What do I do about my friends?

Reply Sat 5 Mar, 2016 10:35 pm
I'm very good friends with a couple that has a 15-year-old daughter. There have been several occasions where they've invited me and a bunch of other people over for dinner parties. In the last 3 dinner parties, they openly lectured their daughter in front of all of us about the fact that she doesn't do her schoolwork. Now don't me get wrong. If she were my daughter, I would be very concerned, but I would not lecture her in front of other people. That just seems completely inappropriate. I've known this girl since she was born, and I think she trusts me a lot. At the most recent dinner party, she had a private conversation with me asking if I could convince her parents to stop humiliating her. She said that nothing makes her feel worse than embarrassment, and that she would literally be fine with some sort of punishment instead, whether it be a grounding, beating, etc. If this were my child, I would definitely punish them, but I wouldn't humiliate them in front of other people. Her parents were punishing her before, but now they've resorted to embarrassing her, and I can totally see why that upsets her. She cares a lot about what other people think of her. The problem is that it could go over very badly if I try to tell someone what to do with their own child. Since I'm really close to them, should I say something to them anyway? If not, what else could I do? Thanks!
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Reply Sun 6 Mar, 2016 07:30 am
there is a less likely to gain success if you say something. Id encourage the girl to have a more serious (non-defensive if possible) discussion with her parents or maybe bringing in another family member to help this out. i that can't be done, then maybe getting involved is a good idea. It has to be done diplomatically.

good luck. the path is not an easy one.
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Reply Sun 6 Mar, 2016 02:22 pm
Teach her how to deflect these humiliating comments by changing the subject. e.g.:
"Gee, Mom, I'm sure the Smith's don't want to hear about my homework. What's the latest movie you have seen, Mr. Smith?"

If this tactic is done kindly, it can move the entire conversation away from her and put it on someone else.
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Reply Mon 7 Mar, 2016 09:43 am
This is tough - and I think in part we would need to know how her parents would take certain types of involvement.

My initial thought was to see if the daughter would mind you telling the parents she reached out to you. And then tell the parents mom or dad whoever you are closest with and would handle it the best -- your daughter approached on this and said blah blah -- then say I know it isn't my place to be involved but she seemed really upset about it so I wanted you to know. Now that would only work if you knew the parents and the girl really well as if you were family and the parent(s) would be receptive to it without getting defensive.

The other tactic that may work is to have a talk with the daughter - let her know you would love to help, but it isn't your place to get in the middle. Then talk with her about the problem itself - that she isn't doing her school work - is there a reason? And suggest the importance of finishing her work. Also on how to approach her parents if there is a problem with her finishing her schoolwork - ie she doesn't understand, it is too difficult - let her know maybe her parent's approach isn't the best, but they are doing this in her best interest for her succeed. Sometimes it helps anyone including teens if they understand the parents' motivation. In part, the teen could help by doing what is expected of her. If you explain that she talks to her parents and maybe makes some sort of agreement - you stop embarrassing and I will do my best to get my schoolwork done and let you know if I am having a problem finishing so you are aware.

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