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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some suggestions for dealing with a little girl (I'll call her "N") who is one of dd's friends, and whose mother is a good friend of mine. I have been increasingly troubled by the dynamic between dd and N. An example - I had the two girls (and ds) in the car yesterday. Before we got into the car, N was picking rocks up and saying to dd, "My rock is so much specialer than yours, because mine has crystals in it. My rock is so special, you can't touch it, etc" So dd starts to pick up rocks too, saying, "My rock is specialer too..." (DH had the brilliant suggestion when I talked with him about it later of defusing the situation here by joining..."My rock is the specialest, because it has X...get them giggling or at least take the focus off of N vs. dd, and then redirecting...next time) But instead I basically ignored the rock thing and started to get everyone in the car. I was putting ds (who was alseep) in his infant seat and dd was climbing into her seat, and N asks, "can I be first?" I said, "It is almost your turn, just let me finish doing these buckles on ds." And she starts to cry because she is not first...(as an aside, N cries a lot when she does not get her way, and often gets a lot of attention for crying - someone rushes in to help her out. That pattern does not work so well with me - dd rarely cries whan she does not get her way, and if she does, I do not rush in to help her get her way but rather stand back, maybe give her a hug and say I'm sorry you're upset. When you're ready, you can come do X...I think N's negativity and the attention it elicits push my buttons sometimes)<br><br>
So, we are all in the car, driving, and dd and N start to argue about the proper way to hold a lunchbox. It is escalating, so I redirect by starting a game of "I spy". We have a few moments of calm while we play "I spy", until they start to argue about whether the yellow line is yellow or orange. This too escalates - I try to validate both, "Oh yes, look at that line, It is kind of an orangey-yellow, or yellowy-orange, isn't it?" No go... the arguement continues...."Can you girls work this out, or do you need help." They start to hit each other! Ds cries at the noise. I say, sharply, "We do NOT hit. You girls need to stop right now!" No go. I pull over, stop the car, and say, "If you girls cannot act nicely together N will not be able to ride in our car. I asked you to be quiet because ds was napping, you screamed and hit, and now he is upset too." They agree that we can keep driving and they will act appropriately. I position the rear-view mirror so I can keep a close eye on them, we start driving, all is quiet (here I should have initiated another game or something to keep momentum going in a positive way, but I didn't, I just let there be quiet), and then I see N reach over, seemingly unprovoked this time, and pich dd's arm! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="exclaim"> I said, pretty frustrated, "My GOODNESS, I just saw pinching!" And then, "N, I really enjoy having you in our car, but it is very hard if you girls cannot treat each other nicely."<br><br>
Dd has had other friends in the car in the past week, and there is nothing like this! With others there are giggles, imaginative stories, building off each other's ideas, making plans for playtime, etc. With N, imaginative stories and plans often become an argument, rejecting each other's ideas. I have seen that time with N and dd together needs to be highly structured and closely supervised. That usually works pretty well. We do not spend as much time together as we used to, before this pattern began to emerge. When they have a hard time, I always want to try again and give them another chance to play cooperatively, without escalating like that. What do you folks do to manage an intense dynamic between your dc and another friend? Are my expectations unrealistic (I don't think so - in my book, hitting and pinching are just not okay - but help me get some perspective here). Does your dc have a friend with whom you observe behavior you do not see anywhere else? What would you do? I have a hard time communicating openly about this with N's mom - I don't want to come across to her as if I think her child is a problem, and I also know that N acts in these ways a lot of the time (at preschool, etc), so I think I need to focus more on my dd and giving her tools, rather than on the two of them, because I don't think I can expect N to change her bahavior a whole lot...but when they are sweet together they have such fun! So then I think they should be able to do that more of the time!...
 

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I didn't want to read and not post, although I'm not sure I have any specific advice that you haven't already thought of. I must say, and hope it doesn't sound harsh, that interactions with this particular child sound exhausting, both to you and your dd.<br><br>
Have you tried talking to your dd about how playing with N makes her feel? Maybe if she can connect the feeling of what a really fun friendship feels like, as opposed to one that is always disintegrating into unkind actions or name calling, then she will be able to decide who she wants to be friends with. Of course, this does not help the fact that you are friendly with the family of N.<br><br>
My example of this was when a little girl in my dd#1's preschool class had a little streak of not wanting to be particularly friendly to my dd--not really clear on the reasoning behind it, although I suspect it had to do with the way both girls dealt with younger sister dynamics (my dd gets along very well with her little sister and plays very well with her, whereas I suspect this other girl does not do as well with her younger twin sisters). Anyway, after one particularly painful playdate (in which I was in evidence, because I, too, like the mom and wanted to hang out with her), I talked with my dd about how friends treat each other, using examples from our life. It seemed to help a little bit.<br><br>
Anyway, good luck.<br><br>
Mia
 

