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I can't stand my son's best friend - Page 2

post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineWife View Post
"Why would I be so irritated by the way a child sounds when he breathes, especially when he doesn't have any control over his nose being stuffed up like that?"
I think it bugs you for three reasons.

The first is simply a conditioned responce. You have come to assosiate the sound with the child. Just as Pavlov's dogs assosiated a bell with eating, and started salavating as soon as they heard it.

The second is that to a certain degree, he probably could do something. Has he ever asked for a tissue? And you know it isn't shyness holding him back from requesting a tissue.

The third is the least fair, it's human instinct. Even before the dawn of humans those who avoided others who showed outward signs of illness were less likely to catch illnesses and therefore more likely to survive. Instict tells us to avoid the sick, it is only our modern human intellect that allows us to over come these instincts and take care of the ill (our own children are an exception to the instinctual avoidance, since they are the carriers of our genes, and therefore an extention of our self preservation instinct.)
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineWife View Post
It's hard for most people to wrap their brains around the idea that it's the adults position to allow or disallow "privileges" to children. I understand that. I don't really feel like going into an explanation of my philosophy on how to treat all people with no distinction between adults and children because that's not what this thread was supposed to be about. I will say it's not quite giving children and adults the same input or privileges. If you'd like to know more, maybe read up a bit on consensual living or radical unschooling. It's something that probably most people would disagree with because we are conditioned to think children need to be controlled.
I've done some reading on CL, and my understanding is that everyone in the family's comfort/opinion is valid and honored when practicing CL, and from your first few posts it seemed like you were giving priority to your son's/his friend's desires to the detriment of your own.

From your most recent post, though, you've added some details that make it sound like you do stick to some boundaries and are just wanting to vent about not liking this boy. I'd let that guilt go -- as Storm Bride said, there's no rule that says you have to like someone just because they're young.
post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
The third is the least fair, it's human instinct. Even before the dawn of humans those who avoided others who showed outward signs of illness were less likely to catch illnesses and therefore more likely to survive. Instict tells us to avoid the sick, it is only our modern human intellect that allows us to over come these instincts and take care of the ill (our own children are an exception to the instinctual avoidance, since they are the carriers of our genes, and therefore an extention of our self preservation instinct.)
This is a great point! I'd heard this before, but never integrated into my worldview, and since I'm FREQUENTLY annoyed by mouth-breathers, I'm going to be more forgiving of myself in the future

MarineWife, maybe you could set some time limits on when he can be inside? Like it the weather's nice, they can only come in for snacks, or for half an hour or something? At least that might limit the destruction to the yard. Can you set them up with a SlipnSlide or water guns or something?
post #24 of 36
I understand, and am in a similar situation. It can be very hard to separate your self from a next-door neighbor who you are already friends with. You can't just avoid them, and confrontation can turn ugly when you live in close proximity. I felt bad for awhile about not liking two young kids, brothers. Similar feelings of being very annoyed about things that they can't control. I feel some how competitive with them and thier mother, where I don't with anyone else. I felt bad until some one else close to them confessed similar feelings... It sounds like the friend is basically a bully (to you, if not your son) and will probably grow up to be one like his father. I think bullying goes beyond beating kids up for milk money, it has to do with a state of mind that it is o.k. to hurt other people to get what you want.
Have you talked with your son about how his friend behaves/how it hurts your feelings? Starting with something simple, obvious, you think your ds could comprehend.
post #25 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
I think it bugs you for three reasons.

The first is simply a conditioned responce. You have come to assosiate the sound with the child. Just as Pavlov's dogs assosiated a bell with eating, and started salavating as soon as they heard it.

The second is that to a certain degree, he probably could do something. Has he ever asked for a tissue? And you know it isn't shyness holding him back from requesting a tissue.

The third is the least fair, it's human instinct. Even before the dawn of humans those who avoided others who showed outward signs of illness were less likely to catch illnesses and therefore more likely to survive. Instict tells us to avoid the sick, it is only our modern human intellect that allows us to over come these instincts and take care of the ill (our own children are an exception to the instinctual avoidance, since they are the carriers of our genes, and therefore an extention of our self preservation instinct.)
Wow! This is great. Ya know, he has never asked for a tissue. I have offered one to him before but he won't take it. I have a thing about snot, anyway. My dh teases me that I can handle the kids vomiting and pooping everywhere but I can't stand to even think about someone else's buggars.

