What Does Her Behavior Mean

Question: Dear Luise: A year and a half ago my family and I made a move across the country. I was so excited to find a great new friend who also had a 4 year-old boy. Over time she seemed to become very impatient with my son. Every time we visit at her house she seems on edge with my child, making underhanded comments towards him, looking at him as if he’s so annoying, and accusing him of breaking things that her own son does. When our son gets interested in a new toy or “theme”, she runs out to buy her son the same thing plus 10 more. This past Christmas I told her what we had bought our son and she went and bought her son the same toys and tried to get bigger and better. I’m very confused by this behavior because I’ve never experienced this from anyone. Plus I love her as a friend but sometimes it is exhausting and hurtful. Please help me figure out what this behavior means and why she does it. B.

Answer: Dear B.: My experience has been that it’s a lost cause to try to figure out what other people’s behavior means…and/or why they do what the do. And even if we could, it would continue. Sometimes we don’t understand our own behavior.

We both know that your son is your first concern. Level with her. Let her know that your son’s well being is more important to you than any friendship ever will be. It’s just how moms are.

It looks to me like your friendship with her has caused your son to be mistreated, whether she is aware of it or not. (And she may vehemently deny it.) There’s no future in getting into a discussion about it or accepting her denial and/or her insistence that it’s not her fault. Even an apology is not an eraser because it doesn’t provide the basis for change. Change comes from within, not from a wish to be different.

Your so-called friend is teaching your son that adults are unfair, untrustworthy and unkind. That is subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) abuse. Can you see that? How can he possibly understand her dishonest and competitive rejection? Whatever her issues are, your son should not be her scapegoat. I would put a stop to it at once, if it happened to me. I wouldn’t try to fix it and/or understand it…I’d close the door permanently and protect my own.

You may think you have found a friend but friends don’t treat your kids like that or use their own kids for the purpose of one-upmanship…never. Blessings, Luise

Question: A year and a half ago my family and I made a move across the country. I was so excited to find a great new friend who also had a 4 year-old boy. Over time she seemed to become very impatient with my son. Every time we visit at her house she seems on edge with my child, making underhanded comments towards him, looking at him as if he’s so annoying, and accusing him of breaking things that her own son does. When our son gets interested in a new toy or “theme”, she runs out to buy her son the same thing plus 10 more. This past Christmas I told her what we had bought our son and she went and bought her son the same toys and tried to get bigger and better. I’m very confused by this behavior because I’ve never experienced this from anyone. Plus I love her as a friend but sometimes it is exhausting and hurtful. Please help me figure out what this behavior means and why she does it. B.

Answer: Dear B.: My experience has been that it’s a lost cause to try to figure out what other people’s behavior means…and/or why they do what the do. And even if we could, it would continue. Sometimes we don’t understand our own behavior.

We both know that your son is your first concern. Level with her. Let her know that your son’s well being is more important to you than any friendship ever will be. It’s just how moms are.

It looks to me like your friendship with her has caused your son to be mistreated, whether she is aware of it or not. (And she may vehemently deny it.) There’s no future in getting into a discussion about it or accepting her denial and/or her insistence that it’s not her fault. Even an apology is not an eraser because it doesn’t provide the basis for change. Change comes from within, not from a wish to be different.

Your so-called friend is teaching your son that adults are unfair, untrustworthy and unkind. That is subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) abuse. Can you see that? How can he possibly understand her dishonest and competitive rejection? Whatever her issues are, your son should not be her scapegoat. I would put a stop to it at once, if it happened to me. I wouldn’t try to fix it and/or understand it…I’d close the door permanently and protect my own.

You may think you have found a friend but friends don’t treat your kids like that or use their own kids for the purpose of one-upmanship…never. Blessings, Luise

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply