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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

JohnnyBarthes Tue 13-May-14 08:25:31

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.

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