to not be sure what to do about best mate's son?

(13 Posts)
Helpwithherson Wed 21-Aug-13 19:43:48

Our sons are 5(mine) and 7(hers).

Her son is very very boisterous and very very large for his age (obese and as many obese kids end up, very tall with it!). He hurts DS all the time. Now DS is a fighter and can be very boisterous too but even he has started to shy away from 'play fights' with this boy as physically he stands no chance. I am trying to stamp out the play fighting all together btw. Her son obviously has no idea of his size so has a child's brain in a body like that of a child significantly older than he is.

Her son has little respect for belongings and every time her son comes over (with or without her) things get broken or deliberately wrecked. For example DS had been given a party invite which I had stuck to the fridge. Her son pulled it off and scrunched it up for absolutely no reason what so ever. He then grabbed my handbag and wandered off outside with it!! I took it back and said 'no sweetheart, we don't take handbags', firmly but not angrily.

He gets excited, as kids do, and jumps about but this is a tiny tiny house and he just doesn't realise his size! Crashing into walls, bouncing on beds. Tipping boxes of toys out for no reason, throwing my sons things just to upset my son. My son reacts and can give some of this nonsense too btw, he is certainly not innocent though I am really trying to clamp down on him now.

DS is tired from starting school and just can't cope with this boy around all the time. Mate will turn up whenever which up until now I have said is fine and told her to do. This boy is a total sweetheart in many ways and I love my mate to bits and him too, but recently, with some circumstances changing for me and DS, it has all become too much.

I am a total wuss, have no backbone, and have many anxieties. Can't bring it up with friend. She would be very hurt and angry and she is not a friend I am willing to lose. I haven't got many as it is but she and I are very close.

Can I do anything? AIBU for not doing anything? And yes I name changed just in case she is on here, though I am almost certain she is not.

waltzingmathilda Wed 21-Aug-13 19:49:41

fat obese does not equate to tall, neither does it equate to behavioural difficulties. Dont excuse an indulged child with probable poor diet with other labels.

I do get annoyed with people like you - get a back bone - try putting upstairs out of bounds so beds dont get jumped on, try telling your sweet mate that you arent the local drop in centre and she can clear up all the mess her unruly child creates.

magimedi Wed 21-Aug-13 19:49:57

You need to get some backbone for the sake of your son.

Just say he is very tired after school & there won't be any more play dates for a while.

You owe it to him.

Helpwithherson Wed 21-Aug-13 20:23:01

waltz the obese comment was nothing to do with his behaviour, it was to do with his strength when 'play fighting' and how much of a problem it is in this tiny house. Really really small. I wouldn't have more than two people living here. When he jumps around he literally crashes and bangs, when he slams doors it is way more than a normal 7 year old would be able to do. It was also pointing out that when he thinks he is just playing excitedly he doesn't realise his size.
I didn't say being obese means you will be tall but the fact that many obese kids become tall has been studied. 'Tall' is not a label confused, in this case it's over half a foot of fact.
I have no doubt that my mate just isn't strict enough with him in how to respect things. He could be thin and I am sure would be the same, but the biggest problem with it all is that in this tiny house he is more destructive than he would be otherwise. I'm not debating his obesity or the reasons for it. I know the reasons for it. That is her choice not mine and I don't have any desire to change that.

The backbone thing is a problem because of my anxieties. I am receiving therapy for them and have made some progress but confrontation is not something I could handle yet. It would put me in a terrible mess of panic.

MarcelineTheVampireQueen Wed 21-Aug-13 20:43:56

My son had this with a family friend. Only a week apart. Other child physically much bigger but two very different play styles. Other child plays by fighting, pushing, punching and picking up. Mine hates this. He doesnt play in this way. And thats fine. Lots of kids, lots of different ways.

But I pushed and pushed for him to play and get used to it, a lot of kids play this way. Until I got a fucking clue and listened to my son. He HATED every second of playing like that. And I realised that as a child, he doesnt get many options, I limit tv, he has to go to school, eat his veg. But he has a CHOICE on how he allows people to treat and touch him. He doesnt have to put up with it and neither does your kid.

So do what I did, tell your child its ok, you will take care of it and limit or remove time with the other child. If you really cant handle giving a reason to your friend, explain that YOUR child is is settling in back to school/not able for play dates and be firm on that. No rambling excuses, short and sweet. And if there is something you HAVE to go to, (such as a party, in my case, they have mutual friends) supervise and intervene.

If you dont (and I hate to be harsh) your child will end up having anxiety problems with people too. I know that from experiece. My child is a completely different child now I have removed him from the situatiom.

pennefab Wed 21-Aug-13 20:56:31

Definitely consider limiting contact with explanation that your son is just too tired at the moment.

If you decide to resume them later, have a very firm talk with BOTH boys present: this is allowed behavior in the house and this behavior isn't allowed... and if you boys can't stick to the allowed behavior, the play date is over. Be firm and enforce the rule. If your mate's son gets sent home, he may get the message that the behavior just isn't appropriate. It also gives your son an "out" if he needs one to end the play date early if he's not comfortable.

I actually did this with some play dates and it worked. The follow-through was critical. I did on a couple occasions call mothers to pick up their kids because it was too wild. The mothers had no problem with it and we're still friends. And the kids have grown out of that phase (finally)!

Helpwithherson Wed 21-Aug-13 20:58:17

Thanks Marceline that is very helpful.

If however I remove play dates with friends son I also remove time with friend for myself and she has been crucial in my sanity and a huge support as I try to be for her always.

