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Friend yelling at DS, what would you do?

(53 Posts)
Rojak Sat 26-Oct-13 23:43:02

Ok I need a good dose of MN common sense so I can see if I'm over- reacting / under-reacting.

DS (12) was with me and DD at friend's daughter's birthday party.

DS wasn't meant to go but had to bring him cos didn't want to leave him home alone.

At party, other kid, J (9), starts poking DS, generally low level annoying stuff. So DS, not an angel himself, starts winding J up eg. telling balloon guy, J wants a pink bunny etc etc

Now J then starts crying and I told DS off and to leave him alone and we get ready to leave.

J goes off to sit by himself and friend comes out to say goodbye, sees what's going on and proceeds to shout, angrily, losing it kind of shout at my DS and telling him off.

As we were getting into car anyway and it was her house, her party, I didn't say anything to her.

We left, I told DS he can't go around picking on younger kids and that friend had a right to be angry at him but I didn't necessarily agree witg the way she chosed to express her anger.

I have not texted or spoken to friend since and she hasn't either.

Her husband has texted to ask how we are.

Should I text her or wait?

She has huge anger issues - I have seen her fly off the handle with her husband and kids, and other people around her.

Earlier this week, I was beginning to think that I needed to put some distance between us as I could feel she was getting annoyed with me (but wasn't sure what about) - we play tennis together.

Am I over-reacting to think I could actually do with less drama of angry people in my life?

BendyBusBuggy Sat 26-Oct-13 23:49:50

Why are you friends with her? I assume this is part of her character. Do you like her or not? If you like her, be her friend, if not don't.

ChippingInNeedsANYFUCKER Sat 26-Oct-13 23:52:29

I have no problem with people telling off other peoples' children, none at all.

Both boys were equally in the wrong, but that isn't even the issue.

Your friend was way out of line. She didn't ask what was going on, she hadn't seen what was going on, you were standing right there and she totally lost it... she is bang out of order. It's a shame you didn't tell her so there and then really.

She needs help with her anger issues and I'd text her DH back saying that.

valiumredhead Sat 26-Oct-13 23:55:37

I'd ignore the text completely, anything said about the incident should be mentioned face to face.

Personally I'd leave out but if it ever happened again I would have something to say to her.

Rojak Sat 26-Oct-13 23:59:32

Ok a bit of a back issue - I grew up with an angry DM and I am now married to an angry DH

And only recently, I have come to understand why I may have chosen my DH (repeating childhood patterns)

This friend is relatively new - have known her for about 2 years but only started hanging out this year.

I felt like I gravitated towards her, I invited her to stuff, generally made the effort to get her involved with my stuff eg. tennis

But recently, I have been wondering if I am repeating my old patterns - chasing my attraction to angry people, iyswim?

I only started noticing this earlier this week and was starting to think about distancing myself before this outburst.

Canthaveitall Sat 26-Oct-13 23:59:33

Sounds like you and your friend have a personality clash. You say you felt she was annoyed before, I would use it as an excuse to cool the friendship.

I don't think she was right but neither was your son. She comes off worse and should have handled it better.

BendyBusBuggy Sun 27-Oct-13 00:07:51

I think she probably knows she shouldn't have shouted at your DS. Parties are stressful and she probably let it out on your DS. Not good ... Hence my question how much you like her - and I think you're saying: not enough to talk to her about today / tell her she can't do something like that.

Canthaveitall Sun 27-Oct-13 00:09:00

Just read the rest of the post. This incident is not the only thing that is making you doubt this friendship and I think you should listen to the voice of doubt. I had a friend I met when dc s were young. She was always telling my dcs off for minor things and her children were never to blame etc. It just got so wearing. I personally don't like other people telling my DCs off if I am which I mean in the same room. She was always on at my DCs for minor things, such as dc aged 2 spilling pencils whilst drawing in MY house whilst I was in the room and said it was fine. Grrrr. There was other stuff as well and I constantly had a nagging doubt. We had a similar incident this summer and I just thought 'why do i see this woman?' I haven't spoken since.

And I don't miss her.

Rojak Sun 27-Oct-13 00:14:08

I do like her, but her anger makes me nervous.

I don't want to just back off without at least explaining myself but then, is it worth explaining your decisions or better to just leave it?

BackforGood Sun 27-Oct-13 00:15:17

See, my first thought is why on earth you thought it OK to take a 12 yr old along to a party that he was not invited to, nor, clearly the right age for - and therefore likely to be bored at?

