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I like my friend but dislike her son.

(62 Posts)
DangerGrouse Tue 14-Jul-15 19:51:20

We met two years ago at a toddler group and really hit it off. We've been good friends ever since and hang out every week or so with our now 2.5 year old kids. We have really similar personalities and interests and I would really like to find a way of staying friends despite problems starting to arise.
Her son is two months older than my daughter and for the past few months has started to be regularly horrid to her. He's always trying to hurt her, push her over and take away whatever toy she has. My friend rarely disciplines him and so he just continues and I often just have to put my daughter on my lap to keep him off her. I'd worry that telling someone you don't like their parenting would spell the end of a friendship so I'm worried about what to do... Any suggestions?

Spartans Tue 14-Jul-15 19:55:50

Well you could step in and tell him not to hurt your dd.

I think it's a bit odd to consider ending a 2 year friendship because her son is going through what is possibly just a phase.

DoJo Tue 14-Jul-15 19:56:10

I think your title is a bit misleading - you don't dislike your friend's son, you dislike the way she deals with his poor behaviour (or rather doesn't). Unfortunately, there isn't really a tactful way to tell her that she's facilitating his violent behaviour by not challenging it, although you could for something in a roundabout way ('Sarah's not that keen on seeing Jack while he's going through this hitting phase - I think she finds it a bit much at the moment, so maybe we could get together in a few weeks if he's over it) if you think that would do the trick.

paddyclampo Tue 14-Jul-15 19:58:56

Can you not meet your friend without taking the kids? Seems a shame to lose a friend over this!

Looseleaf Tue 14-Jul-15 19:59:03

I opened this to check I wasn't the friend as DS being so annoying sometimes!
I think I'd have a really gentle word that your Dd is feeling overwhelmed by her son hurting her or not being careful and that you don't know what to do as love seeing her but it's worrying you?
If I were the friend I'd rather be told straight out like this and either I'd share that we were meeting huge challenges (PDA, or pathological demand avoidance in our case I think) or I'd simply be mortified but try harder to control DS.
Don't let it continue though as she may not realise how bad it is

Looseleaf Tue 14-Jul-15 20:00:12

Dojo has a nicer way of putting it in suggesting it's a phase, I'd go with her response!

YouMakeMyDreams Tue 14-Jul-15 20:02:35

I was in exactly the same situation several years ago. In the end I did lose the friendship. Sadly it wasn't a phase and my dd was getting hurt and I had a tiny newborn who I was actually afraid would get hurt as well.
I ended up snapping. She did admit she didn't like telling him off because she was worried he wouldn't like her. Was very sad and very frustrating.
His behaviour carried on into school. No idea what he's like now they are nearly teens as we moved away.

DangerGrouse Tue 14-Jul-15 20:07:11

Spartans I do tell him not to hurt her but it isn't my job to discipline someone else's child, it's his mother's job.
Also I'm not considering ending our friendship, I'm worried things are going to get difficult and awkward if his behaviour continues like this hence why I came on here for some advice.

DangerGrouse Tue 14-Jul-15 20:14:05

It's tricky to see each other without the kids, I'm a single mum saving for a house so I hardly ever go out and we've also sort of built our friendship around hanging out with the kids together. I can only really see my mum friends during the day with my child for practical reasons.
It's a good idea to put it as if it's a phrase.
My title isn't misleading as I'm afraid at the moment I don't like her son. Any normal mother would find it hard to like someone that regularly enjoyed hurting their child. I just elaborated in my post about what is going on but didn't bang on especially about my dislike for him as that isn't massively helpful.

CakeLady1 Tue 14-Jul-15 20:14:09

I vote DoJos idea is spot on in this situation

DangerGrouse Tue 14-Jul-15 20:14:50

Phase, not phrase!

IAmAPaleontologist Tue 14-Jul-15 20:20:25

That's just toddlers for you. A good friend and I had to start meeting out of doors and in places where the boys wouldn't be able to kill each other quite as effectively as they did indoors until they got a bit older and grew out of it.

bolleauxnouveau Tue 14-Jul-15 20:23:34

Similar situation here, our friendship didn't survive.

The dominating behaviour continued at the school they were both allocated where I had no control over it and despite me raising concerns the school didn't take it in hand either. My child now tells me they felt I was allowing the behaviour because their complaints about it didn't seem to be heard, it has caused a lot of behavioural issues. I wish I had not let it go so far by thinking it was a phase or something we could reach an understanding over, it turns out we had less in common as parents than I thought and my child suffered for it.

The bottom line is that I should have put my child's best interests first.

DangerGrouse Tue 14-Jul-15 20:31:02

I do accept that toddlers are naturally a bit boisterous. I know loads of toddlers but this boy seems to me to be particularly rough. Even if it's 'just toddlers' they surely should have some sort of discipline from their parents anyway? Setting yourself up for all sorts of merry hell in the future otherwise. I make sure I always pick up on any behaviour issues with my daughter and it means we have a happy and calm household - and she doesn't hurt other children to boot. I assume that's part of motherhood to teach your children how to behave or not behave when it upsets others?!

