View Full Version : Friendship issues/Vent

07-25-2011, 11:47 AM
Some background: My 9 yo daughter is an Aspie and has ADHD and some difficult behavioral issues. She's also quite gifted. It's an interesting package! I've been good friends with another hs mom. Her older kids - boy 9, girl 12 - have been friends with my daughter for going on 6 years. They have been the "regulars" in our lives. My girl has trouble making friends and has the whole ASD awkward social stuff, but the other mom used to work with special needs kids and seems to get it as much as an outsider can, and her kids have been mostly pretty laid back and accepting. This has been a Very Big Deal. We live in an extremely conservative, Christian creationist sort of town, and finding another liberal, relaxed family whom we actually like (and who likes us back)? Golden.

There have been problems brewing, both with my friendship with the mom and with her kids/my kid. The mom and I occasionally hang without the kids and it's a much needed opportunity to talk shop and to vent a bit (can't do this AT ALL with my totally anti-hs family), and to just be. I am enjoying this less and less over time, though. She loves to brag on her kids (don't we all?) but she seems to spend a lot of time stressing how social and athletic and popular (pretty much polar opposite of my daughter) they are, especially her 12 yo. Um, yeah, I get it, you're proud, but after I just got done telling you how we were asked to leave a zoo program because of my daughter's behavior, maybe this isn't what I want to hear? For the first time ever my daughter wasn't included in the 12 yo's b-day, and I get this, too. However, I don't want to hear gushing about how wonderful the party was and how *nice* all the girls are, and how they just the best time. I know I'm sensitive to these things, but I can't believe it's all just me here.

The second issue is with the kids. They've always been able to find things they all enjoy together, and have their good days and bad, like any other kids. We get together a few times a month and mostly, it goes OK. The 12 yo has just decided that she doesn't like my daughter, which I didn't know. We went to their house last week and it was painfully clear from the second we walked in that 12 yo was barely tolerating my daughter (who, for better or worse, was oblivious and had a great time). There were lots of sighs and eye rolling, and I finally said something to my friend. She agreed that there was an issue, and apparently she had had to strong arm her kids into playing with my daughter because she wanted us to get together.

I am trying to decide if anything can be salvaged, or if I should just call it quits here. My biggest problem is that my daughter just doesn't get see these things, thinks these are her best friends (nearly only friends, actually), and their absence from her life will be a big hole. We've been working on building other friendships but it's a long, slow, and not entirely successful process. I am sad for her and sad for me.

Sorry this is so long, but this has been weighing heavy and I need a little perspective. :(

07-25-2011, 12:09 PM
Oh my. How normal and sad at the same time. It is normal and I don't think it has anything to do with your dc being ASD. It's a typical tween issue. Call it finding themselves, going through a phase or whatever, but it is typical for childhood friends to go in opposite directions and no longer stay friends because of that. It always stinks, but the fact that your dc is oblivious to it adds an extra layer of ick to it. (((hugs)))

Do you have anything in common with the mother other than the kids friendship? Does she vent to you or does that tend to be more one way? It sounds like she really wants to continue the friendship if she is willing to strong arm her kids for you. I'd take that as a positive actually. She can't make the kids be friends, but she is trying to make them be polite to the friends of her friend. I know if I wasn't interested in a friendship with someone, I wouldn't go to that much trouble.

Do you only wants to be friends with her if the kids are friends? Friendship goes through patches. Is this a rough patch for you or has the friendship always been frustrating?

There's really nothing you can do about the kids. Heartbreaking as it is, it is a natural thing you can't force to be different. All you can do is weather the storm as a calm harbor for you kid.

Whether you want to continue to develop your friendship with the mom is up to you though and I wouldn't necessarily hold her kids against her anymore than I would want a friend to do that to me.


07-25-2011, 01:31 PM
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07-25-2011, 03:21 PM
Thanks for the perspective (and the hugs!) - sometimes it seems like everything that happens is related to the ASD, and I need to get away from that kind of thinking. I've known that there was a good chance the kids would grow apart over time, since they are so very different from one another, but this seems sudden and it caught me off guard (the last time dd played at their house the 12 yo was upset when she had to leave and was asking when she could come back). I'm sure the tween stuff is part of it all. I don't quite know how to talk to my dd about this.

As far as my friendship with the mom, well, yes, we do have a lot in common and it would be a big loss if she weren't in my life anymore. We both have our moments of venting and of giving/receiving support. We also have fun together, so it's not all Debbie Downer time! :) I don't think I'm holding her kids against her (well, OK, not much), but I need to either grow a thicker skin or figure out a way of talking to her about how hard it is to hear so often about how terrific her kids are at the things mine struggles with the most. It's not that I never want to hear about the good stuff, but, wow, lay off a little. I'm not sure how to say this nicely, or even if I should.

07-25-2011, 03:27 PM
My niece just turned 13 and she is getting more interested in hanging out with the older members of the family than the younger ones. I think it is related to the age--maybe trying to distance themselves from the little kids and very conscious of how their peers would judge them by who they hang out with.

