My son's 11 year old (male) friend, whom I will call Mike for the sake of discussion, is loud and rude.

At the beginning of the school year, Mike asked me if I was willing to drive him home occasionally because he was left to walk 4 miles home (alone!) if I didn't drive him on the days his Mom couldn't drive him herself. It felt manipulative, but he lives close to me so driving him occasionally wasn't really a big deal.

I recently fell and hurt my back (herniated disk, torn muscle). My son asked if Mike could come over to our house to play. I was in so much pain, and unable to take pain killers because I had the carpool. I told them both I was in a tremendous amount of pain and just really needed to focus on resting, so, no, coming over was not a great idea at the time. Mike asked, "come on, why not?" Again, Mike is a loud kid. I told them I needed quiet time to recover. Mike said, "what, like the sound waves are really going to hurt your back?" How rude!

Mike's Mom has yet to ever reciprocate and take the carpool. She didn't even help when I hurt my back. She expects me to drive her son, and even got miffed when my son was absent and Mike needed a ride. Like I was supposed to go get him anyway?

How do I deal with Mike?

  • I don't want to tell my son who he can and can't be friends with.
  • I don't believe it's my place to correct Mike's behavior.
  • I just need to know how to deal with a rude 11 year old.
  • This depends a bit on your relationship with your son and how your household works. For me, if I say, "No,", that's the end of things. It should be straightforward for you to say "This is my house, so you follow my rules."
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented May 7, 2016 at 17:16
  • 3
    Oh, my son knows no means no. My son was horrified at Mike's comments, too. He even apologized for Mike's comment later in the day. I think what you're getting at is, I need to be the adult. What I say, goes. The end. Thank you for your comment. It was helpful.
    – TMHahn
    Commented May 7, 2016 at 17:27
  • Oh yeah, it's not your son that needs to hear the no-nonsense "no", it's Mike. When Mike's parents are not around, you are Mike's "parent", whether he (or you) like it or not.
    – Jeff Y
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 19:26
  • A agree, JeffY. I've even had Mike ask me to feed him. Which I did, because no kid deserves to suffer. I'm trying to balance structure with compassion. Thank you for your input.
    – TMHahn
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 19:28
  • OK, this is getting stranger. I'm sensing a huge amount of manipulation of you on Mike's part. You may want to look up some anti-manipulation techniques. psychologytoday.com/blog/just-listen/201312/…
    – Jeff Y
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 19:39

2 Answers 2


Some children ask "Why?" so they can better understand your ruling. Some are even able to then make other changes in plans having gained this information. It sounds like this fits your child. Others ask "Why?" so they have something to argue with. Most of them do so with simple "no we won't" kind of argument, nothing sophisticated. The first time you meet such a child it can give you some real cognitive dissonance.

Actively practice saying aloud (with no children around)

I've made my decision. I'm not taking a vote. I'm the one who decides, and I've decided. This is not something you can change with rudeness. Thankyou for your input; my decision stands.

Keep going with responses like this until you are pretty good at sounding polite, calm, and firm. A petulant or threatening "because I said so" is not what you want. Next time you get a "Why?" and there's someone in the room who will use the knowledge for good, answer with an actual reason. But if the only people around are those who will use it for arguing, trot out one or two of these short, calm sentences. They're also great for stopping the "rebuttal" to the why, no matter who is around.

It's good that you don't want to stop them being friends, or let the parents know what you think of this boy, because neither of these things tend to end well. But monitor closely. I have seen real heartache and pain inflicted by a child who sounds just exactly like Mike, and who I should have excluded from our lives far sooner than I did in the end.

  • 1
    I always answer the "why" questions with my real reason. My son accepts these answers. Mike is very argumentative. After I said he couldn't come over, the very next day, Mike asked my son for our address so he could walk here. He told my son "she can't say no if I'm there already." Again, my son was horrified. He didn't give Mike our address. I appreciate the advice on my own personal growth as a parent.
    – TMHahn
    Commented May 14, 2016 at 19:02

I would reiterate that it's your household and if he would like to be invited back, he needs to respect any time that you say "No, not right now", no matter what the reason is. I hope that your back gets to feeling better. That's a tough injury to have.

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