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

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

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

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

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

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

PatButchersEarring Sun 17-Feb-13 21:48:15

Jollygoose If by being 'shallow' you mean that I will prioritise the physical wellbeing of my own child above a relationship with someone whom I have known for less than 3 years, then I would be delighted to accept that title.

Also, let's not forget the primary reason why most people (and certainly myself) made 'mum friends': for the benefit of their CHILD. If the relationship is therefore no longer benefiting the child and hasn't been for some time, why should anyone be obliged to maintain it?

FWIW my DD has been known to be less than pleasant at times in various ways. As a consequence, I'm aware of a couple of other mother's doing the distancing routine with us. Do I blame them? No. Because I understand that that is there prerogative, and they must do what they see as being in the best interests for their child.

jollygoose Sun 17-Feb-13 14:36:48

I was making the point pat butchers earring tyhat you were all being very smug that your dear children would not be capable of such acts and the poor mother involved is probably at her wits end then to make it worse her so called friends drop her like a hot potato! obviously friends like you are SHALLOW

MerryCouthyMows Sun 17-Feb-13 12:23:16

I cannot socialise at all because my DS3 is 'too rough'. I don't ever get any time away from my DS3, so I don't socialise.

It isn't that he bites, or pushes, or shoves or snatches.

He walks through people as if they do not exist. Which often hurts the people he has barged past.

He is being assessed for Autism in May. It has lost me a lot of my friends, as they all have DC's around the same age, and have decided that they cannot see me with my DC's present.

I physically cannot always be quick enough to stop my 2yo DS3, as I have arthritis (was only dxd 7 months ago, it didn't start until AFTER DS3 was born!).

And they have decided that they need to protect their DC's from being barged through.

While I understand it, it is still upsetting and isolating, because nothing I do helps. My DS3 has a severe speech delay, and doesn't understand me when I say or sign to use gentle hands, or that he has to look for other people.

If he genuinely DOESN'T understand what I am saying to him, then the naughty step is useless. As is trying to explain anything to him. He just DOESN'T understand.

He doesn't even know what his shoes are, he can't get a toy if asked to bring it to me.

When you are in a situation where your friends have had to stop seeing you when your DC is with you, yet you never get any time without your DC, you end up living your entire social life on MN.

It's lonely.

Just bear that in mind.

Does her DS have any speech delay or other issues?

Mrsrobertduvall Sun 17-Feb-13 11:42:27

Offer to have the child for a couple of hours without the mother.
You can discipline him yourself then. Chuck in a couple of deathstares as well.

Cherriesarelovely Sun 17-Feb-13 11:01:01

We had a similar situation with a couple our friends kids when Dd was small. They were very agressive and used to thump and push her. In contrast she wasthe most shy, quiet, clingy passive child ever! We distanced ourselves for a little while and bu the time the kids were a bit older one had grown out of it completely and the other was still volatile. In that time Dd had also grown in confidence and actually enjoyed playing with them both.

I think so much depends on the other parents reaction OP.

Many many children grow out of this behaviour but for now, if I were you I would distance myself a bit.

Alligatorpie Sun 17-Feb-13 10:50:45

I have a friend i really like, but her 2 year old is out of control. He hits and kicks other children, runs around other people's houses and destroys them ( open puzzles, throws them on the floor and moves on) his mom doesn't stop him.

I try to only see her outside, but often end up at other people's houses. I really like her, so dont want to end the friendship, but spend most of my time holding on to dd when we see them.

shushpenfold Sun 17-Feb-13 10:43:21

I would be meeting with her on occasion for a drink or meal instead....

HildaOgden Sun 17-Feb-13 10:41:56

Does he interact at all with the other children?How is his speech? Reason I ask is that I was in exactly the same position as you when my kids were about the same age,friend did try teaching her little lad to 'play nicely' for want of a a better expression.Turned out her son was eventually diagnosed with Autism.

If nothing is working with him,despite her trying,and he doesn't even seem to acknowledge anything is wrong...well,maybe there is something else going on with him?Is she worried about him?Maybe suggest she has a chat with the HV?

