My friends child's behaviour(14 Posts)
I am quite an awkward person and don't really have many friends (less than one hands worth!) and was very grateful when after I had my now toddler dd, I was introduced to someone around the corner, she has a ds one year older than mine and has become one of the closest people I have. I see her a couple times a week and we get on so well.
The problem is her ds is horrible. He hits and kicks and throws and punches and everything else you can think of, not through lack of being told of or disciplined he just seems to have a switch that flicks and he goes on a rampage. When they were a bit smaller, a lot of it was towards my dd, but as I have grown to know him, I can get to him before he gets to her all of the time and stop it from happening before she gets hurt now. Don't get me wrong he gets told off every time he does something horrible and I make sure dd is within in grabbing distance of me when we are with them.
Recently he seems to have switched to breaking as many toys as he can when they are at our house, he snaps all her crayons, (that was whilst he drew on my tv ) he snaps plastics toys, pushes play dough into my carpet, throws toys down the stairs, the list goes on. I have taken to telling him off myself as I am having to replace toys now, I don't know how to deal with this!
As I said above I am quite an awkward person and don't know how to talk about this with her, she always apologises but I am starting to not want them at my house.
Sorry for the long post, I have tried to put as much in that is relevant as I can!
Does he do the same at his own house? What does your friend say about it?
He doesn't do the same with his own toys, his behaviour towards my dd is the same at his house, whatever toy she has brought with her is promptly snatched off her the minute she walks in the door, and any toy she touches he takes off her, either me or his mum get some toys and give them to her to play with and make sure he doesn't take them off her
It sounds like he doesn't want to be in your house? And is trying to get your friend's attention all the time?
Could you offer to look after him for an hour, just to see whether it changes the dynamic? I know it sounds improbable but he might settle down if you focused on him playing with your dd, without the added complication of two adults talking to each other.
Other than that, put all the toys away, put just a few out, and hide the crayons. I used to have a visiting child who used to pull all the books out of my shelves, in the end I realised they were just in the wrong place (two low) and put them all in boxes where she couldn't get them (she was a regular visitor). When you have little ones you start off having rules of the house, and then you realise you have to just do whatever works (so if it means hiding various things that cause friction it might be worth it)
The other idea might be do games with them both which involve a bit of singing and dancing, jumping on cushions, or messy play with aprons and a large tarpaulin, less quiet fine motor play, maybe he just cannot manage it??
I think you have to be assertive here, in the sense that you have to find something that works so that you can all get on, whether it means meeting in the park and jumping in puddles, or accepting that the two children don't gel and meeting her in the pub on other occasions. I have a friend who really didn;t like one of my children and never has him in the house - the reasons you describe (well it was when he was a 3 year old that she realised he didn't "suit" her house or get on with her dd; luckily the dd liked his twin sister, so they played...now her dd doesn't like either my children, but we are still friends and go for walks together! [disclaimer my youngest are now 14 year olds)
Good friends are precious, and she probably needs your support if her child is not a good "mixer".
Why don't you meet at her house for a bit, or at neutral locations like the park or soft play?
I had this. Tell the mum your DD gets really upset seeing the boy and so you think you need to give them
both a break from each other. Then suggest meeting up odd evenings instead. She could come round for a film and glass of wine or what ever. No kids.
Alternatively meet at soft play.
There isn't a great deal of flexibility to meet outside of during the day with the kids, my dd is not a fan at all and doesn't really go anywhere near him anymore, she will bring her toys and play by me. I hide play dough and other things, (now the crayons), but for instance the most recent break, was her doctors set she got for Christmas that I now have to replace. She is well aware of his problems and I think we both need each tbh, I am near my wits end but I really don't want to give up seeing one of the only people I have. Although we do have a good chat, I sit on floor with the kids and play with puzzles and anything else they want to play with (mostly so I can intervene quickly) I have recently had him for a few hours whilst she went to a docs appointment and he was good as gold for me.
I think you are actually being quite selfish and in a way, demanding. Love me, love my dog is a good phrase to sum up how we have to value our friends' children. If you value her company, you have to find a way to make your meetups work. Why don't you ask her if there is something you can do to make her son enjoy his visits more - perhaps he is getting "bored" which can be your polite euphemism for badly behaved? If she looks surprised, and doesn't know what you are talking about, you may find that her son is always like that, behaviour which she herself has adjusted to and is actually just at that developmental stage, when your dd is at a earlier, different one.
If she is upset by the question, and tells you she is worried by his behaviour that is your cue to be supportive, and try and find a different way for the meetings to go better. If she really doesn't understand what you are on about and this makes you feel frustrated, then the friendship is doomed isn't it?
Whatever happens there is some vibe going on that makes him behave worse with his mother around, and that is probably tension/jealousy whatever. The more often you have him by himself, the more likely it is that your meetings with HER present are going to go better. I think you need to relax, lock the toys up, start accepting that children can be very destructive, noisy and disruptive!!!
In any case I think you need to try and include another person plus child in these meetups, it is often quite easy to invite another person round on the pretext of meeting x...we are having coffee on such and such occasion would you like to come over with little Sally too??
And what price can you put on friendship?? £20? A doctor's set can be replaced, so can a sofa cover. None of these things are important compared to having friends. The most important thing is now to try and make another friend as well [whilst staying friends with her]...there will be someone; toddler groups etc. There will be someone who feels as shy as you and whose child is the same temperament. The day your child starts school you will realise there were all these toddlers whose mothers you never met..it is so frustrating!!!
Some toddlers are just a bit difficult and if you have quite a meek child it can feel shocking. But toddlers are toddlers; loads of them are snatchy, disruptive and 'mean.' If you were taking about an 8 year old, then yes, but I assume you are talking about a child no more than three?
Boys especially can be terrors at this age.
I had a similar thing with my PFB and my friend's son for a bit. Now the boys are both 7 and are just as good/bad as each other. In a year or so this little boy may have massively calmed.
Meantime, as other posters have said, meet other mums. But if this friend is a keeper, don't fret too much about the child. Try and meet in neutral places.
Just meet at her house or on neutral territory, or play outside.
A year is a big gap when they are small so he will seem so much bigger than your DD. But he's still just a small child.
Is your DD really ok with him?
Meet At soft play or the park or other free roaming area. It's probably just a phase he's going through
I have recently had him for a few hours whilst she went to a docs appointment and he was good as gold for me.
This is very interesting. Wonder if he may be doing it in order to get his mum's attention. What happens if she focuses entirely on him for a bit?
What about meeting in the park/playground? I know it's not great weather but if you wrap up warm and bring a thermos it could be ok.
3 year old boys seem naughty and destructive and mean when you have a toddler DD who explores the world in a less physical way. They're not. They're just tiny, really, and learning about boundaries. Ride out this phase, OP. The boy will improve with age. If the children don't gel with one another, meet up in places where they're not in each other's territory.
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