To know I'm the unreasonable one but not know what to do about it(22 Posts)
The background is that we have family friends with one child, son of about 10, we have one daughter of 7.
One of the things we used to do regularly was walk our dogs together as families at the weekend but because DD was the youngest she often found it hard to keep up and walking for a couple of hours was just too much for her. So I scaled back on that drastically and now it's an infrequent thing.
Over the last few months DD has come to actively dislike their son, occasionally they can have a good time together but most of the time she doesn't want his company. I think the reason is that as he has grown up he and his friends in class have become more boisterous and able to cope with teasing/winding each other up. He was about her age now when we first met and so more on her wavelength at the time but I understand he's maturing faster than her at the moment. However he still loves her to bits and wants to spend as much time with her as possible.
The two problems are:
- occasionally she does want to spend time with him and they have great fun which makes it a bit difficult to put a whole stop to them spending time together
- if however he does wind her up (rhyming her name with poo or pretending that her dog is his, nothing major but still annoying) then she loses her rag and will scream, shout and one time she even hit him
It puts me in a right position because I obviously have to tell her off for her behaviour but he doesn't get into trouble or told to stop what he's doing which is what leads to the trouble in the first place. I've told her that there is nothing I can do to stop him and that she will have to learn to control her temper because there will always be people in life who enjoy winding others up (the father does it to me which pisses me off equally!).
The mother though seems oblivious to the fact that DD doesn't want to spend time with her son and will just turn up at my door with him asking if he can play with DD, or suggest she and I go out with the dogs and her son and DD stay at one or other house with either father. DD hates this most of all as does DH if he gets landed with her son for a couple of hours!!
I think the right thing to do would be to tell friend that DD doesn't want to spend time with her son but friend is very needy and emotional and this would result in floods of tears and me spending ages comforting her which frankly I can't be arsed to do. But I'm running out of excuses to avoid telling her the horrible truth.
And then ... last weekend went out for a walk, DD promised to try and ignore son if he started but it went downhill, DD ended up in trouble, whole thing was a nightmare right until the end when son and DD suddenly bonded and wanted to go to the pub for a drink which was perfectly nice and good fun for all.
So would I be cutting off nose to spite face by trying to intervene in son and DD's 'friendship', hurting friend's feelings for no good reason or am I letting DD down by making her spend time with someone she doesn't want to be with.
And if the consensus is that I should keep her away from him then how do I tell friend without causing a major meltdown and huge family feud?
What would happen if you told off your friend's son for winding up your daughter when you saw it happening?
I'm not entirely sure. More than likely friend would take offence and because DD's behaviour SEEMS worse it would appear that I was being needlessly unfair and picking on her son!
And I'm not sure exactly what I could say. For eg when he pretends her dog is his then I say that she knows he's not and that dog loves her best etc. Then friend will chip in and say son is only playing. So saying 'oy stop playing with my dog' looks like I'm mad!
I agree with pip, you need to step up and tell the boy to quite winding her up.
I would just chip in with a "stop winding DD up" very matter of factly. I get this as DSS is fab and a lovely kid, but he could go to far in being boisterous especially when provoked by others. They'd then scale back and he'd be in trouble. I simply use to tell the others to stop it before it got to that point.
Has your dd told him it is annoying / irritating when he behaves like that? Maybe he just doesn't realise and needs it pointing out to him. If he genuinely likes her company as much as you say, he doubt he would be doing it deliberately. Have a quiet word with him next time before it begins.
I think I'd risk her taking offence because the current situation is not tenable. What you say is 'Friend's Son, stop winding DD up'. That's not unreasonable. If she challenges you, then you explain why you said it. She can then either take umbrage or think 'yes, that's fair enough'. But even if she does take umbrage, would that be such a bad thing? - she's needy and her son is annoying.
I think you should jump in and tell him to stop winding your DD up before she (DD) has a chance to react, IYSWIM?
Then if DD starts to react because he keeps doing it, then just say straight away "we're going home, goodbye friend".
My own DS is 4 and DD nearly 2. If he does something she doesn't like/that winds her up then she doesn't yet lash out at him but she does cry. I don't see what's wrong with saying to the boy here - like we do to DS - "can you see she doesn't like that? She really doesn't like it when you do that". And repeat. Possibly with added "you can't really mean to upset her like that, can you? I know she hits you when you do it, you can't want that, can you?"
Obviously he can see that she doesn't like it but is choosing to do it anyway (our DS can't always see this). Pointing it out really plainly makes him (and his parents) realise that you know he's doing it and (subtext) either he's doing it on purpose or he's really thick skinned. But with the slightly PA message that "maybe I'm the only one who's noticed this so maybe I'd better point it out".
