AIBU to ask how to deal with this friend(24 Posts)
I have a friend I've known for years and we're part of a group of friends. Our kids are the same age (5 and 3). She is kind, thoughtful, generous and, when on her own without the kids, she's fun loving and generally really good company. I'm really fond of her. The problem is she is utterly blinkered when it comes to her children and it's driving me up the wall. They can do no wrong in her eyes. Examples include calling our friends child a liar when her dd1 and friends child came downstairs saying each had pushed the other, telling off all our children when her child cries but never chastising her own kids for the same behaviour, making everyone move around the table just so her daughter could sit next to another child at a restaurant and countless examples of making a really big deal when her child has a bump or there is an argument (think "oh my god, it's really bad, x has just pushed dd on the trampoline. It's alright poppet, Mummy's here, that's so naughty of x. I'll make her come off so you can play"). Variations of this happen almost every time we meet up with the kids (once or twice a week). It's making me and my friends uncomfortable and people are starting to talk about her (compare awkward stories when they've seen her) which I think is wrong; we're grown women, we should be able to deal with this. I also think her eldest daughter now knows she can tell tales because she gets so much attention from it. I'm worried that if we don't deal with this now, as our children grow older they will feel the unfairness of it. Alternatively, there's going to be an incident and then an argument with the adults which no-one wants. The kids are all great, all good friends with each other but, like kids do, have days where they don't get on. AIBU to ask for your advice about how to raise this with my otherwise lovely friend in a way that won't be friendship ending? Thank you!
Honestly? There is NO WAY to raise it with someone like that without risking a friendship ending argument - some folks are just like that about their children and won't even know that they are doing it. If you point out that people are beginning to talk, then you will be even more the bad guy.
Limit yourself to ensuring that YOUR children are not unfairly treated by your friend, be firm in stating when you think that she is being unreasonable as it pertains to your own children and hope that the penny drops I reckon.
Wow, that's hard. I don't know how I would deal with it, maybe step in and say something quite neutral like I really don't think it was that bad, I'm sure you'll be fine and see how it goes. Hard to make a change to someone's parenting style but I would definitely step in if she has a go at your child, that would be a way to start. Sorry not to be more help, maybe see her less, have less of a crowd, distance may help temporarily. Following with interest!
Oh, and if a 'friend' of mine outright called my child a liar, they would not be my friend anymore. She can't be that lovely if she goes beyond coddling her own and into bullying other children
I meant when it pertains to your child's involvement there, not just randomly!
Yup in a similar situation myself!
Have a lovely friend, we spend a lot of time together which is great - when there's no children involved!! Her son is her one and only ( no more planned either) and the sun shines brightly out of him. He can do no wrong, yet she'll slag off everyone else's children etc. She also over dramatises everything.
It's a shame as we get on brilliantly, but I'm always trying to make excuses to not meet up with our children as I can't be bothered to listen to the poor old DS, no one wants to play with him ( not true at all!!) etc. Sad really!!
I couldn't possibly say anything to her though, I'm a very introverted character and hate confrontation and she would explode if anyone said anything negative
I would continue to see your friend without her kids - meet for coffee/ exercise /nights out etc.
With regards to the kids - do your kids like hers? If yours are asking to spend time with hers then your going to have to weather it. Otherwise just let this side of the friendship fizzle out. Tricky, but not impossible to do.
Why not try sewing a few seeds through general chit chat. My friend was heading in this direction and I found it worked.
Ds2 age 3 climbed up and stole biscuits when I challenged him he said it was Ds1, total fib. So he was put on thinking time for telling fibs and stealing biscuits and climbing dangerous. Isn't ds2 naughty but at the same time intelligent to carry out escapade and then come up with an elaborate story blaming some one else. Have your kids ever done any thing like this?
Obviously chose your own example and try to get her to recognise its natural for kids to fib and manipulate to get what they want.
If she's of the opinion she has clever kids labour the point the brighter the kid the more manipulative they can be but keep it light see how she reacts.
Worth a try?
Thank you. It looks like there are a few of these parents around. I wonder what makes them like this? I wouldn't dream of making such a fuss - I'm embarrassed for her but she's completely oblivious.
I was hoping someone diplomatic could give a magic form of words that would be simultaneously firm but light-hearted and kindly. But you're right, nothing can be said that won't be very awkward. My heart beats harder just thinking about the confrontation! But I will have to step in next time when it's my child. I think it's because I'm not saying anything when it is my child, just trying to gloss over it, that's what making me so annoyed. Also, because we're almost always in a group I'm worried about making everyone else feel more awkward than they already are.
Just to be clear she doesn't bully other children - when all is well she is great to them which is 95% of the time - it's just when her children are involved then all the others become collateral in her over-zealous attempts to protect them/connect with them. My children are very fond of hers and would be sad not to see them. They're all back at school now after the summer holidays so meet - ups will be less frequent but still a couple of hours a week.
