Author Topic: Can't Handle Friends' Children Anymore! Help!!  (Read 9607 times)

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Danismom

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Re: Can't Handle Friends' Children Anymore! Help!!
« Reply #45 on: February 29, 2012, 08:44:25 PM »
Keep in mind that your children are counting on you to protect their interests in these situations.  You have to decide if it is okay with you for your children to be talked to rudely by this woman with you standing right there.  Without intervening, your presence tells your children that you are fine with what she is saying and doing to them -- like an accomplice or accessory.  If you aren't okay with her behavior toward your children, then it is up to you to intervene and make a difference.  It can be as simple as "Actually, Friend, my child Sally had that toy first and wasn't finished with it.  Your son Jack is more than welcome to play with xyz toy (that isn't occupied)."  or "Thanks for sticking up for me friend, but I'll handle this with my child".

As for the coming over whenever she feels like it, just don't let her in.  "I'm sorry this isn't a good time for us.  Please call first and we can set up a time to get together."  Your kids/husband don't even have to be asleep.  If you don't want her and her children in your home, you can use it just because.


Slartibartfast

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Re: Can't Handle Friends' Children Anymore! Help!!
« Reply #46 on: February 29, 2012, 09:43:24 PM »
Jewel, I have a friend like this, so I do know what you mean.  My friend eventually broke up a regular playdate get-together (it had previously been me and a handful of friends, then I invited my new friend) because she would never change her kids' diapers.  It was really gross - they'd be running around and no amount of hinting or out-and-out asking her to change her kids would make a difference.  "Oh, I think Little Bobby has a dirty diaper!"  "Yep, I'm not surprised - we're just having so much trouble potty training him!"  *makes no move to change Little Bobby's Diaper*  Her kids were also just flat-out more hyperactive than everyone else's, so normal behavior for them (not necessarily misbehaving, just constantly moving) seemed really crazy in comparison to everyone else.  We ended up stopping the playgroup because there was no good way to keep holding it but excluding her.

Anyway, here's what I did:

1) I didn't extend any child-based invitations for a while, so we didn't have a precedent in place anymore.

2) I made a point of seeking her out at adult-only activities, if only to chat for a while.  We carpooled to some women-only things I invited her to, which gave us more time to hang out.  Basically I made sure she was aware that the change in routine wasn't because I don't like *her*.

3) After a few months went by, I started suggesting get-togethers at the playground, children's museum, etc - neutral ground.  Her kids were still wild, but I picked venues where that was okay.

4) I waited until her oldest was truly almost potty trained before suggesting anything more.

Her kids still haven't been back to my house since the breakup of the playgroup, actually, but it doesn't seem weird because that's no longer the basis of our friendship.  More importantly, my daughter has made other friends and her kids have made other friends, so we don't count on each other for playtime anymore.  I'll probably never do one-on-one playdates with her kids anymore - her son is a bit younger than Babybartfast, but developmentally he's pretty far behind.  (I think part of it is because of her parenting style, but whatever the reason, Babybartfast just doesn't know how to deal with a hyperactive subverbal three-year-old.)

It's not easy, but it is possible to remain an adult friend without making your kids be friends.

TootsNYC

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Re: Can't Handle Friends' Children Anymore! Help!!
« Reply #47 on: March 01, 2012, 04:25:02 PM »
I had another thought for how to handle the "her scolding your kids/you not being allowed to correct her kids" problem.

Have your stance be, "do not scold or correct or chastize the other woman's children." And you follow it too.

But that doesn't mean you can't TALK to her kids, or ASK them things, right?

So you deal w/ her kids jumping on the sofa by saying, "Hey, Joey, c'mere a minute." And then you put your arm around his shoulders, and you say, in a very friendly voice, "Jumping on the sofa is fun, right? The only thing is, it can break. You probably don't think you're very heavy, but you are actually a pretty big kid. And I have a cousin who snapped the wooden beam in grandma's sofa by jumping on it. And there are springs inside the sofa that can get bent, and once they're bent, that's it.
    "Fixing a sofa is pretty expensive--I'd have to just throw it out. And a sofa costs about six times as much as an XBox. So I'm going to ask you, please, not to jump on our sofa. Would you do that for me?"

Bingo--you never scolded her child! You simply explained the problem and asked him a favor. What could be wrong with that? And that is what you say to her if she complains.

