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Old 05-31-2012, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry ahead of time for the length.

 

I've been really struggling with how to ask this question.  I'm concerned I'm going to come off judgey, and I'm totally not.  The problem here is MY kids and MY family, and some general policy making as my kids get older.  So, I'm looking for advice on how to handle things in my house, not to change someone else.

 

My kids are still little...7, 5, 3, 1, and a newborn.  Maybe some of this gets better as they get older?

 

Okay, so, three scenerios:

 

The first.  We're having a really hard time finding nice kids.  For example, it's a pretty stressful event to take dd to soccer practice.  Not so much the girls on her team...we've not had any issues there, but the younger siblings.  Dh has to manage our 3 little ones, frequently carrying 2 of them, just to keep a couple little boys from being awful to them.  It seems like anywhere we go, the little ones hurt my little ones, and I've yet to find a parent who stays beside their kid and prevents it.  Dh and I just tag team whenever we go out so our little 2 don't get beat up.  We have literally held our kids 3 and under for hours at a bbq to keep them safe.  It is SO frustrating.  I understand stuff happening, but not when stuff keeps happening.  We do have a large family, and tend to hang out with larger families, and it just feels like the parents are too busy or something.  Is this normal?  do I just need to keep protecting my littles in the name of relationships?  What about bigger kids physically forcing my kids to do stuff they don't want to?  (Dh did talk to the dad on one occasion.  Another time with a different kid from a different family, with an unapproachable mom, he talked to the girl directly, though it did no good.  He wound up shadowing dd the whole night to intervene whenever the other girl grabbed her.)  Since it happens to all of our kids, I've wondered if our kids are just pushovers or something.  We have taught them to stand up for themselves, though.  The time with the girl that dh had to be right with the whole evening (we're talking an 8yo!), dd (7y) was saying repeatedly, "No thank you.  I don't want to." Etc.  We finally told dd to say, "Stop right now or I will get my daddy!"  and then if she didn't to just push her down or hit her or whatever she had to go to get away and run to daddy anytime it happened again, and to tell any grownup that intervened that her daddy told her to, and they would have to talk to him.   I'm just not sure what to do when my child is standing, just standing, and another child walks over and out of the blue pushes them down on a weekly basis?  Thoughts?

 

Second.  What do you do when other peoples' kids tear up your house and your kids' toys?  Again, I know kids ruin stuff, and it just happens.  I don't mind that.  But, there really isn't a reason for screws to be torn out of the wall, multiple books to be ripped, favorite things thrown across the room and broken, and buckles ripped out of dress up clothes.  We have started putting everything but just a few toys away when we have people over, but as my kids get older, they would like to be able to share their things.  I would like to teach them to be generous and open with their things, too!  We work hard to provide our children with quality toys, and they work hard to take care of them.  I'm hurt when they are disrespected.  Do I just keep making them put their things away before their friends come over?  (Or friends with younger sibs who are destructive?) 

 

Third.  How do you handle when your kids pick up stuff from other kids?  Bad attitudes, or worse, like lying?  I feel like we have enough to deal with without adding other people's stuff.  The lying and sneakiness is really getting to me, though.  Should I just expect that?

 

 And then, what about things like horrible table manners?  Or poor posture?  Things that aren't character issues, but shouldn't continue.  Sometimes I feel like I'm on my kids' case all the time, and just when it gets better, we see certain friends again, and I'm back to nagging them to chew with their mouths closed.  I hate that I don't want to spend time with certain others because I don't want my kids picking up bad manners again.  Am I just unreasonable?  Should I just ignore the lip smacking and food playing in the name of relationship?  (Both, the relationship with my kids that gets damaged when I'm constantly on them for something, and for the relationship with the other kids?)  (Rereading this, I know the posture thing sounds petty, but it's actually a big deal.  The particular person that is being copied has spinal issues from that same poor stance.  My kids really need to not stand like that all the time.)

 

Do we just need new friends?  Or maybe find smaller families?

