WARNING: 3 Year Old in House

Updated on May 10, 2010
D.S. asks from Chicago, IL
8 answers

I have a friend that has a 3 year old. I cannot get together with her without her three year old either hitting my child or throwing a tantrum. My kid gets hit all the time whenever we get together with them and he doesn't hit back ever because he is a few years older, but most of the time, my child ends up crying. We were invited to an event and my child got hit so bad that he actually had a red mark from it the next day. And I'm not surprised, because the time he kicked me I had a bruise on my leg. My friend has implied that my child makes too much of a fuss, that no one else cries when they get hit, etc. Also she has said that my child is provoking hers by giving her child advice when he throws a fit, stuff like "everyone gets a turn" and basically trying to mediate squabbles with other kids. She has embarrassed me in front of other Moms because my child cries when he gets hit. He is seven. This is a good friend. What am I to do?

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So What Happened?

I talked to my friend about it and she said my son has a problem because he shouldn't cry about it and that when he does he is showing a pattern of a confused victim mentality which if left unresolved will turn ugly in adulthood. She said my son is a provoker and and he is at least partially responsible for getting hit all the time. By the way, her other kid hits sometimes too and the parents believe in spanking. I really think that the kids think that hitting is a good way of resolving conflicts. I tried to talk further with her but I don't think she wants to. I actually think she is way more angry than I am. My son is so sweet and kind. He literally wouldn't hurt a fly. I feel so hurt by these callous remarks that I had to have a good cry about it.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Maybe when she embarrasses you about your son crying (I have a gentle 7 yo boy and have been in your situation) you should overtly praise him for the fact that he CONTROLLED himself and didn't blast him back because hitting is against HIS rules and he's obeying and respecting the rules even when provoked! That's what I call self-control!

I wonder how "accepting" she would be if your 7 yo was whaling on her 3 yo? I'd definitely avoid the situations when & if you can. Maybe encourage your son to include O. of his other 7 yo friends to shift the balance of power a little bit and expose this little bully for what he is?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I would pull back its not you its your friend lack of discipline. Why would you want to continue to hang out with them? There is nothing redeeming in that relationship.
My neighbor is very similar she has two kids the one child is wonderful. The other child is nice most of the time but watch out if you have to say no or one of the other kids don't agree with him. The mother never thinks its his fault but everyone else has the problem. Unfortately my neighbor is right next door so I see them mult times most days. We are pleasant with each other but I would never consider saying anything to her but she is open to listening about her son.
You don't need the drama. Find some nice friends who discipline similar to you. Good luck



answers from Jackson on

Your good friend is not behaving like a good friend. You can't control her child and you can't parent her child. So you have only a few options.

You can stop spending time with her, which I'm sure is not much of an option for you.

You can talk to your child about managing his behavior in a way that doesn't "provoke" her child. That instead of trying to mediate squabbles with other kids that he instead just stays out of it. I'm sure it will be hard for him but this helps him learn to deal with bullies in general. It sounds like your friends child is a natural born bully and she's not doing her job as a parent and finding healthy ways for him to express his anger.

You could talk to her about a "problem" your "other friend" is having and see if she can even recognize that "your other friends friend" (her) could do more to stop the bully. You could even use this hypothetical situation and talk about help that parent found for her bully child like teaching conflict resolution to a 3 yr old or even the benefit for parenting classes.

