about keeping dcs happy? My friends think I am.

(98 Posts)
frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 03:43:13

I have 3 friends I see more than my other friends. We have dcs of similar ages and meet up a lot together. Mostly everything goes alone fine and the kids get along well but there is one issue: I feel that they revolve things too much around their dc(s) and will do anything to keep them happy. They feel that I am a bit mean and stingy. We've not had arguments about this as such but it has come up in discussions a lot and it's starting to be a problem in that I don't want to spend as much time with them.

3 recent examples:

1. Friend A has an 8yo, as do I. I also have a 14yo and 12yo. We planned to meet with all dcs at the weekend. Friend's dd wants to go to softplay. My 8yo would enjoy that but not my older 2, which I explained. She won't compromise as her dd will kick off if we don't do softplay.

2. Friend B is currently annoyed with me as I told my dd that an old friend of hers might be in town at the weekend, so we could meet up, maybe. My dd told Friend's dd but Friend did not want her dd to know in case she had to disappoint her if they couldn't meet. It had never occurred to me that my dd wouldn't be able to cope with a bit of disappointment.

3. Friend C buys her dd a new iphone and tells my dcs that they should pester me more as their electronics are all old (it's true, but...)


flukeshot Tue 13-May-14 03:49:48

My goodness - YANBU at all. It bothers me when people tiptoe around their kids like this because they then find it hard to grow out of that "the world revolves around me" mentality.

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 03:52:29

Ok phew! It's just that spending a lot of time with people who have totally different parenting ideas from me did make me slightly wonder if they had a point. I don't think I'm mean but my dcs might say I am sometimes!

flukeshot Tue 13-May-14 03:56:49

I'm mean too then grin
It sounds like they got used to avoiding disappointment/tantrums at all costs when kids were little, and haven't really changed their MO as the kids have gotten older.

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 04:08:26

Yes, they have a really hard time saying no, I guess to avoid tantrums when the dcs were little but now the tantrums have become more subtle manipulation! I listen of course to my dcs wishes (if they ask nicely grin) but I need to be able to say no sometimes! It's just life, surely? It's odd that 3 out of the 4 of us are similar though.

Chottie Tue 13-May-14 05:28:19


lecce Tue 13-May-14 05:38:10

Hmm, not sure on this one.

1. Not sure that any of you are UR here - the dc sound too far apart in age, really. I can quite see that a 12 and 14 yr old wouldn't enjoy softplay any more, but what did you have in mind that would suit all the dc?

2. Agaiin, no one really UR imo, but your friend is entitled to manage her own dc's potential disappointment with you making judgements from the sidelines. Maybe this has been abig issue for them and they are dealing with it in their own time.

3. Sounds annoying, but I do know people who say this kind of thing in a jokey way, still YANBU on that one.

I have lots of friends who do things differently from me. Sometimes I feel a bit hmm at them, and I'm sure they do about me. We all do things differently and, unless you are with them most of the time, you have no idea what may go on behind the scenes.

Lulu1083 Tue 13-May-14 07:22:06

lecce I couldn't disagree with you more!

1. I manage to do things with my children, 13, 11 and 5. There's the cinema, walks in the woods, swimming, museums, just lunch?! They could have taken their dd to soft play another time, I doubt they planned to spend the whole weekend together.

2. Friend B is basically annoyed with OP for telling her daughter the truth. If she didn't want her to find out about the old friend she should have asked OP to make sure the dd didn't say anything.

3. Telling someone their electronics are old is rude imo, and telling them to badger their mother for more is even ruder. It may have been a joke but I bet it would have made OP and her dcs feel inferior.

OP yanbu. It's a shame you can't meet up without the location being dictated by one party.
I have a friend who is similar. She'd change everything we decided last minute if I let her. She once just picked up her dc and walked out of a film after 20 minutes because one said he was tired! I got a text to explain afterwards.

I tend to decide to do something then invite my difficult friend along. If she comes, great, if the she tries to change the plans too much we just go by ourselves

You're possibly being unreasonable on the first point. I assume your friend's daughter wants to go to soft play -your teens naturally don't. There are many occasions when one's child's wishes are going to have to trump those of one's friends children.

Sigyn Tue 13-May-14 08:29:57

Well on point 1 - I have this all the time and my kids are quite close together. Basically, your friend wants to do something you don't, am I right? I'd just say, that's really kind but softplay isn't going to work for us I am afraid. You guys all go, and we'll meet you another time.

My 8 year old would be bored at softplay, I'm afraid...

ThinkIveBeenHacked Tue 13-May-14 08:32:38

Wrt to soft play id say "ahh the older ones wont fancy that but if your dd wants some company, ill give dd3 the money and she could go with your dd?"

StanleyLambchop Tue 13-May-14 08:32:41

I think 2) YABU. My DD would have found this difficult to deal with. Sometimes it is just easier not to tell them until things are firmed up. Your friend should have perhaps told you that she did not want her DD to know, but I think YABU and a bit sneery for judging her.

