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OT: conflict between DD and my BFF's daughter

Felicity0224's picture

Backstory: my BFF of 24 years and I became moms within 3 months of one another, me to DD10 and her to boy/girl twins. I'm her kids' godmother, and she and her husband are DD's godparents. We live across the country, but we get together usually 2-3 times every year and our kids have always been very close. She is the CFO of a large corporation, but I'm self-employed, so I've always had more flexibility to travel and work from home than she has. For the last 6 years, her kids have spent 3 weeks with DD and me every Summer. Some years we travel, other years they've just come to spend the time at our home. It's always been really lovely.

Last Summer, I noticed some competitiveness directed by my Goddaughter (GD) towards DD. They've VERY different personalities, but both are gifted students and high achieving in their areas of interest. I'll add that both are strikingly pretty girls (I say that with no ego because DD doesn't have any of my genes) but they don't look alike at all (different ethnicities) and have different tastes in clothes, hair, makeup, and accessories. So really there is no reason for them to be competitive or jealous of each other.

Last year I thought maybe it was a phase, so I just ignored it. One of DD's better qualities is that she is genuinely extremely kind and always sees the best in literally everyone. So for the most part she was kind of oblivious to GD's verbal digs at her. This year has been a different story. The twins have been with us for a week, we have two more to go, and I've been pretty surprised at how unkind GD has been to DD. It's brought DD to tears almost every night - it seems that every time DD opens her mouth or does something, GD wants to pipe up and point out how what she said is stupid, or what she did wasn't cool. She's criticized DD's clothes, her hair, the way that she speaks, her opinions... It's become exhausting for me because I feel like I need to monitor their every interaction so I can intervene when GD crosses the line. And it's very confusing for DD because she can't understand why someone who has been like a sister to her is treating her this way. As I said, she has a very kind and gentle temperament, so her natural inclination is to try to win over GD by being super nice and accommodating, rather than standing up for herself, and she doesn't get why nothing she does is good enough. (side note: we've been working on people-pleasing in therapy for over a year, but it's an ongoing process.)

My real dilemma is that I feel like I need to tell BFF that her daughter is becoming a "mean girl", but our friendship is so important to me that I don't want to risk upsetting her. The other thing is that I love GD with all my heart, and I want what's best for her. I don't foresee her being a very happy person in adulthood if she's always this insecure and competitive.

I realize I could just get through this trip and then allow the friendship between the kids to naturally taper off to an extent. It would be difficult since so much of our time together has revolved around the kids since they were born. But we were friends long before we had kids... We could theoretically still get together as families during the year, but just forgo future extended Summer trips with just me and the kids. But that would probably require a conversation/explanation as well. I'm truly torn over whether or not I should just try to let this go without saying anything, or if I should speak up. Thoughts/advice/opinions welcome!


CLove's picture

Id let them work it out - but converse with DD about it in depth, so she gets the validation that shes not being treated right. You can bring into the discussion that "someone who is being mean and bullying needs to be called out and told their behavior is unacceptable". We suggest that all the time for skids...same for you goddaughter. But YOUR DD must do this, for her own building up of boundaries. 

I feel that part of the parenting challenge is that you dont want to take away difficulties because they are learning tools. You want to give them the knowledge so they can make the right decisions when you ARENT there to intervene for them.

I hate bullies, they really get me mad, I dont care WHOSE child/daughter it is. I used to watch as SD25 Feral Forger would punch and hit her younger sister and call her ugly and stupid. When I brought it up, FF used it against me and ruined my first valentines day with husband, because when called out, her response was "well Ill just run away or k!ll myself, since Clove called me a bully". Shes also said things like "well no wonder Cloves brother k!lled himself, I would too if she were my sister".

I have a zero tolerance policy for bullies, but seeing as how you want to keep your friendship with the mother, I think this is a good way to go.

Aniki-Moderator's picture

Her kids are there, but not BFF? If so, I think you have every right to speak up. This is your home and mean girl behavior should not be tolerated. "If you can't say something nice" would be a good thing for GD to learn. "GD, that's rude/not nice. We don't allow that kind of behavior." Put her in timeout for 5-10 minutes.

