Dilemma with Another Child with GREAT Parents

Updated on March 02, 2011
M.O. asks from Canton, MI
15 answers

I'm just not sure how to go about this problem

To make a long story short, I met this WONDERFUL woman who takes care of her grandson. Her grandson has numberous issues like a heart defect, severe ADHD, and speech issues.

This woman has explained to me how her grandson has literally no friends at school and gets bullied constantly for his speech problems. Its really quite sad and I feel awful for this child and her grandmother who's heart is broken over it. This little boy has become friends with my son. Here is the issue....this boy, because of his impulse issues from the ADHD, is pretty rough with my son. There hasn't been a playdate where my son doesn't get hurt at the hands of this boy. Although the grandmother steps in and takes action, this boy cannot seem to control his impulses. After the boy acts out on my son, her feels terrible and starts to cry because he hurt my son. You can tell this boy really just cant control himself and my heart aches for him. Because this boy has NO friends, the grandmother calls me at least once a week (sometimes more) for playdates. After this last playdate, I think my son has had it. This boy pushed him against a wall and hit his head and he needed an ice pack.

My son isn't sure if he doesn't want to have playdates anymore cold turkey, but I dont think he's eager to play with him anymore either.

How to I go about this situation? I know I need to speak to the grandmother about this. I want to be sensative to her issues and I dont want to hurt her feelings. But I cant keep putting my son in these situations where he needs ice packs afterwards either.
Let me make it clear that this grandmother really does try to nip this behavior in the bud as soon as it happens and I'm happy about that.

What can I do next?

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answers from Los Angeles on

We have a neighbor whose son has "high functioning autism" and “echolalia”. He sounds exactly as you have described this other child. The Mom was so sad because he had NO friends and was always getting picked on at school. The Mom is super sweet too. My son who is 5 , didn't want to have play dates with him anymore because he was constantly pushing my son hard or snatching stuff out of his hands all the time. The Mom was actually the one to say that she would understand if my son just didn't want to play with hers anymore.

I suggested that from now on when we get together, we sit down and play with them instead of letting them just play alone. Next time they came over I got out my son's play table, play-doh and fnger paints and we all sat together each at opposites sides of the table. Next I got out the bubbles and sidewalk chalk. They were playing together, but separate with me right in the middle. It worked out so well my son actually had fun and was sorry to see him go. It has been smooth sailing ever since with me always in the middle. Now this boy feels like he has a friend =-)

Maybe that will work for you?

Best of luck!

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answers from Washington DC on

Kudos to you for trying to help this family.

Is it possible to have playdates where they work together or side by side on things? i.e. they each build something out of legos? they each color something?

That way there is the companionship without the contact?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

God love you. Is there a more directed activity that the boys could do together? Like a quick bite to eat or a movie? Live theatre, ice show-something lively and engaging?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

this boy may be a candidate for medication. I know I know we live in a society too quick to medicate BUT he has no friends, he hurts kids on impulse and then cries because he feels so bad about it, Sounds like he would be a LOT happier if medication could help him. (course I dont know about his other health problems maybe its not an option)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Explain to her the situation and ask her what the Adhd game plan is so you can help provide activities that his therepists may be pushing and say that your kiddo wants a break for a week that last one kind of shook him up but he still wants to be friends with him. If she says no therepist then she may not actually be adressing the Adhd from all angles. We are working on getting someone to do therepy with my son he is 4 and aparently no one wants to do anything with a 4yr old but medicate them and my son is NOT going on blood pressure meds and antipshycotics (sp). I think the best thing is to talk to her and understand that feelings might be hurt but it is better than your son being hurt all of the time. My son NEEDS wrestle time and that may be something her grandson needs but does not get b/c gma is not someone you can wrestle with ... maybe this is something your husband can help with?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I don't have a lot of advice. But I did want to encourage you and tell you that I think you have a big heart and what you do for this family is just wonderful. I feel terrible for this little boy (and your son, too!). This must be so difficult.

This is a great learning experience for you and your son. He will gain empathy and a mature sense of understanding that not many of his peers will have. You're giving him a gift with that.

All I could possibly suggest is that you ask the Grandmother for a little break and see if that helps. Find out what triggers the boy's outbursts and talk to your son about it and explain that this friend is special so there are just things we don't do around him, just like being gentle with babies... we have to be a little more sensitive with the friend (maybe? I don't know).

Anyway, just kudos to you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Does this kid do this stuff when the boys are off on their own, or does it happen when adults are present? Is he more apt to get physical when he's doing activities that can get him excited, like playing ball, or video games? Or can it happen even if people are just sitting around passively watching tv? I guess, I'm wondering if there seems to be a trigger for this behavior.

If you can pinpoint a trigger, you might be able to salvage a simplified relationship with them (if you're son is up for it, of course!) by suggesting to limit visits to structured activities that work well with this kids temperament. So maybe, once a week or every two weeks the four of you go to a movie and have lunch, would work if the kid can handle passive, yet supervised activities like that.

Or maybe you could go to the zoo or park for an hour or two as a group if he can handle that kind of stimulus.

I suspect he's probably not a good candidate for unsupervised play, where they can get into expected rough housing or running, and physical activities like playing catch or something.

But maybe, if he is invited to very structured activities or get togethers that can be paired down to about an hour and a half or so, he might be more tolerable, and the relationship can be saved.

