P.A. asks from Paintsville, KY on May 23, 2008
A Playmate Who Wants Everything Her Way and If Not Becomes Violent!
My 4 yr old daughter has a family member playmate that is a yr and a half older than her who she loves dearly. The only problem is that if she doesn't get her way about everything they play the other little girl gets mad calls names like the "B" word to my daughter or bites(at 6 years old), pinches, hits, kicks, scratches or anything else she can do to hurt my child. I am at the end of my rope trying to figure out what to do. I try to keep them separated as much as possible but she is a member of the family and talking to her parents has not worked. What can I do to keep my child safe and also keep the other childs mother from turning my whole family against me!--Jean
So What Happened?™
Well......as I predicted the mother has gotten the whole family involved and has done everything that she possibly could to turn the whole thing into something it is not. Instead of the problem being her daughter abusing my child, the mother has turned the problem into me keeping my children from her to hurt her. That is so not what this about and I'm not sure I can deal with much more of her drama queen attitude!!!!!!!!!
K.M. answers from Jacksonville on May 24, 2008
My youngest child used profanity at a very early age, but he was always punished for it. The other mother is not doing her child any favors by allowing this behavior. Don't worry about the rest of your family, your job is to protect your child and make her feel secure. Until the other child can behave, she should not be allow to play with your daughter. My children are all grown now, with children of there own, and they all tell me they felt secure and protected with their mama. I know how it feels to have an ill behaved child, but if the family really loves this child, they must work to change her behavior, or she will be a lonely teenager and worst yet a very lonely adult, just a chornic victim. By the way, my ill behaved child is a US soldier, that just returned from 15 mos in Iraq, he is a born again christian, married with his first child on the way. He is a pleasure to be around and well love by everyone that meets him. I loved him enough to punish him, and stay on top of things, there are too many lazy parents, that just drug them, instead of being consistant. Tell the parent to love this poor little girl, enough to help her. God bless you Kris
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B.M. answers from Charlotte on May 23, 2008
Since this is a relative and you have already attempted to get the child's parents to straighten her out to no avail, You have every right IMHO to approach the child yourself and explain to her (on her level of course) that her behavior is unacceptable and that if it does not stop she will not be allowed to play with your daughter. If she does not stop, remove your child and any toys that belong to your child and leave the area yourselves. There is a significant difference between just trying to keep them apart and making it clear to the other child that you do not want her by your child unless she can behave.
Explain to your daughter that this is a lesson that the other little girl needs to learn but not to worry she will come around.
If the parent's have anything to say about your approaching thier child, simply explain to them that you had reached out to them first, they did not take it seriously and that it is your job to safeguard your child. The other parents have no right to complain. You approached them and they failed to step up. If they complain to other relatives, explain the whole situation to them including that you had asked them to handle their child and they did not.
Good Luck to you
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L.S. answers from Nashville on May 24, 2008
I have never lived around family while my boys were growing up, except for a neice and her daughter who lived with us while her daughter was a baby and my oldest was 2. Anyway, I have watched this behavior in other social settings, especially at church. If you witness this, and her parents are present, you need to take them over the incident and if there are marks on your child, you must be firm in telling them that this behavior is simply unacceptable, period. Let them see you pull both children together and explain to them in the simplest of terms how we love and share. Ask the little girl if she loves playing with your daughter and if she says yes (in front of her parents) praise her ("I am so glad because I know Sally loves playing with you), but tell her that using bad words is hurtful and your family does not speak that way because it does not display love. Explain by showing the child the marks she leaves that when people love, they do not hurt each other. Explain to her that she can come tell you if there is a problem between the two of them, but she would have to do it before she gets violent (and use that word). Then tell her that if she enjoys spending time with your daughter, she will have to control herself or you will remove your daughter from that time with her. My youngest son has the tendency to be aggressive, especially when I am there. When I leave, he does much better. But if either me or my husband are there, we will immediately remove him, get on his level, explain why his behavior was inappropriate and how to correct it, first by apologizing. He is 5 and gets this completely. We will watch him actually do what we are telling him is the right thing. If he refuses, we remove him instantly. Ask the little girl what is the right way to handle conflict and ask her to show you (again, in front of her parents if necessary). If she does the right them, gently praise her. Ask her, "IF you feel this way again, would you be willing to come tell me, so we can together fix the problem?" Let her be a part of the solution. Her parents may step in then when they see the value of you putting yourself into the solution, on the child's level. When I put my 5 year old in preschool this year, I was very honest with the teacher about this behavior and gave her full authority to correct it appropriately. That freed her to build into my son that he needed to respect all authority because it is for his safety and that of others. Like the other responses, you need to communicate to these parents that while you would like to respect their philosophy of parenting, when it comes to your child and her safety, your standards trump and if they cannot respect your authority to protect your child, you simply cannot encourage this relationship. Ask them if they think their child's behavior is a part of of normal growing up (it actually is, even if you consistently correct it, like I have to), but if these parents are more concerned about not wanting to discipline their child in public, then they will not respect your philosophy and you'll have to remove your daughter from that time and place. I have a friend right now with 5 children and she has been on both ends of this. It's hard to say no to family functions, but she will if certain people are there who don't care to correct their children.
