Tuesday, July 10, 2007

a bleeding heart and the disappearing act

I'm somewhat in the middle of an ethical debate with myself. You heard me right, I am debating myself. The topic? My daughter's friend Tünde (tewn-deh, ya gotta pucker your lips to say this name). Her homelife is a mess and I am a bleeding heart. I want to try and save her except that not really, because she is a bad influence on Julia.

To date: 1) she has told Julia that she shouldn't pay attention to what her anya (mom) says, 2) they hid from me and disappeared we found them 10 minutes later on the 10th story of a nearby apartment building. (By we I do not mean her mother and I, her mother doesn't come to the park with her she just sends her down with a bottle of water.) 3) When Tünde came over to play they asked if they could play outside, Zoli explained the boundaries and of course, they took off again. 4) Yesterday at the park I asked Julia if she wanted to stay there or come with me to unlock the door (I accidentally locked Zoli inside the apartment and took both sets of keys!), she preferred to stay, I then asked one of the mothers if she wouldn't mind watching her. These are all kids from her K class and I'm comfortable with the moms. As soon as I left she whispered to Jules and they took off running, I later found them in front of our building and I was seething.

There's not a lot on this girl's side I mean, I know my child is not blameless: she apologized to the other ladies and is on büntetés (punishment) no chocolate/candy/ice cream for one week. But there's the side of my that wants to help this girl. It's not her fault her mother spends no time with her, she spends the whole day at kindergarten and the moment they get home her mom sends her to the playground until it gets dark. And the other adults at the park won't allow their kids to play with her because well, you get the picture. I don't subscribe to their style of parenting and I don't want Julia to think less of her, but I also don't really want Julia pulling this disappearing crap and general disobedience...

So here's where I ask y'all for your thoughts. Do I forbid Julia to associate with her like the other moms? Do I allow them to play together but watch them like a hawk? Do I stand a chance at helping this wayward child?


Kit said...

My take is let her play with her but only when your around to keep things under control and let Julia know that it is not OK to copy her behaviour. You can't do much to help her when her Mum is so negligent, but you can give her a better example while you're around...if that helps at all.

Romi said...

Wow. What a difficult position to be in. I think if I were you, I'd set the rules for this child and punish her if she doesn't follow them/reward her when she does follow them. See if she responds. Often, kids push and push because they want so badly to have limits set. Also make it very clear that your daughter must still follow your rules no matter what her friend tells her. I would find it difficult to abandon this child, as well. Who knows? You may become very important to her. If so, you need to think about balancing how much of a relationship wou will have with her, because you are leaving, right?

My $.25. ;) Good luck with it!

Marigold said...

I understand your postition, definitely! It's so hard to have your little girl acting like that, doing stuff that could be quite dangerous. But on the other hand, I wouldn't want to be telling my kiddo who she could or could not be friends with, either. I would vote for the "watch them like a hawk" option. It seems that if Tunde has any chance, she's going to encourage your daughter to misbehave. Is there any way to involve her in activities where they would have less of a chance to run away?
I don't know if you'll be able to help Tunde. Alot of her behavior is probably linked to her parents, and, especially at this age, any other adults are not going to make a huge difference. But, how you react to her, will make a difference in how your daughter sees you.
This is all IMO, so, take what helps, ignore the rest :)

Rhonda said...

Since the mother does not seem to be a functioning adult, sit the child down and lay down the ground rules and let her know she will not be allowed to play with your daughter for one week if she does not follow them. Do let her know why she is not allowed to play that week if she shows up. If she continues, make it a permanent situation. Follow through with it as she will test you. I've been in that same situation.