Is dh bu to be worried for my ds safety around this child?(86 Posts)
Ds2 is 10 in y5 and family friend's ds (Frank) is 12 in y7. Frank is very strong and (imo, but not diagnosed) shows adhd symptoms, very high energy and impulsive. My dses (older ds is y8) don't really like him because he often hurts them. He's stronger than he takes and doesn't have boundaries. I try to encourage friendship with him as mum is a good friend, supported me at times and Frank doesn't have many friends/ has been bullied quite a bit in school. Ds1 is year above in same school, we see then a lot in activities we have in common etc. etc.
Yesterday on a walk Frank was pushing Ds1 on a swing in forest. Ds1 wanted him to stop as was hurting his balls (rope swing). Frank did not stop. Mum intervened. By about 5th time of Mum asking he stopped when Ds1 was being really quite upset. Next, ds2 climbing fallen tree. He's a bit scared of heights but he did not want to show that so went ahead. Frank pushed him when he was in difficult position and ds2 nearly fell off. He was petrified. Mum told him off (fairly mildly by my standards). I was fuming. Towards end of walk, Ds1 ahead and dd, ds2 and Frank behind. They were climbing round a small bridge over a steam about 2.5m high so not tall and wide ledge about a foot wide so easy to climb round. Frank decided to push ds2 off the bridge. Ds2 clung to his leg and Frank laughed and said 'You look like you're humping me. Humper, humper... ' Ds2 said, 'You hump Jenny' (another mutual friend in y7). Frank kneed ds2 in stomach. He didn't fall in but was winded and crying. Frank told his mum ds2 said he f*cks Jenny. Dd was there and said he didn't say that, he used hump and ds2 says the same (I've spoken to them separately, exactly same story) but not sure mum heard that bit. She made Frank apologise to ds2 later when we got home 'for what happened earlier' . I did not make ds2 apologise for the humping comment as I was still too furious at Frank. If either of my dses treated another child, or each other, that way they'd be in really serious trouble. She seemed quite calm, but if course I dunt know if he's had any further sanctions.
Mum wants to talk to me about the incident and its probably good because I still feel upset. However, I think she wants to bring up that ds2 didn't apologise for the humping comment. I still don't feel like he should considering the considerable provocation behind it. Dh thinks he should. However, dh also does not want our dses around this child anymore. It's difficult as they see each other a fair bit at activities we have in common as parents so there would need to be active avoidance (don't play with him...) . Dh wants to tell the parents that our children are not safe around their son.
What does MN jury think?
I think I'd fall back on the old "The boys aren't getting on at the moment so need time apart". You're DH is right, they aren't safe. But doing it that way will hopefully avoid fall out.
I think if your DS's don't like this child because he keeps hurting them, then you don't make them play with him - meet Mum in neutral territory (for coffees etc, while boys are at school) so you can continue your friendship with her. Your boys shouldn't have to spend their time playing with a child that they fear juts because you a freinds with the mother.
I would broach this subject when you meet the Mum to talk - say that the boys don't seem to get on very well at the moment and leave it at that.
It is possible that the Mum want to speak to you over the 'Frank humps Jenny' remark. If I was Franks Mum I would be vey concerned that he is being innapropriate and harrassing a girl in his school year, and would want to find out whether this was a throw away remark to wind Frank up, or whether it is true, so I could deal with it swiftly and firmly.
I completely agree with your husband. Frank has some very serious issues and I wouldn't let my children within a mile of him. His lack of control and compassion is shocking. Also, your children have told you they don't like Frank and are scared of him. Why on earth would you force them to play together?
I agree with your DH and I actually think it would be a bit irresponsible of you to let it continue. Next time your DS could be hurt seriously (what he fell and broke his leg for example) and it wouldn't take a lot for the outcome to end differently aside from luck. If you want to preserve your friendship with the mum then as others have suggested I would you with something like the boys are getting older now and dont seem to enjoy that joint time together as much but the 2 of you could still meet for coffee or a drink. Frank sounds like a mean bully and I wouldn't want to be forced to spend time with him either. I would try not to get into the semantics of the woodland walk with her unless you really have to
I'm always shocked by many of the threads on MN where people seem to need permission to have basic boundaries.
Frank is 12, he hurts other kids and is showing sexualised behaviour. Its your job as a parent to protect your children from harm so get in touch with your inner mother tiger and do something about it.
I wouldn't say I force them to play with him. Considering we live 5 mins away, we rarely see them outside the mutual activities. I do meet the mum for coffees without the kids and she's very nice. When they moan about Frank, I try to remind them to be kind as he doesn't have it easy and I'd say the hiring isn't usually unsafe but would be, for eg., he kicks them in response to teasing, but it's harder than he's realising. Not exactly unsafe, but in this environment it was unsafe.
OK. Dh's inner tiger is more developed than mine. I have felt upset every since this happened as it is usually smaller incidents, kicked, punched etc. I know he is acting out the bullying on others but those are my kids. The mum is gutted at his lack of friendships so I don't know how to say 'they can't play'. I think it would need to be spelled out as I said, active avoidance. Can't just avoid.