 

I want to say again that the majority of our issues don't stem from parents who aren't parenting.  In fact, we like most of the parents very much, and they are very involved with their children.  This post isn't about making them change.  It's about figuring out how to deal with the things that happen in mine when we are together.  Yes, I did ask some questions about whether or not some of these relationships should continue, but which is which is fairly clear in my mind.  As for those, I'm hoping to be told that I'm off base.  That it's normal, and they will grow out of it.

 

Please, give me your thoughts.  I really want to set my kids up from some great relationships, but these issues are really wearing on me.  I just want them safe, respected, and to be encouraged to be better people, rather than picking up all sorts of bad stuff all the time.  Mostly, I just want them safe, physically and emotionally. :(


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Old 06-01-2012, 09:33 AM
 
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Wow, I read through your post and I'm not entirely sure how to respond. First of all, is this one or two families you're having problems with...or everyone you meet? It seems like you are having problem with most families/kids you interact with..and if that's true..i'm going to say that maybe it's your outlook that may be the problem I have a 9, 6, and 4 year old. The oldest has been in sports for years now, and I've always taken my younger kids to the games and practices, and I've never had the problem you describe. My kids play well for the most part with whatever kids are there, and any issue that comes up is relatively minor. So maybe the issues you're describing are in reality minor things that you're taking too seriously? But then again, I am definitely not a helicopter parent, and it seems like you and your dh may tend towards that parenting style. Holding your children for 3 hours to keep them safe at a BBQ? That just seems insane to me. Not the holding part..but that you actually feel that they won't be safe if you put them down. What exactly was happening at this barbecue? Also I don't believe one should stay right beside their child at an event like that, so that may be the philosophy of the parents you're hanging out with. 

 

If your things are getting disrespected in the manner you describe, then you need to have set rules that you lay out for the kids before them come, and remind them throughout the playdate if they start getting unruly. There it's your house your rules, and if the kids can't listen let them know you they can't come back.

 

Lying and sneakiness aren't something your kids will just learn from other kids. Trust me..they will lie and be sneaky no matter if you keep them completely segregated from other kids for their entire childhood. IMO, there are more good things that come from letting our children explore relationships with other children then negative things. I think you are worrying too much.

 

It is perhaps your paragraph on table manners that has colored my view of your whole post. Are you complaining about posture and chewing with mouths closed in your kids..or other kids also? Either way I think those two things are going wayyy too far. If you want your kids to learn nice table manners, have a special fancy dinner once a month or so, so they know how to behave at nice places. However I can NOT imagine every meal monitoring whether or not my children are eating with their mouths shut or sitting up straight. Honestly, maybe we are just coming from completely different viewpoints, because I can't ever remember worrying about those things with my kids. I think you're way over the top on this..and if you are concerned about these things in other kids..well that just goes way beyond what you should be concerned about with children that aren't yours. 


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Old 06-01-2012, 11:34 AM
 
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Maybe you should try scaling way back on the social interactions to one of two families until your kids are much older.


Soccer practice- Maybe one parent could stay home with the younger siblings instead of bringing them to the practice.

 

At the bbq- If it is that unsafe and the other parents aren't interested in doing anything I would just leave instead of holding the kids for 3 hours. That sounds pretty bad.

 

Kids trying to physically force your child to do something- If it is the same kid repeatedly and they are hurting your child then tell your dc to stay away from them in the first place, walk away or get help. Can your dc compromising/negotiating/redirecting with the other kids?  "D, I really want to play with you but we can't play together if you are pushing/pulling me around. Let go of me and let's play abc together." Hey J, you really want to do x right now and I want to do y. I'll play x for a while if you play y with me or we can find something else we both want to do?"

 

kids destroying your house and things- Set up some rules on where they can play and what they can play with. If stuff gets damaged talk to the parents about it- fixing or replacing items. Don't invite them back to your house if they won't follow your house rules. Meet up at their home or the park instead of your house.

