You know what's even harder than having to deal with a toxic person yourself?

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keepfighting

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Watching your kids struggling with toxic friends.

There's so little you can do as a parent - they have to defend their own place in the group and develop the skills not to be a doormat by trial and error themselves.

When they are little - until about the end of primary school - you can still interfere as a parent if need be, but once they've become teenagers, it's essential to take a step back and let them handle it themselves.

Our d has been on the receiving end of a smear campaign for some time now. She asked us specifically not to try and interfere and let her handle it her own way. We've now agreed that she can talk to us about whatever she wants whenever she wants - if she tells us up front whether she wants our help, our advice or just a person to vent to, we will act according to her wishes.

Taking a step back, watching my beloved d get hurt and fight her way back up is incredibly hard for me. The urge to prevent her from coming to any harm - emotional or otherwise - is still very very strong. I try to trust that it'll make her stronger and help her develop the skills to fend off these kind of people that  work for her.

Anybody else feel/felt that way? I'd love to hear experiences from other parents!

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alovelycreature

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Not a parent, but I think it's admirable of you to listen to your d and provide her a trustworthy space to talk about her challenges. I have friends who are parents, and I can tell how heavy their hearts are when their children are experiencing challenges.

In Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly, she talks about the type of parenting children through these types of experiences. She talks a lot in the book about being with your child in a challenge, empathizing, and sharing something similar that was challenging to you can help children feel they are not only not alone, but that when they are feeling vulnerable that it's good to talk about their feelings. Brown talks about in the book her personal experience with this and how hard it was, and how much she needed to grieve what her children were grieving!

You sound like a really great Mom. I hope you find some peace and advice from other parents.  :hug:

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marycontrary

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I am not a parent either, but I think you just setting with her, and validating her feelings, being there if she needs you...is all you have to do.

Absolutely. Something I find especially valuable for your daughter is that you (very clearly) try to respect her - from what you write, it seems that you did your best to really listen to her, and that you respect her decisions. You're not diving in from up above, telling her how to fix this or giving the brisk kind of "good advice". That's what my mother did when I had toxic friends as a teen: she'd listen for a little while, and then she'd give a very brief bit of advice, done. It just made me feel even more stupid. I'm thinking - if you show your kid (as you do) that you enjoy her company and that you respect what she says and that you're interested in her thoughts, that might go some way towards counter-balancing the poison her "friends" spew at her.

I'm a mother two, and I know all this is easier said than done, alas. Sometimes I'm thinking that motherhood means working very hard until you fail in a way that everyone can hopefully live with. It's so hard. I'm trying to teach myself that I'm not actually responsible for making my kids happy for the rest of their lives. But it's so tempting. And if I'm honest - if someone hurts my kids, I want that person's head on a pike. Not literally. But there's this wish to pack my kids away to safety and go "HISSSS" at whoever bothers them.

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keepfighting

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Not a parent, but I think it's admirable of you to listen to your d and provide her a trustworthy space to talk about her challenges. I have friends who are parents, and I can tell how heavy their hearts are when their children are experiencing challenges.

Thank yo so much for your validation.  :hug:

I think it's time I bought Brene's book.  ;D I love her TED talks already and your description has made me want to order the book as well.  :thumbup:

I am not a parent either, but I think you just setting with her, and validating her feelings, being there if she needs you...is all you have to do.

I know you're right but it is sometimes really hard to sit quietly in the backround. Last year, my d had an accident on her way to school. Broke her nose and had a concussion. The first few days were bare survival - lots of sleeping and lots of pain meds. It broke my heart to watch her check her cell in vain for a message from one of her friends at school - asking her what had happened, wishing her well, any sign of sympathy. Turns out that this girl had told everyone in school that my d hadn't been in any accident at all but that she had had an argument with 'girl' and invented the story of an accident to avoid 'her'. So when d returned to school after a week and it was fairly obvious that she had been in an accident (...a broken nose is kind of hard to miss - it's right in the middle of your face and was sporting lots of colors  :bigwink:) - still none of the kids approached her, asked her how she was doing or apologized for not texting. I guess most of them were a bit ashamed for having believed the made up story and didn't know how to behave. D got support from us and from the teachers at school but the lack of support from her 'friends' still hurt her - and it also permanently altered her relationship with her former bff who was also a participant in this 'game'.