Sigyn Tue 13-May-14 08:33:44

I do think its a bit off not to try to find something everyone would enjoy, if you are meeting as a family. But if the situation is that you and she are friends, and your daughters are friends, I might treat it a little differently, eg arrange to meet when you can leave the older ones at home, say.

Sigyn Tue 13-May-14 08:35:34

Also...have I read this right?

Your dc that is the same age as theirs is the youngest of three.

Their dcs are their firstborn.


frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 08:51:45

Friend A only has 1 dd, the same age as my youngest. The others have older and younger ones the same age as mine give or take a year each way. With the soft play my friend ended up taking my dd which was fine, they had a good time, but we were supposed to do something all together and had set aside the afternoon to meet up. I took my older 2 out which is also fine, it was the refusal to compromise on soft play in case of a tantrum/mood which I found odd and annoying.

Friend B can indeed do what she likes with her own dd but I don't think she should be telling me I was in the wrong for letting my dd know the possible plans. I retrospect I should have told dd not to say anything but she's only 8 and excited about the chance to see their old friend. However if it doesn't happen she will cope. I would have thought these situations are learning experiences about having to be flexible sometimes. That was only one example - we took Friend B's dd to the cinema a couple of weeks ago. She dropped her off at the shopping centre where the cinema was - we had just ordered some chips for the dcs as they hadn't had lunch and we got some for friend's dd too. When she arrived she saw the chips and whined that she wanted popcorn. Friend did a kind of "what can you do?" face and asked if my dcs wanted popcorn too. I said no thanks, they have chips, they don't really need popcorn too, so she just bought for her own dd and the chips we bought for were uneaten.

StanleyLambchop Tue 13-May-14 09:03:29

we had just ordered some chips for the dcs as they hadn't had lunch and we got some for friend's dd too. When she arrived she saw the chips and whined that she wanted popcorn.

It was nice of you to think of her, but as it happens she did not want chips, which is fair enough. Your friend offered to buy all your Dc's popcorn too, and they declined, so she paid for her DD to have it. I really don't see the problem, except you were left with chips, because you assumed her DD would want them and she didn't. Would you have expected your friend to shove the chips down her throat? I think you and your friend have different parenting styles, but YABU not to appreciate that and to come on here and moan about it.

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 09:14:33

Just giving another example of a situation where I would have encouraged my dcs to be more flexible, which, imo, they learn by not having everything their way all the time? I would have expected my dd at age 8 to understand that someone had bought her chips and to eat them. I don't know at what age it's reasonable to expect a little thought for others, but at 8 I do expect that.

StanleyLambchop Tue 13-May-14 09:21:04

I would have expected my dd at age 8 to understand that someone had bought her chips and to eat them. I don't know at what age it's reasonable to expect a little thought for others, but at 8 I do expect that.

Fine, but you bought her chips on the assumption she would want them, then got the hump when she exercised her right to have a preference. Did it not enter into your head that she might not want chips? I think that showing thought for others works both ways.

pianodoodle Tue 13-May-14 09:36:33

What sort of child doesn't want chips? confused grin

Mim78 Tue 13-May-14 09:48:46

I think points 1 and 3 your friends are a bit U, but point 2 is fair enough. I sometimes don't tell my dd things that would disappoint her and it would be annoying if someone took the decision out of my hands (a bit).

Re the chips you are basically right but not a big deal IMO.

Mim78 Tue 13-May-14 09:51:44

On similar thought I find it annoying when some friends have to buy Dcs a present on every trip especially to the theatre etc. but then they have a not saddled themselves with silly big mortgage we have i suppose!

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 09:54:58

But if we had not bought her chips and she had wanted them? There wasn't much time as the film was starting so we had to decide. It's good manners to be gracious to someone who gives you something in that situation I feel. It's also good to teach children that wasting food is to be avoided if possible. She was hungry but she wanted popcorn not chips. She does like chips, but she wanted popcorn.

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 09:59:54

Mim I agree with you - I buy my dcs things sometimes but have made a point of only doing it sometimes, e.g. they don't get an ice cream every time we go to the park. They have known since they were little that if I say no, there's no point in whining. Friend A was just saying the other day that they can't go out without her dd getting a new toy. She was complaining about it, and I thought - why do it then?

SaucyJack Tue 13-May-14 10:08:28

YANBU on the chips. Where we come from chips are a treat, and I think it was nice of you to get her some so she didn't feel left out.

Both of my girls would have been tremendously pleased with that.

AllDirections Tue 13-May-14 10:14:55

YANBU OP about any of your examples except maybe about the chips. I wouldn't have cared if they got eaten or not and I would have let my DC have the popcorn too.

It's people like your friend B that I have the biggest problem with. To me it just smacks of trying to control you/your DC for her DC's benefit. Parents who don't teach their DC to manage a bit of disappointment are not doing them any favours.

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 10:17:24

Hmm, I am not too comfortable with buying food which goes to waste. I realise that I didn't have any say in what my friend did in that situation but I would never buy my dcs more food than they need knowing half of it would be wasted. I want them to appreciate things cost money!

