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Hi Mamas,

I'm having a terrible problem, I feel awful, and I need help. My best friend lives down the block from me, we're friends from college, our older kids (two girls) are 4 months apart, our younger kids are six months apart, we've done tons of childcare for each other, our families are super close....you get the picture.

Recently, I've really been feeling like I don't like my friend's dd! My dd will be four on Halloween, my bff's dd will be four in Feb, and she's a handful. She is very bossy and super competititive, and really tries to control every situation. My bff is aware of the bossy, and unhappy about it, but I feel as if she encourages the competition, and doesn't see how it plays into bossiness. My dd is a very accommodating person most of the time, and seems to put up with all of this quite well, but it's making me very uncomfortable. I'm also worried that my dd won't want to play with her friend as they get older, and I'm borrowing trouble worrying about the future.

What can I do? I'm not super good at confrontation with my friend anyway, and I know that she worries so much about her daughter's behavior that it's going to be hard for her to hear how upset I feel.

I've been feeling so blue about this!
 

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Just curious, is your bff bossy and competitive herself? I have a friend that we do things with a lot and her daughter is horribly bossy and complains about everything. Her mother, even though I love her, is pretty much the same, so of course the daughter feeds off of that. My ds would always just tolerate it, but since starting preschool he's met different kids with different personalities and last week at church told the bossy girl that he'd found new friends. She asked him if he still liked her and he said that he did but that he wanted to be with this other girl (who is not bossy at all).

Anyway, if the mom is bossy and competitive I doubt there is much you can really do other than think about your relationship with the mom. Since the two of you are friends you undoubtedly have developed your own method for dealing with her competitiveness and maybe you can coach your daughter based on your own experience. Does that make sense?
 

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I would do role playing, etc. with YOUR daughter to teach her to use her words and to be more assertive when she doesn't want to do things. If your daughter doesn't mind being bossed around some of the time, let it be. I'd only worry if your daughter NEVER says "I don't want to do that" or never makes suggestions that the other girl picks up on. Then I'd just limit the time they spend together and/or expand her circle of friends.

The best "antidote" to a bossy friend is to have your friend say "I don't want to play with you, you're too bossy!"

If it helps, my niece was very, very bossy as a child. She would tell friends' parents what to do. She would pick up children and MOVE them to where she wanted them to be. She alienated a few friends, she learned to be a bit more laid back with others. She's 16 now and a lovely kid, and not pushy at all. They CAN grow out of it!

On the other hand, our son is more of a follower. It drives me nuts. Then again, I realize that it's MY problem that I mind that he gets bossed around. He's OK with it. If he really doesn't want to do something, he'll usually just go do something else or ignore the bossy kid. It's not the most effective social strategy, and we're working on verbalizing his feelings. But he's very shy verbally and would prefer just to ignore them.

So, I'd do some stock-taking -- who is really bothered by this? You or your daughter? And some role playing to give your daughter negotiating skills. And find a variety of friends so she can make her own friendship choices.
 
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