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

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

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

pigletmania Wed 10-Apr-13 07:49:25

She sounds like a nasty woman and as you have known her for so long I would not hesitate but be open bad frank to her. Invite te older ds round and if she says that he does not deserve it you pull her up on that, it's emotional abuse and very very sad

vivizone Wed 10-Apr-13 07:50:54

How can you stand back and watch?

You are asking for advice on how to handle her so you don't offend her?

How can you even be friends with her?

By you not saying anything to her, you're enabling this abuse on a very young child. It is abuse.

I wish I hadn't read this. Really upsetting.

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 07:57:43

Thank you for making me feel worse vivi...I am hardly just 'standing by' & allowing this to happen. I am doing my best to help them both, even if that is just having them over to mine & keeping an eye on things & trying to spend time with her DS1.
Her behaviour in this situation aside, she is a lovely friend & therefore I feel there's a 'break-down' somewhere between her & her DS1.

spottyock Wed 10-Apr-13 07:58:15

Oh my, this is so upsetting. That poor boy, I could cry for him.
I have no advice at all but this situation cannot be left to fester. She needs help parenting and that poor boy needs help to try and build up self esteem, and to know he is loved.

pigletmania Wed 10-Apr-13 08:01:51

She does not sound lovely. Really I would be open and honest this cannot go on

pigletmania Wed 10-Apr-13 08:02:39

If she says nasty things about her ds you pull her up on it

Lovelygoldboots Wed 10-Apr-13 08:05:15

Wifey, did she struggle when her youngest was born, maybe with pnd or did you see emotional abuse escalate from her marriage? You say you knew her as a child. Did her own mother treat her this way? Would anyone else help, eg her sibling? I think ringing nspcc is a good idea, I am sure they will help. I think you should be Frank with her. I hope you can help her and her son. Posting here is a good start.

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 08:05:53

Have just sent her a text inviting them all over today for a play-date. She was reluctant at first as said 'DS1 would play up'. She finally agreed to pop over this morning, so I'm going to mention it.
The helpful posts on here have definitely helped.

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 08:11:26

Lovely, she said she never felt 'connected' to him (DS1) when we spoke last week (I was saying I was anxious about juggling 2 DCs when my DS2 arrives soon)
I advised that she spoke to someone as sometimes those feelings don't go away if unresolved & she shrugged it off & said 'you just learn to get on with it'. I still urged her to seek advice & even advised a great HV. Just didn't seem, at the time she was taking it in. So maybe it is PND from DS1, unresolved & therefore causing all this.

Lovelygoldboots Wed 10-Apr-13 08:13:23

There is always a risk that by being very frank that you risk alienating her and losing the opportunity to help her son. I understand the dilemma you are in.

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 08:15:13

Thank you lovely...after a previous post- I now feel by not saying anything (as not knowing how to deal & just keeping an eye & keeping them 'close') I'm 'allowing' this to happen sad which could not be further from the truth.

Lovelygoldboots Wed 10-Apr-13 08:16:46

She really needs to address this. She sounds very unhappy. Could your own health visitor help? Could she be there at a playdate you arrange?

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 08:19:33

She doesn't have a HV as 'doesn't see the point', but yes, I could always speak to mine as she is very kind.
I'm going to chat with my friend today & see if that helps.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Wed 10-Apr-13 08:19:38

OP is not standing back and watching vivi; she's asking for advice on how to help in a tricky situation. I don't really know what to suggest though OP - does your friend have any extended family members around?

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 08:23:04

Thank you she doesn't. Her family aren't local & has no relatives here either.
Reading it, if she had (has) PND, no family support, a controlling husband & only myself & a few other friends around her- she is no-doubt struggling herself (not that it excuses her behaviour) but obviously indicates that she needs help- which is all I want for her- so both her & her DS1 can re-build their relationship

pigletmania Wed 10-Apr-13 08:23:09

Thats a god idea wifey she needs help now and you as her friend has to help her realise this and the impact on her behaviour on her ds

pigletmania Wed 10-Apr-13 08:23:49

Mabey arrang the hv to come on a play date as others have suggested

Lovelygoldboots Wed 10-Apr-13 08:24:49

A shame there is no health visitor and a bit of a worry tbh. I hope you can help but it sounds like there needs to be some intervention. I don't think you can handle this all on your own.

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 08:27:50

I've just researched locally & there is a parenting class from birth to 5. I'm going to suggest we go together as I'm due in a few weeks & will say I dont want to go alone & ask for her support. It says there's a crèche for the children to play while the mums get to learn different techniques, strategies etc. Good idea?

hwjm1945 Wed 10-Apr-13 08:28:29

I have seen similar stuff,sounds like she has not bonded with him at all.could you discuss this with her as a possibility?would counselling help? Would she go?

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 08:30:33

I think if she feels it's for me- she will go. I don't want to come on too strong as I don't want to alienate her or feel I'm 'attacking' her.
I will suggest it this morning when she comes over.
It also offers advice from HV about all forms of depression, PND etc.

Lovelygoldboots Wed 10-Apr-13 08:35:38

The parenting classes sound like a good idea. I hope you can help wifey. I would tell your own health visitor anyway as she may be able to help also.

wifey6 Wed 10-Apr-13 08:38:09

I've printed out the info, so will let you all know how it goes as she will be here soon.
Thanks all for your advice

pigletmania Wed 10-Apr-13 08:44:50

Yes I think that you need to take her with you to those are ting classes. Also have a diplomatic and frank discussion with her about feelings and depression, the affect her feelings towards her ds1 might have on him. You don't need to go guns blazing shouting ad accussing, but have an open and honest civilised discussion.

NotProudOfThis Wed 10-Apr-13 08:45:19

I've name changed because I expect wrath.and rightfully so.

DC1 has always been,umm, high need.
DC2 has always been an 'easy' child.
This is very evident in their behaviour and always has been.

When DC1 was born I was very ill,I didn't know it but I was,I had PND and psychosis,I wasn't diagnosed until 3 and a half years later,just after DC2 was born.

For those first months I did favour DC2,I was pretty obvious with it looking back.
I can't explain it really,I didn't know how to cope with the feelings I had.
They were terrible,terrible feelings and they make me feel such a raging guilt now when I think of them.

If someone had pointed it out I would have been horrified,But I also would have been much more likely to seek help sooner.
If someone pointed out how wonderful my DC1 was and told me what it would be doing to her....or even just telling me what I was actually saying to her...and how often...that is was bad enough they had noticed...I don't think I really knew...

DC1 and I have spent the last 2 years rebuilding our relationship,it's been hard,very hard on her,but she is a very strong and resilient child and luckily for her she had her wonderful dad and Gp's around who kept her confidence boosted.
The hardest thing was accepting how I'd been to her for all that time.

What I'm trying to say,I suppose,is if you can let this woman know,gently,what she is doing,it may turn her and her DC's life around completely. I expect she'll be hugely embarrassed and shocked,but it sounds much worse than the situation we were in and they both need someone to say something.

I wish someone had said something to me.

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