How should I respond? (Misbehavior & Birthday Party) - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
It doesn't sound like he's being rejected. From what you've said, it sounds like they're making a real effort to include him and are hoping that you guys will be vigilant about his behavior.
Agreed, and logically, I know that to be true, but there is still a part of me that is concerned that if this behavior continues he will not have any friends....and neither will we. I guess I still feel rejected.
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#32 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 02:46 PM
 
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OP I would write back and tell her that you think it will be too much for your ds, and that you hope to see her again in the future. I personally think it's a little silly to write an email like that. I don't know what the dynamic is between your kids, but it seems like she's making a mountain out of a molehill. It could very well be that her son is antagonizing yours. You never know. What I have noticed lately is that parents seem to see their kids as victims or bullies, when in fact there is a lot of grey area. My dd(18 mos), for instance is a toy stealer, and went through a hitting stage (which has ended thank heaven!). She is one of those aggressive kids. The weird thing is that while she's aggressive, she's also very prosocial, more so than most of the kids I know. She hands over toys regularly, hugs her friends, gives kisses, says "I love you" and is generally very nice most of the time. BUT the other kids her age don't hand over their toys or show as much affection. I think somewhere along the line she gets frustrated, because she has been nice and gave her toy over willingly but the other kids aren't playing along, so she grabs the toy back. The thing that most of the moms I hang out with notice is that my kid took their kid's toy, not that my kid shared her toy in the first place. Therefore my kid is a "bully" and their kid is a "victim". I find this dynamic frustrating, so much so that I don't hang out with other moms anymore. I would worry about continuing a friendship with this family because your kid is perceived as the bad guy and their kid is the innocent victim. Once those dynamics are set it's really hard to break out of them.

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#33 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 02:49 PM
 
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I think it's also about accepting someone else's truth of the situation, however painful that is, and moving on. She's offering the 'moving on' part, while not being passive aggressive about it (I read the previous comments and didn't see passive aggressiveness TBH), while also expressing to you the effect your son's behaviour had on their's. I think she did a pretty good job, actually. I may not have been as diplomatic if it was my first child who was the victim of biting/shoving.

Having said that, 2 hours is a LONG way to go - a long time for a 3 yr old in a car, a stressful occasion, too many strangers. Why not politely decline with the invitation to a future playdate instead, or maybe even dinner at your home? This cuts out all unknown variables, saves you 4 hrs of driving, and keeps the friendship intact. It's not the end of the world to not go to a party...I'm sure her 3 yr old will either totally forget or get over it.
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#34 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 03:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wildflower18 View Post
This brings up two issues for me...one is that we always try to prevent him from hurting others, it's certainly not something we encourage so why point out the obvious. Secondly it upsets me because I feel like at the age of 2 he's already been labeled (although she didn't mean to imply that he is a "menace") and that there is no room for change in his behavior. (This probably sounds illogical because she is also stating that she feels if we plan properly we can avoid a problem, but none-the-less it is a part of how I feel.)


It's totally normal to have those feelings. It's easy for me to sit here and dispense advice, but if I were you I'd be pretty emotional about it too. That's why it's nice to be able to vent and analyze and obsess here and then go write your friend a nice, polite reply.


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#35 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 03:07 PM
 
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I feel like there was more of a hesitance in the e-mail. She really wants to continue the friendship so she's gone to all of this effort and hopes that we meet her half way and make this work. I feel like it is expected that my son will act out and I must do everything I can to keep him happy while I am there to prevent another issue. This brings up two issues for me...one is that we always try to prevent him from hurting others, it's certainly not something we encourage so why point out the obvious. Secondly it upsets me because I feel like at the age of 2 he's already been labeled (although she didn't mean to imply that he is a "menace") and that there is no room for change in his behavior. (This probably sounds illogical because she is also stating that she feels if we plan properly we can avoid a problem, but none-the-less it is a part of how I feel.)
In the OP, you say "They recently moved to the area and our children have only seen each other 3 times in the past, one of which was a week long vacation to their previous home. At each of those visits, our son, who is a bit more physically active and aggressive, has bitten or shoved their child."

So every time the kids have seen each other, your kid has attacked their kid. Ot the point that their kids is afraid of yours. This is why they expect him to act out. It's not exactly unreasonable, is it? And the last time, involving biting, choking and hitting, didn't even register with your DH. That does not exactly sound like he is on top of things when you are not there.

I think that under the circumstances the email was very diplomatic.
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#36 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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OP, I just wanted to clarify that my original comment about the whole "passive aggressive" thing wasn't said in order to point fingers at your friend or imply she was a bad person with ill-intent or that you shouldn't try to remain friends (or to start a conversation about what is and isn't passive aggressive ) but to offer up a reason why you may feel the way you do. I get the feeling from some of the responses to it that it may have come off otherwise.

However, my point was just that it seems like she sort of got to put everything out there about the previous incident in sort of a safe way that you couldn't respond to without looking like a...well...you know ...because it was framed in the form of trying to be helpful and make the party go well for everyone. It seems like you sort of got shut down, intentionally or not, from discussing it which I imagine is sort of frustrating.

Anyway, I'm sorry you are literally losing sleep over this and hope it all works out.

