Punkin has lots of wonderful friends. Friends that I absolutely love having around.
And she has one that I don’t.
That makes me sound awful, I know. They’re only 9. But this kid comes from a home where things are much different. She runs the show. She sets the rules, and is rarely told, “no.” She doesn’t tolerate interruptions from younger siblings. She doesn’t ask – she tells. And then I maybe want to sit her down for a good talking-to. But that would be bad because she’s not my kid.
But the real kicker is the attitude – the meanness to my younger two, and the influence these attitudes and behaviors have on Punkin.
I don’t want to tell her she’s not allowed to be friends with her, because let’s face it, that never works anyway. They’re in the same class. But all the major rules we have (ask permission, use manners, wear shorts that cover your underwear) don’t apply in her home. And I kind of start twitching because I’m not sure how much I can require that in our home, she follows our rules – without offending the family.
It doesn’t help that I *loathe* drama queen behavior, and this kid has it down to a science. We don’t cry and pout when we lose a game. We crack jokes and move on. We don’t roll on the floor and cry when we bump our knee on the chair. We shake it off. (At this point, we’re shaking off huge needles, toxic medications, and cancer, so I’m admittedly a little biased in this department).
Here’s my predicament: I think this could be a great opportunity for Punkin to learn about standing up for herself and her sisters, for realizing that a lot of people will do things – and get away with them – that you can’t. That’s just life. I also know that this little girl comes from a home with a barely-there dad, a hands-off mom, and a grandparent doing the best he can with two little kids.
So. Teach me. How do I handle this? I can’t allow her to trample our rules and drive me to drink, but I also don’t want to cut off the friendship. I want to be a source of love for her. I want to teach Punkin through this.
I also don’t want anyone physically harmed in the process.
Words of wisdom, please?