Author Topic: Kicking out a new playgroup mom  (Read 37165 times)

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Shopaholic

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Re: Kicking out a new playgroup mom
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2012, 01:39:56 PM »

I would go further and say she is out and out nuts. If this was during 80's I would say she was a Stasi agent.

It's not a matter of kicking her out as she is not actually in, but making sure she is not invited to, or finds out about any further events.

Funny! That's exactly what I was thinking (have you seen "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" recently too?)

Maybe it's just me, but I felt that the original wording was very formal - but then I don't know the exact nature of the group.
I know if I were to receive a letter written "this is to inform you" from a social contact I would be puzzled and hurt.

Personally, I'd start the second sentence with "We feel that you are not a good fit for our group, and will not be maintaining your enrollment." The first and third sentences are great.

gramma dishes

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Re: Kicking out a new playgroup mom
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2012, 01:40:39 PM »
I agree with Horace - it seems a bit harsh to kick her out after only one meeting. Can't you give her another chance?

It seems obvious that she is not a good fit for this group, harsh or not.  No, I honestly think giving her another chance would actually make things far more difficult.  Better to get it stopped before it starts kind of thing.

bah12

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Re: Kicking out a new playgroup mom
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2012, 01:46:18 PM »
I'm on the fence about this.  I understand that the group and the OP were very uncomfortable with the manner that this woman asked questions and I also get that membership to this group is discretionary.  But, she's new in town and has only been to the group once.  It could be that she's unstable, but it could also be that she's nervous and a bit socially awkward.

Is it at all possible to ask to meet with her for lunch (sans kids) with the director of the local chapter and discuss the play group and how the parents interact before deciding to kick her out?  If she's in a more relaxed atmosphere, it may be that her social interactions will be better and as she gets comfortable will act more naturally.  And if after that lunch meeting, the feeling is that she doesn't fit in with the group, then by all means deny her enrollment.  At least this way, you can say you gave her a chance to show that it was just nervousness and newness that caused the weird behavior and not a naturally agressive personality.

The only other bit of information that I think would help me formulate an opinion is the nature of the playgroup.  If the group is centered around the kids, where the parents interact/socialize with each other only as they supervise the children's play, then I'd base her membership more on how her child interacts with the other children.  If this is a parenting group (all parents must interact with each other to get through an agenda, etc) where the children are permitted to come, then I can see where her particular personality would come more into play.

johelenc1

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Re: Kicking out a new playgroup mom
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2012, 01:47:37 PM »
Sometimes you just know.  I can often tell in an instant whether I'm going to be friends with someone or whether there are going to annoy the heck out of me.  This woman sounds like the latter.

If you feel you must give her another chance, I would first see how the other parents felt.  If they were not as put off as you, consider meeting her one on one for coffee and seeing how that goes.  Ask HER the questions - why did she move here, how did she meet her spouse, parenting philosophy, etc. 

If that is equally as awkward, then the email you wrote is good.  Maybe consider offering some alternatives (links to other meetup groups, local kid's gym classes, etc. to give her another place to focus her energies.)

Oh Joy

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Re: Kicking out a new playgroup mom
« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2012, 01:55:24 PM »
Am I the only person here who thinks that the new mum was nervous? And what's so wrong with her asking the parents in the group about their children - aren't they the kids her child will be playing with?  I never thought that asking polite questions upon meeting new people could be seen as "collecting information" to quote the OP. 

To be honest I wouldn't want to go to that playgroup if the people there are so judgmental towards a mum who's new to the area and nervous about meeting a bunch of new parents and kids.  If she tried to punch you in the face then that would be different, but I think she just freaked out a bit about being somewhere new.

I completely hear where you're coming from.  But I'm involved in some moms' groups organized on Meetup, and have experienced some of these uncomfortable situations myself.  If these are like those I'm in, many of the meetings are in members' homes and in small groups...I'm trying to find words to describe what happens to the comfort and trust within the group when someone in the living room either has a very different parenting style (like angry yelling and spanking) or gives off strange vibes.  Tough to explain, but I don't see it as a clique-y / judge-y / 'you're not enough like us' situation...it's almost more of a safety issue.

One group was set up so that a potential member had to contact the organizer to join.  She'd offer a few dates where we were meeting in public places (park, library, etc.) to meet a few families before giving access to the site...that helped quite a bit.  But that was an independent group without any affiliations.

JenJay

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Re: Kicking out a new playgroup mom
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2012, 01:59:07 PM »
Would it be possible to contact the person who led her previous group and get a feel for how she interacted with them? It'd be a shame to give her the boot if she was just extremely nervous and awkward with strangers but a nice lady once she mellowed out. That said, of course the well-being of the group is very important and feeling safe trumps all. If it's possible to do a bit of an informal background check on her I'd give it a try, if not, the letter suggestions are great.

WillyNilly

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Re: Kicking out a new playgroup mom
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2012, 02:15:45 PM »
Sounds to me like the OP and the other moms repeatedly gave this woman more chances already.  The OP repeatedly says they excused weird and aggressive behaviors thinking it was just nervousness.  But really there's a limit. 

The fact is life, especially with a bunch of kids in one place, brings about the occasional high stress moment, and even if this woman's behavior was nervousness, its fair for the OP and the other moms to not want someone who gets this aggressive when stressed as part of their group.

Sheila Take a Bow

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Re: Kicking out a new playgroup mom
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2012, 02:16:53 PM »
I don't think the OP is being too harsh at all.

The (prospective) new playgroup mom was aggressive in her interrogations, and she interrupted the lesson to (a) ask personal questions of the instructor at an inappropriate time and (b) ask for help with her phone.

