[The following questions were submitted on Facebook, on the same day and in succession.]
What do you do when you can't stand your kid's (spoiled and icky) best friend, although you do like his parents?
Los Alamitos, CA
What does one do when they don't like either the parents or the spoiled kid?
Mom of Four
Laguna Beach, CA
What do you do when you have the spoiled kid and nobody likes the kid or you?
Hyde Park, NY
Dear Eloise, Mom of Four, and Thelma,
Wow! Like Rodney King said, “Can we all get along?” But, no we can’t because there are spoiled kids who boss your kid around and obnoxious parents who encourage them to do so. As for Eloise’s dislike of her daughter’s best friend, try to organize play dates at your house so you can put the kibosh on the friend’s bad behavior. According to Lisa Gaché at Beverly Hills Manners, “It is perfectly okay to discipline other children when they are under your watch and under your roof.” If your kids are older, offer to drive them places so you can see exactly what behaviors you don’t like. Then talk to your daughter in detail about what’s acceptable behavior.
Since Eloise likes the parents, perhaps make a light comment to the parents about their daughter’s bad behavior. You could piss off the parents, which may not be such a bad thing, especially if you are Mom of Four who doesn’t like the kid or the parents.
Mom of Four, perhaps it’s best to nip that friendship in the bud and encourage your daughter to make new friends. You could take a cue from Thelma and her dilemma of being the un-likables. Why not invite the spoiled child and parents over for a barbeque? Cook up a tuna casserole, put on your day old clothes and tell bad jokes. Who knows? The family might suddenly become incredibly busy. If that doesn’t work for you, I would reduce contact to school only events.
As for Thelma’s predicament, being the family no one likes can have its advantages. Your social schedule is simple, allowing for more family time. It might be a good idea though to enroll in an etiquette courses or find a new set of friends who are more in synch with you and your family.
Navigating the parental social scene can be extremely stressful. If words aren’t getting the job done, get out the camera and take a few pictures. There’s nothing like a photo to convey a thousand words or so. Just don’t get it developed at Wal-mart and risk losing more than your friends.