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How to deal with a friend disciplining my child *Update in OP*

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
****Update*** Thank you for your responses. I did get a few of them here that really helped. I am unsubscribing now because I hope the issue has been resolved. I spoke with my friend and told her that I felt badly that I had put her into situations where she felt that she needed to discipline my son. I also told her that I felt bad that her daughter was being hurt or picked on and that it seems like the age differences between the kids are not very conducive to playdates. I informed her that from now on, we should try to schedule outings where we are actively engaged with the kids and not just hanging out at each other's houses while they play on the floor, etc. She understood, was not angry, but was saddened and said that this felt like it was limiting our friendship.



Here's the backstory:

I have a 3 1/2 year old boy, VERY active, aggressive, energetic and strong willed. love him so much lol. My very good friend has a 20 month old little girl who is often timid, quiet, peaceful, etc. In the past, I have tried making friends with other moms who have boys because I often feel like my child's energy and demeanor is really misunderstood among mothers of girls. However, it looks like I keep attracting friends with daughters.

Anyway, the problem here is that any scuffle that happens between my son and her daughter turns into her disciplining him. She almost always forces him to apologize (a practice we don't believe in.) Most recently, she told me that she found a way to get him to listen to her and do what she asks--by telling him "I'm going to go tell your mom!" A lot of this happens when I'm just out of earshot or not in the immediate room or am engaged in something else and can't get to the situation in time. Her and I have talked in general about how it's an interesting idea to let children work things out before immediately stepping in and fixing things for them, but she is obviously very protective of her daughter since she's much smaller, younger, etc.

I'm kind of at a loss at what to do and hope this difference in parenting styles won't equate to us having to spend less time together.

Any ideas?
post #2 of 37
I totally understand her protectiveness. You should do all you can to keep her baby safe as well. That way you can head off any problems.

I would absolutely step in and let her know that you don't force apologies. They are insincere anyway. He isn't even quite four years old yet, so he doesn't need to be told how he feels.

As for the "I'm going to tell your mom" threat.. just ask her to stop threatening him. The two of you can work something out that works for everybody, and if you are both consistant, he will eventually stop hurting the baby.

Remember, babies can be a little annoying to a three year old. He has every right to feel mad at her... it's just not O.K to hurt her.
post #3 of 37
This is one of the those places where you can completely avoid situations where she needs to step in -- you need to be constantly aware of where your son is and what he is doing. You need to NOT be out of earshot or so far away that you can't intervene before she does. You won't be able to relax and enjoy time "off duty" when you are together, unfortunately.

I would tell her that you are making a firm commitment to be vigilent and intervene quickly when things get to a point where the little girl could be overwhelmed by his energy, and in exchange you would like her commitment not to intervene before you have an opportunity to do so.
post #4 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
You won't be able to relax and enjoy time "off duty" when you are together, unfortunately.
This is, obviously, the sad part about the situation. Why make friends when you can't relax on the couch with a cup of coffee while the kids play? We are both never without our children either.
post #5 of 37
You're going to have to adjust your expectations. It's a season in your life, no, you will not be able to sit and relax on the couch with a cup of coffee while the children play in another room. Accept it, and find things you can do while you watch the children. That doesn't mean you can't have friends, it just means your parenting comes before your relaxing and chatting.
post #6 of 37
Well honestly I can see her concern if her wee one is only 20 months old and you yourself said your son was "VERY active, aggressive, energetic and strong willed". Perhaps if you were there with him at all times and keep him within arms reach basically until everyone is comfortable that he has some understanding of his actions (which unfortunately may be awhile, sorry!! ) she wouldn't feel the need to step in?

I know it can be hard. I have a DS who was the quiet type and it was hard for me to have friends for coffee if their child was rambunctious and aggressive. It was too much for DS and just not worth trying until he got older in my case. We had to be careful about his friend selection.

