To tell DS he can't be friends with a naughty 'friend'

(49 Posts)
twinkletwinkle9 Fri 05-Jul-13 17:19:51

I really hope I don't sound like that horrible Katie Hopkins woman on This Morning, I'm really not.
But DS (4) has recently made friends with a little boy on our street (5) and he's really not a very nice boy but DS seems to idolise him a little, it's only fairly recently that I've really allowed him to play out with friends so it's all a bit of a novelty to him and I think he just likes feeling like a big boy playing out with his new friend.

The reasons I don't really like this boy are:
He is VERY bossy and quite cocky, he waltzes in this house (sometimes without knocking) like he owns the place, bosses DS around and he just goes along with it.
He is rude and uses no manners.
He doesn't share, he just takes over DS's toys and lets DS have an occasional turn.
DS has learnt words and phrases from him that I don't like, not so much swear words but just things which aren't very kind or nice.
We live at the end of an avenue and DS is only allowed to play on the grassy area or on the pavement on our side of the avenue (ie where I can see him), but his new friend keeps taking him across the road to his house because apparently he's old enough to cross the road. Luckily I've seen him because I'm always keeping an eye on him.
He is very cheeky to me and often argues or challenges me if I tell him that he can't have something or do something. For example, the other day he said to DS "come on lets play upstairs", I said "no the baby is in bed, play downstairs or outside please", he replied "but all his toys down here are rubbish, we want to play upstairs, we'll be quiet". I just can't believe the cheek of him, when I was a kid if a friend's parent told you "no" you listened to them, I would never have dared answer back like that.
I had to send him home yesterday because DS's friend from school had come to play and he ended up really upset because he was being mean to him, 5 mins later he came back again. Luckily DS's nice friend stood up to him and told him "I don't want to play with you because you're very mean to me". I wish DS would do the same!

I've never once seen his mother, she seems to just let him out without checking where he is or what he's doing. This worries me that a 5 year old is going in people's houses without their mother knowing where they are. Of course this isn't the boy's fault though.

DS goes to nursery-school and has made some lovely friends, his teacher commented on what a nice circle of friends he has. At school I don't think he'd pick this boy as a friend but I think he just likes having a friend to play out with at home.

It bothers me that DS doesn't stand up for himself and I've spoken to him about it, but at the end of the day he's 4, I don't think he even notices when he's getting bossed around etc.

At the moment DS is playing with him almost daily and I'm starting to see a serious decline in his behaviour and manners and I'm sure it's down to him playing with this boy.

I don't know whether to just let the friendship continue and hope that the novelty wears off or whether to tell DS that he can't be friends with him?

On one hand I think that DS needs to learn who is nice and not nice for himself, but on the other hand he is only 4 and so I wonder whether I need to make the decision for him?

Also, I worry that if DS tells the boy that "My mum says I'm not allowed to play with you anymore" that I'm going to get his Mum knocking on my door asking me why. I really don't want any trouble with any neighbours confused

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Fri 05-Jul-13 18:17:26

It can be quite useful having DC1 entertained whilst tending to an infant DC2 but that doesn't mean you have to tolerate cheek or rudeness, nor provide free babysitting. Stay non-shouty, step in if required and be matter of fact, "Time to go home now DS is going out/having his tea/busy now". Or in the event of unruliness, "Okay that's enough, off you go, DS isn't playing with you when you (do X or Y)".

It is natural when little to idolise older children and looking ahead it can be handy having a bigger kid as an ally at school or local activities.

With any luck any holiday you and the other family take won't be concurrent and other playdates you have with other children, if the 5 year old turns up tell him "DS is busy, see you another day".

DaddyPigsMistress Fri 05-Jul-13 18:17:44

If your son is wondering away from where you let him play then he is not ready to play out.

WorraLiberty Fri 05-Jul-13 18:18:35

Ahh then you need to get strict with your own child too

No-one comes into my house without the kids asking me first, and they're not allowed to ask me in front of the child either.