Yes, with CL you do take everyone into consideration. Everyone in the family has equal say in what goes on and equal access to all the resources. There's no top-down authority. This is how I aspire to live. I'm not quite there yet but I'm working on it.

I guess in some ways this boy is a bully. I was outside today with the whole family and paid very close attention to their interactions. The boy doesn't listen to his parents, either. He was playing with my ds' electric truck. My 2yo was in it and had stood up. This other boy started to push at it. Both his dad and I asked him not to move it until my 2yo sat down. The boy continued to lean on it and try to push it tiny bits, probably thinking we wouldn't notice and/or he could use the excuse that he didn't mean to if he got caught. His dad had to tell him to completely get away from it and not touch it at all. As soon as my ds sat down, the boy jumped back in the truck to drive it. His dad had to tell him again to get out of it. He kept running his bike or scooter into the back of my ds' bike. He even does that to my 2yo. Frankly, I think that kind of bullying behavior comes from being dominated and controlled himself so that, when he has the chance, he does that to others so he can feel some sort of power in his world. My little bit of armchair psychology.

I will talk to my ds about this boy's behavior some more. We have talked about it several times. My ds admits that the boy is mean sometimes. He doesn't listen to my ds' requests and my ds gets very frustrated. I will try to talk to the boy about it some more next time he comes over, too. Every time I have tried to talk to him in the past he gets very fearful (drops his head, lowers his eyes, gets a very sad/scared look on his face and his whole body just droops) and it's obvious he stops listening because he's so afraid he's going to get into trouble. I tell him I'm not going to do anything to him. I have to make him repeat back to me what I've said to make sure he heard me and understands.
post #26 of 36
Thread Starter 
In case anyone is still paying attention to this, I have 2 perfect examples of this child's behavior.

Example #1:

He was over here playing yesterday. This morning when I went into my ds' room to try to fix the curtains I found his toy box turned upside down with all the toys just dumped all over the place. Since I didn't witness the actual event I don't know if the other boy did this all himself or if he and my ds did it together. I do know, however, that my ds has not ever done anything like that on his own or when any other friend has been over. So, I asked my ds who did and who's idea it was. He told me his friend did it all. Again, I can say with much confidence that my ds does not lie to me. I'm not so naive as to think that he would never lie to me so I'm not 100% convinced that he didn't have at least some hand in the mess. In the past he has asked me if he should tell me the truth. When I tell him that he does need to tell me the truth, he fesses up to things he's done. For example, I asked about some coloring on a wall. My ds told me he did part of it and why.

I decided I would talk to the other boy's parents with both boys present so that I could get to the bottom of it or at least wouldn't have them blaming it on the other while saying they didn't do anything themselves. I went to their house and before we could even start talking the other boy started saying he didn't do anything. He didn't even know what was going to be said.

When we finally got to discussing what had happened with the toy box my ds again said he didn't do anything. He was just standing on the bed while the other boy dumped it out. The other boy said he didn't do anything. Both of us parents told them that if it happens again, they will not be able to play in my house.

Example #2:

We all came over to my house so I could show the boy's mother something I was working on. While we were here the boys were playing. As they were leaving the other mother noticed the boy had money in his pocket. She started to take it out to give it back to my ds. As she did the boy started saying that he didn't do it. My ds put the money in his pocket. My ds, of course, said he did not. We hadn't said anything about it or asked who did it or how it got there. He just immediately started denying any part in it.

I'm pretty sure my ds did not put the money in the other boy's pocket. He has no reason to do that. He may have given the boy some money but not physically put it in his pocket. It was just a few pennies so really no big deal.

The immediate denial and refusal to take any responsibility for anything is what drives me crazy. That situation I don't know how to handle. I don't want to blame the other boy for everything when I don't know that he did it alone. However, I'm pretty sure he at least played the major role in it all since none of this happens with just my ds or with other friends. The boy's mother said she has the same problem with him in his own room. He tears his bed apart and moves his furniture around and throws and dumps everything everywhere. However, it seemed as if the other parents weren't willing to think that the problem was their ds.

