Hosting playdates for your child is a great way to help them make new friends and cultivate existing friendships. It also gives you a break from being the playmate and allows you to get some much-needed things done around the house, amirite? But what do you do when that friend starts doing things that make you raise your eyebrows? One mom is asking for advice on how to handle her daughter's friend whose behavior is becoming questionable.
One mom took to the popular Reddit Parenting forum to ask for advice on how to handle one of her daughter's regular playdates. "My 8 yo daughter has a friend "Sierra" who comes over from time to time," she explained in her post. "Her mom asks if she can come here before or after school sometimes when school schedules change, and I'm glad to help. However, my kid is getting soured on Sierra because of this behavior: she sorta "shops" in our house."
She went on to explain that Sierra will simply ask to take things home that she likes in the poster's house. "She is pretty pushy, too. Once it was a button box that belonged to my great aunt. She said she really liked it and asked "Do you use this??" I said it's a decoration and usually has buttons on it but my toddler dumped them. She said ""I would play with it all the time. Do you need it?" I said it was my aunt's and I'm not giving it away."
The poster explained that her daughter is pretty generous typically with her friends (which is a great quality in a kid) but even she was getting annoyed with Sierra constantly asking for things. "I told my kid not to offer to give Sierra anything bc it would encourage her to keep asking," she explained, before adding, "Next visit my kid forgot and Sierra asked again for other things, so my kid said no. I reminded her afterward to stop giving things away bc it encourages Sierra's asking."
She wrote that there was a recent incident that was the last straw. "My kid didn't offer her anything. But she got fixated on this little rock my kid got as a souvenir. It was on a shelf. She kept going on and on: "I love rocks. I don't have one like that." My kid said no, then asked Sierra to come in her room to play. Sierra said "I'll only play with you of you give me that rock." Clearly, the mom felt it was time to intervene on her daughter's behalf. "I intervened and told her no, my kid said no, and it was her souvenir from x place so it's not "just a rock ," she wrote.
The mom asked for advice on how to handle Sierra and wasn't sure if she should confront the child directly or go straight to the parents. She wrote that she wanted to salvage the friendship between her daughter and her friend, but something needed to be done.
"I think you should talk to mom because either mom doesn’t know about this behavior she is pulling at other people’s homes and once mom is aware she can help correct the behavior. OR mom is aware of the behavior already and doesn’t see it as a problem and/or won’t help in correcting the behavior and then you would know this will probably always be a problem," wrote one commenter. "This is a great opportunity to show your kid how to set boundaries," wrote another. "Tell Sierra how you feel when she asks for your things next time it happens. She is only 8 and needs feedback to learn what is and what is not polite/socially acceptable."
"Talk to both!" was one commenter's advice. "Your language for addressing it directly with Sierra is fine, but you should also address it with her mom." Another felt that bringing it up may cause Sierra to start taking things without asking. "Tread carefully here, as she may just start taking things if you shut her down from asking. IOW, make sure she's not left unattended anywhere in your house (and don't leave anything tempting in the bathroom)."
While some felt Sierra was too young to understand that what she was doing was crossing boundaries, others didn't agree. "She's 8. She's old enough to be told to cut it out," wrote one commenter.
It's definitely a tricky situation, but it sounds as if the poster is hoping to let Sierra know in the gentlest way possible that her behavior isn't acceptable and if she keeps it up she may not be able to come for playdates anymore. No word on what the poster has done yet, but hopefully she's able to work things out for the sake of both girls.
What would you do?
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