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Should I stay friends with this defensive Mum?

(25 Posts)
toolonglou Thu 13-Apr-17 08:23:41

Hi, I won't give too many details in case I'm recognise, but basically a friend I've known for about 5 years does not seem to be able to take anything verging on criticism of her DC. Obviously it doesn't happen too often, but over the years I've noticed a pattern.

She has fallen out with friends who criticised when her DC hurt their children (kicking, biting, etc). There was one occasion when I acted surprised that she let her DC do something and she got very defensive and a bit nasty about it. She argues with nursery staff when they speek to her about her DC's behaviour and with shop assistants if they comment on her DC causing upset in the shops.

Her child is generally well behaved but can be very disruptive and completely ignores what she says - runs off into dangerous areas and plays with dangerous objects, for example. She tells him not to at first, then gives up and lets him do it anyway. My DD copies his behaviour and my friend then she gets annoyed that I'm managing my own child's behaviour because it puts pressure on her to tell her child 'No' as well.

I feel I can't ever say anything that she may percieve as negative because she is so defensive and takes everything personally. It seems that everything is everybody elses fault. I'm worried her DC may hurt my child eventually and that that is going to end up in a row, because it won't go well.

starzzzz Thu 13-Apr-17 08:26:47

Well, generally speaking I don't get involved in other people's parenting. Nursery age children can be cannier than we think: they do know that there are different rules for different children.

But if she's commenting on your parenting and you feel your child is in danger when she's around, then you don't have to spend time with her.

Hippywannabe Thu 13-Apr-17 08:27:44

Why do you have to be friends with her? Are you afraid of her?as your kids get older and maybe go out without adult supervision, you run the risk of them being judged as similar if they are with the one that doesn't behave.

MiddleClassProblem Thu 13-Apr-17 08:28:23

If she's a very close friend I would gently talk to her about it. If she's not then tbh I would prob not want to meet up anymore particularly if they are mostly for the kids.

toolonglou Thu 13-Apr-17 08:36:12

I guess I'm friends with her because we used to be very close - we get on very well. I find it easy to chat with her. We used to speak to each other almost every day. Over the last year or so I've gradually pulled back. She is coming round to my house today and I'm not really looking forward to it.

I'm finding time with her quite stressful. However, how to I get out of a friendship without falling out? She would notice and be upset if I just stopped calling her. I'm not scared of her, but she can be quite nasty if she is on the defense. I just dont' have the time or evergy in my life to be falling out of having bad feeling with someone.

Mulberry72 Thu 13-Apr-17 08:39:47

I wouldn't be having her round to my house if I was worried by them or not looking forward to their visit. You come across as if you are scared of her.

FloatyCat Thu 13-Apr-17 08:47:32

She has no right to comment on how you parent your child.
If she is failing to get a grip on her child's behaviour and allows dangerous things because it's easier than enforcing a 'no', then that's her look out.
Personally I think you can't keep up with this friendship if she is like this and a fall out is inevitable.

Donthate Thu 13-Apr-17 08:50:10

See how today goes and then just continue to limit contact if it isn't great.

toolonglou Thu 13-Apr-17 08:52:12

Mulberry - If I was scared of her, is that such an awful thing?? I don't feel scared TBH, like I said, but I don't want that horrible feeling you get after an argument with a friend. I think that's understandable. I'm not the sort of person who can just turn those feelings off - I would be mulling it over and feeling shit about it. I can do without that.

Any more advice would be appreciated, thank you.

CrazyCatzCuckoo Thu 13-Apr-17 08:55:17

I had this lots when my children were young
Some parents just can't accept their children do any wrong at all!!
Used to drive me potty
I had one nutty lady calling me at home to give me a list of things my child had apparently done in the playground.
I let the headteacher know and asked him to deal with it as its happening in a place I'm not present
It soon stopped after she was aware I had gone in

Spikeyball Thu 13-Apr-17 08:55:50

It can be very difficult and stressful if you have a child that doesn't respond to the usual parenting techniques. What about meeting her in a safe place like soft play or at her house so you can leave if things seem like they are getting out of hand. Or at an activity where they are both doing something structured.

kathkim Thu 13-Apr-17 09:01:04

You don't look forward to seeing her and it's stressful. Start backing off and getting busy, if you don't want a full-on confrontation with this woman.

GwenStaceyRocks Thu 13-Apr-17 09:01:31

Meet her without your DCs. You're worried about your DC getting hurt and your different parenting styles seem to be creating tension so just meet her for coffee instead.
I must admit I don't have a problem parenting differently from someone else eg DS was playing with a friend a few days ago who was allowed to cross a road and go out of sight; DS knew he wasn't. They played together at points and not at others. Myself and the other DM sat chatting. No angst about the difference in our parenting or boundaries.

Aeroflotgirl Thu 13-Apr-17 09:04:17

this would put me off a friend, I would not meet up much with her, especially with the kids.

CookingMamama Thu 13-Apr-17 09:04:37

I have a friend like this, we were school friends and had DCs in the same school year, I found her parenting way too relaxed verging on dangerous. I would never comment on anyone elses parenting but she made me uncomfortable because her DC at about 2 would be allowed to run off out of her sight on busy roads then when I asked my DC to hold my hand she would say I was precious and no wonder my DC is more 'sensitive'. Her DC would be really rough with mine and if my DC cried she would say things like "he is just so active, some children dont get him". They are both 5 now and if I suggest to my DC to see them he gets upset so I usually suggest meeting while they are at school. She is also very defensive of her DC and always has been although she now admits she thinks he may have ADHD so I think she was more defensive because deep down she knew it wasnt right.

