Friends/Already attracted to the "bad boys"

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ML, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. ML

    ML Guest

    I've noticed a trend lately with manster's friends. All the kids he considers "friends" are the ones I see headed for trouble already. The nicer more goofy kids like him (I would never tell him this lol) don't interest him. He is attracted to the "bad boys". I saw this in preschool daycare when he was 5. All I ever heard was what a shy kid he was for the longest time. Then all of a sudden he paried up with a trouble maker and he started getting in trouble too. One time he and this other boy picked at a tear in the school bus upholstry until they were picking out the stuffing! Another time he got on the wrong school bus when they were leaving a field trip because he wasn't listening to the teachers. That last year of daycare/preschool I literally ducked when I went in to pick him up so no one would see me lol.

    I'm just glad I still have some control over his friends. His girlfriends are all really good kids and they're the only ones he plays with outside of school right now thank goodness. Today he hung out with two girls and they sort of ganged up on him as is the usual dynamic when three get together (one man out). I was proud of him for applying the skills they're learning in school today about persuasive arguments. He handed the one girl a letter stating the many reasons he couldn't be their friend any more. #1 you called me "zit boy" all during recess (he got his first zit, told my friend he was now officially a man lol) #2 you drew me as being ugly on the WI, #3 ,etc. etc. The girl's mom who was watching them saw the letter and made the girl call and apologize. He accepted it graciously.

    Just for today I'm going to NOT look too far into the future! I won't worry that he already talks about wanting tatoos and piercings or any of that stuff. Just for today I will celebrate that he's at grade level without behavior issues and gets to participate in the student lead Parent Teacher Open House conferences.

    On an unrelated topic, our therapist wants manster to try stims due to the issues and behaviors we're working on. She feels that it would benefit him but I'm not sure. I always figured I'd hold out on that one due to his anxiety and now tics but I guess I'm mulling it over.

    Thanks for "listening". I just needed to talk/type tonight.

    Lasted edited by : Feb 18, 2010
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I reached a point where I banned difficult child 1's friends from the house. The reason was - difficult child 3 was bothering them (as little brothers tend to do - he was ten years younger and socially inappropriate) and one of the friends kept saying, "Go away or I'll kill you," and another friend pretended jokingly to throttle difficult child 3. It wasn't right to do this to a 3 year old child and especially not in that child's home. I asked them to leave and said that they were welcome to stay friends with difficult child 3 but could not come back under my roof until they could prove to me that they could treat ALL residents with respect.

    At the time, these friends had been flagged as troublemakers by the school (along with difficult child 1). In fact, a sort of "brat camp" had been organised for "the troubled boys" and it was actually this brat camp that pushed them together as friends. Before that, difficult child 1 had some friends among the "decent kids" group, but not after the problems boys began to hang around with him. It was a situation caused by the school.

    But the boy who was most concerning to the school, was actually the one I never banned from my house. He was a big lad who was a bit more odd and very expressionless in his face (classic Aspie). I didn't know the boy was Aspie, I don't think the school knew. That boy responded (back then, and even now) to feeling a bit socially awkward, by coming out with comic banter (like a very dark version of Robin Williams) and also performing various magic tricks. I think about this time he poured lighter fluid over his hand at school and set fire to it. He only did it once, difficult child 1 said.

    HIM I was happy to have in the home. Not the other two. Big friend would come visit and bring his pet pythons (baby ones, about a foot long). He would obsess to difficult child 1 about snakes, difficult child 1 would obsess back about birds, neither listened, both were happy. That is how difficult child 1 explained it to me anyway. Big friend even got tossed out of school (it was a gross injustice and serious error but he had nobody to fight for him, I didn't find out about it until it was too late) and I was actually warned about him, told to keep him away from difficult child 1. But I never banned him and I still stand by that - he's a decent guy, he always has been and I was happy to see him as best man at difficult child 1's wedding.

    There were other friends who difficult child 1 had hung around with who really did go to the bad. Once they got to about 13, they began to freeze difficult child 1 out because he was a bit too nerdy. The social skills needed for him to participate were a bit too complex. We also really pushed the honesty thing, and this made it a lot harder for kids who rely on dishonesty, to be able to do the wrong thing around him.

    What helped - difficult child 1 was encouraged to be honest. He was also encouraged to have faith in his own convictions and to express them without fear of reprisal. I also saw other friends of easy child's who were hanging around with the wrong kids and being treated like dirt, because they did not have the confidence in themselves to stand up and do/say what was right instead of what was popular.

    mother in law has friends who live their lives running after this friend or that, jumping through all the hoops they're told to by people who frankly have more power over others than they deserve. mother in law refuses to play these little games and in some ways is not as caught up in the local social whirl; but she says the price is just too high. That "social whirl" comes at such a huge cost, simply because one or two "control freaks" who need to feel important and who use gossip as currency, manipulate their friends and try to rule the roost.

    Really, mother in law's friends are overgrown kids. You see the plans in childhood, you see the early stages of the same sort of personalities. easy child is a very socially independent person. She has friends and although she is a very loyal friend, she also requires the same loyalty. She is forgiving but she won't be walked over. She had her miserable times in elementary school, when good friends one day would say to her the next, "Kerrie says I can't be friends with you today, or she won't be my friend ever again."

    I told my kids, "If anyone ever treats you like that, then realise you just did something right, and that kid who put a ban on you sees you as a threat and knows they can't hold a candle to you."