I hope this works out mama.
post #7 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JessicaTX View Post
You're going to have to adjust your expectations. It's a season in your life, no, you will not be able to sit and relax on the couch with a cup of coffee while the children play in another room. Accept it, and find things you can do while you watch the children. That doesn't mean you can't have friends, it just means your parenting comes before your relaxing and chatting.
Right, so it sounds like what I'll have to do is plan more "me" time for socializing with friends while the kids are off with DH or grandma.
post #8 of 37
My friend's son was really aggressive at that age. She had to be on top of him all the time or he would hurt smaller kids--and she'd get some really dirty looks and angry comments from other moms whose kids got hurt--can't say I blame them if it was my kid getting hurt. It wasn't fun for my friend, and she didn't get to sit and relax EVER when her son was around other kids, but she figured that his personality was such that this was the only way he was going to learn to get a handle on his aggression. He did eventually stop being aggressive and it's all cool now. My friend joined an evening book group and did some volunteer work without her son in order to get some "me time" where she could hang out and not have to be on top of things with her son all the time. Unfortunately, when you've got an agressive kid and a friend with a smaller, nonagressive kid, you really can't sit back and relax. But don't worry, in another year or two, it will get easier.
post #9 of 37
You might find it is easier if you make friends with children closer in age or even a bit older than your child. Part of the issue with this particular situation is that your child is older, bigger, more active. But he is still also impulsive and doesn't understand his own strength yet. That wouldn't be an issue if the other child was 5, but its a big issue when the other child isn't even 2. Also, sometimes these playdates go better at the park or zoo or something similar, rather than in one of your homes.
post #10 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Harpy View Post
Well honestly I can see her concern if her wee one is only 20 months old and you yourself said your son was "VERY active, aggressive, energetic and strong willed". Perhaps if you were there with him at all times and keep him within arms reach basically until everyone is comfortable that he has some understanding of his actions (which unfortunately may be awhile, sorry!! ) she wouldn't feel the need to step in?

I know it can be hard. I have a DS who was the quiet type and it was hard for me to have friends for coffee if their child was rambunctious and aggressive. It was too much for DS and just not worth trying until he got older in my case. We had to be careful about his friend selection.

I hope this works out mama.
I know, isn't is funny--she has a hard time with my child because he is full of energy and loves to run, stomp and shout excitedly and I have a hard time with her child because she is so timid, non-adventurous and clingy. It's so hard to find a mama and a child that fit the both of us!
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamasBoys View Post
Right, so it sounds like what I'll have to do is plan more "me" time for socializing with friends while the kids are off with DH or grandma.
Well if you have those kinds of oppurtunities, absolutely! You can start a monthly mothers day out or something and go hang out with your friends sans children. =) I misunderstood your earlier statement about never being without your children and didn't think you would have a childcare option.
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by JessicaTX View Post
You're going to have to adjust your expectations. It's a season in your life, no, you will not be able to sit and relax on the couch with a cup of coffee while the children play in another room. Accept it, and find things you can do while you watch the children.
I agree. There is a big difference between a 20 month old and a 3 year old. You cannot expect a 20 month old not to be 'clingy' or timid around an active 3 year old regardless of gender or parenting styles.

IF you meet at a park or go outside, the noise level will be easier for your friend to process.

I will say that often times, because I am so calm and engaged with my kids, other parents have 'relaxed' and left their children for me to mind. It is really hard on me at times. I do not get that impression from your posts though.
post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamasBoys View Post
In the past, I have tried making friends with other moms who have boys because I often feel like my child's energy and demeanor is really misunderstood among mothers of girls. However, it looks like I keep attracting friends with daughters.
I'm in very much the same situation, except my son is older and the friends we make are often older or the same age. My son is not very aggressive, but very strong willed (will NOT listen to strangers) and very very active. They just don't seem to understand him at all and seem to think their daughters are in danger. : One of my friends constantly corrected my son, even when I had already addressed him and was standing right next to him. I had to ask her to just stop and told her it was not her place to address my son. She still kept doing it for a while, maybe because correcting other people's children were so deeply ingrained in her. If you are truely friends with this woman, I don't see that it will be a problem to talk to her about it ever so gently.
post #14 of 37
Well I have to say if you aren't there to "discpline" your kid, because you have chosen to leave the room, then she has to. Also "i'm going to tell your mom" may be a "threat" but isn't that exactly what you are asking her to do? To come get you and let you deal with your son's behavior?

