Leave Your Kid at Home

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wifey's Weekly Q and A

Dear Wifey:

I have a friend....a very good friend. I mean, she's a homegirl. I love her. Our sons are close in age and have played together since they were infants. And since they were infants her son has been out of control. He hits her, stomps his foot and says, "No!" when she asks him to do something. He's rude and blatantly disobedient. He doesn't listen to anybody. He was kicked out of preschool! He is five years old and the last time I saw them, she had to carry him to the car, kicking and screaming and strap him into his car seat. He scratched her face and neck in the process. Huh?

He's like this about 75% of the time. The other 25% he is just your run of the mill out of control meaning he will do what she says after she asks him three times and with just a few disrespectful words as opposed to flat out refusing to do it and daring her to try and make him.

Ok, herein lies the problem. I don't like it when my son plays with her son. She knows that her son is difficult and admits it, but seems to think that it is still within the confines of normal. In my opinion, this behavior warrants an intervention but that's beside the point. She is always asking me when the boys can get together. Her son is always asking to come to my house and if my son can come there. My husband has all but forbidden them from playing together and has offered to “tell her myself.” How can I get out of these playdates and keep my friendship intact? I'm beginning to think there is no way. Can you imagine someone telling you, "I like you but not your kid?"

- Leave Your Kid at Home

Dear Leave Your Kid at Home:

No, I cannot imagine anyone telling me, “I like you but not your kid,” and I don’t suggest that you say that to anyone either – even if it’s true. You definitely have a sticky situation on your hands. While some moms welcome guidance with their children many get offended and downright defensive when other people tell them how to handle their child. If your friend opens the door for your input take the opportunity to tell her tactfully some strategies that have worked for you and other moms you know. Letting her know she’s not the only one struggling to discipline her child might help her feel less defensive and more receptive to hearing your advice.

If she’s just not getting it, you can still get out of the playdates and keep your friendship intact by telling her to "leave her kid at home" but blame it on you, NOT her kid. Tell her that you need some “girlfriend” time - a break away from the kids - and meet her for a movie, lunch or whatever you two like to do. This way both of you benefit and your friendship can continue to thrive.

Winks & Smiles,

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OK, Ladies, this is a touchy one, I’m calling in the troops. What would you do? How do you handle your friends’ unruly kids? Frustrated Moms want to know …

The advice on this site is intended to be helpful, but is not meant to take the place of marital counseling, legal advice, financial advice or any other professional service. If you feel you need professional help, it is encouraged for you to get some.


Funkidivagirl May 20, 2009 at 9:25 AM  

Yes, that is a touchy one. I have been in similar situations, but never with a good friend. Usually I just take the lead and say things myself to the out of control kid (in front of their mom) and if the mom doesn't like it, then maybe she wouldn't bring the kid over to play anymore. But again, this wasn't with a good friend. I think your advice was right on, Wifey.

MsTypo May 20, 2009 at 9:32 AM  

I think your advice is really good. Telling someone you don't like her child isn't a good way to endear yourself to your friend.

Perhaps if you were to see a kid act up while you were on your girl-date you could use that kid as an example of unacceptable behavior.

QueenBee May 20, 2009 at 9:51 AM  

Well I haven't had friends to say this to, but real close family. I've just come out and told them they need to have a better control of their children. Some of them don't like it but the truth is the truth. Some people think they are doing great by trying to be their children's friend...maybe later in life as they become adults, but I tell my daughter that I don't have 15 year old friends.

CatrinkaS May 20, 2009 at 11:34 AM  

Most children behave differently with their parents than away from them - if you separate the time spent - that is, make plans with mom, make separate plans for the boys.. and don't leave the boys unsupervised (just unsupervised by Mom), you may be able to guide the behavior in a way consistent with your household rules. And eventually host them both at the same time.

MOMSWEB May 20, 2009 at 11:43 AM  

Oh my goodness! I believe my bluntness would have to surface. "Girl, I love you, but I can't handle little Johnny; my nerves are bad!"

Eyeglasses & Endzones May 20, 2009 at 2:40 PM  

I love your advice however, I also have to say that if one of my *Besties* told me that they thought I might have a problem with my child I think I would listen. At least check it out with a doctor or consult a couple of other friends for their opinions. Parenting is not perfect and I know that if one of my Besties tells me something in LOVE, not in an I can't stand your kid kind of way then I would be at least receptive.

3 Bay B Chicks May 20, 2009 at 5:04 PM  

This is really good advice, Wifey. I am seriously impressed. Moms are way too touchy about their kids to be able to handle a situation like this head on. Always best to redirect the blame, when you can.

I have got to get my hands on that book of yours!


Shawn May 20, 2009 at 9:58 PM  

Hey there,
Just visiting over from SITS---great blog!

Have an amazing day....

Felicia - I complete Me May 21, 2009 at 10:56 AM  

This is very, very touchy. My sister's son is a bit rude at times, but never out of control. When he is in our home he is very respectful and do things by the rules set in our house. Like one of the commenters said kids do act differently around their parents so see if that could be the case. When I'm with my nephew around his parents he is rude, but when he's with me and the hubby and our kids he's just fine, but once again he is not as unruly as you have described your friend's child to be.

Unknown May 21, 2009 at 5:37 PM  

Great input everyone! And, thanks for your kind words.

Hopefully your tips will help "Leave Your Kid at Home" out - smiles!

Kathy B! May 21, 2009 at 10:51 PM  

I think you've got the pertinent feedback here. I'd just like to say that this topic is a BEAST and I think you nailed it.

Kimberly May 24, 2009 at 1:00 PM  

I've been in situations where nothing happens until I address someone else's child's behavior. I'm thinking, "You know that's not right... you can see your child about to graffiti my wall with that marker..." Leave it to me, and I'll correct the situation. If you're offended by my stopping the destruction of my property... don't come over.

It takes a village... I discipline my friend's kids and they discipline mine - not in a "I'm about to spank you" type of way, but in a more neutral "If you jump on my sofa again - all of you are about to get a time out... won't get to watch the dvd... no bubbles outside..." kind of way. It's important to have friends who share your values. So, if one kid is hitting another or destroying your personal property, you and your friend will automatically agree on what needs to happen. You'll trust each other's judgment.

Otherwise, I agree with you Wifey - leave the kids out of the friendship.

Anonymous,  May 24, 2009 at 8:28 PM  

Great topic and great advice!!!

joanofalltrades May 26, 2009 at 11:48 PM  

The fear of God always works. LOL! Other people's kids are a really touchy issue. I try not to interfere with how people raise their kids especially since I don't have my own. I do have my opinions, but I always can hear someone saying, "what do you know? You don't have kids." I've worked with kids for many years, so I do feel like I can give good advice, but I only give it when asked. My advice is to watch Supernanny...she rocks!

BluePixo July 31, 2009 at 2:07 AM  

Children need a clear definition of acceptable and unacceptable conduct. They feel more secure when they know the borders of permissible action.

*BluePixo Entertainment - A place for mom and dad to share topics about parenthood*

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