how to deal with rude children

mistopheles52December 17, 2007

Hi Everyone. My daughter called me this morning and was telling me about her girlfriend, husband and their 2 kids coming over to their home this past weekend. My daughter and this girlfriend have been friends since they were 5 years old and now they are 29 and 30 years old. It seems that each time I talk with daughter about when these people come over, my daughter is terribly agitated because her kids are misbehaving (especially the boy who is 5). These kids are left to do what they want....jump on furniture, throw toys, not listen when being spoken to. The parents just don't seem to get it. My daughter just had her second baby a little over a month ago and has a two year now. My granddaughter does not have this type of behaviour. Don't get me wrong, she is a typical two year old but ends up being the one getting hurt because the boy is too rambuntious. I have seen him in action before and he is a little hellraiser. Of course, his Dad just seems to scoff it off on the mother and makes comments to the effect that she should be disciplining her child better. They are nice people....they just don't discipline their children. As this was a Xmas exchange/supper for all of them, my daughter had bought gifts for everyone and to her horror and hurt was confronted with BOTH children asking "That's it" and "Did you get something else for me" proceeded by the boy pitching the gifts around the room. Mom just said "Ah c'mon now, that's enough" My daughter said she asked them to pick up the gifts and he would not, so she picked them up, through them in the gift bag and stuffed the bag at the end of the stairs. She said she was hurt....I don't blame her. My question is: How without jeopardizing their friendship can my daughter and her husband get these people to understand that letting their kids act like wildkids is not acceptable in their home? I had suggested the next time gifts are to be given to buy each of them a gift certificate and put it in a card. What do you think?

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I think your DD can address the immediate behavior of the guest children while in her home. That is, she can say "We dont' jump on the sofa in our house" and make them stop. She can settle roughness between the guest children and hers with "We don't push, tell Mary Jane you're sorry." It's her house, she should feel comfortable enforcing the same safety rules with guest children that she does her own.

As far as their overall manners and her friends' parenting, I don't think she can, or should, say anything to address that unless the friends ask for her input. She will have to decide if it is a "deal breaker" situation in their friendship. She either keeps the friends and tolerates a lower standard from the friends' kids, or she decides not to tolerate the behavior and sacrafices the friendship. IMO. I have done a little of both over the years. Some friends are worth it, some are just not. But I'm assuming the hope here is to have a plan that will allow everyone to enjoy the visit without feeling abused or judged.

I think the hardest part of spending time with friends' who have lower standards of behavior is maintaining the rules and manners with my own kids in the company of their unruly peers. It's contagious. ;o) You cannot raise other people's kids, some difference you just have to accept. But you have the right to protect your own children, you guests, yourself and your property.

I'm not making excuses for extremely bad behavior, but I do have a point about boys. Jumping on furniture is unacceptable no matter what. But, in general, boys do not sit and color and play quietly. Compared to girls, in general, they express themselves more physically and need an outlet for that. I have 3 boys. When I've spent time with friends who only have daughters my boys' "normal" boy behavior freaks the moms out! LOL. Of course "boys will be boys" is not an excuse for just plain rude or dangerous behavior, or for parents not disciplining. I don't think this is entirely what is happening, but maybe your DD, with a girl, isn't accustomed to the physical play of boys. They don't play house, they play ball.

So maybe a mix of 1)Defining her own limits in her house (i.e. unsafe and hurtful behavior) and being confident enough to enforce it. After a few times, the other mom will probably get the idea, too, of the expectations and try a little hard to please her hostess. 2) Tolerance of the things she cannot change b/c they are a difference in parenting style, i.e. ungracious acceptance of gifts, table manners. And 3) Understanding of "boy" behavior. The boys will not want to play what the girl is playing, they aren't mean, they're just boys. They will want, and need, to play in a more physical way that girls. Don't expect them to sit and color or put together puzzles for very long. Give them a foam ball and an acceptable place to play with it. Good gifts for them are paper or soft foam airplane kits, something they have to spend some time doing quietly, but then they are allowed to throw it! LOL.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 3:32PM
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I think kids' personalities are as different as night and day and that you can't always blame a child's rudeness on his lack of parenting or discipline. Have you ever had to listen to a kid sceam/cry for an hour at a party because a parent 'disciplined' them? I'm thinking often it's more mannerly to let the party go on without making a big deal of disciplining in public in some instances. Kids may get punished at home... they may be suffering from ADHD and didn't take their meds, etc.. Nobody knows all the things going on with other people and why they do or don't discipline the way they do.

If a child is being unruly at your house, ask them to calm down or tell them your rules. If they are that bad, don't invite them back. Trying to second guess or judge a person's parenting style is going to get you nowhere. What you think you would do in their shoes really doesn't matter, because you aren't in their shoes. Just deal with the specific problem at hand. If they're screaming, tell them to keep their voices down; if they're walking on your sofa, tell them to get off, etc...

    Bookmark   December 17, 2007 at 5:11PM
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Well I agree with what the other posters have said.


In my own situation, I have been great friends with the mother, but not with their children, for the same reasons as in your post. It was a nightmare having the children in my house.

