October 12, 2008,
C.T. asks from Gilbert, AZ on October 08, 2008
We have neighbors that have an 8 year old daughter, who is friends with our 9 year-old daughter. My husband and I are also “friends” with the parents. We have been neighbors for 4 years and have talked on and off. We consider them friends, just not great ones. Well here is what I need advice on. Their daughter is “scared” to come to our house. This is a child that has never slept over at someone’s house except for once, and it was our house. She has a brother that is 3.5 and when he was born we kept their daughter for them. She was up all night crying for her mom and dad, saying that she sleeps with her mom every night…. YIKES! Since then we have always offered to have her sleep over, our houses are all of 12 paces from one another. Because we have offered for her to sleep over instead of our daughter always going to their house she is scared to come to our home. We might offer again?
When my daughter calls to play the invitation turns around to have her go to their house. Our daughter is fed up with it. Because their daughter told ours that she was not allowed to come to our home anymore. The mom denies it, but in all honesty I believe it since the parents are the same way.
Example: when coming home after a two week vacation (theirs not ours), we invited them for dinner so that they did not have to cook, go shopping etc. They accepted the invitation and then called the day of dinner to ask if we can take the dinner over to their house because they purchased a dog. I was aghast could not believe the nerve.
This is the same situation, so my question is do I no longer encourage a friendship? We want to teach her that friendship is not who is convenient at the time. Friendship is valuable, something that you do not just cast aside. And to tell the friend that she no longer wants to come over because the friendship is not returned. Our daughter does not want to do this she would like to just avoid the girl which makes it awkward for us. What to do….
D.H. answers from Phoenix on October 09, 2008
I would confront them with the situation. Maybe they don't realize that they are doing it (hopefully). Tell them that you would like to continue the friendship, but that it needs to be more give and take, not just take. Hopefully, they will see what they were doing and fix it. If not, then you know where you stand.
K.H. answers from Phoenix on October 09, 2008
I think asking your neighbor what the situation is would clear things up. Just say, "It seems to me that our daughter is always going over to your house. Do you feel uncomfortable for some reason having your daughter at our house? I would really like to know since I care about our friendship."
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K.T. answers from Phoenix on October 11, 2008
I hear what your saying about your plans with the neighbors and their request does sound odd but to them it could be completely normal from their perspective. Obviously, they co-sleep which is OK in their family. You don't have to react to their lifestyle. Just accept the difference and explain to your daughter that not everyone lives the same way your family does.
It sounds like your daughter has already made up her mind and the other little girl is high maintenance. Being honest is always best. If the other girl wants to know why your daughter doesn't want to play she can tell her the truth..I don't think its fair that we always do what you want to do and it hurts my feelings that your not allowed to come to my house.
Avoiding people and lying takes too much effort :)
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K.H. answers from Albuquerque on October 12, 2008
It sounds to me as though you're creating a needless problem for yourself.
If your daughter is no longer interested in a friendship, why push it? Leave it alone.
If your interest is based on the fact that you apparently want to raise a kind daughter who values friendship, trust that she'll be considerate to this girl regardless of the idea that they're merely becoming acquaintances.
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A.B. answers from Phoenix on October 09, 2008
i think we should be teaching our children to trust their instincts and we should respect their feelings about being uncomfortable in whatever situation it is, even if it is indeed safe. would you want to teach your daughter to ignore her feelings like this? what if the dad was a child predator? i would NEVER force my child to go someplace he is uncomfortable, what kind of message is that teaching him? and i would never be offended if a child felt weird in my home. sometimes kids have strange fears -- but i don't think it's the right message to teach them to ignore those feelings. maybe you should use the situation to teach your daughter about respect and tolerance for others' feelings.
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F.H. answers from Phoenix on October 08, 2008
This sounds like way too much stress! I would just wash my hands of the whole thing. If their daughter wants to play with yours, I would say, ok, come over since my daughter always goes to your house and she would like to stay home and have you play over here. If they can't switch on and off like that, then it's too much resentment and negativity which no one needs. I would not feel obligated to them just because they live next door. Hopefully your daughter has other friends and interests that can keep her busy. Good luck to you!
M.M. answers from Albuquerque on October 08, 2008
I think that is rude to suggest that they bring the dinner you offered them over to there house. I think that is extremely nice of you to ask them over. I would not ask the girl over unless she initiates it. If she asks your daughter to come over, I would tell her that you would like her to come to your house instead. If she declines I would just tell her OK maybe next time. I would keep doing this. If she really wants to play with your daughter she will accept after a while. If not she will probably stop the asking her to come over and your daughter will know that she is not really that interested in a friendship and then she can have others over that would appriciate her company.
S.L. answers from Tucson on October 09, 2008
Let your daughter avoid them if she wants to - and you too. If they decide to confront you about it be honest and say you don't understand why their child is afraid to go to your house and that your daughter is tired of always having to play at theirs - and let her say the same if their child asks her. Then it is up to them to either explain honestly or lie. Whatever - then the ball is in their court and you can go about your lives with self respect and dignity - either associating closely or not - but putting up with people's neurotic behavior isn't something I would teach my child to tolerate or find appropriate - I have taught my kids that real friends are people you have a kinship with - wherever they are - not just because they live next door.
A.R. answers from Phoenix on October 09, 2008
I dont think its unacceptable for your daughter to let her friend know that the situation makes her feel uncomfortable at times. If she wants to say to her friend "I feel like you/your parents dont like me/are upset with me when 'this' happens", that is speaking her mind and its healthy. She deserves an explanation to ease her mind. The other parents should also know that they may be creating a monster by being so overprotective.
Above all else YOUR child needs to know that she doesnt have to please everyone. That just because people behave differently it doesnt make anyone wierd or wrong, just different.
Arent there any other kids in the neighborhood? Get her into some activities, or play outside with her where the neighbors can see. This may cause their daughter to want to get outside the box a bit.
Good Luck =)