My story is about one of the moms of my 9 year old daughter’s “best friend” who I will call Sally. The kid is very poorly behaved and has terrible boundaries and the mom is worse, but my daughter seems to be crazy about her so she wants her to be invited to all of her parties and such. My daughter’s birthday party is what this story is all about.
My daughter wanted to have her guests make ice cream sundaes instead of getting a cake. I went a little overboard and spent about $80 on ice cream and tons of toppings including fruit, candy, chocolate chips, nuts, whipped creme, etc. I gave each of the girls a red solo cup and told them to have at it. They created and consumed these massive sundaes and were happy as clams. Sally asked if she could have seconds and I said no, the first sundaes were huge and I didn’t think there would really be enough for all of the guests to have a second one. Sally was pissed and pouted but I didn’t really care.
I took all of the leftovers into the kitchen, putting away the ice cream but leaving most everything else out in the bowls I’d put them in while I went to continue to supervise the party.
When Sally’s mom showed up to pick her up about 20 minutes later, I was occupied with something else and didn’t really notice. When I walked into the kitchen you can imagine my surprise when there are Sally and Sally’s mom. Sally’s mom has made herself a huge sundae and is putting the leftover candies into plastic bags. She says “Sally wanted to take home all of the leftover chocolate chips and mini peanut butter cups”. My jaw was on the floor.
Not only did she help herself to food in my home without asking she decided to take some of it TO GO??? I didn’t know how to react, how to behave, what to say….so I did nothing and she took it home. 0728-17
“I’m so sorry. Those have already been promised to someone else.”
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“No, those are for the birthday party. The grocery store has plenty of chocolate chips and mini peanut butter cups if Sally wants some”.
Sally and her mom have no boundaries, or shame apparently. Being as Sally is your daughter’s best friend and your daughter (of course) wants her at all the fun stuff, you will have to be the one to set and *enforce* some boundaries with Sally and her mom.
If I had walked in and saw that I would have said no, these are the for party and taken the plastic baggies away from them (and probably thrown them out after they left). By the way, did Mom have plastic baggies with her or did you go through your cabinets to find them???
Ooh, I missed that. I assumed that Sally’s mother picked her up at the end of the party, and it would have been bad enough in that case; if Sally had taken the candy (with her mother’s encouragement, at that) from a party that was over/ending, but it’d be even worse if it was still going on.
That should read “did Mom have plastic baggies with her or did *she* go through your cabinets to find them”
Oh my! I hadn’t thought of that.
Wait, Sally’s mother made herself a sundae with ice cream that had already been put away? So, she would have had to go into the OP’s freezer, in the OP’s kitchen, to get it. No wonder Sally thought it was okay for her to take candy that had been left out in bowls. I’m not saying that it was, but I agree with the title of this thread–Sally’s gimme-pig behaviour definitely comes from her mother. I agree with Jeanne, though–it’s perfectly okay for OP to say, “Sorry, I have plans for the leftovers,” or something to that effect. Now, I know it’s wrong to wish ill upon a child, but Sally’s mother seems to have trouble with the word “no”–saying it, hearing it, enforcing it–so, I can see an epilogue to this story that includes Sally wanting to eat all of her ill-gotten sundae-bar candy right after the birthday party (where she’s already had a big sundae). Sally’s mother can’t say no to this (even though she really should), so Sally eats the candy, gets sick, and realizes that hey, maybe OP had a good reason not to want her to have any more ice cream and candy.
why would you let some woman you don’t even like take from your home…NO I am sorry you can NOT take it..end of story
This! No explanation needed.
I probably would have been speechless for a moment, too, but I would have said something like, “I’m sorry, but those aren’t for the taking.” She would have never made it out the door with the goodies at my house. But then, it’s been awhile since I’ve first seen people be incredibly rude at kids’ parties, so I developed that spine a good while ago. When I first began to encounter such brazen behavior, I was hesitant to speak up, too, but that period is behind me now. OP, you now know what she’ll do, so be prepared to speak up next time, should there be one.
“You have abused the hospitality of my House. I cast you out and send you forth. If you appear at my gates again, it will be war!”
Let me know forthwith if your hospitality is abused, pennywit, and I will join you in the crusade.
Truly I wish I could come up with that at the moment! (Scribbles notes for use later.)
In general, I think people would be more polite and less prone to abuse hospitality if etiquette could be enforced at swordpoint.