Georgethesecond Tue 13-May-14 10:23:21

I completely agree with you, OP. And now mine are teens I see the mums who have acted like your friends struggling a lot more than I am. My two are hardworking boys who work when get need to, get up for the school bus and accept what is their responsibility - to ask for lifts in advance, get places on their own when appropriate, save money for things they want. They honestly are a pleasure., even if occasionally grumpy. And my friends who have let their kids dictate are stressed to hell trying to keep track of them and make them revise. I know I sound smug. But it has really come back to bite them in the arse, and I knew it would, it was bloody obvious.

bakingaddict Tue 13-May-14 10:32:19

I think there is more back story to this. Why would your friends think you 'mean and stingy' to the extent it's threatening friendships.

I do things differently to my friends but it doesn't cause any issues. Is it necessary to take along the teenagers, do they actually enjoy spending time with 8 yr olds? Perhaps seeing the children as more individuals and less as one homogenous group might ease some of the tension and just let the smaller ones hang out together.

You made the call regarding the chips, it's for you as an adult to accept with good grace that the decision didn't go your way not trying to impose your belief system onto somebody else's child. IMO it's up to parents to instill this into their own children and I would never over-step the mark by trying to do this with friends kids. Perhaps this is where the crux on the problem is, that they see you as not respecting their right to parent as they see fit.

bakingaddict Tue 13-May-14 10:33:25

Sorry 'crux of' not 'crux on'

StanleyLambchop Tue 13-May-14 10:56:31

It's good manners to be gracious to someone who gives you something in that situation I feel. It's also good to teach children that wasting food is to be avoided if possible. She was hungry but she wanted popcorn not chips. She does like chips, but she wanted popcorn.

But it is also ok to say no to not eating something you don't want to. You took a chance in buying the chips without asking, as someone up thread said you should then be gracious about her turning the chips down. Presumably this trip was meant as a treat, something enjoyable. Therefore why couldn't she have to eat what she wanted?

Personally in that situation I would have thanked you for the chips, but not made my DD eat them if she did not want them. How many times on MN do we see the expression 'No is a complete sentence'. Why can it not refer to children as well? Do they not get to say no if they don't want to eat something that they did not request and has been imposed on them?

I see what you are saying about manners but I would feel uncomfortable about forcing children to eat something they did not want in these circumstances.

DeWee Tue 13-May-14 11:21:48

On point 1, you were just as guilty in giving your dc a say though. She suggested something that the 8yos would enjoy, you said no because your older ones wouldn't enjoy it.
It can be hard to find things that that range of ages all enjoy -I have 13 through to 6yo, and there are some things they all enjoy. But it tends to mean imput, and I'd guess she was thinking that way you could sit down as friends and chat rather than chase after the children. I tend to find that if it's something suitable for all, then either the younger needs a certain amount of help, or the older finds there isn't enough.
If I'd been you, I would have probably left the older two at home. Or if they'd wanted to come, happily given them the entrance money (because they'd either be too old to go on so you wouldn't pay entrance fees or if they were allowed on, they'd be just as happy doing that as my 6yo) to spend in the cafe and let them feel grown up having a drink and a cake, and they'd quite enjoy reading/playing on electronic devices etc. in the corner. I have done that at times, when friends with ones ds' age suggest meeting at soft play.

Point 2: I agree with your friend. I wouldn't tell my dc if it was a "maybe/perhaps" situation. I wouldn't be cross with you for telling yours, but it's much nicer for them to be excited because they have a nice surprise, than disappointed because the person can't come.

Point 3: Does depend on how it came up. Your dc say "you've got a great iphone, I wish I had one" (or whatever) she says "you'll have to ask your mum". Would be a perfectly reasonable discussion. Is your dc are asking "How come she's got a better phone?" and she says "pester your mum rather than me..."

I used to get a lot of comments until I upgraded my phone last year. I said it wasn't a smart phone, it was a "stupid-old-phone"-but it was perfectly modern when I got it... second hand in 2000, didn't even do predictive text. Often people asked when I would upgrade and things like that. Didn't worry me. When I got my new phone (still not expensive) I've had lots of comments about "joining everyone else in the 21st Century". grin

As a child I didn't like chips, still not bothered about them. I wouldn't have asked for anything else, nor would I have moaned, but I wouldn't have eaten them, particularly without a drink I would find them uneatable.

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 12:01:54

Georgethesecond I think my dcs behave pretty well, they have their moments of course. Not sure how much is down to luck though!

bakingaddict there's no back story, apart from knowing each other for years and the kids growing up together since they were little. We sometimes meet up with just the little ones but equally they all enjoy each others' company particularly if it's just hanging out at one anothers' houses. I don't think I overstepped the mark with the chips/popcorn - I didn't say anything to my friend, but she has made comments several times about why I won't buy this or that for my dcs. I often feel pressured into buying things I don't want to because the others are all getting whatever it is.

stanleylambchop if I had felt in that situation that my child would not have wanted the chips and there might have been an unpleasant scene, I wouldn't have pushed it but I sure as hell wouldn't be buying them anything else to eat.

