October 9, 2012

You Can't Pick Your Child's Friend's Parents...

We had a "Sanity Squad" meeting recently and the subject of friend's parents and parent's friends came up.  Sometimes your best friend has a rotten child and sometimes your child's friend has a terrible parent.  What can you do in either of those situations?

One of my friends brought up a situation where her mom's best friend was very critical of her as a child.  She picked on her about her ears, calling her "Dumbo" to a point where she's still so self conscious she never wears her hair pulled back and she refuses to wear hats.  Another one of my friends brought up how one of her mom's friends would constantly reprimand her for something even though her own daughter was doing the same thing, justifying it with, "My daughter probably learned it from your daughter!"  One of the other girls said that her best friend's daughter and her own daughter have been best friends for their whole lives but now she's not so sure they can hang out anymore because the mother let the two daughters do a lot of things that she herself would have never let her daughter do.  It sucks cuz sometimes a friendship has to be broken for love of your children.

The whole conversation started because they knew I have been dealing with my own issues when it comes to Daughter's friends.  There is this girl that Daughter is friends with.  I'm not a huge fan of the daughter but I'm even less of a fan of the mother.  This little girl has bit Daughter, pushed Daughter, hit Daughter and constantly steals anything Daughter is playing with, whether we're at our house or her's, screaming, "MINE!"  No kidding at all, the only two words you can understand out of this girl's mouth are no and mine.   Yet, no matter how much I dislike the daughter, the mother is worse.

Daughter met this girl on the playground and they seemed to like each other.  The mother came up to me and we had a decent conversation.  The mother brought up having play-dates for the girls.  I thought it was a good idea since the girls got a long well enough.  So, play-dates were set up.

Now, the fun begins! (Since you can't hear my voice, I'll let you know...that was sarcasm!)  The mother started in almost instantly about Daughter being on the small side for her age.  I know Daughter is small but what's wrong with being a petite girl?  Her doctor says she's perfectly healthy so I don't worry.  I left it alone.  Then came the attacks on Daughter's ears...they do stick out a little but they're cute and if you ever call my daughter Dumbo people will start referring to you as "Wired Shut Jaw Lady". The mother asked me if I had considered plastic surgery so that Daughter won't be picked on for her ears as she gets older.  No I never have, I considered raising a confident daughter so that something like that wouldn't bother her much and she would tell rude people like you where to shove it if they brought it up.  Of course, I didn't say that whole sentence, just the part about hoping that she's confident enough not to be bothered.

If you have more than one child, you might have dealt with the regression of the older sibling.  Well, I did.  Daughter became more whiny and clingy for about a month after Son was born.  During this time, we had a play-date with this mother-daughter duo and she informed me that I should have distanced myself from Daughter before Son was born so Daughter wouldn't have been so shocked when my universe stopped revolving around her.  She told me that this is how she dealt with her daughter when she was pregnant with her son.  She said that she forced her daughter to give her alone time. This was why her daughter understood that when she was with her son her daughter needed to leave her alone.  Yes, that's brilliant!  Not setting your children up for sibling rivalry and feelings of animosity at all!  (Again, note the sarcasm!)  I just said that I'm trying to make it through this phase and I had heard it happens a lot.

Yep, I either kept my mouth shut or tried to calmly guide the conversation away from blowing up.  I knew my fuse was already lit and if I let myself go it would be ugly.

Several people told me to try to address it calmly by having a conversation.  I did this, simply stating that I was uncomfortable with the way she talks about my daughter especially in front of my daughter and her reply was, "Well, sometimes the truth hurts."

We had to cancel a play-date a little while ago when Daughter and Son were sick (I was really broken up about it...again...sarcasm!) and I never called to reschedule.  The mother recently called me and wanted to set up another play-date.  I really thought about letting her have it, telling her everything that I thought about her and her daughter, unloading all of the witty things I had come up with and ending the conversation with, "Sometimes the truth hurts."  Instead, I said, "I know I can't pick my daughter's friends but I can pick which friend's parents I want to spend time with." and hung up with a smile on my face.  For some reason she hasn't called me back.

1 comment:

  1. You don't have to post my comment after reviewing it if you don't want to, but I wanted to tell you about my own "dumbo" experience.
    When I was a kid my Dad was relentless about teasing (which I later learned was his awkward way of bonding). He called me dumbo on a daily basis and poked fun at my ears at every opportunity. This has stuck with me. I am 36 years old, and refuse to wear my hair in a ponytail or any kind of updo, so I can protect myself from comments about my ears. I am so self-conscious that I have considered plastic surgery, but I cannot justify the cost just for VANITY reasons.
    Attacks such as these can and do scar a child for life. It is bullying- plain and simple! Refer back to your bully post. I agree that you should not let this mom bully your child, and you need to tell her that yes, the truth hurts, but there is no need to be a bully and a bitch! Also let her know that if she EVER points out daughters flaws in front of her again she WILL have a broken jaw. I understand that you don't want to stir up controversy in this 'delicate' situation, but your daughters mental well-being is way more important than not stirring the pot.

    Just my two cents.