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School friends calling for ds - any advice on how to handle it?(7 Posts)
A couple of weeks ago ds1's best friend asked if he could go round after school to ride bikes and scooters with some other boys from his estate.
I had to say no for a number of reasons, not least of all because he's not road safe on foot, let alone on a scooter and also because he's not safe enough re stranger awareness etc.
His friend lives in a cul-de-sac on a nice estate a couple of streets away and is used to playing out with the other children from his close. Whereas we live across a busy main road from them and ds has never 'played out'.
I compromised by saying that if they agreed it at least a day before, he could go home from school with his friend and play in the close and I would walk up with the dog to meet him at an agreed time, but that he wasn't allowed to play outside of the close at all (there is a woods behind the houses) and if they wanted to do that he would have to get his friend's mum to call me and I would walk up to meet him.
We text his friends mum to ask if she knew what they were arranging and she said she didn't know anything about it, but that he was welcome to come after school and play anytime.
Nothing came of it - I didn't really expect it too, as our rules for ds1 are too restrictive for nt 11 year olds.
Then this afternoon, we'd just got home from school, ds had changed into his favourite scraggy pjs and was just about to have his snack when the doorbell went. It was his best friend and another boy from his class asking if he could go out to play.
I said it was very kind of them to invite him, but he couldn't this afternoon and then they kind of hovered around - I assume hoping to at least have a chat with him. Of course I couldn't call him to the door or invite them in, because he would have been mortified if they'd seen him in his scratty pjs, so I thanked them again and they reluctantly turned to go.
Ds1 was oblivious to all this, but I had to go and tell him, as he'd find out at school tomorrow anyway. He was instantly furious with me and devastated that I'd said no. He's understandably upset and says that I am just mean. I have tried to explain about road safety and stranger danger etc and that he simply isn't able to do some of the same things as his peers, but that as he gets older things will change and he should be able to, but obviously that doesn't help how he feels now.
He's railing against his AS, furious with me and really upset now.
I reminded him of our compromise and this cheered him, but only for a second and as I said, I don't think it's really workable with the other boys, as they will want to free range and go in the woods etc, but I am not happy for ds1 to do that at this stage.
A few months ago he went to his best friend's house for tea and when dh went to pick him up he was playing out the front. We later found he'd been in the woods and playing down some wooded pathways around the back of the houses. We had to tell him that he couldn't go to his friend's house again, unless he agreed that he wouldn't go in the woods etc, but we did compromise by agreeing he could play within view of his friend's house - ie in the close.
We really want him to maintain this friendship. His best friend is a lovely lad, they've been consistently best friends for years and are very close, but of course they are having to go to different secondaries in September. I'm worried that if we don't give in and let him go round there to play then he is going to end up with the friendship wilting and eventually losing his best friend as a result.
I'm worried that we are being too overprotective and not giving ds a chance to prove he can do this, but at the same time we are only too aware of his innocence and immaturity, which is why we feel he isn't safe enough to go out and about unsupervised yet.
Does anyone have any advice, because I am feeling really bad about this and wondering if I've handled it all wrong.
Oh Moose it is really difficult as they get older and the difference between them and their peers widens. Especially difficult when it is something like this where the whole problem is that any intervention of yours defeats the object.
I have never had exactly this problem. Ds is always rather reluctant to play outside and so his friend up the road stopped asking but even if they did we have safe private gardens behind our houses where they played.
Presumably the woods are traffic free. Would your Ds not be safe there if he promised never to be separated from his friends or are there too many unknowns?
I'm not suggesting you're overprotective because I understand exactly about the immaturity.
The woods are traffic free, but ds has been the target of so much bullying and deliberate 'setting up' by other pupils at his school that I struggle to believe that he would be safe anyway.
I feel there is a high chance of some of his bullies being around there, as they live locally and are obviously allowed out unsupervised and also, with his social skills issues there is the potential for him to fall out with the group and end up either left or going off on his own. He says he wouldn't, but I think it would be heat of the moment, rather than deliberate, iyswim.
