I need some advice. Badly.
My girlfriend's 8-year-old son has the worst attitude of any child I've ever met. I've known him for a while now and have yet to see him act in a thoughtful or considerate manner. He takes things (toys, found objects, you name it) from his "friends." to describe him as "bossy" would be an understatement. He is disrespectful to his mom, to me, to other kids. He talks back, doesn't take no for an answer, orders his mom/other adults around (no Please or Thank you) and is constantly--CONSTANTLY--testing the limits and boundaries. He flaunts rule-breaking to show off to his friends (and even when he has no peers around, he's still showing off/trying to be a punk) and doesn't correct his behavior even when his mom tells him to and threatens punishment. He is condescending to other kids and adults.
My son brings home the bad attitude after every play date and it takes a day or two to get him back to being respectful and obedient (I'm swift with consequences and punishment and don't put up with squat). One thing I've noticed is that my friend doesn't give consequences. She threatens to, yells at him, but doesn't actually do what she threatens to (like end the play date or end the fun activity). If there are consequences, they are not swift/in the moment and happen behind closed doors after everyone has left...and appear to not work.
It would be one thing if the kid just acted like a brat all the time, but this kid is obsessed with guns. Talks about guns all the time. Knows A LOT about guns. Everything he wants to play involves guns. And it's not "lets get the bad guys" kind of gun play or what I'd consider pretty normal boy play; he pretend-shoots DIRECTLY at other kids to "kill" them. I told him "no" once and he pointed his toy gun at ME and "shot" me! He had his "friends" line up against a tree with their hands up above their heads and pretend SHOT them execution style!
I know the parents don't keep guns in their home...but his obsession, combined with his poor attitude/behavior and the parents' lack of consequences kind of freaks me out. The parents are finally starting to limit the gun play, but considering how little impact the rest of their corrective attempts have made, I'm not sure it will work.
It has gotten to the point that I'm not sure I can let my son continue playing with him because I'm concerned for my son's safety. How do I explain that to my friend without insulting her parenting? I really, genuinely like my friend and don't want to end the friendship over this.
ALSO, what kind of response is OK for me to have to the kid when he is rude and disrespectful to me? (when I tell him "no" and he continues to do something; when he pretend shoots me in the head, when he talks back to me, etc...)????? Yesterday I told him to please stop doing something. (it had been going on for A LONG time and the mom had asked him several times to stop and he didn't) When I asked him to stop I told him if he didn't my son wouldn't be able to play with him next time he wanted to play, and then when the kid didn't stop I said, "I'm sorry, but I asked you to be respectful and told you didn't stop then my son couldn't play with you next time. So now, the next time you want to play with him I will have to say no." The kid was SHOCKED. It was clear no one had ever actually followed through with a consequence before. I was uncomfortable having to say that/do that because he isn't *MY* kid--but I was tired of being disrespected infront of my own son and having it go on and on...was I right to lay down the law like that or was I out of line?
I'm sorry to ramble, but this has been bothering me for a while and I just can't figure out how to deal with it. Thanks for any tips/advice you have!!