I decided to only socialise with the mother, when the dad could look after the children.

My children are grown up now. But many times I have liked the mother but not her children. Often it led to me not being friends with the mother.

I do think it is up to you to discipline other people's children, when they are in your house. That's only fair.

Boys are more active than girls...its always tricky having them over ! I used to tell them to go play outside, but I suppose that is tricky when they are little.

Its very exhausting...children !!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 2:26AM
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Whenever I got a whiff of trouble with one of my son's little friends I'd immediately step in and say "Oops! I'm so sorry I forgot to tell you the house rules here! I know you wouldn't want to break them so I'd better let you know what they are -- " and then give a short list such as "All food stays on the tile floors, no jumping on the furniture, and throwing things is only for outside the house" then get them involved in something fun and active to burn off excess energy. If the kids ever questioned my rule or complained, I simply explained that Alex couldn't do it, and it wouldn't be fair if someone else could -- which was easily understood.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 12:15PM
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I agree generally with the above posters. It's definitely fair game to set rules of behavior within your own house. I've done it plenty of times, and if you say it sternly, with authority, and stand there and make sure it's done, then it usually gets followed. Gentle reminders can follow if the rules are "forgotten".

However, there are SOME kids who aren't going to follow the rules no matter what. Doesn't matter what the reason is, ADHD, lack of discipline, whatever. The point is, they simply aren't going to behave. What then?

Well, in my case, I just disassociated myself from that child. As popi said, I stayed friends with the mother/parents, but only in situations where the children would not be involved. And for me, it's not JUST a matter of the child behaving in my house, it's also a matter of my child being exposed to another child getting away with bad behavior, while I expect him (I have two boys) to toe the line.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 9:51AM
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i dont know, when i have company and they bring their kids i let them know what my house rules are, simple. i dont permit jumping on the furniture, toys in the living room (my kids have a nice big toy room) that kind of stuff. i dont care that their not my kids becuase they are guests in my home, and when i bring my kids out i expect them to follow the rules of the house that we are in even if they are different from ours. i have 2 kids with autism and let me tell you thats no excuse when we are out they behave. maybe its time for you to start doing things that dont involve the kids in this case. or start going to her house more where obviously the kids can do what ever they want. what does your hubby say? i dont know if she is your friend she should respect your house rules, its a respect thing. i wouldnt put up with this, whats going to happen when one day something valuable gets broken, or heavan forbid one of the kids get hurt. oh and next xmas i wouldnt get the kids a gift. we had family members that had kids that would repsond to presents the same way that her kids did and we stopped shopping for them! (i know im a big meanie!) GOOD LUCK!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 12:42PM
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I've been there with friend's kids, especially her youngest. I love kids! I really do! But this one is takes the cake. Lies, breaks things, doesn't listen to her parents. When DH would say something to the father (his friend), the father says "Oh! She's just a kid." Yeah, well, that kid is 12 now and still hasn't changed.

When the child was 5 or so, I was babysitting her and she wanted to play with my daughter's barbie stuff. It was in a large container. I asked her if she was going to pick up all the toys after she was done or before going home. Because if she didn't, she wouldn't be allowed to play with it again. When the mother came by and said "Let's go!", the child picked everything up. The mother was surprised and said "Wow! I didn't think she could do that!" I laughed. She's 5. Why couldn't she do that?

My house, my rules. Even if I have to discipline other people's kids. I also had my daughter follow our rules in other people's homes. Today she has respect and that child has no respect. Bottom line, if the parents don't have respect for others, how can they teach their kids?

Just this Christmad, my nephew's girlfriend came with her son. He was jumping on my bed and she didn't say a word. I was busy with the meal and stuff and asked my daughter to go tell him to stop jumping on the bed because we don't do that in this house. The mother didn't say anything. Not sure if she liked it or not, but I didn't care!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2008 at 2:43PM
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I agree that your daughter is responsible for disciplining other children in her own house, and a lot of posters, above, gave great advice. I wanted to just chime in on the gift issue, though. I've found that with smaller children -- at birthday parties, or otherwise -- it's probably best to save the gift opening for after the guests have gone home. Kids are incredibly and sometimes painfully honest, and will likely not act as excited to get a gift as the gift giver would like. Plus, you might not know that the child already has the item you've purchased for them, and the risk is they will say something like, Oh, I already have one of those...etc, etc., which is honest, but can lead to hurt feelings. That's not to say it isn't appropriate to teach children manners or appreciation. It just might be best to wait a few years until the parents (hopefully) have instilled in their children the art of gracious acceptance of gifts. Some children get it earlier than others. YMMV.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 2:04PM
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I had 3 nieces that visited us when my boys were young. They were older than my boys and did things that were down right hateful. They knew the boys had to clean their rooms, so they would dump the Lincoln logs and tinker toys all over the floor, laugh and walk away. They would also take a toy Truck out to play with, they didn't just push it around, they would stand on it and ride it down the drive way. Now they accuse me of hiding toys from them when I knew they were coming over and I did. LOL

    Bookmark   May 4, 2008 at 10:58PM
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