to think I'm not responsible for this boy?(38 Posts)
This is a bit of a long story. I'll try to keep it brief. I've known my friend since our boys were in playgroup together. They were in the same class at primary and are now at secondary together. They're both in year 7. Her ds always struggled a bit to make friends but my ds always liked him and made sure he got included. She is very over protective and used to go into school a lot to complain about other boys being nasty to her ds. She would also complain to me about some of my ds's friends because she wanted me to speak to their parents. I knew there was frequently another side to the story but kept well out. Her son is quite physically aggressive and frankly doesn't make an effort to get along with people. I can honestly say no one picked on him.
My ds's opinion of this boy started to change a bit when the boy started to tease him about his nut allergy. I got sickened when I saw him stick a piece of chocolate cake under his nose and say ha ha you can't eat this. My ds also got sick of the constant complaining to his mum about being left out because it was usually made up. I witnessed one occasion when ds and a friend decided to try sketching from a you tube tutorial. The boy was also there but point blanked refused to join in although he was asked several times. He went home and complained to his mum. She texted me and I said I thought it was lovely to see them do something other than Xbox and he was asked to join in. She got a bit huffy with me.
Now the boys are in secondary school. I made my son include this boy in walking to and from school because it's not nice to walk on your own. Now I'm getting complaints about the boys leaving him. He is frequently late but she expects them to wait. Yesterday I got a text saying they just abandoned him after school and it was dark etc. I confronted my son and he said the boy walked off without saying a word. I relayed this back and my friend said 'I know he did because they kept talking about scooters and he doesn't like scooters'. Well what are they supposed to do??
This woman is actually a really nice person otherwise and she's been a very good friend. This is why I've tried to make ds include him. However this morning at the school run for our younger kids she ignored me. I think she's annoyed about yesterday. I'm a bit upset about losing the friendship but I do think the kids have to sort this out. I have tried to make them include him but if they don't actually like him what can I do? My dh says it's my fault because I've got them used to having my ds include the boy and he's reliant on him.
How do I sort this without losing the friendship?
You can't. The mum seems to think that you two being friends means that the boys are friends.
Until she becomes sufficiently adult to understand that a) you can't force kids' friendships at that age, and
b) her son is not always in the right
she probably won't be a good long term friend anyway.
Separate out your friendship from the boys'. By constantly pushing him to be friends with this boy, you're making your friendship his responsibility. He must be kind and civil to this boy but it's unfair to push him into being friends just because you don't want to fall out with the other boy's mum.
You and your ds have made every effort with the boy, I would just tell her you feel they are old enough to sort their own friendship and you hope it wont interfere with you and her. Sounds like they are drifting which is common at this age. Tell her your keeping out if it!
Every time the mum says anything, give non-commital answers 'mmmhmm' 'oh' etc. and don't harangue your DS about it.
Your DS is well beyond the age where you can insist on a friendship - the boys will work this out for themselves and there is nothing you can do.
See if you can have a coffee and a chat with your friend and explain that the boys now have to take responsibility for their own friendships and actions.
I think you need to make a few comments about how much things change in secondary (which is true) and then you need to back off. Say that friendships change and there are lots of small issues when kids all start negotiating these new friendships (also true) and that you think they need to be left to sort things out for themselves now they are older- not just with her son but other new friends too. Actually say, that from now on you are not going to get involved. If you don't it will affect your ds's new friendships negatively, and that's not fair to him. You need to put ds first now.
I would tell the mum that getting involved in your DS's friendships is now not age appropriate and, unless he is seeking someone out in order to bully them which he isn't, you won't be intervening any more.
I can honestly say no one picked on him.
You cannot possibly know this unless you've been observing him throughout all of his school days. This lad obviously struggles socially to some extent and may well have been the butt of a few jokes. The fact that his mother over-reacts doesn't preclude it from happening.
I think you've done all you can. Even at reception age, you can't force them to play with someone else at school.
I would cut her some slack though - I know when one of mine was struggling with friends I felt it very deeply myself. It's a huge source of anxiety because you can't be there to help them and you feel their suffering. It's very hard to accept your dc is causing the problem - it's a much more automatic response to think that others are being less than kind.
No you are right this boy is not your responsibility. You have tried to make sure he's not being left out but you are still getting complaints so its now time to back off and let your ds sort out his own friendship group.
If she does speak to you again then just re-iterate that you are no longer getting involved. At 11 years old they are more than capable in sussing it out for themselves.
