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To think my friend just needs to say no to her kids?

(178 Posts)
reddblackandblue Wed 30-May-18 11:30:06

I have been very close to my friend for years. She is genuinely a lovely, lovely person. Too lovely.

She’s always been very into ‘gentle’ parenting but ever since her eldest turned two, she has had these screaming tantrums that last half an hour or more and no one can do anything during this period except sit and wait for the child to exhaust herself into sleep.

Obviously, I thought this was normal so waited it out. Child turned three, four and five and still has tantrums and screams when she doesn’t get her own way. The younger child who isn’t now three is exactly the same.

I think my friend just can’t say ‘no.’ Even when something is obviously impractical or dangerous she will sit around for ages reasoning with them rather than saying no. This has meant us all standing by a busy road while the children scream, standing outside the car waiting to get in as the kids won’t get in their car seats, waiting around exhausted at midnight as the kids rampage around.

Now she’s expecting another.

Aibu in just not wanting to be around her any more? I absolutely love her. The kids? I can’t stand them!

Storm4star Wed 30-May-18 11:33:16

I've had to let a couple of friendships drift away because I couldn't handle my friends ways of parenting. It's sad but I don't see any other options. People have a right to parent how they want but if it impacts on you, you then have to make a choice.

AhoyDelBoy Wed 30-May-18 11:34:34

YANBU. I find this kind of thing impossible to understand. She's doing herself and her children no favours whatsoever IMO. It just sounds exhausting and irritating to be around as well. Just a shame she's a good friend of yours.

Yokohamajojo Wed 30-May-18 11:35:16

Oh I had one of these when the kids were small! the child never ever got told off it was just gentle gentle! she is now in secondary school and not the nicest child...

MissVanjie Wed 30-May-18 11:37:09

It’s everyone’s choice how they want to parent, just as it’s everyone else’s choice when they eventually don’t want to be around their nightmare children. There’s nothing wrong with shifting towards a friendship where you meet up without your dc. I’ve got friends i have to do that with. Unfortunately it almost always seems to mean you drift apart, but then friendships do go through phases and ups and downs, and it’s better than (for eg of things that happened) someone else’s kid slamming a door on my kid’s fingers or breaking their stuff on purpose.

AjasLipstick Wed 30-May-18 11:37:13

Oh God help me...my MIL does this with my nephew. She once sat outside my drive with him in the car because he wouldn't get out...for AN HOUR AND A HALF!

he was about 2! He doesn't bloody know what's best! SO annoying.

Mummyduck10 Wed 30-May-18 11:40:05

My best friend is like this with her youngest age 4 it's really hard work and unfortunately we have got to the stage where we really dislike being around her she's really quite a spiteful child who is constantly doing things to my dd age 2 she just one of those kids who if she falls in another room won't cry until she finds her mum and explained what happened so be a good couple of mins after the incident will start wailing. If we buy a pack of something usually drinks for the dc to share her dd will not focus on anything else even if we are out somwhere that's really fun until every last one of whatever it is has gone and she's had the most she will literally stand by the buggy where these items are usually kept just starting at them until she gets another and another then when the other dc come back from playing to get a drink there are none left and her mum never tells her no. We avoid going out anywhere with them but we've never said anything as it's up to them how they parent their child.

hildabaker Wed 30-May-18 11:40:33

I had this too with a friend. She was lovely too lovely and her kids were rude and violent and she just smiled indulgently when her son punched me in the stomach. In the end I stopped seeing her, it was too enraging.

lamerde Wed 30-May-18 11:45:10

YANBU.

In some ways it’s pretty neglectful to never say no to your child. Life can be full of the word “no” at times and if you’re not able to accept it as a child then Christ knows what kind of adult you’ll turn into.

OnlyFoolsnMothers Wed 30-May-18 11:46:01

Surely her kid is having a tantrum because she isn’t giving into their demands.
If she rough handled a tantrum it sounds like you would be equally as judgemental. You don’t have to hang out with her but equally I think you could stop being so critical.

TheViceOfReason Wed 30-May-18 11:48:07

Of course it is your friends choice how she raises her child - however it is also your choice if you don't want to waste time being inconvenienced by her actions.

A friend of mine did this - never said "no" to her DD or forced her to do anything. I no longer see her after spending 2 hours standing in the rain waiting for her daughter to choose to sit in her car seat.

Fuck that.

Children need to learn the word "no", that life isn't always fair, and that sometimes certain things have to be done and they are non-negotiable.

reddblackandblue Wed 30-May-18 11:52:19

Only, her tantrums often last long after she’s had whatever she was tantrumming about. Or it’s just not possible - she’ll tantrum because she wants red socks and they are in the wash or she wants a toy that is at home (if we’re out) and so on.

Honeyroar Wed 30-May-18 11:55:13

I have a friend like this. She soft parents, never says no, tries to reason and consequently all the time we spend with her he screams and throws things. Last time she came with her partner, there was a big group of people around and she got distracted talking to someone for an hour in another room. The 4yr old was with his dad, who did say no to him several times. The difference in the child was amazing, he was so calm and well behaved. I'd never seen him like that.

sweeneytoddsrazor Wed 30-May-18 11:56:28

Surely her kid is having a tantrum because she isn’t giving into their demands.