I suppose I need to step up with expectations. We are so close and have been around each others kids so much that we both discipline both of them whilst they are here. Of the two of us I am the least likely to discipline the others' child though. I suppose I could be more firm with both of them at the same time about play fighting. My son enjoys play fighting but has started to realise he stands no chance of it staying friendly with the other child. Hopefully my coming down on this with him as well the other child's strength will deter him all together. If I say it to both of them maybe things will improve but friends son is definitely in a pushing-all-boundaries stage.

If things don't start to improve I shall have to cut down contact. It would be awful for me but I guess I can't be selfish if it starts affecting DS, who is still, right now anyway, a very confident child.

Me and friend spend a lot of time chatting and allowing the boys to just play, do I become a hover parent for the time being in an attempt to settle things? I suppose I have to really.

Writing it all down has been very helpful.

Thanks smile

Helpwithherson Wed 21-Aug-13 21:00:12

Thanks penne. Her son is mostly here when she is. He is only here without her if she needs someone to watch him for whatever reason.

How can I follow through ending a play date in these situations?

A few time my friend has come to pick her kids up from playing at mine to find them lined up on the doorstep with coats and shoes on, waiting for her.
(Front door open straight onto livingroom. So not left alone to be by the street)
She knows they can be 'boisterous' and just laughs and says some thing like time to go already.
We have a very relaxed friendship though.

BellEndTent Thu 22-Aug-13 05:53:00

Tricky. If you say something you will most probably lose her. Is she struggling with him herself? I'd just back off quietly from the friendship if you are finding things very difficult.

SarahAndFuck Thu 22-Aug-13 06:16:19

I made a new friend when DS started school and was friendly with her son.

But her son was always hitting DS, stabbed his face with a fork while they were eating lunch then bullied DS to make him stay quiet about it, hit him in the arm with a plastic plate, locked him in rooms including one time when he wanted to go to the toilet, lied to him about DH shouting DS to go home, demanded money from me to buy sweets.

DS started to avoid being alone with him and he started to make up lies about how he had some sweets in his bedroom and DS could have one if he went upstairs, then he would hurt him when they got there.

He would also make a mess, tip all the toys out without actually playing with them, break things or damage them a bit etc, whereas DS has always been very careful with his things. I could put up with mess, wasn't happy about things being broken or damaged though.

It didn't take long for us to realise this boy was a bit boisterous and violent when they played together and I started to watch them very carefully. But at first we didn't realise quite how bad it was.

His mum would sit there quite happily saying "that's not nice...say sorry" but without really looking or doing anything to really stop it.

While we thought it was just boisterous play I started to tell him off myself. "Don't do that again or you will have to leave", "Don't hit him, he doesn't like it and he doesn't hit you", "We will go home if you hurt him again", "we don't play like that here, it's not nice to hurt people/break things on purpose" that sort of thing.

His mum didn't like it, especially when I followed through with whatever I had said.

It's quite hard to say "I think your Mum needs to take you home now, come and put your shoes/coat on" and turf your friend and her child out of your house, but seriously I would rather do that than watch DS get hit in the face with one of his own toys and feel upset and scared in his own house.

She was very surprised the first time I gave her their coats when her son hit mine for the second time in half an hour.

I also told DS to come and tell me if something happened and to tell the other child's mum if he could. Or tell the teacher at school and me when I picked him up. (Because school are weird like that. They tell parents about the smallest bump but didn't mention the time someone put a hula hoop around DS's neck, dragged him to the floor and left him cut and bruised.) And I told him it was fine to say "I don't want to play with you if you are mean to me/if you hit me" etc to someone.

When we realised it was more than boisterousness, after a visit to their house that had him hit DS twice, lock him in the kitchen and then in a bedroom to stop him from using the toilet and then DH overheard him tell DS that DH was shouting him to leave before hitting him and saying "Go home now" to him, we decided enough was enough and we don't see them now.

girlywhirly Thu 22-Aug-13 09:47:48

I think you ban any type of fighting or aggressive games from the outset. If the kid is so intent on being physical, why not go to a local playground or park and get him to run about for a while? He sounds as though he could benefit from it, and it keeps him out of your house and away from the temptation to destroy stuff. I'd start to look at more meet-ups outside your home in general.

In your house, ban him from the bedrooms, get some bolts and fix high up on the doors so that he cannot reach them. Only give access to the toilet upstairs, unless there is one downstairs, in which case the whole of upstairs is out of bounds. Keep DS'S expensive and most loved toys also out of bounds while this boy is around. He sounds rather socially inept if he gets so over-excited like this at someone elses home. You could limit the amount of time he is there and the regularity of the visits. I'm very much in favour of the 'my house my rules' but you need to make clear to all concerned (including his mum) upfront, what the rules are and what the consequences will be. It's easier to discipline a child if their parent isn't there, imagine how a teacher would deal with the same situation at school. I would definitely keep an eye on them all the time so that you can intercept quickly and repeat the rules 'remember what I said about no fighting, I MEAN IT!'

I also think that there is a lot of difference between a 5 and a 7 yo needs; you are right to protect your son's need for more rest and a chance to settle into school, develop his own friendship groups and so on, so I think that you will start to gradually see less of this boy and his mum e.g. when DS goes to another friend for tea and play and you have a chance to do something else. You could word it that you don't think your DC get on well together any more which is perfectly reasonable, they do change friendships and interests and it's a more diplomatic way of changing the situation.

If you want to see your friend, why not see her one evening without DC, go out for a drink?

Whereisegg Thu 22-Aug-13 20:04:26

You could talk to your friend in a non confrontational way about how 'the boys' are rough and things are getting broken and they are hurting each other, then suggest you two come up with some rules together, and say that if either boy doesn't listen say, twice, then the visiting family leaves.

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