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#1 of 16 Old 05-28-2011, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My BF and I both have 7 year olds (mine is a girl, hers is a boy).  We've all been hanging around together for 5 years now.  I think her DS exhibits irrational and bullying behavior at times.  Sometimes the two kids get along great.  Other times, he seems to be mean for no known reason ("stop copying me", "ha ha, you fell down" etc).  One of his favorite tactics is to taunt my DD about something ridiculous ("you love to watch baby shows" "yes you do, yes you do, yes you do").  He also loves to completely ignore her sometimes, but if she plays with his little brother he suddenly becomes very interested in getting him away from her.  He sometimes treats her like she's the enemy.  It is very confusing.  :(

 

Now I don't mean to make it sound like it is always this way.  But it has been an underlying theme.  I have called him on it a couple of times, but my BF never (a) notices, or (b) says anything.  I find it hard to believe she can't see it, but I know she's preoccupied with her other child a lot. 

 

I'm so sad today.  After this last get together that was supposed to be fun (pizza, park, ice cream) but ended with her son pretty much ignoring DD other than telling her to stop following him, I think I know we need to not hang out together anymore.  It isn't fair to put her in that position.  I know she needs to learn how to stand up for herself, but I think she's doing an ok job....he's just mean.  And I'm starting to develop hard feelings toward my BF for not telling her brat to cut it out.  I also am starting to think it is not healthy....she counts him as a friend, but I don't want her thinking this is how friends behave.

 

The dilemma is that we have (against my better judgement) already planned and booked two mini-vacations this summer.  One of them is at my DD's favorite place in the world, and I'll be darned if I let this other kid ruin it for her.  My BF and I have also mapped out lots of fun things to do with the kids (zoo, festival, etc).  But tonight I am so annoyed with her and especially her son that I don't want to do any of it. 

 

This is all really bad luck for me because I'm super introverted and have a heck of a time making good friends/feeling comfortable around people.  She's practically the only one I hang around with.  And now I see that has to be very limited (she's never without her kids, so it was easy for us all to get together for dinners or whatever).  Basically if we don't hang out with the kids, we won't be hanging out.  But that's a sacrifice I have to make for DD. 

 

But I just want to be sure I'm not overreacting (I admit I'm seething at the moment).  This isn't a case of "kids being kids" right?  Doesn't this sound like bullying behavior?  DD has a bit of a hard time.  She's young for her age, and she's full of energy, so at times I can see how that might be annoying.  But she's certainly not mean.

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#2 of 16 Old 05-28-2011, 07:28 PM
 
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I can see my DS doing these things on occasion (and it drives me mental because he can also be very sweet). That being said I do my darndest to correct his behaviour and set limits on it (by giving warnings of consequences if it happens again and brainstorming with him better ways of solving any issues they may stem from).

 

I have a couple of suggestions:

 

- Speak with your friend..."I know your DS is a great kid, but I noticed x, y, and z with your DS when we were together and it was really upsetting to my DD. Would you mind speaking to him about it? Or are you okay with me stepping in if it happens again?"

 

- Outline limits and options about handling things when the visit first starts and stick to them. Have this at your house so they can be "house rules": "Be kind to one another. if you have a problem you can a) talk to the person, b) ask for help, c) let it go....being rude or disrespectful is NOT an option."

 

...I had more, but I can't remember them after returning to the computer. 

 

GOOD LUCK!

 


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#3 of 16 Old 05-28-2011, 07:38 PM
 
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Have you spoken to your BF about your feelings? It sounded in your post as though maybe you hadn't. Unless you've made your feelings clear to her previously, it's entirely possible that she's unaware of the whole situation. 

 

Does your daughter have other little friends? Is she bothered by this little boy's behavior? It does sound like he's a bit rude and disrespectful to her, but it sounds so extreme to dissolve your entire relationship with this woman and her children. 

 


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#4 of 16 Old 05-28-2011, 08:14 PM
 
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ah mama welcome to the party. the fun has just begun.

 

here is the thing. i notice this with dd's friends. specially the ones who are strong willed and intense and very extrovert. sometimes my dd is the bully, sometimes teh other kids are. 

