Advanced search

Would you say anything and if so, how would you say it tactfully

(17 Posts)
Narnia72 Tue 19-Jan-16 09:51:24

I have a lovely mum friend - our girls are in the same year. They are not as close friends as the mums, but because of our friendship we tend to do things together, so they get thrown together. I would describe their relationship as more like siblings than friends - the relationship can be tough at times as they are both like to decide on play, but whereas my daughter (A) bosses (we are working on it!) my friend's little girl (B) cries or tells tales. To be honest, A finds this really offputting and doesn't really play with her in the playground. Recently my friend has been saying how sad B is at school and she feels left out a lot of the time. She doesn't have a best friend and is often on the periphery of groups. My friend was asking for advice and expressing concern. B is a lovely little girl with grownups, chatty, intelligent, interesting, but she plays up to adults as the cute little girl. With her own peers she can't do that and so actually she's getting a bit of a reputation as a tell tale and a cry baby, as that's what she does when she doesn't get her own way.

I try never to get involved in playground issues as I've had my fingers burnt, so I always say vaguely that it's really difficult in the playground, but they have to learn how to get along with each other themselves and unless there's a bullying issue, we as parents should talk to our own children about how they can resolve their own conflicts. FWIW my child is having to learn hard life lessons about not always being in charge and that not everyone wants to play her way all the time, and she's finding it tough. I am sympathetic to B's predicament.

However, I am realising through my conversations with my friend and from what she says in general conversation, that she doesn't understand this is what might be isolating B in the playground. For example, she was telling a story in a group about how B couldn't do something in a class so she cried and the other kids laughed. The leader of the group reassured B's mum that she could do it, and that she was fine after she'd had a couple of goes. B's mum then referred to her as a sensitive little thing as though it was a positive. We've been together with the kids where B has had 2 choices (both nice!) and couldn't decide so she cried. When she comes over for playdates she will come down to tell tales 4 or 5 times in the space of 2 hours. I think for 7/8 year olds this is excessive.

B's mum is really worried about her, but seeing the problem as others being mean and bossy, and B not being assertive enough. I think, from what I've experienced and what A has said that part of the problem is B crying or telling tales when she doesn't get her own way.

Would you gently suggest that this might be an issue, and how would you say it in a gentle way if so? B's mum is also quite sensitive and takes things very much to heart, so I've always kept quiet up until now as I like her (and B) a lot, and don't want to be negative. However, it's clear that she does not understand how B is relating to her friends in the playground and that it's not just about the other children's behaviour; she needs to think about B's behaviour too.

What would you do?

Enb76 Tue 19-Jan-16 09:55:48

I would leave it alone. Sympathise, say nothing unless you want to no longer have a friendship. Perhaps when the child is over for a playdate you can voice to the child that telling tales is not nice but that's about it.

Enb76 Tue 19-Jan-16 10:03:13

Fo info: my child has form for 'being sensitive' (i.e. pain in the arse) when she doesn't get her own way. I gently try to point out to her that the way she acts is unlikely to endear her to her classmates and she's getting better but it's an inbuilt emotional reaction she's fighting - to cry first, think about what happened later. I think it's an anger thing rather than an upset thing. She's a rule follower and gets cross when other people don't follow her really quite rigid rules. Sees injustice because other people do what she wouldn't - hence tale telling. As she gets older, it's getting better and probably would regardless of my intervention as she realises the world does not revolve around her.

ooosaidooo Tue 19-Jan-16 10:16:09

I try never to get involved in playground issues as I've had my fingers burnt you may well again if you try and get too involved.

IMO you can only parent you own child and help them to be a good friend (even when sometimes it feels like our friends don't deserve it).

mummytime Tue 19-Jan-16 10:18:14

I would stay out of it, and suggest the mother go and talk to the school. It is part of a teacher's job (at least in Primary in the UK) to help with social understanding, at least partly because it helps with learning.
Maybe her daughter needs social skills training.

