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#31 of 50 Old 06-03-2012, 09:57 PM
 
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I just _can't_ imagine letting my kid (who has Aspergers) intentionally kick a smaller kid in the pool without intervening.  I'm trying to have compassion on this mother, because it's really easy to blame the parents of kids with disabilities, but COME ON, she really needed to step up in that situation.  I really feel for the OP and I would have a hard time wanting to help the kid when he is just being so darn mean and the mom is being so darn passive.  _But_ I do agree that he needs tons of coaching and someone has to do it, and simple concrete explanations of how his behavior leads to his social isolation is important.  What about a group of parents confronting the mom about her need to help out when her son is hurting and teasing others?
 

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#32 of 50 Old 06-04-2012, 05:23 AM
 
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I think it can also be helpful to empathize (or restate the boy's position) as in, "John, it looks like you want to join in and play." Then explain the problem,  "When you call people names like 'dummy' they get mad at you and don't want  to play with you," and offer a solution,  "Try saying 'hi' instead."

 

Check out that Collaborative Problem Solving approach from the Explosive Child link I posted up thread. It couldn't hurt.


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#33 of 50 Old 06-04-2012, 06:45 AM
 
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As soon as I read the post about the boy being fine and then suddenly doing something inappropriate, it hit me.  That is my son.  He is 6.  He has high functioning aspergers.  Not diagnosed but he fits it to a T.  He doesn't do things intentionally to hurt other kids but socially...oy.  He is like a happy little puppy who disregards other kids cues.  He would listen to an adult but a minute later he would be doing the exact same thing.  He wouldn't be being defiant at all though.  In his mind he would be thinking..well this is fun.  I am going to do it without even thinking about what the adult said.  My happy little puppy.  The difference here is I STAY WITH HIM.  We have 6 young children.  9, 8, 6, 4, 3 and 1.  He is the one that I watch the most.  I don't worry about my 4 and 3 yo but my 6yo I watch closely.  I say more clearly what other kids are showing and saying.  You can't say things like You might not want to do that.  That's not a good idea.  You need to be listening better.  You need to actually say clearly, don't do that please.  Stop.  I would not leave my son to navigate the waters on his own.  I feel bad for that 9yo boy. :(  Hopefully you guys can figure something out so you can enjoy the pool area this summer.

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#34 of 50 Old 06-06-2012, 08:37 AM
 
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It was mentioned that the mother said other kids don't play with her son because they sense he is different but these kids aren't excluding him for being a little different .. they are excluding him for being mean, acting like a bully and physically and emotionally bothering them. 

It's really dangerous in my opinion to teach children that they should have to tolerate someone kicking them and calling them hurtful things. I never ever ever want to even imply to my dd that she has to allow someone to treat her badly over and over again because it's the nice thing to do. Quite frankly, I don't care what the reason is. If this child is ill, his parent should be dealing with his illness. It may be hard for her but you know what ... it's hard for all of the rest of us too. You never know what is going on in life for anyone. I'm sure the OP has her hands full trying to take care of her own three children plus whatever else may or may not be going on in her life. It's not fair to expect her to spend her time day after day with the added pressure of dealing with this. 

 

To the OP- Two YEARS is an insanely long time for you to have to be dealing with this. Your kids deserve to know that their feelings, their bodies and who they are matter just as much as anyone else. I would still tell your boys they should NEVER play with him and tell the mom she HAS to tell her son to stay away from your kids 100% of the time. Period. Can you complain to the town home association? 

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#35 of 50 Old 06-06-2012, 01:34 PM
 
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It's really dangerous in my opinion to teach children that they should have to tolerate someone kicking them and calling them hurtful things. I never ever ever want to even imply to my dd that she has to allow someone to treat her badly over and over again because it's the nice thing to do. Quite frankly, I don't care what the reason is. If this child is ill, his parent should be dealing with his illness. It may be hard for her but you know what ... it's hard for all of the rest of us too.


To the OP- Two YEARS is an insanely long time for you to have to be dealing with this. Your kids deserve to know that their feelings, their bodies and who they are matter just as much as anyone else. I would still tell your boys they should NEVER play with him and tell the mom she HAS to tell her son to stay away from your kids 100% of the time. Period. Can you complain to the town home association? 


I agree with much of this. redface.gif
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#36 of 50 Old 06-06-2012, 06:12 PM
 
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It was mentioned that the mother said other kids don't play with her son because they sense he is different but these kids aren't excluding him for being a little different .. they are excluding him for being mean, acting like a bully and physically and emotionally bothering them. 

