Copy Cat

Iris - posted on 03/21/2011 ( 15 moms have responded )

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My child is 4, there is a five year old little girl in our neighborhood who has become good friends with my daughter, and I’m ok with that. The thing is my daughter is copying all of this child’s ill habits an acquisition from her older brother. What can I do to stop this ill mannered behavior?

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Christi - posted on 03/21/2011

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well, I had the same thing happen to my daughter when she was about 5-6. At first it was little things, and I didn't put it together that the other little girl was changing my daughter. After time, I realized that the other little girl was manipulating my daughter into doing things that were wrong. My daughter, being 1yr younger, and naive and trusting, would just follow this girls lead. Finally it got to the point to where my daughter was lying to me and when I asked her why she lied to me when I specifically told her that I wanted the truth, she said that the other girl told her that everyone lies and that its ok for her to lie to me! That is when I finally confronted the little girl and told her and her guardians(grandparents- mom was absent) that if their granddaughter could not play nice, be honest, stop telling lies, and stop trying to maniulate my daughter, that I would have to separate them. It wasn't long when that is exactly what happened. I did not allow them to associate for years. Finally one day my daughter said she wanted to give the little girl another chance and that she would keep any eye out for her bad behavior. I trusted my daughter and had a chat w/the girl and told her this was her last chance. Well, it wasn't long after that, that she'd done something bad and blamed my daughter. she knew I was going to be upset w/.her so before I had a chance to call her grandparents to tell them what she'd done, she had already told them that I had said some ugly things to her and called her, her mom and grandparents some nasty names and some other lies. this was how she could turn the situation around against me and keep from getting into trouble. I did no such thing, and never got the chance to say what had taken place but was cussed out as soon as they saw my name on caller id. It just showed me that the family was nothing but low life trash, when the girls mom called my 8 yr old daughter a 'B!t@h' I stopped all communications with that girl and found out that she had mental issues and had been in counseling since the age of 2. She was sadistic and as much asI love all kids, this child was not normal and was evil. trust your instincts, keep eyes and ears open esp. when they don't know you are watching or listening. I had put a baby monitor in my daughters room and hid it so I could hear the conversations. Works great.

Rachel - posted on 03/24/2011

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I have this problem often because of the kind of work that I do. We set very clear rules at our house and our kids know what is expected of them...and what they are allowed to do and not do. When another child is in our home we tell them the rules of behavior too and they know they are expected to behave properly in our home. I find kids really do want rules and want to behave and please. If you teach your child to be the example and to tell their friends the right way to behave, often the other children will respond positively. I rarely allow my kids to play at other peoples houses because I know what kinds of things go on (I work with abused women and children....believe me...it's far more prevalent than we think) I don't want to put my kid in the position of becoming a victim. So I would encourage you not to push this child away but rather have her at your house often and teach her right from wrong just as you teach your child. In your home....this is the right behavior. If the child will not act right or breaks the rules too many times (after being warned) then she has to go home. She'll see this as a punishment and beg to stay for another chance. It works...I do it all the time. Good luck!

Rachel - posted on 03/24/2011

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I have this problem often because of the kind of work that I do. We set very clear rules at our house and our kids know what is expected of them...and what they are allowed to do and not do. When another child is in our home we tell them the rules of behavior too and they know they are expected to behave properly in our home. I find kids really do want rules and want to behave and please. If you teach your child to be the example and to tell their friends the right way to behave, often the other children will respond positively. I rarely allow my kids to play at other peoples houses because I know what kinds of things go on (I work with abused women and children....believe me...it's far more prevalent than we think) I don't want to put my kid in the position of becoming a victim. So I would encourage you not to push this child away but rather have her at your house often and teach her right from wrong just as you teach your child. In your home....this is the right behavior. If the child will not act right or breaks the rules too many times (after being warned) then she has to go home. She'll see this as a punishment and beg to stay for another chance. It works...I do it all the time. Good luck!

JuLeah - posted on 03/21/2011

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You will deal with this all of her life. It is human nature to copy behavior of folks we like. She is young to understand, but start talking with her about your feelings. Don't say anything bad about her friend.
"Your friend doesn't always say please, but I want you to remember to say please"
I don't know what behavior you are speaking of, but that is an example.
My nephew had to learn the hard way that if he chose to go along and not 'use his own thinker' the consequences were also his. He had a friend in school that ran around in an 'off limit' area at recess. Both boys got to sit on the bench for recess even though, as my nephew proclaimed, "it was Bryan's idea" .... this is just one of the many lessens your child will need to learn in life, so really, how very sweet of this girl to come along and help you educate her :)

Christi - posted on 03/21/2011

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I know.. that is so true. it was very hard for me to tell my daughter that she could not play with her anymore. she didn't understand why I was taking away her friend. I just got down to her level and explained in a way that she could understand that the little girl was being a bad girl and doing bad things and that because of her bad behavior, she cannot play w/you anymore. 'Mommy tried to talk to her and her 'parents' but the little girl doesn't want to mind and refuses to play nice and stop saying ugly things or doing ugly things. Mommy doesn't want you to be ugly to other children and mommy doesn't want you to tell lies or to steel other childrens toys because that is wrong and Jesus doesn't want us to do those things." I mean, that is kinda what I said and more, but I just made it to where she understood. I did ask her if she understood and she said yes. If they say 'no' that they don't understand, just try a different route. But make sure to tell her that nice friends and good friends treat friends nice and do good things not bad. Its tough, but nip it in the bud before something bad happens. Best of luck and don't feel guilty. Its not you, its the other set of parents.

