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I need some intelligent parenting advice regarding friends

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
When we moved to our home a year ago we found that the only other young child on our block is an 8yo girl who lives only 2 houses away. This would normally be a wonderful thing, to have someone for dd (5yrs) to play with, but I cannot stand this child! Maybe it is because from day1 the child has been rude to me, she completely ignores me (she just gives a smirk like "I don't want to talk to you" and stares away) and when asked to go somewhere w/dh and dd she always asks "Is your Mom going?" then cheers when told I'm not going along. Or maybe it is because she constantly "one-ups" my dd and plays on their age difference (ie: dd will happily say "I'm inviting you to my party, are you inviting me to yours?...neighbor girl: "Well I don't know, there are only going to be *older* girls there"). Or maybe it's because she has NO respect for her parents and will *yell* at them in front of everyone or talk negatively about them or say things like "I don't care if I get into trouble"....NOT the kind-of behavior I want influenced on my daughter. Or maybe it is because every single time she comes into our house she demands "I'm hungry!", no please or thank you (unless dd reminds her)... I could go on and on.

This child is the complete opposite of my happy-go-lucky super-friendly love-everyone daughter. The trouble is that she isn't just someone to play with, dd completely looks up to this girl. Dd's only 5 and she is already learning back-talk and bad-attitude behavior from her. We set dd straight every time she plays with her, and *I* even set the girl straight when she comes over (which helps temporarily)...but things aren't changing in the long run. I try my best to keep her busy doing other things (in and out of the home) so she doesn't want to play with her. We (dh and I) have clearly told dd that we don't like the child and why. But dd still *begs* to play with her if she is even remotely bored. She cries if I say no. So I hurt her if I say no and I hurt (and confuse) her if I say yes. I have even instilled a rule that they can only play together on the weekends, but then it turns out to be for *hours* on the weekends. I wish this girl would find friends her own age to play with. I can see that it is good for her poor self-esteem to have someone like my daughter looking up to her, but I am NOT in favor of sacrificing my dd for the girl's self-esteem!. When the girl does have friends over, they always walk in front of our house laughing and having fun until dd hears and wants to play with them, then dd is turned down "because she has guests".

I hope things will improve when dd starts kindergarten this Fall, but the girl will always live there so my guess is that it won't. Meanwhile, my dh is major wimpy when it comes to this kind of stuff therefore ZERO support, he says let them play but then gets PO'd when dd gets that attitude after playing with her. I'm a huge advocate of approving my daughter's friends, and if I don't think they are good for her then she moves on to better friends (to model how it should be when she gets older and decides for herself), but this is tough because she lives 2 houses away...

If you read this far you definitely deserve an award. It's really been bugging me for a year now. I go back and forth on letting them play together and not letting them play together when something bad happens. I know dh and I are a balance, I am sometimes-overly protective and dh is always-overly-lenient. Any advice??

TIA,

Michelle
post #2 of 14

My sister had this exact same problem

For a moment, I thought you were my older sister! But her troublesome neighbor girl moved away (much to the neighborhood parents' delight). In her case, it was even worse, because the girl WOULD NOT leave their house, and when she did, it was often with one of my nieces' toys (6 yo niece is so sweet that she'd let the girl "have" any of her toys, until my sister put a stop to it).

Anyway, I think it's hard because it's natural for a younger girl to look up to an older girl, even if she is mean. Have you tried talking to her parents and telling them what the girl says about *them* when she's over your house? Have you tried to schedule playdates outside of your neighborhood, so your DD has weekend playdates that don't involve the neighbor? Is it possible for you to restrict their playtime to a couple of hours on one weekend day: like saying to your daughter that she can only play with the neighbor on EITHER Sat. or Sun. and then for only two hours at a time? I'm sorry I can't me much help, b/c DS is only 12-weeks-old!

As my sister told me, it's AWFUL to see your own child mistreated. I hope you are able to curb the friendship without upsetting your daughter!
post #3 of 14
Michelle,

I don't have any wonderful advice, but I can understand your frustration and dilemma.

I agree with speaking to the 8 year old's parents if you feel comfortable with that. If my 8 year old behaved in the way this one does, I would want to be told. The disrespect to yourself is unacceptable. If that was my child, she would not go over to someone else's house if she was disrespectful to the adult in charge. I know you may not feel it is your place to 'discipline' her, but I wonder if there shouldn't be a consequence for the way she treats you? Just thinking as I type here.