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I probably would have totally overreacted in the situation you described. I would probably NOT ever allow my DD to play with a friend who treats her that way without *both* mothers keeping a close eye on them. I would have totally freaked. Hitting and pinching are so not ok with me. At the first sign of that sort of behavior, I would have immediately turned the car around and returned the girl to her mother, and told her (the mom) exactly why I did it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies! I often feel that I do overreact in these situations - stafl, I'm glad to hear you feel I'm justified in being very troubled by this! I was driving the girls home from preschool, so did bring N directly to her mother and told her a little bit about the trip, but I have a hard time coming right out and saying - "N pinched dd with no provocation" or "N started hitting." I said that they had a hard time, couldn't resolve disagreements, were hitting, and that I stopped the car and told them that if they behave that way N cannot ride with us. I feel as if I have been withdrawing more and more from this friendship and it is hard because I really value my friendship with N's mom! And we're neighbors. But it is often exhausting spending time together with the girls - I feel like I am policing rather than facilitating creativity and pure play <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> Any more thoughts are very welcome....
 

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Little N sounds a lot like me as a little one.<br><br>
In retrospect I didn't feel very secure in life. I was always testing people to see if they would want me around no matter what I did. I remember saying things like N said, but I didn't realize those things would hurt feelings.<br><br>
My guess is that my feelings came from being an adopted kid who at 4 saw her "brother", that was also going to be adopted, "returned" to never be seen or spoken of again. Somewhere inside I always feel like people are going to "return" me and never bother to think of me again.<br><br>
If someone had taken me aside to give me examples of ways to say things more appropriately, my life would have been different.<br><br>
Can you become buddies with this little girl too? Maybe nicely reissure her that you and your dd will always be her friends. Tell her that in your family you say and act in ways to make each other feel good about themselves and challenge her to do the same. Lots of positive reinforcement works wonders!<br><br>
Not allowing your dd to play with this little girl again may hurt her. But, I do also understand that you have to do what is best for your family. Please keep in mind that little N is just a little girl. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I can relate, this is tough, but the way you handled it was great.<br>
I can also relate to the way you feel "reporting" to N's mom.<br><br>
I too have a good friend, her youngest is an absolute handful; and she is the same age as mine. I feel like I have to "police" rather than let them play as my dd will be totally run over. They were in a mom's day out program together and she was continually trying to bully mine, the teachers were great about it though.<br><br>
I have even had the girl and her sister 3 and almost 5 here and the last time I thought my blood pressure would go through the roof, it was total stress, they both gang up and manipulate my dd R. wants to the green cup, give it to her, says the older sister, I say no, everyone has been drinking out of their cups use your own (in a different, nicer way-it did not work) I look out in the yard and the sister conned my dd into giving her green cup to R.<br><br>
Ugh and I hate to say it but I would not want my dd at the other's house, they are not watched as closely and I have quit inviting them over, but my dd likes this little girl, but it seems like it is never fun anymore. R. may get her way all the time at her house, but it does not work that way over here.<br>
Instead because of the nice weather I have been suggesting going to the park.<br>
It is just so frustrating and I keep giving the kid a chance...........and it seems like aggravation in return. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll">
 