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#37 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The weird thing is that while she's aggressive, she's also very prosocial, more so than most of the kids I know. She hands over toys regularly, hugs her friends, gives kisses, says "I love you" and is generally very nice most of the time.
Interesting observation. Our son is very communicative. Most people that meet him comment on his verbal language for his age. I think sometimes that gets him into trouble though. People perceive him as older than he is, but he is still social/emotionally a 2 1/2 year old. Because he is more verbal, we've seen a lot of friendly conversation starters from him recently - if he gets a drink, he'll ask his friend for a drink. If he has food, he tries to share it with them (sometimes this means trying to shove it in your mouth before you can answer him though). Good to point out that the least desired behavior can also on the flip side be what is so endearing about the child.

riverscout - I'm not only losing sleep - I've now lost nearly a day of work because I'm obsessing about it. Eventually I will sort things out in my own mind and feel settled about it.

choli - yes, the first time was after a full day at a friends house, our son, who was in the midst of biting when he was teething, bit their child before we went home. The 2nd time we were at their house for a week and there was one biting incident maybe a couple pushing incidents as we hung around the house without much activity to engage the kids. And the 3rd time was at a friends house locally. There was no biting, but apparently some shoving and I'm not sure what else. It's not that my husband wasn't aware of it and didn't intervene, he just doesn't remember the event in the same manner as it happened 4 months ago and did not seem that traumatic from his standpoint. They were still playing together when I arrived at the end of the evening, so I'm not sure how serious the incident was. So yes, I understand their concern and it isn't unreasonable that it could happen again and yes they should protect their child. That doesn't negate the fact that as a parent and a human being I have my own feelings about the matter regardless of how diplomatic it was presented.

As Cascadian pointed out in her post, I am trying my best to accept someone elses truth of the situation and their perspective of my child. It's not always easy. I'm doing my best before responding irrationally to her.

I think we've decided not to attend and to offer a playdate sometime in the future. Thanks for helping me with the wording of how to respond. I just need to take a deep breath and go home and hug my child and let it go.
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#38 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 08:03 PM
 
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Thanks for all the feedback. Just want to clarify that the biting stage is has ended with the entrance of his 2 year molars. He does shove and push now on occasion, sometimes over sharing, sometimes as "entertainment" when he is bored, sometimes though, we can't figure out what the trigger is.

It's not that we aren't hypervigilant, but things happen, especially when you are in a party situation and socializing with friends that you rarely see. In other recent playgroup situations, he has not had any issues, but that is in a less stressful environment. Driving 2 hours one way to introduce him to a new setting, possibly forgoing or pushing back nap time and the strong likelihood that there will be sugary treats in the scenario is just setting our son up for failure. And being that he is already targeted as the bully, I agree that it may be best just to forgo the event. We've been invited to a local party where there is no pre-conceived notion about our child and can practice the party setting closer to home.

It would be nice to preserve the friendship through this. We'll see how it goes.
It doesn't sound as if he is being targeted as a bully, it sounds like something happened in the past and your friend wants to protect her child and has come up with some very age appropriate ways to do that. I realize it is hard when you hear something that isn't delightful about your child, but this mom if your son hurt her kid, especially if he has done it more than once or she knows he has a history of this and will probably do it in a new situation like party, she is justified in asking you to help make sure it doesn't happen again. A lot of people would just drop you and your child like a hot potato.

Having been through a child who hurts other kids you may be more accepting of kids doing that to your child. A parent who hasn't been through that is going not going to accept that sort of behavior from anyone else's child, I am surprised she seems to see it as a normal phase that warrants distraction rather than bullying that warrants exclusion from invitations. I think if you go you should meet her willingness to help minimize the problem by watching your child at all times. You and your husband can switch off so each of you have time to socialize and help your son through this stage.
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#39 of 41 Old 06-18-2010, 08:28 PM
 
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I think it's important to remember that her kid is only two and a half. That's too young to be a bully.
I think it's odd that the op's friend's child remembers these episodes. I wonder if the parents have been making a big deal about it in front of him. I've seen a lot of toddler aggression over the years, and usually it bothers the parents more than the kids.

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#40 of 41 Old 06-19-2010, 01:48 AM
 
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My 2 1/2yo would definitely remember being pushed or shoved by someone. It doesn't happen to him. I do not think this is necessarily a parents issue.

I agree that having a visit at a different time/venue would be better. That sounds like a lot of driving for a 3yo birthday party.

As far as your child and you being a good enough parent - try to let it go. You're doing great. You're loving your son, providing for him, truly loving him and helping him work past negative behaviors. We none of us are perfect. I think that parenting exists to bludgeon perfectionists with the truth of imperfection until we come out the other side more compassionate and relaxed.

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#41 of 41 Old 06-19-2010, 02:27 AM
 
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The email from your friend labels your child as being aggressive. That's what bothers me the most about it. Observing a 2 yr olds behavior, 3 times total, is not enough to make such a generalization. It would have been nice if she had checked with you first to see if your son had outgrown the negative behavior instead of assuming that he was still biting and shoving (don't most 2 yr olds shove when they are mad?) It also makes it more likely that every little, normal, age-appropriate negative behavior your son exhibits will reinforce the label for your friend. I wouldn't want to deal with this stress by going to the birthday party.
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