Rojak Sun 27-Oct-13 00:20:26

I didn't want to leave him at home on his own - I admit, bad mistake on my part but he had just bought a new book and was sitting reading the book when other child got up and started poking him, putting stuff on him (child did same to me) but it's just 9 year old boys as far as I'm concerned, they do stuff like that

ChippingInNeedsANYFUCKER Sun 27-Oct-13 00:38:36

BackForGood - that's irrelevant. It did not give the other woman to go ape shit at a child. Not to mention it was the other kid who provoked it - the womans own son.

ChippingInNeedsANYFUCKER Sun 27-Oct-13 00:39:32

Rojak - it does sound like you are drawn to her for the wrong reasons, I think it's time to move away from this 'friendship'.

Rojak Sun 27-Oct-13 00:48:24

Thank-you for your comments.

Because I have only recently come to understand my role in the relationships I have, and because I am usually a bit of a doormat when it comes to aggressive / angry people and also a very soft spot for my own DS,

I just needed a bit of a sounding board and to double check my own gut feel.

I needed to hear / see that I'm not over- reacting in choosing to back away.

Not very good at confrontation or conflict and all my female friendships have been easy and drama-free (prefer them that way, I think)

ChippingInNeedsANYFUCKER Sun 27-Oct-13 00:52:33

You aren't - keep backing, stick to friends that don't shout & scream brew

Vivacia Sun 27-Oct-13 07:09:09

I don't think it was fair to take your son uninvited to this party. Did you ask your friend or tell her in advance he'd be going? I'd be irritated if somebody did that to me and the child then spoilt the party for invited guests.

I think this is separate to the work you are doing on being more aware of your own processes. I think that it is very impressive you've made these observations on your own. I would consider having counselling to support you with this.

OhBabyLilyMunster Sun 27-Oct-13 07:15:50

She was probably stressed out with the party and blindly saw an older and uninvited kid winding up a smaller one. Sounds like she spoke out of turn but i wouldnt blow it up into something its not.

"But recently, I have been wondering if I am repeating my old patterns - chasing my attraction to angry people, iyswim?"

I would have thought so yes given that your mother was angry and that you went onto marry an angry DH as well. Your mother taught you how to be a doormat when it comes to angry people. Counselling as Vivacia stated would be a good idea, BACP are good and do not charge the earth either.

ChippingInNeedsANYFUCKER Sun 27-Oct-13 07:38:27

Vivacia - but there wasn't a problem until the end of the party and the woman's son was the cause of it. It's really not fair to blame the OP for taking her son and he didn't spoil the party for the other children.

OhBaby - even if she saw the OP's son retaliating (not winding up) she didn't 'speak' out of turn, she proceeds to shout, angrily, losing it kind of shout at my DS << that is not acceptable, irrespective of what happended and I think minimising it is not helping the OP in this situation. She has recognised this woman is angry and that she doesn't need more angry people in her life - this is a good thing.

Mojavewonderer Sun 27-Oct-13 07:41:29

Sounds to me like you would be better off cooling it tbh. She sounds like a total nightmare and I can't stand angry people as they put me on edge.

Oblomov Sun 27-Oct-13 08:14:50

Your son was an extra at the party. He is the sibling of the child invited. Have you seen some of the threads recently? How others refuse to even have siblings? I posted on one the other day. I don't mind at all. But 90% seemed to.
But I tell you what. I would be beyond furious if I had party at my house( smaller , more personal) and someone bought their child. Who then proceeded to be nasty and wind my child up. I would be livid.
And would think to myself the cheek of the mum bringing her nasty son as an extra.
Was she cross? Yeah I bet she was.
You say she has anger issues. No I think you have a total lack of appreciation.

ChippingInNeedsANYFUCKER Sun 27-Oct-13 08:18:25

Oblomov - did you miss the bit where it was the womans son who started the winding up? If you can't take it, don't dish it out.

Also - proceeds to shout, angrily, losing it kind of shout at my DS - is completely unacceptable, I don't see how you can say it's not.

BackforGood Sun 27-Oct-13 12:51:18

Thing being - OP says the instigator was the other child, the host didn't know that, she saw a boy who was rude enough to gatecrash a younger child's party, annoying / upsetting a child who was supposed to be there, instead of moving away or ignoring the original poking.
A lot of people find it quite stressful hosting a party, if she had got to the stage where she shouted at the end, well, it's unfortunate, but the reason she did it was because you were rude enough to take a 12 yr old to a party (for younger children) he wasn't invited to.

