To avoid a toxic family(9 Posts)
We recently moved to a new area in a bigger town because of my husband’s work. We were starting from scratch with no friends or family in the area which we moved to. The kids started primary school in the middle of the academic year and my youngest DS, who is eight and very shy, quickly made a new friend, so we were really pleased.
At first, the family of the child seemed fine, just a little eccentric. However, as the months went on, we realised that the family of the child were very extreme in their views, were saying in appropriate things in front of our DS during play dates and saying very unpleasant things about the children of other families at the school. I also suspect that they have complained to the school about my DS, based on something with the class teacher mentioned to me at a recent parent’s evening. The teacher said that there had been an issue raised about my DS hitting him and taking belongings form the child of this family. . The class teacher is a supply teacher and doesn’t know my DS very well. My DS is certainly not perfect, but he is a gentle child who has never hit another child to my knowledge. We bring him up to be kind to and respectful of other kids and his previous school reports reflected this.
As we didn’t want any conflict, our response to this issue was to avoid the family in question. We didn’t take this decision lightly, but we felt it was necessary. Recently, however, some of the mothers realised that there was an issue (even though I didn’t mention to any of them what had happened and what the problem family had been saying about some of their children) and they tried to intervene. I politely said that I was happy with our decision to avoid the family for reasons which I didn’t want to go into.
One of the grandmothers who I was starting get to know quite well and liked did keep pursuing the issue, so I mentioned some of the issues which we had been having. She then admitted that her family had experienced problems with the family and thought their behaviour was very weird and extreme. She also told me that a relative of the problem family had warned her about them and their behaviour. Unfortunately, the grandmother who I spoke to mentioned our conversation to her son and he went straight to the father of the problem family and told him about it.
The long and short of the situation is that the father of the problem family then went to some of the other parents at drinks evening and said some rather unpleasant things about my DS and our family. As a result, several of the families have become very distant with us and some won’t even talk to us or have my DS round for play dates. The families don’t know us too well and I am guessing that they either believe what has been said about us or they are just wary. As result, my DS has gone from being a happy, generally carefree little boy to a nervous and unhappy child. He is even saying that he wants to go back to his old school, as it was in a small place and much less daunting.
I am so upset about this situation, as we have always tried to be nice and respectful to people and to stay away from trouble, but I feel like this family has really caused some damage to our family and I don’t know what to do about the situation. Any advice would be gratefully received.
What were they saying to your DS which made you uncomfortable enough to avoid them? You could have avoided this by speaking to them directly, and not mentioned the issues you're having behind their backs. You're new to the town and don't know who knows who yet. 'Keep to yourself' I guess is my only advice - sounds like it's beyond repair with this particular group of people.
How did people realise you were avoiding the family?
Extreme is a bit vague. I'm what way? Political? Religious? Liberal?
Be nice and normal and it will blow over
The crazy family will continue to be weird and everyone will work it out
Do onebone one play dates and be nice and normal to each child and their parents and everyone will soon make their minds up
Sorry to read this had happened to you, I also would have done the same and just tried to distance myself. On hindsight it shouldn't have been discussed with the other woman though but that's done now. I understand why you're upset, I would try to be a nice friendly normal person, and it'll blow over and people will be able to make up their own minds when getting to know you.
What happens when you try to arrange other play dates?
The family were actually vocalising all sorts of extremely views about religion, race etc and saying hateful things about other children we know. It became obvious that we didn’t want our child anywhere around them. We just kept away from them by not going to joint play dates etc. The other families realised something was wrong because I was turning down invites to coffee mornings/play dates etc where it would be a very small group of people, including members of this family and I just stayed away from them at bigger social gatherings/school activities. The problem is that, until you get to know the family quite well and they start showing their real selves and expressing the extreme views, they are all very charming and sociable. I think this is why the other families don’t see a problem.
Farmerswifey12 my DS still has play dates to go to, but some of the parents have definitely become standoffish.
I'm glad he is still getting play dates as that's the main thing. I would definately lie low and not engage in any nonsense, be nice and friendly and it will honestly will blow over and once people get to know you they'll make up their own minds.
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