We have a standing playdate with my very best girlfriend once per week. My sons are 6 and almost 5 and her kids are ds age 7 and dd age 3. In the past I wished that our kids "clicked" better, but the age differences were in the way. Now that our kids are really becoming closer in age their differences are far less apparent. So, even though we have been hanging out for a few years, our kids have just in the past 6 months been able to play well. They play pretty well together, but they don't miss each other when they're apart, if that makes sense. Her older son has been know to be "wild" as in he frequently runs and screams through the house in a very playful manner, but it's a little out of control. My older son is somewhat of a chameleon and will do whatever anyone else is doing and he is a ball of energy anyway, so he's all for being wild. But again, lately it's been much calmer and playing Legos is much more common nowadays that run and flailing about.
So, tonight, we were all having a lovely time having dinner, doing a craft, playing legos, etc. Towards the end of the evening, the boys were all getting a little bit physical, chasing each other and trying to hug each other while the other would try to escape, etc. All of the sudden, the two boys come into the kitchen where my friend and I are. I hear my older son say, "Are you Ok, S? I'm sorry." My friend's boy shouts, "Get away from me, leave me alone!" My ds's face went pale and I took him into the living room to see what happened. My ds said they conked heads when playing. My ds wasn't crying over his hurt head, but I could tell he was a little frightened by his friend's reaction and he said he wanted to go home. I suggested we go and see how the friend was doing and just to apologize again and make sure he was alright. My ds was very reluctant for fear of how the other boy would react, so I held his hand and walked him into the room and really said the words for him. I didn't want to just leave and let this be unresolved between the two of them. My ds dragged me by the hand and insisted that it was time to go because the friend was only begrudgingly acknowledging him because his mom was forcing him to. It was getting to be time for us to go anyway, so we did go and get shoes and coats and the other boy came out again and said goodbye. We left...all on good terms, but my ds and his friend did not say goodbye to each other....it was obvious!
I don't want my ds to run away any time a friend has a bad feeling towards him (that's what I would tend to do in my childhood!). I know he's only 6, and it's not a huge deal. But I really want some advice on how to coach my son to not cower because of a friend's reaction. I am not good at confrontation myself, so I honestly don't know what the sensible response would be.