However, with that said, if you're son isn't up for the challenge, I wouldn't push it. That's a lot to ask of him. The friendship and the effort behind it should be genuine for everyone's sake.

I just think, if this behavior is the only thing that is making your son not want to visit, but he otherwise thinks this kid is great, this might be a good opportunity to learn how to deal with differences. Afterall, any friendship has it's limitations. People learn to adapt with different people and situations.

If you feel your son isn't in serious danger (because the kid is unreasonably violent or something) and there can be some compromise, it might be worth at least one more try with a plan behind it to see how it goes before throwing in the towel. Talk with your son and see what he honestly thinks, and if he's game, then see what Grandma thinks and take it from there.

If your son is up for it, maybe get a couple of books about ADHD aimed at young readers. He will understand better why his buddy is this way...and might learn ways to communicate better with him too.

Just food for thought.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

2 things - when they are able to play outside, is it better with more room to move around? Also, what if you were there as well as her. Would that help? I feel for her but you are the one who has to protect your son. A little bump now and then is normal for boys but ... I think you should tell her you'd like to come over this next time to see if the two of you can put your heads together and figure out a way to prevent some of these "accidents".



answers from Honolulu on

The woman needs to join a support group. This way, she will have people to commiserate with and learn coping skills.

How old is her Grandson?
How old is your Son?

No matter what, don't feel guilty if you are not comfortable with this scenario.
You need to, do what is best for your son. And can HE handle it and being this boys one and only friend?? That may be a huge burden on his tiny shoulders, for a child to handle. For example.
Sure, it can be a life lesson for your son, but you need to watch for his well being.
If he is not happy getting hurt... then you need to step in. For him.
Your son, cannot be this kid's "Social Worker", nor can you.

The boy needs professional help.
And his Grandma too.... so she can learn coping skills and make friends with others of kids with these conditions.

You said your son has had it.
So heed to him.
You are his Mom.
If it were me, sure I would feel bad for that boy and his Grandma... but ultimately... I would go according to MY child and his/her well being.

But, perhaps suggest to the Grandma that she find a Support Group as a caregiver with children with ADHD etc.



answers from Grand Rapids on

I want to second the grandma finding a support group. I have a child with special needs and I know it can be a lot to take on. She needs other people to commiserate with, learn from and glean ideas from. Her grandson would also benefit from playdates with kids like him. There isn't as much pressure to make the playdate be perfect because the other kid has problems too. I hope there is something in your area. I know in my area, the health department/children's special health care and the local school district are good resources to finding this support.

Bless you for trying to make this work! Do what you can but not at the expense of your own child. Be as much of a support to the Grandma as you can even if the kids don't have playdates anymore.



answers from Detroit on

You are very kind to be concerned and advocate for her/him. This boy sounds as he needs more than just a playmate. This grandmother needs to contact an agency or school social worker and become involved. They have social therapy groups focused on addressing these types of issues and improving the Childs behavior in social situations as well as assess for other issues she is probably dealing with. It may be hard but you need to confront her with this. It will help her! Good luck. :)



answers from Detroit on

What I would do is still incourage your son to play with him. Maybe let your son know that the little boy is special and has some littel issues and than talk to the grandmother and let her know the truth. Let her know that your son is feeling upset with him because he keeps getting hurt and they can only play as long as the boy doesn't push hit kick punch spit or anything else to your child. If something happens again you can not guarentee your son will want to play with him again. Honesty even though alot of people don't like to hear it is the best medicine. Unfortunatley the little boy has done it to himself. Maybe if she talks to him maybe it can be controlled before they play or maybe when she sees hes about to do something stop him and remind him if he hurts your son they will leave and he will not play with him again. good luck!!!



answers from Boston on

I am sorry for both children. I think talking to the grandmother and telling her the truth is the best way to go. I would not want my son to keep getting hurt either. You probably lasted longer than I would have. If it were me, I would tell her the truth and I would tell her we will have to put off the play dates until he is under control. That my son is getting hurt and he doesn't want to be hurt anymore. I mean really what else can you say . Maybe in the future when he has control of his impulses they can try to be friends again.



answers from Detroit on

So what would you do if the ADHD boy were your son as well? Put him in isolation? No more play dates is the easy solution, and one you have a right to. However, there is a way to make it work as well. He's not the only kid with problems like this, and I'm sure other Mom's have found ways to supervise so that other siblings are not beaten up daily. It seems like the supervision needs to be upped. Maybe a more hands on (from parent/grandparent) structured play date. Has the grandma exhausted all the professional resources in helping this child socialize? I would encourage that with her. Obviously she wants her grandson to have a social life and learn to play nicely with others, and she's on top of it as much as she knows how. There have to be some answers her for how to teach him to play nicely and have control of his emotions etc...

Best wishes!



answers from San Francisco on

Is it possible to have a group playdate? Like invite some of your child's friends and parents and meet at a park? Include grandma and her grandson and she can stay with him at the park to supervise. It would be good to get him around more kids--even if he does have behavioral problems. Protect your son and listen to him-he has had enough so see what he would be comfortable with and do that. Maybe a group setting will be less stress. Meeting at a jungle jump place, discovery museum etc could be a lot of fun as a group. Do something active and maybe he will settle down. Its worth a try.


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