Well, Sally’s Mom and probably Sally too are part of those people out there that know better but also know that you wouldn’t say anything so they are ready and willing to take advantage. It was your daughter’s birthday party and it is supposed to be a nice day, you didn’t want to cause a scene and your clever response to Sally’s Mom wasn’t anywhere to be had. You could only stand there and gawk at someone who would have the audacity to just help themselves to the leftover candy and ice cream. Sally’s mom probably didn’t like that you said no to her daughter and was going to rectify the situation by making herself a sundae and probably giving most of it to Sally and in addition to that, was going to take home the candy. Did she go into your cupboard for the plastic bags too? Instead of teaching her daughter proper manners she taught her to be a gimme pig.
She taught her daughter to be a thief.
At that point Sally is no longer in the daughter’s friends list. I would have a very long and gentle talk with my daughter about this until… it was gotten across.
As far as the theft of food I agree with Admin, about “I’m sorry, but this food is already promised to someone else.” and removed it all including the sundae. Even if I threw the ice cream and toppings out after they left. (I have outlined before, I will make sure my guests are not hungry, you are welcome to eat while you’re there at my table, but all the leftovers are MINE. Period.)
Actually……I wouldn’t go that far. OP’s daughter is nine years old, and I think that’s old enough to choose her own friends. Yes, the OP should talk to her daughter about Sally’s behaviour, and why it was wrong, but I don’t think she can dictate that “Sally is no longer in the daughter’s friends list.” She can say, “Sally will no longer be invited to our house,” but if the OP’s daughter wants to continue to socialize with Sally at school/dance/soccer/Brownies/together in a neutral location (like, say, the park), then I don’t think the OP can, or should, stop her. She can teach her daughter to set a good example, and then Sally might change her behaviour. She can teach her daughter to stand up for herself, if and when Sally continues to be selfish/greedy/presumptuous, but forbidding the friendship altogether might make Sally a “forbidden fruit,” and have the opposite effect, wherein Daughter hangs out with Sally in secret, and then feels like she can’t tell her mother when Sally does something really bad (like, say, stealing from another child at school), because she’s afraid she’ll get in trouble for breaking the rules. I don’t think the OP wants that. I certainly wouldn’t.
Edited to add: I just realized, I forgot to say when I think a child is old enough to choose his or her own friends, which is a pretty important question to the topic at hand. I think that that time comes when the child begins to develop his or her own world outside of the home–maybe when he or she starts attending kindergarten, or preschool, or a drop-off sport or activity (as opposed to a parent-participation class), or starts to be able to play at the park without a parent hovering. That’s not to say that the child should have carte-blanche to befriend all the Veruca Salts of the world as soon as he or she is old enough to be let out of Mommy and Daddy’s sight, but that’s the age when the conversations should start, about how to be a good friend, and recognize a good friend, and how to prevent and solve problems with friends. However, all the talk in the world won’t do a bit of good if it’s accompanied by, “but of course, we’re going to choose all your friends anyway, because we’re your parents, and we know best.” Kids need to have a chance to practice what they’ve been taught. I think there is a point at which parents can put their feet down and say, “do not interact with So-and-So,” but I think that that point comes much further on, like, if it’s a matter of dangerous or criminal behaviour–and it might require some leg work on the part of the “enforcing parents”; for example, having their daughter moved to a different class/soccer team/Brownie group/whatever. Taking candy home from a sundae bar at a birthday party is rude, and sure, it warrants a ban from the house where the party was (for a while, anyway), but it doesn’t warrant forcing their daughter to give her a Cut Direct.
That’s why I said having a long and gentle talk about Sally. I couldn’t tell her NO MORE SALLY but I could have a discussion about Sally and her mom and I’m sure this isn’t the first nor the last thing Sally has done… about maybe why daughter should re-think about Sally as a friend.
I also do know that sundae and candy wasn’t leaving the house. Even if I threw it all out after. I’ve had this one before many times about you are a welcome guest, sit and eat at my table, and eat all you want, but all the leftovers are MINE to do with as I wish. I might offer to share them or I might not. (I’ve posted on here about blatant out and out takings of massive amounts of leftovers by others many times over)
Oh, okay. Yeah, the “long and gentle talk” approach makes more sense. I think I might wait until a few days after the birthday party, so Daughter can still remember her birthday party as a positive experience, but I like your idea in general. By telling Daughter what happened (if she didn’t see it herself), and talking to her about what constitutes a good friend, et cetera, she might decide on her own to distance herself from Sally. As for throwing out the food, I don’t think I’d do that, because ice cream can be expensive, and I wouldn’t want to waste it. So, I think I’d just put away the candy, and make Sally’s mother eat the sundae there, or even just let her take it, but still tell her, basically, “that’s not cool; you should have asked.”
Making or letting Sally’s mom eat or have the sundae just rewards her for her behavior. Take the sundae even if you throw it out.
Honestly, I’d be mad enough that I’d take the food back, open the bags, and pour the candy directly into the trashcan in front of them.