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Genevieve - posted on 03/24/2011

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I have had this problem as well. We have a couple good friends that have girls a year and 2 years older than my daughter who will be 5 in May. I watch the 2 neighbours daughters on different days when they are home from school. Both of the girls happen to be very pushy and domineering. My daughter has always been very easy going and eager to please. One girl bullied my daughter by telling her that she couldnt colour because she didnt know how to do it properly and was too messy. Of course what the girl did not understand was that she is younger than her. It has taken almost a full year for things to be better about them colouring together. I chose to take the child under my wing and teach them both how to act. It takes a village to raise a child and I will be there for the other girl. The other one is very manipulative and I find my daughter does things that are out of character for a day or so after I watch the other girl. But I just maintain my rules. The worst thing I ever had happen was when I had been working with my daughter on how to tell her friends about how she wanted them to treat her toys. We had a few instances of things being broken. But not being in the same room with them I did not see what was happening. Well I heard my daughter screaming and crying for her friend to let go of a tiny wasps nest we had saved from the springtime from our shed. And the girl had found it and wouldnt give it back. My daughter was trying so hard to make her put it down. When I came into the room the girl had crushed it in her hands. She immediately looked at me and said "It was an accident", and started to cry. Her mom was actually present for this and I waited for her to address the situation. But she sided with her daughter. So now I feel I need to step up and be the voice of reason even more. I will continue to have these girls in my house because I know that their parents need good child care. And I would rather have them here than in another setting. Together my daughter and I will learn what is right and what is wrong. Im thankful that I have the opportunity to be not only there for my daughter but also for the other 2 girls. I know I have something to teach them.

Keri - posted on 03/24/2011

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Reinforce your values and rules - and especially after she's spent time with her friend. My son is in a similar situation, but I think with our reinforcement, along with his friend's parents' disciplinary actions when their son acts out, he has not embraced his older friend's bad behaviors and actually tells him to stop. If that doesn't work, maybe you'll have to end the friendship.

Iris - posted on 03/21/2011

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LOL!! I can understand that...that's what I tell my husband. I'm trying really hard to keep an open mind, but when she comes along she just blows my cool and is quite difiant. ;-) thanks!

Iris - posted on 03/21/2011

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WOW!! that's exactly what I'm going through...from taking toys to manipulating. I'm trying different things especially now that it's getting warmer, but yes, I'll have to schedule play dates with the other little girls that aren't allowed to play with the other little girl for the same reasons. I's not easy when you want your child to have a well rounded social life. Thank you!

Christi - posted on 03/21/2011

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Don't ever just ignore bad behavior. esp. if you notice that it starts when a new friend comes into the picture. At that young age, they still need to be watched closely. But, they are also starting to want to play w/the door closed. Even if they don't want the door closed, go ahead and close it so they think they have total privacy. Hide the baby monitor somewhere in the room where they wont see it, so that way you can hear what is going on. They will think they have privacy but you will know what you are dealing with and what you should do or how you should handle a situation. You will also find out what kids you can trust and which ones you need to watch closely. Kids are just too impressionable at that age and when you have a child who acts much more mature and has the capabilities of what the little girl I was dealing with had, you realize how dangerous even a little 8yr old girl can be.

Christi - posted on 03/21/2011

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when the parens are in denial, you are fighting a lost battle. if you tell them, to either speak to their child about their behavior and correct it or else they cannot play w/my child anymore, and they refuse, that is not being a parent and you'd never be able to trust your child over at their home, so why let the friendship continue? I found another child across the street for her to play with. I introduced my daughter to her and asked could she play and they became friends. I knocked on the door and asked the mom if that was ok for her to play w/her in the driveway (since they were across the street from me and I could see). I told the mom that I had to cut the relationship off w/the other little girl. she said she did as well and that she was not allowed on her property. I also found another neighbor who said the same thing and that she had been steeling. I found out that she had taken some of my daughters toys as well. like i said, trust your instincts.

Iris - posted on 03/21/2011

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Thanks Christi, I've tried talking to the parents but they don't think she has a problem..like I said she gets it from her older brother. ;-)

Louise - posted on 03/21/2011

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Just try to ignore it as much as you can because even negative attention to it will make her do it more. Try and encourage her to play with more children her own age and you will find once she starts school she will adjust her behaviour again. Don't worry to much they all do it!

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