Would you allow him to wind up your dog to the point of jumping/barking/biting, like this? Or would you say "please don't do that as it's winding the dog up"?
she's needy and her son is annoying
Good point about the dog - I hadn't thought of it that way. Funnily enough friend probably would step in if it was the dog!
OK, so tell him to back off and see what happens ...
Definitely! There's no way I'd let him wind DD up to the point where she retaliates, even if they were the same age, but they're not, she's much younger than him & he should know better. (Do watch out for DD on the wind up too though!). I'd probably say something like 'Fred, why are you winding DD up like this? You know it upsets her & obviously DD doesn't want to spend time with people who upset her...'
Just say to him "stop doing that, you know that DD gets upset and we're trying to have a nice walk". Don't tell him that she's too young to get it, coz that will undermine DD, but just tell him that it's not very kind to keep making her upset when he knows that she doesn't find it funny.
Or, turn to your friend and ask her if she's going to tell him to stop it or should you do it?
Depending on the kind of boy he is, you could try something along the lines of 'Don't wind DD up, it's not a kind thing to do', more in sorrow than anger sort of thing? Might hit home and also you're not shouting or anything so perhaps less for your friend to get upset about?
I'd be tempted to say something like "Please stop winding DD up, you're a big boy and she isn't enjoying it".
"Then friend will chip in and say son is only playing"
This sounds exactly like the kind of people (adults often) who will pick at others, making cruel little personal jibes, to get a reaction, and then if the person they are picking at does react will respond with "I was only joking, you're so touchy/ you take everything personally/ you have no sense of humour"
The son may or may not realise fully that is what he is doing yet - but if it is what his father does to you it may well be learned behaviour and he may be on the way to becoming a nasty person you really don't want your DD to be attached to!
Tell him that he needs to stop winding your daughter up otherwise they will not be able to spend time together. Agree in advance that she shouldn't over react but say that you are not willing to put up with the drama of him winding her up and her reacting because you don't enjoy dealing with it, and that it is happening almost every time.
Say it to him and his mum together before anything happens, when they are standing on your door step spontaneously. If he does then wind her up be clear - this is what you were talking about, the drama is 6 of 1 and half a dozen of the other but you pointed out before hand what would happen and as it did you think the children need a break from one another until they have both grown out of it.
If your friend cries do not apologise but stick to that simple message. People who cry to control other people are just as bad as the ones who think mentally poking at people until they react and then claiming they were joking is fine and makes them look superior. Often they are in fact the same people...
You don't like her, she is needy. Your DD doesn't like the boy, he is unpleasant and winds her up. You shouldn't meet at all, why are you doing this to anyone? It's really simple. If you say no thank you and she does a scene just step away, you say you can't be arsed to comfort her, so just don't.
The response to 'he's only playing' is 'well, dd's not enjoying it so he needs to stop'.
I tell my children that something is only a joke/fun if both parties are laughing and genuinely having fun, as soon as someone starts to get annoyed or upset, then it's gone too far and needs to stop.
People who cry to control other people are just as bad as the ones who think mentally poking at people until they react and then claiming they were joking is fine and makes them look superior. Often they are in fact the same people...
Yes, you've hit the nail on the head! I guess that is what I subconsciously have been thinking but going about the solution in the wrong way.
Hmm, loads of food for thought about what to do, but I can certainly see I've let DD down by trying to alter her behaviour towards him even though I knew it was him causing it in the first place.
All the posts above are great, you've got some good advice there to think about.
Also just wanted to say about DD's behaviour - if the boy keeps doing it, if she tells him stop it, if his mum ignores it, if she gets annoyed and he keeps doing it - what else is she supposed to do? Of course she gets upset and screams. She's said no and not had that respected.
So I think it's a great idea to find some way of phrasing it so you tell off the boy when it starts, not when it's escalated. Something like - she's asked you to stop so that's enough now. If he/ his mum says it's only fun - it's only fun if everyone is enjoying it. If it carries on - ok well I think it's time for us to go now.
Your DD isn't old enough to be able to walk away from it, so you need to help her. Of course alongside helping her to control her temper and not hit!
Incidentally what happens when boy's dad does it? Does he get away with it? If so this is teaching the boy it's ok, and teaching DD you have to tolerate it.
ncidentally what happens when boy's dad does it? Does he get away with it? If so this is teaching the boy it's ok, and teaching DD you have to tolerate it.
shiveringhiccup - great username but hope it's not your symptoms!!
Nothing really happens he's an arse but most of the time he's good company so it's not worth making a fuss about. The only thing I argue with him about is politics but that's because he's a DM-reading fash!
The thing is that real life isn't about telling people how they have to behave, everyone has to rub along and if the good things outweigh the shite then it's worth it.
However, that's about me not for my DD who shouldn't have to deal with any shite!!
He - DM reading fash
She - very needy
Child - winds your dd up
Do not meet up, ever. I'd rather be alone than in such company.
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