That one friend’s terror child

I had a friend visiting yesterday and she brought her 5 year old and her 1 year old. It was hectic from the second the door opened… Her 5 year old ran right inside (to a house she’s only been in once before) and started jumping on the couch and asking if I had any chocolate. Her 1 year old was extremely contained for a walking baby – I can’t complain about him. This 5 year old girl though….

My wife and I have always thought there was something scary about her eyes, like you could see in her eyes that she knew she could crush you. I immediately texted my wife, subtly, to say that it had been 8 minutes of this visit and I already wanted to escape my own house. I was clutching my baby like we were in a war zone.

But then my friend suggested we go to the park to get her unruly kids out of my house. As we were walking, her daughter decided she didn’t want to go to the park. She sat down on the sidewalk and pouted for about 15 minutes. We walked a bit ahead with our strollers and my friend lost her composure with me. She was embarrassed, exhausted, and concerned about her daughter. She revealed that she had been going to parenting classes and taking diligent notes, and she feels horrible that she sometimes snaps and is mean to her child.

I immediately felt so bad for sending that frustrated text to my wife after only 8 minutes. Sure, she knows her daughter is a very difficult child, but the last thing she needs is friends validating her fears and not wanting her to visit with her kids in tow. She also moved into a really remote area last year (it’s a 6 hour drive for her to visit her old friends where I live), and her partner works a lot – 7 days a week a lot. I honestly don’t know how she can muster up the strength, energy and courage to make the trip with both kids just to see her old community of friends. Now when I see her and those kids I will be nothing but sympathetic. I’m putting my judgment away (or Murphy’s law will bite me in the ass and Avery will be an extremely difficult child too…).

If anyone in the blogosphere had dealt with a child with some extreme behavioural issues, what would have been most helpful for your friends to do/know? How can I be more helpful to my friend?

3 thoughts on “That one friend’s terror child

  1. I’ve been an educator for some time, specifically working in preschool, and when a 5 year old is exhibiting behavioral issues like that, it’s for attention. A kid doesn’t really differentiate positive attention from negative attention. To them it’s “mommy/daddy/anybody is paying attention to me!” In a situation like this, i would suggest trying some type of reward chart for “desirable behavior” (remembering to stay away from using words like good/bad right/wrong, etc.) Follow through, and consistency should be number 1! And if they stick with positive reinforcement and ignoring the negative behaviors and redirecting, things will change! Hope that helps! Also, this really made me more aware of what other people might be going through. Sometimes what we see on the outside isn’t the whole story. I think i seriously needed that reminder today…thanks…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a tough one. On one hand I’d totally be judging the parents of a 5 year old who acts crazy, on the other hand I would expect any kid to be wound up after a 6 hour car ride.
    My kids are occasionally the crappy ones in social situations, what I appreciate the most is people not making a big deal out of it and not giving me advice.

    Liked by 1 person

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