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Should friends discipline your children in front of you?

(22 Posts)
andif Tue 05-Apr-05 11:47:04

This has been churning around in my mind for the last 6 months or so, and keeps rearing it's ugly head in various guises!
I have (had?) a good friend with 2 boys the same ages as mine. (8 and 5) We see them once a week for tennis lessons, then have a long standing arrangement to take turns to host tea. The older 2 boys are finding it harder to get along, and often end up arguing. My 'friend' has taken to almost constantly telling my ds1 off. Initially, I accepted that if she had seen something I hadn't noticed, then fine. However, it seems to be turning into a constant nag at both my kids - table manners, overexcitement etc etc. I would like to think that she doesn't realise she is doing it, but various subtle comments don't seem to have been noticed - eg'We're trying to praise the positive at the moment and ignore the negative' or 'oh, it's like having 2 mummies isn't it!?' I'm really not into confrontation, but it's getting to the stage where I dread what used to be a treat. My kids' behaviour is no worse than hers, and at most houses they are praised for their manners etc, but they are now saying they don't want to meet up anymore.
This is also an issue another friend has (not with me..!) - I feel that telling off someone elses child in fron of them really undermines the parent, and shows no respect for them or their parenting. Anyone else have similar problems, and any ideas on what to do. I've tried telling off her children the same way, but it doesn't feel right!!

grumpyfrumpy Tue 05-Apr-05 12:11:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tiffini Tue 05-Apr-05 12:23:36

i totally agree andif, i have a friend who's DD is the same age as my DS, (4YRS)She has told my DS off quite a few times, and i have to say i have often had to put her in her place. She also expects me to do the same and tell her DD off, I have told her i wont do that as it is rearly her place to do it, but she does'nt seem to listen and continues to tell me to do it, and she continues to tell my DS off, She has even told me recently to smack her DD, I was horrified and made my excuses to leave.
I have realised that she is not my kind of person, so am reducing the times we meet up. Other than this, she is a nice person, but it is still enough to put me off.

TinyGang Tue 05-Apr-05 12:37:09

Blimey tiffini - does that mean she feels it would be ok to smack your ds?

andif Tue 05-Apr-05 14:12:34

Grumpyfrumpy - she doesn't seem to care whose house it is - she tells them off just as much in mine as hers!!!

karen01 Tue 05-Apr-05 16:49:03

I must admit that I do tell my friends DD(3yrs 9months) and DS (8yrs10months) of it they are round my house or if I take them out. Both children are made aware when they come to me that they will abide by the rules I have for my children well DD who is 8yrs6months obviously the 3 year old I mainly tell them off for being cheeky and trying to oplay me up. My friends DD for eaxample wanted to come to m house for dinner, to which I said yes, once here she starts to play up and says she won't eat her food so I told her that we will sit at the table until she has after I compromised and halfed it for her. She then started to cry and said she wanted to go home as she had been told of. I phoned her mam up and explained what had happened and theat she wanted to go home but I didn't think she should as this was showing her that she had won, so her mam talked to her then hung up. I had a few more tears but let it be known by taking to her that I was going to win the argument she then ate her dinner and then went on to play with her two friends bioth 3 and 4 who had also had dinner round my house. Bu t my friend and I have an \agreement re this and she is having probs with her two and has asked if I can help as she knows that she can be too soft at times and this is showing in the way the children are with her, but I am helping her be firm but fair with the children and the children are also happy and know where they stand.

Enid Tue 05-Apr-05 16:54:46

I will tell my friends kids off if they are being very naughty without the other mum noticing or if they are under 'my care' and are very very naughty - I usually butt out so things don't get blown out of proportion

Cristina7 Tue 05-Apr-05 16:58:28

Andif - I'm one of those who will tell off another child, whether he's with his mummy or not. I'm pretty relaxed in general so i wouldn't do it often. I'd expect others to help too with my DS. So when someone wanted to tell off my DS for being a bit rough with her baby but then refrained i was surprised and told her she very well should have done. As long as it's fair and not picking on the child/bullying, i don't see the problem.

karen01 Tue 05-Apr-05 17:05:47

I agree, I would also expect friends to tell my DD if she needed it whether or not I was about.

sorrel Tue 05-Apr-05 17:07:19

i would never tell of a friend's child if they were present .I do think it is undermining. The only exception to this is my sisters kids. When it is a family occasion and there are 8 or nine children, usually one parent/ grandparent takes control for a while, then someone else takes over. if one of the cousins is pulling hair or being naughty any one of us will step in.
With friends it is totally different. In my own house I wouldn't even tell off my own child in front of friends, just tell her to stop and wait to talk to her about it later.

andif Tue 05-Apr-05 17:28:26

A lot of you seem to have missed the point!! Maybe I explained it badly!? Sorrel, you've got it, but how do I deal with it. I totally accept people telling my kids off if they are in their charge and I'm not around, or if I havent noticed an incident. What I object to is when I'm in the room, interacting with the kids, and she butts in to tell them off, when I clearly don't see an issue.

Mud Tue 05-Apr-05 17:31:56

Think your friend feels very comfortable with you and your children and crossed the line unknowingly, probably in an attempt to help out? Well you could see it like that if you wanted to retain the friendship I am sure if you tell her quite nicely but straight to the point that you are actually a little uncomfortable with these particular situations and would be grateful if you could both agree to xyz then you might be able to defuse the situation unless of course you just want an end to the weekly meet-ups in which case just stop doing it

noddyholder Tue 05-Apr-05 17:34:10

for me it would have to be a very close friend coupled with an extremely naughty ds tbh!Otherwise I wouldn't like it

karen01 Tue 05-Apr-05 17:34:45

Sorry andif, I had misunderstood that is different, if you have seen what happened and don't think the child needed telling of then your friend shoiuldn't. If this had happened between one of my friends and I I would ask "why did you think that deserved for the child to be told of" or if I felt a child needed telling off and the parent didn't I normally say to my friends (as they do me " That is were we are different I would havetold mine of for that " Then that is the end of the situation.

I hope you work things out with your friend.

karen01 Tue 05-Apr-05 17:34:47

Sorry andif, I had misunderstood that is different, if you have seen what happened and don't think the child needed telling of then your friend shoiuldn't. If this had happened between one of my friends and I I would ask "why did you think that deserved for the child to be told of" or if I felt a child needed telling off and the parent didn't I normally say to my friends (as they do me " That is were we are different I would havetold mine of for that " Then that is the end of the situation.

I hope you work things out with your friend.

sorrel Tue 05-Apr-05 18:33:21

does it come down to different parenting styles ? I have to admit that i have a friend who is a bit borderline in this area. i have heard her gently scold dd when i was picking her up from a party once, and it really made me feel uncomfortable.I feel very sorry for you andif. might try saying something like ds 1 is having a bit of trouble getting on with people at the moment so probably best to ignore him ( out of earshot obviously) and then use this as a starting point to have a casual chat about how she might tackle it if it was her son. i'd say that the teacher had suggested to you that he needs lots of encouragement and to try not to disparage him. See if she picks up on it. Failing all attempts i would put your kids first and extact yourselves from meeting up arrangement for a bit, anyway. I always tend to retreat when people are loomng in on my parenting abilities. Thinking of you. xxx

bossykate Tue 05-Apr-05 18:40:28

andif, this was discussed recently.

in my opinion, it is not ok to tell kids off if their parents are there, without at least giving them a chance to do it first. i think it is rude and overbearing.

let me see if i can find the thread for you.

bossykate Tue 05-Apr-05 18:42:13

here it is

aloha Tue 05-Apr-05 18:50:32

I also think your friend is being rude and indeed, bullying. It's a hard one, but I think either you say something pretty direct, like 'please leave it to me to tell my children off if I think they need it" or not see her anymore. I couldn't STAND it if someone did this to me. I have a friend who doesn't have children (and therefore thinks she would be the world's best mummy!) who does gently lecture my ds in a patronising manner, but I tolerate it because a/I know she's only playing at mummy because would so like to be one but can't and I feel sorry for her and b/my ds takes no notice whatsoever!

tigermoth Tue 05-Apr-05 18:52:07

I don't know what to suggest, andif, as I have a similar problem and have come up with no solution. My sons are aged 5 and nearly 11 years and are vague friends with two brothers at school, aged 11 and 8 years. Their mother is really, and I mean really bossy, quite tactless too, but a 'heart of gold' and very active in the PTA.

Everyone is used to her ways, but it does irk me when she wades in and tells off my two for small incidents. The boys are often at scout, church and school events together and she loves being seen to take charge of my boys in public, saying at the same time 'you must be firmer with them, tigermoth'. It's all done with a smile, and I think it's her idea of a joke, but her assumption that I am ineffectual is a minor but constant wind up! The only thing I do is keep out of her way when I am with my children. Funnily enough if we are having a one to one adult conversation, she is as good as gold.

I feel for you, andif, as you can't distance yourself from your friend so easily. I think if you are dreading what used to be a treat, and your children don't want to go round then it's time to pull out of this arrangement.

What about telling your friend that you feel your children are stressing her out too much, so with regret, you think it's best for everyone if you end the after tennis tea arrangement? If you say it nicely, and emphasise it's for her benefit, it might make her think again and stop intervening so much.

andif Tue 05-Apr-05 19:38:03

Thanks for all advice. It's still a hard one, as half of me feels like yelling at her, and the other half wants to pull away without making a fuss! Oh, what to do ?.....

tigermoth Tue 05-Apr-05 19:45:51

what about confrontation in a 'concerned for you' type of way?

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