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To avoid a child

(70 Posts)
buggyRunner Sun 04-Nov-12 12:09:37


a bunch of us met at surestart and became really friendly at breast feeding cafe and our friendship has grown with our children- and our dc's are all 3 and we are all close friends. All dc's have been through various stages and a few of us have had 2nd dc's (youngest is 14mths). However, one of the 3 yolds behaviour is really challenging.

It has been this way (noticable and quite destructive) since he was 2. However, the consequences are getting worse. He is very tall and pushes, punches and fights consistantly and without warning. I must also add that he is also very sweet and at times an absolute joy but the violence is overshaddowing everything.
His mum is struggling and we are all offering support- she is at her witts end.

The problem is that he really hurts the children and literally punched my 14th month old in the face twice on a 2 hour play date - without arguing just walked past her turned and swung his fist in her face. I was sat next to her and it was so unexpected i couldnt stop his fist. He is like this at every play date- playing nicley for a minute then just attacks a child- not anyone specifically- just who ever he is near. I also have a 3 year old so i have them at my side all the time as to protect them. Which doesnt make the parties, play dates etc enjoyable.

Yet it isnt enjoyable- it is difficult, fustrating and I dont want my children traumatised. The other parents feel the same. I have tried to arrange parent only things as I really like his mum and think she could do with the support. I have offered more activity play dates but that makes it harder for her as he will run off but at least I can put my dd2 in a pram and dd1 can hold my hand. The children in the group are all frightened of him at a recent party they were all sat on settees clinging to their parents.

I just dont know how to react- as his mum tells him off but says if you do it again were going but doesnt go iyswim. We have always met up with everyone but she has missed a few times because of his behaviour so I dont want to put her off coming but I am a parent first and a friend second iyswim

AgentZigzag Sun 04-Nov-12 12:37:34

You shouldn't have to deal with your 14 month old being hit in the face by anyone, three or otherwise.

Obviously three year olds are just learning the rules and need showing the way, but the mum not being effective is really the problem isn't it, so you're avoiding the mum rather than the DC.

If you really are going to avoid her, I would probably give her a chance to do something before totally cutting her out. Do you feel you could tell her how you feel?

The picture you paint of all the children cowering behind their parents at the party sounds as though she can't possibly miss what's happening, but she could be rationalising it as the problem lying elsewhere.

But then you say she's missed a couple of meet ups because of his behaviour, did she say that's why they didn't go? If she's said it once that might indicate she's more open to an offer of help?

Softlysoftly Sun 04-Nov-12 12:41:24

I have the exact same problem with my best friends DS, the last playmate my 3 yr old DD left with a black eye and cut on her nose shock. I love his mum but she doesn't follow through with punishment so it just doesn't work.

The advice I got was next playmate tell her that if she doesn't deal with it. I.e. tell him he will leave and then actually leave then no more playmates. It's going to be hard but I can't let my DD and more importantly new baby get hurt.

buggyRunner Sun 04-Nov-12 12:42:17

She does seem aware of it- nursery often have to speak to her about him, she is always apologising and avoids doing things with other children because of it. I've offered support but the problem is consistancy (which is not all in her control as he is looked after by his GP's a lot)

I just dont want to put my children through it but dont want her to withdraw completley which is what may happen

Softlysoftly Sun 04-Nov-12 12:42:44

*playdate FFS

AgentZigzag Sun 04-Nov-12 12:50:18

Has anyone actually said to her that from the outside she doesn't seem to be following through with her threats?

If the nursery just say they're having a problem with him and don't see it as their place to tell her what to do about it, she might be floundering not knowing what to do?

Is she scared of upsetting him, especially in front of other people, or maybe she doesn't want to leave? (in which case she needs to pick something else other than 'we're leaving if you do that again') Why do you think she's not able to do as she says?

stinkinseamonkey Sun 04-Nov-12 12:56:12

YANBU I had exactly the same problem. I child from antenatal group was "normal" until 2ish, then he started lashing out with no warning. I'm not talking about scuffles over toys, this was just walking up to DS and others determined to hurt them out of the blue

It ended up quite upsetting DS and he would talk about it anxiously at bedtime etc. Your child does not deserve to feel the same to protect the mother's feelings!

