Mothering Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello, Gentle Parents -

I was wondering if I could get advice for a tricky playdate situation that has been recurring a little too regularly. My DC has had this friend for many years. They are now 7 and 8. DC's friend is a really great kid—very bright, bouncy and silly—and usually very sweet.

The problem is this friend likes to inform. A lot. I get the sense this may be to gain attention/approval from the friend's parents and me—as well as to control my kid's behavior. This is annoying to us adults and embarrassing for my child. Usually it is for small things they really need to work out themselves.

The other day my kid said something rude (out of our earshots) that was borderline insulting to the other mom (kiddo called the their house rules "lame" after the friend lamented about about a rule the mom made). This was not appropriate, and I had a discussion with my kid about being polite at another parents' house. Keep in mind, my kid did not say this in front of either of us adults. My friend gave her kid an explanation about how my child probably picked it up from television (nope).

During future playdates, what can I do to minimize this behavior from my kid's friend—without overstepping my friend's parenting? Also, what can I tell my child to say to the friend when the friend starts to "tattle"?

I strongly believe it is important for children to be open with adults when something is wrong and to ask for help, but this over-informing really puts a damper on playdates for everyone (except the informer). It seems like these kids should be old enough not to need loads of hands-on help sorting things out between each other (more guidance than intervention) and my DC has not had this problem with other friends, but maybe I'm expecting too much at this age?

Totally would appreciate advice. Thank you!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,674 Posts
I honestly would see a little less of this friend. No need for your son to "get in trouble" every time he's over there. Or have this kid to your house more often.. then the little playmate can't squeal to his mom.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I honestly would see a little less of this friend. No need for your son to "get in trouble" every time he's over there. Or have this kid to your house more often.. then the little playmate can't squeal to his mom.
I wish we could have the friend over more. If it was any other kid, I would. The problem is there are allergies involved so coming to our house is not an easy solution. Also, the parents will not leave their son at others' homes (it's not us, but pretty much everyone—they are very careful).

But I don't know if that would even work as the behavior seems to follow this kid. His tattling happens at playgrounds and a number of other places. I'd be happy to guide the friendship to an end, but the two of them are super close and it seems like a shame as this is the only thing that is bad between them. I'd like to teach my DC some skills to talk with the friend about it. Once again, maybe I'm hoping for too much at this age.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,143 Posts
What about just not giving him a reaction? If he tells you about something minor you could just vaguely say "oh, dear, did he?" And then carry on your conversation with the other mum.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I tried that. Anything short of completely ignoring him from the very beginning seems to motivate him. That would be problematic as I don't know when he yells at me "Ms. Explosions! Ms. Explosions!" whether he's about to try to get my kid in trouble or not (yes, even turning to him when he yells my name seems to be exciting enough for the little dude). And even when he is just trying to get my child in trouble, I worry about offending his parents by completely ignoring him.

But I just talked more with my my kiddo last night and found out this friend gleefully threatened DC with the tattling before coming to us. It sounds like the friend was doing it explicitly to get a reaction from DC—as a control trip. That's pretty disappointing.

I think I'm going to ask my son what to do. If he wants to stop the playdates (for a while or longer), I will follow through. If not, I am here for him if it gets bad. Want him to learn to make his own choice as he will find there are destructive friendships while he's growing up and some that are good, but need communication to put an end to unhealthy patterns. I really wish he would speak up for himself (he does for other things), but a 7 year old is still very young to do that I suppose.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
436 Posts
The other day my kid said something rude (out of our earshots) that was borderline insulting to the other mom (kiddo called the their house rules "lame" after the friend lamented about about a rule the mom made). This was not appropriate, and I had a discussion with my kid about being polite at another parents' house. Keep in mind, my kid did not say this in front of either of us adults.
You lectured your kid about agreeing with his friend when they were playing alone because the friend came and told on your kid?

House rules being lame isn't racist, homophobic, misogynist, or any other form of bigotry that could reinforce an attitude that could be harmful to others, but it is bordering on ableist, so at home, well away from the friend, I would tell your kid to use another word than 'lame' for instance 'annoying' or 'rough'. But I also wouldn't make it about the friend's report because he's probably using it enough that you can point to other instances.

You want the friend to stop tattling about petty things? Stop giving petty things importance.

A good line for anything obviously petty is "are you telling me that to keep your friend out of trouble or to get your friend *into* trouble?"

Oh, and rather than ignoring him, make it clear he's reporting something very boring that you don't care about. "He did? So???" "And....was someone hurt? No? Okaaaaay then." "I don't understand why you're telling me that." Then turn away from him and drop it.

But make sure you're engaging him about stuff that interests him. If he comes up to you assume he's going to share something interesting "what is it?" if he's like "I just learned this cool thing!" then you're genuinely interested "whoa, cool thing!".

And, naturally, take actual concerns seriously. But be more picky about what constitutes an actual concern.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
You lectured your kid about agreeing with his friend when they were playing alone because the friend came and told on your kid?
I did not *lecture* my child. I spoke with him—and we did not have this talk until we came home. It's a good social rule of thumb that when you go to someone's house, not to badmouth your hosts or the way they run their home. I also agreed his friend was way over-informing and (to me) saying "rules are lame" are not a big deal, but it was their house—not ours.

House rules being lame isn't racist, homophobic, misogynist, or any other form of bigotry that could reinforce an attitude that could be harmful to others, but it is bordering on ableist, so at home, well away from the friend, I would tell your kid to use another word than 'lame' for instance 'annoying' or 'rough'.
That's a really good idea. I don't think "lame" is a terrible word, but some people find it offensive (apparently my kid's friend has been taught not to say it).

Oh, and rather than ignoring him, make it clear he's reporting something very boring that you don't care about. "He did? So???" "And....was someone hurt? No? Okaaaaay then." "I don't understand why you're telling me that." Then turn away from him and drop it.
I have done some of that ("Was anyone hurt" has a pretty common thing I've said). Doesn't seem to work. This kid seems to be obsessed with getting any adult reaction he can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
436 Posts
I did not *lecture* my child. I spoke with him—and we did not have this talk until we came home. It's a good social rule of thumb that when you go to someone's house, not to badmouth your hosts or the way they run their home. I also agreed his friend was way over-informing and (to me) saying "rules are lame" are not a big deal, but it was their house—not ours.
Glad that it wasn't quite how it seemed from the first description.

But....kids can totally agree about another kid's opinion of their own parents rules. He didn't say that the rule shouldn't be followed, he didn't call the parents names for having rules, he just agreed with the friend's frustration over the rules. It was a playdate, not a family party, the host was the other boy who is a terrible host for how he treats his friends.

Pity that the shut-it-down responses don't help. What, if anything, do his parents do? It's really sounding like it's time for your son to have a new friend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Glad that it wasn't quite how it seemed from the first description.


Pity that the shut-it-down responses don't help. What, if anything, do his parents do? It's really sounding like it's time for your son to have a new friend.
The other mom used to *kind of* try to shut it down, but in a way she'd be giving her son more attention than actually stopping it. She seemed to over-engage—giving him more pats on the head and reassurances rather than actually teaching him that he was being unkind to his friend. I am really tempted to tell him this myself, but I worry about stepping on their parenting. They have another little one on the way so maybe when he is born they will realize they need to put a stop to it (cannot imagine living with that behavior full-time).

She has this tendency to explain my child's behavior to her kid after her kid tells on him. It usually hasn't come off as judgmental, but with this last situation she said out loud to her kid that my kid probably learned to say "lame" from a pop song or the internet or TV. They are mostly media-free. Kiddo actually probably heard me saying it. Cleaned up my language a lot, but "lame" is not a word I censor. Way better to say than "sh*tty" or stupid (I've always hated the word stupid). :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,576 Posts
To me, it sounds like an unhealthy dynamic. I would talk to my own child about I perceived the friendship -- "he seems to enjoy getting you into trouble. Good friends enjoy another person's company and want them to have fun. Good friends don't enjoy watching each other be in trouble." I might also talk to my child about not giving the other child ANY ammunition (we control our own behavior, but we don't control other people's). You son might figure out on his own that no matter what he does or doesn't do, part of the *fun* for the friend is looking for something to tattle about. From what you've said, it sounds like both the parent and the child have control issues.


But I wouldn't give it too many more chances before I cooled off on the playdates for awhile. This other child is acting in a mean way, and life is too short for mean people. The time and energy you are spending on this other kid is time and energy you aren't spending helping your child find a nicer friend.


I cut off an unhealthy friendship (and ended up killing my friendship with the mother in the process) when my DD was little, and while it was really difficult at the time, with hindsight, I should have done it sooner. The other child's behavior was repeatedly VERY hurtful to my DD and really messed with her head. We cannot fix other people's children, but we can be VERY clear with our own children that it is OK to be picky about who we consider our friends, that they deserve to have "friends" who treat them with basic human kindness.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mama2mygirl

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you, Ladies! This really helped me figure it out. Talked to DS. Turns out he's been reading friendship books since we came home from the playdate and came to the conclusion on his own that his friend wasn't being a good friend.

So he has decided on his own to take a break from playdates with this boy for a while (though not necessarily end the firendship). We'll see where things go from there. My little guy is a resilient kid who has many other buddies so he will be fine, but we both feel a bit sad about this.

The boys have known one another since they were 4, and this has been one of his longest friendships. They've mutually considered one another BFFs since forever, I've watched them grow up, and thought they'd always be pals (unrealistic, I know). We've also just pulled back from another set of long-time friends of my son's (our families are just moving in two very different parenting directions and the kids go to different schools).

But I'm also sad for DS's friend. He has only one other friend and that kid moved out of state—and this is in the middle of a very turbulent time in his life (his mom's pregnancy has been so hard). Wish I could help him, but I know I have to take care of my little guy first. It's hard.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top