Talk to your DD. Let her know that people are not always nice or kind and it's perfectly fine to walk away from that behavior. "I don't know why you're saying that. It's not nice. I'm going to do something else."

With the longevity of your friendship and your gracious qualities, I'm sure you can find a way to gently tell your BFF that her daughter is displaying  mean girl behavior. I'm not a bio mother, but my BFF's kids call me Aunt Aniki. I did call them out on bad behavior and let BFF know. One 'niece' started telling BFF before I could say anything. "Mom, I tried to do XYZ and Aunt Aniki wouldn't let me!" With a bug grin on her face. Testing boundaries? Maybe. She now has a 10yo son who calls me Aunt Aniki and refers to me as her Spirit Mom. *unknw*

Rags's picture

First, deal with it in real time correcting GD.  Then call your BFF to discuss the changing dynamic between the girls. Not a blame focused coversation. A solution focused conversation.

There a ton of dynamics in play. GD has a twin. Both GD and DD are girls.  These things happen. In the girl verson of them happening in a situation where two boys with one having twin sister would likely happen.

In our case, my parents had very close friends with two sons about the same age as my brother and me.  We did family trips together for years. One summer they came to my GPs "farm" for a week before the following epic national park road trip.  Where the prior visits had all been a blast, that visit was hell for my brother and me. And even for the younger brother on the other side.  The older brother, my peer, was in a tear up about everything phase.  Not what he wanted to do, tears.  Preparing to go explore on the farm spraying up with OFF to avoid no-see-ums then heading out the door and running into bag worm silk blowing around .... Screams of CHIGGERS!!! and tear. The other three of us just started leaving him to cry and going on about our business.  My dad was fine with it, his dad was fine with it, my mom was fine with it, his mom.... nope.

Make the call, have the talk, and deal withi the GD crap in real time being aware of the risks.

IMHO of course.

MorningMia's picture

Every time I have ignored a bully because I didn't want to make waves, I've regretted it. I'm with the "call her out" crowd, and there's really no reason to report it to your friend. If GD complains to her mother, her mother can contact you. Don't allow her to bully your daughter in your home or anywhere else. 

Rags's picture

I am definately team DESTROY THE  BULLY! Though IMHO the victim needs to be the one to step up and confront the bully in real time.

As the adult moderator, just address it immediately.  If the ill behaved GD decides to cry to her mommy, then deal with mommy or.... call mommy directly, put the GD on speaker with mommy, and have her explain to her mommy what she was doing and why she was doing it.

IMHO of course.

In my experience, the only regret I have ever had in dealing with a bully was letting them go on for more than an instant before ending them. From 4th into 7th grade I was more of a placator when it came to a bully targeting me. Then, a switch flipped and I started sending them to the hospital in an ambulance.  Physically agressive bullies of course.  Verbal and behvioral bullies, I just stepped up to them and asked them what their problem was. Assertively and as loudly as necessary to get it to sink in that I was done accepting their snarky bullshit.

Cover1W's picture

Completely agree with the above. She's there for weeks! Call her out. You are the mentor and role model here, you should have zero tolerance for the behavior. They are 10? Well, no movie night/Electronics access/pizza dinner then. Or if it really doesn't stop, she may go home early...have a good talk with your friend. She may not be aware.

NoWireCoatHangarsEVER's picture

This week I've had a tough time of it.  I have DD16.  She's going to be come a junior.  She has ex BFF Jessie.  They were friends since 6th grade.  Jessie has developed severe mental health issues and drug/alcohol addictions.  She has been baker acted six times.  She just got kicked out of the highschool.  She was taking pictures of herself performing a sex act and sent it to a bunch of people that she shouldn't have who airdropped it to the whole school.  One of their friends OD'd on drugs given to them by Jessie that turned out to be laced with fentayl.  She's sucicidal every other week.  Their friendship ended a year ago now.  Jessie has a new BFF in my coworker's daughter, Crystal.  I have had Crystal to my vacation home.  I've taken Crytal out on my boat.  But Crystal has become a flying monkey for Jesse.  

