It's frustrating to watch my friend parent her child
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default It's frustrating to watch my friend parent her child

I do not know how to detach from this. My friend, one whom I will be friends with forever, because she lives with my husband's best friend, does not parent her child. She befriends him, then after weeks of his horrible behavior, she blows up at him.

Every time they go out, she buys him something. She says it's okay, because it's his money. But she makes sure he always has money. She never makes him understand that when you go to a ball game, you're there just to watch the game.

He's 9, he acts six. He's well behaved, if she's not around. Everyone has pointed out that he acts different when she's around. She doesn't change a thing.

He whines, he talks incessantly, he acts helpless. I know he can do things, because he does them when she's not around. But she does everything for him. He has never done a chore, he doesn't even clean up his own plate after dinner!

She spends money like crazy. She has a decent job, makes over $60,000 a year. Her parents pay her living expenses, while she pays off her credit cards from her former marriage. She isn't on a fast plan to pay them off, because she keeps at least $300 a week to blow on crap shopping.

She's really nice though, and fun. But this parenting thing, and her sponging off her parents, drives me nuts. Her boyfriend is extremely passive and he says he's glad their finances are separate. He doesn't actively parent the child, because he just moved in, and she has told him it's not his place.

I'm frustrated. I know everyone gets to choose how they raise their children. But I can't sit and watch without getting frustrated. She also thinks that everyone loves him like she does, and has no problems letting him bother everyone else. She just laughs as he clearly gets on other people's nerves.

I can only avoid the child so much. Please tell me how to cope when I can't avoid him. Thank you.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's frustrating to watch my friend parent her child

I am still trying to figure out why you care so much about her lifestyle/parenting. You seem offended by almost everything about her. He is a kid, if you want to avoid him, tell her you prefer to only hang out when you two can have girls time sans children.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I guess I care because I have watched so many kids grow up, and I can see how he's going to turn out if things don't change. I know she will be upset when he's a teenager and he walks all over her. I know he will only get worse.
It frustrates me to see this, because she will complain about it-they all have-and all I'll be able to say is, "you raised him."

How can I tell her I don't want to hang out with her if her kid is there? That seems so rude.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's frustrating to watch my friend parent her child

It's is a cycle.. her parent still paying for your living expenses and she is doing the same for her son.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:20 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's frustrating to watch my friend parent her child

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How can I tell her I don't want to hang out with her if her kid is there? That seems so rude.
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I've had LOTS of therapy and one of the key things I've learned is I'm DONE doing things I don't want to do, DONE spending time with people I don't like and I'd rather be perceived as rude than waste my life with people like your friend's bratty kid.

Don't get me wrong I'm as NICE as I possibly can when I do this but I will do it. For example I quit seeing my niece years ago when she became a teen. Her life was a train wreck and I told my sister it was too upsetting for me and I didn't want a front row seat to that drama. I still saw my sister but only when my niece wasn't around. I had to do this for my own sanity and peace. I couldn't help my niece and since I couldn't detach my only choice was to distance myself from it.

My sister is dating a guy with a bratty son who is in trouble all the time. She straight up told him that she couldn't be around his son so they hang out when he's with his mom.

I think this situation is more common than you think. I have people that I like but I can't stand their kids. I just strategically plan to be with them only when their kids aren't there and I'm conveniently busy when they are.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's frustrating to watch my friend parent her child

So, then, do you think I should tell her I'm sorry for attempting to help her parent effectively? And tell her I will back down. But that I have to limit my time with her and her son, together, because it frustrates me?
Or, do I just avoid these situations?

She also lets him use her phone whenever he wants. Which means if I send her a text, he might be the one who reads it. It also means that he has free reign to text or call me from her phone. He calls me about twice a month asking me to join them while they go do something. Like, go to the zoo, or to a city north of us that is a major tourist attraction. I said yes to those requests, because I needed to get out of the house, and I wasn't as frustrated with him at the time. During those trips, I realized my frustrations. He's never told no.

