Post # 17
I agree with the PP who mentioned that this isn’t about disciplining a child, but enforcing YOUR boundaries around YOUR body and belongings. A child who thinks playing keepaway with your $$$ cel phone is ok could easily break the thing. Unclean fingers poking in/around your eyes is asking for an infection or injury. Shoes cost money– drawing on shoes can absolutely ruin them depending on the color and material.
If the kid doesn’t respond to “no” and her mom won’t handle her child, I’d 100% get up and leave. Your friend is being a jerk!
Post # 18
Thank you for all the clarification on disciplining versus setting boundaries. I certainly have no intentions of punishing her or putting her in time out or anything like that. That’s not my place. It just felt super odd to have to say “no” multiple times and it wasn’t having an effect. I guess I worry that it would have been super awkward for me to be really stern with Abigail, while her mom wasn’t. I can imagine it would be a little embarrassing to have to have someone else lecture their child. I see now that when it comes to my body, I have every right to.
I do like this little girl. Her mom and have been friends since we were little ourselves. I’m just trying to figure out a way to spend time together without this behavior from Abigail. I guess that’s not within my realm of capabilities though.
Post # 19
The fact that saying “no” had no effect indicates that no means nothing at home. I’m sorry about this, but this is bad parenting. The mother should have disciplined right then and there, not just a nebulous “lose your tablet privileges later,” and who knows if she’ll actually remember to do that or not, plus five year olds need to see immediate cause and effect.
I would be inclined to not go out with the two of them again, or be quite blunt when the child crosses your boundaries in the future. “No thank you, please do not touch my food.” Remove/block child’s hands. “No, you may not sit on my lap.” Pick her up off your lap and set her in her own seat. “No, you may not touch my face.” Block/remove hands. Don’t discipline her, but definitely state your boundaries and stick to them. just because mom allows bad behavior and is a pushover doesn’t mean you need to as well.
Post # 20
This is the result of extremely poor parenting.
Post # 21
TinyDove22 : I can imagine it would be a little embarrassing to have to have someone else lecture their child.
This really depends on the mom. I’m ok with other people correcting my daughter’s behavior particularly if it directly involves them or if I didn’t see it so long as it’s in line with how I correct/discipline my child. My best friend once spoke very sternly to my daughter (who promptly got her shit together) and then apologized to me and I thought she was nuts – I didn’t see my daughter misbehaving and her actions could have caused her to accidentally hurt herself! Discipline away best friend! I’m a firm believer that it takes a village. Now if my friend had yelled at her for something stupid, or berated her, or called her a name, or spanked her then we’d have a problem.
Post # 22
This comments on this thread makes me feel better.
I just see totally out of control kids with their non-chalant parents all the time and i just think HOW IS THIS HAPPENING?! Then i think well..i dont have kids, who am i to judge? I dont know how hard it is and it kind of makes me not want kids. But this gives me hope to see that this is not the norm. Your kids dont have to be terrors lol.
Post # 23
I wouldn’t be alive right now if I acted like that around my mom and her friends. Good luck when Abigail’s a teenager!
I agree I would stop hanging out with Jennifer and if she asks why then you can flat out say it’s because of her daughter.
Post # 24
L606 : you also just see one point in time. That toddler having a meltdown in the grocery store could be having her one tantrum a year and you’re just lucky enough to witness it. Or the kids act up a lot and the parents typically deal with it better and you’re witnessing the one day where they are so exhausted and decide “eh – fuck it right now”. And of course some people are just terrible parents with horrendous children. Correcting children’s behavior is a test in patience and willpower sometimes. For example the other day my daughter threw trash on the floor and I told her to pick it up and put it in the trash. She refused. I refused to back down about it and it took a full 5 minutes of staring each other down and telling her the reasons why she needs to pick up her trash before she finally did it. I so wanted to cave and just pick it up myself – it would be easier in the moment. But I remind myself of the long game and stick with it.
Post # 25
LilliV : it’s so much easier to give in, but it’s such a disaster in the long run!
I took my three year old to a Halloween store to pick up ballet shoes for her new dance class. She saw this black plastic rat with a tail that I swear was longer than her. She said she wanted it, and I really wasn’t opposed to it, but I mean… what am I going to do with this rat?
So I told her no. And she insisted that she wanted to take the rat home and show it to her daddy. The more she pushed, the farther I went from “eeeehhhh” to “absolutely not, we are not leaving with this rat”
It took like ten minutes of explaining that the rats home is the costume store and that the rat is staying there. Finally I convinced her to look at Halloween costumes and she put the rat down. We also only left with her ballet shoes, nothing else.
It’s damn hard and tries your patience but it’s worth it in the long run
eta, it still makes me laugh my ass off
Post # 26
LilliV : I agree! I try not to be judgemental because at the end of the day i have no idea what it is like! Watching my neices and nephews for hours or even a few days is NOT the same. And you get stuck between thinking “oh, id never let my kid do that” and trying not to judge the parents.
So then i think, i guess thats just how kids are.
But the kid having a tantrum in the store is pretty average, i am use to seeing that stuff. I’m more talking about kids phyiscally hitting their parents or other people, yelling mean or rude things, talking back with extreme disrespect (my coworker got slapped in the face AT WORK by a 9 year old in front of his parents. Everyone gasped and went silent and the parent just asked the child to come back by her).
we see kids do the most ridiculous stuff and when we ask them to stop we get the “kids will be kids” smirk from the parents.
and im just like what a little a**hole, i dont want one lol. Clearly a lot of it boils down to parenting styles, but it seems like you (and many others on this thread) put in the work to make sure they aren’t like that.
Gives me hope i guess.
Post # 27
TinyDove22 : no it is not normal behavior. Abigail needs discipline. In the future I would schedule adult only dining experiences with your friend.
Post # 28
Your friend’s kids behavior sounds somewhat normal for a 5 year old, but your friend’s behavior of not disciplining her at all is not normal. Also, it is totally fine to tell a child (whether it’s a relative or a stranger) “no” or to “stop” when they are doing something that directly impacts you or your belongings. When a child kicks my seat on the train (if it’s multiple times and intentional) and the parent isn’t paying attention, I tell them directly to stop. When my husband plays with his cousin’s kids, he will say something like: “if you hit me one more time I will end the game,” and he has followed through.
Post # 29
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you telling the kid “no.” Next time you draw boundaries, the kid disrespects them, and your friend doesn’t have control, you can excuse yourself. The kid could be acting out in response to not being the center of attention and even bad attention is better than no attention.
Just tell your friend, “Hey, I don’t think my presence is helping the situation. I’m going to get going do you can regain control.” It’s up to your friend to discipline the kid and if she wants to hang out, hopefully this will provide extra incentive to rein the kid in.
Post # 30
I have several women in my community who are more lax about their boundaries with their kids than I am. Their children do not behave with me the way they do with others (oftentimes including their mothers). They also aren’t traumatized when I tell them, “Do not touch me like that.” “You need to stop.” “I do not like that and you may not do that to or around me.” “Be quiet.” “Do not interrupt me.” “Go play somewhere else.” “Pick that up.” and anything else. Sometimes kids react more favorably to a loving but firm outside adult than their parents anyway.
Kids are also really resilient and they understand that different people have different rules for how they are willing to interact. I agree with everyone saying that you are well within your rights to let Abigail know your expectations for interactions and what your personal boundaries are. Not everyone is going to be like her mother and think she’s cute with her poor boundaries. I think you could be a loving example of someone letting her know that her behavior isn’t appreciated beause she is going to have some upsetting exchanges coming in her future if someone doesn’t enforce boundaries with her now.
Post # 31
It is a child’s job to push boundaries. I don’t believe that children are naturally “bad”, but they will figure out where people’s tipping points are and how far they can go, whether that is with their parents, friends, teachers, etc. It is a parent’s/adult’s job to enforce boundaries. Children WANT boundaries; they want to know what is safe and expected and what is out of the question. I really believe parents (and teachers and other adults) are doing children a disservice by not providing them with the boundaries and guidance they seek.
So I view Abigail’s behavior as normal for a child with few or no enforced boundaries. She keeps pushing because she knows she can. I, too, would never discipline someone else’s child, but I do enforce my own boundaries. For example, Dh’s cousin was over once and her son (about age three or three and a half) was throwing rocks and gravel. He hit me more than once with it. I looked to his mother expectantly, and she did nothing. So I knelt down and caught the boy’s hand as he went to throw more. I held it firmly and said in a very low, but serious voice, “Throwing things is NOT okay here. Put the rocks down.” I let his hand go, stood up and he did. He did not throw anything more during the time he was here. His mother never said a word about it, even though she was standing right there. I’d have been ashamed as a parent had someone else had to take that sort of action with my child, especially had I been standing right there (because the parent should have taken care of it), but she didn’t seem bothered. So do what you need to do to protect yourself and your belongings or try to avoid the child in the future (easier said than done, I know).