That is worth a try cloud spider. Her children are very bright actually and the eldest daughter in particular can come across as a little manipulative - she still a sweet and curious child in many other respects though. Thanks.
I have had friends like this when the children were younger. I would as the first poster suggested intervene in situations where you saw what happened. For instance if two children are having an argument over a toy then tell both off gently and steer your own child into another activity and ignore her if she wants to mollycoddle their own child. Very difficult and very annoying
I think we all know a version of that mum, unfortunately I have no advice. In my case my dd got so fed up of always being the bad guy in any situation that she stopped wanting to spend time with them. I know others felt the same.
She once asked me why other children are always so mean to her dd and I really did think about being honest but I completely bottled it. I liked her too much; like your friend she is genuinely lovely and it would have devastated her.
It's so tricky Yoko, in the example you describe she'd be there in seconds. If her child had the toy she would quickly say dd was playing with it. If my child had it first she's say dd only wants to play, it's important to share!
Oh dear, yes I so recognise the behaviour so very difficult to deal with.
Oh one of them is she.
My children are perfect. People"ll be crossing the road to avoid her. No one gives a shiny shit how great her little saints are. Parents have their own children to be proud of.
Oh and there's only ever been perfect man to walk the earth and look what happened to him.
It's even worse when to family and you can't avoid them!!
I think parents can go too far in the other direction too. I have a couple of friends who are very quick to assume their own children are at fault, which I don't agree with either. But I've always thought it was considered impolite to boast too much about your own children! Clearly there are plenty of parents who don't feel that way. Sigh.
I don't slag my dd off, but I don't brag about her either. I've never been blinkered.
She's got plenty of good in her, but She's certainly got her faults. She's human
Happyland76 - It's so tricky Yoko, in the example you describe she'd be there in seconds. If her child had the toy she would quickly say dd was playing with it. If my child had it first she's say dd only wants to play, it's important to share!
Cut in quickly if she comes out with that gem - "Oh I'm so glad you agree that it is important to learn how to share. Now then Tommy* why don't you share the toy with Billy* or find something else to play with while Billy* plays with it for the next few minutes?"
Tommy being her child and Billy being yours, in the above situation.
If her child had the toy she would quickly say dd was playing with it. If my child had it first she's say dd only wants to play, it's important to share!
I'd try adopting her approach in such an instance; if her child has the toy, you say 'But isn't it important that they ALL learn to share?' as you
prise remove it from her grip
I also do the firm 'scolding both children including your own' thing for when neither party is behaving that well. If you phrase it right then most other parents don't remonstrate - be firm, be relatively soft-spoken and above all, sound reasonable in your requests. A guide to life, right there!
I think most of us have met a parent who is something similar to this at some point. You can't say anything, so all you can do is defend your own children and lead by example where possible. And silently seethe otherwise.
It's not quite the same but I have a dear friend who is super lovely in every other respect but gets on my last one when it comes to her dd, who she clearly believes is the most charming child to have ever graced the planet.
This would be fine but for the fact that she mistakenly thinks the rest of the world is utterly besotted with her as well. This manifests itself in endless boring anecdotes of her
run of the mill little girl drivel wonderousness after which we are supposed to praise her soundly for being such a delight.
Never mind that I have a dd the same age right there, or the fact that her dd is horrible to my ds2...she's an angel we're all fascinated by...apparently.
I don't think my friend has any idea how she comes across.
I think all of you are actually letting it happen. You need to challenge it at the time. So if she is accusing another child of lying when they don't agree with her dd about what has happened the other childs parent needs to say 'one of you isn't telling the truth so you both need to play in this room now where we can see what's happening'.
If she is accusing your children of doing things then get your childs side of the story as well.
Hopefully she'll soon see that you aren't prepared to have your kids thrown under the buss all the time.
Well when I worked with children, I always had a policy of everyone gets to put their side of the story, they tell it calmly with no interruptions (from children or adults - no shouts of 'no that didn't happen' etc) then it is the other person;s turn with the same rules.
You have to say to your friend 'It's only fair that everyone gets to give their account'
The when accounts have been heard you get to something approaching the truth and find a way of moving past the incident (apologies, discussion about who has a turn on things and when etc)
If your friend jumps in or says anything to you about it - you say 'It's really important for children to learn how to sort out their own difficulties, and to compromise - we can't always be there to jump in for them'
She effectively denying her child the chance to develop negotiating skills, which will make playground life very hard in years to come.
It's a very tricky situation to deal with. As you're so fond of your friend it might be worth discussing it with a couple of trustworthy other mums to work out a joint strategy. Because if it carries on eventually people will quietly start backing off.
If this isn't nipped in the bud she may end up like an old school friend of mine who ended up not being invited to any child-related activity in her village because the other parents got so sick of it.
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