To be a bit uncomfortable with friend's behaviour...

(105 Posts)
wifey6 Tue 09-Apr-13 23:16:34

towards her children?
My friend & I have been friends since school..both have young children who play together weekly. From very early on I noticed she favoured her youngest DS. (They are 4 yo & 2 yo) The way she would give more attention, in ways of cuddles, time & even how she spoke to him.
It was the opposite with her eldest DS, who she would be (still is) very dismissive of.
She makes comments in front of her eldest that the youngest is 'more handsome', 'sweet', 'loving' etc.
the eldest does act up for attention but more worryingly has started agreeing with his mum that the youngest is all the things she says & that he isn't.
I don't say anything to her, but make every effort to reassure the eldest that he is 'handsome', 'loving' & 'caring' & really include him when playing with my own DCs.
Should I say anything to her about the favourtism & if I do, how do I handle it without causing offense?
Sorry for long post

pigletmania Wed 10-Apr-13 08:45:40

Mabey slip her some leaflets during the discussion about PND in a nice non confrontational way

pigletmania Wed 10-Apr-13 08:47:57

I am so pleased not proud op read notprouds advice it's a good idea to gently talk to her about it and how her dc1 might be feeling because of her feelings

BegoniaBampot Wed 10-Apr-13 08:51:33

I would find this very difficult. it happened to a friend of mine. she never bonded with her youngest, said the child was naughty, disobedient etc. child was excluded from family holidays and outings and then sent away at the age of five so is no longer part of the family. my friend obviously has real issues and needs some help but her child's welfare should have come first.

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 08:57:25

notproud...thank you so much for your honesty. I'm glad to hear you & your LO have re-built your relationship.
I will definitely be saying something when she arrives, obviously in a caring way.

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 08:58:16

Begon....that's terribly sad about your friend & her LO sad

ppeatfruit Wed 10-Apr-13 08:59:22

Notproud Your post has made me cry sad and feel that you are amazing to be aware of your past and try your hardest to put it right Many many congratulations on that. Your DC1 is lucky that you are coming to terms with it and that she knows you love her.

wifey its great that your friend has you to look out for her well done

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 09:01:56

ppeat...just hope I can help more practically than just offering support & play-dates. She's on her way, so will update you all later. Thank you all, I feel more confident & equipped to help them from all your helpful, honest advice. thanks

pigletmania Wed 10-Apr-13 09:16:30

You could also tell her tat mabey te reason why her ds is 'naughty' is because she keeps telling him so he's playing the part and also trying to get mums attention even if it is negative

glossyflower Wed 10-Apr-13 09:50:21

It is very sad and YANBU.

I knew someone who favoured her younger DD over DS. DD was ALL she's talk about and we'd never hear stories of DS.
One day I noticed her keys had a keyring picture of DD but the other side where a photo could be placed was an advert for a car repair shop.
I casually asked why there was no photo if DS and she shrugged it. Then I suggested it was favouritism to which she replied "well we ALL have favourites don't we?"
I was shocked and she's no longer my friend.

pigletmania Wed 10-Apr-13 10:05:24

Glossy shock what a cow some people don't deserve children

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 10:08:07

glossy...that's so sad & awful of your friend's behaviour.
My MIL has favourites within her 4 DC which I just can't get my head around & openly will admit it, even in front of the other DC.

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 10:15:19

Ok...so friend arrived just after I posted at 9am & we have casually chatted & her DS1 said 'I'm naughty & not cute'...'DS2 is better, mummy says'.
So I approached her with it & she went a bit embarrassed & said 'well its true'. I told her it wasn't & what wonderful qualities her DS1 has & how lucky she even is to have 2 healthy DS's. I also said that I'd read how vital building their self-esteem is, especially so young, to which she said- 'I just don't feel it'.
I then suggested we go to the birth-5 class so we could meet new people etc. she said her DS1 would be naughty...I told her to give him a chance to be good & to a least see what happens before assuming he will be.
She started to open up & said she just hasn't ever felt the same about DS1 & I then urge her to seek help, HV, counsellor etc as they both deserve to be happy as he loves her so much. I did cry & couldn't help it - blame it on the hormones. She then did too & said she would try but felt embarrassed. I have offered to go with her as support & she has agreed. She had to leave at 10am so only a quick chat- but she said she felt better for being honest & said she didn't realise how bad things were.
Do you think that was ok what I did?

edwardsmum11 Wed 10-Apr-13 10:18:57

I think it was good what you said but don't believe she's gonna change, tbh.

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 10:18:59

I'm under no illusion though that things will change over-night, but I do believe she wants to change things now. Just hope she accepts my offer & I'll be keeping my offer open of support.

glossyflower Wed 10-Apr-13 10:20:56

wifey you absolutely did the right thing, you approached her in an honest and sensitive manner. I'm sure no mother would want to deliberately make her child feel like that so bringing it to her attention that its quite noticeable is probably the eye opener she needed.
Also I thought it was very lovely of you to offer to go to groups with her. What a sweet friend you are smile maybe she had PND with DS1 and has found it difficult to bond with him.

acceptableinthe80s Wed 10-Apr-13 10:23:11

You sound like a brilliant friend OP. I think you've approached it perfectly. Am sure your friend doesn't enjoy feeling like this, she needs help and she's lucky to have you on side.

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 10:23:24

Thank you...just hate to think of her struggling & worse, her DS1 suffering because of it. I have a DS & DS2 on the way & I can't imagine feeling how she describes..so I want to help her.

WottingerAndWottingerAreDead Wed 10-Apr-13 10:24:35

Well done, I think you handled it brilliantly. she's thinking about it, she opened up - a bit - she knows its upsetting you which might help her start to think about why it would be upsetting.

Go in all guns blazing and she'd be defensive and you'd lose any chance of helping her son, via helping her.

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 10:25:49

She's just messaged & said she has booked an appointment for next week with her doctor. She has asked me to go which I've said I would. I'm hoping this is a step forward for them both.

choceyes Wed 10-Apr-13 10:35:07

That's great OP. It's really sad reading this thread. Poor little boy.
I had my DD 21 months after DS, and for awhile I did go through a phase of "disliking" DS (still loved him so much though) when he was naughty and I was struggling with a toddler and a baby. But I never said DD was better in any way than him. That is such a damaging thing to say to a child.
Also sounds like your friend has an abusive DH. Does she want to take steps to deal with that?

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 10:37:08

choc...she never thinks her DH actions are wrong, so for now I'm just pleased she is showing signs of wanting to get help to improve her relationship with her DS1.

BegoniaBampot Wed 10-Apr-13 10:47:22

Wifey - I don't think you could have handled this any better, truly well done you. Hope this is the start of your friend trying to make things right.

There was an interesting article a while back in I think the DM that was discussed on here. It covers this and how some mums turn cold towards their first child when a baby comes along. Might try and find it.

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 10:51:32

beg...thank you. I was doubting if I should do it properly as to not make things worse & could have kicked myself for crying- but I feel it helped her to open up a little.
Oo thank you - I will see if I can find that article/thread too.

fromparistoberlin Wed 10-Apr-13 10:53:26

well done OP, you have really tried to be a good person here

whilst I understand the people that say "I would dump her as a friend" I can see that you risk losing a chance to help her child

well done, and keep at it

you are the ONLY person that might be able to help this child

xx

Lara2 Wed 10-Apr-13 10:58:29

I've been a teacher for almost 30 years and you wouldn't believe how common this favouritism if one child over another is - to the point of neglect. It's incredibly sad sad

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