 

the thing is while the behaviour might look bullyish to you - it is not to them. so my dd has friends and the next day that same child is an enemy and the next day they are friends and so on and so forth.

 

the thing is i have sat with my dd and held her and let her release her anger or sadness and when seh feels she has been heard - i talk to her about what could be going on with teh other kid - seeing thru the eyes of the other child's perspective. the jealousy over playing with kid bro. 

 

because i think its v. v. v. important for dd to see that its not always about her. 

 

i notice in ur post you write about yourself and your emotions. is your dd really upset with this behaviour too? does she have a problem if he ignores her?  btw that's normal. the ignoring. if dd and her bf go to the park to play in the playarea they never ever play together. 

 

what is her reaction when he tries all his stuff. 

 

in general i notice dd and her friends keep going in an out of friends stage. one day they are friends and then not for a week and then sleepovers again and then not. 

 

dd and her bf who are same age but opposite personalities - we saw this at 4 years old. but now they are always good together.


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#5 of 16 Old 05-28-2011, 10:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by meemee View Post

ah mama welcome to the party. the fun has just begun.

 

 


My own daughter has done this on occasion.  On other's she's been the recipient of this kind of "bully-ness".   When my daughter was being the mean one, I always noticed and was embarrassed.  I stepped in, not because I felt like the other child couldn't stand up for themselves, but because I was so mortified that MY child was behaving so bratty.  Fortunately, she didn't do it very often.  (maybe because I didn't put up with it)

 

My friend on the other hand, had a son who was a bully.  I loved that kid, really I did... but, he was sometimes a jerk!  She encouraged it.  She had a different attitude than I did... and she made no excuses for him.  She said "If you want to get to the top, you have to crawl over a few people to get there".  Or "Well, then the other kid will have to get a thicker skin".  He eventually escalated to fighting in school, and being kicked off the bus.  But, for her it was all worth it.  

 

He just graduated from high school on Friday.... he graduated at the top of his class, was valedictorian, and has a full ride scholarship to an in state school and plans to go into Politics (no shock)   He's also a very good athlete.    But, he's still a huge jerk.  So, personally, I like my own child better.  LOL  She's nice, has great friends, and everybody likes to be around her. 

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#6 of 16 Old 05-29-2011, 01:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD is bothered by it, but more so confused by it.  I am very bothered by it because I feel like it is teaching her something bad (to think this is how "friends" treat each other).  She has some other friends, but they are school friends and we aren't able to see them as much (ex: we travel to school and don't live conveniently in the neighborhood).  Our neighborhood is older people.  This boy is her oldest friend (known since preschool).  He honestly has never been very nice.

 

They definitely do have fun together but there is an underlying theme that comes up again and again where, in my opinion, he tries to humiliate her.  I don't really want to post too many details on here, but he will pick out something that might be true or half-true and make a big deal out of it, going on and on trying to get her to admit it.  Or he does stupid things to try to get her in trouble, like one time we were eating and he kept whining that she was kicking him.  When I quietly looked under the table, he was purposely stretching his legs way over under her chair.  That time I told him to keep his legs to himself if he didn't want to get kicked, but his mom was (as usual) preoccupied.

 

I know this all sounds very petty and silly but I truly believe this type of friendship might not be healthy.  My kid is not mean and she just wants to have fun.  I definitely get the mama-bear feeling when I see her totally confused by his behavior.  Last week she was so excited to go bike riding with him, but the whole time he whined (loudly) for her to "STOP FOLLOWING ME".  ???   How else can you bike ride together on a trail?  She kept stopping and looking at me confused as to what she was doing wrong.  Of course BF just said, "oh you two, get along".  I eventually told him that she HAS to follow him, or he can follow her.  Then he gets super moody and ignores her.

 

I don't wish to write off my friendship with BF.  But tonight I was admittedly extremely angry.  I'm tired of his behavior and that he isn't called on it.  I have no idea what his issue is.  And I am extra annoyed that we have booked and paid for these trips.  I have not discussed any of this with BF.  She is extremely protective of him and I have seen a couple of instances where other people have called out his behavior and she does not react well.  I guess I was hoping he would stop it (he's nearly 8), but I suppose not.  I will talk to her.  Deep down I don't think he really likes my DD (or if he does, he has a very strange way of showing it), and this will probably just force the hand. 

