Kids wanting to end friendships - WWYD? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 06-09-2014, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Question Kids wanting to end friendships - WWYD?

My son has decided for very specific reasons that he doesn't want to play with a neighborhood kid anymore. He says when they're together, the other kid doesn't ever want to do what he wants to do and they wind up arguing a lot....basically, he says he has "outgrown" him (there is a 3 year difference in age. My son is 8, the other kid is 5).

What is the proper parenting approach to this? Do I just let it end naturally? Do I insist that my son give the other kid "just one more chance"? When the other kid comes over asking to play, my son just says "I'm busy doing homework." How long until that excuse wears out? I've told my son that he can try to work it out, talk to his (ex) friend and say something like, "the last few times we've played we just argue; can we try to play without arguing?" But my son is adamant and just says that he is too old for the other kid.

I'm torn because just a couple of months ago, they were playing like best buddies. Now, my son avoids him like the plague. I want to teach tolerance, and that everyone deserves a second chance, but my son seems really over it.

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#2 of 7 Old 06-10-2014, 02:39 AM
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I would let him give it a rest for awhile, maybe since summer is almost here it'll be easier to break whatever routine they had going? If he really doesn't want to play anymore I don't think there's a whole lot you can do.

As a parent who has been on the other end, I gotta say that I really would have appreciated getting a heads up from the other Mom. Our situation was a bit different-dd and our neighbor had a two year gap but had still been best friends for five or six years. Then as soon as friend started middle school it was over. I didn't recognize the brushoffs for awhile because that's a big transition in school, increased homework, etc.
As awkward as that conversation might be it would have been much easier for both kids if I could have eased her towards other friends on our end instead of being left to think that they really were busy, KWIM? So maybe if your ds still feels the same after a break let the other Mom know. It's pretty common to outgrow friends at those ages, the other Mom should understand.
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#3 of 7 Old 06-10-2014, 04:49 AM
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I have mixed feelings about a heads up from the parents. We've been at both ends of the situation. My son used to hang out frequently with a kid who was 4 years older. I knew the friendship would eventually wane because he was so young and his friend is now in high school. My son keeps texting his friend to get together and his friend is always busy. I'm starting to feel like these are excuses sometimes and the older kid is letting the friendship go a bit, and I have gently spoken with my son about it because he is frustrated that his good friend can never get together anymore.
But the parents are also not calling us to get together anymore and are also "too busy" when we call them. I finally gave up. Maybe we're ALL getting the brush off! heh

My son has also ended a friendship. I would have felt really awkward talking to the mom about it. It turns out my son ended the friendship because he felt his friend dropped the eff bomb too much and wouldn't stop, even when my son told him it wasn't cool to swear so much. He said he became embarrassed by his behavior every time they were out. I didn't find this out til well after the friendship ended. I'm not sure what I would have said to the mom, though. The friendship ending wasn't sudden, though. It was a gradual end where they saw each other less and less as my son would give him another chance (sometimes at my urging because I didn't know why he was ending the friendship and his answers were not straightforward).

So, being at both ends of the spectrum, I'm not sure. Part of me is probably feeling dissed by the parents of the older kid, too, because I feel like we used to be friends. So I want to talk to them anyway. I think if that is taken out of the equation, I don't really need the parents to talk to me about a friendship ending. Such things happen sometimes and, because I have noticed it happening with my son, I have made sure to foster other friendships and encourage him to partake in other activities so his weekend isn't riding on seeing the one friend.
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#4 of 7 Old 06-10-2014, 06:24 AM
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I'd go the busy route. There are times, IMO, where being gentle and polite conflicts with honesty. I would honor your son's wishes and help him politely find ways to avoid playing for now. If he grows out of it, great. If not, their relationship can evolve to older/younger neighbor friends after a brief period of distance.

My DC is 12 and often remembers her neighbor friend who used to play with her. This friend is graduating from highschool now. My DC will likely out grow playing with her neighbor bestie, who is 4 years younger than her.
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#5 of 7 Old 06-10-2014, 06:26 AM
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We have been on the receiving end of this more than once as well. My daughter is 14, most of these situations went down between the ages of around 9-12. We were in a very close-knit school/community, so it was pretty apparent from my end that friendships were fading. In some instances, I would get phone calls or messages stating things that were not pleased about (things my daughter did/said, or things I allowed my child to do). A mom of One of my kids friends since pre-k abruptly un-friended me on Facebook, right after she saw my child in a public place without me (and with another kid that she didn't care for). I was there, my child was well-coached as to where/when she needed to meet up with me. She was 12 at the time.

I know your child is much younger, and the age difference is likely the issue. But, like with all friendships, some last, and some do not. In the cases where they just fade. And interests differ over time, that's a lot easier. No one wants to hear they someone doesn't want to be your friend anymore. We don't treat friendships like we do relationships. It's hard to "break up" with a friend.

I would hope that the mother of this boy would understand that the age difference is starting to be an issue. The arguing, IMO is due to the age difference (and maturity level of the five year old, through no fault of his own, probably). If mom is not taking the hint, that's tough though. Is she around when the boys are together, to see how they interact? Perhaps, finding a way for her to see them in action may give her some insight.
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#6 of 7 Old 06-10-2014, 12:58 PM
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I would let the friendship wane by being busy. If they were closer in age I might consider helping them move beyond arguing but with such a big age difference I don't see any reason to encourage friendship. At that age friendship tends to come and go so I would help him move on.
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#7 of 7 Old 06-10-2014, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, mamas. I knew I could get some sound advice here!
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