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My friend's DD is being really mean to my sn DD - delicate situation!

(28 Posts)
curlypoo Thu 01-Nov-12 08:52:04

I know I know. But really, my friend's very bright little girl is being really unkind to my little girl who has some asd special needs. The other little girl is very lovely and engaging with adults, she is 8 and much more interested in my old DD who is 11 (understandably) but she has really ramped up the insidious nastiness towards my younger DD (9) and it is really worrying me. It is really starting to effect my DDs self confidence as she knows it is happening but does not have the skills to deal with it.

The problem is my friend, her Mother is very indulgent of her children, which is cool as nothing to do with me ordinarily but this means I need to tread very carefully. The sort of stuff that is happening s done cleverly but I have seen/overheard it a few times now: telling my DD it is a special game where she has to play on her own downstairs whilst the other child plays in her room with her sister (my older DD) and toys (i have pulled her sister on this too as she is party to it sometimes.

The other little girl also is a huge thrower of hoolies. For instance, the other week she has very verb aly nasty to my DD who was dumbstruck and crying unable to answer back and the little girl, when she got caught just became utterly hysterical to the point where she was wailing and thrashing about with everyone crowded round her trying to calm her down. My DD just stood there crying and watching thinking it was all her fault sad. Another time the little girl told my DD she had special needs! and another time she shut her hand in the door trying to shut her out of her own bedroom! Again massive hooly and drama and her Mum saying 'oh she feels so bad about it that is why she is so upset' and me thinking actually she has managed to find a way of just absolving herself of any punishment for anything ever by becoming so upset.

Her Mum has dropped my DD at school for a few weeks, her DD hates sharing her Mum which again is understandable but her Mum insists on doing it. I walked the other day and she really took it badly. Just feel like I cannot win and going to lose someone I like as although we ave very different styles of parenting we do get on but I just cannot allow this to go on but I really feel that my friend will not deal with it. The last time she weighed in, she explained to her DD that my DD had special needs and that was thrown in her face less than 48 hours later.........

Sorry this is so long but wanted to be clear and wanted to ask any advice about how to deal with this. The thing with my DD is she is very quiet and sweet and never gets into trouble at school or anything but I know people mock her there. To a degree this is unavoidable as she is 'different' but I cannot allow that mockery to be played out in our own home and not protect her from it.

ProcrastinatingPanda Thu 01-Nov-12 09:00:13

Be honest, tell your friend that her dd is horrid to your dd and you need to give your dd a break for a while, you'd still love to see your friend so would rather you see each other dc free until her dd can be nice to yours.

curlypoo Thu 01-Nov-12 09:08:46

Horrible though isn't it? ~My friend last time got very upset about it I ended up comforting her about it!!!!!!!!!!!confused I think that is where her DD might get it fromgrin

All our kids are very close too and actually feel I could lose my friend over this but DD is wretched about it and due to the nature of her issues/asd keeps trying to please the other little girl all the time. It is fucking pitiful.

Just wish I could explain to my friend without her losing the plot

JammySplodger Thu 01-Nov-12 09:12:10

I'd be honest with your friend, sounds difficult for your DD and if the whole situation carries on, the friend's DD will just find more little things she can get away with. And for your older DD to see someone doing this and starting to join in will not help anyone.

If it was me, I'd give your DD a break from her, maybe she can suggest when she'd like her 'friend' to come round again.

ProcrastinatingPanda Thu 01-Nov-12 09:12:45

I think you've been very restrained. You're far more forgiving than me!

curlypoo Thu 01-Nov-12 09:23:08

I think the thing is that people often don't know what to do with children/people with sn and are awkward so I do try to make allowances. If you asked my DD she would like this little girl to come round this afternoon, such is the nature of her. Some of it completely goes over her head, some of it cuts her to the quick and this is not predictable... Just very hard to say 'your daughter is mean and needs to learn some kindness'.

I am one of these people that can v. clearly see the good and bad in my own children, I am a realist but my friend is going to take this very personally. It is very hard when you think the sun shines out of their bums to hear this stuff. My friend lives a bit in my pocket so this is tough!

curlypoo Thu 01-Nov-12 09:24:25

That said, her daughter is mean and needs to learn some kindness!

SallyBear Thu 01-Nov-12 09:39:51

Sorry, Curley but why are you still allowing this to happen? Nip it in the bud and stop the girls from seeing each other. Just see the mum for coffee. At the end of the day your DD needs the right sort of social life, and not to be undermined by a capricious manipulative girl who is making your lovely girl's life a misery plus dragging your older dd into it.

curlypoo Thu 01-Nov-12 09:55:00

I actually missed it happening for the first few times, things just felt a bit weird but it really is very subtle (like the 'you have special needs' thing - children do say stuff sometimes that is unkind but that doesn't mean there is a bigger thing going on, she was just repeating something clumsy her mum had said) it could and my DD cannot explain it adequately too which makes things very hard to unravel. It was pointed out before and then the hooly things... It is only because I overheard it myself that I can do something about it. The other stuff was marginal and debatable. My older DD has been punished for her part in it as she is no angel but the other little girl did it here the other day when older DD was not even here. It really is only in the last couple of days I have twigged what was going on. I will do something of course but i know it is going to be very incendiary.