If her kids come yelling and shrieking in your house, you whisper to them (want a kid's attention, esp. when the kid is being loud? whisper!! The more quietly you talk, the more attentively they'll listen. Try it), "Joey, c'mere a minute."
  And then you say to them, in that warm, friendly tone, "I have a problem when there's too much a lot of noise inside--it makes me stressed out. And it gives me a headache. Can I ask you not to yell and scream in the house? I'd really appreciate it. So would my headache." And then when they say "ok," you smile warmly and say, "Thanks, Joey. You're a really considerate kid, y'know that?"

Did you notice I crossed out "too much"? I did it on purpose. Get rid of the idea that there's some sort of objective "kids don't yell inside" / "nobody jumps on the sofa" concept, and treat every one of these situations as "something I'm asking this child-who-isn't-mine to do."

The child will probably listen better, and your friend can't argue. If she does, you just be AMAZED! "I'm so surprised--Joey was just helping me with a request of mine! It was very nice of him to listen to my reasons, and he was such a considerate kid in agreeing to it."

And of course, if Joey forgets, you as his friend simply remind him--"Hey, Joey, remember you told me you wouldn't jump on the sofa?"

Sharing, do the same thing. Pull Joey aside for you (as his friend who happens to have a little more experience than he does) to explain that sometimes kids don't want to share specific toys, and that you think it's respectful to your daughter for her to be able to reserve some of the toys as "not for sharing," and would he help you, and help your daughter, by choosing something else to play with?"

Slow it down, take it out of the "discipline and rules" mode and into the "sharing, teaching, and asking for help and cooperation" mode.

You'll both remove any excuse for HER to chastize your children, and you might model for her a better way to deal with other people's kids.

And you might even help those kids by explaining how the world works, and establishing for them that there is a *reason* for rules.

jewel2003

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Re: Can't Handle Friends' Children Anymore! Help!!
« Reply #48 on: March 02, 2012, 01:46:42 AM »
Thanks everyone. I really appreciate all the great ideas on here and am excited to try them out. I would love to be able to have a full out friendship instead of just us two. Itd be great to be able to do things as a families (her hubby and mine get along great) but up until now its just been a lot of stress! I am going to try out a lot of these ideas and fingers crossed they work! If not I guess I'll have to cut my losses and maybe something will click with her one day!

kudeebee

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Re: Can't Handle Friends' Children Anymore! Help!!
« Reply #49 on: March 02, 2012, 05:33:02 PM »
Thanks everyone. I really appreciate all the great ideas on here and am excited to try them out. I would love to be able to have a full out friendship instead of just us two. Itd be great to be able to do things as a families (her hubby and mine get along great) but up until now its just been a lot of stress! I am going to try out a lot of these ideas and fingers crossed they work! If not I guess I'll have to cut my losses and maybe something will click with her one day!

You can do things as families--just have them at neutral locations such as the park, a festival, bowling, etc rather than at each other's houses.

Susiqzer

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Re: Can't Handle Friends' Children Anymore! Help!!
« Reply #50 on: March 02, 2012, 08:27:19 PM »
If her kids come yelling and shrieking in your house, you whisper to them (want a kid's attention, esp. when the kid is being loud? whisper!! The more quietly you talk, the more attentively they'll listen. Try it)

Toots, I tried this on my 2YO DD tonight, and it totally worked!! AMAZING!!!! (Now to see if it works on DH...)

Solanna Dryden

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Re: Can't Handle Friends' Children Anymore! Help!!
« Reply #51 on: March 02, 2012, 08:51:53 PM »

So you deal w/ her kids jumping on the sofa by saying, "Hey, Joey, c'mere a minute." And then you put your arm around his shoulders, and you say, in a very friendly voice, "Jumping on the sofa is fun, right? The only thing is, it can break. You probably don't think you're very heavy, but you are actually a pretty big kid. And I have a cousin who snapped the wooden beam in grandma's sofa by jumping on it. And there are springs inside the sofa that can get bent, and once they're bent, that's it.
    "Fixing a sofa is pretty expensive--I'd have to just throw it out. And a sofa costs about six times as much as an XBox. So I'm going to ask you, please, not to jump on our sofa. Would you do that for me?"

Bingo--you never scolded her child! You simply explained the problem and asked him a favor. What could be wrong with that? And that is what you say to her if she complains.



I really don't think you should put your arm around them or touch them in any way. I know when I was a kid, if an adult - especially one I wasn't close to - put their arm around me and started talking in an overly-familiar way, I got really uncomfortable. Doubly so if they were correcting me - Negative talk + overly-familiar + being physically held in place = very freaked out me.

Not to mention, I would find that phrasing pretty patronising.

That said, I was always pretty well-behaved when I went to peoples' houses, and never required more than a simple "no" in terms of discipline, so maybe I just can't understand how those kids think!  ;D
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