The other day a friend of mine wondered out loud, "How do you deal with a situation where your friend has an annoying child? Will it ruin the friendship if you're honest and tell them directly that their child is annoying yours?"
This is a loaded issue. Most parents, most people for that matter, tend to be defensive and cannot take criticism. They just can't believe their own child is annoying. Maybe that is because they have a badly-tuned awareness mechanism. This is akin to a rejected singer on "American Idol." They firmly believe they have a winning voice. But you wonder; do they have a hearing problem? Or perhaps their parent continues to reinforce the belief that their voice is like a pop star. But in fact it sounds like fingernails on a blackboard. This is really no different than the child or parent who perpetuates an annoying behavior. Both badly need a reality check and awareness tune-up.
If you recognize any of these warning signs it might mean your child has annoying behavior and your friends are uncomfortable telling you to your face. It is your job to help your child understand how to modify their behavior so that they can get along better with others in social situations. And secondly, if your friends are uncomfortable telling you to your face, it might be because you are a bit defensive too. Remember, most people don't like confrontation. Sometimes it's less stressful to make up an excuse than to tell the truth.
No Birthday Invitations
You discover that one of your child's classmates is having a birthday party. Everyone in the class was invited but your child.
No Play Dates
Suddenly the activities on your calendar, which were once full, are now blank. No one is inviting your child over for play dates.
Called to the Teacher's or Principal's Office
Either your child's teacher or school principal has asked you to come in at least a couple of times to discuss behavior issues. If they have, it's a sure sign your child is annoying to their friends also.
Are your friends declining your invitations to come over for a play date with your child? If your friends are constantly and repeatedly declining your invitations it might be because they are uncomfortable telling you what's really going on. Most people don't like confrontation unless they know the outcome will be positive.
Friends and acquaintances are beginning to avoid you and your child. To them it's easier to avoid you than to make excuses and deal with your child.
These are a few examples that might indicate your child has behavior issues. Friends would rather not say anything to your face for fear of a nasty argument. It's easier and gentler for them to avoid you, make excuses and not face you in person. Sure, a true friend might tell you to your face. But they may think it's less of a risk to say nothing in order to avoid long-term ill feelings. It might be best to start recognizing if any of these warning signs are happening to you. It could be an indication that your child is annoying. Try to rectify the situation by asking your closest friend if they can shed some light on the situation and be sure not to be defensive. Hopefully, soon, your child will be back on the "Play" list and hanging out with their friends more and more.
How have you handled dealing with an annoying child, even your own?
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