I know that isn’t the most polite thing to do, but geesh! The amount of gall that this woman has astounds me!
I would have a serious talk with your daughter about the behavior of this girl and her mother. I would make it clear to her that this is stealing, and that if she continues to be friends with Sally, she had better not pick up any of Sally’s bad behavior.
As far as this particular instance, upon walking into the kitchen, without even thinking, I would have said, “What are you DOING? You can’t take that, I have plans for it. “
Sally will have many problems growing up due her mother’s mindset.
Wow! Well, we can hardly blame poor Sally for her lack of boundaries, if that is the way her mother behaves!
I would also probably be so shocked I wouldn’t know what to say, but hopefully by now OP has learned some phrases from ehell and shined up her spine! I see the letter is from last summer, so I bet there have been plenty of opportunities to shine up the spine since then 🙂
OP, like you, I would have been speechless and allowed Sally and her mom to continue stealing from me (because that is, in essence, what they were doing) while I grappled for words to say. I like Admin’s statement, but Sally’s mom sounds like the type of person who would have kept on pressing with questions about who the food was promised to and why couldn’t they have some too, etc. etc., until I would have just relented and let them take it.
Like others, I would worry about my daughter spending time with Sally in the future, as I wouldn’t want her to pick up this gimme pig behavior in order to “fit in” with her “best friend”.
OP, I totally get why you didn’t say anything, or HOW you couldn’t say anything. I would have probably been speechless, as well. Cutting Sally out of your daughter’s life is probably going to be difficulty, but I think that you are now prepared for the next occasion something like this happens.
THAT SAID, this past month I have become a better advocate for myself, and have noticed that speaking up makes me feel better. So if this is really bugging you, you could always send a letter or a text to Sally’s mother and say, “Next time you are at my house, please do not go into my kitchen and take anything without asking.” You could always add, “I found it extremely rude.”
I get wanting your kids to pick their own friends, but where’s the line? Sally is going to grow up. She’s clearly being raised by a brazen thief, should we really assume Sally will grow up decent? Or is it far more likely Sally will be the type of person who swaps price tags on things cause something she wants is more than she thinks she should pay. Do you really want your daughter standing there beside her as she breaks the law? Cause at 9, the trouble they get into is minor. But the bigger problems kids face are just around the corner at that age.
I think if Sally and her mother were just people you didn’t get on with that would be one thing. But this is different, you have good reason to not want your kid around them and their influence. After this woman stole from your house (and this was theft, taking things that aren’t yours without asking for them is 100% theft) the relationship was over. The time has come to sit your child down and explain there are lots of different types of people in the world. Some do good, others do not. Sally and her mother are takers who will only get her into trouble at some point so she’s not going to be spending time with Sally anymore.
I stand by my answer, because I was in the same situation when I was a little older than Sally (it started around the end of grade five). I made friends with a girl at school (let’s call her Kay) who was a bit older than me, and who was troubled, but also a bad influence. In my mind, all she needed was a friend, but she really needed serious intervention. She’d run hot and cold with me (being nice one day, and then ignoring me the next), she was friends off and on with some other girls who shoplifted, and sometimes she joined in, and I think I even remember her hitting me a few times. Also, when I hung out with Kay, nobody else wanted to be around me, so it evolved into a somewhat exclusive friendship. My parents tried to ban me from being friends with her, but it didn’t work. She graduated before me (she was two years older than me, and one year ahead in school), and our friendship died a natural death, because she decided she was too cool for me once she started high school, and then when I started high school, I made my own friends there too, and moved on without her. But, when Kay and I went to school together, it was a tiny school, we were in the same class for a year, because it was a grade 6/7 split, and avoiding her was almost impossible, which I didn’t even want to do, because we wanted to be friends, as unhealthy as it was. So, while it’s possible to talk to your child about healthy and unhealthy friendships, and encourage friendships with kids who are better influences (although, those kids can sometimes be nice in front of adults, and Mean Girls behind their backs……I experienced that a LOT at that age), you can’t dictate who your child’s friends will (and won’t) be, once they’ve hit school age or so. I’m not saying this to judge; I mean that it’s simply impossible, especially if you have more than one child (I have a younger brother, and he went through the same thing, with a few different friends).
Okay, super great. Your bad influence friend eventually blew you off. For some, those end up life long friends. Others worry about bullying. Whatever.
Are you really supposed to say “this seems hard, so I guess I’ll skip parenting today”? I’m thinking no. You can 100% say no when your kid requests a play-date. No one is under obligation to send their child into the home of another, nor are you obligated to welcome everyone who shows up on your front door. If this causes Sally to lash out, then she was likely to do so at some point anyways. Good, stable people, don’t try to get people to bully others (nor do they do it themselves). Bullies don’t need a “reason”.