ElkTheory Tue 14-Jul-15 20:47:09

Your child may well go through a hitting/biting/tantrumming/grabbing phase at some point. It really is an entirely normal part of development, and it seems a bit OTT to dislike a tiny child for behaving like a tiny child. Of course it is frustrating when it seems that a parent isn't responding effectively to his/her child's misbehaviour. So distancing yourself from this friend for a bit (while she works out how to cope with this phase) may be a good plan.

Embolio Tue 14-Jul-15 20:47:26

I also opened to check this wasn't about one of my Ds's (phew). I also have a lovely friend that I met at a baby activity. We each have 2 children of similar ages, as they've got older there have been incidents of hitting, biting, snatching/not sharing etc on all sides, I do think to an extent it's normal toddler behaviour but that doesn't mean you can just let it slide.

What works for us is a couple of things: we both reprimand each other's kids if necessary and overly praise good behaviour "wow Johnny! You let Janet have a turn - what great sharing!" Etc. and, if things are getting crap we cut it short, no messing - any hitting/biting and we go home. It's also easier to meet up out and about than at home as the kids just start bouncing off the walls sometimes. We try to see each other without the kids sometimes too, for a quick coffee or an exercise class.

As someone else suggested you can always say something like "goodness this is a tricky phase, the kids are clashing a lot, maybe we'll leave meeting up for a few weeks?"

DangerGrouse Tue 14-Jul-15 21:16:45

Interesting to hear the accounts of those who lost friends over it and how it's affected their kids. Definitely something to think about. Thank you for sharing your stories.
And again, I'm not by any means saying my child is perfect, she has her moments when she's naughty but I respond so quickly that she stops immediately and makes for a calm and happy life for the both of us.
And again, I didn't make a big deal about 'not liking' the boy, I didn't get personal about him, just described his behaviour in a factual way. Also not liking someone isn't always some horrendous evil vicious way to feel towards someone particularly unless you really get stuck in to how much you hate them. I don't, I'm just not going to pretend that I like someone that repeatedly and rather viciously hurts my child. He's not a 'tiny child' he's actually huge and takes great pleasure when he makes my daughter cry. I'm a protective mother, not a child hating bitch.

Tequilashotfor1 Tue 14-Jul-15 21:22:59

It's not the little boys fault it's actually your friends.

Kikimoon Tue 14-Jul-15 21:40:05

I would protect your child. My friend was like this with her son. I let it go on too long but eventually distanced myself. Felt terrible that he hurt my dd a few times.

All kids do a bit of shoving/hitting etc, but some do more than that and if they don't get any discipline it gets worse.

zazzie Tue 14-Jul-15 21:44:56

He's 2 1/2. Of course he is a tiny child. No matter how good your parenting, one of your children may go through a phase (or longer) like this too.

MissHavishamDreams Tue 14-Jul-15 21:53:42

He's 2.5, a tiny little boy, so many children go through this! Perhaps you should dislike your friend for not reprimanding him, instead of feeling such disdain for a toddler.

CatthiefKeith Tue 14-Jul-15 21:54:33

I've been through this. After the incident that saw dd sporting a black eye I explained that I could only see her without the children until the phase passed. They are now 4 and it still hasn't. My friends parenting style is very similar to how you describe your friends. sad

PickleSarnie Tue 14-Jul-15 22:21:17

My son's friend was like this at that age. Pushed, kicked, bit. On one occasion he managed to bite him three times in fairly shirt succession and push him over so he fell and scraped his nose.

Difference being, my friend properly disciplined and didn't ignore it/laugh it off.

Now, at 5, he's the nicest, well behaved boy.

But if my friend had dismissed his behaviour at the time, that would really have bothered me.

It's not the child's fault, it's your friends.

Purplepoodle Tue 14-Jul-15 22:39:54

My 2.5 year old has hit the terrible 2s full pelt, he's youngest and worse so far so we have hitting, snatching, biting - you name it. It's utterly mortifying for me and tend to avoid play dates. I'm strict so we have short time outs and a sorry.

Iv found toddler groups work well with friends or indoor play centres as he's not confined which make him worse.

All my boys have been terrors at some point and unfortunately most friends I have with little pfb girls havnt survived (unless they stand up and give my sons as good as he gets - friends dd knocked him on his butt - which friend did reprimand her for but he didn't cross her again!) as I spent most my time apologising.

Purplepoodle Tue 14-Jul-15 22:46:52

He's 2.5 I'm sure he doesn't take great pleasure in making your daughter cry. If your so protective then you need to step in. Take control of the situation if his mother won't. Don't let them play together as such get down on the floor and play with them so you are there to intervene. Set activities up so they are occupied. With my boys left to free play for long periods usually ends up in a tussle with time outs all round.

I would say you need to seperate the behaviour from the child. Sometimes I utterly dislike my sons behaviour but I don't dislike him as a person

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