By Erickka Sy Savané
‘You guys wanna come over for a playdate?’ reads the text from my friend. It’s the third time she’s reached out to me this week and the third time I’ve brushed her off. I hate avoiding her, but the truth is, I don’t know what to do. Though I love her like a sister, I can’t stand her kids. They whine all day like nails scratching a chalkboard and the oldest child treats her little sister like a piece of shi*t. Plus they’re bossy. It’s the kind of behavior that I don’t like my 5-year-old around because she's so impressionable. The last time they had a play date it took two weeks to get her to stop whining. What's next? But really, short of telling her that her brats are ruining the party, I don't know what to do.
I decide to run it by my hubby because he has this wonderful ability to see both sides. He feels that I should stop letting the kids play immediately. “The fact that she can’t see her kid’s behavior as abusive is a problem. She can’t build her kids up at the detriment of ours. Next thing you know, our kids are following hers.”
It’s true though. One time her 8-year-old had my daughter cleaning her room. Get out of here with that!
But at the same time, sometimes I get a little sad because my friendship with this girl really blossomed in the past year. She’s strong as granite and has helped me through a few tough times. Not to mention she’s always there to listen. Can I just throw all that away?
When it doubt, get a second opinion.
I call up Dr. Edith Langford Phd. to get her take on things. She says that if the behavior isn’t too severe, such as hitting and repeating bad words, I don’t have to cut all ties immediately. “Try limiting the amount of time the kids play together first,” she suggests. “It might also be helpful to have purposeful play dates, in which you point out the negative behavior right when it happens. Let your friend know that your kids are impressionable and suggest that she talk to hers while you talk to yours. That way, you can try to alleviate the problems together.”
Sounds good, and so much better than dropping her like a hot skillet. Ultimately, who knows if this will work, but my girl deserves another chance. After all, good friends are hard to come by.
Have you ever had to deal with a friend or family member's bad kids?