DeWee I thought we could have come up with something which everyone would enjoy? Seeing as the plan all along was to spend the afternoon together. I don't necessarily agree about the nice surprise either - no-one in my family likes surprises actually! The phone situation was literally the mum saw my older dd on her phone and started talking about how her dd has persuaded her that she "needed" the new iphone and my dd should try doing the same as you do need to be kept up to date, or something....

thegreylady Tue 13-May-14 12:30:54

Just thinking about soft play-my 7 and a half year old dgs is begining to find it a bit boring now and we go to please his 5 year old brother. I can't imagine him liking it for much longer though.

StanleyLambchop Tue 13-May-14 12:36:24

Ok Frangiponi we will have to agree to differ then, as I would sure as hell not have deprived my DD of the popcorn she wanted because she did not want to eat the chips which were being foisted on her without consulting her first. Maybe that is what you need to do with your friend. Agree you have different parenting styles and then leave each other to it.

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 12:42:31

In theory that's fine but in practice not so easy when it starts to affect all the things you try to do together.

Sirzy Tue 13-May-14 12:47:44

I think all this shows is different approaches, none of them are right or wrong situations.

I would never assume what someone else would like to eat, I would ask them what they fancied or at least give them a couple of options. Doesn't matter if you like something sometimes you just don't fancy it.

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 12:51:02

There wasn't time for that in this situation. We had to decide. I still think an 8yo can be expected to be flexible.

Sirzy Tue 13-May-14 12:55:22

Surely you could have even sent a text saying "as we are pushed for time I will get the food what does your DD want?" or when they arrived just said "I haven't got anything for her yet as I wasn't sure what she would want?"

There was time for her mum to get her the popcorn!

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 13:04:00

She had to talk her way into the actual film to bring it to her - that's how little time there was because they were running late and we were waiting!

StanleyLambchop Tue 13-May-14 13:09:02

I still think an 8yo can be expected to be flexible

It is easy to say that when your own children, two of whom are older , presumably got to chose whether they wanted chips or not.

I think you both have differing expectations of each other TBH. Why not just gradually cut back contact, so you don't see each other that often.

I actually think YABU. RE the soft play centre - the kids are different ages so you need to find an actvity they can all happily do or just meet when the older ones aren't about.

Re disappointment - some kids can handle it, some can't, there is no right or wrong. Just because you know your kid is ok with last minute change of plans doesn't mean the same for all of us. When DS was little he didn't take disappointment very well so I often used to avoid mentioning stuff just in case it got changed. You know what, if it makes my life easier so what.

Re electronic gadgets - I'll give you that one, none of her business how old your stuff is, it's not a requirement to have the latest of everything.

Def being U re the chips at the cinema - you made a decision and it was wrong. Why should her DC eat chips if she wants popcorn. Different if she had asked for them and then changed her mind but she didn't ask - maybe she was looking forward to the cinema and had popcorn in her mind. When we take DS to the pictures we always have pick and mix, never chips, he looks forward to it.

You do sound a bit like you expect everyone to parent how you do and if they don't then them and their DC are the unreasonable ones. Everyone parents in a different way and if you find it such a problem reaching a compromise then just cut back and don't see them as much and socalise with more like minded people.

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 13:18:19

But they are not that little at 8 - God forbid our dcs should have to be disappointed!

But if it makes her life easier by just not mentioning it where is the harm - it's more for her sanity I imagine than the actual thought of her child being disappointed.

Just try and see it from someone elses point of view. Maybe her daughter is a tantrum queen. My DS certainly was, grown out of it now but I would say only in the last couple of years so probably about 9. It's no fun having a child that tantrums so if it can be avoided then why not?

Sirzy Tue 13-May-14 13:21:43

But if you knew something would upset your child surely you would avoid
that situation as much as possible?

Actually the more you post the more I think YABU and VERY judgemental of people who don't parent in the exact way you think they should

bubalou Tue 13-May-14 13:22:26

It doesn't sound too bad to be honest, of course you are all going to have different parenting styles and yes it may be annoying but that's what you have to deal with when you have friends with kids.

Surely your 12 and 14 year old are old enough to go somewhere with their friends that day rather than hang out with mum and their 8 yo sibling (no offence).


frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 13:23:19

I've said already that it's up to her what she does but she is annoyed with ME for telling my dd, who told her dd. I didn't know it was supposed to be a secret.

whatever5 Tue 13-May-14 13:23:58

I think that you're being unreasonable with 1 but not 2 or 3.
1) I doubt that there is anything that would suit all children of different ages. I would have gone to the softplay with the younger one and left the other two at home. Alternatively we wouldn't have met up with friend A.
2) YANBU How were you supposed to know that friend B didn't want her dd to know?
3) friend c shouldn't be telling her dd to pester you for things. It's none of her business.

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 13:25:02

Yes, my older dcs can go off on their own but we had planned specifically to do something together. My friend knows that softplay isn't ideal for my teens and did a half-hearted attempt to get her dd to do something else, but wouldn't push it because she always kicks off or "gives me a hard time later" as she says.