They turn the pleading eyes on too much! grin

Lilka Fri 05-Jul-13 18:40:55

I've been on the other end of this situation. My DD2 wanting to play with someone and trying hard to be friends but failing to grasp the rules of friendship and appropriate behaviour. If you want a perpective from this end...yes I understand that you don't want your son to copy this and you want him to be friends with friendly children. BUT telling your son he isn't allowed to play with X any more is excessive, especially since you haven't tried any other options yet. I can tell how very very painful and distressing it is for a child to walk into the playground and approach other children only to be told 'we aren't allowed to play with you'. Try something else first, like all the suggestions you've been given. No one enters the house unless you say so for instance. Do let them see each other, just limit playtime a bit.

I agree with Lilka - just wait until your child is on the receiving end of "1'm not allowed to play with you". It is dreadful to deal with. Mind you the last Mum who told her DD to say that to my DS, also told her DD that she was fat. Her DD and my DS are 8 and 7 respectively. I was shocked so it does show you that even respectable families on the outside can be really horrible underneath.

diddl Fri 05-Jul-13 18:54:54

But the boy doesn't have to be told that OPs son isn't allowed to play with him.

OP just needs to step up with some supervision/boundaries.

ChangeyMcChangeName Fri 05-Jul-13 18:56:54

Why are you letting a FOUR year old play out in the street? I'm pretty relaxed...my DC play out...but from the age of 7 or so. 4 is almost a toddler!

YoniSingWhenYoureWinning Fri 05-Jul-13 20:53:25

God, I'd never let a kid just march into my home! I'd just say 'We're not having visitors right now. Goodbye!'

Lavenderloves Fri 05-Jul-13 21:04:34

^^ i'm with change far far too young.

They are vulnerable and trusting at this age. April jones was abducted because she was too young to understand the dangers.

I would never let my 5 year old out.

I find a useful phrase to use in situations where other people's children are behaving in a way I don't like is "We don't do that in this house." Repeat. Stay calm. If behaviour is displayed again "We don't do that in this house, if you do it/say it again then you will have to leave." (Or "Horatio will have to leave" if it your son who plays up/copies)

Also maybe knock round at "Horatio's" house and have a chat with his mum. "We are having some issues with DS and behaviour one some playdates. Just so you know I am having to cut some playdates short so I may have to say not to Horatio or send him home if either of them start playing up. Boys will be boys". Keep it light, keep it non-judgemental and non blame-y. If she starts questioning just be vague - that your DS is answering back/being cheeky and you are just trying to show him there are consequences.

FWIW I would seriously be having a chat with this other mother anyway. As others have said - her son is in your house! Tell her Horatio cannot come round as much - you have a baby and you would feel awful if something happened to her DS as you cannot watch them all the time.

Twattybollocks Fri 05-Jul-13 21:15:19

Yanbu to not want your son playing with this child, but I really wouldn't say it to him directly, little people have a habit if repeating stuff at an inopportune moment, so before you know it, your ds has said to the boy that he isn't allowed to play with him, then the boy repeats this to his parents (usually with suitable embellishment and drama) and next thing you know you have the boys parents knocking on your door asking what is wrong with their son.
I've seen it happen, and learned never to say anything to a child that you don't want to broadcast to the entire neighbourhood Chinese whisper style.
If you don't want them to play, just keep making excuses and on the odd occasion that you can't avoid it, reinforce the boundaries constantly and send the boy home at the first sign of naughtiness.

Sorry, sllightly jumbled typing as jumbled thinking - seriously distracted by the tennis. And YY - he and you DS I think are too young to be playing out like this. And to young to be marching round uninvited to others houses.

Goooo Murray!!!

DaveMccave Fri 05-Jul-13 21:35:55

Your son is only a pre-schooler and yet you let him play outside away from the house. If you want to stop this interaction I'd reconsider allowing it. The other 5 year old sounds like most 5 year olds I know though. Infuriating, but completely normal. I used to get really upset when dd's friends would challenge me on things I'd told them not to do etc, but after all of them being the same Ive just realised its normal. Doesn't mean you should accept it though.

teacherlikesapples Fri 05-Jul-13 22:39:12

There are always going to be 'bad influences' in your child's life. You will never be able to remove or ban all of them. Plus doing that often makes them seem like even more fun!

Because you don't have much control over outside influences- the best thing you can do is teach your child to make good decisions. Help him to be assertive and take responsibility for his own actions ("he told me to" is not ok) So that he learns to choose friends that make him feel happy, safe and listened to.

