Unfriendly Friends of the Preschool Sort

I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon in tears.  I was still reeling from an accident Ellie had on Sunday morning that nearly landed her in the ER (all is okay now) when I spoke to a friend of mine on Monday.  She informed me that her son doesn't want to play with Vivi anymore.  Vivi's sporadic aggression has justifiably upset him and he also apparently doesn't like that Vivi doesn't always say hello and good-bye when spoken to.  This has lead to the cancellation of a childcare swap as well as us pulling Vivi from a weekly playdate. 

This has hit me hard.  While Vivi hardly seems phased that we are no longer seeing some of her friends, I am really having a hard time with the idea that I won't get to see the little boy (who I adore) and his parents regularly. 

When Vivi saw me crying and asked why I was upset I told her it was because this little boy doesn't want to play with her anymore because she has been unkind.  I explained further that I love her very much and I want her friends to love her so it is hard for me to hear when they don't want to play with her.  She looked at me and very seriously said, "Mama.  I don't want to be that way."  I took it to mean that she doesn't want to be unkind and I believe her.

What I see when I look at Vivi is a kid who has been almost totally displaced.  We had a rocky beginning when the Turtles arrived but settled more or less into our chaos by nine months.  As soon as the babies started moving and getting lots more attention, however, Vivi's behavior deteriorated.  At four years old, she is frequently having accidents, yelling at her sisters for touching her stuff (which is pretty much everything), and melting down every morning my husband leaves for work.  I try to snuggle and play with her the best I can but it doesn't seem to be enough.  I think this is impacting her behavior although I'm not sure to what extent.

Yet, the irony in all of this is that Vivi has a wonderful new friend.  She lives across the street and she is six.  Vivi waits outside every day for her bus to come after school and then the two of them play together until dinnertime and beyond.  There are no conflicts and for the most part, they play as equals.  Maybe she will just do better around older children.

When I see her with the child of my friend, however, Vivi gets easily frustrated.  When we had the biting incident a couple of months ago, she got angry that the little boy would not move his hand from the merry-go-round after she asked him to.  That's why she bit him.  When they are together, I notice that they both seem to want what they want and neither one is particularly able to compromise.  While I think the biting is absolutely unacceptable, I don't think that Vivi is completely at fault for the incompatibility with this child.  (I should say here that the mother of the boy doesn't blame Vivi either.  She's been very understanding.)

So, once again, I'm hoping that there is someone who reads this who has been in this kind of situation.  How has the incompatibility of children impacted your adult friendship?  Any advice?     


  1. i'm sorry that the playdates have been cancelled. i have to say this: if i liked the parents, i would never ever cancel a playdate because my kid had bitten theirs. NEVER EVER... i figure the kids are all in a phase of some sort or other and will work it out. viva is a wonderful kid, sorting it out. she's fine. so are you. i'm sorry about the loss, i really feel that sadness...

  2. Kate said everything I wanted to. I agree that I would not cancel a playdate with you because someone bit someone else. Sometimes that happens but it's something to work on - not run from. I think as long as both parents are on similar pages as far as parenting philosophy it can be worked out jointly.
    I'm so so sad for you and want to schedule a playdate for RIGHT NOW! with you and Vivi (and turtles as I think they are part of the Vivi package).
    In "hearing" more about the biting incident vs. Vivi's relationship with the 6-year-old it sounds like it's very frustrating to use your words and those words not be effective (I don't think the words that just made up that sentence were very articulate but I think you know what I mean). Noah struggles with this when discussing things with Del. It's often something like this: "Can I have a turn with that please?.... *hit*".

  3. Hi, I have a almost 4yr old(sept) whom i have had these sort of issues with before. I have a niece with a son the same age and Evan is frequently aggressive with him. I simply discipline him each time hoping he stops sooner than later. My niece is always very understanding, she will also discipline him, which seems to reach him a little better than when I do it. I truly believe that this is one of those phases that kids tend to go thru. I have a 10yr old daughter who went thru a rough time when Evan was born, she eventually got use to it but only after plenty of reassurance from us and other family members. Little trips with just the two of us, or her with her Dad or aunts and uncles etc. I think this will pass just not as fast as we would like. You and the children will be fine, I think its is just one of those things parents have to go thru. Pediatricians are also good sources of advice, mine was wonderful.
    Becki-mother of 3

  4. I agree with the other comments. Kids go through phases. And they have to learn to deal with each other sooner or later. Honestly, if another mom called me to tell me her kid didn't want to play with my kid anymore, and I knew most of the situations were not all my kids fault, I would say ok, no more play-dates. I would NEVER cancel play-dates for something like that, and I don't think I want to hang out with someone who would.
    Just my opinion. Hang in there!

  5. I've had to refrain from hanging out with other families because of how my oldest treated them when he was the same age as Vivi. He would hit them, scratch them, push them, throw toys at them. It was really bad but I knew it was his way of expressing frustration. That age of 2-3, it's tough because they are emotionally immature. He's now almost 5 and it's so much better now. We are hanging out with the families again but I worry about the time that my youngest starts having difficulty getting along with other kids... Ah, well, we will cross that bridge when we get to it. ;) Hang in there...it WILL get better.


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