Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from teacherinmass19. Show teacherinmass19's posts

    Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    So my friend is a mom to a six year old and a two and a half year old. She is a stay at home mom and does a really good job with her kids. The kids are both bright and have had all sorts of experiences. Overall, things are good, but she has always struggled with discipline and talks to me about it often. Her six year old is a very, very active kid and can be impulsive and easily excitable. She has always had a hard time setting limits and following through and often gets into power struggles with him. As he has gotten older, he has started testing her more and more. Recently, the little one mimics her brother and the constant testing and pushing and power struggle is really starting to get to her. It doesn't help that her kids do not test her husband in the same way and they don't experience the

    I have always tried to stay out of these issues. She confides in me, but I do my best to avoid giving advice and just try to provide a place to vent and clear her mind. I'm not a parent, but it has become really clear that she needs to change something, as she is finding herself frustrated and in tears most days. She is pleading with me to give her advice. I've put it off by saying I need more time to think and watch the 3 of them interact, but really, I already know what I want to say, I just don't know how to say it without offending her.

    She needs to set limits and stick to them. I watch her bend and the next time, the kids push even harder. She also seems to never want to disapoint the kids- if they cry, she immediately assumes they're sad or mad, when sometimes they're tired or testing to see if they can get what they want. If their dad or someone else steps in and says no, they stop crying almost immediately. I'm worried that she can't keep going like this (daily tears and frustration) and that the kids are also escalating.

    How can I give her advice? Just be honest? Or continue to stay out of it? She is pretty sensitive and I think it will be hard to hear that she needs to change her discipline strategy.

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    If she's asking for your help, just be honest.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    I agree with KAM.  We are such a "stay out of it" society that when someone confides in us, trusts us, appreciates our opinions, and asks for our help we aren't sure what to do.  What are friends for but to be honest and offer what could be hard to hear advice when asked for it?  Just because you don't have kids doesn't mean you tell your parent friend who is pleading for your opinion that you think you should stay out of her problems.  Give her your opinion - she doesn't have to take it if she disagrees.  What is the worst that could happen?  She ASKED YOU.  She already knows she needs to change her strategy, but to what she has no idea.

    heck, you have it already done - just print this out and read it to her.

    ETA:  I've often started such conversations with, "Are you venting and just need me to listen, or are you truly asking for advice?  If the former, I'm glad to listen.  If the latter, be prepared because my thoughts on the subject might be difficult to hear and will definitely be uncomfortable for me to share."  I've always gotten, "The latter," as a response and we've gone from there.

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from Micromom. Show Micromom's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    Give her advice, but choose your words carefully, be constructive and provide specific examples and instruction.  Give her helpful tools to solve the problems.  Criticism and judgement might make her defensive.  

    You're right on with your observations, limits are important and consistency is key.  There are a lot of books on the subject, perhaps bring some of those resources, so she can see that these are standard behaviors and consequences.  Sometimes understanding the develomental issues is helpful in addressing the behaviors.

    Also, check in with her about her own well being.  She may be tired, or tense, or perhaps in need of some outside stimulation like a part time job, or just some time off from the kids.  Daily tears might be a sign of something larger.

    Your'e a good friend.  Good luck!

     

     

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    I would say a version of what you wrote here:

     

    She needs to set limits and stick to them. I watch her bend and the next time, the kids push even harder. She also seems to never want to disapoint the kids- if they cry, she immediately assumes they're sad or mad, when sometimes they're tired or testing to see if they can get what they want. If their dad or someone else steps in and says no, they stop crying almost immediately. I'm worried that she can't keep going like this (daily tears and frustration) and that the kids are also escalating.

     

    This seems to be at the heart of the issue. Reword this so it's a bit gentler (in my opinion) and you've got your feedback. Good luck.

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    I don't think it needs to be reworded.  The entire OP shows authentic and deep concern for the friend's feelings, outlines the problem clearly, and gives the honest solution the friend asked for.  It's not harshly worded, imo; it is clear and respectful.  Muddling it to sound "nicer" can backfire by becoming wordy and confusing.  Being clear, forthright, and succint will help prevent hurt feelings. And, if it doesn't, shame on the friend for begging for honesty she didn't really want.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    Yeah, this is going to open a world of pain.  I'd back away slowly. If you don't want to back away, ask your friend first if she "really" wants you to comment on your observations b/c she is probably going to get upset w/ what you say.  If she still insists, then just plainly  tell her.  But if she gives you ANY indication that she is going to flip out at you and pull the old "you just dont' understand b/c you don't have kids" card, tell her you can listen to her vent but would rather not get involved.   You may have the ideal solution to her problem, but she may not really want to hear it. 

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    I really don't mean to be rude, but this post was so strange I was sure it was a troll.

    How can you not know how to talk to your friend? She cries everyday and begs for advice and you beg off by saying you need to think about it? Observe more? Like Supernanny?

    If you want to help, you should simply tell her what you wrote here. Or you can sit back and watch her sink. BTW - are you a teacher in MA - is that why she's asking for help? Because she thinks you might have some insight?

    One warning and done. Be consistant, don't negociate. Never threaten a punishment you're not willing to execute.Don't back down (if you say no - it has to be no). Simple tips she can start with. I'm certainly not perfect - you can find lots of discipline questions from me on these very boards - but I try and follow the rules above as best as I can.

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    Slightly different angle...Mom is SAHM...do the kids spend the vast majority of their time (or if the 6 year old is in school, free time) with Mom?  With Mom organizing, leading, interpreting, mediating?

    Maybe they just need some space?  Some distance now and then?  If they've grown up with hot and cold running Mommy the attentionomatic machine, they don't think of her as an adult leader in the household?