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#7 of 16 Old 05-29-2011, 06:22 AM
 
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I think you need to make it clear to your friend that there is an issue and come up with how it will be handled next time (whether she will address it with her own son, or whether you have "permission" to help).

 

I know I've been very unimpressed with how some of my friends or brothers have dealt with DS's misbehaviour (scaring him or intimidating him or threatening absurd consequences- that's not how we roll). Their intentions are good (it takes a village to raise a child) but there are a hundred other ways of handling the situation without the put-downs and intimidation. If a friend or family member speaks with DS about the issue or re-directs, or explains how others feel about it, I am totally A-OK with them correcting DS.

 

The moral of that little story being that she may get her back up on others disciplining her DS, but if your heart's in the right place and you take an approach that reflects your friend's parenting style (this is where communicating with your friend and asking for permission to step-in would come in handy) I don't see how she could take offence to it. If she refuses to deal with the situation or come up with some possible ways of handling it, then I'd more seriously consider parting ways and changing dates of vacations (or at least do separate things and just meet up from time to time vs. sticking together 24/7).


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#8 of 16 Old 05-29-2011, 08:03 AM
 
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mama i dont know what to say. it seems like 'talk to the mom' is the answer but like you say not the solution. 

 

is she always there with him or do u sometimes have just him over? does his behaviour change when he is away from her? can you then lay the 'rules of your house'?

 

the thing is this gets WORSE as they reach 8/9. i see this with my dd's friends at school. of course i hear all the incidences from her. its their conscience develoing phase so everything hurts her. now this same behaviour she ignored before - but now it hurts. 

 

does your dd have other children to play with? 

 

if you have him at ur house by himself then you can correct him. if he still does the same. 

 

its also imho a huge learning opportunity for dd. of course it doesnt have to be this way - but it is. opportunity to discover that others behave differently AND as you pointed out standing up for herself. 

 

personally me - i understnad what you mean when u say he has always been mean - but i look at it as - something is up with this guy. he is not getting some of his needs met. and so he is making stuff up to get attention to himself. sometimes its hard to understand the language of love. while the parents might be loving and thinking they have met all his needs, but they may not be. plus he sees he gets away being a brat. which really makes me feel sorry for him - he is getting into the habit of lying/making things up or wanting things always his way. 

 

i look into my crystal ball and predict this friendship with BF cant last v. long. it would be good for you to talk to her soon. while u still can without blaming her. all this upset behav. u r holding within you might make ur words come out meaner than you meant them to. 

 

and then take him alone in the meanwhile = have playdates without her and see if you can correct his behaviour. for instance the bicycle way. i would ask him what he wants. how they would like to ride together. otherwise if he behaves that way then they need to turn back and go home. 

 

you need to do this soon before they both hit the phase and he gets meaner and she starts getting really upset by his words. 


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#9 of 16 Old 05-29-2011, 08:26 AM
 
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The meanness of it is going both ways.   

 

 

 

Quote:
 he seems to be mean for no known reason ("stop copying me", "ha ha, you fell down" etc).  One of his favorite tactics is to taunt my DD about something ridiculous ("you love to watch baby shows" "yes you do, yes you do, yes you do").  He also loves to completely ignore her sometimes, but if she plays with his little brother he suddenly becomes very interested in getting him away from her.  He sometimes treats her like she's the enemy.

 

When he tells her to stop copying him, has he told her more than one.  IS she copying what he's doing, if so it seems it is bothering him that she is doing it(especially if he has asked her to stop already).

 

 

Quote:
her son pretty much ignoring DD other than telling her to stop following him, I think I know we need to not hang out together anymore.  It isn't fair to put her in that position.  I know she needs to learn how to stand up for herself, but I think she's doing an ok job....he's just mean

 

It's fine if he wants to ignore her.  He is making it very clear he does not want to play with her right then, especially when he tells her to stop following him.  What do you mean stand up for herself, do you think he should HAVE to play with her when you are together?    Just because they're the same age does not mean they always have to play together when the moms decide to hang out.