 

Kids picking up attitudes and behaviors- If someone seems to be a pretty bad influence all the time you don't have to have your kid continue to hang out with them. I think most kids will test their parents with attitudes, lying and being sneaky at some point regardless of what other kids are doing.

 

Table manners and poor posture- You are just going to have to work on this with your own kids. This sounds like the least of your problems though.

 

If your kids are being hurt or bullied all the time then maybe it is time to stop socializing so much or find some different people/environments. Maybe your dc would do better with other kids for awhile in a more structured environment rather than a free play situation... like a class or a guided activity.


Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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Old 06-01-2012, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for your thoughts.

 

It does certainly feel like it's everyone, which is one of the big things that led me to post.  I've been thinking that surely we are doing something wrong!  But, with a lot more reflection after reading your post, Simonmom, I've come up with quite a few families/kids/random meetings at the park that go just fine.  Most of those kids live out of state, though.  "Everyone" actually constitutes about 4 familes, and all that we've had the opportunity to spend much time with since we've lived here.  One of those are the little boys from soccer practice.  For the record, ds has played very well with several other little boys at games.  It's just these two that are a problem.  We just keep having bad experiences here, with the exception of one family that we do spend quite a bit of time with.  They've been great, and just about our only social outlet for a long time!  Our relationship with them is what I expect...you know, their kids do stuff sometimes, our kids do stuff sometimes, but mostly its just a lot of energy, a lot of laughing, and a lot of fun. 

 

The bbq was actually at our house, and it wasn't a one time (or one family!) thing.  Both families have 6 or so kids, and the younger ones are just out of control.  It starts feeling like parenting the parent when  we are constantly saying, "Uhm, your kid just pushed my kid again."  Or, "Johnny jerked that toy away from the 2yo, again."  Or, "Your 7yo is ripping up my land-scaping."  I'm cool pointing it out 2 or 3 times, but after that, we just hold our kids.  How many times do you point out that someone else's kid isn't behaving?  It just seems a little much.  That's why we just put most things away, too, and don't allow kids in the bedrooms.  By making everyone stay in the two main rooms of the house, at least more is observed.  And, I don't think I (or anyone else) ought to stay right with my kid the whole time we are hanging out with other people, but if my child kept purposefully knocking over someone else's child, I would stay with them to keep the other child safe for the rest of the time. 

 

Also, I think we hold back too much because we don't like seeing the other child get into trouble.  One of the girls that was so rough with dd, and wouldn't quit, would have been fairly severely punished if we took it to the mom.  It was at another large gathering, with the adults mostly in one room, and the kids in the other.  We didn't want to start a huge issue with the mom who would (based on prior experience) been at first defensive to us, and then would have shamed and spanked her dd.  The boys at soccer are screamed at the whole time we are there anyway.  Involving the parents would just result in some half-hearted better watching for a few minutes, and cause a whole lot more yelling.  So, again, we just pick our kids up and engage them otherwise...where they can't get repeatedly shoved down, or have dirt thrown at them or whatever. 

 

We are all starting to feel gunshy about trying to make more friends.  We are weary of this sort of thing. 

 

The table manners thing.  I knew that was going to come across all wrong.  I do not correct other people's kids, and I'm not the manners warden at our house.  When I'm talking about bad manners, I'm talking about lip smacking so loud, and constant purposeful dinging of the silverware on the plates that dh and I can't even talk.  Being firm about it (when it is just our family) feels like we are being so judging of the other kids, and I don't like having to make issue of something over and over again.  It feels like just saying, "Hey, we don't do that at our house" should be enough to make our kids stop, but it's this on-going thing.  I'm not sure I can make sense of this.  Dh read my post and knows exactly what I meant, and he also said he could see why it came across all wrong.  *shrug*  I need to do some more thinking about how I relate to my kids, and why stuff like this gets so out of control.  It's so confusing to me.  Maybe because we don't say anything when we are together, it's confusing to our kids when we are alone again?  But, it would be rude and out of place when we are together.  Again, I realize this sounds so petty.  I probably need work this out IRL with people who can see what I mean. 