Lurkedforever1 Tue 19-Jan-16 13:03:09

I'd say stay out of it unless it gets to the point you need to step in on your own dds behalf.

We had a similar situation, but more extreme in that the 'B' was massively selfish and manipulative, and would engineer situations, and then played the victim. Only when dd got on the end of this behavior did I speak up, and B's parents gave me the opening by blaming my child.

Btw not blaming B for her attitude, it was her extreme pfb parents who were entirely to blame.

glintwithpersperation Tue 19-Jan-16 13:16:09

Telling tales and crying are both signs of immaturity (and not that unusual for 7/8 year olds) and most children will grow out of it. Its not really your place to say anything unless the mother asks you, but understand your predicament. Can you model behaviour with your child when you are around the mother?

sofiahelins Tue 19-Jan-16 13:21:10

No don't say anything it's not your place. As her friend it's your job to listen to her concerns, it could damage your friendship to be too truthful.
I actively dislike the child of a good friend, she's a sneaky nasty bully...but I really value my friendship with her mum!

TooMuchOfEverything Tue 19-Jan-16 13:25:49

Don't get involved. You are just guessing.

My son has a couple of friends that cry at the drop of a hat and they are 10 now - tbh no one thinks anything of it. I don't know if he is at a particularly non judgmental school but they really don't laugh at crying. They just sort of shrug and carry on being friends.

Hope both the girls are happier soon.

Narnia72 Tue 19-Jan-16 13:31:36

Thanks all, and sorry for not coming back before. I think you're all right and it is my gut instinct too. It was just hard to sit there and listen to her talking about how awful the other girls are to B, knowing that there is a reason and she's just not picking up on it. B does send out mixed messages; for example, not wanting to leave our house after a play and then the next day complaining that A has been mean to her. I think both A and I find it a bit wearing sometimes. I think (obviously have no idea how I come across) I am fairly self aware about my kids' behaviour - I love them to bits and will always support them but I know their shortcomings and how they sometimes come across to others. I do talk to them about these issues and have talked to my friend about them also, which would have given her the opening to say, "oh yes, B is a bit oversensitve sometimes" if that's what she felt.

I will try and steer the conversation away from such tricky discussions in future. It does make me less inclined to chat about our children as she is very quick to say, "oh, we all know how bossy A can be", which does annoy me as there's no similar acknowledgement.

Thanks for sharing your experience EnB - your daughter sounds a bit like B, but you sound a lot more aware of her behaviour. Good to know that it gets better with age. I'm hoping the bossiness will too.

Gobbolino6 Wed 20-Jan-16 06:42:03

It's definitely not a good idea for you to say anything, IMO. If I genuinely thought this would help, I might think differently, but I don't.

DinosaursRoar Wed 20-Jan-16 07:35:39

Next time advise her to book a meeting with the teacher an ask if they have seen a problem and how she can help her dd. best you can do really.

MajorClanger123 Wed 20-Jan-16 11:20:42

Oh my goodness this could be me writing this post a few years ago - my child is 'A' (I shall call her team leader rather than bossy!), my friends child is 'B'.

My DD tended to lead play with her friend (B), and friend B was just very compliant and did what she was told, but was / is also a MASSIVE tell-tale (literally every 2 mins when she came to play at our house - in the end it just drove me mad & I'd tell them to get on with it and leave me alone!).

However... we reached breaking point over it and now us mums don't really speak anymore sad. Our DD's don't really play anymore either. My DD got fed-up with friend B - she turned out to be quite manipulative (similar to lurkedforever) and the mother just couldn't see any fault in her own child at all. I was first to admit that my DD could be bossy / dominating, but the mother just took that and ran with it - I totally wish I'd never said it now because she made me feel like my child had a problem!

