friendships...and lack thereof - FamilyEducation
friendships...and lack thereof
07/29/2007 at 15:53 PM

   Hi everyone...I am new to the boards and was looking for some advice in parenting. I have two wonderful sons...ages 7 & 8....almost 16 months apart...going into 2nd and 3rd grades. My husband and I have always encouranged them to play together and be friends to each other...and they are. They play great together and I think they will have a great relationship for the rest of their lives. However, my younger son seems to struggle sometimes with friends.  He has kids he interacts with at school and his teachers say that he gets along with everyone. We encourage him to go out for sports...he is not super athletic and gets discouraged easily and doesn't want to go out again. He was in Tiger Scouts this year and I was his leader...he enjoyed it, but he still did not get a strong connection to any of the other kids. His older brother is away at camp this weekend and we invited one my 'younger' sons friends over for a playdate. The friend would only play what he wanted to play and ended up taking one of my boys things...threatening to 'not be his friend if he couldn't have it'.  My son ended up crying and saying that this kid is one of his only friends so he had to give it to him. It was a trading card and I am not 'up' on all the rules...but I asked the kid to give it back as my son was upset about it and the kid agreed...but suddenly the card was 'lost'.  He ended up giving my son a dud of a card instead and it blew over. The card is not the issue...the issue is how to teach my child not to give into this child's tactics. We talked later about how this friend was saying these things to get what he wanted...sort of like blackmail. We talked about different things my son could have done not back down and lose his card.

So guess I have two questions....are we wrong to encourage our boys to be so close? I love that they enjoy each other and have each other to play with. Is this hurting them socially?

How do we coach our youngest child to stick up for himself ?. I know it is probably not true, but we live in a small town and the majority of the boys in his class are not ideal friends...lots of very competitive boys (many 'redshirted' and are actually supposed to be a year ahead) and a lot of boys that tease alot and do the verbal bullying like the playdate friend.  I am sure that this behavior at this age is common, but I feel like we failed on giving our son the skills to cope with finding his place...and holding it. It just breaks my heart to see him hurting...most of the time he is happy playing with his brother and kids in the neighborhood, but I am nervous with school starting up again.   

This is my second comment as I hit the wrong button and lost the first, if you get two..I apologize.  I'm new to this as well.

However, friends are important to your children, that does not mean you shouldn't teach loyalty to the family to your children.  They can learn your family values, which teach them to have separate friends, yet always remain close to each other.  They will need to learn to inter act with friends in order to gain social skills, as you mentioned.  Sticking up  for each other can be stressed by example and family discussions.    This will give them guide lines while they are in school or doing other events where children gather.  One of the most distressisng news today is that many kids are not nice, they tease and bully like its a normal thing to do.  Of course, its not and I almost believe we need a bully patrol in our schools today.  

I'm a 61 year old grandmother, with a daughter who has given me 7 grandchildren and one great grandchild.  Their ages are 4 to 25.  My great grandchild is  16 months.  I have been very involved in their lives and as a result in January of 07,  I created grammology the blog for grandmothers.  This with the hope that I could share some of my experience, wit and then wisdom which comes with the territory.  

The heartbreak you mentioned is destined to remain.  I still feel the pain in my grandchildren and daughters life.  It never stops when you love your family.  You can do as you have, ask for other peoples experiences, and consider them when you make decesions for your family.  Having other people share their thoughts can also be helpful while you are pondering what to do.

We bloggers, will share our lives with the hope you will get something out it for you  and your family. Hope these thought can be helpful.  

Regards, Dorothy at grammology


Well, as a parent of two, a boy and a girl, I encourage them to build a bond, a friendship between the two of them. It is good, my sister and I are very close and I enjoy our friendship, its something reliable. As far as bullying is concerned it is never right, and it should be addressed immediately because it will only escalate. Perhaps you can speak to the teachers or the principal in the school about putting on a show addressing bullies. This will help your son to see it from a different stand point other than yours.