I do think I wouldn't let my 5 year old play unsupervised with this child, although that puts huge amounts of pressure on you (and your 5 year old probalby won't like having Mom around all the time). That said, the 8 year old might not like it, so might not want to come around as often? Not sure that's a solution (as your dd likes to play with her).

Are there any outside activities you could take dd to so she could make friends closer to her own age? It's hard - as spamama said, it's natural for a 5 year old to look up to an 8 year old.

I'm sorry I dont' have better advice, but I do have lots of sympathy. Let us know what you decide...
Carolyn
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks spamama and Carolyn

Thanks for the thoughtful advice and ideas.

I wish I had the problem of the girl wanting to play here at our house but because I speak-up here and at her house she has free-reign (her parents don't watch them), she usually begs my dd to play at her house. When they do play here, I have come to the point where I stay within hearing distance and intervene when necessary. My daughter if fine with that but the girl obviously isn't.

As far as telling the parents, it is so hard to tell someone's parents that their kid is a brat (and even harder to put it into kind words). I have attempted several times with her mother but she is very evasive, snobby and superficial, it's hard to even talk to her at all (like mother like daughter I guess). Her father is a nice person but rarely home and when he is home he lets her walk all over him, so I know I'll have little luck from that end. They don't invest a lot of time in their daughter, her mother only works a few hours in the am but she puts her in after-school care until the early evening, then tells her to basically leave her alone during the weekends. The father is home later in the evenings (at which time I am told by the girl that they, daughter & father, always fight until bedtime), and part of the weekends (she is an absolute terd to him, very very mean and rude). So I have come to the conclusion that talking to the parents won't do much good. This little girl doesn't have a whole lot of family love. I know she is very sad and frustrated inside, which is probably why she is how she is. But my daughter comes first to me, so feeling sorry for the girl has to be put on the side.

I'll try the idea of playing only one day on the weekend (at OUR house), that will help limit the time a lot. It's also a good idea to have a consequence for mistreating myself, so far I have only given gentle discipline (ie: use your manners when you ask for something, etc) or I just stew:LOL . As far as outside activities and other friends, we do that but it's hard when the girl is only 2 houses away, when we get home it happens all over again. My socialite daughter constantly wants to play...
post #5 of 14
Oh, gosh - it sounds awful. And it isn't hard to figure out why this girl acts the way she acts.

I do think I wouldn't allow my daughter to play over at this girl's house at all - no matter how much she begged (sounds like you have already decided this). From your description of the parents, I would worry that my daughter wasn't being supervised appropriately.

I wish we had better advice for you! Do let us know how things are going/if anything improves...
Carolyn
post #6 of 14
MS we used to have the same problem in our old neighborhood (and it's why decided to move farther out to the "country" this time). I think it's great advice by only allowing them to play one day a week. I also think it's okay to only allow them to play at your house with your supervision. My ds#1 who's 8 plays with a 10 yr old boy and I constantly watch them. Older kids do try to take advanatge of the younger kids.

You might try to explain to your dd how badly the other girl behaves and why you don't always approve. It helped with my kids. Try making more play dates with dd's friends to avoid having this girl over. Or sign dd up for art lessons, music lessons, etc... something to keep her occupied. I know when you get home she'll just show up but be firm and say "no we've got plans or we're going shopping". Good luck.
post #7 of 14
I think the little lady doth protest too much! Children like that are often having a difficult time at home?! I for one sort of admire her spunk...I think I would adopt an attitude like this when she comes in for instance and says she's hungry...

You know, X, I really admire the way you just come right out and ask for what you want. I know some children would just stand around being hungry for an hour or two before they got up the gumption to ask for something to eat!

After the compliment phase, you could move on to good-natured teasing. When she demands something...you could call her little miss bossy, but with a smile.

I think after a while she might develop a liking for you and become polite in her own way.

Fire into water becomes an angry sizzle.

Fire and fire together make a lot of sparks at first, but if they're meeting each other in the middle, it ends up putting the fires out, and where they once burned, wildflowers and fertile ground.

Once you reach an understanding, a sort of working relationship, you could work on other things. Like asking her why she has to yell at her parents to get their attention. Why does SHE think she does that?

She's sounds like a little fireball to me. I sort of admire that. When I was a kid, I never spoke up.

Sarah
post #8 of 14
truly-sarah makes a good point. Before I read her post I was thinking of a tough love approach. But I think hers is better. I would start by only letting this child play at your house. If her parents don't care about their daughter they certainly don't care about yours. Then I would just stay on top of whatever interaction takes place. Then repeat yourself a lot. We don't talk that way. We don't treat people that way. & so on. The humour/admiration thing is good too.

