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I Can’t Stand My Friend’s Kids

Questioner

A

Reply Date

Jan 17, 2017

Question

I have a friend who has boy and girl ages 5 years and 3 years. My kids ages 4 year old (son) and a 2 year old (girl). We get together quite often. The mom is one of my best friends. But sometimes I am finding myself in uncomfortable situations because of her children. The 5 year old son is like a tornado in my house and my son turns into a tornado around him as well. He becomes more violent, he plays more rough and it is usually extremely loud in the house when they are over. The girl is a bit easier to control but she has similar issues. We get together with other parents as well, sometimes there is even more kids in the house but the situation is never like with her kids. I do not know what to do. I really want to have my friends over, but I am finding myself limiting the interactions when her kids are around to max once a week because of these problems.

Counselor

Answer


kids fighting

As-salamu alaykum dear sister,

 

I am sorry your having such a hard time when your children get together to play with your friend’s children. At this age, often two rambunctious children who otherwise are rather calm can feed into each others energy and turn the house into a running zone! You are not alone in this, it is quite common.

I would kindly suggest that you sit down with your friend and instead of stating her son is causing chaos in the home when he comes to play, ask her for advice on how to calm your son when they come over. While it is not your son who is the energetic one but rather hers, if you frame it in this way she may state her son is rambunctious as well and she may not know how to deal with it either!

At this point perhaps the two of you can come up with a plan to make the play-dates more calmer by setting boundaries and rules which you both can go over with the boys. Additionally, by setting limits on behaviors, you can re-enforce their positive play with praise, toys or extra treats.

At this age children are still learning social skills, learning how to navigate in social interactions as well as looking (unconsciously maybe) to adults for guidance and direction regarding their play behaviors. As both boys are still young, they should not be let free to just rampage through the house but rather limits should be set and expectations as well as consequences (both positive and negative). This can be done by both you and the child’s mom.
As every child is different in regards to levels of aggression and play style, it could be that your son is energized by this child’s style of play and that is why you see a difference when he is playing with other children. This too is normal behavior as children often feed off of or model behaviors they see.

As his mom is a dear friend, I am sure if you approach her in the manner described above, it will become a joint project for the two of you to work on insha’Allah to balance out the play energy in your home when they are over.

 

We wish you the best, let us know how it works out!




About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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