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  1. #1
    Momit is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Default Help navigating politics of neighborhood kids playing

    Whoa! This might be my longest post ever...sorry

    DS is 5, and we just moved into a neighborhood with lots of kids in his age range. Several are right on our cul-de-sac and we've hung out a bunch of times already (parents chatting, kids playing outside). They are super nice and it seems like the kids all get along great.

    When we looked at the house, we met a boy called G who is exactly DS's age who lives on the next street over. I really enjoyed talking with the mom, she gave me the scoop on the neighborhood, the boys really hit it off and played until it was time for us to go look at the house. We haven't seen them much since moving in, but tonight we walked by and they were out so we stopped to say hi. DS and G immediately took of on their bikes and I chatted with the mom. Another slightly younger boy and his sister were there too, the mom was watching them for a few minutes. I kind of started overhearing the little boy (X) saying mean things geared primarily toward my DS. The boys were all riding bikes and this kid kept saying my DS was slow and the loser, not fast like him and G. Then X's dad showed up and we were all chatting. I see DS looking more and more upset and heard him say "I showed you some speed on that one!" And X said "nah, you showed us some SLOW. You LOST! LOSER!" in a really nasty sounding voice. He's obviously an experienced trash-talker. The dad said nothing. My DS said "oh yeah, you're a weasely wimp!" (Not sure where that came from, maybe a book or something?) I said "we don't talk like that to others" and tried to distract him. We kind of just said good night and left, the other kid followed us then said "I won!" as he passed. I lost it and said "you need to watch your mouth , you're not being very nice and you're saying things that aren't true."

    DS and I talked about it after, when he asked why the boy was so mean. The bad news is that this kid will likely be DS's classmate all through school if both are accepted in the Spanish immersion program next year. I know DS will hear this kind of thing on the playground, or in sports, etc. but I was a little unprepared for it today.

    So my question is what do I do now. Blow off both boys and concentrate on our cul-de-sac neighbors? Try to set a more formal playdate with G and tell the mom it seemed that the other boy was jealous having to share G's attention and suggest that the playdate be just G and DS? Tell the mom I didn't care for X's talk and attitude (maybe she feels the same and is stuck because they are next-door neighbors)? Just suck it up and let the three boys sort it out? This is new territory for me, with DS getting older and ready for more independent play and having access to so many kids his age in the neighborhood. I guess I need to figure out how to transition from organized "play dates" with a chosen friend to a pack of kids - some we like and some we don't.

    Sorry this has become a novel. Thanks for reading this far.
    DS age 6

  2. #2
    petesgirl is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Well.... I only have a 2 yr old and no experience whatsoever with this. But, I can't believe his father would stand right there and say/do nothing!! If that were my child, he would be in major trouble!

    I think I might try to do play dates with just G if your son is interested in playing with him. Maybe at your house or a park a little further from home. I'd like to think that the other could also be a good friend once he got over being jealous but it's hard to explain to a 5 yr old (your son) the 'kill him with kindness' strategy. Good luck with whatever you do!
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  3. #3
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    I can almost guarantee you that given a bit more time you will find out that G's mom and other neighbors are disgusted by X's attitude/actions too. We had a similar neighborhood situation and it took a while but we eventually found out that we were most certainly not the only ones noticing pretty bad behavior in one kid. Personally, if I were you, I wouldn't talk about X to G's mom but just try to foster a relationship between your DS and G. I'm betting that as your DS and G get to be friends, G's mom will mention X's behavior. At least that is what we found to be true.

  4. #4
    jren is offline Gold level (500+ posts)
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    We have run into this SO many times with our DD, it is rediculous. And the parents of the "x" kids never correct their kid. Hence why the "x"s act the way they do. I would use this as a lesson for your DS that we can't always change the way others treat us, we can only change our reaction to it. My DS is naturally good at this. Kids say stuff, and while I cringe, he just goes on playing and the trouble maker kids eventually give up. My DD can't seem to get this and is the continual target for bullying.