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T.C. answers from Knoxville on May 24, 2008
Now you will have to speak directly to the child. Be very specific "we do not hit at our house" or "do not bite (your daughter)" or "when you calm down and can promise not to hit, pinch, kick, etc then you can play with (your daughter) again." This way you are not trying to make rules for the child's family, rather just letting her know the rules at your house or the rules if she is playing with your child.
If she absolutely cannot behave, you have to sincerely say something like "I'm sorry you cannot play nicely today. Maybe we can try another day."
Realize too that the other child could be reacting to events in her life that you may be unaware of. If things in her life change, her behavior could change too. Also, many times it is not truly the fault of the child, the behavior is greatly influenced by the caregivers. Since you are related, continue to hope for the best.
I hope things improve.
M.T. answers from Nashville on May 25, 2008
I had the exact same problem with my sister's kids. I tried talking to my mom but my sister has always been my mom's favorite and now so are her kids. So that talk didn't work either. I can't really visit my mom without them being there because my little sister wouldn't know how to change a diaper if her life depended it on it because my mom has always done everything for her. So her kids are always there. I finally just stayed away and distanced myself. When I have gone lately I watch her like a hawk because I don't trust that her son will not hurt her. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if her son didn't turn out to be a serial killer or something.
I don't know what the answer is but just wanted you to know that I have the same problem and I visit very seldom now and distance myself and my children as much as I can. Sad, but true.
Sorry for you... I know how you feel.
T.C. answers from Nashville on May 24, 2008
Even though the other girl is not your daughter, you are still her aunt. Can you tell her that those are unacceptable words to be saying and very hurtful to call your own cousin that name? You family should not stand for that behavior either, if they do accept that behavior I would keep family get togethers to a minimum!
A.R. answers from Chattanooga on May 24, 2008
I would inform the mother that her child is more than welcome to come over and play with yours... if they agree to let you handle and discipline the other one. Tell them exactly how you would do this, explain your entire getting into trouble procedure, and just inform them that you are NOT going to let your daughter(s) be beaten up on. You could ask how they discipline their child and tell them you will follow those same steps if they wish, but she WILL get into trouble if she continues behaving this way at your house. Show them your little girls scratches and bite marks. Also, if you think she would try to turn the whole family against you, then she is obviously a very manipulative and self centered person who doesn't care about others and is teaching her daughter to be the same way. And if the family WOULD turn on you for this, even after you explain to them the situation and the attempts you made at keeping the peace, then honestly I don't believe that your children need to be around a family that shallow and volatile. A family should mean love and security, and you want your daughters to grow up believing that. You don't want them to learn to be like the rest of them, who will turn on one another at a word.
You are being a good mother and a good Aunt/cousin by taking the actions you are taking. If at the end of it they can't be adults as well, then you just have to make the best decision for your girls. I know how difficult and emotional it is, I have had a very similar situation in family members not wanting to do the right thing by the child and my son suffering for it, and I finally said, "Look. These are the lines that I am drawing and they cannot be crossed." When they were, I just informed my biological father that he would no longer be a part of my son's life or able to influence him any longer. I wont have someone, even family that I love, make my children feel miserable about themselves or hurt them in any way. It's just how it is.
I am so sorry you are in this situation and I wish you the best of luck.
R.H. answers from Raleigh on May 24, 2008
I am a gramma who loves taking care of the grandchildren. Most kids that bite are frustrated in their anger. Try to help the child find better ways of dealing with it. That being said, in Gramma's house, Gramma's rules are what we follow. This goes for children/grandchildren of friends who are with me for the day. The parents all know it. If you don't discipline the children, I will. No biting, hitting, or bullying. The parents know this and appreciate knowing that I do not rule by anger or temper, but in the children's best interest. It's your house, your rules. Make sure the child understands that and what the consequences are. Then follow through.
If the parents don't like it, they can find someone else to babysit the child.