Parents Would you take another kid to/from practice?

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First, let me say this is not a carpool. This family will never, ever provide any transportation. (FWIW, I would LOVE a carpool).

You would need to take this teammate to/from every single practice, but it really isn't more than a few blocks out of the way. You are in the habit of taking kids places if you're going anyway. For instance, you pick up a kid on your way to school/work every day because you're going right by the house and it seems silly to have 2 families driving.

You are not friends with this gym family and would prefer not to be. They have lots of problems--the kind your dh has to deal with as part of his job. This is important because dh is the one who would have to take the kids to practice. The athlete is in trouble at school a lot for her behavior. She doesn't want to be in gym, but it keeps her busy after school. Her parents make her go to keep her from getting into even more trouble.

While bringing an extra kid home is not ever a problem, getting even your own child to practice can be.

If you agreed to do this, should you ask for some kind of payment?

If you asked for payment, would you then feel like you could never be late for practice or feel that you needed to find another ride when your own child couldn't attend or your own family just wanted to do something besides go straight home after practice? During the school year, when other people in the family have activities, too, leaving early or going straight to ___ from the gym occurs more than you might think.

Would you simply say, "no" knowing that without transportation, this kid might no be able to do gym at all.
It seems like there are two ways to look at this situation. You could just say no to avoid the hassle/ headache to your own family. Or you could say yes and take the opportunity to be a positive influence on this other girl. There is no pressure/ expectations from you and that could be exactly the kind of adult this child needs.

I would not ask for payment because you're going that way anyway, but I would be very clear that you will not always be available and they will need other arrangements on those occasions. I would also be sure to give them plenty of advance notice when you won't be able to drive their child.
If your hubby is doing the driving he should have the final word.

Been there, bought that t-shirt, sometimes it is just better to say no up front. Our situation ended up with the "other girl" bullying mine whilst enjoying our taxi services.

In the end only you know the situation well enough, a car pool is lovely when it works out, but a taxi service becomes a liability when others have expectations of you.

You alone will not keep the child in gym, no matter how nice you are, and if she doesn't want to be there anyway, she may resent your involvement in keeping her there. If her parents really want her in the gym they would make the sacrifices we all make to get our kids there on time.

I probably would offer to occasionally drive her home from gym, but that I was unable to get her too the gym as it is hard enough to get my own DD there as it is.
I would say let DH have final say. I can see both sides about helping out a fellow gymmie and being a positive influence. I would not ask for payment. Now if this family were friends I would do it in a heart beat. This summer I had a gymmie come home with me once a week and the girls LOVED it. I did not ask for payment because I know this family would help me if I ever needed it. It sounds like this situation has a lot of baggage with it which could be hard to deal with. Good luck with what you decided.
In your situation.... I'd let your DH decide since he will be driving. Would he be comfortable with this? What if your own child was going to skip practice, woujld it be weird for him to be driving the other girl?

I've done this for another gymnast. I drove completely in the other direction to get this girl. They were appreciative, but not overly. They offered to reciprocate, but my dd was only 7 at the time and I was not comfortable with sending her with "strangers". It was short lived, thank goodness...

on letting your DH have the final say but having said that, my thought is NO way. All the information you provided is negative about this family in an extreme way. I love to help people out and often drive other kids and it sounds like you are that type of person too but at the same time, it sounds like this family needs to learn to help themselves instead of dumping their problems on others.

It can be hard to say no and sound like the bad guy, but this family really does seem to have serious issues that you can't fix for them.:(
I tend to agree with the other posters. It is your husband's decision. I had a similar situation last year where I was helping a newly back to work mom, and her daughter had no way to gym without me. I found myself emailing/calling other teammates for the child when at the last minute my daughter came home from school sick, was too tired for gym, had a school project, etc. I felt a bit pressured to have my gymnast at the gym every day (not by the other mom, just my own feeling of responsibility knowing that the girl was home alone if not at the gym). So while I would help out in that situation again (I'm helping another family with a different circumstance this year), the family you are dealing with is much different. Maybe you could agree to help out but let them know they should not expect it every day as you do not know your schedule. Make sure they have a plan A and you could be back up- maybe you could drop them an email at the beginning of the week and let them know what day or days are convenient.
I think if you lay the law down at the beginning and stick to it. Tell them up front there will be days where you will not be coming home/going to gym. Then talk with the child about behavior at the first issue and let her know what is expected. Also with gas $4/gallon, I would definitely ask them to share the cost, whether you would have been going or not. You are going a big favor for them and the least they can do is kick in for gas.
Just my $.02
I was wondering if this other girl is a gym friend for your daughter? If the girls get along well at the gym I would be more inclined to do it. My dd's best friend at the gym lives 1 block away. The girls go to seperate schools because my dd goes to a private school. I am good friends with her parents, although we are both really busy and don't get together as often as we would like.

Last year her Mom suggested that my daughter come to her house after school and she would take her to the gym. She knew I was leaving work to take her. They seldom ask for my help, although this summer I have been able to pay them back because the girls go in early and and I can take them on my way 3 out of the 4 days, and bring them home on lunch. They never asked but it sure makes me feel better.

So in our case it isn't so much about oweing or payback, as it is about the girls getting along so well. They are both really good girls. If your dd doesn't get along with this girl I wouldn't even consider it. When the other family has plans, or their daughter is sick, I get a call. Once in a while they forget and my dd calls me on her cell. It has been a blessing to me, but it I would make other arrangements if I had to.

If the family and the child are not committed to gym, they won't be there long anyway. How old are the girls? Why can't they pick her up? I understand needing a ride one way or the other because of work, other siblings, but not why they could never do either.
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I would say no because of the behaviorl problems with kid I would not want my kid to be around her anymore then she has to.
This is such an interesting dilemma! My younger, more idealistic self would say "It takes a village...." My older, more experienced self says "Don't do it!"

Clearly this family and this child have huge issues. Taking a child to gym when she clearly doesn't wish to go, will eventually be huge trouble.

I'd say to suggest that the family find a "kid cab" service or a responsible teenager to pay to get her to gym.

I actually did take a child home from school everyday (she and my daughter got out an hour early due to sports and the mom was a teacher) without any payment or reciprocation for a year and a half. It was a mile out of my way. The difference was that the child and the family were very well-adjusted and they were always very grateful.

As I said old, crabby, cynical me says "run, don't walk away from this situation."
I wouldn't do it. From personal experience, I've played the nice one and tried to help a child with family issues. You end up getting sucked into it a lot more than you want to. It started with driving to gym - then next thing you know I was getting phone calls constantly to help with things beyond gym driving. As much as I wanted to help this girl out - it wasn't good for my family so we slowly cut ties.

Of course all that being said - I'm also kind of a sucker and if someone else down the road asks for help - I'd probably do it :rolleyes: I have a tough time saying no.
Thanks for all the great responses. I'd thank everybody officially, but I don't have that button available on this computer (not sure what's up with my Chalk Bucket account). It's such a tough call because my initial response is always, "What's one more kid in the car?" And then my older, more experienced self steps in.

The girls will both be 7th graders. They get along well at the gym, but they are not friends "on the outside" even though they go to the same school. I would not let dd hang out with this girl. She spends too much unsupervised time with "guys." That alone, however wouldn't keep me from giving the kid a ride. It's not like there'd be "guys" in my car.

I think I'm more apt to say "no" (except as the occasional "Plan B") because I'm scared of what Flippy said--getting sucked into the family's business, and believe me, it's mess. My dh gets into these situations a lot because it's his job, so I really don't want to bring in any extra "work" for him. He's drained enough a lot of the time.

Fall schedules should be out soon. There may be a third family thrown into the mix. Family 3 lives on this side of town and we might be able to do some real carpooling if the optional and compulsory schedules line up a few days a week. I probably would pick up the girl in question under those circumstances because I would not feel like the transportation burden was all mine. There'd be somebody else to call. A second driving family might also buffer us from getting sucked into the other family's problems.
I have been there before, I have been taken advantage of and felt used. Most of the time I felt that in the end, even though the parent may have used me... I have made a positive difference in a kids life.

It sounds like there is trouble brewing in the family, but like one other poster said, at least you can be a positive influence in the gymnasts life. Not only that but, gymnastics can be even more of an influence for positive choices. I feel strongly in Bog's auto signature. Gymnastics will never be fair but should be made accessible to as many kids as possible.. helping drive will make it accessible to her.

I would lay down ground rules though,
  • You can only drive on days when you are going right to and from practice
  • She must be ready when you are ready to leave
  • She must be respectful in your car
  • any other ones you can think of..
Good luck!
I'd say no as well. It's an awful lot to ask to drive a child back and forth for every practice. If there was any chance of the other family being able to do something in return I might consider it..... but that's the kind of arrangement that only ends by feeling used. If the parents really felt that gymnastics was the best thing for their daughter they would at least try and meet you half way and do one set of drives or pay for the service.

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