sodapop!

Auntieflo Thu 23-Jan-20 12:40:00

Witzend, I do not think that you are being at all unreasonable.
I know you say the girls have thanked you, as they should, but what on earth has happened to good manners on behalf of the parents.
Perhaps I am too old school?
I used to work in a boarding school, office, not teaching staff, so know that boarders do have to be off site at certain times.
One holiday we even had parents who wanted their child to stay during the long summer holiday as well! They just didn't believe us when they were told the child was their responsibility for long holidays.
You are very kind to take extra bodies.
Don't be irked. 😊

Shandy57 Thu 23-Jan-20 12:45:34

It's lovely you take your nieces's friends. My husband was divorced and was forced to lose all contact with his child. When he met him again at the age of 20, he was very sad to find that he'd been left at boarding school every summer from the age of 11. I wish he'd had a nice friend like your niece to invite him home, you have made happy memories for these friends.

bingo12 Thu 23-Jan-20 13:04:14

Perhaps the school or the girls have not informed the parents how to contact you. (Which they should in case of emergencies). Perhaps they are divorced and think each other knows the details and is responsible for that sort of thing. Perhaps they think you are being paid for this ''service''. Perhaps they just don't care!

GrannySomerset Thu 23-Jan-20 13:25:39

Compulsory exeats are really hard for children with no family available, and it speaks well of your niece for understanding that her friends need some domestic warmth, and of you for providing it. I don’t know what nationality the visiting girls are, but you are doing a wonderful job of selling Britain if they are foreigners.

These young women will have a very positive view of us, thanks to you.

Witzend Thu 23-Jan-20 13:26:49

Bingo12, the girls are (of course!) endlessly on their phones or tablets, so I suspect it’s rather a case of the parents not phoning/texting to say, ‘Since you’re staying with X’s aunt and uncle for the weekend, please let me have their number/email so I can send a quick thank you.’
( The parents do have to know where they are, since the school will not allow them to go to anyone but official ‘substitute parents’ like us, or official hosts, without their express permission.)

geekesse Thu 23-Jan-20 14:22:27

Schools may be cagey about passing your address to the parents of your visitors or giving theirs to you because of GDPR. Many children of long-term overseas parents are ‘cared for’ in the U.K. by agencies, for whom it is really just a business matter. In both cases, something as personal as a letter of thanks is not likely.

quizqueen Thu 23-Jan-20 14:29:50

If the school won't release a host family's address or contact details then the parents could always send a letter of thanks via the school so, yes, I think the parents of these children, who stay with you are rude and entitled, and I am surprised their children have grown up to be so polite themselves!

Witzend Thu 23-Jan-20 14:51:41

Off at a bit of a tangent here, but talking of thanks, after one of my dds finished her Master’s degree, a Japanese boy she’d become friendly with - on the same course - came and stayed with us for a couple of weeks so that he could job-hunt in London.

A little later his parents came over for the graduation ceremony. As soon as we met his mother said, ‘Thank you so much for having my son to stay.’
I was about to reply on the lines of, ‘please, don’t mention it,’ when the son told me that his mother didn’t speak a single word of English and had learned that sentence parrot-fashion, perfectly, by heart!
Respect!! Can you imagine taking the trouble to learn that parrot-fashion in Japanese??

Madgran77 Thu 23-Jan-20 17:09:35

Well the girls are old enough to thank you themselves and possibly buy a small gift...chocs or something. But as a parent I would probably do a text or email saying something along the lines of …"So good to know that *is in safe hands with you. One never stops worrying however old they get. Thanks so much!!"

So I would be thanking for alleviating my worry really but still showing appreciation!

Jane10 Thu 23-Jan-20 17:13:38

My poor Dad was sent home to boarding school from India. From what he said he was bundled about to whatever acquaintance of his parents was willing to accommodate him. It marked him for life. He always hated having to stay with people ever after.
I'm glad that your neices and their friends are going to such a kind aunt.

Hetty58 Thu 23-Jan-20 17:21:44

You have no idea what the home or parent situation is with the girl. I'd expect the usual politeness and thanks from her - but not from her parents.

It seems that she prefers to stay with her friend rather than go home. They may feel upset about that.

Callistemon Thu 23-Jan-20 17:29:23

I don't think you are being unreasonable.

As for the suggestion that your address may not be passed on to the parents, I'm not sure that that should be the case. The school should be fully aware of where a pupil will be staying during an exeat and surely a parent would wish to be aware where their child will be staying?

It's very kind of you Witzend and the least the parents could do is phone or write a note of thanks. You're not even the parent so they can't return the favour! However, if the girls express their thanks I suppose you will have to be content with that.

I would think it helps if your niece(s) brings a friend home for company.

H1954 Thu 23-Jan-20 17:30:29

Could you write to the parents and ask the girl in question to post it, thus maintaining privacy for their address. You could mention that you host the girl as she is a friend of the niece and how pleasant/polite/tidy she was, all what she ate and did etc etc. If you include your address, hopefully you will get a reply, if not just put it down to rude, uncaring parents who clearly don't care where their children are regardless of age!

Sarahmob Thu 23-Jan-20 17:30:40

I don’t think you’re being unreasonable and whilst I would always have expected my daughter to say her thank you to a host, I would have offered my own personal thank you too. I would also have ensured that a thank you gift was purchased and offered.

Callistemon Thu 23-Jan-20 17:32:07

It's not always possible for children to go home during a weekend exeat - the parents could be living in the Middle or Far East!