Last evening, they went to a baseball game with my husband's family. The kid wanted MORE baseball cards, and was telling me that he did. I reasoned with him that they'd be much less expensive if he bought them at a major retailer, instead of at the ball park. His mother was listening in and agreed. An hour later, the kid was all proud of his purchase - he bought two packs of baseball cards! He was excited showing me. I was shocked. I told him outright that he's lucky he doesn't have me for a mom, because I would have said no. He didn't like me much after that. My friend asked what I said to him, and I told her. She reasoned that he spent his money. I told her it made no difference, that it was still frivolous spending, and that we were here to watch a game, not buy stuff. She smiled and turned away. But then a few minutes later, she hollered at the kid for hitting her boyfriend. And then turned away and laughed.

It's VERY frustrating to watch. I just don't know how to separate myself from them. I know I'll be turning down future invitations from them. She's already planning on spending the entire Labor Day weekend with me. She told her boyfriend to go to my husband's cottage with him that weekend. His whole family is going, and I'm expected to go too. I guess she'll be home alone.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's frustrating to watch my friend parent her child

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So, then, do you think I should tell her I'm sorry for attempting to help her parent effectively? And tell her I will back down. But that I have to limit my time with her and her son, together, because it frustrates me?
Or, do I just avoid these situations?
If it were me I'd start with avoidance. You know back away slowly. For all my talk I'm not a big fan of confrontations. I prefer to let things like this just fizzle out.

Sometimes though it's not possible but I will try that first. If that doesn't work then yes I will tell the truth. I'm usually a chicken and will do it via email but I don't care as long as MY needs get taken care of. I like emails because I can get friends to help me write it, I can take as much time as I want and I can gather my thoughts. Setting boundaries is new to me.

I will say this I do feel better once I do it. I've cut some people out of my life recently and while it was hard to do it feels FABULOUS now that they are gone. I do a happy dance almost everyday now. I don't miss them at all.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's frustrating to watch my friend parent her child

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Originally Posted by MonicaM View Post
So, then, do you think I should tell her I'm sorry for attempting to help her parent effectively? And tell her I will back down. But that I have to limit my time with her and her son, together, because it frustrates me?
Or, do I just avoid these situations?

She also lets him use her phone whenever he wants. Which means if I send her a text, he might be the one who reads it. It also means that he has free reign to text or call me from her phone. He calls me about twice a month asking me to join them while they go do something. Like, go to the zoo, or to a city north of us that is a major tourist attraction. I said yes to those requests, because I needed to get out of the house, and I wasn't as frustrated with him at the time. During those trips, I realized my frustrations. He's never told no.

Last evening, they went to a baseball game with my husband's family. The kid wanted MORE baseball cards, and was telling me that he did. I reasoned with him that they'd be much less expensive if he bought them at a major retailer, instead of at the ball park. His mother was listening in and agreed. An hour later, the kid was all proud of his purchase - he bought two packs of baseball cards! He was excited showing me. I was shocked. I told him outright that he's lucky he doesn't have me for a mom, because I would have said no. He didn't like me much after that. My friend asked what I said to him, and I told her. She reasoned that he spent his money. I told her it made no difference, that it was still frivolous spending, and that we were here to watch a game, not buy stuff. She smiled and turned away. But then a few minutes later, she hollered at the kid for hitting her boyfriend. And then turned away and laughed.

It's VERY frustrating to watch. I just don't know how to separate myself from them. I know I'll be turning down future invitations from them. She's already planning on spending the entire Labor Day weekend with me. She told her boyfriend to go to my husband's cottage with him that weekend. His whole family is going, and I'm expected to go too. I guess she'll be home alone.
Do you have any kids OP? If not, I find you horribly presumptuous.
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Do you have any kids OP? If not, I find you horribly presumptuous.
I do have kids. 22 and 20. People have been asking my child rearing advice for years, because my kids have always been polite, helpful, independent and generally good kids. I've been told they are the kind that they wish their kids were like.

