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To think that 4 year olds having mini squabble is normal?

17 replies

alittlebitshy · 29/07/2007 17:32

Have never done an AIBU thread before but thought this was the best place....

Okay my dd is 4. She met a little girl of the same age a few weeks ago, through our church and they seemed to get on like a house on fire and i liked the mum too.

We went to the park the other day and the girls were having fun playing with their skipping ropes. A bit earlier when the other girl and my dd were playing, and the other mum had popped to a shop with her younger son, so i was with the girls, the other girl thumped my dd on the arm with her skipping rope handle. I just said "no, we don't do that" and the other girl said sorry and they made up. I decided it was not worth mentioning to the other mum.

Later on the girls were a little way away and both came back looking upset. The other girl said that my dd had said that she wasn't her friend anymore (as 4 years olds and wont do to - no?.) I went and asked dd what had happened and to tell her that it's not nice to say that. She said that other other girl had said it to. When i said this back to the mum as way of explaining the aquabble she just said "[her dd's name] wouldn;t say that". then she grabbed her 2 children and said i'll leave you to deal with it and walked off .

My dd was upset, as you can imagine. Then I got the whole story out of her. Basically neither girl was lying; each was telling her own version, the way they saw it. Other girl had said to my dd "you can't skip". My dd took this as a slight, as i think most 4 year olds would, and said back to her "you're not my friend" cos in her eyes this girl had said something on a par with this that had hurt her so wanted to reltaliate.

However, as far as i can see it, I shouldn't be needing to explain this to anyone. It is a typical 4 year old girl type of conversation - best friends one minute - enemies the next - best friends again soon after. One that doesn't need much parental input in any other situation i've ever been in. you know, you roll your eyes at the other mum, or maybe tell you child it's not very nice to say that you're not someone's friend.

What i am trying to say is that i think it is not the right attitude for this mum to walk off simply because she didn't like what my dd said, before she even heard the rest of the story. My dd is not a rough girl, she wouldn't swear etc (things where i might think a step needed to be taken on the side of the other parent not wanting their child to be influenced.....). Plenty of my friend's children have had squabbles and fights with my dd when i've thought "ooh, that's a bit much" but i would not even think of removing myself or my dd from it when it is an innocent children's way of learning their way through life and working out how friendships work.

I know i'm ranting, but i am just astounded that someone would walk away, thus teach
their child to do so.

so AIBU????

OP posts:

brimfull · 29/07/2007 17:40

no yanbu she's a loon

4 yr ols bicker all the time and it doesn't deserve that much attention does it.

My ds does it with a really good friend all the time ,they are really competitive,it is tiresome and we ignore it,or laugh at them.


NAB3 · 29/07/2007 17:42

Maybe the mother was embarrassed or didn't know how to handle it and that is why she reacted the way she did? I think you handled it perfectly and have a good handle on parenthood.


alicet · 29/07/2007 17:46

YANBU - I too think this sounds like normal behaviour (my oldest is only 18 months though so might not be the best person to know!). Surprised she walked away but she might just have been embarrassed. Let it settle down then give her a call in a coupld of days to meet up at the park or something. if she is offhand with you you could either mention it or decide to leave things until you next see each other. A shame though!


alittlebitshy · 29/07/2007 18:04

I saw her today at church but she didn't really talk to me at all. then they came to ours (with lots of other people - my dh is the vicar) for a bbq and didnt really talk to me then either. Then dd just now reported that the other girl said that she had one more chance to play with my dd. which to me sounds like my dd is on trial which i do take offence to. I donlt thik i'm being PFB ish but.....
I think myabe i had poor judegment when i thought they seemed ok?!

OP posts:

NAB3 · 29/07/2007 18:06

One more chnce? The line fed from the mother I think...


2shoes · 29/07/2007 18:36

alittlebitshy sounds like you have the right idea. I had a friend whoose mum was like this when i was little. got involved everytime we had an arguement. tragic really


alittlebitshy · 29/07/2007 18:51

I am just really really confused. I know it's a silly thing to be bothered about but i can't get it out of my head.
I would be the first to say my dd, although gorgeous, sweet and a mainly lovely girl, is not perfect. She can be hot tempered (like her mother) and can sulk (again, like her mother ) but she is also capable of saying sorry when she's in the wrong (at 4 obviously sometimes needs to be nudged but not always.) I am not sure if this mother is insinuating that her dd is perfact and must remain unsullied by my dd. Or what.

Also though to say that her dd would never say "you're not my friend", no maybe not, but now she has heard it from my dd, she is quite likely to repeat it, i would think. Of course my dd had never said it before she heard it at school, but I understand that she is 4 for pity's sake and she is learning now relationships work and is learning that it is ok to have a tiff and make up again and is learning that people can hurt you, and sometimes you hurt them, but it can all come right again if you're left to sort it out.

I kind of want to say something - esp now in the light of the "one more chance" comment, but I so don't have the nerve. I could text, but i wouldn't know what to say even then. My instinct is that I don't particularly want to have to constantly pick up the pieces in a friendship that can't progress cos the mother is interfering. Or am i being as bad as the other mother? On the other hand, it looks like she'll not contact us again to play so maybe i won't have to make the decision.

In my 4 years as a mother (so, not v long really i know) I have not come accross a mother who pulls their child away form normal confrontation and i am just flummoxed. I think I am also worried that somehow my dd and i are going to be cast as baddies in this, but i'm not sure how and why?

hmmmm.. stil ranting sorry.

