How Would You Deal with a Friend's Child's Problem?

Angie - posted on 06/15/2012 ( 8 moms have responded )




I'm not sure how to start this, so I will come out and say it. I have a friend who I care very much for. I absolutely LOVE her! I enjoy the time we spend together and look forward to seeing her and miss her when she isn't around. But my problem is her children. She has a 6 yr old son and a 2 yr old daughter. They can be very sweet and fun to have around and watch play, but both have their own little quirks. She has told me that the older one has sensory issues, so I try really hard to be more patient and understanding with him. But he is my major issue. I know that sounds insensitive, but please let me explain why. He is 6 yrs old and still poops in his pants, and sometimes, this will spill out of the leg of his pants and onto my floor, when they are at my house. This happened in my 7 yr old daughter's room as well, and she thought that it was mud and picked it up to throw it away. He knows that he does this, and will literally shake his leg when he feels it falling down his pants. I let it go because, as I said, I thought it was a sensory issue and I really enjoy his mother. But after this last time, with my daughter picking it up with her hand, I can't take it anymore. She does not discipline her children and they run around the house tearing things up and just being wild. I try very hard not to judge people, especially my friends. I believe that we all have our own way of raising our children and that it is no one else's business to tell you how to raise them. So, because of this personal belief, I am having a really hard time with this. I really enjoy my friend, but am getting to the point that I avoid her because of her children. What do I do? How do I get her to understand that, if this is not a sensory issue (she told me he did this shaking thing 6 times yesterday), then she seriously needs to punish him for it? What advice do you have for her that I could give her to help her with this issue? I know that she is already at the end of her rope. That is my other issue. I do not want to add to her embarrassment or lose her as a friend. I want to help her. Please help me!


[deleted account]

Having been a mom with a child with soiling issues, I will say the we bought my son a watch with an audible hourly alarm on it and every hour sent him to the bathroom to try.

NO thisdid not curb the soiling problem and was given all kinds of reasons and excuses from Dr.'s and psychologists. I still firmly believe that it was not a medical issue but rather a mental thing and I will not sugar coat it and call it anything. He never did get it under control til he was 11 but the pull-up threat worked.

I talked to him repeatedly and then stopped. As soon as I stopped letting him know/see that it irritated me, he corrected his behavior. (I am not saying to not say anything.) When someone asked me not to come to their house because of this, I apologized and we moved the visits to my house where I could keep a closer eye on things.

It was, in our case, an attention thing. He was the youngest of 4 and I left his father when he was in the middle of potty training and no one picked it up when he was removed from my care. He found out that dad would pay attention to him if he did this.

Even after he stopped soiling at my house, he still did it at his dad's. It was his "pay back" for the way he viewed his life.

It is not rude to talk about this problem, nor to state your opinion or suggest "fixes" to your friend. This behavior should not be embarrassing to her, but something that she is seeking help for. As I told my son, you will never go on a date nor will you get married if you continue to crap yourself! You stink. He gets it now.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/15/2012




In my house, I have rules that apply to every child, whether they are mine or not. And, in my house, I enforce those rules. I don't wait for their parents to.

It's a simple approach. Any time anyone new brings their kids to my house, I say to them "I have certain rules that must be observed, such as playing nicely, etc (lay out the guidelines)". Then follow that statement with "I hope you don't mind the 'My house, my rules' idea" And proceed to enforce it. If your rules are more strict than other parents, they don't have to bring the kids over, but I've never (in 17 years) had a parent or friend of mine not come over because of that. Most of them have told me "I love to bring the kids to your house, because they'll listen to you better than me".

It is not judging for you to keep peace in your own home.

Now, the way I'd handle this is: "Suzy, I love having you come over, but after John's accident in Sara's room last week, I am afraid that I'll have to ask that he stays in the front room where we can try to keep an eye on him for potty time. I'm sure you understand." Or, alternatively, start scheduling your play dates at the local park. But still, you should not feel afraid to tell this mother that you can't have that condition in your house, and suggest alternatives, or possible solutions.

Its not a fun position to be in, but it is YOUR house. YOU pay for it, the maintenance, etc. You have every right to set limits on those kids when they are there. And just smile at their mother and explain "my house, my rules".

Oh, I'd better add that none of the children that come to my house are left "in the dark" to the rules. They're told the basics, and that if they choose to take a different path, there will be consequences. I have yet to enforce more than one time out for any particular kid, and they all seem to carry their new behaviors home with them.

