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To stop seeing a friend because she has a violent preschooler?

(57 Posts)
bt1978 Thu 14-Feb-13 22:26:19

I met a friend at a baby group a few years ago when our first babies were a few months old and we've been meeting up regularly (say 2-3 times per month) ever since - her DS and my DD turned 3 this month. We both now have two DCs around 17/18mo.

Her DS hits and pushes my DD whenever we meet up, and he does it to other kids too as we sometimes have others involved in our meet ups. Sometimes not a hard push, sometimes a very hard one, sometimes shouts in our kid's faces etc. At first I just brushed it off as something toddlers/preschoolers do, thinking he'd grow out of it...she seemed to be dealing with it - naughty step/time out etc....except it has been going on for over a year now and he is getting bigger and stronger, and therefore capable of causing more hurt. For instance, this week he pushed my DS (17mo) over so hard he fell on his face and cut his lip. (It was superficial and he was fine a few minutes later)

I felt dreadful that I had not protected him and actually I am now thinking I will give her and her DS a break for a while.

What would you do? I don't want to over-react. Kids do often go through hitting/biting phases etc don't they? BUt surely not for over a year. It's no fun when my DCs get hurt.

BuntyPenfold Thu 14-Feb-13 22:42:11

To be honest, I would avoid meeting with her and the children for now. I could never bear to see my children bashed by a bully either. Can you see your friend sometimes without the children or is that impossible?

But to be fair (and I work in Early Years) it can be very hard to deal with, and take a long time for some children, if ever. They can't learn to socialise without mixing with other children, and whoever those other children are, they do suffer the aggression sad There is no easy answer.

Impulsive, yes; in need of boundaries, maybe; violent, no.

I would suggest you kind of tail off a bit over the next couple of months, then as the weather improves suggest meeting at the park, or other outside area - less confined, easier for your kids to play without having your friend's child in their space.

bumperella Thu 14-Feb-13 22:47:26

I'm pretty relaxed about my DD and a bit of "rough and tumble". She's going to be an only child, she's nearly 2, and sometimes friends kids throw toys around/at her, push her, etc.

However. The age gap between 17 mnths and nearly-3 is a bit much to take. I don't think her 3-year-old is awful, but neither do I think you should feel obliged to put your 17-mnth-old in that type of unbalanced situation.

bt1978 Thu 14-Feb-13 22:53:46

Yes, we have tried in the past to meet up at the park or for a walk etc..it is a little better if we do this but there is still some pushing/hitting. It has been difficult to do this recently because of the snow etc.

Maybe 'violent' was a harsh choice of words, but it feels like it is because he shows no awareness that he's done something wrong and just does it again and again.

I do think that a bit of 'rough and tumble' is normal and part of learning to socialise, which is why I've stuck it out for a year, but I feel like I need a break.

Sorry - my OP was not clear. We both have 3 year olds and 17/18 month olds.

bumperella Thu 14-Feb-13 23:08:15

Ultimately, her DS behaviour is not your responsibility, and nor is it under your control: you can't realistically change her DS behaviour, only how you react to it.
Is it feasible to meet up but as soon as her DS becomes too rough you make a clear "we are leaving" and go? Speak to your freind? Assess how unsettling your kids find the interaction?

gimmecakeandcandy Thu 14-Feb-13 23:14:31

Does she tell him off and immediately take him out of the situation/make him apologise? If not, she is not dealing with things properly. I would ease off too in this situation.

Floggingmolly Thu 14-Feb-13 23:23:48

If your friend is making no attempt to deal with it then no, you would not be unreasonable at all.

ChairmanWow Thu 14-Feb-13 23:27:53

I've got the same dilemma. I took my 23 m o to my friend's son's 2nd birthday recently and my friend's son was awful towards my son the whole time we were there. He pushed him over 3 or 4 times, tried to pinch him, pulled his hair. There have been problems for quite a while. He bit a friend's DD at my son's 1st birthday last March and apparently nursery are really struggling with him. My friend and her partner are really inconsistent in how they deal with it so he's getting mixed messages.

It's hard to know what to do. I'm 36 weeks preg so leaving it for a while.

I would stop seeing them - my "duty" if you like is to my children, bollocks to anyone else's finer feelings. Let her sort her child out and teach him to behave properly, that's her job. Mine is to protect my children.
A year is quite long enough to let your children suffer for the sake of someone else's feelings/politeness hmm

thebody Thu 14-Feb-13 23:40:09

If she's a friend meet her in the evening at the pub.. Much more fun.

