We have neighbours who have a son and daughter a similar age to my son (10) and daughter (7). The daughters get on well but my son finds the boisterous boy too much. I would like to be able to tell my neighbour (the parent - who is quite sensitive) my son doesn't want to play OR help my son deal with it and go and play somehow (preferably).

As I type this I wonder if the right solution is to coach my son to deal with it himself by asking his "friend" to treat him differently (during a play around their house, for example). If it ends in an altercation then that should be easy to manage as they then overtly don't get on!

Thoughts on that approach or any others gratefully received!

  • 3
    What age are they both? Also, can you define boisterous? Is it just a loud personality or is there a physical side to it as well? Finally, is this behavior bullying in nature?
    – Adam Heeg
    Jan 13, 2016 at 19:36
  • 1
    What age are they? It matters if they're closer to 4 or 18. Also, does boisterous imply "physically rough, with possibility of injury" or just "too much energy or noisy"? Are they sticking metal implements in sockets, jumping off roofs or practising with nunchuks? Is the boisterousness something your son can resolve with the kid, e.g. by saying "I'm not allowed jump off roofs(/whatever)"?
    – smci
    May 14, 2017 at 1:49
  • They're 11 and 8 now - were 10 & 7 when I asked and so I've edited the qu to have this information. Kind of half way between on your boisterous descriptions I guess ... quite mean to siblings (stealing toys), stamping on toys, jumping about with no regard to other people. As it stands a year or so on I would still like to be able to encourage my kids to play and be strong with their own feelings on how to play without being demeaning etc.
    – noelicus
    May 15, 2017 at 10:18
  • This problem has been going on without a good solution (I presume from your edit) for a year, which is unfortunate. We want to help, and I'm glad yo came back and edited. However, more details in your question describing the unwanted behavior from neighbor child, who exactly is sensitive and in what way, and what you/your son have tried but met with no success would be most helpful to getting better answers. thanks! May 15, 2017 at 13:05

3 Answers 3


As a kid you change your mind all the time. Once the neighbours are annoying and next day they're best friends. You should let your little boy some time to decide. Let him handle this himself. He'll do it I'm sure.

But if you see that the neighbours son is a bad influence(cussing, bad behavior) for your son watch out!

If it doesn't work out for your son you should tell your neighbour even though he's sensetive.

Anyways I hope they become friends! Good luck with your son.


I had a bit of the same issue. The idea is to not burn any bridges: kid at this age change fast and this annoying little boy can become a friend for life. So I would try to let both meet for a few short activities where the boisterousness is not emphasised too much. And wait and see.


I think that the "As a kid you change your mind all the time. Once the neighbours are annoying and next day they're best friends" point has merit. Same for, " kids at this age change fast and this annoying little boy can become a friend for life."

However, I gather it hasn't helped enough for you to accept either answer or use that advice.

So my take on it in addition to the above:

You son has the opportunity to learn how to quietly and calmly insist that he is his own person and that under no circumstances is he going to be "mean to siblings (stealing toys), stamping on toys, jumping about with no regard to other people". He can tell this fellow that if they are going to hang out Neighbour has to grow up a little or Son is not interested. He doesn't have to be mean or rude, "I don't like this idea; I don't like this sort of game. I'll see you another time." If pressed, "I think that's kid stuff, and I'd rather..."

I'd help your son brainstorm some ideas for acceptable activities that your son would be willing to do with Neighbour as well as a list of things he won't do. You could role play conversations so that Son can learn to direct the conversation and respectfully decline bad ideas. Learning to stand our ground respectfully is a gift.

Standing up for ourselves is a communication skill that takes practice to master, because we want to do it without sounding defensive or disrespectful. This is a skill he will draw upon for his entire life. The goal is to demonstrate we are confident about ourselves, and also let people know that they cannot easily take advantage of us. "Just say, 'No'." (The basic rule for just saying 'no', is that you make no excuses and give no reason. That way, no one can help you fix the reason so that it can happen.)

As to your relationship with the neighbours: They know as well as you do that Son doesn't really enjoy their son's company -- they probably see way more of this negative behaviour that Son does. I see no reason for you to address it specifically unless your relationship is extremely 'mature'. If they ever ask you tell the simple unvarnished truth, "Son prefers less boisterous activities." It isn't very direct and so preserves your neighbourly relationship, but it isn't a lie either.

When I was a child, I was not at all like my brother. He was a sports-fiend and very active all the time. He was only a year younger and he was constantly beating me up -- albeit he thought it was play. We'd often end up in real fights. The fastest way to stop us was for both of us to get into trouble. Suddenly we were a united front. It might be a thought to allow them to create a united front, though how that might come about is beyond my crystal ball.

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