10

When my son was 2 he went through a biting stage which was fairly traumatic for us and I guess for the parents of those he was biting. We worked through it with the daycare and over a period he stopped doing it.

However, one of the children he was biting has also ended up being friends with (they are 5 years old). However, the parent of this child has never liked our child and at that time was trying to get him removed from the childcare. Now, she won't even acknowledge my child when he comes over to her kid to talk, however if another of the group of friends comes over she is very talkative and encouraging to that child.

Also, my boy wasn't invited to this child's birthday but I know another of the group of friends (they are a group of 3) has been. I'm also aware the mother of the other child is actively encouraging and establishing the relationship with the other boy and I can see that it is slowly isolating my boy, i. e. I know they invite each other over to play etc.

Should I encourage my boy to move onto other friends? How can I stop my son from being pushed out even though he won't realize? My boy will be starting school 2 months before this other boy however they are in the same sports team at the moment. There is a possibility I could get my child moved to another team so they aren't together?

To date I have only encouraged and been friendly as I was always of the understanding that you shouldn't force your kids away from friends. However, when it's the parent of the other child who is doing things that will isolate mine I'm not sure what to do.

  • 1
    Have you ever talked with the other parent about their reasons? Or thought about a different angle: It may be the past biting episode, it may just as well be totally unrelated. And how old are the kids now? Do you share the same social circle / church / neighbourhood, or is it just the sports team? – Stephie May 6 '16 at 19:34
  • I know their reasons as it was all centered around the biting period. Yes, we have tried over the last two years to be polite and friendly to the other parent, include the other child when we see them. Kids are starting school, so 5. Same sports team and soon to be same school only. – dreza May 6 '16 at 19:43
  • You haven't indicated how long ago the biting happened ... weeks, months or years? – tomjedrz Jan 20 '18 at 7:03
6

At this young age, I'd continue to allow him to be kind and friends with the boy. It's not the other boys fault that the mom is being the way she is. I'd also maybe set up play dates of your own with other children so that your child may make some new friends and encourage him to widen his circle as he enters school. It's pretty horrible that that woman is being pretty awful to your child. Have you tried to talk to her to see what her specific issue is? I wouldn't have your child switch sports teams, but are their other children on the team that he might like to have some play dates with and foster friendships with?

  • Yeah, that was sort of what we were thinking. We don't want to stop the friendship but were hoping to somehow cultivate other friends. Haven't talked to the mom as I know it was all around the biting incidents of a few years back. – dreza May 14 '16 at 18:29
6

If you think you can have a respectful, adult conversation with the other parent, I would try that first. Tell her that you understand that the experiences when the boys were toddlers were traumatic, but that your son has matured a lot since then. You might add that the boys seem really intent on being friends now, and that you're finding it hard to explain to your son why that isn't possible.

I've been on both sides of this dynamic, and it can be hard as a parent not to continue to feel protective of your child after an incident, even though in terms of kid time it may have been an eternity ago. It's also quite possible that she feels guilty or awkward for having tried to have your child removed from daycare. That could be as much or more a reason for her avoiding your child as his own behavior. If that seems like the case, you might reassure her that you don't hold it against her.

Best case scenario is for the adults to get past their hangups in the interests of the kids. But if that doesn't happen, at least you'll know you tried, and you can focus in on finding your child different friends.

4

You're having issues with some of your premises. Let's call the other child Jeff.

1. You're child will not become aggressive again. You don't know this. Jeff's mom likely thinks otherwise. She doesn't want Jeff to get hurt again. If you are going to confront her, you must show empathy for her perspective. Also, she may be secondarily traumatized from Jeff's injury. She is unlikely to be sympathetic.

2. The boys becoming friends again is all that we needed to see to decide that everything is okay. Jeff's mom may also be worried that her son will pick up bad behaviors. It is part of the human condition that we're judged at our worst rather than our best. It doesn't matter to Jeff's mom whether your son is safer now.

3. Getting snubbed from a birthday party is a big deal. It's not a big deal. Your son will be starting school soon, and his social outlets will increase exponentially.

4. Kids at age 5 should be responsible to make their own friends. There are multiple schools of thought on this one. But parents are busy; their kids are busy. A parent can generally be selective about interactions outside of school in terms of play dates.

Should I encourage my son to make new friends? Yes. But this will happen naturally when going to school.

Should I try to separate my son from Jeff? No. They get along fine now. If Jeff's mom wants them separated more completely, that's her problem.

Should I join a different sports team/league? No, that's ridiculous. Again, it's up to Jeff's mom to further isolate her son.

What about the birthday party? If your son has one, invite Jeff, no matter what Jeff's mom decides about Jeff's party.

Should I approach Jeff's mom? No. She's made her opinion loud and clear. All you can do is continue to be nice and hope things work out for the best. If Jeff's mom wants to reach some kind of agreement, she'll come to you.

In the end, it's not in your power to keep Jeff and your son together. You can only do your best. It's not worth being too upset over. There a ton of new friends right around the corner.

Good luck!

  • Some very good points, very nice answer. I don't disagree with you in principle. In practice, though, some kids need to learn to make friends, and it's not always easy. They do need help sometimes. :) – anongoodnurse Jan 21 '18 at 0:42
4
+250

Let's take a step back here for just a moment and not worry so much about the other mother's actions. The underlying problem here has to do with how your child will cope if he loses this one friend. How would you handle this if this child's family were to suddenly move far away? What if you moved? What if something else out of your control ended their friendship? What would you do there? Or what would you do to prepare for something like that happening?

I think the obvious answer here is to help your child widen his circle of friends. We all know losing friends is hard. It's far harder if you lose your last (or only) friend. Some friendships will come and go. It's part of life. Encourage your child to make more friends. Encourage play dates with new kids. School will naturally help with meeting new people. Sports too. Just keep doing what you can to help your son have more friends. And help them to become good friends.

Now, going back to the other mother's actions. This feels a little different than say moving because it feels like there is something you can do here. And there is, to a limited extent. As other answers have stated (and quite well, so I won't repeat the specifics here), try having a conversation with the mother. Listen first, then advocate for your child. That's it. There is nothing else you can do. You can't force the mother to be nice to your child. You can't force her to accept your son. And you certainly can't control what she does within her own home.

After you've done what you can with the mother, use your best judgement to help your son. Don't discourage his friendship, he may make it work in the end. But don't leave your son without friends or options if it doesn't work out.

So do what you can with the other mother, but don't put all your eggs in one basket. Focus on the things you can do, not the people you can't control.

3

What is your relationship with the other mother? You talk about the boys, but I think that you need to approach this woman and gently but directly ask her what's going on. It's a fine line to tread, being direct without putting her on the defensive. But you need to get a feel for where she is before you can determine how to handle your son.

If she is willing to let the boys be friends, great. Schedule some play dates and don't mention the birthday party. Let bygones be bygones.

If she is not willing to let her son and yours be friends, then you need to intervene and find some other kids for your son to hang out with. If your son doesn't have other friends on the sports team, then by all means switch teams. It will do him no good to receive the implicit criticism of the other mom at the team events, and yes kids notice things like this. If your son has other friends on the sports team, then let him stay. But see how involved the other mom is. Can she hurt your son in any way? If you think she might, then speak with the coaches and explain the situation. See if they are willing to watch out for your son.

Whatever happens, good luck.

  • "Can she hurt your son in any way? If you think she might, then speak with the coaches and explain the situation. See if they are willing to watch out for your son." Love this recommendation, and the answer. However, much of what's in it was already posted by others. Great answer, though. – anongoodnurse Jan 27 '18 at 5:52

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