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Bad influence from the kid across the street (long, sorry)

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

My son (who is 4) made friends with a kid who lives right across the street from us (G, who is 5).  They were on the same soccer team and his mom works for my dad.  

 

First I thought it was nice, the boys could run across the street to play together at their house or ours.  (its a super safe neighborhood and obviously an adult on either side of the street double checks for cars first!).  Mostly they were playing outside at first - soccer, bikes, skateboards, giant cardboard boxes on the lawn...  And I did let ds go over to their house and play for a while inside, he came home after a short while because G took out a toy weapon to play with (sounds like it was a nerf gun thing), and ds knows I don't approve so he left. 

 

We do have a lot of parenting differences - I know G has an older brother (teenage), they watch a TON of TV/movies many violent, G plays with toy weapons, lots of fighting type games.  Someone has taught G that there are rules for boys vs. girls as far as toys/games that are ok to play, G goes to school as well (kindergarden)

 

 

Anyway, G came over to our house and made fun of ds for having "girl" toys (the toy in question was a small plastic purple slingshot that came in a grab bag from the dollar store that grandma brought).  He also complained we dont have enough toys (ds doesnt really play with toys, so we have only a few and most are "imagination required" type things).  And whenever ds didn't do what he wanted he threatened to go home (which lead my ds to comply even if he didnt want to).

 

 

And this morning ds was getting dressed and said "I'm so sexy" while shaking his butt.  Shocked, I asked him "what does that mean?", his response was "its when you dance naked".   yikes.gif  Where did you hear that?   "G told me about it".  

 

 

 

The boys have a lot of fun together, and its really nice that they live so close, but I feel like I don't want ds to hang out with him.   Should I ban it altogether?  Or limit it to our house with my supervision only?  Or only to outdoor play? (they mostly race bikes so less conversation and no toy issues, although ds's bike is purple so he gets flack for that).    Or do I talk to his mom?  (I am not very good at talking to people!)

 

We do have several 4-5yr old boys in our neighborhood within walking distance but far enough that the kids would have to be escorted to one another's house at this age, harder too b/c we can't see if they are hanging outside ready to play so it requires a phone call/planning.     He plays with a kid who is 3months older than him who is a nice kid, but is the type to not want to participate in everything which is frustrating for ds.  Another kid behind us is also 4 and their family is far more 'crunchy' (cloth diapers, baby wearing, homeschool, etc), but they have 5 kids including a baby and 2yr old, so it seems like they don't have time.  There are 2 other 4-5yr old boys that we've talked to but havent gotten to know yet, and there are 2 others that look about that age that I've never talked to.  So its not like there is a lack of playmates! 

 

 

Sorry that got long!

post #2 of 9

Honestly, there is nothing that sounds alarming or out of the ordinary with this boy.  I don't know any little boys who don't own Nerf guns so good luck with that.  Any child with teenage siblings is going to be exposed to song lyrics you find objectionable.  I really can't see rejecting a friend for you child based on him having teenage siblings.

 

Sure, it's annoying that he's into gender stereotypes but that is a very common 4-5 year-old way of thinking.  They usually outgrow it.

 

As far as talking to the mom, what would you say to her anyway?  If I was her I would think you were majorly over-reacting and it would not change the way I parented.

post #3 of 9

Fairly typical behavior no matter what you do. I wouldnt worry about it.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

I guess this kid is just VERY different from any of the kids we generally hang out with.  All of his good friends are from a local natural parenting group, so they aren't exposed to toy weapons, talk of being "sexy" and naked dancing, etc.  And they don't tease each other, make fun of one another for their choices of toys/favorite colors etc, and they just aren't so mean!   My ds isn't used to handling kids like that and I'm not happy with the language/attitudes he is presenting after playing with G.

post #5 of 9

I agree that the boy's behavior isn't abnormal, but I also think it's fine for you to be put off by it. Your DS is 4 -- that's very little, and I shielded my DS from stuff like that until he was older as well.

 

I think at 4 it's totally fine if he only plays at your house with supervision -- that's definitely how it was in our house when my DS was that age. 

 

ETA: I wouldn't say anything to the boy's mom about it. She just has a different comfort level than you do, and that's okay. Don't try to change the way she parents, just up your own supervision when this boy is around. 

post #6 of 9

His behavior isn't unusal and your ds is going to come across kids like this. It is possible to keep your values intact while not restricting play with more mainstream kids.

 

 

I am a little confused about the not allowing toy weapons but having a sling shot? I sometimes have found for myself that I think someone else shouldn't allow something and then when I look close at myself I allow something kind of similar, and I think that's happening here.