If you are taking a 3 yr old to a party where the host wants you to stay, and you don't have a partner to leave a sibling with, or you are having to travel there on the bus, then I can understand there might be the odd occasion when you might have to ask if you can stay with a baby or a 5 yr old or something, but if I've read this right,

- your ds is 12 - so leaveable in the day for a couple of hours IMO
-you drive, so could have dropped the other one (who was invited) and then picked up at the end (were all the other children 9?)
- if there's some reason we can't see why you had to stay, and had to have him with you, then it was totally your responsibility to stop him spoiling the party for the other dc, which you didn't.

I'm stunned you then seem to be thinking it's the other woman who is in the wrong here.

BendyBusBuggy Sun 27-Oct-13 15:59:04

But even if the OP was wrong to take her DS to the party ( which I don't think she was - he was reading a book!), then it was still wrong of the friend to shout at her DS, and this is also about teaching her DS how to react to shouty people. If one of my mum's friend shouted at me and my mum just continued to be friends with her as if nothinghappened I'd be confused. He is not a toddler, he is twelve. So... If she's lovely otherwise, this needs to be talked about, if not, it doesn't but then she's not a friend.

Don't teach your DS to be a doormat or that women are doormats.

BendyBusBuggy Sun 27-Oct-13 16:00:10

Oh and I would talk to DS about it either way. He needs to know you're on his side.

perfectstorm Sun 27-Oct-13 16:12:44

I think the key issue is that she has anger issues and you'd already noted that.

I also can't work out how people think it's okay for a woman to see a child sitting alone and upset, ask what the issue is, be told another child upset them (which is what the OP actually says) and explode at that child, despite the fact the kids are separated, you didn't see what happened, and the other mother is sitting right there.

Apart from social considerations, it's utterly shitty parenting. Exploding rather than ask what is happening and what the situation is is toddler-level behaviour. What sort of example did the 9 year old (OP hasn't said it was the other mother's son, either, that's been assumed - was it, OP?) get from that?

Do agree that the best thing to do would be to leave DD and go elsewhere with the older child, but as he was sitting reading a book until provoked I can see how it looked harmless.

I do wonder, though: if the other mother was already becoming irritated with you, then maybe the bringing an extra child was another irritant and then seeing a smaller child distressed and blaming that uninvited guest meant she exploded at your son when most of the anger was with you? Unfair, but human.

JaceyBee Sun 27-Oct-13 16:39:01

I think shouting and screaming in an uncontrolled way at a 12 year old child (who isn't even yours) is totally unacceptable and definitely suggests someone who has difficulties with anger.

Maybe you and DS do have to take some responsibility too but her reaction was way beyond reasonable in relation to the 'crime'. I would talk to your DS in case he is left holding anything, and then talk to the friend about her behaviour and what she thought it was about.

thecatfromjapan Sun 27-Oct-13 16:43:39

I just want to chip in with a bit more support for your decision to move away from being friends with someone who makes you nervous.

It is never a good idea to be friends with someone who makes you nervous. grin

It's one of those things, isn't it? Young people very often are friends with people who are crap to them; people who make them feel bad; people who are cruel to them; people who make them feel scared and nervous. It is one of the wonderful things about getting older that we learn that we don't have to be friends with these people. I'm kind of hoping that this is wisdom I will get to pass on to my children - but I bet it's one of the things you have to learn the hard way. <sigh>

You sound remarkably insightful to have worked out that this has much to do with your relationship with your mother. I'm well impressed.

BellaVita Sun 27-Oct-13 16:54:57

Backforgood, that was my first thought too.

mammadiggingdeep Sun 27-Oct-13 18:44:28

You don't need her in your life.

Back away and spend your time and energy with other (non-angry) friends.....

Rojak Mon 28-Oct-13 00:04:32

Coming to this late - the other boy is not her child.

Yes I do regret taking DS to the party. With hindsight, I would have left him home alone. I am not in the habit of bringing siblings to parties.

DD did not want to attend the party on her own and wanted me there (not something she normally does, but she has been reluctant to go round in the last few months)

For my own well being and that of my DC, I now realise I don't really need more angry people in my life.

It is too stressful and I don't really need the drama of it all.

reallyhurtz Mon 28-Oct-13 00:39:12

If your dd didn't want to go alone...that is her/your problem, not the party host. I would say a NT 12 year old could stay alone whilst you accompaniied your dd. Or dd would have to suck it up and go alone or stay at home. Did you check with the woman (who you know to have anger issues) whether this was ok?

id be pissed off with you. I think a 12 year old should be able to rise above ribbing from a 9 year old

ChippingInNeedsANYFUCKER Mon 28-Oct-13 00:56:14

I'm glad you have realised that you don't need another angry person in your life - that's what really matters here.