This time of year you would be hard pushed to find an activity that both a 14 year old and an 8 year old will enjoy doing together (unless they are really close or siblings).

Soft play wasn't ideal for your teens but then what would be ideal for your teens would not be ideal for her 8 year old....but of course her 8 year old should be more accommodating than your teens.

It's a difficult one but really there is too much of a difference for the kids to all socialise together so you just need to do stuff apart.

Goldmandra Tue 13-May-14 13:36:24

I'm with you, OP.

Children whose every whim is not pandered to learn to manage disappointment and compromise and it stands them in good stead in later life.

I have to bite my tongue very hard when friends try to plan every aspect of our time together around exactly what their DCs want for fear of tantrums and just expect my DCs to go along with it because they can be relied upon not to kick off or sulk.

I don't mind catering for all the children's likes and dislikes when planning treats but, if you arrive late and hungry to a cinema and someone has bought your child food that they like, you should be teaching them to accept it with good grace. Running round like a headless chicken to get them something else and then having to talk your way into a film after it has started is ridiculous.

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 13:49:13

Indeed, I'd be very quickly run into the ground trying to make sure everything was always perfect for my dcs. I genuinely don't know how people with more than 1 dc manage that. Even aside from wanting them to learn to be flexible and handle disappointment, I just couldn't do it!

DIYtrainee Tue 13-May-14 13:57:44

OP, I'm with you on all except the popcorn/chips.

I think if you have mixed ages you need to be more flexible about outings. Yes, some things will always appeal more to one child than another and the others just have to suck it up. But some things are just sooooo boring for the other children that its simply not fair to impose it on them.

All the modern stuff - she was out of order. I suspect she did it because she didn't feel as though she was the only one suckered into buying all the modern gadgets for her DCs. If she wants to buy it, then fine, but to encourage your DC to pressure you was out of order. My DC get spoilt with some things, but not with others. I choose what I will get them carefully, balancing out wanting to get them nice things, but still wanting them to appreciate that these things cost money.

Generally, I would say I veer towards your style of parenting, but perhaps not quite as strict. I will tell my DC that something 'might' happen, I don't always buy them treats when we go out, I don't buy them all of the latest gadgets (but might be one or two)

But with regard to the popcorn/chips - sorry, but at 8 (DS1 is 7 so similar aged) I would have got him what he wanted. But only the 1 thing. As he pointed out in one of the battles - 'why do YOU get to choose ALL the time?' And it's true. Why should I get to choose all the time? What is the difference between popcorn and chips as a treat? I can make the choice that they only get one, but he should get to choose what that one is. Especially if I had TOLD him he could choose a snack. Just because you had bought him something, I wouldn't impose it on him. (But I would have made it clear to you that I had already promised him that he could choose his treat, and apologise) - food wastage be damned, that to me would be a dreadful reason to go back on giving him his choice.

Goldmandra Tue 13-May-14 14:02:27

As he pointed out in one of the battles - 'why do YOU get to choose ALL the time?' And it's true.

Fair enough on most occasions but on this day I would have said "frangi had to choose because we were late. You like them so eat them and pipe down. We can have popcorn next time."

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 14:06:45

Yes, my children get plenty of choices. But not everything. In this situation, I actually asked them if they wanted hot dog or chips which were the only things available, then they were not hot dogs left, so no choice. We sometimes get popcorn, but this time it was sort of a lunch.

No-one has mentioned that my friend's dd was whining for popcorn, not asking nicely in the least. I never get mine anything if they whine!

StanleyLambchop Tue 13-May-14 14:09:00

But what if she had already had chips for lunch, or knew she would be having them the next day for lunch. Or had then every single time they go to the cinema and just fancied a change? Perhaps her Mum had promised her popcorn on the way and then wanted to show her that it is important to keep your promises if you can? Why is Frangiponi's decision to buy chips so valid that the poor child has to be made to eat something she does not want, just to teach her a life lesson? What about teaching her that she does have a choice and that her opinion is valid too? The child is only 8 ffs!

AllDirections Tue 13-May-14 14:11:22

I have a friend like your friend B. If we went out somewhere and I'd told DD3 (7) that we could go to the park on the way home then she wouldn't want her DD (7) to be told because she'd kick off. But if it was them going to the park she wouldn't consider whether my DD would be unhappy that we couldn't go.

And it's not like her DD is more sensitive than mine because she's not, my friend just doesn't like saying no to her whereas I would have just said to DD1, "Sorry love but we have to pick DD1 up" or whatever we were going to do. If she kicks off (which is more than likely) then so be it. That's life! Sometimes DD3 knows that when I wink and say in a pronounced way "Come on DD3, we're going straight home now" that it's for the benefit of my friend's DD.

I don't think that it's a good idea to do that but if it's what my friend wants then I'll go along with it. If DD3 slips up and says we're going to the park then so be it. She's 7 and she doesn't always get the level of manipulation that some parents use to prevent children kicking off because I don't do that even if it does result in tantrums, etc.

