Author Topic: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge  (Read 6169 times)

Freedom2016

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Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« on: June 16, 2017, 09:34:11 AM »
We have a 5 year old son and 2.5 yo daughter. Our next door neighbor has two girls, 5 and 2. Since we moved in, a year ago, we have lots of impromptu play dates, we host each other for dinner, in general we're both grateful to have 'built-in' playmates so close by. There are not a lot of other young kids on our street.

We've realized, however, that their older daughter is a bit of a handful. Constantly testing boundaries around language; hits/pushes her sister a lot; screams for no particular reason. I think her parents have taken her to a counselor at least a few times.

Yesterday the kids were playing together and I heard the older DD say "I'm stupid" and "I hate myself!" (she's 5!) I later saw her grab her little sister's dolly, making the younger cry. I watched their mom intervene; she said, "well, is it okay for [younger] to have a doll?" to which the older obviously screamed NO. It's not how I would have handled the situation, for sure. But who knows, I could be missing something - maybe the counselor has suggested they try this approach. I've certainly seen the parents put her in time out for bad language, so maybe they're trying to back off from an authoritarian approach?

So I'm not one to butt in on their parenting choices, but I *am* left wondering what I can and should do with respect to my own interactions with the older DD, and with how I handle whatever influence she has on my own kids. For example, it's entirely possible this child says I hate myself/I'm stupid just for attention. In which case, perhaps I ignore it. But I worry that my own kids may pick up on this language or behavior at some point. Are there conversations I might have with my own kids (now, or when they're older) that will help put her behavior in perspective?

I would welcome any suggestions or experience. These kids are likely to be in our lives for years to come so I'd like to find some constructive ways of handling the impact the older one might have on my own kids. Thanks!

Poundwise

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2017, 10:48:41 AM »
Neighbor kids are a toughie!

Some things to establish...
(1) Is neighbor girl unusually disturbed?
My opinion is no.
- Saying dramatic things like "I hate myself" are not IME unusual for kids in that age group.
- Ditto tantrums
- Ditto pointless sibling hostility

 It sounds to me that the little girl may simply have a high-intensity, high-drama personality.

(2) Will it get worse?
- Don't know, of course. But my intense oldest son (now 13) who used to have a tantrum every day after kindergarten has improved yearly. I've been impressed at his growing ability to handle conflict and strong emotions. It took a lot of struggle to get where we are today, and I am a little scared of what will happen when puberty hits... but most people would look at him and see a calm, well-adjusted teen.

(3) Will it be a bad example for your daughter? How to prevent this?
- Possibly.  Kids will  pick up bad behaviors annoyingly quickly, but I think you can point out that "Mary said that, but it isn't a good thing to say. If you're angry with yourself, you can say this instead..."
- If the child is at your house, your rules apply.  If she is out of line, she goes home. Also you can try to give her alternative expressions for her feelings as well.
- Also point out to your children that your rules apply to them at other people's homes, too. Let the neighbors know what your rules are and ask for help enforcing.
- My kids have a number of friends whose behavior isn't great. I've discussed what I don't like with my kids; though they don't always agree (for instance, I've told my son that I don't like how a certain friend frequently puts him down, but my son thinks he's a good friend) at least they get it.

(4) Will the girl bully your daughter?
- Hopefully not. You'll have to keep an eye on her at home, and ask your older son to do so at the neighbor's house. Nip any nasty behavior in the bud.

(5) What if you decide you don't want to keep up the relationship with the kids, without getting your neighbors upset?
- Unfortunately, this probably involves putting your kids in camp, after school activities, or similar that take your kids out of the home at the time that they usually play with the neighbors.  Once everyone is out of the habit of running back and forth from house to house, it will be okay to drop the activities.
- Expose your children to better behaved friends. They will make their own choices on whom they want to spend time with... even a young child will learn to avoid friends with constant drama. Your son especially may gravitate to other boys soon (though it's generally good to have friends of the opposite sex)


Freedom2016

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2017, 11:24:50 AM »
Thank you! I appreciate hearing your experience and ideas. My own kids can be pills too, of course, so I'm trying to be careful in not overreacting - some of it is just kids' different temperaments mixing with different parenting styles. But I guess we'll see how things unfold over time. :)