I’m glad you never got into serious trouble and emerged from your relationship unscathed. But you being okay doesn’t mean other people should ignore toxic relationships in their children because they assume there’s nothing they can do. You can and should teach your kid this is the type of person they need to steer clear of, and help them learn how to do that – and do it politely.
That wasn’t exactly what I meant. I meant that, Kay and I ended up drifting apart, because we were fundamentally different people. I think I knew, even when we were friends, that she wasn’t good for me. I think, on some level, I only hung out with her for lack of other options–the elementary school we attended was tiny, I was a smart-but-unathletic kid who didn’t make friends easily, and I’d transferred there in grade five, at which point most people already had their own friends. But, just to take the value judgement out of the equation, high school was a bigger school, and Kay and I both had more options–she presumably made friends with people her own age, so she wouldn’t “have to” hang out with someone two years younger, and I got into music, and then added theatre, newspaper, student government, peer assisting, and a bunch of other things into the mix, so I made my own friends as well. Also, Kay and I were raised in very different families. My parents talked to me about good and bad influences, and Kay’s mom and stepdad, and dad and stepmom didn’t–I think they were just glad she had a friend, but they didn’t seem to pay much attention, because they had issues of their own.
My point is, you’re right; sometimes these friendships end up life-long, but often, they don’t. As for “skipping parenting,” I don’t think my parents did “skip parenting.” They couldn’t have feasibly banned me from being friends with Kay, because I saw her all the time at school, and she lived nearby, so I could easily go to her house under the pretext of going somewhere else. They were also never mean to Kay–I remember them feeding her breakfast and/or lending her winter clothes a few times, when she came to my house in the morning before school. Instead of an outright ban, they talked to me about good and bad influences, and good and bad friends, and once I was in a place where it was possible to make better friends, I did.
I don’t think taking a different approach – that of counseling and informing your child is the same as “skipping parenting”. Advising your child to be kind and thoughtful (while still maintaining his/her own moral and ethical standards) is a lot longer and more involved parenting process than shunning a 9 year old child because she has a poor role model. At least to me, it’s a better lesson to provide them with support and guidance (hosting play dates under your own supervision), etc., than to advise them to cut ties altogether. Lots of kids who are a little selfish at 9 grow up to be decent people, especially if they have decent friends who can show them a better way.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say theft, I’ve certainly had friends where we rummaged through each others’ kitchens and ate each others’ foods. And I’ve been in circles where people would take leftovers after parties, it was considered considerate to the hosts not to leave them with tons of food that would rot on them.
The problem is, that’s the kind of relationship that implies a high level of intimacy that LW does not feel. So she needs to set boundaries. Otherwise Sally’s Mom will keep doing it because she thinks LW is OK with it.
Setting boundaries with this type of person rarely works. Yes, it should 100% be the first step. But this is just not Sally’s mother just thinking she’s a closer friend than she actually is. Sally’s mother knew what she was doing. So did Sally when she asked her mother to start packing stuff up. Sure, be decent and give them another shot. But don’t let people walk all over you. When they do it again (and they will) walk away from the relationship. Cause this is not what friendship looks like.
And FWIW, I too have had such friendships where I felt comfortable enough to go grab a snack from my friends pantry or fridge, and they felt the same. If I had a child in my home that was hungry, I’d want them to get up and get something to eat. Yes, I’d prefer they ask first if I didn’t know them well. But I’d never want a child going hungry and would of course feed them, a full meal if nesecary! But what happened in this story is very different than a child feeling hungry and uncomfortable. This is a child that had enough, was refused seconds, and rectified the situation by telling her mother to grab the desired items as they skipped out the door. Not. Cool.
This kind of scorch earthed policy is over the top. The mother is a manipulative boundary pusher but grabbing leftovers is not going to lead to tag swapping or anything that leads to jail time down the road.
Being a 9 year old is hard enough to navigate without pulling them into this grown up drama. Sally could easily turn this around on OPs daughter at school when she’s suddenly not friends with her. That’s how you raise children to become outcasts because a parent decided to play the “you’re not allowed to be friends with that girl, her mom took my chocolate chips!” game.
If she had violent tendencies or a brazen liar, that’s different. All this idiot woman did was grab up candies like a giant child, I’ve seen many adults do equally as rude things without raising a bank robber in the process, jeez.
Do you know that for a fact?
Yeah, you can be rude, really rude without becoming a wild criminal. But do you really desire your child to end up as either? To me, that’s what this is about. This is a girl and her mother who have terribly bad manners, and another mother daughter duo who’ve been put in a tough spot because of those manners. I think saying “oh well” and pretending nothing is wrong is the wrong thing to do. I personally think the best thing to do in these situations is be blunt with your kid. You dislike the behavior, you don’t want it to rub off, and playdates just won’t be happening anymore. Sure, they can hang out in school because ignoring classmates is rude on its own. But there would be no further play dates, sleepovers, birthday parties, etc. That’s not wrong, that’s not unfair. Yeah, Sally’s mother is a big child. Guess what the kids of those people end up like? Stop the relationship now, while you still have the power to do so. And teach your child how to refuse invitations gracefully! How often do we get submissions from people who work with others who don’t know how to behave in the workplace? School is our first workplace. This is how we learn to interact with people we don’t want to be around (or shouldn’t be around) without becoming just as bad as they are.
AnonToday – Do YOU know that for a fact?
It seems odd to me to teach children to throw relationships in the trash without first trying to address problems & set boundaries. There’s NO indication the OP has done or said ANYTHING to Sally or Sally’s Mom regarding their manners or lack thereof. Even if she feels these people should know better, the evidence suggests they obviously don’t so she can’t expect them to read her mind. She needs to open her mouth, for her daughter at least. It also seems weird to have so little faith in your kid or believe your child is such a weak-willed follower that you think she’ll automatically start picking up on a friend’s influence and/or you’d be powerless to nip any emerging behaviors you don’t like in the bud. When friends of mine were allowed to do or say things I wasn’t, I was told, “That’s your friend, not you”, “Every home is a different country with its own culture” & the old classic, “If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump too?”
Your kid is eventually going to grow up, encounter diverse people with contrasting values & be faced with relationships she can’t dodge; ones that mommy can’t protect her from. It’s beneficial to know how to stand up for yourself, be true to your own principals in the face of outside influence & pressure and how to express your boundaries to others. But this takes PRACTICE. Shiny spines are rarely born, they’re usually made in the hard-won forge of life experience. For example, I’m sure Anonymous learned from that lousy childhood friendship; what her limits are, how to recover when a relationship fails, what to look out for when making friends in the future, how to speak up, how to recognize when a relationship has become unhealthy, etc. If you’re picking all your kid’s friends now, how will they cope when you’re not around to do that for them?
Yes, that’s exactly it. I learned from my friendship with Kay (and, I guess from the much healthier friendships that came later on, in high school), to make friends with LOTS of people, so that when one friendship goes wrong (either temporarily or forever), it’s not the end of the world, because I have other people to hang out with. Actually, I learned to make friends with lots of different GROUPS of people, so that it’s not the end of the world when a whole group shuns me (which adolescent girls, and sometimes boys as well, are prone to do). So, when I was in high school, I had my music friends, my theatre friends, my student government friends, and, by the later years, my “been-around-since-grade-nine” friends–because, not everyone who started at that school in grade nine, made it to OAC, or even to grade twelve–some moved or transferred, and others dropped out. My parents’ only input was insisting that I take music in grade nine, and I did all of the actual choosing of friends, myself. It wasn’t perfect; we argued sometimes, but it was never Kay-level toxic.
However, you’re right–kids aren’t going to learn if their parents pick all of their friends, and the OP’s daughter is nine. To suggest the OP declaring, “playdates won’t be happening anymore,” well…..nine is getting past “playdate” age anyway, and heading towards being old enough to organize one’s own social life, and sometimes it’ll be off the cuff, like, say, one kid on the soccer team says, “let’s all get ice cream after practice,” and they go, texting their parents first to let them know where they’ll be, but not giving a full run-down of who’s going to be there. Or, maybe there are organized team events, like, say, a team sleepover at one parent’s house, and Sally and Daughter both want to go. Or maybe, sometimes, the activity in itself necessarily means spending a lot of time with Sally, like, say, a regular school day, or a theatre rehearsal that lasts the better part of a Saturday or Sunday (or both). That’s why my parents taught me to be smart about making friends, rather than continuing to try to choose all of my friends once I hit school age–which would have been impossible anyway, because, the same as you can’t keep two kids who want to be friends, apart, you can’t force two kids who don’t want to be friends, to like each other. Movies like The Parent Trap are just stories–what usually happens is, the kids fight or ignore each other until their adults give up on the idea. I had experiences like that as a child too–my mom had friends with kids around my age, she tried to get us to be friends, but our personalities and interests weren’t compatible, so it didn’t work out.
And you thought it was appropriate to steal food from my kitchen?!
I wouldn’t have been nearly that polite. My response would have been more like, “This party was for MY daughter, and any leftovers are for HER. Put those down and get out of my kitchen NOW.” Anyone who walks into your kitchen, takes your food without permission, and then claims any leftovers, doesn’t deserve politeness.
“I’m afraid that won’t be possible.” You don’t owe somebody like that an explanation.