 

But, typing this whole big thing (thanks again for reading!) has allowed me to get some better clarity on what's going on.  I think we just need to find some more families, and from a different circle.  This big homeschooling family thing isn't working out.  I need to find some people with one or two kids, I think.  If we invite over just one other family, we frequently have 8 or more children ages 10 and under.  It's just too many when the adults are trying to socialize, too.  Inviting over two or three families that we know puts us at 20 or so kids, depending on the family.  Thinking about it more, that's like having a whole kindergarden class without a teacher.  It seems great when someone has kids that all line up with my kids' ages, but really, toddlers still need treated like toddlers, and bigger kids who were always just part of the crowd as toddlers don't play very nicely. 

 

Thank you both so much for your thoughts, and I'd love more or others' experiences. 


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Old 06-01-2012, 06:07 PM
 
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Ok..I'm feeling kind of bad after my post, and your reply that it is just a few families. It did seem like you meant it was ALL the families you interacted with, at homeschool and at soccer.. but if it is just a few families, then I would say to stop hanging around them so much. Can you just invite a kid or two from these families over at a time, instead of the WHOLE family coming over? 


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Old 06-01-2012, 07:06 PM
 
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It starts feeling like parenting the parent when  we are constantly saying, "Uhm, your kid just pushed my kid again."  Or, "Johnny jerked that toy away from the 2yo, again."  Or, "Your 7yo is ripping up my land-scaping."  I'm cool pointing it out 2 or 3 times, but after that, we just hold our kids.  How many times do you point out that someone else's kid isn't behaving? 

 

 

actually your whole posts sounds awful!

 

NO WAY would I put up with it (that's me!) but never!! never ever what you have described

 

ripping up landscaping!? and the parents are there? did you send a bill?

 

accidents happen but destruction like you stated - NO WAY NO HOW! (we are not friends with parents who's children rip books- they simply are not welcome in our home)

 

friendships are one thing, this is not - IMO

 

unless you are into it and have money to burn I would never do this 

 

and as far as the other things you posted- as the PP said- I would not hold my child for three hours at any party- we would be out of there

 

I do not parent other parents and they are not role models we need around our family

 

you are being stepped on and I would love to know - what "positive" (s) are your children getting that make this in anyway worth it? and not just this quote but all you posted?

 

 


 

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Old 06-01-2012, 07:17 PM
 
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also (and I am not at all into the Duggar's and the Bates' families) but from the very little I have seen (and a have a friend who loves it and talks about them) you are talking about a lot of kids and you are not having the "free for all" you seem to be experiencing  

 

big family does not need to mean what you have described, even given the ages-IMO

 

 

no I would never deal with this and think somehow "something" is worth it here


 

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Old 06-01-2012, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok..I'm feeling kind of bad after my post, and your reply that it is just a few families. It did seem like you meant it was ALL the families you interacted with, at homeschool and at soccer.. but if it is just a few families, then I would say to stop hanging around them so much. Can you just invite a kid or two from these families over at a time, instead of the WHOLE family coming over? 

I didn't take it rough at all.  I was totally expecting to get flamed for my post, and was looking for perspective.  I appreciated the opportunity to think through the things you said. :)  (And, I didn't feel flamed by you, ftr.)  And no, we can't just invite a kid or two, though I think that would work much better.  The first reason is because these families are an all or nothing we keep our family together sort.  And the second reason is that we would be expected to reciprocate, and I'm really uncomfortable sending my kid to their house without me.  Partially because we move a lot and don't know these people all that well, but mostly because if it gets so out of hand when I am watching, what will happen when I'm not?  When we have traveled to see family, dd and ds (the older  two) go to spend the night at another relative's house without me, and play at their cousins or whatever, so it's not like I'm against that.  I'd love to let them go off on their own more!

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and the parents are there? did you send a bill?