  5. #5
    Momit is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Thanks, everyone. It's hard to believe some parents tolerate that kind of talk.

    It didn't even dawn on me to invite G to our house because we are still buried in boxes from our move last week, but once we're settled that should work out well.

    I'm afraid my DS might be a little like Jren's DD - my dad and DH's sister both have tempers that flare easily and caused them to be picked on as kids. DS has always been pretty mild mannered but has been developing more anger lately. Plus he's an only so not as much experience working things out with other kids.
    DS age 6

  6. #6
    icunurse is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Wow....those are some harsh words from a 5 year old! If they were 10 or so, I think it would be a little more tolerable along the lines of the jesting kids do to each other. But 5 seems so young....

    I would have a good long talk with DS about how we talk to people and how to be a good sport. Let him know that even if you don't win, that doesn't make others "losers", it means they lost a race (and, yes, there is a difference). Make a strong point about how while X's parents might be okay with his word choices, you are not and those words are not allowed to be used by your family. I would also keep my distance, if possible. I have a feeling, unless you moved to the roughest neighborhood ever, the parents will be getting notes from the teacher if X chooses to talk like that.

    And if I was around when that stuff was being said, I would have kept my comments light (don't want to isolate myself in the new neighborhood), but I also would have said in a kind voice,"wow....those aren't very nice names!" Can't exactly be said that you are correcting the kid, in case the parents are loonies and think he walks on water, but gets the point across.

  7. #7
    KrystalS is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    We have problems like this in our neighborhood also. It's so frustrating when parents don't address problems with their children and just seem to ignore it. We have a small park across the street from our house and all the kids play there and ride their bikes/scooters in the street by our house. We have 2 kids in particular that act horrible. Frequently take toys from our porch, being very mean/rude to other kids, roaming way too far from their house. They are only 4 and 5 and the mom just doesn't seem to care. I know that other parents have spoken to her and she just gets rude and defensive. I just try and encourage my kids to be nice, but they do not like playing with these 2 kids. I have had to tell them repeatedly not to touch our stuff because they not only don't care if they break anything, they try to break things. I just steer clear of the parents because I've seen from others experience it does no good.

    I try to do what PPs have said and try to make comments like "that's not a nice way to talk". It really does no good in my case, but I feel like there isn't much more I can do. I have noticed most of the kids in the neighborhood will exclude kids when they are being particularly mean so I'm hoping this discouraging them from acting this way. I think it's a clear reflection of their home lives.
    -Krystal

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  8. #8
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    arivecchi is online now Blue Diamond level (20,000+ posts)
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    Something similar happened to us at a flag football game last week. One of the kids from the opposing team was calling our kids losers. These are 5, 6 and 7 year olds. Their coach said nothing. My DH yelled at the kid to knock it off since their coach was clearly not stepping in and my DH is not the kind to not react. After the fact, I asked DS if he had responded and he said no because he did not want to be a bad kid like that kid. I told him that while that was admirable, there is a difference between saying mean things out of the blue and defending yourself. I told him he could defend himself and he said next time he will tell the kid that he is being a bad person. I said sure. Honestly, that is basically true at that moment so I encouraged him to go ahead and defend himself without being offensive or using bad words. I do not want my kid to sit idly while these unruly children lash out. From what I have seen, many parents/coaches don't do much when their kids talk like that, so IMO, it's best to arm your DS with responses. At TKD, the teacher addresses this a lot and tells them to say to the other kid "That is your opinion". lol.
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  9. #9
    Momit is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Arivecchi, I like that comeback!

    It continues to surprise me that kids this little talk that way. WTH!? The kid in my OP is not even 5 yet!
    DS age 6

  10. #10
    dogmom is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    It is also possible that if G plays with the other boy he was jealous of your son. I would be wary, but not completely write the kid off, 5 is a little young to judge on one interaction. Also, how did you DS deal with it? I found that at an early age my son was pretty good about screening kids like this out and it doesn't get to him. Just a look sends my daughter into a mess and she strikes out. It is very dependent on you own child's take on the situation.

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