Kid Spats: When Playtime Becomes Bully-TimeCody
There aren’t many kids that live in our neighborhood who are Addie’s age. Most of the time, she can be heard upstairs playing with her imaginary friends or pretending to be Taylor Swift at a rock concert.
Addie’s use of her imagination isn’t odd for a 7 year old girl. The only real difference between Addie and other girls her age is that she doesn’t have many friends who can partake in her imagination. And when she does get the chance to share this with other girls her age, she gets pretty excited.
Unfortunately those opportunities are pretty rare, but when they appear Addie takes full advantage of them.
My eldest daughter does get along with most children. Sometimes there are hiccups when the girls come over to play; while they are deciding on the choice of game or who is going to play what role in whatever princess-inspired adventure they are going on. Sometimes Casey or I will step in and calm things down, so that the little pretend princesses get back on a polite, friendly track.
Those little spats are expected and pretty common. And it doesn’t really take a whole lot for the girls to get along. However, there is one particular friend who takes advantage of the fact that she is a guest whenever she comes to our house.
Each time this friend has come over, I have go upstairs after work and find Addie in full crocodile tear mode. Every time, Addie tells me that no matter what she wants to do, her friend refuses to play, and demands that Addie play games that don’t hold her interest. Because the other girl is a guest in our home, I tell Addie that she needs to let her friend decide.
However, this tactic never seems to solve the problem with this one particular friend. It’s the same thing over and over again. Addie never seems to stop crying and it’s always the same story.
One time after I gave Addie the “guest in our house” speech, I went into an adjoining room and listened to how the girls played. Once I was out of sight, Addie’s friend said to her, “See, I’m your guest and I can do whatever I want and you have to do everything I say.” Addie started to whimper.
So that was it. It was the last time I stepped in to try to resolve one of those friend spats—at least with that friend, anyway. As far as I was concerned, Addie could do anything she wanted to do, and if her friend didn’t want to do what Addie was doing, that friend could either pout or go home.
How would you handle that type of situation?
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