Laura33

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2017, 06:58:28 PM »
Honestly, I wouldn't take it too seriously, at least yet.  Address it in the moment like you would any other child misbehavior -- calmly, with good humor and perspective and redirection and all those great parenting skills.  And when it doesn't work, well, remember the phrase "if you can't be a good example, at least be a horrible warning"?  You might have found a good one for your kids.  ;-)

In all seriousness, though, your kids will have to deal with a wide variety of people, and this is good, if uncomfortable, practice.  So the more you can help them learn to navigate this, the better off they will be in the long run.  But do protect your kids from being bullied, if it comes to that.  And for the girl's sake, try to get to know her better to get a sense of whether she is just dramatic or actually troubled.

TabbyCat

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2017, 09:28:48 PM »
I think in many ways kids (and people of any age really) are who they are going to be, and parents and others in their lives just help support and provide a positive example and teach good coping skills and behaviors. She's working though some things, which is normal, and you can keep it positive and be a good example for her as I'm sure her parent's work to do as well. You are that for your own kids too.

There will always be others in your kids social circle who are working through something, are self destructive in ways, or negative or violent - you can't isolate them from that. You can help teach them about how to deal with that and stay positive. I think just the fact that you're thinking about it and how to help both the neighbor and your kids shows that you're doing ok with providing mindful support to everyone involved.

SwordGuy

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2017, 10:47:10 PM »
I've found that giving kids another roadmap for getting what they want can help.   If they realize there's another way to reach their goal that's more likely to work, the brighter ones (or at least the less stubborn ones) may give it a try. 

Freedom2016

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2017, 06:30:46 AM »
Thanks for the wisdom and perspective, everybody.

Her parents are concerned about her behavior... her dad last night half-joked that maybe she's bipolar; I guess the mood swings are terribly extreme. She was very sweet to our DS when one of his toys broke last night, and then moments later was calling her little sister stupid , naughty, and a "dumb-a". I do get that a lot of this is normal kid stuff - and that I can't/shouldn't protect my kids from it - but I appreciate having new ways to approach the situation and keep it in perspective.

On a different, but related note, there is a kindergartner who is getting bullied on one of the school buses - his mom pleaded on the local parents' FB group last week for help from parents with older kids on that bus (apparently it wasn't getting handled fast/well enough by the school). It struck a note of fear in me, as I can imagine that my rainbows/hearts/dress-loving son could easily be a target next year when he starts kindergarten.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2017, 09:14:52 AM »
At age 5 does the child have any real understanding of what they are saying? or have they figured out what they are saying gets them attention/an entertaining reaction?   Kids repeat stuff, and the parents may never figure out where they heard this from.

Heck, when they are 18 and tell you they hate you, do they know what it means?


Laura33

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2017, 11:02:41 AM »
Thanks for the wisdom and perspective, everybody.

Her parents are concerned about her behavior... her dad last night half-joked that maybe she's bipolar; I guess the mood swings are terribly extreme. She was very sweet to our DS when one of his toys broke last night, and then moments later was calling her little sister stupid , naughty, and a "dumb-a". I do get that a lot of this is normal kid stuff - and that I can't/shouldn't protect my kids from it - but I appreciate having new ways to approach the situation and keep it in perspective.

Read "Your Spirited Child" and see if that rings any bells.  It saved me with my DD, who it sounds like had some very similar behaviors.  If that sounds familiar, the most important thing is to keep your cool, and not overreact -- when kids are flying out of control, they need their grown-ups to be a solid tether, because it scares them more than anything else.  I found "1-2-3 Magic" worked best with my DD.

gaja

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2017, 11:27:28 AM »
When my kids were that age, we lived in a neighbourhood with loads of kids the same age. The kids ran freely between all the houses, any given day we would make dinner for 0-8 kids. We had good dialogue with all the parents, but we still had to very early get all the kids to understand "my house, my rules", and "my kids, my rules". As long as we were consequent within our own house, it was not a big issue to get the kids to adapt. To make it easier for ourselves, we limited the number of laws, and spelled them out very clearly. We were known as some of the stricter parents in the neighbourhood, but based on how many visitors we had at any given time, it was not a problem.

