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My daughter is 6 years old. I have a friend who has a 5 year old daughter. My daughter is very outgoing and athletic. My friend is constantly putting her daughter in the same activities so they can be together. The problem is, they argue constantly. My friend says they never argue when they are with her but I know that is not true because my daughter tells me differently. I really do not want my daughter and the 5 year old to continue to be around each other. The 5 year old is constantly whining and complaining and when she doesn't get her way she tells my daughter that she is mean. She is always blaming everything on my daughter and tattle telling about every minor thing. Now I know my daughter is not perfect and sometimes she is to blame but she is not a mean child and I can only hear that so many times until I get really agitated with this little girl. My daughter likes to joke and kid around and the 5 year old can not deal with that. One day I took my daughter and the 5 year old to the mall and me and my daughter were laughing and the 5 year old got so angry, closed her ears and shouted in this angry voice "stop laughing...I hate the sound of laughter!" It sounds awful but I truly cannot stand to be around this little girl. I would like to know why she might act this way and I would also like to know how I can distant this girl from my daughter without hurting my friends feelings. Thank you so much for any advice you can give me.


Mark Borowski Replied: It's difficult to say why the 5 year-old is the way she is, other than to learn about how she is being raised by your friend (because it sounds like learned behavior). It's probably best to ask your friend, in a nice way, why her daughter responds in certain ways to situations or things you and your daughter say to each other. I'm not sure you can distance your daughter from her daughter without hurting your friend's feelings, but I don't think you can worry too much about that. You have to do what you think is best for your daughter. If she is truly your friend, then you should be able to respectfully talk to her about the situation. Do basically what you did here - give examples of situations and how her daughter responded in extreme and negative ways. Tell her you know your daughter is not perfect, etc. and that kids in general often respond in overly-emotional ways (I know my kids do!). But explain your concern about the negative effect on your daughter and the relationship between the two kids. Maybe this talk will lead to some positive alternatives for the kids and if not, take solace in the fact you addressed the situation in a mature, respectful way, no matter how your friend or her child respond.
Posted On 2007-10-04 15:36:07
Tara Paterson Replied: Dear Mom, As a mother of 3 myself and also a 6 year old, I can relate to what you are feeling and would have to say this is probably one of the most common as well as difficult situations we as parents have to go through. As individuals, we choose our friends based on the common interests we share with that person. Usually, we aren't choosing friends based on their parenting style which inevitably comes in to play once each has a child. If you value your friendship with this person and you share common interests, I would start to establish time with her one on one for "friend time" as opposed to getting together in a play date setting. You can establish parameters when you make plans such as- "when we get together just the two of us, we agree we will not discuss the kids." This way you are not hurting her feelings about the way you feel toward her daughter. If your friendship is such you feel you can be honest with her about separating the girls for a while, I would recommend going that route, but with the understanding she may not receive it well which I hear is important to you. As to why her daughter behaves this way, she is acting out through her behavior. Someplace, this little girl is hurting and feels she needs to hurt others in order to release her own pain. Behaviors are always the expression of something that is happening on the inside. Children often don't know how to verbalize what they are feeling and at any moment something can trigger the emotion which could have been the case when you and your daughter were laughing. My best advice if you are ever in this situation with her again would be to crouch down to her level and ask her what is making her so angry inside. Sometimes it takes more than one way of asking to really find out what might be hurting her or making her sad, but if you interact with her empathetically, you will see an immediate difference in her behavior. I know how frustrating this can be and I appreciate your willingness to ask for advice. Good luck! Tara Paterson, Certified Coach for Parents and Families
Posted On 2007-10-04 14:44:35
Tina Nocera Replied: Sounds as if your answer (as most are) is in the question. You have to separate your relationship with your friend from your child's relationship with her child. Obviously this isn't working. This often happens as children move from a toddler 'playdate' stage to a slightly older stage and develop their own personalities and interests. If you have solid friendship with this woman, it will stay intact. I would suggest meeting your friend without children, for coffee. As far as future plans are concerned regarding the children, don't make any plans or make them far less often.
Posted On 2007-10-03 08:47:10
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