I have for the last week in fact tried to keep them in earshot but they want to go off and play..........

troutsprout Thu 01-Nov-12 09:55:07

I'm with sallybear , sorry.

curlypoo Thu 01-Nov-12 10:01:32

I absolutely understand. I would say that too, I just think I had to be sure about it before I blow things up!!!!!!!! Seriously this little girl is very subtle and i thought for a bit it was just me iykwim?

SallyBear Thu 01-Nov-12 10:05:58

If you don't want to tackle the mum about it head on, just back off. Make some excuses why it's not convenient to play today etc. I understand that you're worried by having that talk will jeopardise the friendship, but it sounds like it is already jeopardised as she can't control her dd.

YourHandInMyHand Thu 01-Nov-12 10:12:17

Can you put a monitor in their bedroom they are playing in? Say it's so you can keep an ear on your girls when they play. Then the mum might hear the nastiness?

Can you put some house rules up? We play together nicely. We leave doors open. etc. I would also speak to both of your dds about these rules, and about sticking up for each other. I was one of 3 so understand the sibling relationship but they should be encouraged to close ranks and stick up for each other rather than pushing a sibling out to play with a meany.

To be honest it sounds like your friends DD would like a bit more time on her own with her mum! Do they spend a LOT of time with you and your dds??

I'd have a week of a little less time together and a lot of openly listening, weighing in on anything nasty or manipulative, and supervision. Then review in a week.

curlypoo Thu 01-Nov-12 10:27:37

Yes a bit of space would be good for us all I think but she does rather have her feet under the table so to speak. Agreed that our friendship is already jeopardised. I guess this is why we end up being closest to those we share similar values with...... I personally believe she spoils her child but this is her business, naively I thought it was nothing to do with me but we are feeling the impact of that in our family. Bloody Hell, other people's children!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SallyBear Thu 01-Nov-12 10:49:12

Indeed curly!! Obviously all four of mine are little angels......!! gringrin

mrslaughan Thu 01-Nov-12 10:55:58

its a really hard situation, one I have been in and not handled well - for DS. and actually in hindsight have decided DS is not having any more playdates with friends child (who also is SN - ADHD, but at last meet up was laying into my son physically with no consequences, and that I can not countenance)

I would either depending on how you feel about friendship, talk to friend, but really plan how you are going to approach it, think about how you are going to frame your comments., think about her arguments back and plan for them. You need to do this without the kids around.

Or be very upfront at playdates with little girl, when you hear her saying its a special game where your younger DD plays downstairs by herself, look her squarely in the eye and say - no that is not how we play in our house, in our house the rule is everyone plays together. Nip any comments in the bud, and ignore friends DD tantrums....they are purely attention seeking. Even put up a lovely sign - that states the house rules and go through them with the kids.

Its extra hard when your DD has a SN - but this is very much little girl behaviour - and shouldn't be tolerated in any situation, though so often it is - drives me crazy!!!!

ProcrastinatingPanda Thu 01-Nov-12 11:24:27

Your friend is an adult and can deal with her own feelings. You need to protect your child. In this situation, worrying about friend getting upset would be the last thing on my mind.

WilsonFrickett Thu 01-Nov-12 11:56:13

I agree, you need to nip this in the bud. We walk home from school with a little girl who is very like this with my DS - and I spend a lot of that walk managing behaviour (come to think of it, my friend sounds very similar to yours!). Now, I see that walk home from school as being 'in the world' so I try really hard to help DS and the girl work through things and find a way to be together. Because they're both always going to be doing that walk home, and at one point they may do it unsupervised.

But I've stopped inviting them into my home. Because DS home is a totally, totally safe and unstressful place for him. It has to be.

lingle Thu 01-Nov-12 12:17:10

Manipulative child is clearly skilled at cornering the market in niceness/victimhood/sweet smiliness etc. Those concepts are her territory and you need to move away from her territory. House rules such as "we play nicely in this house" are just leaving an open goal for manipulative child tbh. So I'd stick to the facts.

I suggest (tell me if this is hopeless!) you tell your friend that it can be hard for children to learn how to include DD2 in games that they might find easier with a more sophisticated playmate, and that you need her to help her daughter learn this skill. Act as though you also believe manipulative child is good at heart and willing and able to learn but simply needs guidance. It might even be true, you never know.

Can you work with your 11 year old on the issue? Would she be ready/have enough goodwill to understand something like "I can understand X wanting to get time alone with you, but that's not how it works. You can play alone with schoolfriends from your year but when family friends come over everyone must be included. Visitor-child has a lot to learn about helping DD2 join in in a way that makes her feel good. You can teach visitor child how to do this better".