It's really dangerous in my opinion to teach children that they should have to tolerate someone kicking them and calling them hurtful things. I never ever ever want to even imply to my dd that she has to allow someone to treat her badly over and over again because it's the nice thing to do. Quite frankly, I don't care what the reason is. If this child is ill, his parent should be dealing with his illness. It may be hard for her but you know what ... it's hard for all of the rest of us too. You never know what is going on in life for anyone. I'm sure the OP has her hands full trying to take care of her own three children plus whatever else may or may not be going on in her life. It's not fair to expect her to spend her time day after day with the added pressure of dealing with this. 

 

To the OP- Two YEARS is an insanely long time for you to have to be dealing with this. Your kids deserve to know that their feelings, their bodies and who they are matter just as much as anyone else. I would still tell your boys they should NEVER play with him and tell the mom she HAS to tell her son to stay away from your kids 100% of the time. Period. Can you complain to the town home association? 

I agree with this 100%. Her kids have the right to be safe and if this child is causing a problem constantly I would get together with the other parents and the property managers and find a solution.

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#37 of 50 Old 06-06-2012, 06:36 PM
 
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I have never seen a mother of child with Aspergers or Autism not be totally on at all times.  I can't imagine why this mother is not doing so.  She is harming her son by not helping him through social interactions that he seems to be having troubles with.  It's not fair to him at all. 

 

OP I feel for you and I hope you can find a way to get through this summer. 

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#38 of 50 Old 06-06-2012, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure if this is something I can complain to the HOA about- I'll have to check that out. I always tell my boys that they do not have to play with this boy or be his friend, but what should I do if all the kids are outside playing or swimming at the pool and he goes up to them? Usually I wait until he does something inappropriate, which could either be right away or 10-15 minutes after, and then intervene. But do you think I should tell him to leave my boys alone immediately? If we are at the pool and he shows up, sometimes he swims up to my son and says hi! and sometimes he swims up to him and kicks him. I never know which it's going to be, I just stand by on high alert until something inenvitably happens, but I don't know how to preempt the situation without starting something with his mom. That would be one of those situations where I would have all the right things to say in my head but when it happened, I would get nervous and totally forget what I should say. Or chicken out.
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#39 of 50 Old 06-06-2012, 10:55 PM
 
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My response would be:

 

 "Joey, you hurt someone/you called someone a name. It's time for you to go home." And then WALK him home/walk him to mom. He's used up all his chances, and keeps doing it.

 

Then tell mom what you expect HER to do: I'm bringing Joey home because he hurt someone. He needs to stay here for 10 minutes (first offense, 20, then 30, then the rest of the day). Your son is hurting other kids/calling kids names. If you can't be out there to monitor him, I'm going to send him home each time he does it." If it's at the pool, then take him by the hand and lead him to mom. Yeah, it's a lot of work for you. But by popping out and telling him three or more times to stop, the only thing he's learned is that he can keep doing it for a while before other kids get really mad.

 

You need to be really really direct with mom and son. Mom may also have some pragmatic difficulties. It may be more direct than you're used to being. But this child has a disorder that (a) makes it hard for him to read others social cues, (b) makes it hard for him to stop doing something, and (c) prevents him from easily learning new strategies. It's not your job to teach him these things, but you can make everyone's life easier by simply never beating around the bush.


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#40 of 50 Old 06-07-2012, 04:22 AM
 
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Then tell mom what you expect HER to do: I'm bringing Joey home because he hurt someone. He needs to stay here for 10 minutes (first offense, 20, then 30, then the rest of the day). Your son is hurting other kids/calling kids names. If you can't be out there to monitor him, I'm going to send him home each time he does it."

 

Boy, I really wouldn't respond well to another parent bringing my child home and saying something like that to me. I would be totally on the defensive and feel like saying, "you can't tell me what to do."

 

I think you need to approach this in a much less confrontational manner, but you can still be clear and firm. And I don't think it's realistic to tell your kids that they never have to play with this kid. What are they supposed to do the minute they see him in the pool or outside? Run away? There will be people throughout their lives that they don't get along with. Teaching them to stand up for themselves w/o being adversarial is a great skill. What happens when there's a similarly annoying kid in their class at school? 

 

Arm your boys with  appropriate phrases. They don't have to be best friends with him, but they need to know how to manage interactions with him. "Joey, I don't like it when you call me dummy. Call me Aidan." 

 

By all means talk to the mom, too, but I would approach it in a much more collaborative way. "Joey's having trouble playing in the pool without kicking others. What do you suggest? Maybe the boys should just play apart." Repeat as necessary. 