Can you ask the parents directly about what their rules are, and how this kid should be "handled"?

Freedom2016

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2017, 09:25:14 PM »
I thought to re-read this thread of mine after some recent interactions with the neighbor girl. Things are no better than what I described above in terms of the interactions between her and my kids. Possibly worse because she is picking on my daughter more deliberately. She can be fine, even delightful, at times. But I've seen a real mean streak in her that worries me.

As one example, she was angry about something the other day and her mom told her to go write a note about it - a novel way for a kindergartener to practice writing, I guess :). The child came down with a 2-page phonetic note that apparently said "I want you to die / I want to kill you".

The other night her dad vented to me that he was stressed out and at the end of his rope with her. I froze in the moment b/c I wanted to say, "yeah, she's got some issues, doesn't she?" (but I didn't). Instead I asked if she was on a particular tear lately, he said, "no, it's just the usual, constant stuff with her!"

It seemed like it would have been a great opportunity for me to engage with him more on what's going on with her - not that I have advice, but I could have learned more about their perspective and what's going on, and what efforts they are making to help. But I was so worried about being offensive that I didn't go there. We talked more generally about how hard it is to set and enforce boundaries (I hope not to come across as casting stones; we surely have our parenting challenges and don't always handle them well). My husband is under the impression that she is seeing a counselor at the elementary school.

I don't know what else we can do, but I do get worried that my son is going to get roped in to some bad stuff - the two of them ride the bus together and are in the same kindergarten class. The teacher reports that they behave like siblings, for better and for worse. And my son cried on the way to the airport last week for Thanksgiving, saying he was going to miss her so much. She is the kind of child that I can imagine becoming a ringleader for stuff like hurting animals, or touching people (my kids!) inappropriately. I have started talking to my kids about her behaviors and that they are not OK and that my kids are not to do those things. There is also an anti-bullying program at school that I can reference, but boy it's going to be hard to eventually convince my son he's friends with a (potential) bully.

Now I understand when my mom didn't like some of my friends...
« Last Edit: November 27, 2017, 09:39:31 PM by Freedom2016 »

hoping2retire35

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2017, 09:04:04 AM »
um, some thoughts.

Our DD can be pretty intense. If she doesn't get enough attention she is pretty irritable. Without constant, seemingly, holdings and hugs she lashes out at other kids and sometimes at us.

Try to observe the NK and see what she needs. Does she want to sit on her parents lap a lot while everyone is playing? Does she want to show you something she made? Does she like to sit and talk? I am guessing she wants some type of attention, try to figure that out and mention it to the parents. "I know you are at the end of your rope; I noticed she likes when you praise her writing abilities" positive reinforcement.

I would not worry about her being a bad influence just yet. They won't learn to hurt animals or weird touching unless it is from an older person/kid. If they are mainly around yall, it should be fine, you may take a slightly more involved role; observation and suggestion.

Freedom2016

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2017, 08:10:48 PM »
Thanks for the ideas. I'll pay closer attention to that. It doesn't seem like she's wanting for attention but maybe it's not the kind of attention she's after.

And good to know I needn't get ahead of myself worrying about future scenarios that may not (probably won't?) happen...


Laura33

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2017, 08:18:51 AM »
OK, I am struggling a little with this.  It strikes me that this kid isn't really accepted anywhere.  At home, her relationship with her parents is so fraught that her dad jokes she is bipolar (pretty strong language, even in jest).  At the neighbor's house, the mom sees her as a threat to her own kids and a potential future bully and even possibly a sexual predator (??really??).  So why wouldn't she act up?  Kids will generally live up to whatever expectations you have of them.

Immediate reading for you and the other parents:  1-2-3 Magic.  What you have described of the neighbors' parenting style is completely counterproductive for this kind of kid -- you don't attempt to engage or explain things in the heat of the moment, you explain the expectations before and simply remove the kid from the situation when she crosses the line.  And "hard to set and enforce boundaries"?  Yeah, it's hella hard.  It's also his damn job, so he needs to man up and figure out a way to do it.  Inconsistent boundaries will create exactly this kind of behavior.