 

and as far as the other things you posted- as the PP said- I would not hold my child for three hours at any party- we would be out of there

 

you are being stepped on and I would love to know - what "positive" (s) are your children getting that make this in anyway worth it? and not just this quote but all you posted?

 

 

...yes, the parents were there.  No bill, but they did put it all back.  Which was actually worse, because then they weren't watching the kids at all for a while...

 

...The party was at our house.  And it happened two different times, with two different families.  We have had to do this at other "functions" for a time, but we do make our excuses as quickly as we can if we are somewhere else.  Like, dh often makes a dump run during soccer games.  He doesn't want to miss all of dd's game, so he takes the middle three to the dump (which they love to do for some strange reason) and then comes to the last half of the game.  It takes down the time of having to keep our kids safe to 30 minutes, plus wrapping up, instead of an hour.

 

...I don't think it is positive, but because it keeps happening, I was wondering if it really was the norm and that's what people did.  I'm thankful to know that it isn't.

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also (and I am not at all into the Duggar's and the Bates' families) but from the very little I have seen (and a have a friend who loves it and talks about them) you are talking about a lot of kids and you are not having the "free for all" you seem to be experiencing  

 

big family does not need to mean what you have described, even given the ages-IMO

 

no I would never deal with this and think somehow "something" is worth it here

I'm glad for you to validate me about this.  I didn't think it should be, but, it keeps happening, so...

 

We do know three families (all about 8 hours from us) and the kids can play great all day, no issues.  One of those families has 11 kids, another has 8, and another has 6.  We even lived with the family that has 8 kids for a month!  Well, they only had 7 then.  Dh was deployed, and wasn't even around to help me.  We had no problems at all.  Well, their 2yo kept pushing my 2yo down every morning, but we figured out that it was his way of greeting.  "I love you so much I want to wrestle."  lol.  We taught my ds to push him back, and all was well.  Silly boys.

 

Anyway, I guess I just need to be patient and look in other places. I was kind of hoping that soccer would introduce us to someone else, but everyone there is already kind of clicky.  We also are moving and just had a baby, so the timing stinks.  Oh well, back to the drawing board.  Sigh.


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Old 06-01-2012, 09:24 PM
 
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[quote name="Just1More" url="/community/t/1354645/need-help-handling-social-interactions/0_50#post_
  If we invite over just one other family, we frequently have 8 or more children ages 10 and under.  It's just too many when the adults are trying to socialize, too.  Inviting over two or three families that we know puts us at 20 or so kids, depending on the family.  Thinking about it more, that's like having a whole kindergarden class without a teacher.  It seems great when someone has kids that all line up with my kids' ages, but really, toddlers still need treated like toddlers, and bigger kids who were always just part of the crowd as toddlers don't play very nicely. . 
[/quote]

Your last paragraph sums up nicely what I was going to post. When you get together a lot of families where the adults want to socialize with each other, you often sacrifice supervision of the kids, and while this may work out in a smaller setting, when you let a whole classroom full of kids go crazy, you get chaos. My sister and I finally realized after years of monthly visits why it is that we never seem to have the fun we're expecting when we're together: everyone sort of thinks to themselves, "oh good, there will be 6 adults, I'll get a break.". But since ALL of the adults are taking that same break, there's no one running the show, and chaos ensues.

I think dial it back. With five of your own, one family visiting at a time is PLENTY! Bigger get togethers can happen at a park or other public venue where there is not an insane mess for you to clean up, or your toys being destroyed, etc.

I will say this: there ARE parents out there who parent more similarly to you, and I would maybe make more of an effort to find some of them. Don't let a few bad experiences trap you. My stress level goes down considerably when I am around parents who feel similarly to me on a majority of issues. Some of those are more important to me than others: involvement, respect of the child, and gentle discipline being chief among them. You mentioned you homeschool. Are you on your local homeschooling forum? There are new social opportunities being posted on ours ALL the time. Branch out, see what sticks.