ChairmanWow Sun 17-Feb-13 10:30:29

I think some posters have been incredibly judgmental in relation to the OP's friend. Someone mentioned cutting her off entirely. Why? It sounds like she's been trying to deal with this behaviour, unlike some of the other examples cited. Imagine if your child continually misbehaved no matter what you did. Imagine the stress of being limited socially by your child's behaviours, not to mention the worry that something underlying may be causing it.

I think we need to differentiate between those trying to set boundaries with their difficult children and those who either deal with it inadequately or refuse to face up to the fact their child behaves like a little horror. It's very easy to judge when you have a well behaved child.

I think the OP is in a difficult position, but whatever you decide to do in terms of the kids meeting up the child's mother doesn't need to be punished.

HelloBear Sun 17-Feb-13 10:30:26

I find sometimes the problem is lack of supervision by parents. This in my experience is due to misguided expectations that their young dc can play happily alongside other dc while they can have a gossip/coffee/sit down etc. If only it was that easy! My DD is going through a 'pinching' stage sad so I have decided to watch her like a hawk. I may look like a helicopter mother but this preferable to my DD hurting another child. Yes it's a pita and I dont get to sit and relax but I would bemortified if she hurt another dc (as she has with her brother!).

So is your friend doing this? If not I would be reluctant to meet up or you have to take on the role of supervising but then you face the tricky situation of potentially having to step in!

CockBollocks Sun 17-Feb-13 10:18:19

Well the OP has said that the mother has been dealing with it, so in that case as this woman is a friend YABU.

FWIW I dont believe labelling a 3 year old as violent is really appropriate, appreciate it might just have been a flippant word that you used but not nice.

Maybe the child needs help playing? Maybe you could take some games and play them all together? Does the mum ever talk about it or do you think she is too embaressed?

saintlyjimjams Sun 17-Feb-13 10:15:15

If you can't do that then it's best not to meet. Because you'll just end up irritated at the unfairness of the situation & it's all likely to blow up helping no-one.

I always found it worthwhile because on the whole these were families who were already becoming very isolated & who were trying everything. It wasn't their fault usual methods didn't work. Usually the kids ended up with a dx to be honest - eventually. If you have a child who responds to typical sanctions (time out etc) it can be hard to understand how difficult it is for those with children who don't.

I haven't found it to have affected ds2 or ds3. They're both very caring boys, who are completely unfazed by challenging behaviours and are very very good with little kids.

saintlyjimjams Sun 17-Feb-13 10:10:33

Bloody phone. Apparently poor impulse control it is unrealistic to expect the other mother to be able to wave a magic wand and make it all ok. If you supervise closely as well and pick your child up when necessary they shouldn't get hurt. Yes it is hard work & realistically you have to be prepared to do your bit as well (and put aside any 'it's not fair why should I supervise when it's their child being mean' feelings).

saintlyjimjams Sun 17-Feb-13 10:07:51

Actually if you want to protect your child effectively then you should supervise as well. We saw a lot of children with challenging and physical behaviours when my kids were small as do many if our friends have children with learning disabilities. I did not expect the other mothers to do it all and also supervised myself - that prevented most incidents.

If you have a child with physical behaviours you can't fit around and gossip in the way you can when you know they're not going to be bashing each other, but given these are young children, with apparently poor impulse contr

Cat98 Sun 17-Feb-13 09:16:09

We have friends like this. It has been going on for 2+ years now (they are 4). We keep seeing them because my ds loves playing with the boy - they both like rough and tumble. The only thing is, the other boy doesn't know when to stop and often hits and pushes my ds in inappropriate non play situations. My ds understands that the other boy 'just wants to play' but it is still difficult sometimes.
I am sticking it out because they are our friends and from a selfish pov ds does get something out of their meetings. I do feel she is not effective enough with how she deals with things but I also acknowledge he's a difficult child and it can't be a bed of roses for her - also I feel my ds will come across many a difficult character in his lifetime and it will be better for him in the long run to learn tools to deal with situations rather than to completely avoid them while he's young. That's mpo though and related to our situation.
In the ops situation I'd perhaps cool off for a bit especially given the age gap - I wouldn't stop seeing them altogether though.

PatButchersEarring Sun 17-Feb-13 08:33:43

oh, and Jollygoose. It is not the responsibility of other parents to keep an extra close eye on their child to avoid them from being hurt by another.