 

When my older dd was about that age, maybe just a tad older, this song "Don't Cha Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me" song was big. My daughter heard it somewhere and started singing it and I said I didn't like to hear her sing grownup songs like that, and she understood my values and has seemed to (at just turning 10) have internalized them. I'd use the "sexy" talk as a teaching opportunity. You will come across this - it is inevitable - and IMO it's an issue of teaching your values rather than avoiding everyone who doesn't share them.

 

The gender thing might just be G's age. There's a developmental stage where they really really notice gender and make a big deal of it. Again, I'd teach your values, but I wouldn't assume that G is learning that from anyone. I really bend over backward to not teach my kids these gender "rules", and my older one still was on a kick about how girls should have long hair and boy should have short hair at that age. She even called it "girl hair" and "boy hair." It's very developmentally common, your kids will probably hit the same stage, and I agree that it's important to teach the value you want to teach, but I think you should be careful judging the other parent. Just say something like, "There are no 'girl colors' or 'boy colors' or 'girl toys' or 'boy toys' in our house. We can play with whatever toys we want and like whatever colors we want." Teach your values, but don't read too much into it.

 

It sounds like he behaved in a way that sounded rude to your adult ears when he was at your house, but 5-year-olds are very literal and don't have the ability to self-censor. They say what they think. Don't take it personally and deal with it as it comes. "You don't have enough toys. I should go home." "That's fine. You can go home if you want to play with something we don't have. Goodbye." Don't feel like you have to talk him into staying or apologize for not having toys. He is probably just saying what he's thinking, not fishing for you to apologize or get him to stay. Take what he says at face value.

 

IMO one of the values of play between children is that children learn to navigate social issues like these. Play is a great opportunity for him to learn to get along with people who aren't like him. Preschool age is really when that starts, too.

 

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

His behavior isn't unusal and your ds is going to come across kids like this. It is possible to keep your values intact while not restricting play with more mainstream kids.  I guess that's true, its just hard b/c this is the first time its really come up, he is just now old enough to want to play without me around constantly, which is fine, I don't want to hover (I am not a helecopter parent by any means!) Ds is around adults and older kids most of the time, and the only kids closer to his age are kids that are crunchy people.  Its been hard for him to socialize with kids his age b/c ds is super smart for a 4yr old, talks a ton and doesn't "get" why kids his age "don't talk so much" or "don't know things".  He likes G b/c he is a little older (I think ds likes his older brother quite a bit too), and b/c they both like soccer, bikes, skateboards, playing in boxes, etc.  It seems like they get along MUCH better and there is less of a parenting difference evident when they play outdoor games

 

 

I am a little confused about the not allowing toy weapons but having a sling shot? I sometimes have found for myself that I think someone else shouldn't allow something and then when I look close at myself I allow something kind of similar, and I think that's happening here.  Not a toy I approve of, Grandma brought it over (that day), and it disappeared shortly after.  The only reason I allowed it is b/c ds didn't know it was supposed to be a weapon of any kind, it was designed for flinging those water balloon ball things and he had been using it to "paint" the fence with water by flinging them at the fence.   We have very very few toys - some games, a few small lego sets, some blocks, some small plastic animals/trees, some toy cars, playsilks, balls, a wood marble run, stuffed animals and a couple puzzles, and some small dolls and we just got a playstand and I just made a playscape table.  Thats it!   We have outdoor toys too (bike, scooter, skateboard, surfboard), the pool outside, the garden, lots of books, homeschool stuff... so he is entertained without a lot of actual toys, He and I live with my parents and share a bedroom, and the other room we have is a sewing/homeschool room so not a lot of space for "stuff".  G has a bedroom and a playroom both stuffed full of toys. Ds knows I don't approve of guns/swords, and thats why he chose to come home when G brought one out, he just says "mommy says guns are not toys".  He was also taught by his science teacher that "all guns are loaded, even toy ones" so he is pretty set on that.  Ds is very safety minded (I'm a carseat tech, require him to wear a helmet, etc) 

 

When my older dd was about that age, maybe just a tad older, this song "Don't Cha Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Me" song was big. My daughter heard it somewhere and started singing it and I said I didn't like to hear her sing grownup songs like that, and she understood my values and has seemed to (at just turning 10) have internalized them. I'd use the "sexy" talk as a teaching opportunity. You will come across this - it is inevitable - and IMO it's an issue of teaching your values rather than avoiding everyone who doesn't share them.  Tried to explain this to ds, and he doesn't get it.  "Well G says it".  Yes, but in our house we do not!  I've always tried to teach him different families have different rules, b/c that is true even with his other friends.  For example, we do no tv/characters at all, but one of his good friends does.  And its ok that he has them and we don't, BUT ds understands that I'm not going to buy him a Dora toy when we go to the store, and he doesn't ask for it.   With the "sexy" thing, it seems to be harder to explain b/c its a word, not a thing, and I don't know that 4yrs old is an appropriate time to be discussing what "being sexy" means.   He does know that there is a time and place to be naked, and with friends is not one of them. 