    It does pass. The trouble is, our kids have to make choices. The biggest choice is - do I knuckle under and do what I'm told by the other kids in order to belong, or do I stand up for what is right but expect to have no friends?

    Too often, knuckling under is easier. and that is how they can get into the wrong crowd and also stay in the wrong crowd - because the alternative is considered to be just too hard. But in the long run, it is definitely the easier way.

  3. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Is difficult child in a contained setting at school? The one thing that most bothers me about a contained setting (which the tweedles have been in since kindegarten & 3rd grades respectively) is the influence of the other kids with behaviorial & emotional disorders. Kids who cannot regulate their choices & have little to no impulse control (including my little wonders).

    kt & wm have been taught from the git go the definition of a friend as we see it. Friends don't harm you ~ physically or emotionally (rumors & the like), they watch your back & in turn the tweedles watch their friends backs. As we've taught this we've worked on many social skills along with teaching kt & wm core values & beliefs (hoping they are sinking in); how to stand up to their friends or walk away when trouble is being hatched.

    We're seeing (albeit slowly) both of the tweedles start to see who is & isn't a friend.

    Manster is young & has some learning to do. Like you, we dictated who could & couldn't hang with the tweedles; at the same time we had constant kids over here so I could watch what was going on & step in when needed.

    ML, this is such a tough age - these kids want to fit in somewhere ~ anywhere. Some of those "bad" kids do grow out of it, others don't.
  4. ML

    ML Guest

    Thanks ladies. This is probably the hardest age, I agree. It's about teaching them to make good choices and that's what I'm trying to do. All I can hope is that some of it's getting through the thickness of his skull - he does have a big head lol.

    Wow, Marg, what you said about making that choice to knuckle under in order to belong is a powerful observation. Thank you for that.

    I'll keep trying.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I have this issue with my son a lot too. I think it's because the kids that I think are bad news might be the easiest to make "friends" with. I put that in quotes because I don't see a lot of them being true friends- I don't have an answer other than try to point out the things you see that are not good and try to help Manster see for himself why these aren't good choices for himself.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Too often, the kids who are bad news are easier to "make friends" with, because they go out of their way to tolerate the oddness, purely because they recognise an easy mark for manipulation. One of difficult child 1's former friends is a diagnosed Aspie. The bad kids got their claws into him and forced him to choose, and to declare his alliance to them and not difficult child 1, by getting friend to 'set up' difficult child 1 for a very nasty and mean prank. It wads the sort of thing obviously designed to break off a friendship, but instead of simply asking this kid to not be friends with difficult child 1, these nasty types made him invite difficult child 1 around for some computer games, then the whole gang attacked him.

    Former friend's parents were horrified, grounded their kid and tried to work out what was behind it. We only worked it out years later, when these same 'friends' were giving the Aspie the baseball bat they had just used to beat someone up with, so Aspie would be the one caught and not them.


    They use him to carry their stuff (eggs to throw at people's houses; rocks - ditto; baseball bats and knives). So he now has a police record for carrying concealed weapons, and accessory. He's undoubtedly involved in local drug deals as well- these nasty types would go out of their way to implicate him so deep that he can't back out. And they made sure that early on, they got rid of the "conscience kid" - ie difficult child 1. So Aspie former friend now has nowhere to turn for advice or backbone.

    THAT is hwat you want your kids to avoid.

    We talked to our kids about what makes a good friend. Often at school, difficult child 3 would get attacked, shoved or kicked by a kid. When difficult child 3 told a teacher and it began to look like for once, the teacher was gonig to actually Do something, the bully kid would often go to difficult child 3 and "make friends". He would tell difficult child 3 that they are friends now, and friends don't tell on one another. Because they are friends now, there is no need to rake over old stuff and tell the teachers the fine detail. so difficult child 3 would be persuaded to retract.
    Next day - the bully was being mean again.

    They kept this going, highly amused because every time, they could wini difficult child 3 back over.

    I don't know when we finally got through to difficult child 3 that kids will lie, and lie convincingly so he won't be able to tell. That if a kid is a true friend, then he will 'fess up to what he did even if he then says, "But difficult child 3 has forgiven me." Because forgiving someone is not the same as telling the full truth about the incident.

    That is a difficult distinction for a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kid to understand. We had to role-play it repeatedly. The other thing we had to do - we kept having to say, "These kids are in your life for this year and maybe next. The rest of your life is more than 60 years, during which time you may never cross paths with these kids again. You have so much potential, but these kids and their ways are holding you back. You have to make a choice - live right and live good, or live in someone else's inferior shadow."

    I also emphasised - "You WILL make friends, ones who are more suited to your own interests and your own standards. It is not worth the harm it will do to you, to change your high moral standards merely to be accepted by someone. If they want you to devalue yourself, they are not good friends, not good role models and will eventually do you harm no matter how much you try to change. So rather than you try to change, you need to really see what a wonderful person you are, as you are now. If they can't see this then their insight is non existent and they are not worth making any effort for. It is better to be alone and know you are a good person, than to be surrounded by other kids who are not good to anybody."

    I had to go over and over this, but I think it has paid off.

  7. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Duckie thought tattoos were cool too until I told her they're applied using needles. :winks: She is also prone to weakspineitis, as I call it. She recently admitted joining in and laughing at a classmate that was being bullied by another girl. Her reason? She didn't want to be next. I didn't punish her though she did have to sit through a lecture on how the bullied child might have felt. I role played strategies on how to behave properly in those situations. We've also started about talking real friends and being true to your values. I agree that this is a very difficult age.