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Preschool Bully, Best Friend's Kid, what to do?????
January 4, 2013 at 9:05 AM

I'm sympathetic to my friend having trouble potty training her son but I don't really appreciate her last tactic although it worked (for her). She told her son if he did not use the potty she would give his toys to my son!

She told me in an almost an apologetic way while giving me unsolicited assurances that this would not affect their friendship. I wasn't so sure but didn't say anything at the time.

Yesterday my two boys had a playdate at her house. My younger son picked up a toy and her son immediately grabbed it out of his hands in a rough way, then continued to play with my other son. Her son did this all throughout the playdate, plus pushed my younger son several times. (Her son is over 3, my sons are almost 3 and almost 2 - it's my 2 yr old he's pushy with).

When his mom saw him she corrected him but there were times she didn't see, that I saw. I would say things like "Oh, honey, that isn't nice" because I don't want to admonish someone else's kid - but I had to because this happened when she was out of the room at times.

My friend is really nice. I've known her for about 10 years. Her daughter is very mild and well behaved. She reprimands her son's roughness, but she doesn't see it all while she's talking to me, and also, she thinks he just doesn't know not to be too rough with a younger boy. BUT, her son doesn't act like this with my older son that is closer to his age - doesn't try rough-housing with him. It looks to me suspiciously just kinda bratty.

To my eyes, he is being a bully and this is difficult because essentially I'm sure he's a good boy, but I can see it's hurting my younger son's feelings. He doesn't even get excited to go to his house like my older son. In fact, over the summer my younger son fell and got a bloody nose from it, and I wasn't sure from my vantage point if that was just an accident or if her son nearby had pushed him.

I'm not sure if I should say anything, just watch out while I'm there, avoid playdates, or what. I don't want to hurt my friend's feelings but sons are more important. I think her tactic - if it didn't create this situation- exacerbated it.

I'm close to the mother and they are already anticipating coming to the boys birthday party next month. My boys birthdays are so close I'm havng a combined party and all I can think is, gee, my poor younger son is going to have this bratty kid bothering him at his own birthday! THat is, unless he behaves differently wth more people around.

Should I tell her in some nice quiet way that I think her son resents mine because she told him she'd give him his toys if he didn't use the potty? What would you do?



  • iamcafemom83
    January 4, 2013 at 2:40 PM
    To me, it seems that maybe things having been coming to a head with this friend?

    I have good friends that I like to hang out with. When we hang out too much, they (and their kids!) get on my nerves. I back off play dates and then resume after a while.

    I would back off for awhile. If she starts to get antsy, and it's been a week or more, try again. Maybe things will be better.
  • jabs54
    by jabs54
    January 4, 2013 at 2:57 PM

     I would be honest and tell her your younger son doesn't want to come over because her kid is too rough with him.  I would refrain from bringing up the toy threat, you don't know that is the reason anyway and she may think you are blaming her and it may put her in defense mode. 

  • STVUstudent
    January 4, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    I would absolutely tell her what you think.  She used your son as a threat, and now her son is lashing out at what he perceives as a threat... I don't think it is so much bullying as it is self preservation.  To a 3 year old, one's possessions are very much a part of them.  SHE needs to clear this up with her son.  Find another way to threaten your kid into using the toilet without dragging an innocent bystander into it.

    What you can do- make sure he isn't around your son.  tell HIS mom that SHE needs to keep them apart, since she caused this.

  • la_bella_vita
    January 4, 2013 at 5:27 PM

     I don't agree with her tactic. Wow.

  • meliscool72
    January 4, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    if this behavior happened AFTER she told him that she would give the toys to him then I would tell her, maybe her son took it the wrong way and thinks that she is going to give his toys to her. However, if this behavior has happened before the incident, then it is not related and you need to let her know that if her children keep on "bullying" your children you cannot do playdates any more until it stops (well on either one of these actually, but don't use the toilet training thing if the behavior started before then)

  • noahscott
    January 4, 2013 at 6:04 PM

     He's not bullying him.. most bigger boys are rough on the little ones. I don't know if I would stop having playdates. It will stop when the little one gets a little bigger and can do more but maybe watch closely and explain to your older boy and her son that you have to be nice and share with everyone if you want to visit and play together.

  • savingtheworld
    January 4, 2013 at 6:08 PM
    Agree! I'm no expert but I do believe that's how all 2 an 3 yo acts! Stop taking it personally..

    Quoting Mena929:

    I think it is normal behavior. He is pushing your younger kid because he is bigger. Lots of toddlers do this in my experience.

  • hurricane37
    January 4, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    Well, I dont think any tactic is going to work when you are trying to get a boy to go to the potty. They go when they are good and ready. As far as that pushing and being mean goes, well, I have had to correct someone else's child for pushing my baby. She does not push people, and no one is going to push her while I am in the room. They are too little to stand up for themselves, so you have to do it for them.

  • Athman97
    January 4, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    As a mom of 3 boys and 1 girl, this sounds like fairly normal behavior. Boys are rough and may pick on a younger kid vs one their own age. The mom or you should correct the behavior, but I think you're reading too much into it by calling him a bully. If your 2yo is not happy at the play dates, then don have them as often. If this is a good friend, you should have no problem telling her that your 2yo isn't happy. 

    As to te potty training, she should try a different tactic. Boys can be difficult to train. My older 2 boys trained after 3 and my youngest at 2.5 all on his own. My daughter isn't even 2 and is eager to potty train. Her son will eventually use the potty, but making threats to him is only going to make him more stressed about using the potty. Jmo

  • PrincessAsmommy
    January 4, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    My son is 4 and I can tell you the being rough and what you see as bullying is pretty much normal (in my experience working with kids in this age group) for little boys. They are naturally on the rough and loud side of things and if they feel that they or their precious toys are at risk (real or not) then they will do their best to defend against or even be a bigger problem to stop it. If you aren't happy pulling back a little on the playdates then keep a closer eye on them when you are together.  Little ones need correction and re-direction on an on going basis and if you see this need more often than not then mention it to your friend. Don't be confrontational but make sure she understands that you're concerned and it needs to be taken care of.

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