I have a problem that I'd love to hear your opinions of. I am a single mom and I share a duplex with my landlords, We have had a fabulous relationship for nearly 2 years. Their daughter and mine are a year apart in age bar a few days (8&9) and have been good friends since we moved in. It hasn't been without its normal ups and downs, the girls are very alike, both are leaders and stubborn, I also have a younger child who is frequently excluded from outings and treats because he isn't quite as independent as his sister. Recently I was told by another mom that her kids wouldn't come to my place for playdates anymore because the other girl made them feel unwelcome and wanted my daughter all to herself. I had noticed this a little and tried very hard to make everyone feel included.
There have been some family issues recently that have my landlord's family super stressed out and I have been trying to ease their burden a little by taking the kids out frequently. I also have another friend who lives a block away who has a 10 yo and a preemie, so I have been including her older girl as well. Fireworks, beach, sprinkler play etc. Today my landlord came to my door and firmly expressed his anger at my daughter's behaviour in excluding his daughter every time she had another friend over. He specifically named my other friends daughter and said he wasn't going to accept this behaviour, that my daughter needed to learn that friends don't exclude friends when a new friend shows up etc. etc. etc. or he wouldn't allow the girls to play together because his daughter wasn't the default option. I am floored. Neither girl is totally innocent but I don't let either of them away with it and have separated them for a few hours when I see they need a break from each other - which honestly isn't often. I have been involved in ongoing conversations with my landlady about the girls and their headstrong natures, how will we manage puberty etc. We even talked last week about how the upcoming school year would impact their friendship because my daughter is in a higher grade and her homework load will almost double. I feel like I have way better communication with her but this leads me to talk to her about everything. I just do not know how to address this with him without first talking to her.
I am looking down the road to when the girls aren't so close - i.e. if puberty hits my daughter first, or if their relationship just sours, and I am thinking "will I have to move if the girls fall out?" I know, sounds ridiculous doesn't it but man he was really angry and pissed off because his princess was being left out. This was ironic because today they were playing alone for the first time in a week and had fallen out over a video game. My daughter really enjoys going to their place because they have all the modern electronics that she is deprived of at home, but had opted to come home and read rather than fight about things.
So ideas about how to address this with a guy who has poor communication skills, unrealistic expectations, and is my freakin landlord to boot. Sigh.
he was a man blowing off steam.
honestly, he probably has an issue with his wife over this, and couldn't get it worked out with her, so came to you directly.
he's not the only landlord, right; they are BOTH the landlords?
here's what a man would do: blow it off.
don't stress about it, try to forget that it happened.
maybe talk with your daughter privately about how hard it is to negotiate relationships with friends, especially when other friends are added in to the picture.
then, let your daughter work it out for herself, and let the other girl work things out for herself.
next time you get a chance to talk with the wife, try to feel out the situation, approach the man's blow up only as a "minor" thing, don't make it into a big thing, just kind of shrug and ask "what was up with that?"
see what happens next. i don't think this calls for a big reaction on your part...
How well do you know him? Do you feel that you know him enough to email or talk to him and tell him the way he approached you made you feel uncomfortable, that you are trying to help your daughter (and her friends) learn how to deal with these social situations (they're all still learning), but in the future you'd appreciate not being surprised with a confrontation? Depending on how well you typically get along, I might even mention that you felt a little unnerved because he is your landlord getting confrontational about this, but if you think that he was not in any way wearing his landlord hat but was thinking as a daddy first and foremost, maybe it's best to not say that or if you think that it would cause more problems.
If you think it would cause further problems though or that he wouldn't understand, I'd do as the other poster said and ignore it for the time being. He went Papa Bear, perhaps. If you were surprised at his tone and demeanor (which it sounds like you were) maybe you were defensive and he didn't mean to come across that way. I think that if you have an otherwise good relationship with other parents though, it's good for everyone to talk through how you talk about problems with the kids (since we all have to learn how to do that effectively and nicely too). My DD is 10 and my DSes are 9, and these do seem to be the years where we do a lot of negotiations and talks with them about social behavior--and that has led to some conversations with other parents who are also friends that are uncomfortable.
If you mostly talk to the mom I would bring up both incidents of the children excluding other friends with her and tell her you want to come up with a plan to help both girls work on this issue when they are at your house because it is something they both seem to be struggling with. If you are scared to talk to them about this then put it in a letter in as neutral a tone as possible and make sure you include that the girls relationship is important to them and you so you really hope that all of you can work together to help them through this stage. Exclusion is a common thing in girl relationships and I have noticed that most girls my dd's age try it out around this age, even my dd who tends to be the one who is bullied has tried it out and come through it realizing it isn't good to exclude others.
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