There is a big difference between not giving in when child is having a tantrum because they want something they are not allowed to have and reasoning with them for ages because they don't want to do something that needs to be done. I would put child in car seat then ignore subsequent screaming I would not stand outside of car for half an hour asking them nicely to get in the car.

QuimReaper Wed 30-May-18 12:04:12

I always feel very sorry for children raised like this. They'll find life very difficult indeed and are likely to find themselves universally unpopular at school.

MereDintofPandiculation Wed 30-May-18 12:06:43

It's always much easier to know how to parent someone else's child.

Cornishclio Wed 30-May-18 12:08:51

Some people just have trouble saying no firmly and meaning no. Distraction used to work with mine and also works with my 2 year old granddaughter. Tantrums on a regular basis with a five year old unless tired is not normal. Also some things like car seats, regular bedtimes are surely non negotiable and not open to reason or you would never go anywhere! They sound exhausting for her and everyone around her.

She is not doing them any favours by not teaching them about boundaries. Can you invite her over at a weekend when her DP can look after them or an evening?

oohyoudevilyou Wed 30-May-18 12:12:18

I've chosen to avoid a couple of friends in the past due to their inability or refusal to manage their children's bad behaviour, and sadly the friendships faded away. Not something I feel proud of, but spending time with those friends (who always had their kids with them) was thoroughly unpleasant.

The80sweregreat Wed 30-May-18 12:14:46

'gentle parenting' is all very well as long as it doesnt affect other people and this clearly is as your all at the child's beck and call and thats not good. i would let this friendship drift , if all the children are the same then it must be a nightmare ( not a perfect mum myself , but if they have to go into a car seat then that is what happened. my ds2 was a nightmare for screaming etc, but i had to be firm at times i dont mean smacking or anything)

Roomba Wed 30-May-18 12:18:55

I distanced myself from a friend due to her parenting. She read endless books about 'Unconditional Parenting' and 'Gentle Parenting' which she then misapplied and never said no to her kids.

She decided to homeschool them too, so they never had a teacher telling them what to do either. Sadly, far from the kind, gentle, thoughtful children she envisaged, she has two tyrants who bully her and everyone else around them until they get whatever they want. It's sad and I worry for her children more than anything as they will struggle with the adult world in a few years time. I couldn't have my own kids being pushed around by hers and she wouldn't discuss it at all - so I had to withdraw from them for everyone's safety and sanity.

Ohmydayslove Wed 30-May-18 12:24:48

Oh yes avoid the kids and do evening meet ups.

To be quite honest most people find other people’s kids irritating however they parent.

blacklister Wed 30-May-18 12:27:05

YANBU. I've let one friendship drift entirely and another I try to only see her without her kids now because of differing parenting values.

The one where I really don't see them anymore had two little lads under 6. They are absolutely wild and she does nothing to control them - just tuts and says 'boys!'. Then occasionally, she'll totally lose her shit with them and scream which scares this life out of my child. I try really hard to get mine to behave nicely - no jumping on sofas for example but it's tough when there are two older children there who are doing exactly what without being told to stop. So we just don't go round there now.

The other one had five children age 1-8. It's just chaos and she manages when they're all there it but letting them eat crap all day in front of the telly to keep them quiet. I will never say no to the odd biscuit here and there but the constant pushing of junk food and drink just drives me potty. So we tend to go there less often, and when the older four are at school or playgroup. The baby is fine grin

nursy1 Wed 30-May-18 12:27:47

I parented my eldest child like this and tbh, it was a success. She was very verbal though and totally understood all the reasoning. I can’t remember her ever having a tantrum. However - along came my ds. I realised he didn’t have a clue what I was on about. Total incomprehension! He just didn’t have the same maturity. So, - I would have just forced him into car seat and strapped him in.
Gentle parenting fits some kids but you have to be adaptable. It takes time to learn what’s best. Be kind to your friend, meet up without kids then, one night when your a couple of glasses under, maybe you can broach it.

Myotherusernameisbest Wed 30-May-18 12:31:12

YANBU. I had a friend like this and we no longer see each other. Her child was a total nightmare by the age of 7 and just horrid to be around most of the time. She did get told no, but then usually ended up with whatever she was tantrumming about so 'no' meant nothing, which just made it worse the next time round. Her mum would try to reason with her over everything. Ridiculous. She was still have tantrums at age 7!

I have never given in to a tantrum or gone back on my word when I've said no right from the word go. And I now have pleasent and well behaved children . If I say no to something, they leave it at that and we move on with our day, no fuss or bother because they know what the word means. I dont think this was by accident, it was hard work early on but screw having kids that kick off all the time if they dont get their way. What a miserable life for everyone.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Wed 30-May-18 12:38:43

What nursy said. My DS is a total dream and really just needed to be told something gently and would behave brilliantly 99% of the time. I thought I was the best mum ever. Then came DTs. DT1 will throw herself in the floor and cry for a full half hour at the slightest provocation, while DT2 will laugh in my face and run off and couldn’t care less what I say or do. DS is still a dream.

I think it’s just about the personality they’re born with. Of course you need to adjust your parenting to suit as best you can, but your friend could probably use a bit of sympathy having to deal with what sounds like a really strong and difficult personality in her child. The younger one is probably just copying the older one.

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