What to do about a friend's child whom you dislike? Advise needed.

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out Archives' started by GardenDove, Jul 3, 2007.

  1. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    Jul 3, 2007

    You guys are the experts in managing children, so I'm asking for opinions and advise. What do you do about a friend who has a child that absolutely grates on your nerves?

    Specifically, I have a friend, I'll call her Karen here. Karen is a very nice woman of about my age, I think she is a year or two older than me (maybe 51). She is a social worker with a Master's degree and works for mental health with at risk kids, many of whom are in foster care. She's a very compassionate person.

    Karen has a daughter whom I'll call Annoya. Karen is a single mother and adopted Annoya when she was 8 months old from an orphanage in India. She's very dedicated to her, Annoya is her life, she's is very responsible and doesn't date. She is into her career and her daughter.

    Annoya is 11, the same age as my younger daughter. Annoya is not a bad kid, she gets good grades, etc. It's just that she is extremely self-centered. Her mother has made her the center of the universe. Karen was new to mothering, infatuated with her daughter, and also she has a very '60's' parenting style. She likes to discuss everything as if they are equals, would never raise her voice, everything is an encounter session with her. She hasn't done a terrible job, but Annoya is, well, annoying. She annoys my daughters big time because she is a self-centered know-it-all.

    Now Karen has asked me to occasionally babysit this summer. Since I'm a nurse I don't work everyday. I did this last year, but Annoya has a bird phobia and I have alot of chickens, pigeons, ducks and a goose, and she makes a big deal out of it. So I told Karen that I would, but I wasn't going to lock up my chickens. Karen previously had catered to this phobia big time, she is super into listening to feelings, and acknowledging them, and it's my opinion that this feeds some manipulative behavior on the part of Annoya. Karen said that Annoya will just have to get over it. (I was surprised but I notice that Karen has been standing up to her a little bit lately when Annoya gets mouthy with her)

    My older daughter told me last night that she doesn't want me to babysit Annoya. She's almost 13, and she's a really easy going girl who is tolerant by nature. I don't really want to either, but I like my friend and it's good to help friends out, plus I might want to ask her for help sometime. Also, I don't want my friend to have any inkling that her precious child annoys me.

    Advise?
     
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  3. CanadianTeacher

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    This is a tough situation. I have a friend who fits 'Karen's' description almost to a tee, and I've encountered some similar situations with her because she has twins who can be very annoying. Last year she asked my daughter to babysit her twins as they are two years younger than my daughter. My daughter agreed and within two weeks she was dreading the beginning of everyday she had to babysit. I told my daughter that she had to follow through with her commitment and make the best of it. It was tough but she did it (it was a long summer for her because of that, but as with all difficult situations, it helped build character). Now, as you've already agreed to babysit, I personally think that you need to follow through and do it, and your daughter will have to draw on her tolerance reserves during those times. It may be difficult for both of you, but your daughter will learn the important lesson that regardless of your personal feelings, in the end it's doing what's right that matters. However, I would be very honest about specific things that come up and not try to sugar coat them. If your friend is indeed a friend, she will be able to hear what you have to say if you approach it objectively and deal with it the best way possible. If she can't deal with it, you may want to continue your friendship minus the kids or part ways. It's amazing how our protectiveness over our kids can sometimes blind us from seeing them in a true light (which really doesn't do them any favours). That would be your worst case scenario. Best case is that 'Annoya' will begin to respond positively to you and your daughter if you give her a chance without feeding her quirks and she will no longer be annoying (maybe she is only like that around her mother because her mother feeds it....) Sorry for the long-windedness, hope this helped.
     
  4. eydie

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    The relationship between the two girls sounds like my DD and her friend "Jessica". Jessica's mom and I teach together and our girls have hung out before and after school for two years. They take
    gymnastics together and used to spend the night at each other's homes. If I needed a day to myself I would call Jessica's mom and vise-versa we'd babysit for each other. Well, they are now 11 and Jessica has become a know-it-all and a 'one upper' What ever my daughter has to say Jessica has something bigger and better that she has done... My DD tries very hard to let her have the last word and not argue or one-up it again. Anyway Jessica is VERY annoying! My DD does not want to be around her anymore, and I don't blame her!
    So, I had to talk with Jessica's mom and just tell her that that when the girl's are together with me they are often disagreeable and they seem to have grown apart. I told her that this summer let's not get the girls together and maybe when school starts again they will get along better. (I doubt it!) My DD has other friends and interests that she is not missing Jessica's combative attitude at all!
     
  5. Ms.Jasztal

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    If you told her you would, you should definitely follow through, yet I also wouldn't want to see you go against your daughter's wishes. In all honesty, this is an extremely difficult situation. If you follow through, discuss with your friend the ground rules you set when her daughter comes. If you don't want to do this, explain to her that you would love spending some mother-daughter time with your daughter. Honestly, I do not know what to say, even being a teacher and all.
     