About the mum's seeming lack of discipline - it could be poor parenting, but also it could be part of a strategy she's working on with him. ADHD children don't really respond to being shouted at and harsh punishments etc, this can actually cause a spiral to start with much worse behaviour. Special needs parenting doesn't always look like mainstream parenting.
Yes, I think I'd keep them apart (and I say this as the mother of an ADHD child). Not really much more to do or say from your side of things. If they do get together it would need to be in very controlled circumstances.
Frank is a bully
I know you say he has been bullied, but that does not mean he does not also bully others.
His behaviour with both your boys shows he’s a bully, and may also explain why he doesn’t have any friends.
Agree with advice about “the boys don’t seem to be getting on so well” and meeting friend separately.
@TheInebriati, OK let's say he does have undiagnosed issues with boundaries, control, being bullied etc. Should we all just avoid him? He's a kid. I do feel sorry for him but I don't think his mum has done him any favours. I think she's confused and overwhelmed by him too.
I would avoid having them play together as they don’t seem to be getting along very well. Keep meeting the mum on your own for coffee etc though.
When they moan about Frank, I try to remind them to be kind as he doesn't have it easy and I'd say the hiring isn't usually unsafe
Take a step back from this.
You are telling your DC to put up with Frank bullying them.
No matter how hard his life might be, Frank does not get to be physical with other people and you should encourage your DC to have a zero tolerance to his hitting them.
Frank needs tools to help him control his outbursts. Because he is only gojng to get bigger and stronger and capable of doing more damage.
Most importantly, Frank desperately needs to know that no means no and h has to stop at once
Sorry, you seem to be quite accepting that this 12 year old hits and kicks your children!?! And you're wondering whether your DH is BU?!
Saying that Frank doesn't realise his own strength isn't an excuse. Keep your children safe ffs!
Thanks Bertie. That means a lot from an adhd parent. I'm not sure it's deliberate as she won't acknowledge the adhd, but she's probably figured out what works and doesn't. So you think we get together but constant adult supervision?
Should we all just avoid him? He's a kid
Do your DC want to see him? Do they enjoy being with Frank?
If they do want to see them, then you have to empower them, not make them put up with physical assaults because you feel sorry for Frank..
Whatever his diagnosis, it's fine for your kids to avoid him if he can't stop hurting and upsetting them. Even if it is ADHD his mum needs to help him modify his behaviour.
It sounds like
You want to be friends with the mum so you force your kids into contact with Frank.
And if she wants to meet, don’t blame franks behaviour blame her lack of parenting.
I wouldn't care what Frank's issues are. He's impulsive, violent, and bullying. No condition excuses that kind of behaviour and I certainly wouldn't serve up my children for his abuse just to be "kind." It's a shame that Frank has such challenging problems but my children would not be anywhere near him.
The more i think about it, the more concerned I feel about the 'humping Jenny' remark. Yes it may have just been a remark to wind Frank up, but in my mind I am visualising some poor girl who's school life is being made hell by an aggressive intimidating boy making sexualised remarks, and gestures around her. I'd be very concerned about this.
I can understand your cocnern for Frank and his Mum - of course she is worried about his lack of friends and his behaviour, she's his mother, she wants the best for him. But you can separate your feelings of sympathy for Frank's situation away from your children. the focus needs to be on letting her talk about problems,and discussing ways of getting the Frank support he may need The solution to Franks problems is not your children having to tolerate aggressive bullying behaviour because Frank has problems, That help neither Frank (who isn't learning that his behaviour is completely unacceptable) and it doesn;t help your children who are being given the message they have to put up with being hurt etc because another childs needs outweigh theirs.
It is awkward, but it isn't a difficult decision. No adult would put up with an aggressive bullying work colleague, or tolerate being told they had to socialise with that person. Children should not be put in that position either.
I'm not telling them to put up with being bullied. They tease/ provoke too, and kick back or whatever. They aren't accepting being kicked about, as you can see from ds2 making the humping comment. Do any of you know /work with 10-13yo boys?
It was particularly bad yesterday, which is why I'm particularly upset.
Undiagnosed issues does not mean he gets to do what he likes, or that other children have to accept his rough and mean behaviour.
My DS has ASD, albeit High-Functioning so he has an easier time than many, but I do not let him get away with cruel behaviour, I would not tolerate any bullying and you would be in no doubt that I was seriously displeased if my son behaved that way.
His parents are not doing a good enough job I’m afraid. He doesn’t have boundaries and thinks he can do as he pleases.
He doesn’t have friends because he’s not nice to them and that’s the crux of it.
Somehow I doubt that you'd be happy meeting up with someone you don't like, who frequently hits/kicks/frightens you or tries to push you off bridges? Just to keep someone else happy?
And yet you force your children into that situation as if it's nothing, and then tell them off for not being kind if they legitimately complain?
Bizarre behaviour. You should be on your children's side.
In terms of Jenny, ds2 made the comment and didn't go to school with them. She's an extremely confident, tall, together young lady. That's no way she'd put up with anything from Frank without getting adults involved.
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