to be upset with my friend's reaction to her dd's bad behaviour?(23 Posts)
I have a seven year old dd, let's call her Jane. She has a best friend, Sarah, whose been her friend from nursery and another close friend, Emily, from school. I'm very friendly with Emily's mum who is unfortunately going through an acrimonious divorce. Emily's dad left in January and it's been tough financially and emotionally for her mum. I've tried to be supportive, particularly by having Emily round and taking her on days out to give her mum a break.
Three weeks ago I invited Sarah and Emily along on a day out with dd and me. I have two teenagers who don't want to come along any more so I often invite friends. Anyway Emily completely spoiled the day for dd by continually going off with Sarah and not letting dd join in at the soft play centre we went to. She also kept whispering comments about dd to Sarah. She even did it at the table while we were eating lunch. Sarah is quite soft (like my DD) and didn't know how to handle it. I have seen Emily be horrible to dd occasionally but this was awful. Eventually I got sick of it and said we are leaving. Emily said she didn't want to leave. I said 'well you're leaving Jane out so I don't see the point in staying'.
When I dropped Sarah off earlier than planned, her mum was really upset and felt sorry for dd but I explained she was being led. However when I told Emily's mum, she said 'how strange' and nothing else.
Since then, she has completely avoided me at school and she told a mutual friend that I was being unreasonable because Emily has been through so much I should be sympathetic. Tbh, this is why I have tried to ignore previous bad behaviour. However she was so deliberately nasty to dd that day, I really feel dd's feelings should be considered too. Never mind that I was kind enough to take her out to lunch and soft play. I actually only included her because I know her mum can't afford these treats (and yes, I agree three girls was not a good idea) and wanted to give my friend a bit of a break for the afternoon. Now my friend seems to have decided to ignore me because I am not being sympathetic to her DD. AIBU or should she deal with her dd's behaviour and not make excuses?
I think it is good that your DD saw you standing up for her. Being sympathetic doesn't mean having to tolerate bullying behaviour.
So your daughter's feelings are irrelevant because her friends going through a tough time? Is that what she wants you to say? Yanbu it's not like you said you'd never have her round again you were dealing with her bad behaviour.
Where would we be in the world if everyone going through a tough time had exceptions made for them
She should, yes, and you did the right thing I think by ending the trip if you were unable to sort out the behaviour. Sad as it is that the child is having a crap time right now, you can't let your own child be treated badly because you are prioritising another child over your own. So I understand why you did what you did. I assume that before you reached the point of calling an end to the day, you told them off for excluding your child, refused to let them go off alone together and intervened when you heard the whispering.
That said, maybe the mother is going through hell and barely has it in her right now to put one foot in front of the other. If the divorce is as bad as you suggest, it's going to be hard for her, it's obviously going to be hard for the child and challenging behaviour is to be expected.
That doesn't mean excused. It doesn't mean that you let your own child down by telling them to allow someone to treat them badly, but certainly it's understandable that with all that's going on, a child might play up.
Yes you should be sympathetic. And you clearly are. You have been there for her. But she is unreasonable if she expects you should offer up your child as her child's emotional punchbag, regardless how tough things are for her kid right now, that's never ok.
Also, you shouldn't absolve sarah of blame here. She had a choice to make and she made it. She went off. She listened. She has responsibility also.
NBU at all, bullying behaviour should always be highlighted no matter the reason. The mum will be feeling extra sensitive at the moment.. Just take a step back for a while, you did nothing wrong.
I think it's probably wise you and your DD take A step back from Emily and her mom. She obviously isn't thinking straight and is lashing out. People who know you will know the truth. Perhaps in a few days/next week send mom a text to see how she is and wish her a merry Christmas.
Emily's mum needs to realise that it is an explanation not an excuse for Emily's behaviour.
My DD has been Emily (ExH has done some unbelievable things), I was always consistent that I understood that she was hurting, but it didn't give her the right to hurt other people.
Well that's the thanks you get for doing something nice for someone. 2 is company 3 is a crowd and sadly much to your very understandable anger its been your poor little one who was the crowd. Just let her mother get on with it. Its not your dealing ,Lauren. Yes harsh but true abd especially when the favor is not even appreciated. Like I said. You tried to do something nice and it was thrown back in yourvface.
Worry about yourself and your own little one.
You know, I have gone through a very acrimonious divorce and DS was put through hell and back during that time. I wouldn't have been asking sympathy for him if he had been purposely excluding a child, I would have been falling on him like a pile of bricks.
Having said that I had a child constantly kicking and punching DS during an outing. I invited the child, but I admit I couldn't control how aggressive he was on that day, I literally had to sit between DS and him on the way back to stop him hitting DS (and yes, even with me in the middle, he kept trying). I told both kids off and explained the situation to his mum, who was fine and apologetic until the next day... I suppose the child's own version of the events was very different to what I saw!