Use the situation with this child as a learning opportunity. At least your child's interactions with him are mostly when you are around, so you can review tricky situations as they arise. e.g "I noticed Bobby wasn't listening to you when you were playing earlier." Then listen to what your child has to say.
This can give you insight into why your child lets himself be treated this way.
e.g Is he scared? is it a self esteem thing? Does he not have the language? Is it confidence? Is it attention seeking?

By making gentle statements about what you observe (rather than making judgement statements i.e That boy is naughty etc...) you help your child come to his own conclusions. You are empowering him to stand up for himself, recognising he has every right to be listened to- especially in his own house!

Give him strategies/statements to say & do when he doesn't like a situation
and role play scenarios so he can practice them.

Continue to give the other child firm & consistent boundaries. Your house- your rules. But be aware- kids like him know when they are disliked. They become hyper vigilant and determined to live up to their reputation.

If you can help him think that you are firm but fair, then maybe you will get to see a different side to this boy. He obviously doesn't have boundaries from his parents- but children crave the security of boundaries, because it tells them someone cares enough to say no & keep them safe. Maybe you can be that person for him?

My DS is almost 5 and I wouldn't let him play out yet.

formicadinosaur Sat 06-Jul-13 07:20:33

yes your 4 year old son will know he is being bossed around. Do give him the words to stand up for himself 'that's not nice, I'm going home' or 'stop bossing me around, it's not nice'

Take control. You are in charge.

1 Give your son a break from playing out to break the routine. A week? Set up lots if other nice play dates.

2 slowly allow him small play dates with neighbour.

3 EVERY time son says something nasty or crosses the road, he isn't allowed to play out woth boy for a set number of days ( a week if its crossing the road). Send a clear massage that he can only play with boy if son behaves. Also help son reflect on how it must feel to be on the receiving end of nasty comments - talk it through.

4 if the neighbour is rude or bossy or gets your son to cross the road, end the play date. Explain that he can only play with son if he is on his best behaviour.

formicadinosaur Sat 06-Jul-13 07:21:12

Agree 5/4 is to young to play out.

formicadinosaur Sat 06-Jul-13 07:27:05

Permantly make the play dates fewer and shorter. May lessen the impact? Have one weekly play date on a day ghat is good for you? Dont give reasons why son cant play out at other times. But really you have to get your son to reflect on the boys behaviour, how the bots behavior might make others feel and how others might see the boy. Make it all about the boys behaviour and not the boy.

imademarion Sat 06-Jul-13 07:32:05

teacherlikesapples I have printed your insightful, balanced wise and practical advice for a friend, hope that's ok. Your children are very lucky!

Hope you get this resolved, OP it's horrible to feel so under siege.

teacherlikesapples Sat 06-Jul-13 11:40:16

Wow imademarion- that is totally ok with me, I really hope it helps your friends situation. Thanks for the compliment smile

mrsjay Sat 06-Jul-13 11:43:24

I wouldnt ban the friendship but id shoo him out your house he doesn't need to be marching in uninvited, all you need to say is oh Im sorry X isn't ready to play yet and show him the door, and if he is being bossy tell him off it is ok you know to do that, just say play nice or something would you want your ds being cheeky in somebody else houses and if he was would you want the adult to tell him off ? and remember this wee boy is just that a little 5 yr old and your sons friend

myBOYSareBONKERS Sat 06-Jul-13 12:04:30

The fact that your heart sinks every-time you see him is a big tell tale sign that he is having a negative effect on your home life, so something has to change.

Either stop them playing or get firm with him

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 06-Jul-13 13:39:03

If you don't want to ban him, have a zero tolerance approach.

One instance of unacceptable behaviour = sent home and not allowed back that day.

He will either stop coming or he will learn that he has to behave well in order to stay. It will be his choice.

wigglesrock Sat 06-Jul-13 14:33:05

My kids (8 and 5) play out in the street. They are always asking if the friends can come in, with big eyes, wobbly lips and said friend in tow. I just say No, either play out with friends - in the street, green, or garden but no friends in the house. I couldn't be arsed with that - I occasionally fire out some lollies and juice but a blanket no works for me.

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