We should all be able to agree that a friend can still be our friend even after they have children.
But when one person has a child and the other is decidedly childfree, there might be the occasional disagreement or misunderstanding, reasoned the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor ThereRcatseverywhere did not have any children in their home anymore, though a few of their friends had children, which was fine with them.
But when one of their friends began demanding that they childproof their home for their visits, the Original Poster (OP) felt that was asking for too much of someone else’s home.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for not allowing kids at my house?”
The OP’s home was not prepared for young children.
“My husband and I are empty nesters. It is a grand experience.”
“Our house is far from childproof.”
“We have a small bar set up in the game room, a pool, expensive artwork, pets (one being a dog we do bite sport with), firearms (that are secured, but still in the house), and basically all the things we waited to be empty nesters to get.”
“The house also has stairs, and I have a magnetic knife bar full of very sharp and expensive knives.”
“It just not a safe place for young kids.”
The OP and their husband hosted frequent get-togethers with friends.
“We host friends for things like game nights and watching movies and having some drinks, but I have one friend who constantly wants to bring her kids, who are ages 6, 8, and 13.”
“Now, I am fine going to her place, or if she brings her kids to other nights at other houses.”
“But I really don’t want to have to childproof my house, and I really don’t want to have to worry if I don’t, so I have always said anything we host is ‘adults only.'”
“This isn’t to single her out. Our other friends also have young children, but she is just the only one who keeps trying to insist on bringing them.”
Though the OP felt the need to put the new plan in place, their friend did not agree with it.
“She says that her 13-year-old can watch them, but even then, I am uncomfortable.”
“The 13-year-old is a sweet kid, but he is not a super mature 13-year-old, so she doesn’t want to leave them completely alone.”
“That said, she also struggles to find someone to watch all 3 as the 8-year-old can be a bit of a handful.”
“I love the kids, I’ve even watched them for her at her place. I just don’t want to worry about them at mine.”
“I don’t dislike children. Our house is just not safe for them, and it stresses me out having them here, both for their safety and also the stress of things getting broken and how that can impact friendships.”
“Some of my friends are saying I am being unfair and are now declining our invites because of it.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some understood the OP’s safety concerns.
“NTA. Why the hell would they want to bring young children to a household like that anyway? Guns and knives and bite sports dogs? Sounds like a kids’ birthday party!!” – Acceptable-Jelly-768
“NTA, you’re just trying to b comfortable in your own home and keep others safe. It’s not like you are doing it out of hatred, but of precaution and comfort.”
“Your friends are being a**holes because they don’t understand that you don’t want to cater to others due to stress.”
“I imagine if you explained that you are just worried for the safety of their kids, and not really willing to adjust your home for them, they could understand.” – Amber_H**l
“NTA! Why does she even want to bring them? I have similarly aged kids and your house sounds cool, but a nightmare if my kids were present.”
“If the 13-year-old can watch them in your house, then the 13-year-old can watch them at their own home, which presumably is knife- and gun-free.” – lunapuppy88
“6 and 8 year old. They’re school-aged, not toddlers. NTA but it’s pretty clear OP doesn’t have much experience with kids, lol (laughing out loud).”
“Yes, they can still get into trouble at that age (especially depending on the kid) but stairs as a terrible danger is kinda funny.” – Lady_Sybil_Vimes
“This kind of depends on the stairs, but the house I grew up in had an easily-climbable railing all the way around the top of the stairs, and I used it as a jungle gym. My favorite thing to do was climb to the very top from the outside and then jump off into a pile of blankets, pillows/cushions, and any other soft items I could find.”
“Those stairs weren’t small either, I’m pretty sure it was a solid 9-10 foot jump I was making regularly as a toddler. more than enough to seriously injure myself if I fell wrong.”
“NTA, OP.” – Argent_Hythe
“This women’s youngest child is six.”
“I actually do find it a pain sometimes to be in homes that aren’t childproofed with my two-year-old as I have to keep an extra close eye on her to make sure she doesn’t damage anything. But you don’t ‘childproof’ homes for elementary school-aged students in my experience?”
“Sure, lock up guns. But I have a kid turning six and we don’t hide or lock away all the normal adult things to have in the home. Yes, she could steal all the knives from the kitchen and, I don’t know, stab things? But she doesn’t.”
“She could steal and drink alcohol I guess? And art, is it like really precarious? Or are they imaging the kids will just rip it off the walls? And she’s gentle with animals, knows not to approach dogs without asking, listens to what sounds they are making, starts by letting them sniff, etc.”
“I’m not saying a random child I don’t know is well-behaved, because I don’t know them. Nor am I saying my daughter is perfectly behaved, because she’s not. But I’m the first to have kids in the family and no one’s house needs to be childproofed for my five-year-old to wander around it.”
“To be clear, OP does not have to invite this friend’s kids over, I just find the idea of childproofing a house for elementary school students a bit foreign. And the idea that you can’t have things like art, booze, knives, etc., in your home before being an empty nester… so even teens can’t handle that apparently?” – TheHatOnTheCat
Others said the OP didn’t have to invite kids, but their friends didn’t have to show up, either.
“NTA. You’re not being unfair. If you really wanted the option for guests in future, you might consider making one room ‘child safe,’ but there’s no requirement you host children!” – ParsimoniousSalad
“NAH. It’s your house, your rules. You can have a no kids rule, but you can’t get upset when your friends that still have kids quit showing up.”
“Perhaps get friends that don’t have kids? The other friends that think you’re being unfair don’t get a say in your rules but similarly are not obligated to show up to your events.”
“If they think you’re being unfair, then fine. Let them. It won’t change how you feel about your house rules.” – luridrex
“Nor do they understand that small children are loved everywhere they go. There are times and places kids can’t go because of their ages. Even with the 13-year-old ‘watching’ them, they won’t be able to keep the younger ones completely under their control and there WILL be disruption.”
“Some people need to understand that they and their kids CAN be separated for a few hours and that not everyone is in love with their kids as they are. NTA.” – babcock27
“NTA. It sucks that your friend can’t find a sitter who can handle her kids, but it’s not OK for her to keep insisting that she be able to bring them into your home. That’s incredibly rude. And the friends who are taking the grudge on her behalf and declining your invitations are even worse.” – DeVitreousHumor
“My parents had expensive artwork and my sister’s kids were a menace. Whenever they were around, I had to chase after them to rescue sculptures and paintings.”
“My mom was too sick to do it herself and she just sat in tortured silence until they were gone. She never enjoyed having her grandchildren over because my sister never respected her nice things.”
“Some parents just don’t get it.”
“NTA, OP.” – glamourcrow
While there was some discussion of whether or not this house was actually that unsafe for kids of this age group, the subReddit still agreed that the OP needed to do what made them comfortable in their home home. The OP was not required to let anyone into their home that they didn’t want to, child and adult alike.
That said, if the OP’s friends were not happy with that, they also were not required to meet at the OP’s home if they didn’t agree with the house rules.
It sounds like if these friends want their relationship to last, they either need quality babysitters for their friend get-togethers, or they need to move the party to a new location.