 

you say you don't want your dd to think this is how we treat friends, but are you looking at your dd's behaviour too?   From your posts your dd isn't innocent in these behaviours.  both of them are acting like 7 & 8yo's do.  obviously on the bike trail yeah he was in the wrong, but you gave him an option.  It seems like perhaps this boy doesn't want to play with your dd, not that there is anything wrong with your dd but perhaps he feels forced into a friendship that he doesn't want.  At 7, almost 8, most boys want to play with boys.

 

If the mom isn't saying anything & seems to be fine when you call out misbehaviour then I'd keep doing that.  All my friends & I have an unspoken rule that we can discipline each others kids.  It has never caused an issue.

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#10 of 16 Old 05-29-2011, 09:00 AM
 
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It's fine if he wants to ignore her.  He is making it very clear he does not want to play with her right then, especially when he tells her to stop following him.  What do you mean stand up for herself, do you think he should HAVE to play with her when you are together?    Just because they're the same age does not mean they always have to play together when the moms decide to hang out.

 

you say you don't want your dd to think this is how we treat friends, but are you looking at your dd's behaviour too?   From your posts your dd isn't innocent in these behaviours.  both of them are acting like 7 & 8yo's do.  obviously on the bike trail yeah he was in the wrong, but you gave him an option.  It seems like perhaps this boy doesn't want to play with your dd, not that there is anything wrong with your dd but perhaps he feels forced into a friendship that he doesn't want.  At 7, almost 8, most boys want to play with boys.

 

If the mom isn't saying anything & seems to be fine when you call out misbehaviour then I'd keep doing that.  All my friends & I have an unspoken rule that we can discipline each others kids.  It has never caused an issue.



OP, going on what you've posted I pretty much agree with the above.  We actually carpool with a little boy (also 7yo, going on 8) who behaves a lot like how you describe your BF's ds.  My dd is a year younger, and I think he just basically finds her annoying some of the time.  He will say things like "stop copying me!", and "you're acting like a baby", etc.  We've made sure to keep a clear line of communication open with his parents (and the kids).  Both dh (who does most of the driving) and his parents have talked to him to say that it's ok if he doesn't want to play with her, but he needs to be polite in the way he speaks to her and not make fun of her.  To dd we've spoken about respecting when he asks that she stop doing something that's annoying him.  Luckily in our case we don't socialize v. often with this family - it's mostly just about getting the kids to and from school - so it's not as intense as your situation, but still there are v. similar issues going on.  For us what has truly worked best is a) talking to the other parents, b) talking to dd, and c) enforcing "the rules" with him when the other parents aren't there.  Oh yes, another thing that has helped is to be involved in what they are doing.  For us (in the car) that means actively engaging them in conversations, games, singing, etc, and not just ignoring the back seat until things get out of hand.


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#11 of 16 Old 05-29-2011, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i look into my crystal ball and predict this friendship with BF cant last v. long. it would be good for you to talk to her soon. while u still can without blaming her. all this upset behav. u r holding within you might make ur words come out meaner than you meant them to. 

 


 

Very true.  I am less upset this morning.  Yesterday was a hard day.

 



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The meanness of it is going both ways.   

 

 

 

 

When he tells her to stop copying him, has he told her more than one.  IS she copying what he's doing, if so it seems it is bothering him that she is doing it(especially if he has asked her to stop already).



I'm sorry I wasn't clear in my post.  The meanness is NOT going both ways.  I can confidently say that.  When he tells her to stop copying him, she is not "copying" him.  It is ridiculous behavior.  It will be stuff like this:  we are on a walk along a trail and there are lots of various large rocks lining the paths.  He is climbing on one rock and she is climbing on a different rock.  Since he climbed on his rock first he decides she's "copying" him.  Um??  No.  He says "stop COPYINNNNNNG me" and she says "I'm not copying you.  I'm just climbing on a rock!"  He replies "STOP".  eyesroll.gif   And she looks at me confused.  I know that's where I need to say something to him, or perhaps direct her in telling him that she's not copying him, because BF sure isn't saying anything.  Or if we are at a small park and everything seems to have been going fine (I am right there so I know nothing has transpired), he will go to a swing and so will she.  He tells her to stop copying.  There are only 2 swings.  Strange way to act with a friend.  I have never once heard her tell a friend to stop following her on a playdate.   lol.gif

