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Help! My 3 yr old son is getting influenced by his bad friend.
My 3 year old son is, for the most part, a well-behaved boy. I believe my parenting style with him has a lot to do with it. While I might lose my cool from time to time and yell at him, I don't do that often. When he misbehaves, I get down to his level and talk to him. If he is in meltdown mode, and I can't get through to him, I let him cry it out. He comes to me when he is done, says he's not crying anymore, and we go about our day. He has 2 best friends. A brother who is 5 and a sister who is 4. Their mother and I hit it off instantly, as did the kids. So we get them together all the time for playdates. We have been friends now for over 1 year. Over the course of this time together, I have seen her parenting style which is extremely different. Her kids seem to run the show, and when they act bad, she screams at them. I've seen her hit them, and even curse at them. It has bothered me, but it's hard to say anything since they aren't my children. I have offered advice on different ways to disipline them. She has even had me step in and do it myself. I can sometimes get through to them in the same manner as I handle my son. But these kids are older and are more used to getting what they want, when they want it. Her son is especially difficult. He acts up in such a way that it is starting to stress me out. The more I see my son playing with him, the more I notice that he is copying everything the 5 year old does. I understand at 3, this is normal behavior. But I am afraid he will start acting more like this boy then the good boy I have come to know. On a recent outing to a theme park, my stress level went through the roof since the 5 year old was acting up yet again, and my son was doing the same thing. I casually was saying that my son was copying her son with the bad behavior and it got to me. We were there the entire day without her saying anything. It wasn't until we got home and settled when I received a message from her stating that she had problems with my comments. Now I feel there is a rift in our relationship, and I am at a loss on what to do. Is my relationship with her salavagable? And what do I do about my son and his 2 best friends? He would be devistated if he loses them.
First off, your son is 3 years old. If he lost his best friends he'd be upset for a little while but he'd get over it as soon as he met another friend, so don't let that be a major factor when you decide what to do.When it comes to your friend you need to be completely honest with her. Tell her that when your kids get together your son starts picking up bad habits from her son. She may not like it, but you two are friends and she needs to hear it. Talking about her parenting techniques will probably make her defensive and may not accomplish much. You have to take a step back to really look at your relationship with this woman. Is it causing you unnecessary stress? Is your friendship with her more important to you than your son's friendship with her kids? It might be possible to keep her as a friend while distancing your children, if that's something that appeals to you. And in the meantime, try to find your son more friends his own age. Two years isn't a huge age gap but another 3 year old might be better for your son.