Wow, I’d probably have been too stunned to say anything too. Who does that? But I think “Sorry, I have plans for the leftovers” would have been a good response.
I’ll bet this woman has behaved similarly in many other homes. People are stunned by her brash behavior, or taken by surprise, or are too used to doing anything for a guest-type person, or just shocked into paralysis, when she demands and takes food or whatever! I’ll be no one has ever stopped her because they’re staring in disbelief and wondering “is this really happening?” while she’s operating. She’s amazingly clueless, narcissistic, or just enjoys wielding power are my guesses. It’s all rude.
Dear Sally’s Mom,
The other day after the party I was really uncomfortable and didn’t know what to say. Please do not go into my kitchen and go through my cupboards and take my food. You guys are great friends, and we love having you around, but that crossed a line.
You have to do it. She thinks you have the casual kind of best friends relationship where you can do that sort of thing. If you don’t want that level of intimacy (which few people have outside of maybe their best friends and closest relatives) then you need to make it clear.
“My goodness, you should have SAID something. Do you need bread? Peanut butter? Eggs? Wait, I’m sure I have some canned soup and pinto beans. There are food pantries in town that could help as well. Please, I hope you won’t be embarrassed to ask, we just love Sally and really want to help.”
This is a GREAT way to handle it. You Win.
Now this rises to my level of snarkiness! Also it implies that OF COURSE there couldn’t be anything but a very good reason for Sally’s mom to be taking food.
We don’t really know the extent of this friendship with the “mom”. It isn’t really too much of a stretch to think that if the girls were having Sundays with toppings, that it wouldn’t be that big of a deal for somebody to help themselves to the same. A bit presumptuous, a lot rude, yes…. But I’ve had plenty of people that have come into my kitchen and open the door and help themselves to things without me granting permission. Both adults and kids. I think that’s a lot more common than most of us realize. I get a little bit of slack to for the girl taking her over “leftovers”. I remember one time being invited to a party where we were making s’mores. I was probably 12 at the time, and I don’t like graham crackers or marshmallows, so I helped myself to a chocolate bar. The host came right up to me and said you may not have that chocolate bar those are for s’mores. When I said that I didn’t like the graham crackers or the marshmallow , she simply asked me to put it back down. Now that host may have thought that she had a spine and she was standing up for what was right, but to me as a young girl I was embarrassed and ashamed that I had taken something to eat that I thought I was entitled to. Who’s to say maybe I was maybe I wasn’t but a host’s duty is still to make her guest feel wanted and comfortable in her home and sometimes that means extending Grace when it’s not earned. Personally if I had seen this mother and child putting things into plastic bags I would have probably said ” take a few that’s fine but leave some for the rest of the family who steal is going to come in and have sundaes.” No way would I encourage my daughter to dump this girl as a friend. She’s only 9 years old and she still has many years ahead of her to learn proper etiquette.
What that women did to you was so unnecessary. What a cow! I bet she wouldn’t have admonished an adult for taking a chocolate bar, esp after explaining they didn’t like graham crackers & marshmallows. If there was a shortage of chocolate for the s’mores, then she should’ve either politely announced that fact to everyone at the beginning, sent someone out to buy more or not invited so many people. Have the kind of party you can handle AND afford. There’s a huge difference between gently correcting a child’s behavior (“it’s nice to say ‘Please’!” with a smile) & being overly authoritative BECAUSE it’s a child. That’s what’s known as ‘punching down’. Is a single candy bar or 2nd sundae REALLY the hill you wanna die on? Some people simply don’t have the personality suited for hospitality. And that’s fine. There’s no law that states you MUST have parties. Don’t offer to host anyone if you’re going to be so mean.
That’s what irks me about the OP’s tone regarding Sally asking for a 2nd helping. I don’t agree with what her mom did but are leftovers considered ‘leftovers’ before your guests have actually left? It’s a party. The sundaes were a hit. Your daughter & her friends are happy. One of the guests would like a 2nd helping. If that’s the worst thing you can say about the children who attended, that’s a HUGE success. Let ’em finish off the ice cream if they want – That’s what you got it for.
I think the OP’s reasoning was that she didn’t have enough if all of the party attendees had wanted a second helping.
She was being ridiculous. She bought graham crackers, marshmallows & chocolate. What difference did it make if you ate just the chocolate bar rather than use it to make s’mores? You were a guest and the food was intended for the guests.
Not that you need a longer response than what the admin said but I would have explained why she couldn’t have it using your real reason. “Since there wasn’t enough for everyone to have seconds I decided that it was best to not let anyone have seconds.” Said While taken the pilfered items away from mom and daughter.
I really want to know if they also got the plastic baggies from your cabinets or if she ‘happened’ to have them in her purse?
