I have a question?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by branbran, May 20, 2007.

  1. branbran

    branbran New Member

    Hello all. Please help.

    My easy child son is 6 yo, a wonderful boy, warm, sweet, has many endearing qualities. He cries at sad commercials, he hates the movie "Gremlins" cried endlessly for "Gizmo", he felt horrible for him, when all the other Gremlins turned evil. He is a funny character my son. My dilemma: There is a little boy in his class (difficult child), not diagnosed yet, but on his way to ODD. I am friends with his family, wonderful people. They know all about my difficult child and what we go through. I can't for the life of me get my easy child son to be empathetic towards this little boy. He just doesn't like him, says he is a "bad boy" and will not be his friend. I often tell him that he doesn't have to be friends with him, but he absolutely has to be kind and respectful towards him. So I had a great birthday party for my son and invited this little boy. My son fought me tooth and nail, did not want him at his party!!!! Every guest list I wrote he crossed his name off. I felt bad. So we're at the party and the little boy was playing fine. His mother came over to me in tears and asked to talk. She over heard my son telling another of his classmates that he did not want this little boy at his party and that he does not like him. Well, needless to say I wanted to die. Out of the mouth of babes!!!!

    I felt horrible as I know all to well what that feels like. His mother knows that I empathize with her and her son. She knows all about my difficult child. Many many times I had to leave a function crying because all the kids treated my difficult child horribly. So I totally get where she is coming from. That being said, I really kind of felt it was inappropriate for her to confront me at the party. I mean what was I supposed to do? Make an issue out of this at his own birthday party? I think, being as though we're friends she could have either waited until after the party to talk to me or called me. At the same time I know how much that hurts, when your child is rejected by their peers. I have been on both sides of this fence.

    Anyway, I have tried to explain to my son that this little boy cant help his behavior to no avail of course. How can a 6 yo really comprehend the difficulties of difficult children? Am I reading too much into this? Any suggestions how I can make my son more understanding of this little boy and his problems?

    The wierd part is that my son handles his difficult child sister very well, he knows she does'nt mean to be abrasive, he loves her to death.

    Thanks for any advise.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    In my opinion, your son is 6. It will take him some time to grow into the finer art of true compassion. Im sure he will get there. That being said, no one has to like everyone else. LOL. There are always going to be other people he doesnt like. I would just try to teach him to not talk about those things outloud in front of other folks. In hindsight it probably would have been a better idea not to have this boy at the party. I sure understand how that would have caused a problem with your friend however.

    Maybe try bribery with your son...lol. Appeal to his baser instincts. It sometimes works.
  3. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    <span style='font-family: Comic Sans MS'>Well, I guess I looked at this differently so feel to discount my thoughts if they don't apply. Your son told you he didn't want this boy to come to his party. He repeated that sentiment several times. He told someone else the truth at the party and Mom overheard. In my opinion he was compassionate...he did not act upon his dislike of the other boy, such as hitting or saying he was bad, etc. I don't happen to like everyone I meet and even as charming as I am not everyone likes me, so I think you were asking a bit much of your 6 year old to accept the invitation because YOU felt sorry for difficult child and the MOM. Sometimes there is a fine line here too in that they don't share their true feelings with you and start telling you what they think you want to hear......

    I do feel that at age 6 it probably is a little young to feel empathy for another child. Still I think it would be difficult to chastise your son for his feelings on something that was forced on him. If the other difficult child was a relative that might be another story, but just someone from the neighborhood or an acquaintance I guess I wouldn't be too upset about what your son said. Don't know how many other kids/moms were at the party, but the way you described this it wasn't an announcement, just a casual comment made by your son to another child. I think the difficult child's mom was probably over sensitive because this has happened before (or she knows it will happen again). It does break your heart when you perceive someone is hurting your child, but she needs to learn to face what is going to happen in the future and perhaps toughen up a bit for the times to come. I'm not trying to be uncompassionate, I just don't think "forcing friendships" does much good. You have had chats with your son I'm sure about "how would you feel?", or "why don't you like him?" etc. so he's getting the picture, just isn't ready at 6 to think about others feelings at HIS birthday party. I mean birthday parties are all about the person having the birthday.

    Hope you can resolve things with the other Mother, but wouldn't be asking for play dates with the kids....</span>
  4. branbran

    branbran New Member

    You are so right. My husband also agrees. He actually thought I shouldn't have invited the boy to the party to begin with. So thank you, now I dont feel so bad. The irony of it all is that yesterday we went to other little boys party!! It went okay. My son didn't really play with him, but didn't make any comments either. I actually pondered not going to the party, but thought that would make the situation worse. I felt the mother would really be insulted. It turned okay though, so no harm done.

    Thanks, I really love this site!!!!
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I dunno. I know that if this had been my child I'd have been less than pleased to say the least. Yes, he is only six. But if he could manage to attend this boy's party without a fuss, then good manners say he should have done the same when the boy was invited to his own party.

