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Intervene or let them work it out themselves?

I guess the neighbor boy that my girls play with on a regular basis has been ditching my girls when the boys would come out. I've always suspected that he only wanted to play with them when the other little boys weren't out, and they've seemed okay with that, so I've never said anything about it.

Today, he came over, knocked on my door, and asked me if the girls could come out to talk. I said sure, and after about 3 minutes, they came back in bawling. They told me he said they were too young to have any fun with, and that he didn't ever want to play with them again.

My suspicion is that, since his birthday was yesterday, he suddenly feels "too old" to play with kids a couple years younger than he is.

Well, he came over to the door again as I was typing this, and already asked them to come back out. I kind of called him out on it. I told him that my daughter had been crying for an hour over it, and repeated back what they said, and he tried to come up with an obvious lie about what "really happened". I don't usually take a child's word over another unless I am sure of what really happened, but my girls were crushed over it, they were very specific about what was said, and he was stumbling over his words, trying to stutter through his story, eyes darting all over the place, etc. I told them that they were in for the night, and left it at that.

Would you have done/said that much to intervene? More? Less? Is this something I should just allow the kids to work out themselves. My girls don't react too strongly to much, because I truly do very little to shelter them or immediately side with them...but they were really heartbroken, and I thought it was cruel to make a special trip over to the house JUST to tell them something like that.

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Asked by Mom-2-3-Girlz at 6:49 PM on Aug. 8, 2012 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 37 (93,457 Credits)
Answers (7)
  • I would have done the same thing. Although, I don't know how things went after your girls told you what he said, but I usually follow up with my kids that they don't need to let someone treat them bad or say rude things to them. They should stand up for themselves. DD told her friend a few doors down that she didn't like her attitude and her making all of the rules and telling everyone else what to do and that if she was going to keep playing like that, she didn't want to play anymore. Her friend got the message and they ran off playing. I just try to reinforce my kids standing up for themselves and let them try to work it out with words.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 6:54 PM on Aug. 8, 2012

  • I would have done what you did . Then I would have told that boy to never knock on my door again.

    Answer by louise2 at 6:56 PM on Aug. 8, 2012

  • I hope I would do the same thing. Then talk to my children about not letting others treat them bad and encouraging them to stand up for themselves. And then let them work it out.

    Answer by meooma at 7:00 PM on Aug. 8, 2012

  • I agree. They do need to learn to stand up for themselves. My oldest isn't quite 7 yet, so it isn't like she has had to do that much in life, yet. But it should start right from the beginning. Just felt bad for them. There aren't many kids in the neighborhood, so they were crushed that basically their one neighbor friend "broke up" with them :(

    I'm sure they'll work it out. That goes both ways...LOL...when there aren't many choices for friends, you better keep the ones you have LOL

    Comment by Mom-2-3-Girlz (original poster) at 7:02 PM on Aug. 8, 2012

  • I would have asked him to wait a minute. Then I would have gone to my children and explain that the boy was back and that they didnt' have to play with him, but that THEY had to tell him that they didn't want to play with him because their feelings were still hurt about earlier. Then I would let them know that you would be their the entire time and it was ok.


    Answer by layh41407 at 7:16 PM on Aug. 8, 2012

  • Kids are jerks sometimes. I don't think intervening is such a good idea. It happens so often these days. I would go so far as to tell my kids that they shouldn't play with him. He's just being a kid.

    Answer by adnilm at 8:09 PM on Aug. 8, 2012

  • Do you guys have the book, "Best Friends For Frances"? That might be a good read, right about now!

    I probably wouldn't "intervene" but I'd be available while they're processing the whole thing. I'd try not to feed too much into it, just to hear them & help facilitate if they are working through what they think & feel about all of it. It may have been upsetting to them, but they may bounce back pretty easily & then seem to work out the dynamic pretty organically (you never know.) I doubt I'd be too concerned about "shielding" them if he's a basically good kid they enjoy spending time with. It sounds like he's going through something (perhaps experienced feeling powerless or small, unwanted/rejected, or anxious socially for some reason) & is looking to work it out. Kid stuff sometimes just works itself out.

    It doesn't really sound like you did all that much beyond speaking up & also deciding it was enough for that day.

    Answer by girlwithC at 11:56 PM on Aug. 8, 2012

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