What do I do about that? Anything? Or do I just continue to try to keep things in check at my house and not worry about telling the other parents?
post #27 of 36
It sounds to me like this child is a) pretty impulsive for his age and b) has learned that lying might get him out of 'trouble'. While I don't think either of these things is necessarily out of the range of normal, five-year-old behaviour, I also don't think you have to take this on, and it would be just fine not to have him over anymore.

If you choose to allow him in your home, I agree with some of the pp's: this kid needs close supervision. He also needs clear boundaries. Don't assume that he knows what you expect his behaviour to be like at your place just because other kids seem to. Be clear on how you want him to behave, and let him know exactly what will happen if he doesn't meet your expectations. Then follow through. If you want to support your son's friendship with this boy, you may need to put more energy into planning activities for them to do with you, or getting them out for a hike together, or whatever.

If you're confronting him and he denies something, just carry on as if you didn't hear the denial. "I can see that the toy box has been overturned, and I'd like you to fix it, please." No biggie. If lying doesn't work as an "out" with you, he'll probably figure it out and stop trying.

Having said all that, it sounds to me like the biggest part of the problem here is your internal emotional response to this kid. IMO, it's okay to take care of your own need to have a calm household where you can attend to your toddler without worrying about another child wreaking havoc. You are not interfering with your ds's right to have a friendship with this boy by setting a limit on having him in the house. In fact, I think if you explain to your ds why you've made that decision, it is teaching him about self-care, kwim?
post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by vocalise View Post
If you're confronting him and he denies something, just carry on as if you didn't hear the denial. "I can see that the toy box has been overturned, and I'd like you to fix it, please." No biggie. If lying doesn't work as an "out" with you, he'll probably figure it out and stop trying.
:

Honestly, this would be an "outside-only" friend if I were you, but if you continue having him in your home I would definitely employ the above tactic. Don't ask direct questions about who did what -- just state what you see and ask them to clean it up. Before he leaves to go home, do a quick sweep of the areas where the boys have been playing and make sure there's no damage/mess, and if there is, have the boys fix it before the friend leaves.
post #29 of 36
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I think I agree with all of what you both have said. I think maybe the reason I'm not willing or able or ready to just sort of give up on this kid is because he reminds me a lot of my oldest ds. I was a very different kind of parent when I had him 18 yeras ago. Looking back, I can see how my "parenting" set him up for a lot of undesirable behaviors. He was later diagnosed with ADHD. I'm not into diagnoses but I think that description might help others understand how extreme the behaviors are. They are normal, age appropriate behaviors taken to a major extreme.

I always mean to do a sweep of the house before he leaves but I usually forget. I've never been very on top of things like that. It's not in my personality. I have pretty much stopped confronting this other boy about anything. I don't ask who did what anymore. But, all I have to do is start to ask that something be cleaned up and he goes straight into the, "It wasn't me. I didn't do it. E did it." I'm convinced he does this to try to avoid getting into trouble. That's exactly what his mom said to him yesterday. "If you do that at her house again, you will be in trouble." Who knows what that even means? On top of that, the rest of the family, dad and big sister, were telling him that they knew it was him because he always does everything bad like that. Poor kid.
post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineWife View Post
In case anyone is still paying attention to this, I have 2 perfect examples of this child's behavior.

Example #1:

He was over here playing yesterday. This morning when I went into my ds' room to try to fix the curtains I found his toy box turned upside down with all the toys just dumped all over the place. Since I didn't witness the actual event I don't know if the other boy did this all himself or if he and my ds did it together. I do know, however, that my ds has not ever done anything like that on his own or when any other friend has been over.
Your ds has never dumped out his toy box? or he's never done that and then not cleaned it up? I can see that there is more to this boy's behavior than just these kinds of things, but it sounds like this boy is a bit more, i don't know, wild- big energy, and your son isn't and that kind of energy is hard to deal with.

My kids routinely make HUGE MESSES in our house. I am always after them to clean up, shutting down play that i know will result in a mess that they hate to clean up, and yet... they continue. Pulling clothes out of drawers, dumping boxes of crayons, etc.. etc... Frankly, I think they get bored with play that is neat and structured. I mean, they do that too, but when they get going together, their imaginations get wild and they go a bit nuts. It's an on-going process to find a balance with an energetic 3 yo and 6yo to allow them to play creatively (these messes are often the result of huge imagination games/stories/plays) but also have them take responsibility for the mess.