    I agree that difficult child has the right to chose who he likes and doesn't like. But this sort of thing is exactly watch Teaches children compassion for others. I mean, how else is a child to learn? If difficult child can manage it for his sister, he can manage it for this child at least to the point of politness.

    If it were me and my child we'd be having a talk and some role playing to let him see how his comments affected the Mom, and could have hurt the feelings of the little boy if he'd overheard.

    If I'd done this at 6 my Mom would've burned my fanny the moment all of the guests had left. If she didn't my grandmother would've. (I doubt I'd have gone that far)

    When my kids had birthday parties where they invited kids it was required they invite all of the neighborhood kids close to their age. This wasn't always done cheerfully on their part. But we usually had kids from a wide variety of backgrounds and it gave the opportunity to teach them the old "do unto others as you'd have them do unto you".

    This is just the way I look at it. But this area is a major pet peeve of mine. I'll admit it. I'm a stickler for good manners and treating others with respect, even when you don't like them.
  6. kris

    kris New Member

    <span style='font-size: 11pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #663366"> truthfully the only thing i would talk to your so about is not saying things like that where he can be overheard. in all likelihood the two boys would not like each other if you remove the difficult child factor. you can't expect your son to like everyone. if it had been one of my kids i would have felt badly, but i would not have invited the other boy.

    your son wasn't mean to the boy at either party & that is to his credit. i don't know what the mom expected you to do....force your son to like hers?

    </span> </span> </span>
  7. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    What a uncomfortable situation. Your little guy expressed his feelings & probably felt unheard. Having said that, you are the parent & have every right to invite whoever you feel is appropriate to this party.

    difficult child, on the other hand, is 6. He will probably have a love/hate relationship with this young boy or others throughout his early & middle childhood. I see it all the time in the tweedles (who are emotionally more your PCs age). Heck, it's a rite of passage. I see it as a life skill - learning how to negotiate, play & decide what people you want to spend time with or who you want as friends.

    I'd continue to invite any child you care to - it really is a learning experience for our children.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm on the side of those who say you probably should have considered your son's extreme reluctance to invite this boy. However, you did it and he did express his feelings verbally, although he didn't act on them.

    I would in future, respect his feelings when they are this strong - I used to do what you did, I learnt that my kids, even the autistic ones and that young, still had a really good 'feel' for who is good to be around and who is simply not safe.

    But I would also teach him that to SAY things like this where they can be overheard, and where these words will wound (and therefore do not good at all) is not acceptable. If you can't say something good, say nothing. Never talk about someone behind their back, especially if you're being nasty. Always speak the truth unless the truth will hurt, when you say nothing instead.
    I would also congratulate him on at least trying to be kind (by accepting that he WAS at the party) and by not being openly mean.

    I would also point out - despite having overheard him say that he didn't like him, your son still got invited to this other boys' party, AND he chose to go. Why did he go to the party of a boy he didn't like? Get him to answer that one. Was it purely mercenary, so he could get the fun and the other frills? If so, he needs to consider that his views on this boy can be corrupted so cheaply - if he really felt such a strong dislike for this boy, he should have stood his moral ground and not gone to the party. But in going, it is a truce, at least, where mutual tolerance is the bare minimum from this point.

    I'm possibly being a bit harsh, but this is basically calling him on it. I wouldn't get too insistent, just enough so he can see that his behaviour showed a double standard, and he needs to recognise double standards when he sees them again, so he can avoid them in the future. It's about making good, moral, honest choices, rather than whether he's right or wrong to want to avoid this boy.

    He IS 6, but he has very strong views. He's also extremely sensitive about others being hurt; he's clearly showing empathy. So if his dislike of this boy is so intense despite this empathy, there must be a reason for it (at least a good one for him).

    I do think the other mother was being a bit oversensitive, but she did have to mention it, as soon as possible, so you could both sort things out and clear the air at least with each other. Kids will be kids, but the parents need to behave like adults despite them.

    As I said before, I used to insist on inviting kids who I felt needed a friend, of who I thought would be good for my kids to be around. In just about every case, it was a big mistake. Some of these kids turned out to be little horrors; some were the teacher's pet and citizen of the year, but underneath were sneaky bullies; some were weak and changed friends like a weathervane, depending on who was 'in fashion' as a friend this week. I didn't credit my kids' perceptions enough, to know who they felt safe with.

    And in difficult child 3's case, he was often the weird kid who only got invited because the parents made their child, to be "nice to the handicapped kid." One mother actually told me she wanted her son to be with mine on play dates, so her son could learn to be compassionate and considerate. Frankly, her son simply wasn't interested. He later was often hanging around with the worst of those who bullied difficult child 3, although never an instigator himself. These days he's friendly, polite and tends to look out for difficult child 3 a bit but they don't talk about anything because they have no common ground. He's not a bad kid; simply not in the same social group and never should have been, they just don't have anything much in common.

    Some things, you just shouldn't force.