 

And I think you're right.  Perhaps he does feel forced into a friendship, but if so, it is BFs fault.  She is always calling me and saying her son has requested a playdate with DD.  Last week we went over (we were invited) and when we got there, her son turned and walked down the street.  DD followed him (since she was there to play with him, invited) and he snapped "stop following me".  So she did.  She walked back to me and came into the house.  I asked BF what was up with her son and she said, "oh I have no idea".  He was fine after that.  That is a key point though:  she does not follow him if he makes it clear he wants to be alone (even if it is, strangely, on a playdate that he has apparently requested).

 

Sorry for rambling.  I've decided I am going to speak with BF after I totally cool down from this last episode.  I'll let her know what has been happening and I'll let her know we should take a break from playdates for a while.  Next time we get together (for our trip I guess), if it continues to happen then I'll assume the kids are probably just not suited to be friends and let it go.  I was just so irritated because DH and I spoke about this and we agreed that if we ever saw DD acting unkind to another child we would definitely call her on it and talk about it.  A lot of the frustration I was feeling was towards BF for thinking this is okay.

 

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#12 of 16 Old 05-30-2011, 01:05 AM
 
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T It seems like perhaps this boy doesn't want to play with your dd, not that there is anything wrong with your dd but perhaps he feels forced into a friendship that he doesn't want.  At 7, almost 8, most boys want to play with boys.

 


I think this is probably true. I'm sure your DD is great, but maybe it just doesn't click for him. I know my 8 year old DS doesn't necessarily want to play with girls very much.

 

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And I think you're right.  Perhaps he does feel forced into a friendship, but if so, it is BFs fault.  She is always calling me and saying her son has requested a playdate with DD.  Last week we went over (we were invited) and when we got there, her son turned and walked down the street.  DD followed him (since she was there to play with him, invited) and he snapped "stop following me".  So she did.  She walked back to me and came into the house.  I asked BF what was up with her son and she said, "oh I have no idea".  He was fine after that.  That is a key point though:  she does not follow him if he makes it clear he wants to be alone (even if it is, strangely, on a playdate that he has apparently requested).

 

Sorry for rambling.  I've decided I am going to speak with BF after I totally cool down from this last episode.  I'll let her know what has been happening and I'll let her know we should take a break from playdates for a while.  Next time we get together (for our trip I guess), if it continues to happen then I'll assume the kids are probably just not suited to be friends and let it go.  I was just so irritated because DH and I spoke about this and we agreed that if we ever saw DD acting unkind to another child we would definitely call her on it and talk about it.  A lot of the frustration I was feeling was towards BF for thinking this is okay.

 


I suspect your BF is lonely and wants to see you. She's never without the kids and I suppose it sounds like a good excuse to say her DS wants your DD to come over and play. I think your idea to just take a break from the playdates til the trip is a good one. You can even say something along the lines of, "It seems that Dear Son is getting annoyed with Dear Daughter a lot lately. I think they're getting to the age that they probably want to play with friends they chose (or same gender friends). Why don't we let them take a small break from each other and see how it goes on the trip?" That way, you're not blaming her DS. You might even see if there are ways you can suggest her meeting up without the kids in tow.

 

Good luck. I know how fraught this stuff can be!

 

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#13 of 16 Old 05-30-2011, 06:19 AM
 
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So, here is my thing...

 

When DD was 16 months i made friends with a lovely woman with a 13.5month old boy.  They, we, have been friends ever since.  I now have 2 DD's and she has 2 Ds's and a DD between them.

 

Here's the thing though....my DD1 does not LIKE her DS1.  He has autism, and a few associated behaviours DD1 finds annoying (none of which are actually all that terrible - he's not hitting her or anything, but for example he goes through phases of screaming a lot and she is very sensitive to that sound, or he goes through a phase of HAVING to be first/biggest/tallest/eat most/whatever and is very controlling about what she does in order that he can be first.

 

Us Mama's really love one another and would NEVER not want to be friends.  So here's what we do to minimise the meanness...

