How to approach a friend who is always disciplining your child

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  1. #1 Jan 24, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2009
    I tried posting this in an already outdated thread, but I found that it wasn't relevant, since the person I am referencing in this thread is NOT a stranger.

    I wanted to get your advice on my friend, whose daughter is my daughter's best friend, does this every time we get together as a group.

    It drives me nuts.

    Here is a common scenario when we go out to dinner with them or anything.

    I feel, that when it's my home and her daughter is at our house, then it's my rules. Same thing goes for my daughter whenever she's at their house (or someone else's house). It's their rules, therefore she has to abide by them.

    However, when we're on neutral ground—like a restaurant or a park—my friend still feels the need to discipline my daughter, which drives me nuts to no end. I honestly don't think it's right since me or my husband are sitting right there. I'm sorry, but if we're out to dinner or at a park or something like that, what gives HER the right to discipline MY daughter? I hate it, and have never spoken up to her about it.

    To make matters worse, her husband does the EXACT same thing when we're all out together. Most of the time, it's just us girls and not our husbands, but even when it's her husband, he does the same thing. We had a picnic at our local park last summer and he basically made my daughter feel like a piece of crap for picking up a cookie, looking at it, and putting it back. Ummm...OK, what's the big deal? She didn't eat it, she didn't lick it, she just realized she didn't like the looks of it. She's 9, for crying out loud.

    I guess some people don't like that, and that's fine, but don't you dare get into my daughter's face and tell her not to do that when I'm sitting right there. Pull me aside and tell me that they don't like that. But don't take it upon yourself to discipline my daughter when I'm sitting right there.

    Obviously, their parenting skills are much different than ours—they are a bit more strict with their kids than we are with our daughter; mainly because their expectations of their kids are completely out of reach, but that's a different story entirely.

    They do this every time we get together and I can't take it any longer. I am seriously afraid that if I approach them about it, that she will be so offended that our friendship will be at risk. I know this is stupid to think because any good or decent friend wouldn't hold this against you.

    She had NO problems whatsoever when my daughter had a sleepover at their house a few months ago, and both my daughter and her daughter were apparently teasing her toddler (PITA) son. Which was fine, I was glad she approached me as it gave me the opportunity to discuss it with my daughter and explain to her that what she did was NOT cool, etc.

    What is your opinion on this and how would you handle it?

    Thanks guys. I apologize for "hijacking" this thread, but it seems like every time I start a new one, people always post links to older threads that are similar. Just wanted to avoid that.
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  2. I would speak up about it. I'm not one to take things like that lightly. I know this may sound strange but I would feel as if that friend is trying to insult my parenting skills in an underhanded way. It's not her obligation to watch her daughter, it's yours. And if you're doing what you're supposed then where does she get off? I would definitely pull her to the side and let her know that as long as you are present there is no need for her to discipline your child. You don't mess with her kids so there is no need to mess with yours. It's not like your daughter is sleeping over their house where it is understandable if she's told not to do something or if you have stepped away for a moment (like to use the bathroom let's say) and she's watching your daughter. Things like that I can understand, but not when you're in the vicinity of being able to discipline your own child.
     
  3. I would get rid of the friend, but I'm more evil than most. If you value the friendship, bring it up, but I think it's really important for you to be willing to walk away if she does it again, even once. IMO your daughter needs to know you are going to stick up for her and for yourself when you are being disrespected.
     
  4. Perhaps its time to stand up to your friend and tell her/them how you feel.
     
  5. You know, it's funny that you say that, because I have contemplated this, as well. It just gets tricky because our daughters are best friends, and since they don't go to the same school, we're the ones who gets them together. They have known each other since they were a year old in daycare.

    And since then, we have become very good friends with them, but the past few years, I have kept my mouth shut with their "disciplining" of my daughter in front of me. I don't like it, and I agree with you. When she's at their house, it's their rules. Same goes for her daughter when she's at our house. However, her daughter is a bit too sensitive.

