Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™
FRIENDSHIP: My Friend's Child Is Unbearable
I have a good friend I enjoy being with, however she has let her child become unbearable. He is now four and she lets him do whatever he wants. As a longtime caregiver for children this bothers me. Not only because of the way he is distracting, but because I know she is turning him into a poor citizen. It is so distracting to be around but I don't know how to explain that. She is very thin skinned so I'm afraid she would view it as I hate her and never want to be around her and think she is the worst human ever (she quit a job because the boss critiqued her). She is getting counseling for her issues, but in the meantime what do I do?
What you should do is enjoy the friendship as best you can -- most likely by doing things with her when the child is not present. It is not your problem whether or not he turns out to be a good citizen. Frankly, four year olds are difficult and behavior at this age is not a good predictor of his future. He will have other influences in his life -- including school.
It is great that she is getting counseling and you can certainly be supportive of her efforts. I am sure -- especially if she is thin skinned -- that she will respond to encouragement. Try to be positive in your dealings with her -- not critical -- and limit the amount of time spent together. The child will get older, Sandy, and will be easier to handle. Just hang in there.