The other mum essentially thought that the problem lay entirely at the door of all other kids (including my DD). She was in and out of the classroom telling the teacher about unkind words / playground tittle tattle. She couldn't understand that perhaps she needed to teach her DD how to be more assertive, less tell-tale.

I believe her DD is still like it, to a certain extent. She is now 'best friends' with another (dominant / bossy) girl in the class, and history is probably repeating itself between the 2 mothers. My DD has fortunately moved on & has made loads of other friends. I no longer talk to the mother in the playground.

So, no great advice other than I hope your story doesn't go the same way as mine shock

MajorClanger123 Wed 20-Jan-16 11:30:58

ps can I just add that we did lots of work with my DD to try and teach her not to be so 'dominating' whilst playing with friend B. But it was a teacher who eventually said to me that you are either 'team leader', 'team follower' or somewhere in between, and its no use trying to change what you are. All you can do is teach kids to play their role nicely / with kindness, which is exactly what we're (hopefully!) teaching our DD.

sanam2010 Wed 20-Jan-16 16:29:24

v interesting thread. I was in a similar situation last term (different issues specifically but same thing where you wonder if you should say something). Unfortunately, I said something and the mum reacted in a very nasty, defensive way, ruining our relationship to the point that we don't speak anymore. Of course, our kids moved on within weeks and are now still friends and demand playdates, but we can't do it because neither of us wants to speak to the other parent. Really best to keep quiet.

MajorClanger123 Wed 20-Jan-16 16:59:31

Its funny you say that sanam2010 because my biggest regret is not saying anything to the other mother - I just kept my mouth shut and became more and more upset by her comments about my 'dominating' DD & other kids and her 'could-do-no-wrong' DD.

I tackled it in the worst possible way by just completely backing away from her - gradually withdrew from the friendship I suppose, over a period of about a year. I stopped standing with her in the playground, tried to avoid walking the school run with her etc. We used to see the family lots socially, but that stopped too.

Some days I feel dreadful because I think I really should've just told her what was upsetting me / my DD and why. I guess she must feel confused as to why we are no longer friends. Then other days I still feel so angry with her for being so vocal about what my DD had apparently done wrong and I then wish I'd been more honest and upfront with her. My problem is I'll do anything to avoid confrontation and sometimes I think the best way forward is to actually confront the situation, regardless of the fallout.

Its ridiculous that me & this friend no longer really speak, all down to playground tittle-tattle between our DD's. However I've come to realise that if someone parents in a completely different way to you, it can mean that, actually, you're not going to gel that well as mum-friends after all.

can you tell it still upsets me?!!

bojorojo Wed 20-Jan-16 23:15:03

This dilemma really reminds me of a similar one we experienced with our friends some years ago. My two girls and their son would play happily on holiday and any other time we met up with them. Their son and my younger DD were the same age, and had know each other since nursery, and my other DD was 2.5 years older. Their younger DD was a pain in the backside. Telling tales, always trying to dictate the games, manipulating her parents, crying..... However the big problem was that her Dad always believed her and kept telling his DS and my DDs off for not letting his DD play etc etc etc when none of it was true. On one holiday my elder DD came and told the Dad that the account of the situation from his DD was totally untrue. The children took it into their own hands to state the truth and defend themselves. It was a make or break moment really.

Because we didn't have to get involved, it preserved the friendship. About a year later, the Mum experienced the DD have a total tantrum over choosing school shoes and also realised there were no play dates anymore from school friends. The friends were disappearing fast. Fortunately, our friends then realised that their DD had become a massive cry baby, was always telling tales (falsely) about other children and, frankly, was not liked. The Mum had a long chat with me about what she intended to do after the shoe shop incident. Not put up with it and make sure her DDs tantrums and telling tales were not indulged. She was really concerned about lack of friends and tantrums at the age of 9. Happy ending - lovely girl now!

Your friend will see the writing on the wall eventually. In the meantime I would keep quiet because you have quite a lot to lose by getting too involved.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now