You can talk to her about how strong her child has gotten and that he has left a bruise on you. Maybe she doesn't realize how strong her child has gotten. I also think you could explain to her how you feel and if you don't see a resolution in the future I would probably distance myself from this friend. I wish you good luck.


answers from Detroit on

Let her know the real deal.Tell her that you don't appreciate her allowing her child to hit yours. and that it is ok for your child to cry if he is hurt. If she can't understand that and try to get her son son to stop then is she really your friend? it sounds to me like she wears blinders when it comes to her shild and that's not a good look at any age. The fact that your son trys to offer advice at 7 and realizes why the 3 year old is acting a fool shows good mothering on your part and that you taught him well. Good luck and keep up the good work!


answers from Rochester on

As a mother of a rough and tumble 3 1/2 year old boy, I know how embarrassing it is when my child gets out of hand with other kids. I try to plan any kind of get-together that inevitably involves children either in a neutral environment (like a park) where my child can run manic all over without endangering anyone, or coordinate a time of day that is more relaxed for him. Middle of the afternoon when he sometimes naps is usually a bad idea, as he can get very fussy and not control his emotions well, or before he's had any free play time and has too much energy is not always good either, unless we're meeting outside. He is very high-energy, very sociable, loves meeting new people, loves rough play, and rarely means to hurt anyone (even though he sometimes does). He has bruised and scratched me on several occassions and is very strong for his age, but unless he is in the throws of a tantrum, he is usually just playing.

I would never ridicule another child out loud for crying or being upset about being hurt (even if I wanted to). I would also NOT be offended by a friend saying something like, "I know that your son sometimes plays a little more rough than my kids--is there a good time of day when he is usually more worn out and likes to play quietly?" or "I'd love to come by and visit--could I visit during naptime so we can chat more comfortably?" If you are good friends, you probably want to continue your friendship, and tactfully trying to plan around that would be fine. Although your child is trying to mediate, 3 year olds still struggle to learn sharing and you might also give your child some play pointers ahead of time to make things go more smoothly. You can definitely let your friend know that you do not let your children play the way hers do and if she cannot respect that, you just might have to get together without your kids.

As a follow-up, I let my children play more roughly than a lot of parents, but I also teach them that that is only at home, and not with other people's children, and only when everyone wants to--if his brother is trying to read, he should not whack him with a sword. My boys play with foam swords and pretend to be Transformers or Ninja Turtles (from the cartoons, not the new movies), but I also know what my friends do or don't allow their children to do, and we do not play swords or shooting with other children over. He knows to be gentle with other children unless they, with approval, are engaging in slightly more boyish play. It is perfectly fine to let your friend know these play boundaries and she should do her best to respect and enforce them. Just as adults censor their language in specific company, children can learn to modify their behaviors under different circumstances.



answers from Indianapolis on

Two thoughts came to mind when reading your post:

1. If she's a good friend, she wouldn't let her child do this to yours.
2. If she's a good friend, you should be able to have a frank conversation with her about how unruly her child is without having to worry about it ruining the friendship.

I have a feeling kids will be the reason we make and lose many friends. My husband and I are much more disciplinarian than many of our friends/neighbors. It's difficult to be around some of the kids at times (and the parents when they don't correct extremely bad behavior).

I'm sure a good portion is age, part is personality, but a decent amount also has to be how mom/dad choose to discipline the child. It seems apparent you're not the only one dealing with the issue of a difficult 3 year-old. You'll just need to decide for yourself how much of it you want to put up with before you have to make a difficult choice.

Good luck!



answers from San Antonio on

Lets face it, everyone has different parenting skills. What I feel is right is not what my friends feel is right, but that's what makes us unique. I have some very good friends but because I don't agree with the way their children act and the way they choose to handle it I just don't have the kids around when I meet up with them. If it is at a social event that can't be avoided then just tell your child to stay clear of the other child. It's not worth ending a friendship over it. But you should explain to her that she shouldn't be embarrassing you like that.


answers from Miami on

As you Already know in your heart & mind, this is NOT a friend, good or otherwise! Sounds like she is not very good at mothering! I hope you compliment your child for trying to be a good child! Sounds to me that you are raising a wonderful son who has learned manners and good behavior! Celebrate him when he is trying to show others when they are Not being taught right over wrong, for he is trying to tackle the issues in life that their own parent should be teaching to their children! May God bless you and your family! Time for a new & better friend!
Kathy N.

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