It’s more than obvious that you don’t like Sally. It must be frustrating for your kid to have a friend that you’re not keen on but you agreed to invite her, she was your daughter’s guest & you’re the adult in the situation. Apparently, Sally has ‘terrible boundaries’ but she did at least ASK if she could have a 2nd sundae; at an ice cream party, that doesn’t sound like an over-the-top request. Is it unheard of in your world to ask for a 2nd dessert while the party is still going on & the spread is still available? If the concern was that the leftovers wouldn’t stretch, it would have been easy for you to dish out smaller amounts so you’d have control of the portions. Or maybe you should have done that in the first place cos, with kids, their eyes are often bigger than their stomachs anyway. This part of the story seems very ‘BEC’ to me – This kid gets under your skin & her mother’s a boor so her asking for anything is nails-on-a-chalkboard to you. I get it; we’ve all been there – dealing with someone you find aggravating is a pain but it’s cool to make an effort to be objective when dealing with them, esp when it’s a young child & you are (literally) the bigger person. Be honest – Would you have been as firm if a different kid wanted another sundae? What if your daughter had asked for more? Are you sure you didn’t get a little satisfaction by denying Sally & seeing her get ‘pissed’ & pout, thereby fulfilling your bad opinion of her? I think adults sometimes feel the need to ‘win’ with kids they believe are bratty, which is a human response but a very petty, immature one. Personally, in this one particular circumstance, I think you were rather stingy & mean. It was ice-cream & candy at a birthday party, I really don’t think Sally was asking for the moon here. YMMV, I guess. You might also want to think about the fact that your daughter is young as well, it’s very probable she might do/ask for something in another person’s home that THEY find rude. Would you want other parents to smugly judge your kid for small ‘infractions’, like asking for a bit of extra ice cream? At a PARTY?? (The nerve..! *sarcasm* Orphan Oliver with his bowl keeps coming to mind. 😉 “Please Ms, may I have some more…”)
Sally’s mom’s entitled behaviour is totally out of line but, from your own description, I don’t think much of either of the adults in this story. If she has a parent like this, who comes to children’s birthday parties with baggies in hand (????!!?) intending to pilfer the treats, it’s probably a miracle that Sally even thought to ask at all, instead of just taking what she wanted. Right there she’s showning more polish than the grown woman who’s raising her. I feel bad for Sally, tbh. With a mom like that, no wonder her etiquette skills are lacking. Could you look at her friendship with your daughter as a way to expose Sally to social graces (not in a dogmatic, patronizing fashion but in a kind ‘show by example/these are our house rules’ way)? It’s not your responsibility to do this if you don’t want to but if you’re prejudiced against this 9-year-old, (and it seems like you could be), it’s probably for the best if you don’t have her in your home any more, for Sally’s sake. That kid is gonna have enough problems without her friend’s mom making her feel like an annoyance every time she’s over & she won’t even understand why, since she genuinely doesn’t know any better (because she hasn’t been taught).
I really don’t think I would have denied Sally another sundae and I certainly would have allowed that person to have the chocolate bar at the s’more party. As a hostess, I believe it is my duty to make people feel comfortable, happy and not ashamed for asking for more. I want them to come away from any gathering I throw happy that they came. I want them to enjoy themselves. If that means a second helping – then I’m happy to do it. I’m not saying to allow any guest to walk all over you – destroy your house or go through your cupboards. I do believe that Sally’s mother did cross the line and she was terribly rude but Sally wasn’t. She asked – and was told no and like the child she is probably felt a measure of shame and embarrassment. I am also not criticizing the OP for saying no – but when you look at the situation in MzLiz’s light – it looks a little different. I don’t think this one instance would cause me to cut Sally out of my daughter’s life. A child asked for more ice cream at a birthday party.
This is such a measured and insightful response. You’ve actually prompted me to reexamine my relationship and interactions with a child in my extended family. Thank you.
Yeah, that’s another good point–Sally asked for a second sundae, at an ice cream party where she was an invited guest, while the ice cream and toppings were still out. Sally’s mother just took ice cream and candy, which had been put away, without asking, at a party where she wasn’t a guest. I’m definitely seeing some “BEC” (yes, I know what that stands for) attitude towards Sally, and some of that is probably coloured by her mother. I didn’t see that before. Anyway, I don’t know the full situation; maybe Sally has behaved badly of her own accord before (since, being “pissed” and “pouting” are subjective terms; I have a bit of a resting bee-with-an-itch face myself), but from your description, I don’t see Sally so much as a brat anymore, but more as an unfortunate kid being raised by a clueless mother.