 

1) we have ALL the kids there or only one of the eldest missing, so there is always someone else to play with, be it one of the babies or her 3yo DD.  We never attempt to get just the eldest 2 together on their own - they cannot take it, and it always dissolves into her DS being full in and my DD1 being frosty and mean.

 

2) we try to meet in places where they can play without one another (like soft play, or the park) where there will be other kids

 

3) we plan activities with a set pace and "rules" (like a game of something or a formal activity/setting like a playgroup)

 

4) we both try to parent our respective kids through the problems, not ignoring it.  She reminds her DS that my DD doesn't HAVE to hold hands just because he wants to and i remind DD that though she doesn't have to hold hands she may not be rude.  It's hard work, we support one another through it!

 

5) we both look forward to when they will be at school (August!  It suddenly rushed up on us) and we will only be getting them together during the holidays.

 

Talk to your friend.  It is perfectly fine to admit to yourself that YOU need the friendship and DD does not, you don't need to end the relationship to protect her, you just need to open a dialogue with the other mom and with your DD on how she can handle these situations.  From the boys POV it probably IS annoying being expected to play with a girl who you didn't invite or were coerced into inviting, kwim?  That doesn't excuse his rudeness, but he's 8, and probably not hugely socially sophisticated about that sort of thing.

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#14 of 16 Old 05-30-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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I think you should "have a talk" with both kids with BF there too. sound like you are addressing your dd as much as her son, so it is not like you are picking on her son. Say for this vacation it is very important that you treat each other respectfully or we will have to cancel the trip....

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#15 of 16 Old 05-30-2011, 11:18 AM
 
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I think GoBecGo speaks a LOT of truth. I don't think we can expect our kids to get along with our friends' kids, especially at that age. From my experience with kids that age (from teaching, not parenting) this is when they really start differentiating between kids in general and kids they are friends with. Younger kids will happily play with who ever happens to be around, but I think you are expecting a lot of your friend's DS to be really friendly with your DD.

 

I think you need to talk to your friend and explain that your DD is feeling hurt by her DS not wanting to play with her. Just leave it at that... no comments on her parenting, no comments on your perceived ideas on his character. Ask her if she'll talk to him about it, and be clear about what you would like to see from him. If she doesn't seem to understand or see where you're coming from, then I'd say that since the kids don't really seem to be getting along, you want to avoid one on one playdates for a while. And I would also talk to your DD and find out what she thinks.

 

I think it would be really sad to lose a friend over this... GoBecGo, you and your friend are an inspiration for me... my friend and I have kids the same age as yours were when you met, and I have been wondering if we'd ever have a situation like that, where our kids weren't getting along. Fortunately, we've already been honest that our "playdates" are for us, NOT the kids, so hopefully we'll be able to keep the lines of communication open as our kids get older!

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#16 of 16 Old 05-30-2011, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks!  These are great suggestions from everyone.  I know this sounds silly ( redface.gif ) but I had a nightmare about this last night. LOL!!  So that tells me that it is bothering me deeply on an emotional level and it is my issue.  I think it stems from the fact that I was bullied -- not in a violent way, but an emotional way (being called names, shamed, excluded) by the "Queen Bee" when I was young because of my extreme shyness and inability to stand up for myself, and I felt somewhat unprotected by my mom and school authorities.  I never ever want my girl to feel that I don't have her back.  And then there is the fact that I feel guilty for sort of allowing this to go on.  It certainly doesn't happen all the time (sometimes they play together great for hours), so it is Russian roulette on playdates.  And I question myself if I've kind of made excuses in the past ("they'll outgrow this behavior") just so I could selfishly continue to hang out with practically my only good friend (as you'll recall, she's never without the kids so it is always convenient to get together for a walk at the lake or in the park, etc).  And I was feeling pretty peeved at my friend for not seeing this behavior when it is happening RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER and not addressing her child.

 

DH and I both spoke to DD and made sure we realized what is happening and that she's not doing anything wrong to provoke this behavior, but sometimes people don't always stay friends.  We have planned activities outside of school for the summer with her girl friends (including a tent sleep over at our house, swimming and a trip to the zoo).  And I'm forcing myself to get out of my comfort zone and meet two other women for tea this week.  Then I won't be dwelling on stuff like this and getting so hurt by it.    ;)

 

 

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