We are very slow to host playdates because of the chaos that others bring into our home. We try to always spend time cleaning up at other people's houses before leaving, and to be respectful to their things. After many, many times of observing that this does not happen in reverse, we stopped hosting. We do still have cousins over for monthly weekends, and things do get broken, and we just try to take it in stride as a fact of life, and have learned to set aside those few things which are really special (the big gift from Santa or a souvenir from a special vacation) to spare them from damage, The rest is fair game, and par for the course.

As to other children forcing your children to do things they don't want to, I think I need some clarification there. What exactly is happening? "We're playing house and I'm the mom and you're the baby' is a far cry from 'Hit that dog with this stick.' KWIM? In general, I'd teach DC that when they don't want to participate anymore to say, 'I'm done with this game. I'm going to see what [other friend] is doing. Without specific examples, it's hard to speculate here.

Bad habits are just a part of parenting we all have to work through. Talking with food in one's mouth is a HUGE pet peeve for me, and so I correct DC every.single.time. Playing with food I can tolerate more, so I don't come down on that as hard. Posture? I don't know. It depends on what's important to you, Certainly there was a time when good posture was simply expected, and bad posture was corrected. There's nothing wrong with doing so if it is important to you. I don't think you have to approach any of those things as having anything to do with any other children. Simply, "Sit up straight, please." Or, "Please don't talk while there's food in your mouth."

I agree with the PP who said that lying and cheating are developmental milestones that all children reach and experiment with. It is simply a part of learning to exist and operate in the world around you. Continue to encourage good choices. "If you always tell the trith, I will always know that I can believe what you say without having to think twice about your honor. But as soon as you decide lying might be okay, I will always have to think hard about whether or not I can trust you.". It won't obliterate lying, but repeated often enough, it will hopefully encourage the child to choose truth.

Such a lot to cover in one post. I'm not sure I did. But hopefully, you got something out of this short book.
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 Are you on your local homeschooling forum? There are new social opportunities being posted on ours ALL the time. Branch out, see what sticks.
Yes, but most posters have older kids.  I need to revisit this idea.
As to other children forcing your children to do things they don't want to, I think I need some clarification there. What exactly is happening? "We're playing house and I'm the mom and you're the baby' is a far cry from 'Hit that dog with this stick.' KWIM? In general, I'd teach DC that when they don't want to participate anymore to say, 'I'm done with this game. I'm going to see what [other friend] is doing. Without specific examples, it's hard to speculate here.
One girl was repeatedly violently hugging dd, and then playing ring around the rosey so roughly that dd couldn't stay on her feet and could hardly talk.  Another little girl that same day was picked up over and over and had her head hit on a doorknob several times.  It wasn't exactly deliberate, the doorknob part, but the other girl was being really rough.  The second occasion, the other girl kept grabbing dd and dragging her all over the place.  "Come with me!'' And she wouldn't let dd go. 

Bad habits are just a part of parenting we all have to work through. Talking with food in one's mouth is a HUGE pet peeve for me, and so I correct DC every.single.time. Playing with food I can tolerate more, so I don't come down on that as hard. Posture? I don't know. It depends on what's important to you, Certainly there was a time when good posture was simply expected, and bad posture was corrected. There's nothing wrong with doing so if it is important to you. I don't think you have to approach any of those things as having anything to do with any other children. Simply, "Sit up straight, please." Or, "Please don't talk while there's food in your mouth."
Sure.  When I say, "playing with food", I don't mean "hey, check it out, I can make eye holes in my tortilla."  I mean, after spending time with one girl, my 3 yo picks at her food for days and refuses to eat.  She is a great eater usually.  It's only ever a problem after they have played together.  Just the other day, she was mashing her spaghetti (a favorite) over and over with her fork, and only taking the tiniest of bites.  The posture thing isn't just "sit up straight".  It's a whole crooked way of standing that's also kind of extreme.  Keeping her head cocked in a similar way led to torticollis in my 3yo.  I really can't keep letting her sit like that.  It's wierd to me that my kids pick up that mannerism so much.  I guess we all do.  I find myself making the same expressions, or using the same phrases as the adults I spend time with, so I guess it's not unusual for the kids to do the same.  Again, I don't mind expressions or phrases, or even ways of sitting.  It's the more extreme things that concern me.