Whereismumhiding2 Thu 13-Apr-17 09:05:28

You read as if you are scared of upsetting her, but actually anxious about her child's behaviour.

It might be easier to arrange in future to catch with your friend without DC. Dont get into details or drawn into any specific comments, but say you prefer her to yourself and you have different parenting styles/different personalities of DC, so some DC don't gel as well.
My BFF and i see each other mostly without our DC these days. We parent very differently and but our DC aren't particularly great friends (although not rude to each other & they make effort when have to). I bite my lip and she hers, if DC are together and we have to intervene. We talk about our discussion styles openly & respectfully (hers works for her kids & vicaversa) as other perspectives /priorities are useful to hear when you're in a relaxed moment. Sometimes we agree how we are going to deal with DC if they were arguing together. But my house my rules, her house her rules. It gets easier when DC are older.

Ohyesiam Thu 13-Apr-17 09:07:11

I have friends that I only have adult time with, because of issues like this.

pipsqueak25 Thu 13-Apr-17 09:08:52

you find her easy to talk to but there is an under laying thing or watching what you say re; anything negative as it might upset her and she'll go off at the deep end. that doesn't sound like much of an equal friendship to be honest.
she seems to give the impression that she feels inferior to other parents in the respect she doesn't seem to be able to control her childs' behaviour and the child seems to run rings around mum as a result, i know someone who has this problem and it looks like hard work as she has let her child 'get away' with the negative behaviour then blames everyone else as a result because she can't basic
ally cope.
if i was you i would very gradually reduce the time you spend with this woman and her dd, if you usually meet every 5 days then push it back to six, be unavailable for meet ups on the odd occasion and ease the 'friendship' out gradually, life really is too short to be around people who annoy, irritate, put you down.

MiddleClassProblem Thu 13-Apr-17 09:11:53

Agree to meet her without dc. If she's someone who is a good friend when no kids are around then just be busy in the day but offer her an evening if possible (childcare allowing)

Chickoletta Thu 13-Apr-17 09:29:39

I have a similar situation with a very dear old school friend - she's actually DS's godmother. She is a single mum to a very energetic, physically strong 5 yr old (I'll call him Charlie) and finds it, understandably, hard at times. However, she lets him get away with some really unpleasant, thuggish behaviour because she doesn't want to be in conflict with him all the time. It's got the point where my DCS (6&3) don't want to spend time with him - my son is always fearful that he's going to get into trouble as he knows that he's not allowed to do the things that Charlie is and hates the awkwardness. Charlie is also openly hostile to younger children, including my DD and another close friend's 2yr old - tells them they can't play because they're babies, takes toys away from them etc. Last time we went out for a walk together he threw stones at my dog 😱!

Anyway, it's hard. My friend is an intelligent person and I think she knows how I feel (and other friend too) but I've never broached it. Usually, we've made plans to do things together in the holidays but not this time and she hasn't been in touch. It's sad but I think backing away gently is the only thing you can do sometimes.

Whereismumhiding2 Thu 13-Apr-17 09:34:18

How old are your respective DC? As that will make a difference. If they are toddlers, then I'd be less available for meet ups for a couple years. If they are about to go to school or are school aged, you can reason more with them/they will grow out of it.

Whereismumhiding2 Thu 13-Apr-17 09:56:14

Damn, DD was talking to me as i was posting that. I meant you can reason with her DC more, when they are older without it causing ructions. "If you hit DC he won't want to play with you anymore, it's a rule in my house, no hurting, breaking toys (or whatever he is doing). So please/ put it down and/ be kind".
If it was really bad, & if it didn't stop with my asking and if friend did nothing to stop it, then I'd cut short that visit (if anothers DCs were hurting mine or each other or if any child was behaving dangerously around the house).
"We're have to cut this visit short as they are not getting on today" (or "things are getting broken"). If you have to cut visits short a few times, you've got your opening for "DC just don't play nicely together, so best not we force them, til they are over this stage".

toolonglou Thu 13-Apr-17 10:13:54

Thank you for all of the feedback. It's nice to know that some of you have been in similar situations.
Whereismumhiding - I think if I said some of those comments she would get offended, because it would sound like I'm saying her DC is doing something wrong. That's how sensitive she is!

I think it hit the nail on the head when someone mentioned that the friendship is unequal. It's probably only lasted this long because I've let some things go over my head that other people would not have put up with. I think I need to back out of it and just become less available.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 13-Apr-17 10:49:15

I know what it's like when a friendship is affected by the atmosphere around DCs.
If she notices you don't rush to set (look away now, sensitive MNers) play dates and questions this say you find you prefer an interrupted natter with her.
Another vote for seeing her when the DCs are in bed or at nursery/school.
Good luck today!

Awwlookatmybabyspider Thu 13-Apr-17 11:20:17

The not my Jonny/Jenny brigade or discipline phobics will just have to learn the hard way. When their little angels turn into deliquent teens.
I bet she's the topic of the staff room.

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