She had no right At All to shout and scream at you son, none at all.

AnandaTimeIn Mon 28-Oct-13 01:22:12

If a friend shouted at my DS I would be having serious words with her.

Don't worry, tennis season will be over soon.

FatherJake Mon 28-Oct-13 05:45:09

If a 12 year old kid who hadn't been invited to a party was bullying my 9 year old kid, calling him names and asking for him to get a pink balloon just to wind him up I would be very annoyed.

If it was my 12 year old kid doing this I would not be furious with a woman who lost her temper when she thought her son was being bullied. Nor would I be reassuring my son that I 'was on his side' as suggested by another poster.

I would take my son home and give him a very long, hard talk about how bullies are the lowest of the low and how you should never pick on anyone younger than you.

All the stuff about your mate is a red herring or a different discussion.
You (for taking him) and your son (for bullying) were badly in the wrong I am afraid.

reallyhurtz Mon 28-Oct-13 06:55:34

I agree with have 2 seperate discussions here

1) its great you have id'd that this woman has anger issues and you don't need to be her friend

2) but that shouldn't excuse yous/ your sons decision/behaviour in this scenario..

what exactly did she say, when she was screaming at your son?

charitygirl Mon 28-Oct-13 07:13:04

Fatherjake needs to check the definition of bullying.

Flicktheswitch Mon 28-Oct-13 07:25:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FatherJake Mon 28-Oct-13 07:53:31

"DS, not an angel himself, starts winding J up eg. telling balloon guy J wants a pink bunny etc etc"

So he was picking on a younger kid and making fun of him to an adult entertainer - to the extent that younger kid went off and cried. Sounds like bullying to me charitygirl but not sure there's much point in going over dictionary definitions. He acted in a horrible manner and should have been appropriately told off rather than being seen as some sort of victim.

FranSanDisco Mon 28-Oct-13 08:12:31

Your friend is out of order. A 12 yo boy is not much more sensible than a 9 yo ime and many will react to provocation of this type from younger children. The 9 yo picked on the wrong person if he couldn't take a bit of a wind up back. He doesn't deserve your friend's sympathy and you ds dopesn't deserve her wrath.

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Mon 28-Oct-13 08:32:54

The other boy poking your DS sounds like a complete pain in the a***. Your DS showed some quite clever initiative suggesting the pink party bag stuff, but obviously with hindsight a shame that he didn't use this initiative to get away from the situation.
I would speak to your friend and say that she is not authorised to let rip at your child(ren). If she has a problem or concern she comes to you.

MillicentTendancies Mon 28-Oct-13 14:36:06

Rights and wrongs aside - as you had already told off your son I don't know why she felt like she needed to come and have another go. Sounds like shitty hostessing to me, making a scene - she could have ensured the crying boy was OK, rather than kicking off and making people uncomfortable. She sounds a bit unhinged to shout and properly lose it at a 12 year old :S No wonder your daughter wanted you there. Either way I think this friendship has run its course, obvs personality clash and sounds like way too much hard work to me!

Jan45 Mon 28-Oct-13 16:11:20

I'd suck it up if I was you, we don't know what she was told about your son and if she was shouting at him, I bet she had a good reason, he must have really riled her. I'd also expect my 12 year old son not to show me up at a party with children 3 years younger than him, not a good example to set younger kids nor give you much to be proud of.

Having said that, if this woman, as you say, has anger issues, perhaps you're better not being her friend anymore.

Faffalina Mon 28-Oct-13 16:46:41

Strange how many people think it's ok to shout "in a losing it kind of way" at a friend's child if you're annoyed enough. She hasn't even apologised and has been getting angry for unknown reasons already, so yes I would lose her as a friend OP.

reallyhurtz Mon 28-Oct-13 17:29:27

Its amazing how many people thinks its ok to take an uninvited 12 year old to a party and allow him to 'wind up' a 9 year old, to the point of tears

perfectstorm Mon 28-Oct-13 21:05:47

It's genuinely bizarre to me that so many people seem to think it's okay for this woman to yell at a child because of choices made by an adult. She didn't yell at the OP, who was the one who took him to the party uninvited. She yelled at a little boy, because he was embroiled in a dispute between two kids. And she has form for this type of nasty behaviour, at that.