It is the responsibility of the volatile child's parent to watch them like a hawk to make sure that they don't hurt anyone else.

Babyblade Sun 17-Feb-13 08:29:26

I had similar problem with a DC biting my DD. I was further frustrated because the Mum didn't really react or try to resolve the situation. She did that ineffectual 'sing-song' reprimand ... 'Don't bite sweetheart, la la la .... '

Anyway, I decided that I'd make it clear with my DD and the other mum before we met them each time that if the other child bit her we would be leaving IMMEDIATELY - even mid coffee/cake/chat/lunch.

I wanted my DD to know I would protect her and remove her from situations where she got hurt AND that behaviour like that from ANYONE wasn't acceptable. The other DC wasn't my concern but I wanted to make sure that I didn't condone the biting, and that even if the other mum wouldn't react, then I would. It was my way of regaining control of a situation with an uncontrolled child.

The good news is that yes, it worked. We only had to leave once & the other DC soon realised I meant business and that the fun/play would stop if they were too rough. I remained friends with the mum although 3 years later we've drifted apart because DC at different schools.

PatButchersEarring Sun 17-Feb-13 08:25:57

I think this is so common.

I have also distanced myself from a 'mum friend' because of her DS's behaviour towards my DD. This biting/hitting/scratching phase lasted for over 2 years. During that time, I heard umpteen excuses for the behaviour, but did not see the mother a) being consistent in her approach with following through with punishments etc, b) supervising her child adequately in 'high risk' situations, or c) accessing help from HV etc on the issue (although she was more than capable of speaking to HV on a weekly basis about food/sleep etc).

Truth is, I felt sorry for the mum as she was obviously struggling..and as someone else said, although I didn't like her approach, I'm no child expert, so who was I to judge?

However, bottom line is that my job is to protect my child. I no longer see this mum, and am cross at myself for allowing it to continue as long as it did. Incidentally, I did tell the mother why I was distancing myself- and she continued to be VERY pushy about meeting up.

She clearly therefore could not give a fig about mine or my DD's feelings on the matter, and as such, is not someone that I had any wish to retain as an 'adult' friend in her own right for me either.

I say do what is right for your child, and don't feel bad about it.

quoteunquote Sat 16-Feb-13 23:53:59

make an extra effort to meet up in the evening when you are DC free, she will appreciate the friendship,

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Sat 16-Feb-13 23:51:30

Yanbu to stop meeting up.

jollygoose Sat 16-Feb-13 23:28:44

aside from "ihateconflict" some of you mums are horribly judgemental. Unless you have a toddler intent on pushing others around you cannot know what its like. My own dear sisters c age 2 a case in question. He will push and shove given the chance, she has consistently dealt with this by gentle discipline, naughty step and constant reminding of gentle hands and has often been terribly upset by his behaviour so what sort of friends are they whio then decide to isolate her completely. Of course you ant to protect your own children but surelyh this can be done by keeping a close eye when playing.
some of you horribly smug lot will get a shock when your own dc are not so perfect.

Minshu Sat 16-Feb-13 22:53:55

I have made a good "mum friend" but our DDs of a similar age have a love-hate relationship - love seeing each other, talk about each other all the time then start squabbling over toys etc. I think we both went through a phase of making excuses not to meet up for a few weeks every now and then, and it really helped. I also gave DD little pep-talks about sharing nicely, not screeching if the other child wanted to snatch share something interesting. They've now moved away :-( hoping to visit very soon.

Just take a break for a few weeks and see how it goes?

spiritedaway Sat 16-Feb-13 22:15:59

Hello Jinsymaw. and Mydarling, I agree, so long as the expectations are age appropriate.

MyDarlingClementine Sat 16-Feb-13 21:58:22

I have a friend too whose child seems to have gone thru a veryh long violent phase, and to be honest its not so much his behaviour, its the DM ways of handling or rather not handling it.

I just personally feel very strongly that I do not want my child to hurt another, and if they do there will be consequences.


jinsymaw Sat 16-Feb-13 21:47:50

Sorry. Hello spritited away, Sorry love Studio ghibli! Forgive and forget me!x

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