My son can't handle his "bossy friend"(4 Posts)
Hi, I have three sons - 11, 8, 3 (prox). I am in a frustrating situation with the 8 year old. One of his classmates and friend, 'Luke' is behaving in a very bossy way towards him. It has been this way for the past year I think. Whenever they play together, Luke must be the one deciding what to play, and will not back down, he keeps coming up with "initiatives" that my son "must join": Luke "starts a company" and my son was given an employee form to fill, Luke plays the piano and my son needs to sit and listen, well, you get the point. But my son doesn't like to be bossed around, he resists angrily, which further frustrates Luke. The latter, in turn, blames my son for not being a true friend for snapping at him and refusing to cooperate. Now, I'm not saying my son should snap, he seems to be very sensitive to being told over and over to do something that he doesn't want to do, but I've already seen situations where other children were frustrated by Luke for the same exact reasons, sometimes in a group.
What happened recently made me even more frustrated: my son started his 3rd year in basketball school. He's quite ok, receiving mostly good feedback from the coaches. This time, however, Luke, along with a few other friends have also joined (their first year) and are now training together. Within 2-3 lessons, the same thing happened again: his friend bosses him around during training, my son snaps and refuses to train. After 3 times, his coach calls me to say he thinks "I'm wasting my money" as my son disrupts training for all other kids, shouts, etc. He said he should take a break to figure out what's going on. After 2 whole years I am forced to stop his training while his other friends continue training as if nothing happened.
One last thing: my son has another friend and classmate, 'Michael' ("best friend" as he calls him) and they get along great for year. Michael also trains in the same basketball school. Luke is now spending more and more time with Michael due to their joint activity, while my son feels left out. He finds Michael less and less available to hang out with him. I feel Luke is practically isolating my son from his best friend, and my son feels it too as he spends more time alone.
I want to find the right way for my son to deal with Luke and Michael, but without getting involved in decisions concerning Luke and/or Michael, as I am not their parent, obviously.
I'd appreciate some thoughts.
You need to help your son learn to manage his emotions and to be confident without shouting. It's right and proper that he doesn't bow down to Luke's bossy nature but he has to learn how to do it in a way which doesn't paint him as the baddy.
If he's shouting enough to have been asked to leave basketball training then it does sound quite extreme.
How is his temper at home? Is he usually in control of his emotions or is he prone to outbursts?
Also, have you spoken to his teacher to learn more about how your son is managing his social relationships at school?
Needless to say, outbursts exist in other places as well - when his classmates interrupt him while he's answering his teacher's questions or when his older brother "pests". He says these things bother him and make him sad, that he thinks they don't happen to others ("nobody interrupts my friends when they want to answer the teacher - only I'm being interrupted", etc). As I mentioned, he seems sensitive about these things in general. He's also excellent at empathy, always telling us how sad someone else probably is after he sees they have gone through something "bad". This has always amazed me, as most adults I know are far from having this skill.
About friends at school, he seemed pretty active last year according to his teacher, he does have some other friends with which he behaves "normally", plays soccer, has the usual conversations and so on. I wouldn't say he's one of those boys that tries to rally people around his own initiatives, but rather somewhere in the middle between bossy and shy.
Send him to Karate. Karate is excellent to help children who need to learn self mastery and gain confidence.
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