Monday, October 02, 2006

Anybody Got Some Kevlar I Can Borrow?


That's how I feel after Mr. Personality's birthday party.

These parents have a little girl who is just a week older than Mr. Personality, and they happen to live very close to one of my family members, which is how we got introduced in the first place. So, due mostly to that proximity, the little girl happens to be one of Mr. P's oldest friends.

Except, may I say, that the little girl is turning into a huge brat. Well, she's always kind of been that way, but now that the kids are getting older, it's a bit harder to explain off the way you can when they are toddlers. Mom and Dad are too tired to discipline her at the end of the day and on weekends since they both work, and she knows that even when threatened with consequences, odds are in her favor that they won't deliver on them. So she runs around, basically causing havoc and chaos with Mom barking ignored orders and disengaged Dad could really care less.

This has been driving me nuts.

Because if any family is a train-wreck waiting to happen, that family is it. And it isn't that they aren't well-intentioned, they are. But for reasons too numerous to list, their daughter is acting out and they are ineffective at stopping it. The mom tells me things here and there, and I have a hard time keeping my eyes from popping out because she mentions things so casually about their family life, and I cannot believe what I am hearing. All of my family agrees that the little girl is going to have problems if things continue the way they are, she already gets in trouble constantly at her daycare. At the birthday party, she was misbehaving from the moment she arrived, and for two hours, we had to endure Mom yelling at her to stop, because Mom is a yeller. Finally, she pushed her behavior into almost physical harm to a toddler, and with a collective sigh of relief, we all watched as Mom dragged her back home.

But, how do you tell someone, I'm not sure your child is a good influence on mine? That their values and parenting styles weren't so obviously diametrically opposed to mine when the kids were one and a half? Do I keep on with the friendship even though their daughter is a bit of a hellion, because they will know just by looking out their window that I am at my relative's house? And they will be a little offended, at the very least, to stop receiving invitations for playdates and the like?

I feel like I am walking in a minefield with this situation, and I'm pretty sure something's gonna blow up in my face.

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