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  1. #1
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    Default Issue with friends daughter

    We have a group of friends that we have known 10 years, 4 couples, we now all have kids and socialise a lot together, including camping, holidays abroad etc. One couple has a daughter, 8, that generally causes a lot of strife with the other kids. A lot of it, is very trivial stuff, so when I describe it, it might sounds like typical behaviour from a child. I guess it’s now getting to the point we don’t really want to socialise with the couple as much because of their daughter. Some of her behaviour is quite cruel and odd. We were at a BBQ and I saw through the window as she took a toy off someone’s 2 year old and put it on a higher shelf and watched as the little girl cried as she attempted, and failed, to get the toy. Locking little kids in a room and watching through the glass door as they get hysterical, with a blank look on her face. “Accidentally” knocking kids food onto the floor, taking precious toys and hiding them, laughing when other kids hurt themselves.. She seems to completely lack in empathy. I love hanging out with the couple, we get on great with them, but it’s getting more and more unrelaxing socialising with them, because of their daughter. I guess this is part vent, but I’m also interested in other peoples thoughts on why she behaves like this and what we can do going forward.

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    I can see why this behaviour is bothering you. Do the parents reprimand the girl when she's cruel to the other children? Are they aware of it?

    Is this child older than all the others? Just trying to gauge whether she might be a bit bored if the other children are much younger and this is her way of entertaining herself. Not justifying her actions (she sounds like she gets her kicks out of being mean), but trying to figure out why she might be like this.

    Another possibility is perhaps she is bullied at school and she's taking out some of her frustrations on the little ones because she can easily dominate them?

    Whatever the case, it would be a shame to lose their friendship if this is the only issue. I think behaviour like this can be worked on and improved, however the parents need to be on board with addressing it.

  3. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Mod-Degrassi For This Useful Post:

    DrewS  (14-03-2016),Sonja  (14-03-2016),SuperGranny  (14-03-2016)

  4. #3
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    Honestly I'd limit socialising to adults only. We had a group of friends we made through my eldest's class at school when the girls were in preprimary. By year 4 it fell apart as one of the girls tormented my daughter and every social occasion was fraught as I knew she would be stressed about an inevitable issue that would crop up.

    So now we just see the parents at night and the kids aren't included.

    Not sure whether that would be a solution. This girl sounds like she needs some help as the sort of behaviours you are describing are not normal in a younger child let alone an 8 year old.

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    While I agree with Degrassi in principle I actually think some friendships do get lost when kids get older if the kids just don't get along anymore. I recall when I was a kid being dragged to a friend of my parents house and one of their kids was seriously out of control. I was never subjected to his temper but I hated it. It was so tense.

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    It sounds like you're quite close to her parents, can you just talk honestly about it with them? Maybe there's something going on at home that you're not aware of. I think it's worth gently raising the subject and see what they say.

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  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mod-Degrassi View Post
    I can see why this behaviour is bothering you. Do the parents reprimand the girl when she's cruel to the other children? Are they aware of it?

    Is this child older than all the others? Just trying to gauge whether she might be a bit bored if the other children are much younger and this is her way of entertaining herself. Not justifying her actions (she sounds like she gets her kicks out of being mean), but trying to figure out why she might be like this.

    Another possibility is perhaps she is bullied at school and she's taking out some of her frustrations on the little ones because she can easily dominate them?

    Whatever the case, it would be a shame to lose their friendship if this is the only issue. I think behaviour like this can be worked on and improved, however the parents need to be on board with addressing it.
    She is the same age as a number of the other kids and would probably bully the other kids if she could, but they stand up for themselves. What she does try and do is cause trouble by picking one or two kids as her new BFF and alienating and the others, disallowing them to play with them. She'll be more cruel to the younger kids as she can get away with it. She’s been displaying this kind of behaviour from very early on. As young as 3. Her parents are good parents, but struggle to discipline her and I really don’t think they are aware that she is as cruel as she is. I guess it’s easy to trivialise something like a kid taking a toy of another kid… My partner was talking to the mum a few weeks ago and the mum was at her wits end with her daughter, really struggling with her. But it’s hard to make suggestions without coming across as condescending or criticising their parenting. I think if they were a bit more consistent and pro-active with their discipline it would help, I’m not sure about the cruel behaviour though. It’s almost like it’s innate.

    And as far as I know she hasn't really been bullied at school, but she has few friends and I think this is primarily because a lot of her negative, antisocial behaviour has worn thin on the kids. She'll be BFF with one girl, then ostracise her the next day etc etc

    What I would like to do, is somehow suggest that they take her to see a psychologist, but I think they would be offended if we did suggest that. I would really like to stay friends with them.
    Last edited by DrewS; 14-03-2016 at 13:10.

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    It sounds like a psych would be a great place to start. There's no reason for them to be offended, if the mother is already reaching out to her friends and saying she's struggling, it makes perfect sense to seek professional help.

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    I agree she needs some help. If the parents really are at their wits end it should be broached. It doesn't have to be in a judgemental way. Sounds like a really hard situation for all.

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    I think my main issue is how little empathy she seems to have and how naturally cruel she is. She gets pleasure from seeing other kids upset. Is this behaviour reversible?

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    Default Issue with friends daughter

    Quote Originally Posted by DrewS View Post
    I think my main issue is how little empathy she seems to have and how naturally cruel she is. She gets pleasure from seeing other kids upset. Is this behaviour reversible?
    I honestly don't know. It's more common in really young kids. Eg in my son's kindy class there was a 4 year old boy with little or no empathy. He was seeing a psychologist as his parents were so worried. We don't see him anymore so not sure how he's doing.
    Last edited by Sonja; 14-03-2016 at 13:32.


 

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