Its obvious that she is not going to go away & forbidding the two to play is only going to cause you grief. Children can learn to act a certain way in a certain environment. I might even sit her down & explain the rules at your house & then let her know that she will have to go home if she can't follow those rules. Then follow through.

We have a difficult situation on our block too, but we are hoping to move in a few months. My ds is 3 & has just started asking to play next door. He has never been invited & there is no way I would let him go. But it is hard to explain to him.

I hope we get out of here soon.
post #9 of 14
I have to say that I have experienced this a few times and ended up putting a stop to the friendship both times. I have worked too hard making sure that my kids are respectful, honest, kind, etc. to let some badly-parented child bring all that bad energy into our lives. Obviously, the child has learned to behave that way and it is not really his/her fault...BUT, I felt that continuing to allow a child that is disrespectful, dishonest, mean, and sometimes a thief into our lives was not teaching my children any good lessons. After much attempting to make the situation better, to no avail, I explained to both my child and the child in question (separately) that I was not willing to have someone who does not treat us nicely (steals our things, uses bad words, lies, etc) in our lives. I feel that doing this set a good example for my kids...you teach others how to treat you. You don't have to put up with bad treatment. I wouldn't put up with it from an adult, why continue to let any upsetting element into your life?
post #10 of 14
try your best in the meantime, these mamas have good advice, but I think school will separate them more than you think (summers may still be a struggle). And in school it's easier for your to "nudge" them away. Most of the age-difference kid friendships I know always drift apart during the school year, unless they really work to maintain them.
post #11 of 14
I would try sitting down with your dd first and establishing some boundries.

Inour house we talk this way, do these things, treat people like this.

When XXX comes over she needs to follow these rules don't you think?

Then the two of you can have a talk with XXX about how she is expected to act in your house and what the consequences for disrespecting are. (she has to go home but can try again in a week?)

You should also talk to dd about how XXX treats you and how it makes you feel. Ask her how it makes her feel to have someone talk about her mommy that way. Ask her if XXX says things about her that makes her feel bad. Explain to her why she isn't allowed to play over there (and there is no way in h*** my child would play over at her house) and how it is sad that XXX mommy doesn't take good care of her. You may aqlso want to cover the importance of dd standing up for herself and maybe role play some situations so she can practice.
post #12 of 14
It sounds like a terrible dilemma you are in and I don't know what I would do if my son were in such a situation. However, I remember that my mother disapproved one of my friendships for reasons I can't quite recall. Needless to say that she was not very successful. The more she tried to seperate us the more I found ways in playing with that girl. Of course, those were the days (in the 70ies in Germany) were you played outside without any parental supervision. I just want to add one thing. I don't think your daughter feels being taken advantage of. I am sure that she also has her reasons why she is so attracted to that girl. It's you who sees it that way (and I am sure from your point of view you are right). Soon your daughter will devolp other friendships and discard the girl. I know it's painful but it's probably also part of growing up. Try to limit their playtime together and supervise their playing. Maybe the other girl will get bored sooner than you think.
Good luck
Susanne
post #13 of 14

You and I must live parallel lives or somethng :)

This little girl doesn't spit on you and tell you to shut up does she? DS is three and his "best" friend lives next door. It's very hard, my son is timid and pretty well behaved and she definately brings out the worst in him. They are the same age, but she's a bit bigger and she hits *alot*. We've been working really hard to get DS to use his words and not hit with a great deal of success and it's so sad when I warn him not to hit and then he just has to stand there and cry while she kicks his ass. Poor kid. Now he just runs from her when he can and the rest of the time I try to intervene as quickly as possible, hopefully before DS gets hurt too badly. I've talked to thsi childs mom, she's a good friend but she is also in a great deal of denial about her daughters behavior and makes alot of excuses. It's improved a little, but I've mostly just made it a point to *greatly* limit their time together. I know it's hard to do and if I wasnt in a similar situation I would tell you to cut them off completely. But I know from my experience that ths is very dificult. So, not any real advice here - just hugs. Good luck....
post #14 of 14
The only scenario I'd even consider is thus....

Child comes over.

*You* are in constant supervision of said child.

Since the little brat is rude to you she will come out with one of her obnoxious quips.

You say something like, "Since you cannot be polite you must go home".

Your daughter sees what you won't accept in your own home.

The 8YO bratty neighbor will soon tire of supervised playtime with your daughter.

Likely (and I say likely) problem solved in two or three rounds.

Debra Baker
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