also the difference between 20 months and 42 months is huge. Your kid has been around TWICE as long as the younger one! Ds is almost 2 (this sunday) and LOVES older kids, but sometimes has hard time with younger kids. When you are used to everyone being bigger than you (adults) its really hard to learn to change your actions when you are around younger kids. I don't think its fair to expect him to be able to navigate that world alone.
post #15 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hotmamacita View Post

I will say that often times, because I am so calm and engaged with my kids, other parents have 'relaxed' and left their children for me to mind. It is really hard on me at times. I do not get that impression from your posts though.
It's definitely the other way around in this situation. I have four boys, all of which have been rowdy and loud, so my tolerance level is really high. Hers is much, much lower, so she doesn't let certain things roll off her back like I do. (Example: I have an 8 month old baby and her 20 month old sits on him, pinches his cheeks hard, etc. It really doesn't phase me at all.) She tends to step in right away and I'm more apt to just let it slide.
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamasBoys View Post
(Example: I have an 8 month old baby and her 20 month old sits on him, pinches his cheeks hard, etc. It really doesn't phase me at all.) She tends to step in right away and I'm more apt to just let it slide.
And this is the crux of it. It is not acceptable for an older child to bully a smaller one. Well, it's not acceptable for any child to bully, but to over power a smaller child is really unacceptable. I would absolutely redirect my toddler from overpowering a baby. That is the crux of a toddler learning to interact- to teach them what is ok, what is not. If you let it slide for a 20mo to sit on and pinch an infant, they don't learn it is not ok. I totally understand not getting overly worked up about it, but totally not let that slide. I always step in with toddlers, they need so much assistance with socializing,.
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamasBoys View Post
It's definitely the other way around in this situation. I have four boys, all of which have been rowdy and loud, so my tolerance level is really high. Hers is much, much lower, so she doesn't let certain things roll off her back like I do. (Example: I have an 8 month old baby and her 20 month old sits on him, pinches his cheeks hard, etc. It really doesn't phase me at all.) She tends to step in right away and I'm more apt to just let it slide.
I would step in too and redirect my 20 month old from pinching and sitting on others.
post #18 of 37
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy2maya View Post
And this is the crux of it. It is not acceptable for an older child to bully a smaller one. Well, it's not acceptable for any child to bully, but to over power a smaller child is really unacceptable. I would absolutely redirect my toddler from overpowering a baby. That is the crux of a toddler learning to interact- to teach them what is ok, what is not. If you let it slide for a 20mo to sit on and pinch an infant, they don't learn it is not ok. I totally understand not getting overly worked up about it, but totally not let that slide. I always step in with toddlers, they need so much assistance with socializing,.
I agree with what you're saying..

I guess I'm definitely just more passive in the way I deal with the same situation. Her child sits on my infant and I gently remove her and pick up my infant and soothe him. I guess I would feel really uncomfortable using my parenting styles and disciplinary tactics on someone who is not my own child or in my charge.
post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamasBoys View Post
I agree with what you're saying..

I guess I'm definitely just more passive in the way I deal with the same situation. Her child sits on my infant and I gently remove her and pick up my infant and soothe him. I guess I would feel really uncomfortable using my parenting styles and disciplinary tactics on someone who is not my own child or in my charge.
Yes, exactly. She might feel the same way. I think you and she should have an open conversation about this situation.
post #20 of 37
My 3.5 year old DD is very high energy and is aggressively friendly. She will go up to another child and say hi very loudly and excitedly. Quieter children seem to find it intimidating. Some kids are just fine with her exuberance. Age doesn't seem to matter as much as temperament. We don't do play dates (we've tried a couple of times). She's met some kids at the park that she plays well with, but more often she's just too high energy for most.
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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Gentle Discipline › How to deal with a friend disciplining my child *Update in OP*