I do sympathise with the child whose parents are splitting up. I assume you told her the behaviour wasn't acceptable and gave her a chance to modify? If so, then you were right to take her home. As for the mother ignoring you, I've found that when people feel they are in a weaker position than you are, they resort to behaviour like that as a defensive measure.
Three oftentimes means someone is left out. Usually I overlook one of the kids doing something like this...but what you describe seems over the top unkind behavior. So I think you did the right thing, cutting the outing short and telling the little girl what she was doing, that is important.
May be best not to have an odd number next time...could you write a short note explaining again and emphasizing that you value both the mom and her daughter and hope to reconcile. It seems to me you didn't really have much of a choice, you had to say or do something, she was being blatant about leaving your daughter out, throughout the outing.
If you do decide to contact the mom again, don't ignore what's happened and try to carry on with Merry Christmas, etc. because for the other mother, the issue is not resolved. She may see you as jumping on her daughter during this awful time for them and being disloyal to her. That's no my opinion but she may be under that impression. I second the opinion that it was good for your daughter to see you stand up for her.
Personally I tend not to tell other parents about poor behaviour but just decide not to have the child round for a while. I guess if the mum is ignoring you it's some kind of blessing of the child is difficult
If you are the only adult there then you can tell the girl to behave herself. Give her three warnings and that you will go home if she doesn't sort out her behaviour, and then go home if the problem continues. Next time just ask the nice kid.
I think I'm feeling a bit unsure of how I handled the situation because it was the first time I'd ever told a parent that their child had behaved badly after years and years of play dates. Tbh I think Emily's mum is actually actively making the kids feel even more insecure because she insists on sharing every gory detail with the dcs. They range in age from 7 to 11 and I think it's unhealthy. On the day of the play date, Emily's mum had just found out that the OW had announced her engagement to the ex on Facebook. She literally told Emily just before she brought her round to our house. Why would she want to upset the poor thing just before a supposed treat? The engagement hadn't even been confirmed. It was just something a mutual friend said. She surely needed to check her facts and find a suitable time to tell the kids. I can almost understand the nasty behaviour but I can't watch another child be a punch bag. I'm probably better off without the friendship but ironically the girls are still playing together.
Btw Sarah isn't blameless but her mum gave her a huge telling off so she didn't a free pass like Emily.
I think it's probably wise you and your DD take A step back from Emily and her mom. She obviously isn't thinking straight and is lashing out
I agree, and 7 year olds are tricky little beasts- this little girl clearly has some very upset emotions and does not quite know how to manage them effectively, hence nasty behaviour.
I would imagine the Mum is also a lot more fragile, and is talking this way too personally in parallel
I think definitely create a pause, and frankly it will do your DD a favour anyway- and see how you feel in a few weeks???
I've never bothered telling parents about their kids bad behaviour, they rarely believe you. We just don't invite the child out/to our house again.
Can't help but agree with pp who say not much to be gained telling mum about child's behaviour - she is obviously having a very rough time and isn't able to moderate her own behaviour (telling young DD about ex's engagement no doubt in the heat of the moment and not in a good way!), so isn't going to take on board that her DD hasn't behaved well.
Best to leave it for a while, or if you feel kind enough to invite Emily again maybe just invite her on her own, then there's little room for excluding your own child.
Children do need support and understanding during times of emotional upheaval certainly. However, using that as an excuse to behave in a unkind and bullying way is not going to do them any favours in the long run. Nothing can justify behaviour like that.
Ah so mum is unnecessarily involving children in adult stuff not being calm consistent supportive parent.
Agree with pp. It's an opportunity to step back. I feel my friend is adding to the dc's emotional distress and I'm not close enough to her to tell her how much harm I think she's doing.
Poor kid. I understand your anger but when i look after other people's kids i assume i'm in loco parentis and will give the same warnings/discipline as i do my own dc. Sounds like you let her push at the boundaries and get away with it until you exploded - rather than nip it in the bud pretty sharpish by calling her out on it and giving her a warning/consequence. Her behaviour was horrid but i think you could have guided her a bit more - you're the adult not the little girl reeling from upsetting news and hitting out at the world.
Picak first of all, I'm not angry at all. Secondly, I did try to deal with it when we were out but with no success. If you'll actually read my Op, my problem is not with Emily but with her mum's reaction and subsequent behaviour towards me. I've tried to do a lot for the little girl as I think her mum is struggling so obviously I understand what a rotten time it is for her.
I am currently getting my butt kicked for a good turn I did so I sympathise with you OP. No good turn goes unpunished eh?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.