I agree with the PP who said that lying and cheating are developmental milestones that all children reach and experiment with. It is simply a part of learning to exist and operate in the world around you. Continue to encourage good choices. "If you always tell the trith, I will always know that I can believe what you say without having to think twice about your honor. But as soon as you decide lying might be okay, I will always have to think hard about whether or not I can trust you.". It won't obliterate lying, but repeated often enough, it will hopefully encourage the child to choose truth.
Yes, I know they do.  We've dealt with it a couple times for each of the older kids now.  It's mostly my 3yo that I'm worried about with this one.  Same girl as the eating thing, after a day together, I *know* dd is going to lie and be sneaky.  And she is going to roughly snatch toys from her younger sister, and hide them, and lie to me about it.  I guess I just need to quit justifying this relationship.  I feel foolish for ignoring it for so long.  Again, it isn't that I think my child is above lying.  It's that every time we are with this other child, we have several days of lying at our house.  I feel like I'm setting my dc up for trouble. 
Such a lot to cover in one post. I'm not sure I did. But hopefully, you got something out of this short book.
Thanks for you reply.  I'm going to go to bed and mull it over some more. :)

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Old 06-02-2012, 08:54 AM
 
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Do you tell these kids directly when they are doing something inappropriate? And redirect them to some other way to play? I'd especially be doing this in those cases where you don't want the other kid to "get in trouble" or when the child's behavior is effecting my child or my property. It's ok to talk to the kids instead of waiting for the adults to do something as long as you don't yell or shame. I'd have walked over to the landscape tearing boy as soon as I noticed, touched his shoulder to get his attention, told him I planted those plants on purpose and to treat them gently so they can grow, then suggested he go do something else (something specific that I thought he might find an appealing activity). Many kids seriously do not understand landscaping or that plants should be cared for. They think plants just happen. Same with toys.


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Old 06-02-2012, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you tell these kids directly when they are doing something inappropriate? And redirect them to some other way to play? I'd especially be doing this in those cases where you don't want the other kid to "get in trouble" or when the child's behavior is effecting my child or my property. It's ok to talk to the kids instead of waiting for the adults to do something as long as you don't yell or shame. I'd have walked over to the landscape tearing boy as soon as I noticed, touched his shoulder to get his attention, told him I planted those plants on purpose and to treat them gently so they can grow, then suggested he go do something else (something specific that I thought he might find an appealing activity). Many kids seriously do not understand landscaping or that plants should be cared for. They think plants just happen. Same with toys.

It depends.  If I am alone with the kids, or standing near them and no one else notices, absolutely.  But, most of the stuff I've mentioned happens while I am stuck in a conversation with the parent.  It's pretty awkward to have to stop a conversation to correct someone else's child.  Dh and I did start having super planned activities for when we are with those families, and he and I tag team the whole time...one of us does kids, the other tries to converse with the grownups.  The one conversing usually is holding the smaller ones and entertaining them with trinkets or picture books so they don't get thunked.  Before they come over, we "sterilize" the house, removing anything remotely important to us.  With one family, I had to put away our family pictures off the counter.  Their little boy also ripped lights off our Christmas tree, and nearly pulled it over.  His mom was holding our tree up with one hand while wrestling the lights away with the other.   It's all just been exhausting.

 

It was actually a girl who pulled up the landscaping, and she was outside unattended.  Her brother was inside head-butting his mom at the time (who was talking to me), and the other brother was bending the netting on our electric fireplace.  Dh and the dad were in the backyard with the other kids.  The girl was doing it for attention for sure, and knew exactly what she was doing.  This sort of thing is common for her.  As soon as no one is paying attention to her, she does something destructive.  (So, I'm always left wondering why they let her get in these predicaments?  I really can't parent ALL the children all the time!)