This friend also asked for my help, but clearly she isn't listening to the advice she seeks.
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's frustrating to watch my friend parent her child

My niece is generally a sweet child, but very spoiled and rude. She hits her parents and shouts at them. I may not be a parent, but I know such nonsense is unacceptable and shows a lack of respect.

I don't let her behavior bother me because it is none of my business. It is not my place to tell my SIL and BIL how to raise their children. If they want to let a two year old rule them, that is their cross to bear.

Let your friend raise her son the way she chooses. Every parent does what they know best and they either reap the benefits or pay the price. Many people told my mother to stop being abusive and excessively strict with me growing up. She did not listen until I had a nervous breakdown as a teenager. Some people need to learn the hard way and it looks like your friend is one of those people.

Last edited by FirstYearDown; 08-09-2012 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:00 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's frustrating to watch my friend parent her child

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I do have kids. 22 and 20. People have been asking my child rearing advice for years, because my kids have always been polite, helpful, independent and generally good kids. I've been told they are the kind that they wish their kids were like.

This friend also asked for my help, but clearly she isn't listening to the advice she seeks.
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Good, glad you cleared that up. Now here are a few things that I am grasping from your post.

A.) You use the term "friend" loosely. I would never dream of ripping my friends down as you have done to the woman here. I would honestly believe her to be more of an "acquaintance" of yours.

B.) You have kids. They are grown. Surely you know there are many different ways parents raise their kids, and I am sure that you aren't under the impression that your parenting was flawless. No one's is.

C.) I stand by my original advice. Tell her you can't hang out unless its sans children if at all. Honestly, if she knew how you felt about her as you have it typed here, she probably wouldn't want to be around you anyway.

D.) This is in no way snarky, but I have to ask WHY you let someone else's finances and parenting get to you so much? My friends do things all the time that I think can be silly, but I don't hold them in harsh judgement. It doesn't effect me. It truly doesn't. If they spend all their money, have their parents pay their stuff, it isn't my problem and they aren't asking me to give them money. Why so much distaste for this woman?
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:02 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's frustrating to watch my friend parent her child

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I may not be a parent, but I know such nonsense is unacceptable and shows a lack of respect.
The question was because she asked if she should tell them she is sorry and she won't try to effectively parent their child. That is why I asked if she had them. If she didn't, yes I would consider that horribly presumptuous LOL.
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:04 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I wish I knew. I wish I could answer that. It really gets to me though. Maybe I want better for her? I see the way he walks all over her, and I know it's only going to get worse.
She's such a sweetheart.
I take offense to you saying she's not a friend. I accept her for who she is, but I'm questioning myself and how I can back away.
If she wasn't a friend, I wouldn't care.
Friends care.
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:11 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's frustrating to watch my friend parent her child

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I wish I knew. I wish I could answer that. It really gets to me though. Maybe I want better for her? I see the way he walks all over her, and I know it's only going to get worse.
She's such a sweetheart.
I take offense to you saying she's not a friend. I accept her for who she is, but I'm questioning myself and how I can back away.
If she wasn't a friend, I wouldn't care.
Friends care.
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I didn't mean to offend. But do you think if she read this, she would consider you a friend? Honestly? Friends care, yes. But you basically shredded this woman in every way in your OP.

I have a friend that does not like children and she has a child. When she has get togethers she asks that no one bring their children. I don't see anything wrong with it. Simply say " I have raised mine and noticed I am on edge around the little humans, I would prefer if we could hang out sans children for a while"
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:20 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: It's frustrating to watch my friend parent her child

Monica, my previous post STILL came out wrong.I am not trying to say you are a bad person, not at all. What I am trying to say, is if you hanging around with her child turns you into a person that isn't who you are, then yes, you need to back away.

I have a girlfriend who is married, no kids. She judges EVERYONE. Did you see her HAIR? Did you see those shoes? Omg who would wear that? blah blah blah. I CAN'T be around her. Because she makes me feel like a horrible person just listening to her. If you feel that way about this girls child, yes, request meetings without the kiddo.
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