What Do I Tell My DS?

sameboatMarch 26, 2007

I have an eight year old son who has a friend from school whose home he's never set foot in. And that's how I plan on keeping it. Nor has this boy been to our house. There is something about him I can't place my finger on it. The way he looks, the way he talks, his parents. Everything about this kid screams at me not to let my DS play with him. We always run into this boy and his mother at the grocery store or at school, and he always asks my son over to his house and then of course I say, "Oh no, honey, I'm sorry today's not a good day," -to which he says "yes it is!" And "Whhhhyyyy? Why can't I play with him today? What about tomorrow?" It's just an icky scene. Anyway, I sense there's some stuff going on in the household - no evidence, just a feeling in my gut and I'm going with it. What do I tell my DS when he asks me why he can't play? I'm running out of excuses. Now I say because you just can't that's why. I'm afraid this kid's mother will call me and ask why or something and I just don't want to be fumbling for an excuse. I think my son would repeat to the kid if I say I didn't like him or that I thought he wouldn't be safe. I don't want any confrontation with this kid's parents. They don't seem very warm. Any suggestions?

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How about if you try to get to know the child a bit more so you can better determine if your "gut feeling" is real? If you have the boy to your home you would see how he and your son interact, be able to keep your eye on them, and be able to make a better call. It might take 2 or 3 visits.

It may happen that it turns out he's Ok and a good friend for your son to have, or it may turn out that he's not. You may also learn that the child is having difficulties at home and maybe being friends with your son, and coming to your house, will be good for him.

Is there anything in particular about his looks, the way he talks, or his parents that you don't like? For example, does he swear? Is that what you don't like about the way he talks? Is he disrespectful? Or does he use bad grammar? What does he look like? When you say his parents don't seem very warm, is it possible that they're shy?

You don't have to let your son go to his house first. But maybe having him to your house would be good. It might be a good lesson to your son, too, to not make decisions about people without getting to know them first.


    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 8:17AM
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I think you tell him: My rule is you cannot play at a friend's house until I know the parents. Otherwise, I just don't know if you'll be safe and well supervised. That's my rule. There were times my kids didn't like it and tried to change my mind, but they know that's the rule. Once in a while they do hear of something happening, to someone they know or on the news, and I can remind them why I have that rule.

But as to why he cannot play with the child at all, that's a little harder. He is trying to be open and accepting, make a new friend, and you are discouraging that. Too much of that and he won't even bother trying. He might decide after a playdate or two that he doesn't like to spend time with this boy. Then he has learned how to tell who makes a good friend and who does not for himself, with your guidance. I would agree to the child playing at my house, or, even better, meeting the other mother and boy at a playground or fast food playland for a snack and play.

The only exception would be if you do see violent or very disrespectful behavior. But if that's the case, I don't think this boy would be very appealing to your son, either.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 9:28AM
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You can't always judge by appearances. If your son wants to - I would have the boy over at your house. And see how he acts there - if his behavior is grossly unacceptable - then I would say you can't play with this boy. (I did this with one boy who continually teased our dog while visiting, guess what, that kid never came back)

Or if you son continues to want to play with him - you can all meet up at a park where they will be supervised by both sets of parents and you can get to know the parent(s).

Are you sure you are not judging these folks by socioeconomic standards without meaning too? That is not a good lesson to teach your child if so.

I think you should try it out, if your son wants to, unless like above poster, you see violent behavior or utter disrespect to adults. Then you have a good reason.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 5:08PM
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This is a tricky situation, isnt it ?

Do you want to encourage your son to be friendly to everyone? If there is nothing obviously wrong with the boy in question, then really can you object to them playing together ?

I have two children 14 and 19, and over the years they have both befriended children that I just did not like. Some I didnt like the homelife, the parents, the food, the other siblings, almost every reason.

When I was in this situation, myself, I decided to not be judgemental, I respected other family's right to have things the way they wanted it, as long as it was safe, legal, etc.

I encouraged my children to ask the child in question to my house, in that way I could supervise.

And you know, in all cases, my children decided not to continue the friendship. I realized that I was able to judge which child would be a good friend, usually the one with the same standards as us, and who would not be a good friend. I could rely on my children to make good choices, and we would talk about the behaviour that was a worry, in each case.

I think I have seen it all, bad parents, where children where neglected, bad food habits, bad hygiene, bad behaviour, bad language.....all those situations have presented themselves to my children.

So, if you have brought your child up, with high standards of behaviour etc, I am sure that is what he will look for in a friend. Just be patient, ask the child over and sit and observe, I think you will know pretty quickly if the friendship will last.

Its all good experience for your child. He has to learn to fit in, in the outside world and at this stage he is learning who is a good person to befriend and who isnt. You are there to protect him, whilst he makes those choices. Try not to make them for him, unless you have a very good reason, let him think it is his choice.

Just one more thing, by asking the boy to your house, you have an opportunity to have a positive influence on him, in showing him how happy homes operate, this may have a profound effect on him, if he is in an unhappy home.

Let us know what you do.

Take care

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 7:29PM
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In answer to your question, what do I tell my son ?

I would not tell him anything, just say "you seem to like this boy,how about we ask him over on Saturday afternoon, at 1pm and I can take him home at 5pm?"

If you take him home you can have a look at his house.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 7:31PM
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All right. I'll do it. We'll invite him over this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes. Thank you.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 7:52PM
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While I wouldnt judge a child or their parents based on looks alone (unless they really were strong indicators of something bad) I wouldnt be so quick to disregard your gut feelings here. I hate to be one of those people who sounds superstitious or whatever,but my gut instinct about people is rarely ever wrong. If you are feeling a strong dislike there must be some reason why.
Personally,to answer your question,what I would do,is talk to my child privately before seeing these people.I'd tell her some things just stay between us and that I didnt feel it was right.Also about not knowing the parents is a great thing to say. I'd probably add in a more strict tone,not to ask me again either...but that's just me.
I dont see anything wrong with what the others suggested about giving it a shot though. I'm just totally not the kind of person who ignores my inner gut feelings,and I can see why you'd be skeptical.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2007 at 10:23PM
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Good, Sameboat, let us know what happens.

May I suggest that you start having rules about socialising, when your child is a bit older they will be firmly entrenched and he will have some boundaries.

Things like....If parent not at the house, you must come home.
If you feel uncomfortable, phone me no matter what time of day or night it is, and I will always come and fetch you.
I am sure you can think of the rest !


    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 8:52PM
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I would trust that 'gut feeling.' Having him over under your supervision would be a smart idea. And as for worrying about the mother calling you and asking you why, if something really is wrong she won't be calling you. Good luck :) Christy

    Bookmark   March 31, 2007 at 11:31AM
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Did you invite the boy over?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2007 at 6:27PM
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We did invite and he couldn't play. I was relieved. We'll see if he calls my son and then invite him here again.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 12:36AM
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Well good on you, Sameboat, at least you have done the right thing now.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 3:16AM
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It's been so long since this post! W eventually did end up having this child over. I had to pick him up and bring him home...all three times he came to play. Mom either wasn't home, or she hurt her knee and couldn't drive, etc. Definitely didn't like the kid, too overly comfortable in my home and outspoken (for instance, he would respond FOR my son if I asked him a question). Just rubbed me the wrong way all around. At first I felt sorry for him so I allowed him to come back. But now my son has stopped asking him to play. Thank God. They are so much older now, too.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 10:51PM
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Wow - it's cool when an OP posts years later to tell how something worked out! I wish it happened more around here...

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 3:53PM
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