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Toddler behaviour and friendship ending

(5 Posts)
walkinginshadows Thu 19-Oct-17 21:36:44

I have been friends with another mum since our children were babies and now they are nearly 3 years old. Pretty much as soon as he learned to walk this child began hitting, biting, spitting on people/objects, shoving, snatching toys and screaming if he doesn't get them off a child etc. He's nearly 3 and he's still showing the same behaviours - no improvement. My DS and this child initially got on well despite their age but for the past 6-8 months he has become increasingly awful to my DS, doing all of the aforementioned things constantly towards him. He will even attack my DS when he is sitting on my knee. At the park he has tried to push him off play equipment, waits until we are near a muddy puddle and pushes him over in it etc. He has tried to eye-gouge him twice.

Today he bit my DS on the arm quite hard which has left an angry red mark. He then later, in front of everyone present at the play date, pushed him to the floor and tried to bite his shoulder and chest.
The behaviour is escalating, is always only targeted at my child if there are other children present, and the mum just says 'oh that's not nice,' and 'don't hit/bite your friend.' She does nothing else other than say these types of things – no reprimands, time-out, naughty step, removing him from the room for a couple of minutes, whatever. She will move him away from my DS if he attacks him but he just gets told the aforementioned things and off he goes again.

Lately my DS has started getting so distressed by the constant toy-snatching (they actually used to be good at sharing, despite their age) that he has a full-on hysterical crying meltdown. He will often throw the toy away from him rather than let the child take it. Sometimes he thrashes around and knocks other toys around him over which then to a casual observer who didn't witness the initial toy-snatching to probably think there's a kid having a tantrum and throwing stuff and being badly behaved. He never behaves like this if a different child takes his toys as he's quite a passive child in many respects so I think he's just so frustrated because this child keeps doing this to him. Intervening in this makes this child start screaming 'I want it, it's mine' etc, hitting and spitting, and he will repeatedly try and get the toy, even 30 minutes later.

I have tried to stop and deflect him attacking my child and I sometimes intervene in time and other times not leaving my child distressed. I just kept hoping if I intervene to protect him, and this child will outgrow these behaviours, then we can still have contact as they used to play well together despite their age, but I've decided I cannot tolerate this behaviour any longer.

I value the mum's friendship but her total lack of interest in even making a vague attempt to discipline her child has pushed me to the limit. Is there any way to salvage a friendship but somehow say I think the children need a break from each other for a while? I guess its going to cause offence even if I don't say why. I realise this child's behaviours are all part of the developmental stages toddlers go through but its the mum's total lack of addressing them that is the issue. We moved from a major city to a smallish town just after he was born and I only have only made three mum-friends here and it saddens me to think that I may lose a friendship over this but my child's well-being and safety trump her feelings.

Three other mums who have witnessed this child in action have told me my DS needs new friends which is easier said than found, despite us going to groups and paid-for activities every day since he was a baby. I had already been trying to minimise contact to 1-2 times a week but its hard if you end up at the same playgroup etc. Sorry its so long, rant over.

RemainOptimistic Thu 19-Oct-17 21:43:14

What a crap situation. I feel for you OP. However when my DS gets to that age I would definitely be avoiding a child who behaves like that. Why should my child be used as a punching bag by some other child? It's sad to lose a friend but imo your child has to come first.

nightshade Thu 19-Oct-17 22:00:01

Yep...it's a nightmare....just distance yourself a wee bit...

HMC2000 Thu 19-Oct-17 22:24:14

Your DS would be better off with no specific friends than with this one: they learn to socialise from this age onwards, but this boy isn't his friend - he's the child of your friend. Your DS will be much more able to learn how to form attachments and make friends of he isn't living in fear of this child. Time to move on, I think. (And don't worry if he just has you for a while - he'll be fine once he's at nursery/ school)

HMC2000 Thu 19-Oct-17 22:26:46

Sorry posted too soon - would it be possible to see your friend for the occasional drink in the evening, without children? It might be possible to keep out going that way, if it can survive the explanation of why you'd rather see het on her own.

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