My biggest recommendation for you is to try to develop a little empathy for this girl.  I firmly believe there are no inherently bad kids*; usually what produces bad behavior is a disconnect between the kind of parenting/environment the kid needs and what the parents can provide.**  Which brings me back to the "bipolar" crack as Exhibit A.  I guarantee you she knows her dad thinks she is wrong in some fundamental respect.  And I guarantee you she knows you don't like her.  Kids like this are usually hyper-sensitive to others' emotions -- she knows it, it hurts/scares her, and you can see the results.  Thus, empathy:  if she is acting like this on the outside, imagine how scary it is to be inside her own head!  Kids fundamentally want love and acceptance, so how desperate must a kid be if she is intentionally triggering negative attention and punishment? 

From my experience with a hyper, bossy, extremely verbal attention-hound:  these kids are exhausting, like a black hole of need that can never be filled.  The fundamental problem with parenting a kid like that is that they are "on" all the time, and so you learn to tune them out and ignore the little annoyances (either because you just need five. freaking. minutes without hearing the word "mommy," or because the kid is hair-trigger on the meltdowns and you can't handle that right at that moment).  But your frustration continues to build ("why can't she just [insert "normal" kid behavior here]"), and so when she finally does something that you just can't take, you end up snapping and overreacting. 

So think about that from the kid's perspective:  she's doing her normal stuff, she's trying to get mommy's attention, but mommy is ignoring her, and maybe mommy seems a little annoyed, but she can't figure out why; and then a few minutes later she's doing the same stuff, and now mommy turns on her and is really angry/frustrated and she gets a big punishment.  I can't even tell you how counterproductive that is.  The kid cannot possibly predict the consequences of her actions; that makes her feel very, very insecure; and the natural response to insecurity is to try to assert even more control and become even bossier and more demanding.  And of course she also learns that if she wants mommy's attention, she needs to misbehave.

The only things that worked for me were "Your Spirited Child" and "1-2-3 Magic."  The former helped me look for and understand my DD's triggers and needs.  And the latter helped me understand how my parenting was contributing to the problems -- I wasn't doing my kid any favors ignoring the little stuff; in fact, letting my frustration build until I reacted emotionally to her misbehavior was creating more insecurity in her that just made things worse.  The book forced me to explain the rules and consequences when I was calm, give the warnings before I got angry/frustrated/annoyed with her, and then give the consequence without the anger.  It created an environment of calm structure for DD, where she could predict the consequences of her actions with 100% certainty, which in turn allowed her to feel safe and accepted and relax a little bit.  And it stopped providing her attention for misbehaving; I replaced that with lots and lots of attention for doing something good (e.g., "look at you, sitting right down to do your homework!").***

I am recommending these books as much for you as for the parents.  Definitely recommend them to the mom/dad next time they complain (e.g., "a friend said . . . .").  But that kind of calm, proactive approach can really help her at your house, too.  Sure, you can't "fix" her -- but you certainly can provide some of the calm, predictable structure and a feeling of acceptance that can help her calm down a bit and not need to control everything (and everyone) so desperately.

I also don't want to sound harsh or unsympathetic to you or the other parents.  I had one of those kids, so I know exactly how overwhelming it is -- and honestly, none of the "normal" parenting advice works.  Ignore a tantrum?  Worked great with my DS; epic, colossal fail with my DD.  But when you have spent your whole life believing you don't "reward" a kid for bad behavior, it's a huge shift to realize that your tantrum-thrower is overwhelmed and needs help learning how to calm herself down and in fact needs to be cuddled, not ignored.****  And then that frustration is compounded by the constant judgment of other parents with "normal" kids, who imply that you are causing the problems, and if you'd just ignore the tantrums, they'd go away.  You (OP) come across as wanting to be helpful and empathetic to these parents, not as judgy or anything, so I am recommending "Your Spirited Child" particularly for you to give you some insight into how differently these kinds of kids perceive the world and what does and doesn't work, so maybe you can really be that empathetic ear for these parents even though you don't have one of those kids yourself. 