This kid may have sensory issues. I know that some kids do in that area. However, that doesn't excuse his mother from responsibility to make sure her kid isn't being unsanitary, and ignoring the problem certainly doesn't help the child. He will be removed from school situations if the same behavior occurred, so it's better for her to act now.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/15/2012




I would do the same thing as Michelle, but I would also try to have all visits at HER house so you don't need to worry about the destruction of your home.

Michelle - posted on 06/15/2012




For starters I would be explaining to your friend the rules in your house. Just because she is visiting, doesn't mean her kids can get away with things your children wouldn't. I have been known to let visiting children in my house know that what they are doing isn't acceptable in my house.

In regards to the soiling of the boys pants I would maybe broach the subject like: "Have you though of putting pullups on him while out visiting?" If it was me I would make sure my child didn't have any "accidents" while out. I would be mortified if any of my children did that in someone else's house. I really don't know how else to broach the subject though.

Angela - posted on 06/19/2012




Angie - I would try to meet up with your friend in person and without your children. If this isn't possible, talk to your daughter, at least, about not touching what comes out of your friend's son's pants. Yes, he is certainly old enough to know better, but may be regressing (if he ever was potty-trained) for any number of reasons. If it is possible, limit your visits with your friend to public places such as the park or local library. Then, you don't have the issue of his bathroom and other sensory issues in your home environment. As far as talking with your friend, if she is open to that, you might just ask her what demands she really struggles with. If she is at her wits end, maybe this is more bothersome to her and doesn't know how to deal with it other than to say he has sensory issues. She could consider taking her son to their family physician, for starters. He might need to see a therapist that has a specialty with children. You do NOT have to lose your good friend, but there are steps YOU can take to gain some sanity over the situation. Let us know how it goes! :)


View replies by

Pamela - posted on 06/16/2012




Explain to her that you really love her and enjoy her company but because your style of rearing children differs so greatly you feel a bit uncomfortable around her children. Tell her you because of the potty training issue and your daughter picking up his poop, you would rather not have her visit in your home with her children. Then arrange to visit her at her house where you can monitor your children closely and tell your daughter NOT to pick up anything from the floor at their house. Tell her to simply walk away from whatever mess she sees.

If she values the friendship as much as you, she will accept this, get over any issues she may have with it and move on.

If she cannot accept this then, as much as it may pain you it may be time to end the friendship or perhaps it can be a telephone only friendship.

Here is something you may want to share with her:


People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, To aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.

They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, This person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.

Believe it, it is real, but only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, Things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, Love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/15/2012




Sharon, what an awesome perspective! I am sorry that you've had to go through that, but very glad that your boy is doing better now.

Angie, a question. How close are you and this other gal? are you really close? Like the type of friend that no matter what you say, she'd understand and not be offended? Or not so close?

Reason I ask is this: If you're close friends, it may be easier to tell her exactly what you've just said. "Hey, I'd really like to have you and the kids join me more often, do you think that we could figure out a way to get your kids to be a little more mellow"...

I've done it. Many times. I am a blunt gal, though, and my friends know it! LOL...I had one neighbor that, once we got to be friends, said it was great, because she knew I'd catch her when she screwed up with her parenting...which kind of disturbed me, but I understood that she meant I'd support her and help her fix problems.

And, as Sharon said, he could be having "attention" never knows...Since it's nicer out now, with the season and all, I'd move most meetings to outdoors, and see if you can gently help direct him in his soiling issues.

Angie - posted on 06/15/2012




Thank you, ladies. I guess these are all things that I already knew, but am too "nice" to enforce. I know that isn't the correct word. Probably more like I am a push over and let people walk all over me. But this really disturbs me. We usually do play dates at my house because I have A/C and she does not. But the park idea would be a good option.

I actually invited her to go out and get pizza with me and then go to the park, but somehow, we ended up staying at the pizza place and then going to the park. And again, her kids were a bit crazy there. So, I am not sure I would feel comfortable going anywhere with her other than the park. This makes me sad, since I go to so many places that I would love to share with her and her kids. I just wish she would control them better.

Like I said, I do not like to judge other people or their parenting, so this situation really bothers me. I've never been put in this type of situation before.

Thanks again ladies. Your words of wisdom have been a great help!

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms