Are children allowed in meetings?

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Are children allowed in meetings?

Postby beckycafe » Mon Aug 01, 2016 9:37 am

I was recently at a meeting at my home group ( I'm fairly new), and there was an 11 year old child there with her mom. I know I was uncomfortable - I'm certainly not sharing anything in front of a child of that age because it would be hugely inappropriate for her to hear. The others in the group really seemed to shorten and g-rate their own shares.

This is an open meeting, all of the meetings at our group are (30/week). While I know it's important for that single mom to get to a meeting, it changes the meeting entirely. Are kids allowed in meetings as a rule? We talk about so much that is not appropriate for kids to hear.
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Re: Are children allowed in meetings?

Postby ezdzit247 » Mon Aug 01, 2016 11:00 am

Hi beckycafe and welcome to e-aa.

It's up to the group conscience of the meeting group to decide whether or not to allow children in open meetings. The thing is "children" of that age and younger have been joining AA as members for several decades now so I never assume that the adult who accompanies them to meetings is the alcoholic seeking recovery because that adult could just as easily be just the child's chauffeur or chaperon. That said, I took my son to open meetings starting when he was about 8 and up as did other parents in my area, usually on those occasions when we couldn't get a babysitter. Meetings in my area allowed it. I never worried that he would hear anything in a meeting that he hadn't already heard on school playgrounds or written on the walls of public restrooms. Hope this helps answer your question.
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Re: Are children allowed in meetings?

Postby Karl R » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:44 pm

Hi there,

Here's a five page thread on children in meetings.
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1022&hilit=children

The fourth tradition becomes pertinent. Each Group being autonomous.

Perhaps consult the Group Conscience of the Group that hosts the meeting?

kindest regards,
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Re: Are children allowed in meetings?

Postby Brock » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:48 pm

Welcome here. This question has been raised a few times in the past, on the last occasion the mother had been offered alternatives by group members willing to babysit, all to no avail, she insisted on bringing the child, perhaps the selfishness we alcoholics exhibit at first. Some groups do offer a kids area with supervision away from the actual meeting, but all in all I believe you are right about their presence 'diluting' what members are willing to share.

The idea would be to ask the group about this, a novel way of doing that 'incognito,' is to put an unsigned note expressing your feelings folded inside of your 7th tradition contribution. This way it gets to the attention of someone in a position to hold a group conscience vote on the matter, without anyone knowing who raised it, the lady in question will probably hold a resentment if she knew. Best of luck in resolving this matter.
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Re: Are children allowed in meetings?

Postby tyg » Mon Aug 01, 2016 1:42 pm

Since this is an open meeting of AA, the choice is up to that parent and she probably has good reason to keep her child near. It is not my business to determine what a parent or any person should or should not do. Since this woman has been given a choice hopefully the group will be completely accepting of them and their choices and not get judgemental.

Closed meetings are limited to those who are there to stop drinking. My home group is a closed meeting and they only allow babies in arms (up to 1 yr old) so the discussions in the group don't need to be censored. Sometimes I want to get irritated when they get noisy and distract me. :evil: But, then I remember Rule #62 and that it is not about me; instead, I am at the meeting to be helpful to others and carry the message. :mrgreen:
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Re: Are children allowed in meetings?

Postby CindyM » Mon Aug 01, 2016 6:57 pm

In the few years I've been going to meetings, I've run through all the emotions of having children in the rooms. One thing I've discovered about my reaction to the children is it's somehow tied into how I feel about the parent/s. If I like the parent/s I'm much more tolerant of the kids. It's an honest program, right? :/ I find I avoid women's meetings because of the presence of kids. I tend to stick with meetings with the grumpy old men who cuss a lot and don't care if the little darlings are in the room. Those same grumpy old men will also insist the parent/s remove the kids if they get out of hand. Problem solved.
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Re: Are children allowed in meetings?

Postby emeraldg » Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:32 am

Always an excellent topic. Thanks for posting. As a mother, this is my 2 cents, and only mine.
I personally feel that AA is not a place for children (with the exception of nursing babies and children who are alcoholics), and I'll elaborate on this.
Like Brock mentioned, the last post referred to a woman who, despite a vast multitude of other options, insisted on bringing her child to a sex offenders home group who was there by court order, and she knew this. So this man had to leave or move from the vicinity, each and every time. I have also seen children being brought in order to "teach them a lesson" or "prevent alcoholism", which to me forces a child out of being a child so that the parent can avoid their own personal responsibility in contributing to what their child has seen with an alcoholic parent. We cannot control if our children will be alcoholics, we can only teach them by example by being sober ourselves. We do not have to bring them to meetings to demonstrate this. This is also an example of our self will run riot, and not accepting the things we cannot change.
One mother also brought her child to each and every meeting for the sole reason that she had plans to breastfeed him until he was 5 years old so would not leave him with a sitter, or his father. Breastfeeding is not the issue, but we need to examine our own motives and self centerdeness in these scenarios.