I never see them any more. Yes its a shame for the other child, but ultimately its not the childs fault as he WAS behaving worse than the normal amt of toddler scuffles/bites etc and it was the MOTHER who wasn't responding to the extent of the problem

ABitWoozy Sun 04-Nov-12 13:13:16

Had the same situation with a close friend, had to avoid her in the end because her dc was violent and uncontrollable around mine, my judgypants were pulled up WAY high over her ineffectual parenting tactics.

Fast forward to today, her dc has been diagnosed with ASD, ADHD and a host of other issues, no-one could have dealt with the dc any better than she had and it's only as dc has grown up and become 'easier' that it's been possible to resume contact.

You can imagine how bad I feel even to this day for my poor handling of the situation when I was supposed to be a supportive friend sad Not much help or advice to give, just try and deal with it better than I did if you can.

Birdsgottafly Sun 04-Nov-12 13:15:17

Why are the GP's minding him a lot?

Tbh, if she is leaving her childin the care of someone who is allowing this behaviour to continue, then she is still responsible.

It is the child that i feel for, as he will go to school and be disliked by the other children, because he has never been taught how to behave.

EdsRedeemingQualities Sun 04-Nov-12 13:18:58

I wonder if she is getting any support with his behavioural issues, like from the HV etc - it sounds like she is aware of and embarrassed by it but doesn't know what to do.

I'd suggest meeting up with her as a friend without the kids and discussing it - asking if she has got any help from anyone. And suggesting she asks for some input, if his behaviour is seriously OTT.

Stay a friend, as much as you can, but you don't have to meet her with your child any more.

SuzySheepSmellsNice Sun 04-Nov-12 13:19:43

Woozy... It wasn't bad of you to put your child's safety first. The other DC may have had undiagnosed SN, but its your job to look after your family, not to worry about another child. Don't feel bad.

stinkinseamonkey Sun 04-Nov-12 13:24:25

ABitWoozy, what do you think you SHOULD have done differently? Allowed your child to be continuously hurt?

I do suspect the other child in my case has some sort of behaviour problems, but while they are not being appropriately mitigated against I do not think I should sacrifice my own child for his benefit! Mine remembered and talked about what happened with the other child long after I cut contact.

Of course I feel for the child it is not his fault. Like the OP his nursery have had a disproporttionate amount of problems with him but noone can really help until the parents see it as a problem and not normal toddler scraps (which it isn't)

There are other reasons why I think this child will get diagnosed at some point, and I hope he does and I hope he gets the help and socialisation that he needs but its my job to keep my child feeling happy and safe!

LunaticFringe Sun 04-Nov-12 13:24:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ABitWoozy Sun 04-Nov-12 13:27:51

Suzy, oh no, it's not the avoiding/ keeping my dc safe that I feel bad for. It was the judging I did, friend has a much more permissive parenting style than mine and I was convinced that if she just set firmer boundaries everything would be fine.

It wasn't, and she was just dealing with an extremely difficult situation in the best way she could. She's a great mum and at the time I must have been a complete PITA with my well-meaning advice blush

SuzySheepSmellsNice Sun 04-Nov-12 13:30:44

Still, don't beat yourself up about it. Hindsight can be a bitch...

Viviennemary Sun 04-Nov-12 13:31:40

Sad as it is you must protect your baby. And if that means not seeing this child then so be it. We knew somebody years ago with a child who was special needs. He threw a dinky toy (metal) at my child's head only a few months old and missed by an inch. I got such a fright I just couldn't have exposed her to that again. And DH agreed. It was nothing to do with the parents really as they tried their best.

lovebunny Sun 04-Nov-12 14:03:45

for goodness sake. the 3 year old can't behave, other children are at risk. ditch the three year old. and the mother too, if you have to. tell her nicely that you can't take the chance of the another child being hurt - one already has been.

she's bringing this child up - if there are problems she needs to work on them.

i recently met one three year old little horror - snatching toys off babies, kicking toys and furniture, wanting to rifle through the kitchen in the home of a new acquaintance. his mother whimpered mildly 'now, sit with me...'
i advised the householder not to invite the horror or his mother again. nice mums and well behaved children should not have to put up with bad behaviour caused by lax parenting.

puds11 Sun 04-Nov-12 14:11:55

I think you need to tell her how bad it is, and suggest that she follows through on the punishment.