  6. Lesley

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    How often is occasional? Will she contact you as she needs you?
     
  7. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    Wow, thanks for the excellent advise! So far Karen hasn't called, so it looks like it's won't be often. I agree, I said I would babysit so I need to follow through. I think my friend wants a fill in babysitter. Last year I said I would do it every other week.

    I'm feeling better having heard I'm not alone in this problem. I do feel guilty about my uncharitable feelings towards this girl. Also, I'm guilty of joining my daughters in their discussion as to how annoying Annoya is.

    It's awkward, when friends have different parenting styles. I suspect my friend thinks I'm not delicate enough with my girls, but she thinks they are great when they've been over. I really don't want to be rejecting of this girl, but I wish she had a little more humility and deference to adults.

    One thing that really bugs me when she comes over is that she'll want to hang around me and have a conversation, while my girls are playing some game. I'm not into that, I like it when kids do their thing, and I do mine. I've had 6 children and so that's how I operate.

    I want to make the girl comfortable and welcome when she's over, but I just am not into providing that level of interaction with her. Yet I don't want to be too blunt because she's used to being treated with kid gloves.
     
  8. JenPooh

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    I have a similar situation with my cousin's little boy. In his case though he IS naughty and a bad influence and I usually spend about 3 days after my son sees him, correcting his behavior that has rubbed off on him. Sorry, no advice, but I feel for you.
     
  9. Ponypal

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    If you must watch this child, is there anyway that you are able to have her help you with your birds? Put out some feed, clean up the pens...Perhaps, she will come to learn how to appreciate them the way you do. This could do one of two things: 1) she might really enjoy this, making the visit more enjoyable for you 2) she might really dislike it and beg her mother to go elsewhere next time

    Explain your parenting style to your friend and that you are "sorry" have been sooooooo busy and need to catch up on things around the house...

    So...
    Have the girl bring things from her home to keep her occupied: movie, books, laptop w/ computer games (no internet access though), etc.

    Good luck...
     
  10. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    listen, watch and learn

    You have several issues to contend with Garden...

    First, I would listen to my heart, and my kid. It is very obvious that you don't like this girl! Why continue a charade, just because they are neighbors? You can be civil, but you don't have to have her in your house.

    Second, I have issues with minature adults. I can talk to fifth graders just as well as the next adult, but one that follows me around is annoying. In fact 4 year olds that do this is annoying. She has been treated as an equal, and doggone it...that should be a whole new thread! Kids are not equal...they are kids! you are not doing anybody any favors when you pal around with them like this.

    Watch what happens when somebody needs major surgery, and when when you've recovered, they will ask. What happened, where were you? If you say, just some feminine thing, that won't be enough for them. And if you told her mother, I am sure she will repeat it to you anyway! It also is the same for money issues. I tell you, whatever you say, they will repeat, and be upset when you try to hush them or change the subject, because it is a normal conversation to them!

    I spent all my child's life trying to keep her from the-friend-I-could-not-stand. They are grown now, and still good friends. :eek: Sigh, you may learn it can be a waste of energy, I am afraid. It is true, the more we discourage somebody from something the more attracted they are!

    I certainly would not rearrange my lifestyle or home (your birds) or let occasionally turn into every weekend! You have a life, and limits. Tell both of them, together ...if you don't mind or apart as I would prefer, what you will and will not do. Then stick to it.

    The minute miss smarty pants starts asking me about my love life, car note, or bank account, I would send her out the room. If she is still stuck in 2year old land, I would gently remind her, "Wow..I wonder what _____ thinks, feels, wants." The more you mention other people, the more Marsha Brady will realize you aren't playing her game.

    You can't stop her mom. Lost cause. Give up.

    Remember the serenity prayer...control what you can, let go of what you can't and have the wisdom to know the difference. :love:
     
  11. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    Jul 8, 2007

    Say, some new information has come to light. I was over at my friend's house and noticed a pill container on the counter prescribed to her daughter, and saw that she has put her daughter on an anti-anxiety med. The medication is Buspar. I've never heard of that prescribed to children. It sheds a new light on the situation. I always feel bad when children need to take psyche meds.

    The girl is coming over tommorrow, I feel optimistic. It must be strange to be an only child and to be adopted from India, and then to have only a mom. I feel sorry for her, even if she annoys me at times. My girls are luckier, they have each other. Anyways, I'll try to make tommorrow a fun day for everyone.
     
  12. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    ok, hang in there

    well, I certainly am glad you did some.. uh snooping!

