C.L. asks from Saint Paul, MN on April 09, 2008
Play Date or No Play Date?
It seems like I have been asking a lot of questions here lately, but the responses have been helpful so here's another one. A new student in my 2nd grade son's classroom has been calling him to play and so far we have been busy, but I expect he'll keep calling. I have a lot of concerns about my son having a play date with this boy. At first my son said he was really mean and "a bully," but they have since become friendly over Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Since I volunteer in the classroom I know this child has had some serious behavorial issues in the class. I also suspect that he is getting exposure to inappropriate things for his age at home. He has told my son and other kids in the class to go to "www.sex.com" and he told my son that when they trade Yu-Gi-Oh cards he may bring a gun because his dad "keeps guns in there." After my son told him he couldn't have guns the child came back the next day and said my son could have the cards "no guns." (And, yes, the teacher and school know about this.) Of course I will not let my son play at this child's home, but should I invite him to my house for a play date? Part of me wants my son to have nothing to do with this child. Part of me thinks that maybe we can be a positive influence in his life and it would be o.k. if they were in my house where I could supervise. I also know that when you forbid your child to see someone or do something it just makes them want to see that person or do that thing more. Thoughts?
C.K. answers from Minneapolis on April 10, 2008
I would let the boy play at your house, and see what happens. I would not let him go to the other boy's house. (Have you met the boys' parents?)
You mentioned the boy is new, so he may be acting out and acting tough to try to seem cool and fit in. I hope that's what's going on!
D.P. answers from Minneapolis on April 10, 2008
it sounds like the kid has found a connection to your boy with the yugio cards, perhaps he has no other friends and thus a bully (he may be thinking if noone wants to be my friend, i will just be mean to them). having one friend can make the difference in this boys life (sounds like things are a little "different" at his house). if your son wants to play with him, make it be at your house so you can watch over them. also, watch what he brings over...like if he brings a back pack, ask if you can check it (for guns, etc)...tell him you have allergies or something and you need to make sure his back pack is clean. if he is nasty or inappropriate, you can always send him home.
M.P. answers from Minneapolis on April 09, 2008
That sounds so sad for many reasons. We have a neighborhood child who seems at times inappropriate and we've found ways to set boundaries so that he can at times play with my daughter. I have on occasion had to send him home though for not following our house rules or being respectful. I think that the most important thing is to keep the conversation with your son open and nonjudgmental. If he really deeply wants a friendship with this child, then explain in simple terms what your rules are and why you have them. As a mom, I sometimes tell my kids to use me as an excuse though if they are unsure about people or situations. They are very good at saying, "It sounds okay, but my mom won't let me ________. Could be play, trade cards, surf the internet, eat marbles. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. They want to seem cool, but they don't have lots of options. Another mom tactic that I use is distraction. When my kids want to play with someone I'm not thrilled with, I offer them alternatives that they may like better. Soon enough, the kids will be going off with people and we need how to teach them to say no in a firm and friendly way. Maybe this child is put in your family's life to start this process.
p.s. I wouldn't let my kids into someone else's house like that. And at our neighbor's house, our kids are not invited (and I don't know why, don't want to know why. he only comes to our house.)
B.H. answers from Minneapolis on April 09, 2008
I would invite the boy over to your house just to try it out and see how things go. I know alot of kids who are rotten at school and completely differnet in a home environment.