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what can I do about my son's friend?

9 replies

tigermoth · 06/03/2003 12:55

My 8 year old has a nearly 10 year old friend in our street. They used to be close buddies a year ago, but they don't got to the same school and my son wants to play out less and prefers to see other friends now.

This boy is the youngest of a family of five and is very used to teenage company. He is allowed to roam over a far larger area than my son, walks to school by himself, cycles on the road, and is definitely more self reliant and more knowing than my son.

The two first became friends three years ago. I used to take them out together to local parks and the cinema and the older boy was very good on the whole. I stopped doing this a while ago because the two of them began to play up too much and I found it difficult to control them plus my toddler. The older boy could be quite defiant if I tried to exercise some crowd control and would, for example, run out into the road. I told my son's friend, and his mother as well, I was not cross with him in particular, but it was just impossible for me to safely look after everyone, so I was no longer going to take them out as a threesome. The boy seemed to be OK with this and knew he was still welcome at our home. I made a big point of telling him so and things seemed to be OK.

However, my son began to avoid him, especially when a new boy moved into our road. These two palled up, and I was afraid my son might get left out, but he said he didn't want to be friends with them anyway. In fact he said more than that ie they were stupid cheats and liars and that he and his school friends were better than them. I kept out of it, but didn't want my son giving himself airs and graces or alienating himself from our neighbours. I also felt guilty because I have sometimes told my son that this friend is an example of how not to behave and felt I might have gone too far.

Recent visits to our house have resulted in problems. Once this boy and the other neighbour started a fight in our living room. My son kept out of it. I had invited them in to watch TV with my son, even though my son was not too keen. After this I was really taken aback when things got physical - the 10 year old is quite big. My son's only comment was 'well now you know why I don't want to be friends with them'.

Yesterday the boy and my son were swapping Pokemon cards in my son's bedroom (my son enjoys playing pokemon with this boy). Everything was fine. When they packed up, my son came down but his friend remained in the bedroom putting on his shoes. When he left my son looked through his cards and discovered some missing - rare ones he hadn't wanted to swap. It looks like the other boy has them, stolen or picked up by mistake.

My husband and son are going to visit the boy at home this evening and ask if he can look through his cards to see if he has these rare ones. I am hoping the exchange of words will not get heated.

What really bugs me is that this boy seems to want my son as a friend and is always eager to see him, yet when he does, he seems to behave so badly. If he did steal these cards, why did he do it when it is obvious that he and no one else could have them?

Should I just stop encouraging this friendship and tell my son to keep away from him?

OP posts:

aloha · 06/03/2003 13:03

I think you should listen to your son - he's said that he doesn't want to be be friends with this boy and he sounds like a lovely, sensible, intelligent lad and an excellent judge of character! I'm not sure why you want them to be friends at all and keep inviting him in - he sounds not very nice. I think at 8 your son is old enough to make this kind of decision for himself. I also suspect this is not the first example of stealing/lying/cheating that this boy has shown towards your son. Does your son want to challenge his ex-friend tonight? If not, I'd leave it and draw a line under the whole affair. Mind you, if you do go round that will end any question of a friendship pretty pronto, I'd guess.


Batters · 06/03/2003 13:21

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tigermoth · 06/03/2003 13:30

My son does want to challenge the boy - not directly, but by going with his dad to ask politely. My husband it good at this sort of thing, usually. I think the subject will be dropped if the boy says he has not got he cards, my dh won't push it.

My son sometimes enjoys spending time with this boy and sometimes things are fine. The boy is not bad through and through, but can be a rather wild. Some of the children my son has got to know some children over the years I would never let in the house. This boy does not fall into this category really. And my son is no angel either. I want to keep things OK between them because they are neighours and I am afraid they might gang up on him and then he'd could feel lonely.

It's so difficult because my son is now definitely far more discriminating in his choice of friends than a couple of years ago. This is usually a good thing but in this case I am undecided.

OP posts:

zebra · 06/03/2003 16:09

Not just lonely, Tigermoth -- these things can turn into major grudges & feuds by the times your DS and the other boy are teenagers. You don't want them getting into fistfights as teens. Your son's idea of how to handle it is probably right. I would support your DS in gracefully withdrawing from the friendship, otherwise.

I think it's touching how you don't understand greed; the other boy wanted the cards & took them. He's too immature to really grasp how consequences work.


robinw · 06/03/2003 18:24

message withdrawn


aloha · 06/03/2003 19:51

When I was a child another child stole some of my favourite little things from my doll's house. My dad went round to try to get them back and that was the end of that friendship - but looking back that was no loss. I think as a child you quite often outgrow friendships. I also really, truly think that children should be allowed to choose their own friends (unless they are total fiends and monsters, I suppose ). This friendship will probably die a natural death with no sinister consequences. It seems to me hard to keep friendships going if children don't go to the same school - it is with my stepdaughter.


Batters · 07/03/2003 10:04

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tigermoth · 08/03/2003 13:28

Well my dh and I had another talk about it and decided that one of us would talk to the boy when we next see him outside, rather than tuning up on the doorstep. I am now waiting for the opportunity.

My ds has already seen the boy. He denies having the cards, just as I expected, I?m afraid. This either means the cards are lost or the boy is a liar. I will look over the room again but it is a strange coincidence that of all the cards my son has, it is only his two most rare ones, the ones he didn?t want to swap, that have gone missing. I feel surprisingly angry about this, not that I am going to cause a scene, as it?s my word against the boy. It?s just that he has come round and been taken out with us so often in the past and we don?t hold an open house for all the neighborhood hood children. Ok, greed might have prompted him to think about taking the cards, but surely self interest would have stopped him?

When I tackle him about the possibility of him picking up the card by mistake, if the answer is still ?no? I will say that whatever happened, the card playing seems to have caused a lot of bad feeling so he can?t come inside to play cards again.

I think all of you are right about friendships dying a natural death. I will not be encouraging this friendship now in any way. As Aloha says, you have to listen to your children in the end.

Batters, I have been through the problem of getting on well with the mother of my son's friend, while the two children don't gell. Perhaps it's an age thing, in a year your daughter's friend might be much nicer to her and better behaved in company. But I know how difficult it is to talk about a childs bad behaviour with their mother, if you are friendsa and meet up as a foursome. Any chance of ducking out of arrangement where the children meet up for a while? you could still see the mother in the meantime if you want to keep up your friendship with her?

OP posts:

Batters · 08/03/2003 13:53

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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