What would you do re DS2's new friends?(4 Posts)
DS2 has had one good friend since nursery. They have been pretty much exclusive and he has never really had or wanted another friend. They are now 10 and the group does at last seem to be widening a bit. Ds2 is not sure that he likes this - he doesn't like sharing "his" friend.
IMO the friendship wasn't that healthy and I'm pleased to see the group widening but what actually seems to have happened is that DS2 has withdrawn from the original group (or been pushed out?) and made a few new friends. The new friends are the ones who've never really had friends. The boy with Aspergers and ADHD who is often hurting other kids, the "odd" one who can't from relationships, the one who is 4 years behind in this academic progress etc. (I know a bit more than I should about the children because of my job but have never and would never use that info or discuss it outside of work)
Until now I've kept out of his friendship issues and don't intend to interfere now but one of the new friends has told DS that his "anger issues" are because he gets flashbacks from when his Dad hurt him He still lives with his father and I know Family Solutions are working with the family. I feel very much for the boy but (and I know this makes me a terrible person) I don't really like the idea of DS having too much to do with him.
I suppose my concerns are that
-I don't want DS to be close to the father.
-I don't want DS to be hurt by the boy. He lashes out a lot and DS makes a lot of allowances for his issues but I don't like the idea that DS seems to have that it's OK for him to hit DS because he has problems
-I don't want DS to learn that anything that goes on in that house is "normal". I believe the violence towards the boy it the tip of the iceberg.
It's tricky. From the other side of the fence, when I was 11/12 I was friends with a girl that my mother disapproved of (or rather she had no particular issue with this friend but knew (or had heard) stuff about the family (the mother had various issues) and so wanted me to stay clear.
Anyway, my mum put out hte party whip that I was no longer to be friends with this girl. This (of course) just made me want to be friends with her more. My mum didn't go into details about her concerns, but I liked my friends mum and wasn't interested in what she was saying.
Cue, lots of rebellion from me (the only time in my life I ever rebelled against my mum) I just found it unacceptable that she would pick my friends, it was my friend and my decision to make. Lots of me going out, her telling me not to see friend x, me coming home and mum asking where I've been and me saying I've seen x - and lots of arguments etc.
In the end our friendship dwindled (we went to highschool and ended up in different classes so made new friends each, and we also moved a bit further away (walking distance but not as close) naturally.
I suppose my point is that whilst you know all this stuff and are understandably not wanting your son anywhere near that situation (I'd feel the same, as would any parent) your son, as a child, may view this entire situation differently and my fear would be if you start getting heavy handed about him playing with this boy, he'll stick to him more as he'll be so outraged that you're telling him who to be friends with.
I think it likely that as time goes on, your son will gravitate away from this boy himself (nobody wants to be the subject of random attacks) and in the meantime I'd be tempted just to continually reinforce what you have been doing, that it's not okay to hit someone (even if you've suffered abuse yourself) that if his dad has hit his friend then he should be wary of that, and tell him it's not right and not acceptable (maybe even suggest he makes sure that he's not left alone with him?)
Basically, I think you need to try and 'guide' him through this friendship whilst protecting him, whilst trying not to 'ban' this friend (as this may just result in him either hiding his friendship, or being incredibly resentful to you ) But all of this is easier said than done when it's your own child - and I'm not sure how I'd respond, I only know how I felt when my mum had 'banned' my friend at a similar age.
Talk to DS open and honestly. Your fears of his friends father. Personally i'd ban any of my kids from being at the other child's house. Im hoping you have already done this?
Your sons mental and physical safety is far more important than anyone else's feelings or their privacy.
I know how it is when their friends are far from ideal but in this instance i'd have to inter vein.
Good Luck, tricky one.
I would definitely ban your DS from going to this child's house and as the poster above said to be honest in child appropriate terms about why. More widely do you feel that your DS is happy with his new friends or do you get the feeling he is making do with them because he has been edged out of the group containing his former best friend? If that's the case I would be doing whatever I could to widen his social circle or trying to build bridges with old friends. Easier said than done obviously!
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