OP posts:

Kaz33 · 29/07/2007 18:55

Some parents just get very precious about their kids.

I have an acquaintance who came around, my 3 year old was being disruptive and decided to throw some toys around. Friend said in very loud aggressive voice, - If that hits XXXX I will be VERY ANGRY

Said person has one girl and I have two boys, she doesn't understand boys at all. But really I don't see the point of inviting her around, so now I only see her if it is outside in a playground.


FillydoraTonks · 29/07/2007 18:56

no its daft, agree. thats what little kids do. its fin-good even- to guide them a bit but to reduce yourself to their level is not good. Hopefully as an adult you have more experience with people so should be setting an example.

No offence but I did bridle a bit at the "rough" kids /bad influence comment. I would hate for a kid to be labeleled "rough" because, like your dd and this kid, they were trying stuff out, like swearing. Kids do that sort of thing. I don't think you really can protect them as such, though of course its fine to say that YOU don't like that sort of language.

My kids don't hear swearing from us, but they do hear it on the street and occasionally come out with it. They all do, I suspect those who don't hear it at home, so have no context for the language, are more likely to use it unabashedly, IYKWIM. I'd hate for them to be seen as "rough" as a result.


alittlebitshy · 29/07/2007 19:01

sorry about the "rough" comment. What i was trying (cack handedly) to say was that if my dd was pushing and shoving and kicking and biting etc,i'd understand her actions bit more - not meaning "rough" as a euphomism for anything else. And then I meant swearing to be a separate issue. No, i know the swearing thing is not always a sign of it having been said at home, but i think i was trying to say that if my dd had been repeatedly swearing I'd understand why she was unhappy.

am i digging a bigger hole??? or have i explained what in meant? eek!

OP posts:

NAB3 · 29/07/2007 19:03

My child got hit on the head and cried. The child's mother said "He's a bit sensitive isn't he?" Her child was 2 years old. Mine was 6 months.


FillydoraTonks · 29/07/2007 19:04

no i get it, i kind of thought that might be what you meant. I am very anti labeling kids as "rough" or ANYTHING really at this age. They are still so young that most things are a phase.

It does sound fiendishly difficult not to KNOW what is going on.

I second whoever said that she was probably quite embarassed. Or stressed. Or something. Is she normally like this?


breadandmilk · 29/07/2007 19:06

Don't worry about it, try not to let this bother you. I have the same situation with one of my 4 yr old DC's friend's mum - constantly interfering when the two DC's have a fall out and making comments that the two DC's have a 'love hate' relationship!

I on the other hand think they are behaving perfectly normally. My own parenting style is much more hands off and I strongly believe that this is part of growing up, learning to navigate friendships etc

Needless to say, I started questioning myself and letting it bother me.....but came to the conclusion that the stress to myself just wasn't worth it so now I limit the time the two DC's spend together for my own sanity!!

Life is too short, there are plenty of other more like minded mums out there with DC's that your DC will love to play with!

Honestly don't give them another thought! If they have a chance to play together and you have a chance to make your point that all normal 4 year olds disagree a lot of the time and this is how they learn to get along with others, well and good. But if it doesn't happen then you are well rid of this mum in your life!


alittlebitshy · 29/07/2007 19:39

Filly - haven't known her at all long so no idea if she's like this normally.

there was violence in her relationship with her H who she recently fled from, and her dd witnessed it, but as i say there was no hitting or anything on the part of my dd (or even as far as she saw on the part of anyone, as, as i said, i didn't mention her dd hitting mine) so I am not sure how that might be connected with this?!

Breadandmilk - yes life is too short isn't it? If i don't make an effort at contact and dd only sees her at church or if we bump into them, surely she'll stop asking to play with her all the time. I have never stoped a friendship of dd's before and hate doing it, but it do think this could be more trouble than it is worth. They seem to bring out the worst in each other and bicker each time we meet, so, i just don't know.


OP posts:

FillydoraTonks · 29/07/2007 19:52

oh but that IS a consideration, lbs

Do they actually LIKE each other?

I wouldn't stop a friendship because another mother was being an ar$e, though I have been sorely tempted to (have nearly 4 yo BOY, jesus, boy's mothers are either very cool or CONVINCED that their kid never hits and is all sweetness and light ).

But if they bicker all the time-what does SHE want to do? That would be the guide for me.


alittlebitshy · 29/07/2007 20:08

the other little girl is very very desperate for friends. having moved from abroad i don't think she has ever had many. But even my dd who is quite cuddly and holdy handy seems to find the exuberance a bit overwhelming and refuses to hold hands after a while which then leads to sulks on both sides. I think that if she didn't see her outside of church or chance meetings she would not really notice tbh. I think i had been initially hyping up the friendship cos the other girl seemed so sweet (is sweet) but whereas with dd's other friends there are days when the pair are all smiles and others when it's a ping pong game of being friends/ bickering with each other, this friendship does seem a bit strained and i think the other girl gets her own way a lot with mum. And my dd is strong willed so doesn't give in easily.

OP posts:

FillydoraTonks · 29/07/2007 20:11

I would find out what your dd actually thinks and be guided by that. That is what is important, really. I do think kids have a right to choose their friends, just like adults.

but also-if she DOES want to be friends with this kid-maybe they need some MORE time together?

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