Telling Your Child to Stay Away from "That" Child at School

Updated on October 04, 2012
D.D. asks from Goodyear, AZ
22 answers

How would you tell or "WHY" would you tell your child they are not "allowed" to play with another child at school.

My child is "that" child that this little girl "emma" was told she can't play with "tommy (the other little boy) or Tristan". Tristan can make poor choices and loves to play around, he likes to hid and then scare you if your coming around the corner. I went to lunch with Tristan just because no reason. Sat with his class and the children shared with me that Tristan is bad and always in trouble. I listened to them share, then asked them to stop sharing the bad, but asked if they could share the good stuff. That yes Tristan does make bad choices, but so do I! I said and maybe there was one time that you might have made a bad choice too, huh? They agreed. A couple of them shared that when they play together Tristan makes them laugh. Then a little girl shared that she asked Tristan to be her partner in PE. Then Emma shared that her mommy told her that she was not allowed to play with Tommy or Tristan. Tommy an other little boy who I think makes bad choices too. As Tristan's mother it broke my heart because I know the mom, and the Emma always makes it a point to hug me, wave hi every chance she gets.

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So What Happened?

Two children both went to kindergarten and 1st grade together. One child is the “child” who constantly makes bad choices, both children have been sent to principal office for different things that did not involve each other, one child is a boy one is a girl. One child always runs up to the other child’s mother and offers hugs, and waves to mother when picking up from school.

The one mother goes to have lunch with the children at school and the other child tells the mother that their mommy told them that “they” are not allowed to play with that child or Jonny who tends to get into trouble too.

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answers from Tulsa on

I have told her to stay away from the kid who acted out sexually against other kids. I have told her to stay away from violent, bullies as well.
I would NOT tell her to avoid someone who is poor, a different race, a different gender, a different religion, or handicapped.

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8 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

Well, you'd have to define what "That Child" means, hard to answer the question.

Is it like "Those People"?


In that case, no, I would not tell my child to "stay away". I would kiss my child before school and warmly say, "Have a great day today babe, and be a smart girl, ok?"

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answers from Portland on

First, I would likely not tell my child 'not' to play with 'that child'.

That said, I would caution my child on *how* he plays with another child if I saw that other child doing unsafe things or getting other kids into trouble.

For instance, if little Bobby is always getting my son's attention so that he's distracted at school, I'd remind my son of his classroom rules. "When Bobby is making you laugh, is he helping you to learn? Is he letting the teacher teach?" and then "Next time, you can tell Bobby 'I'll play with you at recess, but right now I have to listen to teacher'."

If Bobby is hitting, then that's something to talk about. "I notice that Bobby hits other kids. Do you think they like that?"

"If you see Bobby being unsafe with his body, it's a good idea to go and do something else. Even if Bobby is acting like it's fun, it's not fun for the other kids, and you know you need to be safe for other people's bodies. There are other kids who can play in a friendly way."

My son is in kindergarten, by the way. The only time I would really go out of my way to even address something like this is if the teacher brought it to my attention that my child and that other child were being in an unsafe or disruptive manner. If my child were the one causing problems, I'd want to know. I think it's really important to label the actions (unsafe, not helpful, etc.) without labeling the kid. These children will be in each other's classrooms for years, and I would personally NOT want to be the mom of the kid that's labelled 'bad'.... I imagine that I should treat any other mom's kid with that save respect. Lots of kids go through hard phases during their school years. Phases can last a few weeks or month, or even a year or two. At my son's school, we're all together from k-8 as parents, so we're going to be seeing a lot of each other. :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I don't tell my kids to stay away from any kids at school. If the other child is mean, or violent or a bully I trust that my kids will figure this out for themselves. I would rather they gave another child the benefit of the doubt. In fact my younger son regularly plays with a boy who has autism and behavioural problems. When his friends behaviour gets out of control my son will walk away from the situation and get an adult. How sad would it be if that boy never had anyone to play with because other parents stopped their children from playing with him. I imagine the behavioural problems would be that much worse.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Not a fan of dictating a child's friends.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

The only time I have ever told my daughter to stay away from a kid at school was after he assaulted her...and I said "Do not go near him, if he comes near you go straight to the teacher and tell her that she needs to make him leave you alone!"

She knew why...I didn't really need to remind her that he choked her three times.

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answers from Washington DC on

Why dont you tell us first why you dont want your child to play with "that child" and then we will try to give you advice on how to explain...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Unless a child is physically, sexually, or verbally violent to my child...I would not ever say that.

I'm not sure what "that" child means, because it sounds like they both get into trouble.

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answers from Hartford on

Can you give an actual specific situation? The scenario is just too vague and confusing.

I'm always honest with my children. Because of that, they're learning to make good judgments on choosing good friends. If there's a bad influence, they tend to steer away from those children on their own. The times I've had to say something, I'm honest with them but keep it simple and in terms they understand.

If someone else is telling their children to stay away from mine, well... how would I know? And why would I care?

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answers from New London on

A suggestion:

I have a friend who writes a letter to the principal each and ever year. She states that her child and so and so cannot be together due to bullying. The 2 have never been in the same class since. The letter is confidential. Only I know !!!

The mean behavior has stopped !

Kids are supposed to be learning in school. Kids should not have to be w/ a bully every year !

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answers from Bloomington on

It would have to be a SERIOUS situation for me to ever tell my kid to stay away from another child. AND, I would give them the vocabulary they needed to do so. As well, I would role play the situation with them so they would know how to deal with it (esp. if a younger child). Having your child to tell another, "My mom says I can't play with you." is very, very mean.

More information is needed to really answer the question you are asking. Please update when you get a chance. :)

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answers from Tampa on

I HAVE said something similar to my son who is in 1st this year. There was a bully type kid in his class last year. Everytime he was around this kid, something happened and my son would get in trouble. I can only surmise that the two personalities did not mesh. I asked my son if he could see a trend there...everytime he was around this kid, he ended up getting in trouble for something. Now I am sure that my son was partially at fault too. However, this kid had to be removed for assaulting 2 other kids in class so it cannot all be my son. I told him that if they could not play nicely and get along, then he should just stay away from this kid.

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answers from Dallas on

My daughter had a friend last year that she constantly got in trouble with. The other girl got in trouble regardless of whether or not dd was with her, but dd only got in trouble when she was with this girl. We told dd she could play with the girl at recess but could not see her outside of school because when they are together they make bad choices. Didn't blame either one, just told her the two of them together was not a good combination. It worked pretty well. She still sees her some this year, but they are not good friends, dd realized that she got in trouble a lot less when she wasn't able to hang out with this girl and she decided on her own to limit the friendship at school.

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answers from San Francisco on

I have told my girls that if they can't get along with so-and-so at school, that it's best that they don't play together. Interestingly, when my oldest was in 3rd grade (and the "new kid" who came in midway through the school year), there was one girl in particular who seemed to say some really mean and nasty things to my daughter. I gave the above warning - if this girl has nothing nice to say to you, then just ignore her. The two of you shouldn't play together. Well, you know how it is - you make something off-limits, and what do kids do? Yep, my daughter ended up being good friends with this girl by the end of the year! LOL - And it turns out that the girl is just very sassy, not a "bad" kid at all. I was happy my daughter and this little girl proved me wrong. They're in 5th grade this year and get along great.

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answers from New York on

We ran into this last year with my preschooler.

We explicitly told him that he was NOT to choose to play with T because T does not make good choices and does not act like a good friend. I told my son that if that child continued to seek him out, it was OK to tell T that he's not supposed to play with him. We also spoke with the teacher and let her know what we had told him.

I really didn't care whether or not the other mother would be offended. This kid literally took a swing at a teacher. Bottom line, this other kid was bad news and I didn't want my child near him.

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answers from Minneapolis on

More background information is needed. Do you know the parent specifically said to their child. "You are not allowed to play with X" Maybe a parent or teacher or principal suggested if they cannot get along, they should play with other children at recess. Or sit with a different group of kids at lunch. Maybe the child making the comment has been the instigator of some harrassment, and "that" child has asked for some help in being left alone. The children may have clashed, and the adults are just trying to teach them they can co-exist peacefully at school. I wonder if you are just taking the child's words out of context. "not allowed to play with X" may not mean forever. Maybe they just need a day's cooling off period from some kind of conflict.

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answers from Honolulu on

What is the reason?

Since my kids were Toddlers, I taught them about how to discern social situations or others.
In a way that they could understand.
This is per behavior. Not about the other kid's race/color or anything like that. But about, behavior about other kids. Knowing about right and wrong, knowing how to speak up, how to choose friends etc. and about knowing THEMSELVES, too.
So now my kids are 6 and 9. And they are very good about knowing themselves and personalities and what behaviors in other kids, are simply not acceptable. I trust them and they trust themselves, about choosing friends or playmates. They are not followers. They choose, wisely for their ages.
And if a kid causes trouble, they can speak up and tell the Teacher or me. They have learned to "Discern" situations. That is key.

I never tell my kids they are not "allowed" to play or not with another kid. BUT they know, which kids are trouble makers in school or not. And they are right. They may play with that kid... but they KNOW that it is not a BFF and they know that they can speak up if/when there is trouble with another kid. A kid needs to learn skills, about social situations.

My 6 year old son for example, there is a boy in his class that likes to go by him. Fine. But that kid is a known trouble maker. That does not mean my son is. And my son also knows that. BUT my son is able to speak up to that boy, or tell him to go away, or he tells the Teacher when that kid is being disruptive. And my son can explain the situation to the Teacher. The Teacher herself, knows my son is not a trouble maker, but that the other boy likes to go by him. Fine. But so, my son can handle himself. And he has many friends of all types. But he knows, intrinsically, which kids are "trouble makers" or not.

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answers from Charlotte on

Viola, sorry, this is too confusing. I can't really understand what's going on from your SWH description...


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answers from Washington DC on

Your scenario is a little confusing, but I really hate it when a parent "forbids" contact with another child unless there is a good reason, like bullying, or the one child causes another child to do bad things they wouldn't normally do on their own. At our old school, there was a behavior chart. If a kid does something wrong during the day, they move down to yellow, then orange, then red= principal's office. The infractions to move down could be as little as talking to another kid while the teacher is talking, or as big as spitting on someone. I was amazed at the number of parents that told their kids not to play with other kids that were on yellow or orange a lot. These kids usually were just overly chatty, or they were ADHD and had some slight behavior problems. They were the kind of kids that could use positive influence from others. Instead parents were shunning them. And the administrators thought this was a great idea, that it would help the kids turn their behavior around.

If the kids are mean, or leading the other kids astray, maybe. But in your example, I think it is overkill.



answers from Denver on

Yup I said it to mine. My son was basically being bullied and controlled by a friend in K. My daughter was in tears over a friend and all of the drama that followed her, in first. We homeschool now, so basically it is me constantly controlling wh they are around now, and quite frankly much happier. Also now when they are faced with people they are better able to navigate toxic relationships on their own.



answers from San Francisco on

I have only told my GD and the school that GD is not allowed to play with one boy, S. The only reason I did that is because S gets physical with my GD; he had her in a corner and was kicking her. She was hysterical!

We had had problems with S before but that was the last straw. Like I said, my GD was hysterical; she was so frightened. They had to get her older brother out of class to help calm her down.

The school wanted to try to help them get along. After all, S had a crush on GD. With all the other problems we had had with S, I adamantly told them that I consider my GD's relationship with S to be toxic and unhealthy and they are NOT to do ANYTHING to try to make those two get along. GD wants nothing to do with him and they are to leave that alone. She does not have to put up with domestic violence at school and that is exactly what was going on!

I would not tell GD that she couldn't play with a particular child because that child may be disruptive in the classroom or make some poor decisions. GD has to learn to follow her own instincts and if she decides to follow someone else, she will suffer the same consequence. Only when, as in the case with S, I think something is unhealthy or dangerous would I tell her to stay away from someone.

So sorry this happened to you and Tristan.



answers from Boise on

I admit that I have told my child to avoid another child at school. It was because the other child in question was a bully who would hurt my child (verbally and physically). It is hard as a mother to hear criticism of your child by another adult or even another child, but perhaps you should consider the fact that Emma's mom knows something that you do not about Tristan’s behavior to her daughter. I think that it is wonderful that you spend time at school with your son (as a volunteer I imagine) but you must realize that your son probably behaves differently when you are not there. Has his teacher said anything to you about his behavior at school? It is of course hurtful to you that another adult doesn’t like your son, but maybe you should just cut ties with that other family and focus on other friendships that your son has at school.

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