    Not that all SAHM's are like this, but I've seen a few...Mommy is the uber-playmate, a planet revolving around their sun child...and as a result they don't take her seriously.


    As for telling kids no--if it's about a non-dangerous behavior you want them to stop, after telling them no, giving them some idea what to do instead helps.  "Don't yell" vs. "Don't yell, ask politely" and so on.

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    Misslily, it's real - she's posted very reasonably, albeit infrequently, in the past, I think...not sure why it says 1 post.

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    Also--people aren't in tears every day because Johnny won't eat his peas or keeps jumping on the bed one more time after being told to stop. 

    She sounds tired and cooped up, and sounds like she's bought into the mommy myth that if Mommy just works hard enough and does everything right, all will be well all the time, and if your kids are acting squirrely you are a failure.  I'd worry about a kid that age who *didn't* have enough sense of self to test the limits now and then, to pester Mom for what they want now and then, to act like they've got their own ideas.  And expecting the six year old not to act like a six year old, because the two year old might copy?  Is he supposed to act her age not his own forever?  Of course you want basically good behavior and following directions and acting civilized..but you're not going to turn a small child into an angel or a robot no matter what you do.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    Play outside as much as possible. The fresh air tires them out and they can't break or stain anything in the house. My kids spent 45 minutes yesterday picking up sticks in the back yard and making a pile. I'm sure the gardener will be thrilled this Spring - half his job is done already!

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from teacherinmass19. Show teacherinmass19's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    Not trolling I can assure you.

    I'm hesistating because I know she's sensitive and because I don't feel like any sort of expert. I'm a teacher, I spend a lot of time with kids, but I don't have my own and I know that I am not in her shoes. That is why I've held back. I also really can't tell if she just needs to vent or if she actually wants advice. Yes, she says "What am I doing wrong?" but I don't want to jump in if all she really needs is a place to air her grievances.

     

    In response to misslily's comment:

    I really don't mean to be rude, but this post was so strange I was sure it was a troll.

    How can you not know how to talk to your friend? She cries everyday and begs for advice and you beg off by saying you need to think about it? Observe more? Like Supernanny?

    If you want to help, you should simply tell her what you wrote here. Or you can sit back and watch her sink. BTW - are you a teacher in MA - is that why she's asking for help? Because she thinks you might have some insight?

    One warning and done. Be consistant, don't negociate. Never threaten a punishment you're not willing to execute.Don't back down (if you say no - it has to be no). Simple tips she can start with. I'm certainly not perfect - you can find lots of discipline questions from me on these very boards - but I try and follow the rules above as best as I can.




     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from teacherinmass19. Show teacherinmass19's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    She does the majority of the parenting (her husband works 60+ hours a week). She also is the perfect playmate, so your response makes sense in a lot of ways.

     

    In response to purplecow89's comment:

    Slightly different angle...Mom is SAHM...do the kids spend the vast majority of their time (or if the 6 year old is in school, free time) with Mom?  With Mom organizing, leading, interpreting, mediating?

    Maybe they just need some space?  Some distance now and then?  If they've grown up with hot and cold running Mommy the attentionomatic machine, they don't think of her as an adult leader in the household?

    Not that all SAHM's are like this, but I've seen a few...Mommy is the uber-playmate, a planet revolving around their sun child...and as a result they don't take her seriously.


    As for telling kids no--if it's about a non-dangerous behavior you want them to stop, after telling them no, giving them some idea what to do instead helps.  "Don't yell" vs. "Don't yell, ask politely" and so on.




     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from teacherinmass19. Show teacherinmass19's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    Thanks for the responses.

    I have posted before... mostly in pets, but in children as well.

    I am a teacher and I think it is part of the reason I hear so much about her frustration. She knows I spend time with kids and have some experience with discipline, even though I'm not a parent. She is definitly burnt out. She is definitly tired and cooped up. I also think she has limited people who she talks to- her friends who are moms are not that close of friends.

    I appreciate everyone's feedback. I will talk to her honestly, but only after clarifying what she needs from me... a person to talk to or really wants advice. I'm happy to be either. I know kids aren't robots and will test limits and be difficult and challenge their parents, so I certainly don't believe or expect she'll obtain perfection through limit setting and accepting that her kids will sometimes be disapointed, sad, or mad. But I do see that they behave differenty with her than their dad because the limits are set and followed differently. I do want to help alleivate her stress. She's a good mom and I feel sad that she is so frustrated and overwhelmed.

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    You could offer her some tools. Magic 1-2-3 has worked for lots of parents, and I believe has sections for starting with older children. Not sure what age you teach, but perhaps you could weave a tool like that into the conversation by saying you saw an artcle on Magic 1-2-3 and its had some good success.

     

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from teacherinmass19. Show teacherinmass19's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    In response to KAM2007's comment:

    You could offer her some tools. Magic 1-2-3 has worked for lots of parents, and I believe has sections for starting with older children. Not sure what age you teach, but perhaps you could weave a tool like that into the conversation by saying you saw an artcle on Magic 1-2-3 and its had some good success.

     




    I haven't heard of Magic 123 but I will look into it. Thanks.

    I do try to model some things when I deal with her kids, but obviously it is not the same, as they're going to test mom more than a friend.

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Friend wants advice... not sure what to say.

    they're going to test mom more than a friend

    Exactly...unfortunately, the Anybody But Mom Syndrome doesn't go away.  It drives us all nuts but it's the way kids are. It must have conferred some evolutionary advantage at some point, because about 99% of kids have it.

     
Sections
Shortcuts

Share