And the bragging... That's why I love this board. It's very comforting to hear about other kids with issues and not put up the pretense of "everything is just peachy."

07-25-2011, 03:32 PM
I want to send you a PM, but the option isn't showing up. Can you shoot me a line or is there something I'm missing?
***you have to have a certain amount of posts before you can use the private messaging**

At first I was thinking "Wow-drop her" but then I started thinking more about it. I've always come across people that seem to love talking about how wonderful their children are and it used to bother me until I realized...THERE'S NO WAY THEY'RE PERFECT!!! (Sorry for shouting) But it is something I have to remind myself when I start comparing my children to the children of the women that I know that are like this. I know that you aren't comparing but...it's what I do. It makes it easier for me to take it with a grain of salt. I just figure the mom is a tiny bit insecure so she likes to show off the "wonderfulness" of her children...

I agree with the above poster that said that it's a sucky fact of Tween life. I hate seeing it but it happens...the 12 yo is probably starting to go through puberty and I'm sure you remember the roller coaster ride that was!

07-25-2011, 03:41 PM
I didn't think you were a downer. It's just.. Well.. Some of my friends I can unload with and some of them I just can't. Idk why. It's just the way it is sometimes.

The suddenness can be normal too. If anything that makes me REALLY think this is normal. Next week everything might be back to normal again. I HATE the roller coaster at these ages! It is so hard.

It you really feel close to the mom, maybe you could humbly be honest with her? Something like, "I'm so torn because, as much as I truly love hearing about how well your kids are doing in xyz, my own dc really struggles with xyz and it's hard for my mother's heart to see and hear it so often."

If I didn't feel comfortable being that honest, I'd just steer the conversation elsewhere repeatedly as best I could and vent to dh when I got home. Because idk that this aspect is the friend's fault if she doesn't understand how sensitive this area is for me.

Really. All I got for you is hugs. Wish I had more solid answers to make it easier.

07-25-2011, 07:46 PM
I have a friend who now and again will tell me how brilliant her daughter is. I belive her reading and math were "off the charts" and the doctor told her that she didn't have ADHD, she was just a "highly intelligent child." It's not about the DD, its about her needing to feel better about herself. My DD has had enough of the daughter because she has been very mean over the years. I don't ever arrange anything anymore. I have much closer friends, so it doesn't bother me too much that I don't see Mom anymore.

I think, in regards to your child, the reaction of the 12 year old is normal as others have said. I think eye rolling is very typical! It is a shame though. How is the son with your daughter? Can that be fostered? My DD still plays with the same boy she's known for 6 years and they are 8 1/2 and 9 1/2.

07-25-2011, 08:03 PM
I've decided to nicely confront my friend, though I am going to wait for a bit until I'm less emotional and calmer. I'm trying to put a more positive spin on it, too, so I can approach it in a better frame of mind. It's possible that some of her bragging is coming from insecurity, as another poster suggested. I've noticed it off and on over the years, but it does seem to have gotten a lot worse over the last few months. Maybe she's finding the whole tween thing intimidating, maybe she's been nervous because she's known about her dd's change in attitude toward my dd. At any rate, I'm going to give it a shot. I'm not happy with the status quo (and my dh has heard plenty of venting - I think he's ready for a change, too!) so there's nothing left but to do it. Wish me luck.

I'm fairly sure everyone has it right about the tween/puberty issues playing a role with the kids. And, when I think about it, the ASD does have a little something to do with it too. My daughter is emotionally very young for her age, so it makes sense that a mature 12 yo looking to make the next step in life would not have much in common with her. I guess the issue now, assuming our conversation goes well, is whether my friend and I limit ourselves to our monthly night out for face to face interaction. I don't think much good can come from pushing the kids together right now.

Thanks for listening and for the feedback. It's really helped me think things through.

07-25-2011, 08:12 PM
How is the son with your daughter? Can that be fostered? My DD still plays with the same boy she's known for 6 years and they are 8 1/2 and 9 1/2.

Her relationship with the son has been much more up and down. They are both strong personalities, both very smart, both fairly emotional and reactive kinds of kids, so when it works, it works great, and when it doesn't... Well, fireworks! There may be some potential there. The trick will be figuring out how to make it happen w/o big sis, since she's the one my dd likes the best.

I have to throw it out there that I'm starting to become truly terrified of my dd hitting puberty. Just sayin'.

07-25-2011, 08:47 PM
Yeah. After 4 boys, I'm eye balling my 10dd like she is a beloved raccoon that could go rabid any minute. LOL

Can you get together with her like always, but not force the kids together? I don't allow my children to be rude to anyone, but that doesn't mean they have to play host to everyone visiting me. For example, I don't think my teens have to let my friends' preschoolers/elementary kids play in the teens' rooms. It might be hard, but I've pulled my kids aside at times and explained that so and so kids need some space and they need to amuse themselves some other way while I visit with the parent for a short visit.