*OK, maybe it's possible to be born a sociopath/psychopath.  But if so, that is a very, very small percentage of kids.  And it's not this one.

**Note that I do NOT mean any of these parents are "bad," or that managing this kind of kid is easy under any circumstances -- just that there are different parenting styles, and some kids connect with one style better than others, and some parents are better at adjusting their styles to their kids' needs than others. 

***I admit, I struggled with this; it smacked of "everyone gets a trophy"; do I really want to praise a kid for doing what she knows she ought to do anyway (especially when she is quiet and I finally have five minutes in which she ISN'T demanding my attention)?  Well, when your kid craves attention like oxygen, and you want her to do what she should do instead of what she shouldn't, the answer is an unmitigated "yes."

**** And even as I type this, part of my brain still says "Really??  Cuddle a tantrum???  WTF????"  Even though doing just that stopped 2.5 years of tantrums within a couple of weeks.  It is SO hard to ignore what you expect "good parenting" to be.

MDfive21

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2017, 06:54:25 AM »
$.02

have you any idea what this kid eats?  at that age even a fun size snickers would induce a sea change in behavior in my DD, now 8.  Attention span drops to near zero and activity level jumps off the chart.  is it possible she's eating lucky charms for breakfast and having a cookie here and there throughout the day, then ice cream for dessert?  plenty of parents are clueless about diet and i've seen kids that are just a mess because they don't eat proper food.  and if she's having any 'juice' or sugar soda, that needs to stop right now.

does she eat vegetables?  when my DD has friends over they eat veggies and their parents ask how i did it!  simple, i firmly reinforced the idea that that is what we eat and when they're over, that's what they will eat.  sometimes being the 'other kid's parent' gives you authority in a way that the kid will respond more positively than to their own parents.  plus they see my kid eating them and monkey see, monkey do.

there are also a very small but not insignificant number of kids who react to certain foods in a way that is not necessarily a medical problem, but their behavior is affected.  maybe she's one of those.

disclosure, i'm a former chef so food is a number one concern in my life but i know not everyone thinks similarly.  at any rate, it's worth a conversation with NK's parents and a bit of reading up on diet. 

the thing that really concerns me is that NK is using death language in an unhealthy way.  it didn't drop out of the sky so where did she learn to say that??
« Last Edit: December 01, 2017, 06:56:46 AM by MDfive21 »

Chesleygirl

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2017, 11:21:26 AM »
My daughter is sort of "that bad kid" that is your neighbor's child. I've taken her to behavioral therapy for a while. My current insurance does not cover it. She doesn't hit other kids, but she's impulsive and uses language some times. It's not easy to deal with. I think it's your right to remove your child from anyone you consider a bad influence.  Our neighbor has a son who got our daughter hooked on video games to where it's an addiction now. This kid has no social skills and sits around all day playing his games. I don't want him to influence our daughter the same way. I'm about to drop the axe on the friendship.  His parents pressure us constantly to have our child spend time with their son, practically twisting our arm at times. Because it seems, their son has no other friends and only wants to hang out with our daughter. I wish they would help him develop his social skills more, and maybe limiting his time with our child will help him get interested in other kids.

hoping2retire35

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2017, 11:25:26 AM »
I wouldn't worry about the language too much. She is probably watching something inappropriate for her age. I was watching a cartoon that I failed to realize the rating for and was shocked when it said "I hate you.." "I am going to kill you"; pretty dramatically too. Anywho, toning it down now, but I heard my kids repeating those words, more for the dramatic fashion they were delivered in the show than their understanding of its meaning.

MDfive21

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2017, 08:51:34 AM »
...She is probably watching something inappropriate for her age. ...

that's what i was getting at.  whatever she's watching or whoever she's listening to are affecting her behavior in a negative way and those influences should be minimized or eliminated.

TrMama

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2017, 11:44:29 AM »
My biggest recommendation for you is to try to develop a little empathy for this girl.  I firmly believe there are no inherently bad kids*; usually what produces bad behavior is a disconnect between the kind of parenting/environment the kid needs and what the parents can provide.**

Snipped this quote for brevity. Laura knows a lot about this stuff. Her advice is spot on. I have a child similar to her DD and had to completely change my parenting and put away my ego in order to prevent her from alienating everyone in her life (including me) and spiraling towards suicide. Things are 100% better now and her future looks very bright.

