General Etiquette > Family and Children

How do I facilitate my child's friendship when I distrust the friend's parent?

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EllenS:
Well, even that is a fine line.  You mentioned that there was some kind of tragedy or trauma involved.  While the dad may be over-reacting or have boundary issues, giving his child self-defense training might not be totally crazy.

I am thinking, for example, of a domestic violence situation, or one in which the other parent's family or known associates may be volatile/dangerous.  It is difficult to judge from the outside what is irrational.

It's not a "typical" situation with a single dad, but for example there are women with kids who have fled an abusive spouse who stalks them.  What is a good, sane parent to do in that situation?  Give the kids up for adoption, or live in a state of heightened vigilance that seems "crazy" to other people?

Take2:
To clarify, I would not ever confront child or parent about their lifeview. I was only thinking that I experienced some very different lifeviews as a child, and while nobody talked to me about them, I think the variety helped to expand my horizons and offer different options for ways to approach/think about things. It is far outside my place to tell this child anything about how she ought to think or feel, or her dad.

Ellen, you hit the nail on the head. This situation does seem very similar to the kind of situation you described. Thanks to some extreme over-sharing, I know far more details about it than it is reasonable for me to know, and it isn't pretty. I can completely understand how the father came to this heightened level of security, and I admire his dedication to his child even as I doubt I would trust my own child to his care. That is one reason I want to tread so lightly, I would hate to hurt these people who are already so wounded. But I don't think it is either/or here. It is possible to live in a situation where self-defense is reasonable for the child AND over-react and have boundary issues in result of the trauma that made self-defense training reasonable.

EllenS:

--- Quote from: Take2 on April 04, 2013, 01:40:23 PM --- But I don't think it is either/or here. It is possible to live in a situation where self-defense is reasonable for the child AND over-react and have boundary issues in result of the trauma that made self-defense training reasonable.

--- End quote ---

Agree 100%.  That makes it so tough to balance the interaction.  I think if you feel your heart open to this child, you would do well to stay involved with both of them, and if possible have your spouse and your daughter's dad in the picture as well. (I'm thinking in terms of having them around when hosting her, have Dad take your child to visit B sometimes, etc.)  Just because people who overshare and are wounded, can form overly-intense emotional attachments as well, and you don't want the dad latching onto you and only you as a confidante.

I think there is no reason to avoid having your daughter be friends with this girl, as long as you are aware it will not be a low-maintenance deal, and that you have to be the one to model good boundaries.

JaneJensen:
I think people kinda had this problem with ME when my kids were smaller. I have a pool, as do at least 60% of the rest of the people in this town- southwest region of the country. So it's not uncommon to have one, but in my case I chose not to fence mine. I'm sure this was the reason we got invited to other people's houses and to the park A LOT.  People are hyper vigilant about pool fences and I guess probably just didn't trust me to watch their kids around water. It was cool. I mean, I was initially annoyed, but then it worked out that I wasn't the house that the kids always flocked to. Who wants to host the entire neighborhood of kids all the time anyway?

I only had one mom tell me that if the kids were going to be swimming she wanted to be there to watch her child. She was nice and not judgmental about it, and I was like- sure! Come on over! .

Anyway, In answer to your question, if there's that much going on in the household as you say, the mom might be mildly annoyed like I was about hosting  and who knows, with as much as you say she has going on, she might be relieved to not have kids over at the house. I'd be polite, tactful and generally truthful.

johelenc1:
I'm trying to figure out how you train a 6 year old to defend herself with knives.

I think staying over with your child for playdates there (or sending dad or step-dad) or continuing to invite A to your house are the best ideas. 

Also, without more information and details, I am personally concerned about a little girl being in the care of only one parent with questionable mental stability who has trained her to defend herself with knives.  Even the fact that it's knives is odd to me.  I would think that in terms of vigilance and personal safety, a knife would be an odd choice.  Maybe it actually says a lot about his stability and rational thinking.

 

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