Life lesson, u may like a friend and dislike her kids as yours dislike hers.

You choose your friends and let children choose theirs.

Not mutually exclusive.

exoticfruits Sat 16-Feb-13 20:31:02

I would avoid. If you like her meet in the evening without DCs.

mrsbunnylove Sat 16-Feb-13 20:32:14

avoid. if she asks why, tell her.

How would you have her deal with it? If she's using time out etc what more would you like her to do? If he hasn't learned after a year do you think there's a reason he's still physical?

I used to meet friends who had physically challenging children & just supervised very closely.

ukatlast Sat 16-Feb-13 20:47:18

The parent of the 'violent' toddler should supervise said child much more closely in an attempt to prevent injury to playmates. If they see no need to do this, then they have to accept that friends will not be unreasonable to decline future invitations.

The child could have special needs or they might just grow out of it with appropriate supervision and sanctions. At the end of the day you have to keep your child safe.

fluckered Sat 16-Feb-13 20:52:18

how can you call a child that age a "bully" BuntyPenfold hmm

i would try to meet without dc's if possible. if not, then i would give her a wide berth for a bit but tell her the truth if she asks. be prepared for the friendship to end over this though.

MrsDeVere Sat 16-Feb-13 21:00:22

I wouldn't keep meeting up with the DCs.
I stopped seeing someone with their child for this reason. They were a lot older though.

I got fed up with it. They were never going to see the issue (they still haven't) so I just stopped meeting them.

Not my job to give her parenting classes or do the oft suggested MN thing of taking her aside for a little chat. Not worth the stress.

FreyaSnow Sat 16-Feb-13 21:00:27

DS had a hitting phase which he grew out of. I had to follow him around at playgroup and constantly be sat right by him, so that if he raised his arm to hit another child, I could prevent him from doing so. I had a younger child also. I think your children should not be around this DS for a while; it isn't fair on them.

MrsOakenshield Sat 16-Feb-13 21:00:50

how have you suggested your DD deals with this? My DD (3) is often hit by another child at nursery (not seriously I assume as the staff have never mentioned it to me) and we have told her to say, loudly and firmly "stop that X, I don't like it / you're hurting me' and then go to staff if he carries on. She actually quite likes playing with this boy (I get the impression he's quite a 'character', shall we say!) and only mentions the hitting in a rather vague kind of way.

What I'm trying to say in a rather burbled way is, perhaps you could all work together on this - if your DD does actually like seeing and playing with this boy. If his parents are struggling to get it sorted it seems a bit sad for them to lose a friend too - his mum might be worrying that whilst this goes on, no-one will play with her DS.

Sorry, on the red wine, hope I make sense!

Imaginethat Sat 16-Feb-13 21:04:19

I would steer clear. And I wouldn't feel bad about it.

BlackMaryJanes Sat 16-Feb-13 21:04:24

OP is she doing anything to correct her son's behaviour?

Avoid meetings where the children are involved. If she asks, then tell her that her son's behaviour is not acceptable and he hurts yours and other children. She will either cut you or share that she is concerned about him too (which she probably is) and you can talk and try to help.

jinsymaw Sat 16-Feb-13 21:14:07

bt1978,

Please just cool off with this family! You do not need this kind of negativity in your life! Life is so bloody tiring as it is. Make excuses of illness, whatever! Just you protect your babies and don't let anyone upset you. I'm about to hit the big 40 and beginninging to see what my Mum and others are talking about. Don't give a sh@# what anyone thinks! Love your life and those close to you. xxx

ihateconflict Sat 16-Feb-13 21:20:37

i speak as a parent of a past "toddler bully", he is now the kindest and gentlest grown up of 25, and is a doctor. When he was a toddler,he bit, kicked, and was generally horrible to other children, i used to dread toddler groups etc, as i could see the dissapproving glares, and i spent the whole time apologising to parents. I was not a bad parent, I set very definate boundaries, but it was very stresfull. We later found out he had poor hearing due to glue ear, and was in permenant disconfort, his agression was a reflection of his frustration and isolation. He had surgery, and was a new child. I am not for a moment suggesting this child has glue ear, but i am saying spare a thought for the poor parent, i am eternally grateful for my good friends standing by us, and even now, when i see those dissapproving mums in the village, i still remember the horrible looks i got when i walked into a room. I sometimes feel like going over to them and saying how well he has done in life, especially as their children have become troublesome in their later life, but that would be very childish !!! but funny how tables turn

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