Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bad Influence

When you're a parent, you realize that it's only a matter of time before your kid meets a Bad Influence. Preferably, your daughter will be 18 the first time it happens, and the Bad Influence will be a girl (not a boy) who drives a sports car 5 miles above the speed limit and offers your daughter a sip of beer (just a sip). Right? Isn't that the best scenario? For my husband's sanity and blood pressure, let's hope the Bad Influence isn't an 18 year old boy with a studded leather collar while our daughter is only 14. As we all know, that type of Bad Influence would create all sorts of havoc.

The thing is, I really didn't think the first Bad Influence would be a kinda mean 4 year old decked out in hair bows and a ballet tutu. I don't even blame the kid. I blame the parents for creating a 4 year old Mean Girl. (Not that I'm blaming them for her mere existence, but I'm rather blaming them for starting a behavioral pattern that has created the meanness in her.)

Bad Influence only goes to daycare once or twice a week. She's that unpredictable storm that you never know when is going to strike. However, you always know when she's been there because your child picks up certain sayings and behaviors.

1) "You're not my friend anymore!" with the corollary of "You're not coming to my birthday party!" (in 10 months...okaaaaaaay)
2) Talks in absolutes, usually after you tell her no and explain why. "I NEVER want to eat ice cream again." Then proceeds to ask for ice cream 5 minutes later.
3) Slams doors, dramatic floor antics, etc.

In other words, she acts just like Bad Influence. It's been about a year or so since I've noticed that Bad Influence is the main reason for my daughter's unwanted behavior. Sure, I bet there's some other kids at daycare she's picked it up from, but the timing of when it becomes a huge problem is usually right after Bad Influence showed up to daycare that day. We try to kick it out of her, and by the time she's back to her status quo, Bad Influence is there again.

Bad Influence's mother is interesting. We had a playdate last year, and she praised herself to me for being a Tiger Mom (flashcard drills every night, extracurricular activities every night of the week, overprotective, etc.). I don't do flashcards. My limit is one extracurricular activity per week. And I don't think I'm that overprotective, but it's really hard to judge your protectiveness as compared to other mothers.

It seemed to be a decent playdate that one time. The girls had fun. Afterwards, though, the mother was kind of cold toward me. I saw her in a store, and she just nodded and walked away. Ooooookay. Then I saw her while we were dropping off the girls at daycare, and she didn't even acknowledge me. But then I saw her in a store another time after that, and she talked to me for about 10 minutes. I had to get rid of her because of my time constraints. Needless to say, I'm really confused about where I stand with her. Maybe she's one of those hot/cold people, which might be why her kid is so hot/cold. One day Bad Influence wants to be J's best friend. The next day she wants nothing to do with her, which of course breaks J's heart and we get to hear about the crushing disappointment once she gets home that day.

I really don't like that Bad Influence's mother lies to her kid. My husband and I both observed one instance where she lied to her kid, and then she told me another time that she lied. I don't know, it seems to me that if you lie to your kid that your kid might have trust issues and be insecure. Which might then logically manifest itself into being a Mean Girl at daycare, but I digress.

If only my daughter didn't think the sun rose and set on Bad Influence. I suppose this is a learning experience for us as parents and my daughter. There will always be Bad Influences around; you can't control that. But what you can control is your behavior and how you respond to it.

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