Should He Offer Advice to His Friend on How to Deal with Her Obnoxious Child? Would It Be Considered a Friendship Faux Pas Since He’s Not a Parent?

A 21-year-old man and his 23-year-old female best friend share a special bond. They’ve been friends for seven years and treat each other like family. The young man, who is gay, clarifies, “I see her as my sister.” There’s no question about a romantic relationship between them.

The Single Mom

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His best friend is a mother to a toddler who is almost three years old. Her former partner and the baby’s father is no longer in their lives. The young man describes the father as someone who didn’t contribute to raising the child, saying, “Before she had to make him leave, she was the one doing EVERYTHING.”

Stepping in as Caregiver

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When the child was very young, the young man often had to step in to provide care. As the mother was busy with work, she counted on him. He shares, “I first met her baby, my niece, when she was a month old. Since her baby’s father didn’t work and didn’t care for his kid, I would be the one feeding, changing, clothing, and playing with my niece.”

Sweet Early Memories

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The initial period of looking after the child was quite easy. The child was calm and didn’t fuss much. “She was really an easy baby when I watched her. As she grew older, she stayed quite relaxed and easy-going,” he fondly remembers.

A Year Later: Seeing Changes

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A year later, things changed dramatically. During a visit, the young man noticed his niece had changed a lot. His niece, who was always gentle, was now acting differently, which troubled him.

The Shopping Incident

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The change in the child’s behavior was obvious during a shopping trip. Neither the mom nor her new boyfriend seemed to watch over the child. This left the young man looking after the child, who was now more energetic and hard to control. He says, “My niece was running around the store, climbing on shelves, and hiding between them.”

More Disruptive Actions

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The child also started running into streets from stores or while walking. This dangerous behavior was not addressed by the mother, who only fetched the child without explaining why her actions were wrong. The young man states, “My best friend just grabbed her and brought her back to the store or car. She didn’t even explain why she shouldn’t do that.”

Physical Aggression towards the Mother

It Doesn’t Cost the Parents More Just Because the Child Turns 18
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The lack of discipline was also seen in how the child treated her mother. The young man noticed that the child would hit or kick her mom when she didn’t get what she wanted immediately. The mom’s reaction was simple, just saying, “Ouch, that hurts.”

A Need for Rules

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While the young man doesn’t want the child to be punished harshly, he believes some form of discipline should be used to guide the child’s behavior. He worries that the child might become rude and disobedient due to lack of rules. “I mean to say, give her a consequence and teach her to not hit and kick people and that she should never run out into the street or around in the store,” he advises.

The Challenge of Speaking Out

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Lastly, the young man thinks about discussing his concerns with his best friend. But he’s unsure and worries about crossing a line by questioning her way of parenting. He ends with a question, “Would I be wrong if I told my best friend that she needs to guide her daughter better?”

People Responded

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One user said, “If the kid runs out in the street you can say, “My mom did XYZ to stop me from doing that when I was a kid.” But that’s about it.”

Another User Commented

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It probably won’t go down well and she won’t change anything anyway and she’ll be really angry at you. If you are willing to take that risk go for it. For the child’s sake.”

This story was adapted from a post on an internet forum

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