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Tohru
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You may not be able to completely avoid her, but you can also make a point of always talking to other moms in the group, so if this particular woman joins in, you’ll have at least one other person there to deal with her attitude.

 

She sounds obnoxious — and if her kids are misbehaving, the time to put a stop to it is NOW, while she’s still new to the group. The leader of the group should talk to her, or if there’s no designated leader, the other moms need to get together and have a chat with the woman and let her know that she is responsible for supervising her children if she wants her family to be part of the group.

Edited by Catwoman
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Group dynamic can shift so drastically (in a positive or negative way) even with one new person added to the mix.  That can make things really challenging if the shift is negative.  I sympathize.

 

FWIW, your examples don't seem that extreme but it is hard to really see the big picture from a post on the internet.  Having boots on the ground you are seeing/hearing/feeling more of what is actually going on so I may be completely misreading.  I apologize ahead of time if my suggestions below are not helpful. 

 

How old are the children?  I think this is an important component.  Are they little?  Older?  How many kids does she have coming to this group?

 

Their behavior may stem from nervousness, anxiety, poor impulse control due to ADHD or a host of other things.  Doesn't make it any less uncomfortable for others but understanding why they are behaving as they are may help with trying to gain a better footing on group interaction.  My reactions really would depend in part on the ages of the children, though.  As for what I would do, I agree that a baseline for acceptable behavior and accountability needs to be established, but this can often be done in a positive and supportive way.

 

Example 1 - Frankly, if the parent is not stepping in I have no issues with gently but firmly letting children know when behavior is not appropriate or might be dangerous.  In the first instance I would not say anything about chewing grass but I would have no problem saying to the child that we never spit on other people and ask them politely but firmly not to do it again.  As for the scissors, again, I would simply make eye contact and let the child know that it is impolite and dangerous to snatch something out of someone else's hand, especially scissors.  I would then ask them to return the scissors to the person they took the scissors from.  If they do so I would praise them.  Whether the child listens is another matter but establishing a baseline for acceptable behavior and following through with consistent reminders can help.

 

Example 2 - It does seem strange that if the woman's child attends a Waldorf school 1 day a week and you brought up that you are sort of Waldorfy in your approach that she would apparently scoff at your comment and respond that they read books. Does this Waldorf school not include books?  Does she have a very different impression of Waldorf inspired educational practices than you?  Perhaps she is not happy with the school but keeps them in because it is only one day a week and she needs that day to get other things done.  Maybe her irritation at the school bled over into her response to you and came across as harsher than she intended.  Or maybe somehow from her perspective your statement may not have come across as a conversation starter but as somehow a judgement of her so she reacted defensively?  She may not have great social skills.  Maybe she has social anxiety.  Maybe she had been poorly judged by previous groups for her approach to homeschooling.  Maybe she simply had no idea how to respond to your statement and blurted out the first thing that came to mind.  Or maybe if you have a mismatch in personality you are both misreading each other (BTDT).  I would give her the benefit of the doubt and maybe try for a more neutral icebreaker next time.  Putting her at ease might help her relax and be more positive in her interactions.

 

Of course, some people just don't fit into a specific group dynamic.  That can make things very challenging on everyone.  I would try again to be polite and friendly while also helping to establish boundaries for the interaction of the children and hope things smooth out.  They may.  If not, though, perhaps she will find some other group she fits better with.

 

Either way, best wishes and good luck.  

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I’m “that parent†at groups. I make eye contact with the parent, then correct the child if their parent shows no sign of interfering.

 

No, little Johnny, we don’t spit on each other in x group, that was not nice.

 

No, little Susie, we don’t grab things at x group, we ask politely and wait our turn if we need something that somebody else is using.

 

The parent will either a) ignore it and let you correct them

b) step up and do it themselves

c) get annoyed and stay away (woohoo! Bonus!)

 

Very rarely, they might confront you. In that case, just tell them that their kid is not pleasant to be around when they do xyz, so step up or shut up.

 

As for being polite to the mom - hello and goodbye are enough. You tried to welcome her and include her, you’ve done your part.

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Group dynamic can shift so drastically (in a positive or negative way) even with one new person added to the mix.  That can make things really challenging if the shift is negative.  I sympathize.

 

 

Boy, howdy - isn't that the truth? We had a nearly decade-long group/multiple friendships that was wrecked when one single girl was added to the mix. It was truly flabbergasting to watch everything go down in flames in the manner in which it did. We're all still a bit scarred, to be honest. lol

 

To the OP - good luck. Hopefully they're just having adjustment issues and will adapt to the group dynamics soon.

Edited by hopskipjump
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Re: group dynamic - so true. We had a good long-standing park group that was wonderful on days when one family wasn’t there. Kids from 4-12 played elaborate games and got along great. Fun was had by all and everyone was included. When the other family was there, there was strife and bickering and the dynamic was noticeably “off†those days, but it was tolerable and all the kids learned valuable social skills and conflict management.

 

Until...

 

One unruly child with a very permissive parent joined the group and it was the beginning of the end. They didn’t last long (a couple months) and left in a cloud of rage and shame after an enormous blowout where the mother was telling off all of our kids and calling them names because her precious little snowflake’s antics were not tolerated by the kids and he was basically shunned. The kids really tried to be welcoming and inclusive and teach this kid how to play within the group but he was just too much and was not nice, so they stuck up for each other and natural consequences ensued. Snowflake didn’t appreciate that. Neither did his mom.

 

The damage was done. Everything kind of imploded after that and the group splintered.

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Thank you OneStepAtATime. Your perspective changed mine, I hadn't thought of some of those things. We probably are misunderstanding each other.

 

Sadly, yes, one person can definitely do unimaginable damage to a group dynamic. I'm sure this won't be the case, just trying to figure out how to get along and be patient.

 

The information is too self-identifying, so I've removed my original message to prevent any further misunderstanding or harm.

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Boy, howdy - isn't that the truth? We had a nearly decade-long group/multiple friendships that was wrecked when one single girl was added to the mix. It was truly flabbergasting to watch everything go down in flames in the manner in which it did. We're all still a bit scarred, to be honest. lol

 

To the OP - good luck. Hopefully they're just having adjustment issues and will adapt to the group dynamics soon.

 

 

Re: group dynamic - so true. We had a good long-standing park group that was wonderful on days when one family wasn’t there. Kids from 4-12 played elaborate games and got along great. Fun was had by all and everyone was included. When the other family was there, there was strife and bickering and the dynamic was noticeably “off†those days, but it was tolerable and all the kids learned valuable social skills and conflict management.

 

Until...

 

One unruly child with a very permissive parent joined the group and it was the beginning of the end. They didn’t last long (a couple months) and left in a cloud of rage and shame after an enormous blowout where the mother was telling off all of our kids and calling them names because her precious little snowflake’s antics were not tolerated by the kids and he was basically shunned. The kids really tried to be welcoming and inclusive and teach this kid how to play within the group but he was just too much and was not nice, so they stuck up for each other and natural consequences ensued. Snowflake didn’t appreciate that. Neither did his mom.

 

The damage was done. Everything kind of imploded after that and the group splintered.

 

 

Glad to hear it happens to others, but not glad, if you know what I mean.

 

We have been in some doozies of issues in HS groups when the kids were young.  And just one MOM can cause all kinds of issues.  Never mind the kids....in fact, the one I am thinking of at the moment.....her kids were fine!  It was the PARENTS who ruined the entire dynamic.  

 

OP, I am sorry you are going through this.  It stinks.  

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