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#41 of 50 Old 06-07-2012, 11:05 AM
 
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My response would be:

 

 "Joey, you hurt someone/you called someone a name. It's time for you to go home." And then WALK him home/walk him to mom. He's used up all his chances, and keeps doing it.

 

Then tell mom what you expect HER to do: I'm bringing Joey home because he hurt someone. He needs to stay here for 10 minutes (first offense, 20, then 30, then the rest of the day). Your son is hurting other kids/calling kids names. If you can't be out there to monitor him, I'm going to send him home each time he does it." If it's at the pool, then take him by the hand and lead him to mom.

 

 

no, I don't think this is ethical and it may not even be legal. No one has the right to PHYSICALLY remove their neighbor's child. This could QUICKLY turn into a physical power struggle, and the adult would be on the wrong end of the legal side of that. This advice is a disaster waiting to happen.

 

The bottom line is that if the lifeguard is not willing to intervene, the ONLY real option the OPer has is to remove her own children from the situation. You could try to figure out what their pool schedule is and go at different times

 

I really like the serenity prayer:

 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

The courage to change the things I can't

And the wisdom to know the difference

 

You cannot change the behavior of this boy or his parent. You can only decide what you and your children will do.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#42 of 50 Old 06-07-2012, 01:38 PM
 
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I have never seen a mother of child with Aspergers or Autism not be totally on at all times.  I can't imagine why this mother is not doing so.  She is harming her son by not helping him through social interactions that he seems to be having troubles with.  It's not fair to him at all. 

 

OP I feel for you and I hope you can find a way to get through this summer. 

 

I have seen this, with a three boys (two brothers, and one unrelated) with severe ADHD, and with a boy with autism. There are parents who basically use special needs as a way to abdicate responsibility. (And, boy, can I understand the temptation sometimes.) From the OP's descriptions, it sounds as though this boy's mom fits into that category. I feel for her. I really do. I don't know exactly what ds's issues are - I suspect high functioning autism, but he has a preliminary diagnosis of ADHD and ODD (the ODD really doesn't fit, but SPD might), but I get really, really burned out sometimes. There are days when I just want to say "okay - do whatever you want - I'm not up to this", and I highly doubt I'm "totally on at all times". But...it's just not fair, to the child with special needs or to the children around him/her, to basically throw one's hands in the air and say, "oh, well - he has autism". However, OP can't do anything about the mom.


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#43 of 50 Old 06-07-2012, 01:42 PM
 
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Boy, I really wouldn't respond well to another parent bringing my child home and saying something like that to me. I would be totally on the defensive and feel like saying, "you can't tell me what to do."

 

This. When ds2 behaves in this fashion, we give him one warning (ie. he has to come inside, calm down a little and then he can go back outside - depending on the severity of the misbehaviour - if he hit someone, he can't go back out). After his one warning, he's inside for the day, and sometimes the next day. I've had several passive aggressive comments from a neighbour, who grounds her son (just a few months older than mine) for two weeks for lesser offences. She doesn't get how ds2's brain works. If I ground him for two weeks, he's not even going to remember why he's not allowed outside. We're not trying to be punitive - just trying to make him understand that he can't play outside if he can't play according to basic rules (ie. no throwing things, no hitting people, no name calling). I get really tired of unasked for advice, yk?

 

OP: I feel for you. We had an older boy in the complex who was an absolute terror until this year. He seems to have burned out on terrorizing the younger kids, though. (I don't think he has special needs, but I get the feeling he has a very unhappy home life - not sure why I have that impression, though.)  DS2 also gravitates to playing with the younger kids, but doesn't usually have as much trouble with them as when he tries to play with kids his own age. I don't think the younger kids make him as anxious, or as confused.


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#44 of 50 Old 06-09-2012, 02:49 PM
 
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Personally, I don't feel that with three children of your own it's reasonable (or should be accepted) that you basically "adopt" this boy every time you run into him outside. You're not his parent, and by constantly putting yourself/being put in the position of parenting and directing him, it absolves his actual mother of the responsibility she has to supervise her child.

 

Having said that, I know you can't just stand there and NOT say anything while watching your kids get whacked around and tormented.

 

You've said that this happens to many children in your neighborhood, not just yours, and that there are no fenced yards or private play areas. I had a few thoughts:

1) Get the other parents together for an in-house play date, and raise the issue of the socially-challenged boy. Discuss what you see the mother doing and not doing in a NON GOSSIPY fashion. Discuss what you see the son doing and not doing. Maybe there are themes to be found; the son might be worse with certain groups and the mother might be better in front of certain parents. Invite the children of the group to as questions and raise concerns. Some may know he's differently-abled, others may not. Having that information may help the situation. If the coffee-klatch turns negative, stop the session and refocus. This isn't about bashing her and her son. It's about putting together a pool of information. This will help you form strategies as a group, and will help you identify situations that invite the behavior/that don't get an appropriate response from the mother.