    So even if I try to tell her not to do something, I kid you not, she pouts the whole time and ruins it for my daughter when she's here. I hate it, so I literally have to walk on eggshells with this kid. But yet, it's OK for both she and her husband to treat my daughter like that? What annoys me the most is not the discipline, per se, but their tone. It's awful. They don't talk to her like a kid, but more like an adult. I hate it.
     
  6. ^^ Does it bother your daughter? For some kids, talking to them like infants can be more hurtful than talking to them like adults. If it doesn't bother your daughter, then what about letting them hang out at one house or the other without spending time with the parents? If they have a common interest, sign them up for an activity together? I think what's difficult now is that, after several years, there are real habits on their side and resentment on yours, so it would be tough to resolve without hurting the kids' friendship.
     
  7. Yes, it does bother her. I didn't mean that I wanted them to talk in goo-goo baby talk or anything like that. It's their tone. It's horrible. I wish I could explain it with words, but can't. Obviously our parenting styles are completely different, but like someone else said, if I'm sitting right there and they're still choosing to discipline her, not only are they telling me (in a roundabout way) that I am not doing my "job," but they're disrespecting me as a parent.

    After they use that tone with her, she has this look on her face of just utter embarrassment. I know my daughter, so I know that look. Don't get me wrong here guys, we definitely discipline her and she is not a spoiled only child brat, it's just they have specific things that bug them with their kids that don't bug us with ours, and vice versa.
     
  8. I can understand them asking her to stop doing something if it's directly bothering them and you're around and not putting a stop to it, but it doesn't sound like that's the case. I wonder why it bothers him if your daughter picks up a cookie and puts it back down? And getting in her face and being mean? What business is it of his if it's not directly affecting him?
     
  9. I would talk to the other mom then. Good luck -- hope it works out without too much fallout for your daughter's friendship.
     
  10. My point exactly!

    Obviously, it's a manner issue, which IMO, doesn't directly affect them, so why go there? And if anything, my daughter is very good about manners. People are always telling me how polite she is and she always says please, thank you, or whatever. For him to get in her face about something as absurd as picking up a cookie, looking at it, changing her mind, and putting it back, is ludicrous. I'm sorry, but I think it's MORE annoying when kids pick up food because it looks good, put it on their plates, and don't touch it. Then you have to throw it away. It's so wasteful.

    They have a lot more money than we do, and they are not the type of people (when we go out to eat) to take food to-go, which also drives me crazy. But that's me and a whole different issue entirely.
     
  11. Looks like you and the OP of this thread could help each other out!!! http://forum.purseblog.com/pregnancy-and-parenting/other-peoples-children-413360.html She doesn't know how far is too far to go!

    IMO, it seems like your friend and her DH act more like family (ie an aunt or uncle) would to your daughter. I would approach your friend and just explain it like you did here, that you all have different styles and you aren't criticizing hers but that it makes you feel uncomfortable and you'd prefer if she just came to you when she has a problem with something your daughter does on neutral ground and let you deal with it. That way your friend can set her DH straight as well. I can imagine your daughter felt pretty crappy after being called out for doing something in front of everyone and then to add insult to injury it was someone other than her parent. I think that is an excellent example to present as why it would be better for you to handle it yourself and let her stick to handling it when your daughter is over at her house. Good luck though, I know the scenerio is tough.
     
  12. ^^ That's what I was thinking. Maybe the friend and her DH feel so close they think they can treat your child like family?
     
  13. Was he "fussing" at her because she had touched food and then put it back when other people might want to eat it?
     
  14. I would definitely say something about this to them( or your friend). I would wait and do it as the situation occurs again so they can not pretend to not know what you are talking about or act as though they don't remember. By addressing it right when it happens there is no way to deny their actions.

    I would also be concerned with how they talk to your daughter when you are not around. I can only imagine the simple things they fuss at her for if they made such a big deal about a cookie!
     
  15. i agree, i think it is important to address the issue right then and there, otherwise you are likely to get a "i dont' know what you are talking about?" or a "I swear I don't remember that!" as a response, which will only complicate matters...

    Also i agree with the person that said maybe she is doing that because she considers you as family since you are so close. I know when my grandmother lived with us for a few years when we were growing up, she would sometimes scold my brother and I for doing things, even when my mom was there.