A toughy - What if your best friends kids misbehave? How do you talk about this with your friend?

On Mommy Monday Stephanie and I discussed what can you do when your best friend's kids misbehave? Does she want your input? How do you rescue the relationship?


You might have some great ideas! We'd like to hear them.

Tags: TV, behavior, discipline, friends, moms

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If they're my best friend I just tell them straight up that there's a problem for two reasons:
1) If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything
2) If you make an excuse and don't address the behavior it becomes reinforced and repeated.
The other option is to just move away.
Well, my friends and I are very close, like sisters, so we expect to be able to talk to each other's kids like an "Aunt". We do not spank and neither do we tattle to each other about each other kids...frankly we just talk to the child as if it were our own! and it works, all of our kids are between 1-13yrs and we never have ran into any problem. Wev'e been friends for about 20 yearsw now, so that might make a difference. Now for our new friends, if they are at our house, my husband and I just tell them to use inside voices or to settle down but we do not quickly rush to tell the other parent either. I guess being a teacher for 10 years now I can handle behaviors and in doing so, i nip it before it gets out of hand. I also have taught in inner city schools so it is kinda of a norm not to tell the parents either so that they don't get punished twice for the same action.
In our "logical" family -- that's what we call my family and my best friend's family together -- the kids all know that all moms and dads, whether they live in your house or not, are allowed to remind you to make good choices. I think this works exceptionlly well with us because we have similar parenting styles ... I can imagine it's significantly more complicated if you and a friend differ when it comes to child-rearing philosophies. For us, though, a loud cry of "Listen to a mom!" generally works, no matter who it comes from!

-Meryl, from the Mama Goose Blog
Presumably if they're the kids of my bestie, I'm involved in their lives quite a bit. Either through mom and dad recounting tales, or playing at our house and vice versa. So I'm close to the kids too. Close enough that if they misbehave, I'm quite comfortable disciplining them, esp if it's my rules they broke in my house. Heck, even if we're not best friends, if a mommy friend's child acts up, I will tell them "no, don't do/say that." After all, we're all the adults and we set the rules.
I was lucky. My friends and I have a pack , you're the mom in charge if you see bad behavior. The agreed method is to talk to the child and have a little time out. It's worked. Ashley has had a few time-outs and I have given them. No biggie. Also the rules of each house are explained before playtime begins. This helps the kids know what is acceptable behavior and what is not.

If you can be upfront with it would be easier maybe mostly when it is a friend. But also i would hope the parent would notice that there child is misbehaving and taking care of the problem also.
If my child is misbehaving and i was having a problem i do not think i would have a problem with my friend telling me and maybe helping with the disipline as sometimes kids might listen to someone else better than Mom somedays.
But to each is own i guess.

My kids can play with your kids anytime:) Lynne

Donna DiCorcia-Davis said:
I was lucky. My friends and I have a pack , you're the mom in charge if you see bad behavior. The agreed method is to talk to the child and have a little time out. It's worked. Ashley has had a few time-outs and I have given them. No biggie. Also the rules of each house are explained before playtime begins. This helps the kids know what is acceptable behavior and what is not.

Great ideas and honest responses, thank you so much. My best friend's kids are older than mine but we have had play dates with others that were on the edge. I like the pack idea, we do indeed parent as a tribe.
It depends how BEST your friend is I suppose. I had a friend about a year ago who's son was honestly not good for my eldest Harry. Now, I am not being an obesessive Mom here but he was always winding Harry up. If Harry was on a bike he would block his path and not move, if Harry was doing a jigsaw he would go and break it up etc, etc. The problem was that my friend used to look away. Also, her son would want to play ninja turtles karate and Harry didn't like it.

The day I decided that was it and was going to steer clear was when she told Harry 'to toughen up!'
I think it is so dependent on the situation and the problematic behavior.

If it's a one time thing, I wouldn't mention it to my friend. If it's more than a one-time-thing (sounds like a pattern, to me) then my friend would also be noticing it and concerned. She would likely want to talk with me to brainstorm solutions or strategies.

If some disturbing behavior was happening often and my friend wasn't acting on it already, then . . . well, it's touchy and totally dependent on that person's personality and parenting style.
Add me to the list of just being straightforward. I do not candy coat or accept rude or bad behavior from my children and the same goes for anyone that visits my house. I would expect for my friends to tell me if one of my children were mis behaving.

Maybe it is because my friends and I are so close and we all seem to expect the same type of behaviors from our children that it makes it really easy to just out right tell them when the kidlets are acting up or doing something that is just not accepted in my house or around my family.
This is a toughie for sure. I work with kids in my pediatric nutrition practice, and see/hear about bad behavior all the time. In school, at home, traveling - many families are struggling with this, and it's often my job to intercept and redirect a child before a medication is prescribed. Before I had children, I was amazed at what looked like permissiveness in parents - until I found out that much of what children are doing is physiologically driven, and needs intervention on a level entirely different from "behavioral". So - my advice - first and foremost - is to be accepting and kind to your friend. She is probably overwhelmed and lost about what to do, trying to keep it together and maintain an assembled-looking front. Open up non-judgmental questions: "Wow, are you okay with that? What if you said no when he does that, how does he react?"

This issue was best summed up by a friend of mine with four kids. Two have major behavior and attention issues; two are angels. She says: "If I'd just had the two 'normal' kids, I'd think I was a great parent who did everything right, and be all smug. If I'd just had the two needier kids, I'd think I was a terrible parent who did everything very wrong. The truth is, kids come out with their own distinct personalities, and you can only do so much to redirect this." Now that families are smaller than they were years ago, with 1-3 kids usually, I think we have become less able to acknowledge and accept these variations in children.

Remember to send more love than judgment out to your friend. You never know what she may really be going through, or what may be going on for that child physiologically, to trigger wild behavior!

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