DIYtrainee Tue 13-May-14 14:13:06

I suppose food would be the deal breaker with me because food is where we have a lot of problems - very fussy child and so we've had the 'with choices comes responsibility' talk. He can make choices but is responsible for them - it has resulted in a MASSIVE improvement.

I suppose in THIS particular instance if I was the reason we were late, I would probably have given in, if he were the reason we were late, I'd have told him to suck it up. If he wanted a choice we needed to get there on time.

Oh yes, I suppose if he whined that would be a deal breaker for me - whining sets my teeth on edge and if he had whined he would have been threatened with 'if I hear that whine again you won't get ANYTHING', and then have followed through with it (might have had to miss half the movie with the resulting tantrum though.....)

MerryMarigold Tue 13-May-14 14:14:01

Frangi, I agree with every point. These people (well in particular friend A) will have awful teenagers. Start edging out of the friendship now before you need to listen to incessant moaning about their teens and how of course, it is NOTHING to do with their parenting!

Friend A's child already sounds a bit tiresome. Whingeing to get her own way at every opportunity and having tantrums if she can't. She's got her parents under her thumb.

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 14:15:23

Maybe she was promised popcorn, but if my child whined rudely like that they may not get it after all!

I do the same as you AllDirections - if they kicked off then they kicked off, but they learned that it didn't change my decision so they stopped doing it quite a while ago.

AllDirections Tue 13-May-14 14:17:54

If I'd promised DD3 that she could have popcorn at the cinema (which she would expect to be fair and so would I because it's a cinema treat) and that I'd buy it for everyone when we arrived then I would still do that regardless of what else had been bought for her. She'd have been more than happy with chips first and then popcorn so I imagine she would have eaten half a portion of chips if she was still allowed popcorn too. It sounds like your friend's DD had to choose between the two.

MerryMarigold Tue 13-May-14 14:18:29

If I 'promised' my child popcorn and there was chips waiting, I would say, "Oh look, chips. How kind of frangi to have thought of you..." "I know I said, I'd get you some popcorn, but I didn't know Frangi was going to get you something, and you like chips too, don't you?". If still a problem, take child aside and tell them it is rude when someone gives you something to be ungrateful for it, and you will get the popcorn another time, but NOT ANOTHER WORD.

MerryMarigold Tue 13-May-14 14:20:15

The amount of parents who lie all the time about 'coming back in 5 minutes' in order to stop DC kicking off, but they can't go back on a 'promise' of popcorn <sigh>

AllDirections Tue 13-May-14 14:21:02

I forgot to say that I wouldn't have been late for the cinema so we'd have had plenty of time to sort everything out without it being a problem.

And whining is very annoying and something my DD3 would have done because it seems to be her default <sigh> but she wouldn't have got popcorn until she asked nicely.

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 14:21:16

It will be shame to not see them so much but I have found myself making excuses at times. I like the mums on their own and I like the kids - it's not their fault and they are always lovely if I have them over without the mums!

Nah, sorry, if my child had already had lunch (and let's face it, most normal people do not take children to the cinema about lunch time if they are not fed) and I had "promised" him popcorn then I would politely decline the chips and get him popcorn.

I expect him to keep his promises he makes to me, so why should I not give him the same respect back.

DS was a massive tantrum king when he was little, he grew out of it as most of them do and is now a lovely polite kind little boy with a good heart and soul. However, whether I will be saying the same when he is a teenager and hormones kick in, I wouldn't like to say!

threedeer Tue 13-May-14 14:26:47

I can't quite see why you saying your older DC don't want to go to soft play is any less pandering than your friend saying her 8 year old does want to. Generally, older DC can cope with a bit of hanging round more easily, or go off on their own and meet up with you later.

AllDirections Tue 13-May-14 14:28:14

NOT ANOTHER WORD That would work with some children and not others. DD2 would absolutely have been ok with that but not DD3. A portion of chips is not important enough to me to have a disagreement over but then I have a very definite style of feeding my DC which involves not 'making' them eat anything. I have issues with food that I want to avoid with my DC and so far my way has worked for us. We have never had any food issues and DDs are 7, 13 and 17.

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 14:29:59

But we could have found something else which everyone would like! My 8yo did want to go to softplay, but she is used to having to compromise as one of 3 dcs. I would however encourage that skill even if I had only 1 dc, perhaps even more so.

Ok....people have many different interpretations of the scenarios I gave as example and that is fair enough. Lots and lots of these scenarios over time is however getting quite tiresome for me and probably for them too, judging by the stingy comments I've had.

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 14:32:19

I never make my dcs eat anything either but there is never another option if they don't eat what I've made. I would absolutely have encouraged them to eat the chips (but wouldn't have needed to realistically as they like chips, as do most kids, would not have forced but would not have bought anything else.

sunbathe Tue 13-May-14 14:34:03

Examples 1, 2 and YANBU.

Chips, VU.

Especially about saying she was whining.

sunbathe Tue 13-May-14 14:35:04

Dear, dear, tuts self.

Examples 1, 2 and 3, YANBU.