If she chooses to hold a grudge, then I would just let her friendship go tbh as it sounds quite stressful being friends with her.
My DD (also 11) would not thank me for forcing a friendship she doesn't want. Also I can do without all the dramatics that it sometimes causes, even more so if parents are getting involved, she is best left to find her own way.
You are not responsible and neither is your DS, who sounds lovely and has obviously been really patient with this boy and done his best to include him in his friendship group. Your friend needs to accept that kids will inevitably form social groups independent of their parents and that these groups will change over time. Just because you two are friends that doesnt mean you can force your kids to get along or have the same interests. I think your DS has done his bit and it sounds as if this boy is unwilling or unable to reciprocate so I would tell him that while you expect him to still be kind to this boy (as you would anyone) he doesn't have to socialise with him if he doesn't want to. I would then have an honest conversation with your friend. Tell her that you really value her friendship and are fond of her son but that you can't force a friendship between your kids.
"Her son is quite physically aggressive and frankly doesn't make an effort to get along with people."
Have you ever pointed this out to her? Maybe select an occassion that she witnessed, go over it, 'how do you think the other child felt', 'how would you have felt had it been the other way around'. She is in denial about her son, but she won't stop if everyone around her 'agrees' by staying silent.
"Yesterday I got a text saying they just abandoned him after school and it was dark etc. I confronted my son and he said the boy walked off without saying a word. I relayed this back and my friend said 'I know he did because they kept talking about scooters and he doesn't like scooters'. "
I'd have gone ballistic at her for that. How dare she claim they abandoned him when she knew - KNEW - that they hadn't! She was trying to bully you. I don't agree that she is nice.
neither the mum nor the boy sound particularly nice to me. why is she always giving you such a hard time?
your ds should be allowed to choose his friends. be polite and kind sure, but you can't force friendships.
Good point where she knew they hadn't abandoned him although I suppose this could have found out after she talked to him again.
she knew they hadn't abandoned him
Maybe he stropped off to get attention, expecting them to follow him and they just left him to it and went home. That could come across as abandoning him if they had any moral obligation to look after him which she clearly and wrongly thinks they have.
Just because you and the mum are friends, does not mean your dss are. It does not sound as though the boy wants to be friends with your ds, or your ds wants to be friends with this boy, its being forced upon them by you and this mum. Tell ds that he does not have to be friends with this boy if he does not, and I would also tell the mum that they seem to be growing apart now and that your ds is making other friendships as he is getting older, and you are no longer going to interfer.
No they don't sound very nice, and I would probably have less to do with this mother, she sounds very over involved.
Yes you have to defend your ds too, you know the boy stretches the truth, yes talk to the mum and tell her now your ds are older they pick their own friends, you will not be interferring in the friendships and will leave it to them to sort out and that is what we should all be doing.
You cant force friendships, youve tried your best but tbh the boy sounds hard work, I would stop trying to force him on your son if it was me.
If she is funny about it I think you just have to write your friendship off
I would make lame sympathetic noises ("Oh dear") and say "Well, there comes a point when us Mums have to step back and the boys just have to sort it out among themselves. We're not doing them any favours if they grow up not knowing how to sort out their own silly squabbles."
I had to explain to DD aged 4 that "no one wants to play with me" is not the same as "no one wants to do as I say". It seems you need a similar conversation with this boy's DM.
Spot on mellicauli I would try and talk to her and explain this. If she is huffy than I would distance, a nice person woukd totally understand.
I felt like a right cow after posting this. I am sympathetic to any kid who struggles to make friends but I can't solve everyone's problems. I think I've run out of patience. I feel my ds is getting used a little bit and he thinks that too. The boy is hard work. My mum has been telling me for ages to stop forcing him on my ds. Everyone is basically giving the same advice. I guess the worst case scenario I find out that she wasn't a real friend.
I agree with those that say stay out of it. Make sure you tell your friend that is what you will be doing from now on.
"X is too old to have me conduct his friendships for him now, so I'm keeping out of it."
It sounds as though both of them have got used to having your son at his disposal, but your lad isn't a facility, and must be allowed to make friends of his own choosing...or not.
You are not a cow at all. Tell your ds he does not have to include this boy if he does not want to, and basically tell mum that now the boys are older you are not interfering in their friendships, tgey are old enough to sort it out themselves. Don't worry you will not make your ds include Her ds if he doesent want.
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