 

Anyway, it isn't really productive to keep hashing out all the things these kids have done at our house.

 

I do really appreciate everyone's thoughts and validations.  I've been totally feeling like I'm doing stuff all wrong, but I do the things you all have suggested.  Again, I'm glad to know this isn't normal, and isnt' the interactions people expect when they try to get together with other families.  We'll be branching out a bit and trying again. 


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Old 06-02-2012, 06:37 PM
 
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I've been totally feeling like I'm doing stuff all wrong, but I do the things you all have suggested. 

 

 

I don't think you are doing anything wrong except putting up with it far too long.

 

I would seriously consider if the friendship is worth it for all your family. Often we can't be friends with our children's friends parents.

 

If this is stressing you out (and it certainly comes off as) I would not continue. If the other family asks I would be firm but truthful and say along the lines-it is way too much for all of us to get together given the destruction, lack of attention the kids need, etc that has occurred at other times and we just can't function with such unhealthy chaos. I certainly comes off as not healthy! If you have small children they are your main focus and this is far to many to watch at one time. If the other family gets bent out of shape- suggest that you all hire a few sitters and get together at a park or skating arena, etc.

 

and don't beat your self up over it!


 

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Old 06-02-2012, 06:42 PM
 
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My husband and I found it exhausting to go to social events because we were on top of my son's behavior..and boy what behavior it was! He was also our first child, and I think people tend to keep a better eye on the first one!

 

If it's that bad, I wouldn't go to those events. You can't even enjoy yourselves and your kids will be traumatized!!

 

I think it's normal to be concerned that your kids will learn undesirable behaviors. I felt that way too. Just keep reminding them what is acceptable, etc and model good behavior..and it will sink in. My son had this thing recently where he thought it was funny to take several helpings when offered a snack, etc. at a social gathering. Something he saw on one of those stupid Disney Channel or Nick shows, I'm sure. We kept reminding him that is not polite, etc. and it seems to finally have sunk in. 

 

Hoarding is something I am convinced my son learned from a child in pre-k. He may have some genetic pre-disposition to OCDs or something, but I literally saw him observing this child being sneaky and putting things in his pockets and hiding them and the next day my son was doing the same!

 

I was a little down, thinking I would never find a "nice" boy for my son to hang out with, so I know how you feel. The kid next door used to come over every day and I would dread it. I knew it wasn't his fault he was such a mean kid...He had older siblings who he learned stuff from and his step dad used to threaten him with beatings all the time. He would make fun of my son all the time "Bet you can't do this.....bet you can't do that" totally competitive...not the friend you want for a kid with developmental delays like my son. "You can't even throw the ball" "You're so slow" "You're in 1st grade and you can't even write yet!", etc. UGH! They would play separate most of the time. My son would withdraw and watch TV or play video games and the boy would play by himself with toys, etc.

 

Now my son is 9 and he is doing a lot better. Breaks my heart because I know how sweet my son is and he just wants to have friends and people constantly take advantage of that and walk all over him. My theory is that he eventually will come across jerks, even in adulthood so he needs to learn how to deal with it. I mostly stay out of it unless it gets physical, and I sometimes try to give advice, after kids leave. My advice must be sinking in, because sometimes I hear him sticking up for himself and I love it! 

 

Your kids will form their own little personalities. They won't become clones of those kids who are acting out. Most of those kids will turn out just fine too...just a phase usually. I don't think too much of the bad behavior they see from their friends will "rub off" on them. They may test the boundaries though so be ready!

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Old 06-02-2012, 08:02 PM
 
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HOLY MOLY - who are these people??? That is seriously crazy!!!
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:30 AM
 
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In the future, meet at parks to have cookouts! Some kids are just handfuls no matter how they are parented... And it might even seem the the parent is doing nothing when, in fact, the parent has already discovered all the usual stuff just doesn't work. Meanwhile, getting together on neutral territory is great so at least you don't need to worry about property damage on top of interpersonal interactions.


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