 

2) Take that information to the mother. Very, very gently. She may or may not be aware of what she's doing/not doing. She may not care, she may get defensive, she may break down and tell you she's overwhelmed, doesn't have resources, doesn't know what to do. Assert that you and the community are there to protect and raise your own children; it is her job to raise hers. If, after pooling your information, you have suggestions to offer her - do it. If there are ways you can help her, by all means help - if you are comfortable doing so and are able. Suggest resources, offer ideas, and then gracefully back out. You gave her a toolkit, she has to use it.

 

Don't make caring for HER son into YOUR job. It's her job, and it's appropriate to expect her to care for her child. Her expectation is that you care for your children, right? If your child was aggressive or inappropriate, she would want you to step in, correct? The expectation exists for her as well. If she still doesn't have a clue, can't avail herself of help or resources, or just flat-out doesn't care, then I'd set a really hard line. This isn't about being mean to the harried mommy with the special-needs kid. It's about building a functional neighborhood.

 

You only have one set of kids. It only takes one time for this boy, either by accident or design, to go too far and harm your children in a way that's irreparable. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, what if he's chasing someone's child with the hand buzzer, and that child falls and breaks an ankle or leg? Runs infront of a car? What if he, intentionally or not, provokes someone's child into smacking him with a tennis racquet? Kids are impulsive. It's not impossible.

 

As to that hard line, 3) Set up some physical boundaries. You may not have fence, but if the boy is visual, leave some visual cues to designate a physical area he isn't allowed to be in. It doesn't solve the pool issue, but that's up to the lifeguard and the HOA/complex manager. Document each instance, and go to the HOA/manager each time. This is not safe, not at all at ALL, around water. From a liability standpoint, the HOA/manager should be informed. As for your personal backyard, well, Kiddo might just not be allowed past a certain tree or flower bed (things he can't pick up and move), and when he does disregard those directions, your children are to get you and you are to call the offending child's mother and she will, must, and is going to, remove him from the situation. Make the mother aware that this will be your new policy, for the safety of her child and yours.

 

Sorry for the ramble. Situations like this are so sticky - you have to be compassionate, but it has to apply to your kids AND hers. So difficult to handle gracefully...but my loyalty is always to my own brood. I have to protect my children from the things they can't protect themselves from as much as I am able to.


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#45 of 50 Old 06-09-2012, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your suggestions. The thought of getting the other moms together to discuss this scares the heck out of me. The other moms are definetly not as nice as I am and they don't really get along with each other. There's always bickering going on amongst them- this boy is a big topic of complaint but they also complain about other moms too -and although no one has ever said anything to me, I wouldn't be surprised if they gossip about me too. I do want to distance myself and my boys as much as possible from this boy. We'll be at the pool tomorrow and I'm sure he will be there too, so I was thinking that before we go, I will tell my boys that I do not want them to play with him ( which I'm sure they'll be fine with), and if the boy won't respect their space to tell me and I will tell him to leave them alone and if he doesn't listen, I'm going to talk to the mom. I was thinking of saying something like- "hey listen, I've totally got my hands full here with the baby and I just can't give the boys the attention they need to make sure they are getting along so I told the boys they can't play together." I don't know why I'm trying so hard not to hurt the mom's feelings. Do you think that what I want to say will be effective?
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#46 of 50 Old 06-11-2012, 09:40 AM
 
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Thank you all for your suggestions. The thought of getting the other moms together to discuss this scares the heck out of me. The other moms are definetly not as nice as I am and they don't really get along with each other. There's always bickering going on amongst them- this boy is a big topic of complaint but they also complain about other moms too -and although no one has ever said anything to me, I wouldn't be surprised if they gossip about me too. I do want to distance myself and my boys as much as possible from this boy. We'll be at the pool tomorrow and I'm sure he will be there too, so I was thinking that before we go, I will tell my boys that I do not want them to play with him ( which I'm sure they'll be fine with), and if the boy won't respect their space to tell me and I will tell him to leave them alone and if he doesn't listen, I'm going to talk to the mom. I was thinking of saying something like- "hey listen, I've totally got my hands full here with the baby and I just can't give the boys the attention they need to make sure they are getting along so I told the boys they can't play together." I don't know why I'm trying so hard not to hurt the mom's feelings. Do you think that what I want to say will be effective?

 

How did the pool visit go?