    I would be personally p*sssed if a parent sent their kid over to me and never mentioned she was taking drugs! I don't think this is personal, because this girl could have an allergic reaction to some food you serve, or miss a dose, and you wouldn't know what to think!

    You are very brave. I think kids who are that talkative are just a handful. When they have some type of illness and need medication, well..they are truly in need to TLC. Just be careful...we know you are in nursing...but tread carefully. Hugs are free, lawsuits are not!


    people do strange things when stuff happens to their kids. Protect yourself...that's all I can say! Even though she is 11, I wouldn't leave her alone too often - knowing what you now know!
     
  13. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    I actually didn't snoop, the pill bottle was on the kitchen counter, although I did take the extra 3 seconds to read the label. I was really surprised to see it was prescribed to the daughter.

    This friend isn't the type that I feel totally intimate with, as far as confiding. I think because she's a social worker, I don't like to confide my feelings about too much, because I don't totally trust the whole psychiatric industry period, I'm cynical about it, and my friend is a real touchy feely, encounter session, left wing type. I don't confide in her because I don't want to be analysed, there are a lot of things I don't confide in this friend.
     
  14. WindyCityGal606

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    I really believe that just because parents are friends does not mean their children have to be friends too. Your Number 1 priority should be the feelings of your own child who had told you she doesn't like Annoya around. Enough said. Be friends with Karen but don't involve her child in your relationship. No way should you be babysitting a 13 year old anyway. She's old enough to be home alone. If she can't be trusted, that's Karen's problem and she will need to make other arrangements especially since Annoya is on medication. Wonder if she's burnt all her other bridges?? HMMMM???
     
  15. GardenDove

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    The girl is 11 and she doesn't want to leave her alone all day while she works. I looked up the side effects and the most common one is dizziness and lightheadedness. I'll see how it goes today, I'll have her until 4. My daughters had fun with her on Sunday. I wonder how long she's been on this med... Are daycare providers generally informed of meds kids are on? This one is probably a once a day med, it's an anti-anxiety medication.
     
  16. WindyCityGal606

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    Sorry...thought I read age 13 somewhere....
    Aren't there any family members?
    Since the mom is your friend and you are watching her child and she left the medicine bottle in plain view on the counter, can't you just ask Karen all of this instead of speculating? I would rather be direct and ask than to risk a medical emergency while she's in my care. You did say, however, that your daughter asked you not to babysit her anymore yet you don't want your friend to have an inkling that her daughter bothers you? Again, what's more important to you? Why can't you be honest with your friend? Is this a friend or just an aquaintence (sp)?
     
  17. GardenDove

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    Look at the frequent and infrequent CNS side effects from one medical information site! These are concerning!

    Frequent were dream disturbances; infrequent were depersonalization, dysphoria, noise intolerance, euphoria, akathisia, fearfulness, loss of interest, dissociative reaction, hallucinations, involuntary movements, slowed reaction time, suicidal ideation, and seizures
     
  18. GardenDove

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    She just got here, she's tired still so went to lie down on my bed. My girls are still in bed. Anyways, she must have been having quite a bit of anxiety to be prescribed this med. My friend's best friend is a doctor, and they go to her. She's also my doctor and she's into this medication, she tried to prescribe it to me when I was going through some stress, but I declined.
     
  19. JenPooh

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    ALWAYS! If I found out a child I enrolled in my program was on something that I did not know about that is a call for immediate termination! It's no different than meds for ADHD or any other kind of med. Even if a parent gives their child general cold medicine in the morning, it is a requirement for them to inform me.
     
  20. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Man, with all those horrible side effects, is it even worth giving it to a child? I wouldn't. What good is it when you get all those other problems along with it?
     
  21. WindyCityGal606

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    So you already know about this medicine Garden Dove? You're familiar with it?
     
  22. GardenDove

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    This is an anti-anxiety med. It is given every day instead of PRN. PRN meds are given as needed, a common one is xanax for anxiety. You might take it occasionally to get you through a certain anxious time or situation. Buspar is something you take every day to reduce general anxiety.

    So, you think that even an occasional babysitter should be informed about this? I'll just be filling in occasionally on a casual basis. I only found out about the med by happenstance.
     
  23. GardenDove

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    I think my friend attributes some of Annoya's problems to the fact that she was in an Indian orphanage for 8 months. She told me that it was a very good, Catholic run one that had good caregiver ratios. Annoya's birthmother was unwed.
     
  24. WindyCityGal606

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    Of course you should be told. Can you talk with her mother? You already are a babysitter to this child. She's at your house right now. You didn't find out by happenstance. The bottle was left on the counter. It's not a secret. Why can't you just ask the mother? I'm not understanding this.
     
