Time with "tough" kids - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 03-22-2002, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was wondering if anyone had any advice.
We have been invited to a friend's house for dinner this weekend and I'm nervous. My husband's lifelong friend has FINALLY found a girlfriend....one with an 8 year old boy and a 2 year old boy.
I love having a "girlfriend" and it's nice that my kids have the potential to play with other kids BUT...................
We'll be going to a house filled with "toy" guns and spending time with two really tough boys. It's something my kids aren't used to. The 8 year old is very aggressive, likes to blame others for what he has done and is kinda "lets do this even though we know it's bad". Dh and I have talked about it and he agrees that this is going to be a problem for us. We're not perfect, and we're not saying this mom is imperfect, but we certainly disagree on parenting issues. They have been to our home several times, and here I feel comfortable not letting them out of my sight. It's easier to do that here cause my house is so small!! But I know it will look bad if I insist on hanging out with the kids all day at her house. And the deprogramming I will have to do when I get home!!!!!
I have considered cancelling the dinner, but I cringe at the thought because I know how excited this couple is about it. We did have a playdate at a local amusement center 2 weeks ago. The mother is one of those folks who opens to door and never looks in her kids direction again until it's time to leave. It was me that had to stop the older boy from fighting with my son. My dh had to speak to him about bullying. I had to feed her younger boy. Dh and I left very frustrated, but it was during that trip that this dinner was agreed to.
Can we do this gracefully? Is it a good idea for our son? I'm at such a loss. I'd hate to hurt feelings, but I'd hate to have my son's hurt too.
Oh, I don't know what to do!
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#2 of 7 Old 03-22-2002, 11:36 PM
 
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I hate to be a wet blanket but maybe this friendship is not a good idea? Maybe you should just go ahead and cancel the dinner? I know that you can try to do damage control when you get home but it's kinda too late then. They will have already been exposed to things that you don't agree with. And the hitting and bullying is serious.
I don't know, you are really caught between a rock and a hard place. You don't want to offend your husband's friend but you have to put your kids needs first. Which you totally seem to do.
Maybe someone else will have more wisdom to share. Whatever you decide, good luck.
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#3 of 7 Old 03-23-2002, 01:15 AM
 
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steffi,

Since you already agreed to go and this is dh's lifelong friend, I would go. However, I would not commit to any future dates.

While there, I would casually take turns with dH supervising the children. If I am not mistaken, the 8 year old is considerably older than your ds, supervising their play is completely appropriate. And too bad if someone else thinks it's unnecessary.

I am sure this visit will have it's ups and downs. No matter what, you will have plenty to discuss with your kids when it's over.

RE: weapons of mass destruction, can you set limits about them before the visit (possibly calling the Mom and asking her to put them away???). Or talking to your ds and saying, "I know it's going to be hard, but..." And even have a running dialogue while you are there?

In a few years I am going to be in the same boat - however, I'll have to deal with FAMILY!!!!!

Good luck steffi, let me know what you decide and how it goes,
Laura
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#4 of 7 Old 03-23-2002, 08:55 AM
 
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I just wanted to say, I agree with Laura's advice.

Asking the mom to put the toys away would put your mind at ease. You may want to explain that violent play does not feel right for you and your family.

We have a neighbor who's son is a doll! Love this kid, but all he has to play with is guns, numchucks, starwheels and power ranger type of stuff. I asked if they had a real gun in the house and the dad said "hell yeah". So ds isn't alloud over there - it's hard, very hard! But, I won't let him play someplace like that. The boy acrosss the street comes over to our house and we have a 'joke' "check your weapons at the door". He'll 'unload' his toys and run off to my daughtes room to play in the dollhouse!
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#5 of 7 Old 03-23-2002, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks guys....you really are the best.
Yesterday, not long after I posted this, the mother showed up here with her youngest son. Come to find out, both these boys are seeing therapists for various behavior problems and this young fella had such an appointment yesterday. I had to hold my daughter through the whole visit. He is so intense and mean. He bites, pulls hair and I'm not joking, we had to pry him off Katie twice in the first few minutes of their visit, her screeching in pain!Dh was quite blunt with her a few times about the whole mess so I figured she left rather offended. Later that night, she and the boyfriend showed up happy as clams, so she obviously isn't too swift with obvious hints!!!!
I feel obligated to do this dinner. She has worked very hard. But I do think it will be thefirst and last visit to their home. I will DEFINATELY be adopting the "check the guns at the door....better yet, leave them in the car" idea when they are here. I have told her outright that I don't like them in my house and she has been good about that.
I have gotten angry about this after the visit yesterday. After her son (and yes, I realize he's just a babe) pounced on my Katie and hurt her, mom just laughed and said, "just like your brother at the same age". My ever-so-outspoken dh immediately said "So why let it continue" Just laughed that off too.
I hate having to defend my little ones as often as I do. I start feeling like there is something wrong with ME, my expectations are out of whack or something. But to see your little 16 month old baby being BULLIED and the parent just treating it like a dropped toy........I just wanted to cry and run to my room with them.
I have never been good with tense situations, and I hate to offend anyone, but I know this is going to end with some bad blood! I have started to show her some of the amazing stuff I have learned here, but I am realizing it is a waste of time, and maybe a bit egotistical on my part.
I will let you know how tommorow goes!!! Thank you all for making me feel normal and OK!!!!!
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#6 of 7 Old 03-24-2002, 01:16 AM
 
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Steffi - you're certainly ok! I feel the same as you on this matter. Just remember, it's ok that you and this woman don't become friends. Not everyone was ment to be friends - I think that's why the world is so beautifull - we're all different. Though this woman obviously dosn't get why her kids are so aggressive. You've made an effort, now you need to switch gears and just try to get thought this gracefully!

I'll be thinking of you tomorrow.
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#7 of 7 Old 03-28-2002, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I really thought I got back here and updated this, but I guess I haven't.
On the up side, the mother had her son put away all his guns. During the last bit of our visit, he started fighting with her about it and bringing them out, but I was pleased that they were away in the first place.
BUT, I had to keep my dd on my hip the whole time. When I didi set her down, it was only because the young boy was elsewhere for a few minutes. A couple of times he did get ahold of Katie and hurt her. Both the mother and I trying to pry him off. The older boy was caught by dh with his hands around my son's neck!!! Dh did make several comments about the situation, but the attitude is "We have soooo much trouble with them".
I was so mad and exhausted by the time I left. I spent the whole time tense, watching and seperating and was supposed to smile and chat about clothes at the same time. : THEN dh arranges to have Easter dinner with the boyfriend's family.....and these two boys. He asked me in front of them so I couldn't say no. So now I have to have another full day with these kids. AND he invited them to join us for ds's birthday next week. When i tried to talk to him about this, he said that he really doesn't want to offend his buddy and really wants to keep him in his life. On the one hand I understand this, but on all these occasions, I'M the one running and chasing and supervising while the 3 of them sit and chat. And it's my kids that are getting hurt. I have said that I would like visits to be on our turf and I hope he supports me on that at least.
I do know what I am going to do here. This is frustrating. My dh agress that these kids are horrible and certainly not the playmates we want for our kids, but he can't be unkind to his pal!!This is just going to end in hurt feelings....and as nasty as it sounds, I'm just going to bide my time until that happens. I'll come up with whatever excuses I can to get out of this and will keep talking to dh about it. Better yet, during Easter dinner, I'll force HIM to watch them. We'll see how long it will last then!!!

Thank you all for your help. Thank you for listening to me rant!
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