Despite being terrified of poison, illness, injury etc he has absolutely no concept of danger and is far too trusting for his own good. I do worry about him being dared into doing something dangerous.
Just this week we've had him, in his words, "forced to embarrass myself at lunchtime" by boys who were deliberately trying to set him up for humiliation and are likely to be around this area. This time they told him he had to roar really loudly and they would tell him something amazing. He says he didn't want to do it, but they were in a large group, surrounding him against a wall and he couldn't get away. Then when he eventually did roar they fell about laughing saying "Ha ha, you just had an orgasm!" and running off telling all the other kids. He didn't understand at all what was happening or why they did it and came home from school confused and upset. (He also hadn't told any of his designated adults at school, because he was embarrassed.)
The other thing I'm worried about is road safety. We live on a very busy road and I still have to hold his hand to and from school, because he regularly steps out absently mindedly, even when he is actually trying to look both ways - he just isn't self aware enough to realise he's wandered into the road instead of staying on the pavement.
Yes I can see why it really is a no go then.
It is tough for your DS. And really difficult to get the friends to comply with your compromise too.
Perhaps you could enlist the friend's mother's support (don't know how well you know her) to ensure that at least the odd play session follows what's safe for Ds.
Horrible bullying by the way. I'm sure you can't wait for him to move to secondary.
Its so hard isnt it. But you know sometimes as much as we want to protect we have to let them find out for themselves too
Hearts in our throats non the less!
DS faced some really difficult times out playing but he learnt a lot of lessons too. Sadly no he is not able to play out long and when he had a go my door was always open and I was always strolling here and there if I heard a voice, but he worked it out for himself that he just doesnt like it, isnt ready yet and doesnt look to go out now he has had a taste of what its like. The grass always seems greener they say.....
Hard bit is we cant protect them forever and they have to experience the rough with the smooth for adult life. If its all smooth then there is nothing to go by when the going gets tough during adult years. If they have faced an amount of trauma and learnt lessons to remember hopefully it will stand them in good stead for future battles x
You are not over protective you are just a loving mum
The other Mum is very nice and has always just accepted ds for who he is, adjusting what they do when he's there without questioning his needs. We haven't formally told her he has AS, but he chose to tell his friend himself, so she probably knows. She did say she was happy for ds to go round after school and play and I know the boys want to play on their 3DS together, so I'm hoping we can do that soon to make up for it.
My heart breaks for him, because he just wants to be like all the other boys and do what they do. He doesn't recognise his difficulties and limitations and is furious with us when we have to explain to him why he can't have the same amount of freedom as his peers.
We are doing everything we can to maintain this friendship. We invited his friend to Pokemon League last weekend and he has said he would like to come regularly from now on, so they will definitely keep a connection there, but somehow I think it's inevitable that his friend will move on once they are in different schools.
It doesn't help that I'm not often up to having friends round to the house, otherwise I'd be happy for them to come here. I always thought I'd be the kind of mum that ended up with a kitchen full of kids after school, but I am just not up to it and that makes me feel like I am letting all the dcs down.
Yes, the bullying is nasty, subtle and insidious and sadly now involves children who used to be his friends until he got left behind by the developmentally in the last year or so. I really hope his secondary placement will be so much better and he won't have to worry about bullying anymore.
I wish we lived in a nice quiet close near the other kids, rather than on the main road, that way I could let him play out around the house and keep a subtle eye on him.
We do back onto a park, but I can't let him go there because his proper bullies (as in the ones that have repeatedly bullied him and beaten him up at school) hang around there all the time. Such a shame. I played in that park unsupervised every day from the ages of 4 to 11, with no more than a handful of scrapes and a lot of happy memories as a result.
It makes it sound like we live somewhere really rough - but the ridiculous thing is we don't. We live in an area that is considered pretty posh and very safe - and it is, for most children, but between the cars and the bullies it just doesn't feel safe enough for ds at this point.
He is developing all the time and I wouldn't be surprised if by this time next year he will be better equipped to play out.
Doesn't help that we've had a letter from school this week warning us about a 'suspicious car driver' that has tried to get a couple of schoolkids to get in their car just two streets away! Great timing!
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