Now, it sounds like maybe this kid is destructive and clearly there are home issues. BUT, i think your son sounds pretty tame. If another super high energy kid came over my house, it would be no-big deal. I am immersed in that kind of energy daily. Seems like you aren't, and so that makes it hard on top of the fact that there are all these other issues.

I dont' have advice, but no on else has said anything like this, so thought i'd chime in a different note.
post #31 of 36
Thread Starter 
Don't get me wrong. My ds does make big messes sometimes. But, no, he has never dumped out his entire toy box and flipped it upside down. It's not just the dumping of the toy box, though. It's the sneakiness about it and lying after the fact even if I don't ask what happened/who did it.

The other thing is that he'll take things that are put away in a box or bin and stack them up somewhere else like he's rearrangined things the way he wants them to be. This usually results in them being stacked in front of the closet door so I can't get to the closet or in the middle of a walkway so I have to clean it up before I can go through a room. If he wants to do that in his house, that's fine. I don't think it's cool to go to someone else's house and rearranged things like that without asking first. I get just as upset with my mother when she comes to my home and decides I don't have the dishes in the correct places and moves them all over my kitchen so I can't find anything.

And, yes, my ds does clean up after himself when he sees me cleaning (most of the time). I don't try to force my ds to clean nor do I expect him to. He's not the one who wants things clean. I do so I see it as my issue/responsibility. I usually just start cleaning. Sometimes I may ask if he will help if it's a really big mess, especially if he wants to do something with me. Most of the time I don't. He usually (and my 2yo, too) will help me once he sees me doing it. They actually fight over who gets to help me clean rather than who has to help me clean.

Let me give you an example of the difference between these two. We have plastic bins in a wooden shelf type system. My ds might take one bin and dump it out because he's looking for something particular that he can't find. This other boy will dump out all the bins so he can use them for something else.

I admire his creativity. I can totally see him being an architect some day if this part of his personality is encouraged (I don't think it is, though). However, I would really appreciate it if he would ask before he does something like that in my home and/or let me know that it has been done. My ds does that for the most part. I think the difference with that comes from this other boy being used to being told, "No," and getting in trouble for doing this sort of thing. Apparently, he's not even allowed to sit on his own bed after his mother makes it.

With the outside hose, I really don't mind at all if they play with it as long as it gets turned off so the water is not just running (because we have to pay for it) and flooding the yard all night long. If they ask, it is usually perfectly fine with me if they play with it. That gives me the chance to remind them to turn it off when they are done and to be aware that I need to check it. My ds knows this. I have told this other boy this many, many times. However, he waits until I'm not paying attention and sneaks and then runs off when there's no need for that. KWIM?

We don't do any structured play. My ds does what he wants (radical unschoolers). He is pretty tame, relatively speaking. My oldest ds and my youngest are both wild ones. My oldest was/is(?) destructive but not in a purposeful way. He was just sort of oblivious to what he did most of the time. My youngest, at just 2, is wild and crazy but, again, not purposefully destructive. This kid does these things in a sneaky way and lies about it.

Another example of his sneakiness and dishonesty. One time the boys asked me if they could go across the street. I told them I couldn't watch them cross the street at that moment but, if they waited until I was done with what I was doing, I would watch them go. This boy tried to get my ds to go downstairs away from me so he could tell him something in secret as he announced that he was going home. I had a good idea what he was doing. He was probably going to tell my ds to tell me they were going to his house and then go across the street anyway. I told them both they could say whatever they needed in front of me. If not, they didn't need to say it and the boy could just go home. He opted not to say anything.

I could go on and on. This has become a novel. Sorry.
post #32 of 36
Thread Starter 
One more thing , I asked my ds why he thinks his friend would lie and say that my ds did something instead of taking responsibility himself. My ds said it was because the other boy always gets in trouble and he wants my ds to get in trouble instead. We then discussed whether or not that was a nice thing to do and whether or not real friends do that sort of thing to each other.
post #33 of 36
Gotcha. Well, that makes sense and I see where you are coming from. I just wanted to put that observation out there.
post #34 of 36
you should talk to my mom.. we had neighbors similar to this growing up. i didn't understand until i was older.. and as i'm reading your posts its like everything clicked

my best friend was the girl who lived down the street she was three yrs old then me (everyone was either 3 yrs older then me or three yrs younger it was weird) her family was a mess. i was never ever allowed over there.. never knew why until years later. anyway my mom ended up setting ground rules for her the same way she did with me. since she was over at the house a lot (esp. since i couldn't go to hers) she had to follow our house rules too. end of discussion (this was unusual for my mom but she said she had had yrs to teach me and my brother respect.. she didnt have that kind of time with this girl) if she couldn't follow the rules she got 1 warning and then she had to leave. lying was one of the rules..so she wasn't allowed to do that either.