THey took took paint to some concrete poles and wrote for free summer ******** , call or text DD16's name and wrote her phone # and they then taunted her with pics of their handiwork.  Well I emailed my coworker and said, "Not cool, man. Reign in your kid."   And I got back, "well it was probably them but we don't know for sure it was them."  

I basically responded back that I'm the advocate for my daughter and I'm going to speak up for her and parent to parent, I felt I had to say something to him.  I told him I hope his daughter escapes the friendship unscathed. 

I know they are a little older than mine.  I have a 9 year old girl and my BFF has a 9 year old girl and they are three weeks apart.  They are now growing apart but even though I didn't get back the response, I felt that I should, I still think it was right to say something.  My coworker was defensive and nasty to me.  I hope your BFF has more tact and grace and realizes that it's our jobs to unleash kids into this world that are going to grow up and not be a&&holes.  We have to mold them and steer them.    

Lillywy00's picture

Stop hosting her. Especially not for weeks on end.

People will get annoyed with one another if they have different personalities / they're constantly around each other for extended periods of time

They've outgrown the close friendship they once had and now theyre probably better as associates or hanging out with adults moderating  

Love the goddaughter from a distance. 

And let your kiddo spend three weeks with kids that are more similar in personality to her. 

Lillywy00's picture

A side note my bff from middle school has a daughter near in age as mine 

we get together occasionally and always have the kiddos with us too....been doing "play dates" since toddler ages. 

Her daughter is a beautiful sweet young lady but she's WAY more advanced (aka running the streets and you know what that entails) and mine is more studious and a homebody so I know their personalities would clash (or at the least mine would probably come back with navel piercings, crop tops, condoms, liquor, cigarettes, blunts, straight F's) dealing with her for any extended period of time where adults weren't moderating. 

Rags's picture

IMHO, the massage to our kids has to be "I do not care what (the other person) did, I care what YOU did. You are now in trouble for what you did. If the other person is a problem, solve it. Or I will.  I suggest that you end any interface with them since you are incapable of making good decisions when  you are with them."

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Since her parent isn't there, next time you hear her say something rude, act shocked and say "That was a hurtful thing to say. I know you are a nice person, that's not like you!" See if she apologizes. She may be parroting things she hears online or from mean girls at school, and thinks it's cool or edgy. It will probably take several times of you calling it out for her to get it. She may correct herself. If not, talk to her mom and/or don't host her again. Her mom may be too busy at work and not realize how her daughter is getting, and the behavior may be a bad pattern now. I had to do that with my own kid. I started getting hints that my youngest was becoming a bully and i had a "come to Jesus" meeting with them. I finally told my kid "It's not them, it's you", then discussed ways for my kid to stand up for themselves but be more diplomatic. It's a fine line between being bullied and being a bully sometimes and kids need guidance, whether they are too assertive or not assertive enough. 

Thumper's picture

Protect your bio child. For sure,  speak up and correct the behavior. ADD "WE do not treat each other that way in OUR home"



Felicity0224's picture

Thanks, y'all. Lots of good advice.

We had a good day today. At one point last night, GD was nagging DD about not doing a chore correctly (according to her), and I asked her, "GD, do you think I'm a good mom?" And she said, "yes, I think you're a great mom!" and I said, "okay, good. I've noticed that you often take it upon yourself to criticize or correct DD. Since you agree that I'm a good mom, I think it would be best for you to restrict your commentary towards DD and let me decide if she needs to be corrected." She said, "yes ma'am." and that was the end of it. Since then I haven't heard her say anything rude to DD. 

I also went ahead and separated their sleeping situation. We're at our vacation house, so all three kids were sleeping in the bunk room, as they have for years. I told them all that I wanted DD to sleep in my room so I could monitor her breathing (she had some asthma issues this week, nothing serious but it seemed like a good enough excuse) while she slept. DD knew that I did it because I wanted to give her some space from GD, but I told her that GD didn't need to know that and she agreed. 

As for the future, we may not do the long summer trip next year - BFF can still bring the kids for a week or however long she can stay, but I'll figure out some tactful way to explain that they can't stay without her. We have a Christmas ski trip planned for all of us together, so that will be a good chance to see how the kids mesh when all the parents are present.