Sons Bad Choice in Friends

Updated on February 13, 2008
M.B. asks from Fort Wayne, IN
9 answers

My son is 6 years old and just started kindergarten,he was putting a puzzle together and this other boy came over and started doing the puzzle with my son,my son didn't want help and the other boy said that if he didn't let him do the puzzle that he wouldn't be his friend, of course my son wants to make friends so he gave the puzzle to the other boy. My question is what do I tell my son? he was very upset about giving up his puzzle, but he also wanted a friend. My son is a follower,not a leader,he just wants to make everyone happy, and it scares me what he'll do to get friends.

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So What Happened?

I told my son that a good friend would not say things like that and he told his dad he didn't want to tell the other little boy that he hurt his feelings. So it's something we're going to have to work on,I plan on talking to the teacher also about the situation maybe she can talk to the other boy about what he said. Thank you so much for the advice I really appreciate it. This was the first time I used the site and I'm amazed at how many people responded. Thank you for helping.

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J.W.

answers from Dallas on

Let him know next time to tell the friend that he doesn't want help OR tell him to see if the two of them can play something else, when he is done w/the puzzle.

By the way we are getting ready to move to the DFW area. Any suggestions for areas for us to look at? I love the Grapevine and Keller area. Any other towns we should look at?

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L.C.

answers from Des Moines on

Wow.... Poor kid. I think that I used to be a lot like that too when I was a kid. As far as your question goes, I'd probably tell him whatever you think is best because basically he will do what he feels that he needs to do anyway. All you can really do in my opinion, is pray that it works out ok for him. Might work, might not. Good luck! :-)

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A.

answers from Indianapolis on

Hello,

That is such a crucial age because they are now going to school and becoming exposed to so many different influences outside of the home. I have a 5 year old and I have been speaking leadership into his life every since he was probably one. I tell hime that he is a leader and not a follower. I explain that a leader is someone who does the right thing no matter what everyone else is doing. I am constantly telling him what a good boy he is (whether he is acting good, naughty or neutrally). When he does do something naughty, I make sure he understands that what he did was unacceptable and I do explain the consequences of his actions to him. I seperate the fact that he has done wrong with who he is (a good son.)I am sharing all this to say that it is critical to build up their self-esteem at this age so that they are not defined by what others say and think. This takes a lot of work because when they are confronted with someone rejecting them they don't like the feeling and they want to give in to the temptation to be a people pleaser. I like to talk to him everyday to see what's going on in his life and then we discuss the choices he has made. It can get complicated because there is a line between wanting them to share and wanting them to be independent and not be swayed by negative influences. Right after the little boy stated that he would not be his friend, my initial reaction would have been to intervene but honestly I would probably have done as you did and waited to see how he handled the situation. If he gave it up and then came crying to me, I would talk to him about the difference between right and wrong. Does a leader give to people who threaten or manipulate him? What is a good friend? He would learn a hard lesson but our jobs as parents is to protect them AND prepare them to live in this world. I hope this helps some. It really takes the Grace of God to raise children!!

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J.C.

answers from Fort Wayne on

Kids are SO SMART, and I would take advantage of that by explaining to him that sometimes people say things that they don't mean to get what they want. He didn't really mean that he wouldn't be his friend, but he really wanted that puzzle, so he said that just so he'd get his way. Explain to him that this is not the correct way to ask for something and use examples on what the proper way to ask for something is. Then, I'd tell him that he is so lucky because he can make choices for himself now that he's getting older. He could say "well, I am playing with it, but I will let you play with it when I'm finished", or he could say "I am playing with it, but you can help if you want to". I wouldn't get the teacher involved, unless you already have. Try to let your son develop his own social skills through experience, whether it be bad or good. These are lessons that will form his character, and the greatest part about them is that they're FREE!! So, help boost his esteem by telling him that it's his choice, give him options, and let him take control of it. He's got to learn somehow without intervention from the parents or teachers.

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S.F.

answers from Louisville on

I have a daughter (8) that is the same way. I just try to explain that there are "true" friends in life and they would share the puzzle or whatever. My daughter has a friend that basically rules her because she is constantly saying that she won't play with her etc. if she does not do what her friend wants. It is a little different situation as the "friend" in question lives right across the street. I just try to let her see that friends are ones that won't hurt your feelings on a regular basis or ask that you give up something that you like just to be their friends. It has taken two long years, but she is starting to come around. The one thing that I have found is not good is making "adult" comments as they only defend their "friends" - good luck.

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S.

answers from Charlotte on

My Husband is the program director at USA Fitness Karate Leadership Academy. Their goal is turning followers into leaders. A leader is someone who always does what is right and always does their best no matter what. My husband used to be like your son but now as a result of the training is no longer a "doormat" or people pleaser. He is willing to stand up for himself and us. I highly recomend contacting them, it has done wonders for our family, even my six year old who is already a phenominal leader. Their business info is on this site but so you don't have to go looking: the website to receive a free parent's guide, "5 secrets to raising better behaved kids who get great grades, are physically fit, have super confidence and become the most popular in their class" at www.usafitnesskarate.com or call them at ###-###-####.

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M.

answers from Des Moines on

M.,
I am a mother of a one year old, but I have also been a school counselor k-5 for four years. Before that I was a teacher for 6 years. So my advice to you is to teach your son how to give "I messages." There are two things I work on with kindergarteners. One is how to give an "I message" and the other is how to be a good friend. An "I message" goes something like this. Say the person's name, make eye- contact, and tell them how you feel and what you want them to do. " I feel sad when you take my puzzle from me please give it back." or "I feel sad when you say you won't be my friend if I don't give you the puzzle?"
Teach your son how to problem solve. Suggest sharing, taking turns, etc. Friendship, I tell kids that your friendship is not something to give and take away daily. A good(loyal) friend does not threaten to not be a friend if they do not get what they want. YOur son will do this unless you talk to him
about it. Feel free to ask more, my e-mail is [email protected]____.com. I hope this helped:)

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C.G.

answers from Raleigh on

Hi M.,
I am a Montessori teacher, not to put myself in a category, but there are ways that work within some boundaries that could possibly help. One is, if your son feels able to say this, is to help teach him ways of saying, "I want to be your friend but I wasn't finished working on this puzzle, but when I'm finished you can have it." That may sound too sophisticated for a young one but I've seen it work so many times!! This validates to his friend that he wants to be friends but it also validates his own desire to finish working on his puzzle and opens the use of it to his friend after he's finished. Everybody wins...hopefully. Believe in your childs' ability to express himself once he's given that kind of guidance. You will hear him becoming more aware of his own feelings as well as being empathetic to his friends' feelings. It's beautiful to watch!
good luck!

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M.D.

answers from Indianapolis on

I am a kindergarten teacher. Please be assured that this is a normal behavior and response for kindergartners. Kids this age are learning how to be friends and develop friendships. Up until this age, their world was all about them (me,me,me) Now they are suddenly extremely social. My advice to you is first of all let your son know that the other boy was not nice and he should not talk to your son that way. If someone says that to him, your son should be honest and say that hurts my feelings. But also, encourage your son to invite his friends to work together on activities in class.

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