If everyone just keeps avoiding the issue then he will just get worse not better.

WhereYouLeftIt Sun 04-Nov-12 14:42:45

A couple of things jumped out at me, OP.

1. The child was fine until about a year ago. Has anything changed at home since then, e.g. you mention GPs provide a lot of care, did that care (and possible inconsistent boundaries) start then?

2. The mother's ineffectualness ([she] "says if you do it again were going but doesnt go iyswim" ) - is she the only one at these playdates disciplining him? Or do you all take responsibility for disciplining all the children? If not - do you think this would help?

whatthewhatthebleep Sun 04-Nov-12 15:23:53

was the child a fussy baby?...cry a lot and maybe not feed and sleep well for the mum?
Could be all sorts going on with this really. I wonder that Nursery are not offering more help and advice for the mum??...shouldn't they be wanting to refer to a Pead or GP at least, if his behaviour is so difficult to manage? Surely they have a duty of care here for this child and assessments and attention needs given to this?

It's a very double edged world for a mum who is struggling with a young child like this. She loves her baby but can't cope with the difficulties her toddler is bringing and is therefore maybe pushing him away, reluctant to engage with him, not responsive in a loving/caring way and altogether feeling she is dealing with an alien V's her beautiful baby she started with....a child would be feeling all this and definitely responding negatively and more so if the mother/parent is unsupportive and turning a blind eye to them and their needs....could even be PND going on for her.

GP's supporting her could be creating a bigger division between parent and child and GP's maybe aren't able to cope either and maybe not for much longer.
Your friend needs help but that doesn't mean you have to let your own children suffer.
Maybe try to help her with some practical things, going to speak to someone, GP, Nursery, HV...somebody who can really help them both...perhaps knowing she has someone who will support her to move forward will really help her see that this will get better for them both....ignorance is not bliss in a situation like this...she must realise this.

PatButchersEarring Sun 04-Nov-12 18:02:01

Another one here who's had a scarily similar experience...and probably distanced myself way after other people had because of my own conflicting feelings/not wanting to be a 'bad' friend etc.

I too witnessed the mother of this violent child not follow through on punishments etc, but equally could see that she was struggling and didn't want to see her isolated any further.

BUT- as others have said- you absolutely have to put your children's interests first- and don't feel bad about that.

At the end of the day- if I had a problem with my DD's behaviour, I would be accessing parenting courses, HV information etc etc. And most importantly, I would be watching my DD like a hawk to ensure that she was not posing a risk to anyone else's child.

If your friend is choosing not to do this, then that is her decision. Meanwhile, you have every right (and a duty IMO), to not subject your children to it.

TheMonster Sun 04-Nov-12 18:05:25

I've let a friend go because of the behaviour of her son. Ironically, she was always complaining abut the behaviour of another boy (who was well behaved) and saying he was bad because he was adopted shock

FryOneFatManic Sun 04-Nov-12 18:45:43

That the child is spending a lot of time with GPs is interesting. I wonder what their attitude to discipline is, if they are actually discipling him at all.

PatButchersEarring Sun 04-Nov-12 19:03:43

OP. There may be a hundred reasons behind the child's behaviour. None of them are your responsibility. Your responsibility is your child.

greeneyed Sun 04-Nov-12 19:17:17

Marking place here, dealing with similar situation, child is 4 and he's.close family so cannot avoid - I know mum is doing her best, does follow through with discipline. I think the child may have adhd ( I have it myself so know a little about it but still obviously not enough to diagnose!) I don't feel I can raise this with the parents and am hoping and waiting for preschool to do so.

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