Is bringing your children to a meeting a far better option than having your children seeing you drunk all the time? Of course! But that seems like such black and white options. There are tons of middle ground. AA's are wonderful people who I have seen create great options for single or stuck parents. We stick together and help out.
For me, I had to get VERY crafty for childcare to get to meetings. I always reminded myself "If I spent a FRACTION of my time, resources, energy and money into finding good childcare for an hour a day that I did on finding and buying booze, it will come". And despite the fact that initially I had no family around, no support system and was new to my city, it did come.
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Re: Are children allowed in meetings?

Postby Noels » Sat Aug 06, 2016 3:49 pm

If we can't say something in front of a child its probably something inappropriate which shouldn't be shared in a group situation anyways. If it's the language usage that needs to be watched it's a good thing as the same message can be said without the use of foul language.
Also remember that child have been living with active alcoholism. You have no idea what that child have experienced in her or his short life so its highly possible that whatever you wish you could share she /he have already experienced.
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Re: Are children allowed in meetings?

Postby cdogg556 » Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:17 pm

beckycafe wrote:I was recently at a meeting at my home group ( I'm fairly new), and there was an 11 year old child there with her mom. I know I was uncomfortable - I'm certainly not sharing anything in front of a child of that age because it would be hugely inappropriate for her to hear. The others in the group really seemed to shorten and g-rate their own shares.

This is an open meeting, all of the meetings at our group are (30/week). While I know it's important for that single mom to get to a meeting, it changes the meeting entirely. Are kids allowed in meetings as a rule? We talk about so much that is not appropriate for kids to hear.


I gotta agree with you on this, I also have a woman that brings her two girls to one of my meetings, I don't know if it bothers anyone else but I don't think it is a good place to bring a child, but that being said, if their mother has nowhere else to take them then I guess it's better than her not coming at all.
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Re: Are children allowed in meetings?

Postby ODAAT » Sat Aug 27, 2016 5:48 pm

From the overall meeting attendees perspective, having children in AA meetings is about the same as having kids in bars: problematic.

The kids can be amusing, lovable, annoying and distracting. They change the conversation.

I prefer kidless meetings but give very little thought to the issue. Mostly just careful what I say if I share.
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Re: Are children allowed in meetings?

Postby kdub720 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:47 am

It is good for kids to see that all people struggle, but I do not welcome children to meetings. It is not a place for them. the child should wait and read a book, do homework or something. Meetings are for us to share and learn and express feelings that children do not need to be exposed to.
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Re: Are children allowed in meetings?

Postby Noels » Tue Aug 30, 2016 1:13 pm

kdub720 wrote:Meetings are for us to share and learn and express feelings that children do not need to be exposed to.


mmmmmmm very true BUT .... what were they exposed to already at home whilst us drunken lot were stumbling around I wonder ....

so there are a few things id say is a positive for children who attend AA meetings with their parents :
(I) They see that their parents are not " exclusively pathetic " as they once thought. They may even conclude that their parents weren't " that bad" after all;
(ii) There is usually at least 1 child born from an alcoholic who will also be an alcoholic and by attending meetings at an early age this child knows exactly where to go to when they realize they need help;
(iii) In todays life where we are working 80% of the time, getting home just in time for a meeting and getting home late, that hour spent in an AA meeting is not only beneficial to the parent but also strengthens the bond between child and parent.

For the adults in the meeting - having a child in the meeting forces us to behave like adults (which is what we didn't do while we were drinking). This is a positive for us as adults as the entire AA program is there to effect change - from being a swearing, complaining, selfish drunk martyr into a happy, joyous and free person with a positive outlook on life.

So the question is - why does that child's presence really bother you so much? Is it because you need to learn some more patience, need to watch your language or cant dwell on your guilt due to what you've done in the past?

A child in the meeting can be a lesson in itself. We just need to be willing to see it.

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Re: Are children allowed in meetings?

Postby Bird » Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:19 pm

I just left my regular Friday night meeting and there was a fellow there with his toddler. The child was noisy and all over the place. This is not OK. I had a conversation with him after the meeting and it didn't go well. I was a classroom teacher in another life and have observed that way too many parents SUCK at parenting. If you need a meeting and your child is unable to be relatively quiet and can't sit still you need a babysitter. Alcoholism is a deadly disease and AA meetings are for alcoholics - not noisy children.
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Re: Are children allowed in meetings?

Postby ODAAT » Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:37 pm

Kid hater...
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Re: Are children allowed in meetings?

Postby Noels » Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:52 pm

Bird wrote:I just left my regular Friday night meeting and there was a fellow there with his toddler. The child was noisy and all over the place. This is not OK. I had a conversation with him after the meeting and it didn't go well. I was a classroom teacher in another life and have observed that way too many parents SUCK at parenting. If you need a meeting and your child is unable to be relatively quiet and can't sit still you need a babysitter. Alcoholism is a deadly disease and AA meetings are for alcoholics - not noisy children.


Since ive learned to concentrate on what I do or don't do rather than what others do or don't do i have become peaceful and hardly get upset by anything. Perhaps this noisy child was at that particular meeting to teach you a little something more about yourself? Once again a blessing rather than a nuisance ? :D Ill say it once again - there is a lesson in everything that happens in our presence .... we just need to be willing to see the lesson.

:lol: :lol: :lol: oh .... i almost forgot ..... i was a High Priestess in a former life - one of many lives so i was probably one of your naughty students in that other life as well :lol:
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