Absolutely. Something I find especially valuable for your daughter is that you (very clearly) try to respect her - from what you write, it seems that you did your best to really listen to her, and that you respect her decisions. You're not diving in from up above, telling her how to fix this or giving the brisk kind of "good advice". That's what my mother did when I had toxic friends as a teen: she'd listen for a little while, and then she'd give a very brief bit of advice, done. It just made me feel even more stupid. I'm thinking - if you show your kid (as you do) that you enjoy her company and that you respect what she says and that you're interested in her thoughts, that might go some way towards counter-balancing the poison her "friends" spew at her.

I'm afraid that I did fall into the trap of giving too much advice. Not like your mom - but I do have a tendency to keep on talking when I should stop. That's why it's a good thing that she stood up for herself and asked us to give her more space.

The 'new rules of communication' that we agreed to about two weeks ago seem to be working fine: She is actually more open instead of less about a variety of things, not only painful things. H and I agreed that the message we want to be sending her is mainly along the lines of "You deserve good friends", "you deserve to demand good lessons" and "you deserve to stand up for yourself"- and not go into details so much any more....

I'm a mother two, and I know all this is easier said than done, alas. Sometimes I'm thinking that motherhood means working very hard until you fail in a way that everyone can hopefully live with. It's so hard. I'm trying to teach myself that I'm not actually responsible for making my kids happy for the rest of their lives. But it's so tempting. And if I'm honest - if someone hurts my kids, I want that person's head on a pike. Not literally. But there's this wish to pack my kids away to safety and go "HISSSS" at whoever bothers them.

 :yeahthat:

I totally understand what you're saying: I never knew I had anything of the tigress in me until I had kids....

 :hug:

Exactly. I think that protectiveness can get in our way. Sometimes we "fix things" for our kids simply to make ourselves feel better. After all, watching them suffer is distressing. So I sometimes fix my distress, not hers. It's an ongoing task to always, always remind myself to really see my kids - to find out what exactly they need right now.

Your daughter's story is heartbreaking. Hug her for us (if she isn't too taken aback). I

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I know you're right but it is sometimes really hard to sit quietly in the backround.

Oh, and how! After all, our relationship with our kids starts out like this: you NEVER sit quietly in the background. When they're babies, you do everything for them. Everything. Thirst, hunger, boredom, itchiness, too hot, too cold, pain, it doesn't matter: if there's a problem, Mum fixes it. (Or not. But we try.) Then, when they're toddlers - yes, of course, they begin to do things for themselves. But you still have to be ready to leap in and prevent disasters. So you spend at least half a dozen years primed to jump in and fix things. Constant repetition paves new neural pathways. Which have then to be unpaved again once our kids are teenagers.

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keepfighting

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But you still have to be ready to leap in and prevent disasters. So you spend at least half a dozen years primed to jump in and fix things. Constant repetition paves new neural pathways. Which have then to be unpaved again once our kids are teenagers.

Very true.

I feel a bit ashamed that I hadn't noticed that her needs had changed - totally went by me. Well, at least she's told us at some point (... delivered in the typical teenage fashion...   :bigwink:). We learn and grow - and are always one step behind our kids in their development  :bigwink:.

Now that I've had time and a bit of emotional distance to think things over, I believe that my biggest 'mistake' was that I told her everything I've learned over the past two years about manipulative behaviour and how to deal with it in one go - and that was counter productive. (I also tend to do that when talking to my h about relationshippy stuff [friends, family, workplace] --- it's just so much information stored up and when I open my mouth, it flows out and never stops...)

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JohnnyBoy

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As a parent I would give them the validation, someone to talk to, and respect they need. As a daddy I'd wait till they wasn't looking and hang their tormentor to a tree  by their t-shirt lol...sorry that's just me.