 

The gender thing might just be G's age. There's a developmental stage where they really really notice gender and make a big deal of it. Again, I'd teach your values, but I wouldn't assume that G is learning that from anyone. I really bend over backward to not teach my kids these gender "rules", and my older one still was on a kick about how girls should have long hair and boy should have short hair at that age. She even called it "girl hair" and "boy hair." It's very developmentally common, your kids will probably hit the same stage, and I agree that it's important to teach the value you want to teach, but I think you should be careful judging the other parent. Just say something like, "There are no 'girl colors' or 'boy colors' or 'girl toys' or 'boy toys' in our house. We can play with whatever toys we want and like whatever colors we want." Teach your values, but don't read too much into it.

Thats what I did, I just told him that "purple can be anyone's favorite color, its Levi's favorite, what is your favorite color?  See you have a blue bike b/c its your favorite, and Levi has a purple bike b/c its his favorite!".  With G though, he brings up gender issues so often that I feel like I'd have to follow them around saying "no that can be for boys or girls" all the time, b/c he categorizes everything!   Ds has never paid attention to what is for a boy vs a girl and I don't think he notices much that people think some things can only be used by boys or only by girls.  The only thing thats specifically come up in the past where he was categorizing is clothing, but we have a book that has kids from all different countries, and shows men wearing skirts/dresses for example, and so we just told him that "in florida, most men like to wear shorts/pants instead of skirts/dresses", but in other places people wear different things.   Ds chooses his own clothes and usually chooses something purple and crazy looking!      So while other friends have said things are 'girl' or 'boy' before, they were also raised like ds, that boys can also play with "girl" things, or like different colors or whatever, and there isn't a problem with that,  I think ds knows there are things that people think of as boy or girl, but he also doesn't care and will play with/like whatever he wants regardless of the "norms".  G on the other hand was obviously taught that its NEVER ok for a boy to like purple or play with a doll, it just bugs me how he goes on and on and on about it.   I

 

It sounds like he behaved in a way that sounded rude to your adult ears when he was at your house, but 5-year-olds are very literal and don't have the ability to self-censor. They say what they think. Don't take it personally and deal with it as it comes. "You don't have enough toys. I should go home." "That's fine. You can go home if you want to play with something we don't have. Goodbye." Don't feel like you have to talk him into staying or apologize for not having toys. He is probably just saying what he's thinking, not fishing for you to apologize or get him to stay. Take what he says at face value.

I just kicked them out of the house and told them to go ride bikes if they couldn't find anything they wanted to play inside.  They did decide that the "operation" game was acceptable for both of them and played that for a while, but usually they need to be outside.   They play for much longer at G's house, probably b/c he has so many things ds has never played with.

 

IMO one of the values of play between children is that children learn to navigate social issues like these. Play is a great opportunity for him to learn to get along with people who aren't like him. Preschool age is really when that starts, too.  Very true, play is how kids this age learn to interact, and how they learn to do a lot of different things.  To me, play is the best way for young kids to learn anything at all!   I think I need to take all this as a teaching oppertunity and have some more talks with ds about all this so that he understands.  In the meantime, I'll try and get them to play here or outside as much as possible, at least until ds "gets" why G does things differently and give him some ways to handle these things.  

 


 

 

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by springbabes View Post

Honestly, there is nothing that sounds alarming or out of the ordinary with this boy.  I don't know any little boys who don't own Nerf guns so good luck with that.  Any child with teenage siblings is going to be exposed to song lyrics you find objectionable.  I really can't see rejecting a friend for you child based on him having teenage siblings.

 

Sure, it's annoying that he's into gender stereotypes but that is a very common 4-5 year-old way of thinking.  They usually outgrow it.

 

As far as talking to the mom, what would you say to her anyway?  If I was her I would think you were majorly over-reacting and it would not change the way I parented.



I totally agree as the mom of both teens and a younger child. I've learned a lot during my parenting years that sometimes you can't sweat the small stuff.

post #9 of 9

I'm going to say we dealt with the same things.  In the form of the neighbors granddaughter.  DH and I decided that we've given our girls enough tools to understand what is and is not okay for us.  First your son came home over a toy gun.  Not many kids would.  They will learn things that are not appropriate and it's our job to tell them that.  If the kid makes fun of your son at your home you have every right to step in and say that it's not acceptable to speak to your friends that way.  Your son will learn that it's not ok and will probably defend himself as well.  I've done it and my girls have grown a back bone of steel!  They say enough is enough when they certainly feel uncomfortable about their situation and how their friends are acting. 

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