I'm not sure how to handle this one. My dcs are upset so I'd like to sort it out.
My friends' little girl started at ds1's school last term. His teacher told me he'd been wonderful in terms of helping her, showing her around etc. I was very proud of him for demonstrating such kindness. They are in Year 1.
I also look after this little girl two evenings a week as a favour to my friends who both work full time. I didn't want payment but they felt they should pay me and after much haggling, I agreed on a small sum of money, to shut them up about it really.
The problem is this: on one of these evenings I look after her, she, ds1, dd (aged 4) and two of their friends (all at same school also aged 6 and 4) play tennis. We then go back to friends' house for supper. I'm very good friends with their mother. We alternate cooking and share the workload there.
Now, my ds1 and dd have come to me in tears on several occasions saying that the little girl I look after is being mean to them and is actively trying to exclude them from playing with the other two children. I told them to sort it out themselves and tell her to stop being so silly/mean etc.
Now, since then, I've overheard her on three occasions being positively mean to my two children - trying and succeeding to get their friends not to play with them, exclude them etc. I was so annoyed. I told her off on each occasion, telling her we don't do that to our friends but today it happened again, according to my dcs at bedtime.
I'm starting to actively dislike her because of this especially when my ds1 showed her such kindness at school and my dd adores her but keeps getting kicked in the teeth. They both looked so downcast and sad tonight at bedtime.
The following evening when I look after her again, she's as nice as pie. I've had a word with my friend - mother of the other two children who play tennis and she agreed that she would have a chat with her dcs to try and prevent it.
I think I want to tell her parents I don't want to look after such a child. I don't want my dcs to feel excluded and miserable especially since I started to look after this child as a favour!! Plus I'm sure the little girl will start to sense my dislike.
What do you think I should do?
not long til the end of term; can you hang on until then (so as not to drop the parents in it, care-wise) and then say that from Sept you won't be available?
Is this meaness stemming from the girl being jealous? Perhaps she feels lonely/excluded (nothing due to you but perhaps her own circumstances) and tries to spoil other friendships?
If you cannot face more of this do as BoysD says and inform the mother the situation won't be happening in Sept onwards. In-between time you inform the child this behaviour isn't acceptable in your home. I am sure you can handle this for a few more weeks?
I would find it odd that it only happens when you're at your friend's house - you say that when you're looking after her plus your children at your house then she's fine? Is there some kind of odd dynamic going on when all the children are together? She sounds like she's having problems (I agree with pancakeflipper) with jealousy or other socialisation issues. Can you and your friend supervise a bit more closely for the next few times to see whether it's anything you can stop? If she's fine at other times then it would seem to be situation-dependent rather than inherent nastiness.
Well, I've agreed to look after her for a good few days over the summer holidays too.
I've observed that it is when she is with my children and other children that she tries to divide and rule, as it were. She's an only child so perhaps she's used to being the centre of attention whereas the other children are part of larger families and are used to having to rub along regardless. Who knows.
I will observe more closely and supervise them more. Plus have a chat about how important it is not to leave people out.
Thanks for insights.
Have you spoken to her parents about what she is doing. They need to know as it isn't desirable behaviour. It may be that they can help deal with the issue.
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