Reallyhurtz he was sitting quietly reading a book, and was being poked and prodded by a random child, at which point he began to jeer back. No, random brat- child should not then have been teased, as he's younger and there are more effective ways of handling silliness by primary aged children, but at the same time it will do random child no harm at all to grasp that prodding bears may result in being bitten. Sometimes in life if you provoke you are going to get what you came for. The OP intervened and dealt with it appropriately, telling her son off. And while the OP shouldn't have taken her son uninvited, that isn't her son's fault and does not justify the frankly disgusting behaviour a grown woman chose to subject him to, all without seeking to find out what had actually gone on.

I don't think there is ever any excuse for an adult to shriek at a child. Under this little provocation from the child and without any real effort to find out what the story was it's downright abusive. I've never treated any kid like that, ever, and I hope to God I never will. If I ever do I promise you apologies will be promptly forthcoming.

AnySpookyWolfyFucker Mon 28-Oct-13 21:07:02

"If she was shouting at him, I bet she had a good reason, he must have really riled her."

hmm a familiar excuse for all manner of abuse including emotional/verbal. I'm sure my father thought I'd really riled him too sad but the punishment was completely out of proportion to the action, which was just an excuse for the bully to vent out their spleen on someone smaller than themselves.

The point is that whatever the 'provocation' an adult shouldn't be shouting in the face of a child, let alone taking it upon themselves to deliver a tirade against someone else's child, without bothering to hear that child's version of events or consult the parent who was present to find out whether or not she was already dealing with the situation.

It is okay to think that the OP's son was badly behaved or that she had poor judgement in taking him. She accepts the former and had already told him off and was removing him from the situation. The latter was not his fault at all, if Shouty Friend had a problem with his presence, she could have calmly told the OP that he couldn't stay, or that she was annoyed that he had stayed and was winding up another child. But even if those things were the case, SF had no business losing it and shouting at her friend's child. She also isn't rushing to apologise which together with OP's existing concerns about her angry personality suggests that this wasn't a one-off, absolutely mortified afterwards event - she believes as do others on this thread that she was entitled to shout and bawl at a 12 year old, and didn't even do what any reasonable person might have done first - spoken to the child to hear his side of events and/or spoken to his parent who was nearby to make sure she was aware of the situation and to ask how she was going to deal with it.

Having grown up with EA, I have no wish for my DS to experience it. At the moment, that means I won't leave him unsupervised with my F. I wouldn't hesitate to protect him from a 'friend' either. I do wonder why your daughter wasn't willing to go to the party alone, and whether she had already seen this side of SF.

reallyhurtz Mon 28-Oct-13 21:27:03

OP should have intervened sooner, don't you think perfectstorm

reallyhurtz Mon 28-Oct-13 21:29:08

but, yes, i agree, shouting at child uncontrollably is not acceptable

I think, i doubt the OPs description of the level of shouting. For no really good reason though...

perfectstorm Mon 28-Oct-13 21:47:15

OP should have intervened sooner, don't you think perfectstorm

As neither of us were there I'm not sure quite what authority you have to say that. This thread is full of assumptions - at one stage people simply assumed the 9 year old was the party boy - and I don't think they are helpful.

perfectstorm Mon 28-Oct-13 21:54:44

i doubt the OPs description of the level of shouting.

Well, the shouter's husband texted to ask how they were after the incident, in the same day from the sounds of it, which indicates it must have been quite dramatic? Odd thing to do otherwise.

ASWf I completely agree. It saddens me that many people are so okay with a child being treated like that.

BendyBusBuggy Tue 29-Oct-13 20:02:03

FatherJake, you say "If a 12 year old kid who hadn't been invited to a party was bullying my 9 year old kid, calling him names and asking for him to get a pink balloon just to wind him up I would be very annoyed."

OP has already said the boy wasn't the shouty friend's son.

Also, if it's ok to shout at other people's children, why was the shouty friend not annoyed with and shouted at the 9YO for provoking the 12YO? confused

Unexpected Tue 29-Oct-13 20:15:28

If I was the party mum, I would be fed up with the whole lot of you! It's not clear what age your daughter is but it seems that she is old enough not to need you to stay normally at a party so first of all the party mum had an extra adult in her house whom she presumably felt she needed to chat to, offer a drink etc when she really wanted to be sorting out the party, then she discovers she has an extra, much older child in her house as well. Even if the 9 year old was winding your son up, it is difficult for the party mum to know exactly what is going on and even if she saw the whole thing, it is awkward for her to tell off one of the invited guests, particularly when you were there and your child is so much older. Why did you not intervene before party child started crying?

I don't think the mum was right to shout at your son but I can see why, in the hell that is a child's birthday party, it happened and I think there is fault on both sides. Did you apologise for bringing your 12 year old to the party?

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