Friday, September 29, 2006

Friends Who Have Different ‘Rules’ With Their Kids


What do people do? We’re not the type of people who just throwaway years of friendship with people who we don’t agree with on their parenting skills.
We saw some friends recently who both have 2 kids each. These friends are a few years older than my wife and I but nonetheless the kids are 6 and under. We’ve known these people for nearly 10 years and quite honestly we really like them. They’re fun and interesting people. One of couples (I’ll call ‘Jack and Diane’ to protect the identities) among them has amazing parenting skills. My wife and I still don’t know how they’ve managed to raise a remarkable young kid (My theory; I think the child could be a robot that her husband built in the garage out of car parts and spare computers, just like that TV show “Small Wonder”… But that’s just me.) Jack and Diane live a distance away and we see them maybe once every year or two. When we do, the wife and I always talk about how much we would like them to move back.

Then there are the other friends (We’ll call “Peg and Al” to protect their identities) and their children. One who is “bizzarro-girl” to Jane and Jack’s kid. This kid is a total freak and acts like she’s been raised by wolves and feeds on Pixie Sticks and deep-friend Sweet-Tarts. Constant whining, running off, yelling…(agh!). When she starts up I want to jump in a box, then mail myself to New Zealand. Her mom just goes along with it offering bribes and more junk food (and this girl doesn’t need any more junk food, she’s practically my weight). Diane has to tell “bizzarro-children” things like “Can you please say “Thank You””, “No, people don’t eat trash off the floor”, “It’s not nice to beat your mom with a stick...” all while Peg just shrugs it off. Diane shouldn’t have to do that, Peg should! I wonder what Peg says about Diane’s kids; how can she not notice the extreme difference in the outcome of their kids? I just don’t know and it drives me crazy!

20 comments:

Kara said...

I actually ended a friendship with a woman I've known for a long time because her child is a monster... literally a bossy, toy stealing, friend strangling monster. And they wheel and deal with her to get her to stop abusing them and the dogs.

F*** that shit, my friend. I tend to be friends now with people whose kids I can stand, which is usually an extension of good parenting.

It's hard to separate from a friend, but life is too short to have cringe-worthy gatherings.

radioactive girl said...

This is probably the hardest part of having kids. Well, not really, I guess, but it is certainly very frustrating! I absolutely hate to discipline other people's kids, but you know what? Sometimes you need to correct them even if it is right in front of their parents because if you don't, your own kids will see that you let it slide with them, and then test you again on something they had never thought of.

My kids are generally pretty good, and most people comment on that. I am hoping it has something to do with how we are raising them and trying to teach them to be good people. Except my 2 year old who I claim WAS raised by wolves today because he threw a toy house at another child at the gym day care. It is not like him at all, so I think I am hoping he is getting sick or something. Not often I wish for that, but I'd prefer sick to monster child!

InterstellarLass said...

Eeek! That sounds like a real situation. If it bothers you that much, I'd not invite Peg over when Diane is around. And then just do 'couple stuff' (if possible) with Peg & Al so that you don't have to be around their kid. It gets touchy when you're concerned about a kids' behavior and you bring it up to their parents. Unless you're very comfortable with these people, I'd just avoid interaction with the child as much as possible.

Mr Big Dubya said...

Kara? Is that why you haven't called?

Wifey and I were recently discussing who we can and cannot vacation with or have visit ofetn and essentially narrowed it down to pretty much Kara, her husband and daughter and my wife's sister and her new husband. We'd like to avoid everyone else at all cost. We have MAJOR differences in parenting styles and the conflicts drive us mad.

kittenpie said...

Just button your lip, mister creative. Seriously. No good can come of saying anything about another parent's skillz unless you are hoping to end the friendship.

I had a neighbour who was talking about how her child doesn't go to bed until 11, she's so wired, and then wakes up at 5 or 6, goes all day like crazy... I'm thinking to myself, "She's overtired, that's why she's so frantic, lady. Put her to bed at 8 and don't let her up til morning, she'll be a whole new kid!" But I can't. At least the kid is nice, if nutty. Another neighbour's kid is awful, but then so are the parents, so I don't even bother.

Rob Barron said...

Tough business, but I'm sure you'll do what's best.

Angel Baby said...

Like Dave says, "A lot of people want to be moms and dads, but NOT a lot of people want to be parents."

I often wish people would do more parenting and recognize their responsibilities.

I can imagine that Diane said those things to the girl because, in part, the girl REALLY needed to hear them. Childred thrive on boundaries and limitations because it makes them feel safe. They need to be able to push the envelope as they grow. No boundaries = no pushing = out of control issues. Those poor children!

dennis said...

Friends hell!
Let's talk about siblings! We actually debate whether or not to tell the one sis...'don't bother, we'll go discipline your imps!'

and I actually had to tell the other sis, 'don't yell at my kids! Especially not when wife.imp is right there! IN.THE.ROOM.

Especially not when they were not running, jumping, yelling, pulling, pushing, punching, biting, throwing, kicking...

CrankMama said...

I've finally made peace with the fact that I can't be friends with people who I think are good parents. And by "good" I don't mean Spanish language flash cards, and interpretive dance. I mean, raising kids lovingly and not with neglect and ignorance.

You have my sympathy!

CrankMama said...

I mean who AREN'T good parents... HEE HEE HEE HEE

Waya said...

I think there should be a sevice where you can go and scout out the parents/children that fit your parenting/children style. I'd pay for it.

There are times where we love the parents to death and would love to friends, but then their children are just plain monsters (impolite, spoiled brat, violent kind of kids). And so, we go our separate ways. I can't deal with obnoxious children, who do not respect their parents or anybody else.

dadinprogress said...

i just wrote about this too. it's the hardest part of parenting...dealing with other parents and their children, especially if the values don't match. we're lucky to have formed a great group of friends and we all share the same parenting styles. in fact, we were all just together for a dinner party, and four families together brought 9 children to dinner, and we didn't hear from them once or have to speak to them at all. they get along and are content, because they're all disciplined and respectful of others.

and then there are the few who didn't make the group...guess why? ;-)

dadinprogress said...

by the way, you're killing me with all the throwback child star references and pictures. the mention of the small wonder brings it all back and the pic of robbie rist aks cousin oliver takes the cake.

junebee said...

Hey, can I go to New Zealand too?

Mrs. Chicky said...

I agree with Kittenpie ('cause I'm a follower), unless you want that friendship to end don't say a word. And most people don't go out of their way to screw up their kids, they just don't know any better and usually they're running a defense instead of an offense. Now if you're friends were intentionally giving their kid pixie stix and black coffee just to see what would happen... Then I'd say run for the hills!

metro mama said...

Yep, I agree that you just have to overlook. We're lucky, all of our friends are pretty much on the same page as us.

Her Bad Mother said...

All the more complicated when it's members of your own family...

sweatpantsmom said...

Alright, I know you live in L.A., too and - My gawd, do we have the same friends? We have some former friends (hey - I'll call them Peg an Al, too) whose kids made me want to set them on fire everytime we got together. We finally stopped seeing them altogether - as Kara said, life's too short.

Kristen said...

I was all set to defend Peg and say "maybe bizzarro girl is a quirky kid, you never know what that mom deals with at home" but then you got to the part about eating trash off the floor and beating her mom with a stick and Peg's silence and non-chalance, and Oh. I am with you.

chanchow said...

I don't have many friends with badly behaving children yet, but I do have some with annoying pets. I know, I know, I shouldn't compare children to pets, they are different. But the same holds true, you are likely to avoid the friend with the annoying pet-- or at least not go over to their house.