her parents were wack jobs so telling them would have been pointless. her little brother used to walk into peoples houses without knocking or anything and just go and hang out in there. and her mom would wander around the neighborhood in her nightgown and curlers (absolutely not joking) the one time i went into their house there was a rifle on the floor in front of the door... next to it was a used condom... had to ask my cousin about that later.

you can set ground rules in your own house... and since you don't have time to raise this one you kind of have to take the my way or the highway approach. fwiw my mom recently ran into this girl and she is in community college and doing well.. the first member of her family to go. and we still talk occasionally...so even the friends that make you grind your teeth may be around for awhile.. its worth it to set some rules so that he behaves in your house.. you might even start to like him. my mom grew very fond of my friend.. never liked her brother though.. walking into peoples houses is just weird.
post #35 of 36
I love that you're so respectful of your ds's choices in friends and you are trying very hard to sort how to live with his choice.

Obviously, this kid has problems. He is so fearful; it must be heartbreaking to witness him cowering when a wooden brush is brought out.

I have a great deal of empathy for kids like this mainly because I was the kid like this. I wasn't destructive, but I was certainly a mess in other ways.

I think that boundaries which are firm, but loving are very helpful. And lots of talks with your son each day about what happened will help as well. I wouldn't focus on blame placement or judgments about his behaviors, more on how much you hope he will come back and behave himself like you know he can. Maybe try really hard to find things about him you like and make sure you tell the kid those things.

I might be projecting a bunch of stuff, but I get the feeling that he wants to be at your house because it feels safer to him. You give boundaries without verbal or physical abuse. You are doing him a world of good, even if it is draining. Take care of you, to be sure, and don't let him get away with anything, but I am so glad that you keep trying. You have a huge heart and this kid will remember you when he's older. I remember all the great moms and dads of my friends. My memories of them gave me the right tools to use when I became a parent myself.
post #36 of 36
Thread Starter 
Thanks, ladies.

I think maybe the 1 warning thing is kind of of hard for me, especially with lying, because it's very hard to prove that another person is lying. I may suspect it but most times when we're in a situation like that, I don't really know for sure. Like the money in the pocket. No one saw this boy put the money in his pocket. It is conceivable that my ds would give him the money (although, I still don't think it's conceivable that my ds actually put the money in this other boy's pocket). I can't prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the boy is lying. I'm very sensitive about that because as I was growing I was accused of many things I didn't do simply because I was the middle child. My big bro was old enough to know better and my little sis was too young and not capable of doing whatever it was so it must've been me. I can certainly do a 1 warning thing with behaviors I see, though, which I already do quite a bit. Then the thing that makes me feel bad about that is that my ds feels punished by it because he then doesn't have a friend to play with.

We have a neighbor girl across the street who's 8 or 9yo who just walks right into our house. It's very bizarre. One time she walked in the door and went straight to our freezer for some ice cream. I was in the kitchen and she just said, "Oh, hello." She wasn't playing with my ds at the time so she couldn't even say that he told her it was ok to come in and get some. Either I live in a very strange neighborhood or I somehow attract people who are a little off.

I do try to find positive things about this kid (and everyone else I meet). I want to like this boy because my ds likes him and he's around a lot. I have told him numerous times that I like the way he comes up with ideas for building things and that he should consider being an architect one day. It's hard, though, because he cowers even when I just ask him how his day was. Any time I start to talk to him he immediately reacts as if he thinks he's in trouble.

I was thinking about the destructive and wild behavior in others' homes. Even my wild and crazy ds1 didn't behave that way in other people's homes. I used to joke all the time about how everyone else would tell me what a nice, polite and helpful child he was and all the while I was thinking, "Are you sure you're talking about my kid?" (not in front of ds, of course).
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