I believe OP would have been as firm to any child asking for seconds. Yes, it’s an ice cream party but that does not mean icecream buffet. And, no, limiting kids to one icecream sundae doesn’t make OP a bad hostess. One is plenty. I certainly wouldn’t appreciate someone giving my child icecream in excess & possibly causing my child to have an upset stomach.
Why should OP take responsibility for socializing Sally? Sally’s parents are responsible for her upbringing.
I would also talk with my child about distancing herself from Sally. Just like Sally’s parents are responsible for her upbringing, I am responsible for my child’s. If there’s a bad influence in my child’s life, I will certainly take steps to remove that influence from my child – no apologies.
The OP might hold firm on her “no seconds” rule for any kid (even her own), but I think she might have been more charitable in her interpretation, and think, “Jenny’s eyes are bigger than her stomach,” or “Chloe can’t eyeball the rest of the ice cream as well as I can, and there isn’t enough for seconds for everyone,” as opposed to, “Sally is a brat.” Maybe Sally is picking up on the fact that the OP; the mother of her best friend, dislikes her. Maybe the candy-poaching was pushback against that. She hasn’t been taught proper behaviour by her mother, and I can’t imagine that that mother is great at teaching coping skills either, when her daughter gets upset that So-and-so doesn’t like her. It’s not an excuse, but I think it’s one of a few plausible explanations for this behaviour.
Yolanda – The way the OP describes it, it ABSOLUTELY was an ice cream buffet. An array of food from which the guests serve themselves is the very definition of a buffet. If a host wants to limit the amount their guests consume, then put it away after everyone has a had a pass. Leaving it out gives the impression the remaining food is available to eat. Honestly, I think it was kinda rude to leave the treats on display, then refuse to allow a guest another helping. If you’re trying to be fair cos you believe there’s not enough for everyone to have a 2nd ‘massive’ sundae, you clear the table or you divide up the rest of it between the guests who’ve got room for more. (With the added benefit that there’s nothing for Sally’s Rude Mom to grab for herself since it’s allllll gone! 😉 )
I acknowledged that Sally is not the OP’s responsibility but don’t we all learn how to socialize from one another? If the OP doesn’t explain her house rules & the behavior she expects to this girl, then she can’t be upset if Sally doesn’t curb her ‘terrible boundaries’ while in her home. It’s the epitome of “I’ve tried nothing & I’m all out of ideas!” Influence can go either way, be both good AND bad – If the girls are gonna hang out, why not try to be a good influence? As for tummy aches, if you know your child has a tendency to over indulge & be uncomfortable later, I hope you would have a talk with her about not doing that before dropping her off at other people’s homes. Knowing how much food you can eat before getting sick is a basic personal responsibility. Some kids can hoover up a colossal amount of food & then bounce around the room, no problem. Others have one spoonful too much & it’s Puke City. If you’re still concerned your child might make herself ill, at least give the hostess a heads-up & your permission to be restrictive. (“Your mom would prefer you didn’t have too much, hon. Could you maybe help me set up this next party game?” is waaaaay better than “No, you may NOT have extra helpings”)
But, of course, you do you when it comes to your children. Just keep in mind, kids have no idea what’s it’s like to be a grown-up, but grown-ups have some idea of what it was like to be a kid. I have memories of the adults who treated me kindly & taught me with love when I was young. I also recall the adults who really enjoyed lording it over me & rubbing my nose in mistakes (like all of us, I’m sure!) Now that it’s my turn to be the adult, I’d rather be the former than the latter.
I love that approach. I had a similar experience from Sally’s point of view (I know, I’m about to admit to being “wrong”) in grade school gym classes. After the younger years (K-2 or so), the teachers just assumed that we all knew the rules to baseball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, floor hockey, et cetera. I think they did teach us the rules in the early years, but for me, those rules just didn’t stick–because I was never into team sports; as a child or as an adult. I know what I like to do now (yoga, Zumba, strength training, swimming, and other individual activities), but elementary school gym classes were mostly team sports, and running laps.
Anyway, after grade three or so, the teachers (and the other kids) just assumed that we all knew the rules, so when I did something wrong, they’d assume that I was breaking the rules/not trying/not taking the game seriously, on purpose. This problem was compounded by the fact that I was a good student otherwise, so they figured that I was being silly/not trying/breaking the rules on purpose. As a result, I grew up hating sports, and thinking I had no athletic ability whatsoever……which I rectified as a adult, but it still made for a pretty miserable experience. Now, imagine feeling like that all the time in life–not being taught the rules of social interaction, and having to figure it all out yourself (like I was never really taught the rules of, say, basketball), and being berated for not automatically knowing. The only difference is, Sally’s situation is worse, because team sports are optional once you finish school, but social interaction isn’t really.
“Those are not for you to take.”