She doesn't sound respectful of the playgroup or its members.

I think you should just tell her that she wasn't a good fit for the group.  If she already has a tendency toward aggressive questioning, I wouldn't give her anything she could argue against or question.

RooRoo

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Re: Kicking out a new playgroup mom
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2012, 03:01:51 PM »
Quote
I told her I was uncomfortable with so many questions and then she stepped even closer to me and asked another question.

That does it for me. That is well beyond "nervous conversation." That is an aggressive move. It is a deliberate violation of boundaries.

I don't care if this woman has a mental illness, was abused as a child, or any of the familiar excuses. If she acts like this, I want nothing to do with her. Especially in a play group where other people's children may be exposed to this aggressive behavior.

I agree with JenJay that you should contact her former chapter, and find out if she had problems there - especially how they handled it, and if their methods were successful.  If they say they were forced to cancel her membership, well, that's a good fact to help you stiffen your spine.

And, as Levee woman said - Don't JADE (Justify, Argue, Defend or Explain.) Just expel her. As PPs have suggested, warn the ones she called (and called and called) while you were unavailable, since she will doubtless harass them again.

Good luck, and good wishes! Remember the all-purpose, E-hell approved phrases:
 "I'm afraid that will not be possible"
"I'm sorry, I am unable to fulfill that request"
and "No," which is a complete sentence!
If you have an opinion about my life, raise your hand!
Now, put it over your mouth.

GrammarNerd

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Re: Kicking out a new playgroup mom
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2012, 03:14:29 PM »
Honestly, the skeptic in me would want to know why she moved.  Because with that sort of interpersonal reaction with people that she should be trying to impress, I'd wonder if she moved to get a 'fresh start' for some reason.  OP, have you tried googling her name along with her old city?  That's a stretch, I know, but so was her behavior, and stranger things have happened.

And I'd also wonder about a hidden agenda.  It sounds like she was very interested in the intricate details of other people's lives, and very UNinterested in how her child interacted with the other children in the group.  This is a children's playgroup, for goodness sakes!  Why would you NOT, for the most part, shut up and watch your kid, and only periodically make small talk with the other parents?  The third degree questioning, even after being told to stop, kind of kills the "I'm here for my kid" thing for me.  I think there was something else going on.

camlan

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Re: Kicking out a new playgroup mom
« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2012, 04:33:59 PM »
If it were just the numerous questions, I might say that the mom should be given a second chance.

But prior to the group's meeting, she called one person 7 times over the space of a couple of days. Another mom reported her behavior as "aggressive" in finding out about the group. She contacted at least three people about the group, who all told her to contact the OP. She was so aggressive, in fact, that the OP did not follow her usual practice of meeting a new mom away from the group, but allowed her to just come to the next meeting.

Add in asking all those questions of multiple moms at the meeting and her aggressive behavior when the OP told her to stop with the questions, and I'd say there's more than enough evidence that she is not going to fit into the group.

There's something just "off" about her behavior.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


yokozbornak

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Re: Kicking out a new playgroup mom
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2012, 04:51:42 PM »
I agree with JenJay that you should contact the previous chapter because I think it would be helpful to know what you are dealing with.  I agree that you are making the right decision.  When it comes down to it, you can choose to alienate her or you will effectively be choosing to alienate the rest of the group.  I think you have to choose to do what's best for the whole group.

Lexophile

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Re: Kicking out a new playgroup mom
« Reply #27 on: August 30, 2012, 04:54:50 PM »
My squick-meter went off when you were telling this story. People like this get their hooks in you and do not. let. go. With you being the administrative leader of the playgroup, it's you she'll be bothering most if she's allowed to continue attending.

And the longer you allow her to stay, the harder it will be to kick her out later.
"Submission to what people call their 'lot' is simply ignoble. If your lot makes you cry and be wretched, get rid of it and take another." - Elizabeth von Arnim

lovepickles

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Re: Kicking out a new playgroup mom
« Reply #28 on: August 30, 2012, 05:58:17 PM »
Thanks for all of the replies. It makes me feel better to have your opinions because I have been losing sleep over this. I went ahead and sent the notice and removed her from the Meetup group. I hope this ends the situation but I fear she just might ramp up her aggression and contact other members. I was on the fence about informing them about her removal because it isn't something I really want to draw more attention to. The ladies she contacted are already aware of my feelings but I decided against sending them some sort of notice in hopes that she doesn't contact them and the issue will dissolve. If she does then I'm sure I will hear from them and I trust their instincts on dealing with her. It is a sad situation because I know how hard it is to be a new mom in the area and while I want to be inclusive I just can't sacrifice our safe and sane dynamic. The group is very intimate in our homes with our children and with multiple people having uncomfortable interactions with her is a signal she's got to go.

I still feel crappy about it, though. I wish I had met her first because rescinding a membership is more emotionally difficult on everyone than not having added her in the first place. Next time I meet in person, no exceptions.

Thanks E-hellions. I'll update if there is one.

<3
Lovepickles

AmysAuntie

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Re: Kicking out a new playgroup mom
« Reply #29 on: August 30, 2012, 08:29:38 PM »
Am I the only person here who thinks that the new mum was nervous? And what's so wrong with her asking the parents in the group about their children - aren't they the kids her child will be playing with?  I never thought that asking polite questions upon meeting new people could be seen as "collecting information" to quote the OP. 

Apparently, this gal wasn't being so "polite" about it.  There's a big difference between what I, personally, would consider polite chit chat and being given the third degree.