MerryMarigold Tue 13-May-14 14:35:15

I would not make my DC eat the food. I would make them say thank you for it. And if they were not hungry, then they don't need popcorn either.

AllDirections Tue 13-May-14 14:35:45

I don't think that any of the examples in your OP is a dealbreaker to be honest OP. You just have to be nicely assertive so that it's not always about your friend's DC. I have lots of friends, all with differing parenting styles, and usually we can work with all our differences. My DC know that what I say goes, so I might let them have an ice cream regardless of who else is allowed one but if I don't want them to have one when everyone else is then I'll say no.

Occasionally I've had to stop seeing a friend but it's been very rare and only for really extreme behaviour.

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 14:44:09

I was unreasonable to say she was whining? Whining is horrid!

I'm not going to stop seeing them altogether....never intended that.

I feel that I say yes enough and sometimes no to my dcs. It's the mums' not being able to say no which I find difficult to cope with when we meet. Friend A's dd wanted my dd for a sleepover the other weekend, which is nice, but it wasn't a convenient weekend and they basically ambushed us outside school on a Friday afternoon. Of course my dd was hoping I would say yes and did a "face" for a second or two but my friend was begging and begging on her dd's behalf. She didn't stop until I had said no about 4 times and explained why each time. She looked really cross with me as they walked away - I wonder what the dd put her through?!

sunbathe Tue 13-May-14 14:56:09

Your 'whining' might just be her saying 'I'd prefer popcorn', though. grin Also, if she'd been expecting popcorn, it was reasonable for her to have popcorn.

When we go to the cinema, we have popcorn in place of dessert. Chips wouldn't cut it.

DIYtrainee Tue 13-May-14 14:57:56

Ugh, that sounds awful. I'd have said no just on the principle of being bailed up like that!

frangiponi Tue 13-May-14 15:08:39

No it was most definitely whining! I'm sure you know the delightful intonation that goes straight inside your brain inducing pain. I can't bear it.

Georgethesecond Tue 13-May-14 16:53:36

Whining gets nothing <gavel>

Ilovexmastime Tue 13-May-14 17:43:39

I'm with you OP. Ok, individually all these incidents could be explained away and make you look unreasonable, but when there are lots of little things, they all add up to piss you off. The overall picture I'm getting here is that your friends are scared of upsetting their kids, and I think that in the long term that does them no favours.

Sneepy Tue 13-May-14 18:07:20

Well. I think you should tell your friends exactly what you think, as you are a much better parent than either of them and your children are so much better behaved. I'm sure they'll be very grateful to hear what they're doing wrong.

BakeOLiteGirl Tue 13-May-14 19:05:19

You have way too emotional attachment to the chip issue. Not healthy to be passing that on to children. Especially the eat it because we don't waste argument.

You don't sound like you like your friends much.

And some children struggle massively with being flexible. Some cannot do it or do it well. Just because some children are less flexible about change than others doesn't mean it's bad parenting. It really pisses me off that people can't see that.

Of course, that may not apply here, but the more you whine about the chip issue the harder work you sound.

Swisskissingisbetterthenfrench Tue 13-May-14 19:13:10

I agree with you OP on all points.

Swisskissingisbetterthenfrench Tue 13-May-14 19:14:34

My kids would be over the moon if they had been given chips but then they are very grateful kids and appreciate kindness

LaQueenOfTheMay Tue 13-May-14 19:23:33


Our DDs have been brought up to understand, that over the course of a year, they will both get to do plenty of stuff they really enjoy e.g. bowling, swimming, cinema, theme park, whatever...however, breaking that down into a week to week basis, there will be weeks where they don't get to do stuff they really enjoy.

And, that's life. The world doesn't revolve around them. And, even as their parents we can't revolve around them 24/7. Sometimes, they actually aren't the priority [gasp]

Parents who are scared to say no to their children...who always give in for the sake of an easy life...who says yes because it makes the next 10 minutes easier (deliberately ignoring that it will make the next 10 days that bit harder)...who lead their DCs to believe everything revolves around them ...well, I just think they're pretty useless and inept parents.

ElkTheory Tue 13-May-14 19:29:25

It just sounds as though your friends have different approaches to raising children. I really don't think there is One True Way to be a parent. Obviously there are aspects of your particular approach that your friends disagree with, as you disagree with theirs, but that doesn't mean you are always right and they are always wrong (or vice versa). It may even be the case that your children sometimes behave in ways that cause your friends to roll their eyes (inwardly).

C'est la vie and vive la difference. <Very nearly exhausts knowledge of French in one sentence.>

TheRealAmandaClarke Tue 13-May-14 20:45:23

with example 1,it was just a difference of choice of venues. Your friend was no more pandering to her 8 yo that you were to your older DCs. It can be tricky to find things that everyone is happy to do when there's an age gap. So maybe no one WBU.

Example 2. I can see that she was upset but it was unfortunate rather than something to be annoyed with your dc about.

Example 3. Uwnbu. I think that's a little rude of your friend.