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Not allowing your dd to play with this little girl again may hurt her. But, I do also understand that you have to do what is best for your family. Please keep in mind that little N is just a little girl. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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Thank you for this gentle reminder, averysmom. It is always good to try to see past the behavior to what is fueling it. I can't speak for the inital poster's situation, but this was helpful to me in some other situations (both with adults, as well as children) that I can think of.<br><br>
In peace,<br><br>
Mia
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>averysmom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Can you become buddies with this little girl too? Maybe nicely reissure her that you and your dd will always be her friends. Tell her that in your family you say and act in ways to make each other feel good about themselves and challenge her to do the same. Lots of positive reinforcement works wonders!<br><br>
Not allowing your dd to play with this little girl again may hurt her. But, I do also understand that you have to do what is best for your family. Please keep in mind that little N is just a little girl. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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Yes, and ditto on thanks for the gentle reminder. What a traumatic event you experienced as a four-year-old. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"> These are the things that keep me trying again and again (as well as my friendship with N's mother)! I can't write off any child, let alone a 3.5 year old. I am one of N's closer adult friends, aside from her relatives and teachers. One on one, she can be quite delightful. But, for the past year or so, I have been more and more concerned about the dynamic between dd and N. As much as I want to be there for N, and give her mom a break from time to time(!), it is not easy and I often feel like I am at my wit's end, and that dd is not benefiting all the time from the relationship.<br><br>
A little more info: there is a lot of physicality - this winter I arrived to pick up dd at preschool on several different occaisions, to find N tackling dd! The first time, I intervened, thought, well those things can happen, left promptly with dd, and spoke with her about tackling and being a good friend. When I arrived to the same scene the very next day, I firmly told both girls that was not okay, scheduled an appointment with dd's teacher to speak with her about this behavior, and had dd right then on the spot tell her teacher what had happened, to give dd a voice in it, to make sure the adults were aware of it, and to help them all help both girls avoid this type of behavior. When I met with the teacher a few days later, she shared that dd does not exhibit this behavior at school outside of her time with N, and that dd plays really well with all sorts of kids and is not as dependant on the relationship as N (they do both adore each other, which confuses me as they are SO rough and often unkind together). They are in different classes, so mostly only ineract together at school outside at pick-up time. We both both spoke with dd about tackling and helped give her tools to stop it or to leave when this is happening, and to get help from a teacher if she needed it. The next time I saw it, dd said firmly, "NO tackling, N, that is not okay!" It was at this time that I started to intervene more when N's mother was around - up until then I stepped back and let her deal with N, and I would deal with dd. But I can recall at least one time when both moms were present, N tackled, and I stepped in quickly to pick her up and say firmly, "We do not tackle. You girls can play, but we do not tackle" I felt I needed to let dd know that I wan't going to let this behavior go on, whether she or someone else were doing it - and let N's mom know that I did not think this was appropriate play! And we make a point of regularly doing playdates with other kids, so dd can experience other types of friendships and learn more of what SHE likes and dislikes in a friendship. All these things are good, but they have not made time with N and dd together very much easier....any more thoughts or insights?
 

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Assuming that you want to continue the friendships...<br><br>
Seems to me that if N's mom is a friend, you should be able to involve her in the brainstorming / solution process. Maybe "I've noticed that DD and N seem to interact very physically and I'm uncomfortable with that. How do you think we should handle it?" Or ask how she would like you to handle situations such as the car ride example, without stating who started what. can you both agree on some behaviours that are not tolerated and how to handle them?<br><br>
Beyond that, maybe spending some time figuring out how to be proactive about certain situations? For instance, can you arrange the car so that the girls aren't sitting next to each other, without endangering your younger child? Have snacks set out in the carseats so they have a distraction? Have kids music going and encourage everyone to sing? Can you come up with a list of things you can do to distract if necessary? Having lots of tools at your fingertips may be helpful because then you don't have to stop and think when things get stressful.<br><br>
Since these girls have shown that they can't work through issues themselves, I think you will have to intervene earlier and more forcefully than you otherwise might. I might have stopped the car when the hitting started, not waited.<br><br>
Lastly, I would probably limit the girl's time together to times when I felt I had the energy and attention to be able to handle it.
 

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I will no doubt get flamed for this.<br><br>
I have found from watching some of my dd friends that daycare/preschool gives those kids a mean streak they dont normally have. Its like they are unwinding from all the activity and just not quite themselves. Though some just seem ton pick a bad whatever from daycare that they just have to try with others kids it seems.<br><br>
We are dealing with some problems with oldest dd freinds now, not fun. The way freind treats dd#2 is just awful, and dd#1 just doesnt know how to handle that, yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>momto l&a</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I will no doubt get flamed for this.<br><br>
I have found from watching some of my dd friends that daycare/preschool gives those kids a mean streak they dont normally have. Its like they are unwinding from all the activity and just not quite themselves. Though some just seem ton pick a bad whatever from daycare that they just have to try with others kids it seems.</div>
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I won't flame you. In general, there is probably some truth to this (I have seen it associated with one very large daycare that I'm familiar with - dd was not going to ever set foot in there!), but in this situation the behavior began long before they started preschool. We are in a wonderful, small and very nurturing Montessori program four mornings a week. I really love the program and the community, and feel they set a great tone for healthy social interaction and respectful behavior. So I don't think I can blame the school, and in fact think that they have been helpful in supporting dd and N in this dynamic, and invaluable in giving dd lots of opportunities to interact positively with many different kids of different ages, and to make new friendships where she learns about more positive ways of relating to her friends. If she were not in preschool and were home all the time, she'd be in a little isolated neighborhood with N as her closest peer and playmate; I'm grateful that they both have the opportunity to be with others in the structured and nurturing environment of our Montessori program on a regular basis. I do understand your point, but I don't think it is the culprit in this situation.
 
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