Friendship troubles with 5-yr-olds
My son is 5 years old and will be starting kindergarten in the fall, so he's still pretty young and the social dynamics of school-age children are new to me. For the past several months, my son has been complaining off and on about a friend of his. When they are together, they seem to have lots of fun and work out conflicts quite well on their own by talking it out. And at school, I know they play together often.
But when we're home, I hear a lot of complaints about this particular friend. Mostly: He always tells me what to do, we always do what HE wants to do, he's bossy to me, he talks too much, he lies (his friend likes to pretend, but it's nothing harmful), etc.
I know that this friend can be strong willed and can be demanding about what he wants to do...but my son can be that way sometimes too. And this is really a nice boy, there's no problems with aggression, meanness, etc.
I've tried to give my son the skills to handle these situations and to let him know that it's just fine to say things like "No thanks, I don't feel like playing that right now" and hold his ground. And I think he does do these things (at least from what I've overheard during their play). But the complaints continue...it's like he's holding grudges too because he brings up things from months ago.
I sort of downplayed it in my mind because I thought it was just a phase, or that it came from seeing each other so often both at preschool and outside of school. This is a friend he's known since he was a baby, and we are close with the whole family. So we will continue to see them socially. The boys will go to different schools next year, so maybe that break will be just what they need...but still...
Any suggestions for how to handle this? I want to be able to listen openly, so that my son continues to come to me if he has issues or challenges with friends...but at the same time, I want him to be kind when talking about his friends even if they aren't there.