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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DS has/had a friend I'll call "Sam" who has been known to lie. They had a falling out this summer where Sam started completely ignoring ds and started making little verbal jabs at ds once school started. Ds and I talked about it and he decided to avoid Sam and let the friendship go.

Anyway, Sam's parents have begun to involve me in this. They are very kind and contientious parents and yesterday his dad approached me, wondering what was going on. I told him that ds didn't really know what happened or why Sam has been ignoring him. His dad told me that Sam said 'something' happened (not too clear) and that my ds told him "If you tell on me, I'll deny it and my mom will believe me."

I can't picture ds saying this and neither could Sam's dad, but he couldn't see Sam making this up either. I told Sam's dad something to the effect of well, they're in 4th grade and and they can either work it out or not but I feel ds is old enough to navigate his own relationships. (Bullying aside, of course) Sam's dad mentioned that he is invested in this because he wants to see if his son is lying and wants to help him with his social skills.

Anyway, Sam's mom is going to call me later today to talk about this and I am not really sure what to say. I can see where Sam's parents are coming from because they want to find out what is up with their son and help him. OTOH, I don't want to have to be the person to deliver the news. "Yes, your son is a liar and made ds' first month of school hell, but ds has let it go and is staying out of Sam's way". Ummm, not only is this a very small school but I happen to really like Sam's parents. I even like Sam, when he is not acting like this.

So... what should I say to Sam's mom? Should I stick with the "I have no idea and don't want to get involved" or be gently honest and tell her that ds has mentioned that Sam "sometimes" tells lies and has made things a "little" stressful for him? What would you say? What would you want to hear?
 

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I would go with "I have no idea and don't want to get involved". Regardless of how they are trying to help their son, I don't think it is helpful for parents to delve into their children's lives like this. They can still work with Sam on improving his social skills without this information. And, I think that sometimes, people think they want to hear something, but if you open up and tell them everything negative about their son, they may regret it and/or get defensive, in which case you would regret it.
 

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In 4th grade, I think it's totally appropriate for parents to be delving into their child's life. Obviously they sense something is going on and are trying to address it before it gets out of hand. I say KUDOS to them!

I think because they asked, I would tell them what you know. I would avoid blaming or getting emotional but just say something along the lilnes that your child felt he was being treated unfairly and decided that the best course of action was to distance himself from the situation.

If it were your child - if you suspected something were going on and you were trying to get help from another parent to figure out what was going on with your child, wouldn't you want them to be truthful? Even if it's a little hard to hear, I'd want to know so I could do something about it before it's too late.
 

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As a parent, and since they asked, you should in an extremely nice way tell them what you believe has happened. Not judging or blaming, but explaining that your son felt ignored and picked on and he decided to make some new friends. The truth is that kids move on and pick new friends, no one wants to hang out with someone who isn't nice to them - but don't say that part


After school recently my son's friend said to his mother that my son wasn't being nice to him and criticizing him. I heard this, since I was standing right there. I certainly wasn't upset, it was good to know. Once at home I could deal with it, review social skill things, etc.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by amcal View Post
In 4th grade, I think it's totally appropriate for parents to be delving into their child's life. Obviously they sense something is going on and are trying to address it before it gets out of hand. I say KUDOS to them!

I disagree. I have a 3rd grader, so my son is not too much younger than the boy in question. I think there are lots of ways the parents can learn and be aware of what is going on with their child socially without having to involve other families. It seems sneaky and like it is setting up an environment of mistrust with their child. I would stay out of it.

What bugs me the most about it is that Sam's dad told you he wants to see if his son is lying. So, he wants to catch him in a lie. That doesn't sit well with me. I wouldn't want any part of it, even if they are claiming they want that info only to help him improve his social skills. They can work on improving social skills without catching him in a lie.

I'll be interested to read what you decided.
 

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I would assume that anything you say to them will be repeated to Sam and eventually come back to your son at school, perhaps in a very distorted form. I would limit my comments to things I saw firsthand, and not include anything my son told me, because 1) it would be a breech of his confidence, and 2) it opens the door to his being accused of lying AGAIN.

I would use reason #1 to explain why I don't feel comfortable discussing this in depth with the other parent. I might suggest they talk to the teacher(s?) if they want a better picture of what goes on in school.

Good luck, it seems like a very awkward situation.

ZM
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I might edit my OP because it is so long and convoluted.
:

Quote:

Originally Posted by amcal View Post
In 4th grade, I think it's totally appropriate for parents to be delving into their child's life. Obviously they sense something is going on and are trying to address it before it gets out of hand. I say KUDOS to them!
I have to admit that I have no idea as to how much I should be involved in DS' relationships-- I've never had a 4th grader before! I asked DS if he wanted me to talk with Sam's parents a few weeks ago and he emphatically told me "NO". I am of course very involved in DS' life and we discuss everything. However, looking back to my time in 4th grade, I would have been mortified if my mom called my friends' parents when there was a fight or falling out.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Twocoolboys View Post
I think there are lots of ways the parents can learn and be aware of what is going on with their child socially without having to involve other families.
Yes, and I think the fact that he is even questioning it tells me he has his suspicions about Sam. I don't think he is trying to catch him in a lie to punish him, more to guide him. They truely are amazing, aware parents and also *very* protective, which is where I can see the backlash. However the fact that I do like them so much is why I would even consider being completely honest with them.

I don't know, I might just keep it to the issue at hand and tell them that ds denies saying "the if you tell on me..." thing and that I believe him.

lindsaye3, that is crazy that they were talking about your son when you were standing right there! Did they not know you were his mother?
 

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I really think it depends on your relationship with the other parents. If they are close friends (as opposed to being people you admire as parents but don't know well), and they are asking, then I would be as honest as you can without setting off the mama-bear alarms... (i.e. without provoking a defensive reaction). If they sense that their child's social skills are the problem, I think it's completely appropriate for them to try and help guide their child. Kids are a lot less forgiving in 11th grade than in 4th (i.e. the sooner something like this is corrected, the less chance he'll be alienated, or have a hard time socially). We all know how devastating it can be for a kid to feel left out. While it is unfortunate that they can't find a way to help their child without having to approach another family, I think this too depends on their relationship with you. If my close friends, who have a boy the same age as mine, called to discuss something that may have caused a disagreement between them, I would be inclined to discuss it honestly.
If you do end up having an honest chat, I would probably also suggest that they attempt to let their child sort it out themselves... perhaps they could help guide his behaviour without confrontation regarding the situation with your son.
A tough call. But since they are asking, and since you think they're good parents, my instinct would be to try and give them what they're looking for, which is I think confirmation that their son needs to improve his social skills.
Good luck!
 
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