My daughter’s best friend speaks very rudely to her parents, and for some reason they allow it. She talks back, is defiant and uses bad language. She’s eight-years-old and obviously very precocious.
She never speaks that way to me, is very polite and sweet when at our house. The girls have been friends for two years, and she wasn’t like this before.
It’s appalling and hard to be around. I’m very uncomfortable when she speaks to her parents in my presence. I don’t want my daughter to be around when she behaves this way.
How do I deal with this situation?
You said the girls have been friends for two years. You must be friendly at least with one of the parents. Could you not say something lighthearted in passing after the child says something? Such as, “Oh, she’s getting sassy these days. Ha ha!”
See how the parent reacts. They might surprise you by asking for help or sharing their annoyance and the trouble they’re having squashing it.
Or, they could react harshly.
Either way, best to keep your daughter’s plans with her friend at your home or with you. Hopefully it’s a phase.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman feeling stifled by her ageing husband (Dec. 21):
Reader – “I was saddened and surprised by your answer to "Feeling Stifled" who lamented that her older husband would not leave the house while she was feeling still young enough to travel. You stated that the couple must compromise and communicate and then ended with "you have too much to lose in your long marriage and family to throw it away for an extra week in the sun."
“Does marriage mean a couple must be tied at the hip every minute? The writer didn’t say her husband's health was poor or his life was at risk. How about encouraging a relationship in which two people show their love for one another by encouraging separate and independent experiences? There is nothing wrong with Stifled having her own trip and coming home refreshed and enlivened. A trip away is not just about levels of sunshine. It's about stimulation, learning, connection with the world and with oneself.
“My husband and I have been married 31 years. We both love to travel but me more so than him. We have an adult child with special needs for whom I am largely responsible. The work is hard, and we don't have many supports. Because of this situation, my husband and I cannot travel together. I encourage my husband to travel on his own and happily, gratefully travel on my own when I can. He would never consider stopping me. It’s a mutual trust and desire for one another's happiness that strengthens us and our marriage.”
Lisi – I think you misunderstood my response, even though you quoted me. No, marriage does not mean you must be tied at the hip. But it does mean you have to listen to each other and understand what is driving each of you to behave and feel a certain way.
You and your husband have special circumstances which don’t allow for you to travel together. Of course, you both need a break and should travel, when possible, if that’s your enjoyment.
The letter writer mentioned that she wanted to cruise for a few weeks, and head to the mountains for the winter. That’s a long time away. I’m not saying she shouldn’t have independent travel vacations. I was saying she should compromise the amount of time away so her marriage doesn’t suffer.
Reader #2 – “As someone who loves to travel, I don't think the writer should be limited to trips her husband is willing to take. She mentioned that her husband is fine with her going out without him. Another compromise that the couple could discuss is her travelling by herself, with a friend or family member.
“That has worked well for my husband and me. We travel quite a bit together, but when I want to take a trip he isn't keen on, I look for someone else who is interested. I've been on some great trips that I would otherwise have missed.”
Lisi – I guess I wasn’t clear in my original response. I wasn’t suggesting the letter writer not travel without her husband. On the contrary, I was suggesting she travel - just not for as long as she was planning. I didn’t get the impression he wanted to stop her; just that he didn’t want to join her. Since they have a healthy loving relationship, I suggested she spend time with him in between trips.