• Keeping Friends

My 10-year-old daughter and the kid of my close friend constantly bicker

Published: September 1, 2015 | By | 5 Replies Continue Reading
A mom wonders whether she should cut all ties with a close friend because their kids don’t play well together.

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

I have a close friend who has children the same age as mine. Her son and my daughter are both ten years old, in the same class at school, and we do outside school activities together as families.

Over the past year we’ve seen a change in the kids’ relationship. They argue, bicker and fight at every opportunity. I am constantly telling my daughter off for whining, as is the other mum. Her son claims he does nothing but he makes little comments that seem funny and playful but my daughter doesn’t take it that way and neither do the other peers at school and my daughter becomes a “joke.”

My friend and I have tried talking to the children but to no avail. She doesn’t see his games as a problem and neither did I until I noticed my daughter’s psoriasis flare up.

Should I keep doing joint activities or cut all ties with my friend for my daughter’s health? I don’t have many friends whom I see so this would be a great loss to me. Kind thanks.

Signed, Rosa

ANSWER

Hi Rosa,

It sounds like this is a complicated situation. It’s one thing if your child is only having a problem with this child. But you say she’s having problems with other children at school, too.

If that is the case, it could be helpful to speak to your daughter’s teacher and see if she has some insight into why other kids may be picking on your daughter. She may be able to help you identify some strategies to teach your daughter to avoid or better respond to these provocations.

In terms of the situation you describe with your friend’s son, sometimes girls and boys don’t get along at this age. Playful teasing is common, and I suspect her reaction probably encourages the boy’s behavior. Also bear in mind, that this isn’t a friend of your daughter’s choosing. She’ s been thrown together with the boy because of the friendship between you and his mom.

If your daughter doesn’t have the self-confidence, maturity or skills to ignore or respond to the other child, forcing them to play (or spend lots of time) together can understandably be upsetting to her (and you).

In terms of your friendship, this isn’t an all or none situation. You don’t need to cut all ties with your close friend but you may want to limit the amount of time your kids spend together or structure it in a way that makes it easier for your daughter.

Some possibilities to consider:

  • Can you get together as families for some specific activity (e.g. a movie)?
  • Can you daughter bring another friend along with her?

Since your friend understands the problem with the kids, why can’t you spend time together without the children?

Hope this helps!

Best, Irene

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Category: KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (5)

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  1. Amy F says:

    I see no reason to end your friendship because your kids don’t get along, however I would curtail most activities with the kids unless it’s something unavoidable like a party. At 10 your daughter is old enough not to be forced into playing with someone who makes her unhappy, though she needs to be able to be civil and polite to people she doesn’t like. If you give up your own friendship, that’s giving your daughter too much power and control in your relationship with her. Instead, you’re showing her that both of you can choose who to spend time with.

  2. Whitby says:

    I might be misunderstanding, but both the original question and Irene’s response made it sound as if the daughter was somehow responsible for the problem: “I am constantly telling my daughter off for whining, as is the other mum”; “She doesn’t see his games as a problem and neither did I until I noticed my daughter’s psoriasis flare up” (Rosa). And “If your daughter doesn’t have the self-confidence, maturity or skills to ignore or respond to the other child” (Irene). Maybe that is indeed the case. But adults don’t always know the full story of children’s interactions with others (I was often forced into the company of another child when I was young, and I ended up getting bullied mercilessly; I never told my mother, and she never saw (or recognized) the bullying for what it was – and she was [and is] a good parent. I also suspect that what was torture to me appeared to be good, clean fun to her – as well as others). Maybe there have been other incidents that inform the comments that just seem funny. Moreover, even if the daughter were over-sensitive, it sounds as if her mother is siding with her friend and his son against the daughter (that’s just what the phrasing seems to suggest). Is it possible to discuss the situation with the daughter before judging her? Did you (Rosa) talk to her individually (it’s not clear from the post)? Has she said why she takes the boy’s comments so seriously?

    Again, I am sorry if I am misreading – it’s just that I have seen a lot of bullying and “mobbing” over the years, and clever bullies often manage to hide it quite successfully from authority figures. And then everyone asks, what’s wrong with the victim?

  3. Rose Ann says:

    I think it’s best not to force your child into playing with or spending time with your friend’s son. It’s not comfortable for her. You can have coffee with the mom alone. It’s not all or nothing.

  4. Mary says:

    tanja

    What a wonderful post. Thankyou so much for restoring my hope there are still some great parents out there, but clearly you got that from your parents. Many could learn from you.

    Rosa,
    They say the tree never falls far from the apple. I find your question- should i break my friendship and contact with my friend, over kids behavior an eye opener into the problem.

    The best thing you can teach a child is to compromise.

    Teach through example, and sure ,maybe there is something she doesn’t like about the boy.

    Its never all or nothing in this world and there will e many people that you dont like or dont like you but you dont run away in a huff.

    Teach her that and good luck

  5. tanja says:

    This is tricky with kids involved. My son is 7 and this has happened to us. What I did or the other parent did with me, hard to pinpoint who initiated it or not. But, myself and the other parent limited contact. We may do a movie every now and then, but kids have only seen each other 3 times this summer. And, they were planned and scheduled activities and for up to 2 hours at the most.

    My son has not really shown interest…for example, we can go to a friends home and my son is able to just play on his own, pick up a toy and be happy playing pretend or what not. Where as the other kids that are also 7 may come and interrupt the adults saying they are bored or they want to read or they want mom’s and dad’s attention. It is so annoying for me to get interrupted because these kids can’t play on their own. Now, my son gets a bit angry if he wants to play and no one will play with him, but he still will not try to interrupt me or come to the adults. I may hear him sobbing or yelling “someone play with me!!!” Then, I feel bad and now I am trying to teach him that if other kids want to be like that then he can come and sit by me, walk away from the situation without interrupting me until he finds a good moment to do so.

    We just spent a week with friends and their kids and when we did a movie night. The two other 7 yr olds that were there, kept saying “that is dumb, this is stupid!” my son will go with whatever and be fine with it. But, impatiently i said “well what movie do you want without saying the words dumb or stupid?” In my head, i thought your dumb and stupid. Anyway, my point is that sometimes it may not be your daughter that is hard to get along with, it could be area you live in and social and economic circumstance. When I was a child, I did not get along with a lot of kids. I was poor and the kids I went to school with had lots of stuff. I was never the “mean” child, but the kids I went to school with were mean. I would never say the F word or tell someone that their toy sucked, I just did not have it in me. I was raised by two square parents, dad had a disability and mom always wanted to please people and do things for the less fortunate. But, I was made fun of it. I was a bit sheltered. On week ends, while others were “hanging out” I was doing bake sales with my mom and dad to raise money for children in third world countries. But, yet, we were poor and needed help ourselves.

    So, my son is not always the one to get along with his peers for now, but he is not and NEVER will be the MEAN kid.

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