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Other people’s kids

My son (7) has gone to school for 2 years now with this kid (we’ll call him L), and likes to say L is his best friend. We tried to foster this relationship. First, we started by going to the parent’s house to meet them, and then had them over to ours house as well. Funny thing is they live a block away, so this was all very convenient.

The boys were really hanging out a lot with school, sports, and then occasional weekend visits to each other’s houses. My son was always excited to see L, and it seemed at first it was mutual. Around the beginning of this year, L seemed to be getting tired of us, but we played it off as not a big deal. February we took the boys camping.

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They got in two very heated debates in which L said he didn’t want to be friends with my son anymore both times. Me and L’s father defused both situations, but my son took these statements to heart. All through the remaining school year (right up until Covid), L was very mean to my son in school, and kept saying mean things and getting him in trouble by tattling on him.

I told my son to just give him his space, maybe we were just spending too much time with him. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder…maybe.” Well, Covid definitely helped with the space thing. We literally kept the two away from each other, and hoped the separation would help mend whatever was going on in L’s little mind that was making him have a problem with my son.

One sunny day, we took a walk around the block with some sidewalk chalk to go write a “We Miss You” message on L’s driveway (totally my son’s idea). He spent a good while drawing his best stick figures, suns, rainbows, hearts, water, and clouds to demonstrate his admiration for his buddy. L came out and rode his scooter over it and said in a snooty voice, “What’s this? Why did you do this? That doesn’t even look like a sun! Rainbows have more colors!” I usually don’t correct other people’s kids, but I told L that was quite enough, and that it would be polite to say “thank you” instead of his impolite barrage of questions and rude statements.

His father came out and supported me, and L’s tone completely changed and all of the sudden he was SUPER excited to see us and acted like my son was his best buddy (which of course confused my poor boy). It was like it never happened. I, however, was now worried the time and space apart had not been enough.  

I’ll FFWD to most recently, because even though our interactions were very limited and short, L’s snootiness continued but, of course, never in front of his parents.  

Over the course of the last few weeks, L has been exhibiting aggression when his parents aren’t watching. He has hit my son and other kids on several occasions, pushed, and even kicked them. He loves the phrase, “I don’t want to be your friend anymore”, and uses it OFTEN. He holds a grudge, and will throw something back in another kids face they did hours ago.

Everyone has to play the games he makes up, or he has to play games by his rules, no exceptions. Even games that have rules; he changes them, and if anyone tries to argue with him; he runs off and pouts. He shows no interest in a toy, bike or scooter, and then when someone gets on it, he has to have “his turn”. He is extremely possessive and bossy – even to adults. He is whiney, pouty, and just downright unpleasant.

  His parents are oblivious. They are really good people…I mean really good. I honestly believe they think their kid is perfect, cute little baby with “minor” issues like everyone else’s kid. I want to shake them and scream, “YOUR KID IS AN ASSHOLE!!!”, but I know we will lose them as friends. We started scheduling other play dates without L, and other mom’s (who haven’t figured out L’s issues yet) ask where he is, so he gets invited. One mom notice L hitting one of her sons on Friday and then her other son on Saturday, so maybe she will start to come around.  

We are really stuck here. Do we completely pull out of the friend group?? Do we confront the parents?? Do we talk to other parents about L?? We don’t want L to hurt other kids, but is that what it is going to take to wake his blind ass parents up???

What would you do?

TL;DR Our friends kid has turned into a little a-hole, and it is affecting our kid. We really like these people and don’t know what to do.

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