Tell DD2 that visitor child still has a lot to learn about everyone joining in. It's easy to play with 11 year olds but harder to include everyone. Visitor child needs help and we will help her. Might that make DD2 feel less the awkward one?

What i'm hoping is that your adapted version of this will reset the rules and values. I think visitor child should be given the chance to learn what you want her to do and do it. Alternatively, send your friend a text saying "I think the girls need a break from each other for a little while" and leave it at that. Your friend will be horrified and it might just shake her out of her complacency.

curlypoo Thu 01-Nov-12 13:10:42

Yes the levels of manipulation are the things that really disturb me to be honest. I am not worried about upsetting my friend as such but I do have to be careful that this does not unravel. If this child's behaviour was managed better I know we could work it out but there is no sanction. Occasionally there is a no but it is half-hearted and then quashed by epic epic drama and she ends up on top again.... I know why she does not disciplining her DD, it is down to insecurity and wanting to be liked but that is now impacting on us and it is very stressful.. It could all be so simple to sort out as I do like this child in a lot of ways she has just seen a way to exert control over everyone and no one says no to her.

I just wish I could be politely honest with her Mum and sort this out but I do feel we are going to be chucking the baby out with the bathwater so to speak. Such a shame as it is a valuable lesson for all of our children but not sure it is a lesson that is important to my friend as her DD is on top. I can guarantee if the boot were on the other foot she would do something quick smart; she is very good at pointing things out about my children which I think I take in good spirit as it is well meant. I am just trying to get through this without huge carnage that I will have to face for several school years to come. And my DD too as she will not understand she cannot hug/kiss etc these people to whom she is close.

My elder DD has been dealt with over this matter, we have discussed it at length and we have zero tolerance to her excluding younger DD - she has plenty of time and friends to herself so I think this is a necessary concession she should make for kindness. Lingle that is the approach we have taken, just trying to stay mindful about how to understand/help the other little girl although am rapidly getting past it and think they need to give her a bloody good slap! The cruelty of children to one another amazes me.

Good advice here though thank you. I will plan what I m going to say and for arguments arising, I think it is the only way.

lingle Thu 01-Nov-12 14:14:06

good luck curly, I really feel for you.

DD1 could still save the day here.

They aren't the first children in the world to need a break from each other so try not to let it become a monster in your head (bloody hard I know).

bialystockandbloom Thu 01-Nov-12 15:24:45

If it happens again and other girl is mean, then kicks off, say to your dd very, very loudly so she, and her mum hear, "don't worry dd, some children just need extra help to calm down. When her mum's calmed [other girl] down she'll be ready to play nicely with you"

Might not be everyone's style, but the passive-aggressive tactic might work wink

curlypoo Thu 01-Nov-12 17:20:55

It is interesting though and not sure if this happens to anyone else with children with some special needs, the assumption is that the issue is always with the child with the additional needs. Interestingly my DD has absolutely NO behavioural stuff going on at all. She has some social difficulties, is very young in herself but as a person very easy to be with (I cannot take credit for this she was just born this way: a complete delight. My other DD can be a massive minx and I think probably a better litmus test of my parenting haha) but I do think as well meaning as people can be I feel like they imagine it could not be their child if there is a child with special needs in the mix. It is often done really patronisingly and really sometimes I find people breathtakingly bigoted about children/people who are different.

I do make allowances for people's clumsiness and inexperience but in the end I do feel that they are all children and all have a lot to offer just in different ways. I am getting more militant about it as she gets older as I can feel even adults want to exclude her rather than just take the time to listen to her. Do people think they are going to catch special needs???????

I have tried to explain to my friend that DD doesn't have the kind of social imagination to even lie properly. You can ask her if she did something and she will deny and then immediately admit it but she cannot make something up afresh. So I know when she complains, which is rare that something is really wrong.

BeeMom Thu 01-Nov-12 17:49:30

In a similar situation, I basically banned the child from my home.

I told the mother that I enjoyed her company (the mum) but I would not stand idly by and allow her child to belittle and abuse my own. this was, of course, after trying to solve it other ways. To be frank, if the mother will not do anything about her child, then it is your duty to protect your own.

If she doesn't take it well (and there is a good chance that if she is as indulgent as she seems, then her child can do no wrong and it will be your fault) then sadly you might lose the friendship as a result.

Such a rotten place to be - but ultimately, it is your DD that needs you most sad

lingle Thu 01-Nov-12 17:53:24

oh curlypoo I know. I had this awful conversation with mum with whom I had been really close (it is my DS2 who has additional needs):

Her:"lingle, I wanted to ask - you haven't been in touch with me so much recently - is it because my DS2 is talking and your DS2.... isn't?"

Me: (forced into a corner) "No, it is because your DS1 and my DS1 are always arguing and I don't find it easy to deal with your responses to my DS1".

Her: oh

It took us a few years to get over that one..... 'tis sad though.

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