But, I think ywbu about the cinema snack. A treat is not a treat if you don't want it. Her choices a as valid as your dcs choices, her mum then offers to buy your dcs popcorn, which was kind. Besides I think it's compulsory to have pocorn in the cinema. Sweet of course wink
I would have been a bit upset about your attitude to the declining of chips.

You obviously have different views to some things than your friend's. That's ok. Maybe they've been making comments because from their POV you seem to be making a point about some of these issues.

frangiponi Wed 14-May-14 01:58:45

Why is it a problem to encourage children not to waste food? Genuinely, why? We have lived overseas in countries where people are living on frighteningly small amounts of money. My dcs saw how little food some people had. I don't make them finish their plate but would not be throwing away uneaten food just to give them something else. No no no.

frangiponi Wed 14-May-14 02:02:19

TheRealAmandaClarke the difference is that my older dcs would have gone along with it had we decided that they would have to come along to soft play, because they have been brought up to know that sometimes that's just life and you have to do things you don't really want to do. My friend's dd has never had to accept that, therefore my friend will push for the option her dd wants to avoid a scene. It feels like, with these friends, my dcs are penalised for having learnt how to compromise.

TheRealAmandaClarke Wed 14-May-14 05:16:32

Well what did your dd's wants to do? Or hadn't there been a discussion.
I think most ppl agree that never saying "no" to your dcs is not a good idea. But it's possible they don't see that's the case. Maybe there's a happy middle ground between your two styles or maybe you should see less of them if you can't reconcile yourself with their "shortcomings"

I think YAbu about the chips. And the way you speak about it now sounds a bit rigid tbh. It wasn't really refusing to eat a meal and being given sweets was it? You were at the cinema. It was good of you to think of the other girl when you bought your chips but I think it was unrealistic to expect her to eat them. I would be no more likely to get someone chips at the cinema without being asked than to offer them a bowl of soup. Cinema= popcorn. If she was looking forward to popcorn (which everyone wants and revels at the cinema) then it would be a gratuitously harsh to make her eat something else.

TheRealAmandaClarke Wed 14-May-14 05:18:53

When I say they might see that's not the case, I mean that your friends might believe they don't always say yes, just that they do so more than you do. IYSWIM.

BakeOLiteGirl Wed 14-May-14 07:24:00

It's not a problem to expect children not to waste food. But it is a problem to buy food for someone else without asking them and get pissed off when they exercise their right not to eat it.

StanleyLambchop Wed 14-May-14 07:41:19

If you were so worried about the waste of the chips , why didn't you just offer the spare portion to your other children? Could they not have polished them off, what with them being so flexible and all that?

turgiday Wed 14-May-14 08:03:31

I am very surprised at a few posters saying it would be hard to find things that all the children would enjoy in this age range. I totally disagree. And like any group, if you are planning to spend time together as a group, you find something everyone will enjoy.

frangiponi Wed 14-May-14 08:34:18

My dcs probably would have eaten some of the extra portion but friend's dd held onto it while she ate the popcorn. I thought she was going to eat it but she left it behind in the cinema, which I only realised when we got outside and asked one of my dcs. Anyhow, I feel we might have done that one to death now.

What would my older dcs like to have done instead of softplay? Go for lunch, go to the cinema, go to one of our houses, a museum, even just a picnic somewhere. So loads of options.

DIYtrainee Wed 14-May-14 10:31:11

I think what most people are missing is the fact that soft play issue wasn't just this once, this friend ALWAYS tries to make the OPs children give way in preference for her own child's wishes.

Once in a while that's ok, but not every single time.

I agree with you on almost everything, except the chips.

Food wastage is a fact of life in this country. But... it was really off of the other girl to keep the chips and not share them when she didn't want to eat them herself. That is just not on.

Spoilt and brat come to mind......

popmimiboo Wed 14-May-14 12:56:42

My DC are 14, 12 and 8. I would have been ok about the softplay as my 12 year old actually still enjoys it and 14 year old would have come along for an ice cream and got out his phone if he got bored.
However, I still say YANBU as I would be irritated that the other DD got to dictate what the group did with no attempt at compromise from the mother.

The old friend -well I would have been like you too but would have felt dreadful about DD putting her foot in it when her friend didn't know. Agree with you but understand other mum.

The phone thing is rude and would have annoyed me a lot. YADNU.

Hmm, the chips one. I would be annoyed, actually that the child demanded popcorn instead. I have always made sure my DC realise that cinema tickets are a treat in themselves and would not be impressed that some kids see popcorn as a must. If I were the other mum, I would have told DD not to whine, told her to either eat the chips or give them to someone else, apologised for the waste and offered to buy some popcorn to share between them all.
I think YANBU to be irritated by the situation.

TheRealAmandaClarke Wed 14-May-14 13:30:20

Re: softplay. It's really not on to force everyone to do what you want each time you meet up tbh. Whatever your excuse reason.

frangiponi Wed 14-May-14 13:52:16

My friend doesn't force as such but we didn't get to meet up as planned as the little ones ended up doing softplay while I took the older ones on their own. So all plans had to be changed to accommodate one child, which is not really fair but happens a lot.

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