 

 

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#47 of 50 Old 06-13-2012, 07:21 AM
 
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Boy, I really wouldn't respond well to another parent bringing my child home and saying something like that to me. I would be totally on the defensive and feel like saying, "you can't tell me what to do."

 

Just to give the other side of the issue, I would be both very grateful to see another parent bringing my child home by the hand and telling me about bullying behavior (I have a spectrumy kid, and I'm realistic about his behavior problems). I'm sure I'd be embarrassed, but appropriate social boundaries imposed on my child by another adult? Priceless. It would do him a world of good. Getting that in school certainly does him a world of good. 

 

BUT, I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that this kid's mom is not a lot like me orngbiggrin.gif I don't think you have a bad-kid problem. I think you have a bad-mom problem. If you aren't close enough with the other mothers in the neighborhood to have a coffee klatsch and form a plan of action, then maybe you can do something more small-scale and informal.

 

Make your own plan of action - change the mom's undesirable behavior (letting bullying 8-year-old come to the pool alone and/or letting him run wild while she is sitting right there). Don't make it about the child or his issues - make it about changing the mom's mind. Right now sending him off to the pool is gratifying - she gets time alone, he gets to enjoy himself. You need to change that result - attach a consistently unpleasant consequence to the ignore-my-kid behavior. Make her stop wanting to do it. 

 

If you want it to get done, you have to take the lead. The way I personally would do it is to enlist an ally for the easier part, i.e. watching my older kids while I took the baby and marched off to deal with the mom who I have just put on on a behavior modification plan. pinktongue.gif Something like, "That's it, I've HAD it. Can you please keep and eye on X and Y while I deal with this?" is all the conversation that you need to have if the problem mom is at the pool. (If you're leaving the pool area, you'll need to explain in more detail where you are going and why.) If she agrees to watch your kids (and most people would automatically agree), then, congratulations, you have recruited your first ally. 

 

The language you suggest above is way too indirect. Complain about a concrete action - "J hit X" and don't minimize or excuse it. Don't speak softly, either, if you are in the pool area surrounded by other mothers. "J hit X. We have had a consistent problem with this kind of bullying. It's not going to happen all summer. You need to stop J from hitting X." If you had to truck up to her house to talk to her, then tell her to come down to the pool and deal with her child. 

 

She won't respond appropriately the first time. You will make multiple trips over to her lounge chair, or up to her house, during a single play session. Other mothers may decide to join in your effort, but that's not essential - one person can do this. Remember - it's not about the kid. It's about changing the mother's reality. Her new reality is constant embarrassing confrontation whenever J is inadequately supervised at the pool. 

 

I'm sure all this sounds really cold-hearted - I'm not cold-hearted. In fact, I'm so conflict-averse most of the time that when IRL conflict is required to fix an intolerable situation, I have to go to the Pavlovian Sith Lord Cesar Millan place in my brain in order to be able to cope with the stress of the confrontation. And I sure do feel better when I have succeeded in getting the jerky person to change their jerky ways. 

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#48 of 50 Old 06-13-2012, 04:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

Boy, I really wouldn't respond well to another parent bringing my child home and saying something like that to me. I would be totally on the defensive and feel like saying, "you can't tell me what to do."

 

Just to give the other side of the issue, I would be both very grateful to see another parent bringing my child home by the hand and telling me about bullying behavior (I have a spectrumy kid, and I'm realistic about his behavior problems). I'm sure I'd be embarrassed, but appropriate social boundaries imposed on my child by another adult? Priceless. It would do him a world of good. Getting that in school certainly does him a world of good.

 

umm...I don't think the other poster was objecting to someone telling her about her son's bullying behaviour. I know I wasn't. I appreciate it when people tell me when ds2 crosses boundaries. There's a difference between "your son was doing X" and "your son was doing X, and you need to be doing Y to fix it".

 

I do think your proposed course of actions sounds the most workable of anything in this thread, though.


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#49 of 50 Old 06-14-2012, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I really like that advice about changing the mom's reality, thank you. She is always there at the pool ( the rule is that kids have to be at least 13 before they can go by themselves), but she never, never tries to help or discipline her son. I'm going to really try to take your advice- I'll let you know how it goes. We ended up not going to the pool last weekend- one of the other kids got a slip and slide so the whole neighborhood was in our back yard area playing with that- I'm the only one with a hose. Luckily the boy didn't come around so I didn't have to deal with him.
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#50 of 50 Old 06-14-2012, 02:17 PM
 
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Good luck! Believe me, I realize that it is much easier to sit here typing out advice than to actually have the IRL confrontation. 

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