  25. GardenDove

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    I guess I feel ackward in bringing it up since she obviously has never discussed it openly with me. I saw it last Sunday because we met at a Croatian music festival in her town, which is 2 miles away from here. This is a (extremely) small town event and they have a a folk band and simple food. My girls came, she left her daughter at home. My girls became bored, so they ended up walking to her house to play with her daughter, so it was an impromptue visit. When Karen and I left, we went together to her house, and I picked up my girls. I happened to notice the pill bottle and glanced at the label and was surprised to see that Annoya is on Buspar. But I don't think my friend is open about this otherwise she would have mentioned it to me. Maybe she thinks I'll judge her or her daughter harshly. She knows I'm pretty holistic in my approach, and maybe she's afraid of being judged.
     
  26. JenPooh

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    I agree, you should be told. ANYONE who watches her should be told.
     
  27. GardenDove

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    I see you're a daycare owner. I imagine that that might be pertinent info in the event of an accident or medical need.

    Everything is going smoothly today, the girls are watching 'The Sound of Music', then we're going to a swimming pool. I'm relieved, everything is going fine, I think this will be okay to do once in a while.
     
  28. Master Pre-K

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    most daycare centers don't take kids after age 10. Some programs have before/after school, and they only ask basic questions. Physicals and dentals are needed...but honestly, if that mom does not have to give her kids meds 3x a day, she can get away without telling anyone! (she can give meds at home) I don't think 'anxiety' counts as a illness that needs to be listed on a child care application. Of course, I think there is some gray area there...and varies from state to state.

    Maybe she tried to be honest, and directors just freaked out and sent her away! Or maybe she did not and, if that was the case, she may have burned some bridges, because they do have places that will watch girls up to age 14!
     
  29. Master Pre-K

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    taking sp. ed for early childhood! That sounds like a prescription for Autism!
     
  30. Master Pre-K

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    let's go back to the beginning

    I am working on a research paper for autism, and it dawned on me, I needed to review my opening statement.

    same thing for you my friend..

    My older daughter told me last night that she doesn't want me to babysit Annoya. She's almost 13, and she's a really easy going girl who is tolerant by nature. I don't really want to either, but I like my friend and it's good to help friends out, plus I might want to ask her for help sometime. Also, I don't want my friend to have any inkling that her precious child annoys me.

    Forgive me, good friends can help out, but babysitting a child with an illnesses that requires serious medication is way out of my league. I can't risk my family's safety, and my own peace of mind for a friend.

    Especially if she annoys me.

    Sorry Garden...I'm bowing out..on this one..Hope things do work out.

    Take care...
     
  31. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    I absolutely agree with Master Pre-K. I was saying a few posts back that you need to think about the fact that your own child said she didn't want this girl around.
    Also....now you are telling us that you found the pills on the counter after walking to Karen's house to pick up your children??? HELLO!!! Why are the med bottles sitting within reach of others? Why does the 11 year old have acess to the entire bottle?
    This al just seems like a disaster waiting to happen!!
     
  32. GardenDove

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    OK, Annoya just left. These meds must be new because there is a definate change in her. She wasn't annoying but totally subdued and flat. She's normally a chatterbox, she's very intelligent and verbal. We went to the pool, which is a clubhouse that goes with the development where her mom and she live. The girls had played cards and watched Sound of Music in the morning, then we ate lunch and went swimming. Annoya was very quiet and flat, it was creepy, especially since I saw the meds on the counter.

    I'd rather her be her old self, rather than have it buried by meds. She wasn't that bad, she's not a bad kid, just annoying. I don't feel good about this. But, my friend is the big mental health expert with the masters degree.
     
  33. GardenDove

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    Another thing, when she left I mentioned to my girls that she seemed awfully quiet. My older daughter emphatically said "I know, she was like that all day!" It was creepy.
     
  34. WindyCityGal606

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    I'm really not seeing where this is going.
    I, too, think I've offered all the advice I can.
    Good luck to you.
     
  35. I want to TEACH

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    I was just about to mention that you should take the kids to a movie or let them watch one at home. Movies are great b/c you don't have to talk during them...lol:)
     
  36. GardenDove

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    Jul 9, 2007

    thanks for all the imput. Not sure if this thread is 'going anywhere', but I needed some opinions. I really don't know how common psychotrophics are with kids these days, when I did the 5th grade camp once there were a few kids on them, but not many. That's the extent of my experience, other than hospitalized teens who are sometimes on antidepressants or ADHD meds.

    I don't think there's anything I can do. I doubt if my friend is going to ask my advise on what to do about her daughter. Thanks.

    P.S. Good point about the meds being left on the counter, I know my daughters aren't at risk, but it does seem imprudent, I agree. Not sure if I should say anything or not.
     

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