Raising Your Spirited Child is an excellent, excellent book for these kids at this age. I promise reading it won't be a waste of time.

In the meantime, you can deal with this girl by telling her, and your own kids, that at your house you have X and Y rules. The rules may be different at her house, but when they're at your house they will do X and Y. Kids raised in multilingual homes are able to quickly learn that one group of people in their lives speak language A and the other group speaks language B. If toddlers can learn to separate entire languages, then they can also learn that different rules apply in different situations. This isn't a big ask.

I've used this strategy before to great effect for both the other child and my own. It was especially helpful the year my YDD was in Brownies with a little girl who was strongly ADHD and wasn't getting adequate treatment. My YDD was continuously frustrated that this girl made any kind of group work so difficult. I just kept explaining that the little girl had lots of trouble controlling her impulses and that she wasn't being difficult out of spite towards YDD. We had lots of conversations about how this girl was still learning to control herself and wasn't it great that YDD was so much more proficient in this area.

Freedom2016

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2017, 08:23:28 AM »
Hi all,

Thanks for the input - appreciate it all and you've given us much food for thought.

To respond to a couple of ideas floated above, NK eats more healthy than my kids do. She does eat veggies and I am not aware of a lot of junk food at their house. In terms of what they get for screen time, it's AFAIK similar to what our kids watch, which is in the vein of Sarah & Duck, Chuggington, Octonauts type shows. From what I've seen, the parents monitor and limit what their kids watch. I don't know where she's picking up the language, esp around death and dying. Though, now that I think about it, the parents said that her preschool last year (different from ours) wasn't great... there were kids who were pretty aggressive, almost to the point of bullying, and the parents weren't happy with how the teachers handled it. So maybe some of this comes from that experience. She's not really mellowing out with time, though.

MDfive21

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2017, 10:07:07 AM »
interesting thread OP, keep the updates coming :)

Freedom2016

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2017, 06:21:37 AM »
Thanks in part to all the input above around having more empathy for NK, I invited her over to bake cookies with our kids. She was delightful, quite well behaved and everyone had fun. I have also made a point to greet her in a friendly way at the morning bus stop (positive adult attention).

Also, we had parent-teacher conferences last week. NK and our son are in the same K class. The teacher shared that they, together, can be a bit of a handful. They are thick as thieves, almost cliquish, so she has taken to separating them at tables and in activities. It helps explain why DS hasn't seemed to make a lot of other friends at school; he's spending all his time with NK. They behave like siblings so sometimes there's fighting between them.... when I said we wouldn't mind more separation between the kids, she said, "you know, you can request that next year... I would recommend that." She went on to talk about some of the social emotional problems our kid is having that are not directly related to the dynamic with NK.

Laura33

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2017, 10:36:44 AM »
Thanks in part to all the input above around having more empathy for NK, I invited her over to bake cookies with our kids. She was delightful, quite well behaved and everyone had fun. I have also made a point to greet her in a friendly way at the morning bus stop (positive adult attention).

Also, we had parent-teacher conferences last week. NK and our son are in the same K class. The teacher shared that they, together, can be a bit of a handful. They are thick as thieves, almost cliquish, so she has taken to separating them at tables and in activities. It helps explain why DS hasn't seemed to make a lot of other friends at school; he's spending all his time with NK. They behave like siblings so sometimes there's fighting between them.... when I said we wouldn't mind more separation between the kids, she said, "you know, you can request that next year... I would recommend that." She went on to talk about some of the social emotional problems our kid is having that are not directly related to the dynamic with NK.

Great update!  That was really nice of you, and I'm glad she behaved well for you.

