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Orangecake

7 year old boy friendship issues

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Orangecake

Sorry for the long past - I feel very out of my depth with this.

 

DS7 has a new and fairly intense friendship this year. There have been a few things I've been concerned about, but his teacher called me last week to discuss. She has said the friend has started treating DS terribly during class time and that it has been spilling over to lunchtime too. We first got wind of this a few weeks ago when DS was getting super upset and refusing to go to school, and had observed similar behaviour from this kid.

 

Basically he will tell DS that he's awesome and his best friend, requests lots of playdates etc. He then alternates this with calling DS names, telling him he's stupid (all the time), not letting him play together and regularly threatening not to be his friend. The worst is that when DS tries to play with others (after being rejected) he then tells the other children not to play with him. This has been witnessed by a number of teachers.

 

The school and teacher have been excellent. The other mother keeps messaging for playdates but I have said we are not available and I've decided not to facilitate any more of these. This morning the other kid ran over to DS saying he was so happy to see him. He even joined an extra curricular activity this week that he had no interest in before, I suspect in part to see DS.

 

I'm not sure what to do? DS just can't seem to get his head around what is happening and tbh I can't either. The other kid repeated a year so is over a year older. DS is gifted, some ADHD characteristics (not enough for diagnosis) and a friendly but slightly awkward kid, so very much lives in the moment of this "friendship".

Edited by Orangecake
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EsmeLennox

Poor kid. I'd try and facilitate other friendships. You say the school has been fantastic, but what are they actually doing to encourage other friendships and/or teach the other child more appropriate social behaviors?

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Orangecake

Thanks EsmeLennox. I'm very keen and trying to encourage other friendships, so will keep going. Its hard as this other kid seems to know when to turn on the charm and then its back to square one again. He seems to be a reasonably popular kid.

 

So far the school teacher has changed classroom seating, set up some lunch time plays with other friends and when there's a class activity they give DS two choices of partner (good role models).

 

I'm not sure what is happening with the other child, but I really hope they are working on social skills. I'm also not sure whether they have spoken with the other parents either, they seem oblivious.

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CallMeFeral

Can you talk to him about the damaging and inconsistent behaviour of his friend and talk about how you'd prefer him to play with other kids if possible?

DD once had a toxic friendship of an on-off nature. Although I felt a bit bad for interfering, whenever she was besties with her again I would talk to her about how I was concerned because this girl had previously shown that she would shortly be enemies once again, and I didn't want to see DD getting hurt, and would prefer her to try and play with others. She still of course played with her but I'd like to think that the discussions meant she was less invested in that friendship and put more effort into building other ones. It's hard though when it's early in the year - at least with us it was late in the year so I requested them separated the following year.

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CallMeFeral

The other mother keeps messaging for playdates but I have said we are not available and I've decided not to facilitate any more of these.

 

I also wonder whether it would be worth mentioning to her that you feel the friendship was getting a bit too intense and toxic, so you don't want to encourage it with playdates. At least then she won't keep asking and wondering why she's being snubbed.

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Lou-bags

We have a much (much) milder version of this with DS1 (who is 5 turning 6 in Sept). The other boy will be super friendly with him and they have fun and then he turns mean and does things like call DS1 stupid (and once said ‘your mum is so stupid’ to him, poor kid was nearly in tears telling me). And he is aggressive too- has punched DS1 in the face amongst other things (some accidents if too rough play and some deliberate, like the punch).

 

I’ve tried really hard to not speak negatively about the other boy. What’s worked for us has been lots of talks about what it means to be a good friend, and how you don’t have to spend time with people who don’t make you feel good and who don’t act with kindness and care. He seems to be figuring it out on his own, and the intensity of the friendship has mellowed. He’ll often tell me now about all the other kids he plays with.

 

I have avoided the other parent as much as possible so as to avoid any potential play date invites.

 

There is NO way I’d discuss it with the other parent. No way. I don’t see any likelihood of that going well. Unless your desired outcome is to cause a massive rift and awkwardness.

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FunkyOwl

I also wonder whether it would be worth mentioning to her that you feel the friendship was getting a bit too intense and toxic, so you don't want to encourage it with playdates. At least then she won't keep asking and wondering why she's being snubbed.

Is it worth actually explaining to the mum yours and the schools concerns (or ask the school/teacher to) so she can work with her child and the school in regards to teaching more appropriate behaviour and not bullying?

I wouldn't just avoid the issue with the mum if it were me. He'll never change then, and at a year older than his peers this could get much worse as he gets older. It will also explain why you want some space for your DS without her (hopefully) getting offended or feeling her DS has been rejected.

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FunkyOwl

I have avoided the other parent as much as possible so as to avoid any potential play date invites.

 

There is NO way I’d discuss it with the other parent. No way. I don’t see any likelihood of that going well. Unless your desired outcome is to cause a massive rift and awkwardness.

Really?! My DS was being bullied this year by a classmate and me and the mum of the bully have been working with the classroom teacher for a term with amazing results. Any half decent parent won't want their child bullying.

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Lou-bags

Really?! My DS was being bullied this year by a classmate and me and the mum of the bully have been working with the classroom teacher for a term with amazing results. Any half decent parent won't want their child bullying.

 

Yes really. I trust the school to handle it with the other parent. Your trust that most parents would be half decent about this has not been my experience unfortunately (granted in a childcare setting and not a school setting).

 

In the case of the boy I mentioned, I have watched the parents reaction to their children’s behaviour at school, school events like assemblies and class picnics and stuff, and at birthday parties. They clearly don’t see an issue with how their children play with other kids and other peoples property so I have no doubt that me speaking to them would achieve nothing positive.

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PandoBox

Start talking to you DS about what makes a good friend, how to be a good friend and what to do when someone isn't being a good friend.

 

Your DS needs to learn to pull this boy aside and create a consequence for him for poor behaviour. You can use an example from home when you've created a consequence for your DS for poor behaviour.

 

I wouldn't just let the school handle it or handle this for him. I think this is a good skill for your DS to learn because he will come across these type of people later on in life a lot as a kid and as an adult.

 

I would be saying to him next time this boy comes up to him wanting to play to have a little chat to him and say to him

" The other day you called me stupid and were mean. Now you want to be my friend. If you're going to be my friend and want to play with me you aren't allowed to call me stupid or put me down ever again and if you do we wont be friends".

 

Teach your DS that he has the power to decide how he is treated, who he plays with, who plays with him and that good friends deserve to be appreciated.

 

At 7 I think he can grasp this and understand that good friends aren't nice one day and mean the next.

Edited by PandoBox
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