And yeah, sometimes two kids can be great on their own, but impossible together, because they feed off each other or bring out each other's worst, or whatever.  My DD has one of those (they are a little too much alike, so they go from best friend to total enemies to best friend and back, usually with almost nothing in-between).  It's nice that the teacher has already said she would support a different placement -- a little more distance on the day-to-day may help calm down some of the other interactions and keep your DS from relying too much on this one kid. 

mm1970

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2017, 01:21:48 PM »
Thanks in part to all the input above around having more empathy for NK, I invited her over to bake cookies with our kids. She was delightful, quite well behaved and everyone had fun. I have also made a point to greet her in a friendly way at the morning bus stop (positive adult attention).

Also, we had parent-teacher conferences last week. NK and our son are in the same K class. The teacher shared that they, together, can be a bit of a handful. They are thick as thieves, almost cliquish, so she has taken to separating them at tables and in activities. It helps explain why DS hasn't seemed to make a lot of other friends at school; he's spending all his time with NK. They behave like siblings so sometimes there's fighting between them.... when I said we wouldn't mind more separation between the kids, she said, "you know, you can request that next year... I would recommend that." She went on to talk about some of the social emotional problems our kid is having that are not directly related to the dynamic with NK.

Great update!  That was really nice of you, and I'm glad she behaved well for you.

And yeah, sometimes two kids can be great on their own, but impossible together, because they feed off each other or bring out each other's worst, or whatever.  My DD has one of those (they are a little too much alike, so they go from best friend to total enemies to best friend and back, usually with almost nothing in-between).  It's nice that the teacher has already said she would support a different placement -- a little more distance on the day-to-day may help calm down some of the other interactions and keep your DS from relying too much on this one kid.
Yes!

My 6th grader son's best little buddy is a girl.  We are neighbors.  They met as babies.  We've been carpooling to school for 7 years.  She comes over and they play.  A lot.  People often think they are siblings or cousins.

They were together in kindergarten, but separate in 1st.  Back together in 2nd.  First day of school, they ask to sit at the same table with two other kids they were friends with in kindergarten.  My eyes got really round.  Teacher said "yeah, I let them do it for 1/2 a day, only long enough for them all to realize that it wouldn't work."

It's been pretty good ever since.  They seem to be together approx every other year.

retirementnestegg

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2017, 10:07:56 AM »
Immediate reading for you and the other parents:  1-2-3 Magic.  What you have described of the neighbors' parenting style is completely counterproductive for this kind of kid -- you don't attempt to engage or explain things in the heat of the moment, you explain the expectations before and simply remove the kid from the situation when she crosses the line.  And "hard to set and enforce boundaries"?  Yeah, it's hella hard.  It's also his damn job, so he needs to man up and figure out a way to do it.  Inconsistent boundaries will create exactly this kind of behavior.

Per your recommendation I am now buying this book on Amazon for use with my 2 and 4 year old daughters. Thanks!

Freedom2016

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Re: Neighbor's DD is...a challenge
« Reply #25 on: January 18, 2018, 10:02:56 AM »
As a little update... we had another teacher conference today. Our boy is having some social issues at school, not all related to NK but often, their dynamic riles him up and he then acts out with other students and teachers. His teacher separates DS and NK as much as possible in class, and today recommended that we also keep them apart outside of class. DS really needs to make some new friends - for the socializing benefits, not only b/c of NK's behaviors --  so we're going to be more deliberate in setting up play dates with other kids. I'm also going to volunteer at the school so I can get a better window on what's happening in class.

We get the feeling NK's parents are feeling beaten down by the parenting challenges with her. The mom apparently doesn't feel like she can handle evenings by herself -- wants both parents on deck -- which means the dad doesn't get much "off-duty" time (he's stay-at-home with their 2.5yo). They use 1-2-3-Magic but it seems to only sort-of work. They also let certain behaviors go that we wouldn't (e.g. two weeks ago at the bus stop our 3yo said good morning to NK and NK replied, "hi, crybaby!" in a really sarcastic tone of voice. The dad merely said, "c'mon, NK" and nothing else, which I felt was weak sauce). But again maybe they are so beaten down by all the things they are trying to manage that they don't have the energy to deal with every single tough thing she puts out there.

They were over for dinner last night and NK was on better behavior (apparently she was warned in advance that they would leave if she acted up), so it's clear she is capable of being a nice kid. But it seems to take a pretty heavy hand to draw that out of her on a consistent basis.