I Think My Son’s Friend Is A Bully –
What Can I Do To Address It?
I have an issue and I desperately need your help. I am the father of two great boys. My oldest, James, has such a big heart and he has a tendency to throw himself into friendships. He has a friend, Derek, who he met in Pre-K a few years back. But here’s the problem. Derek is a mean little kid who, on more than one occasion has pushed both my boys. I took them to the pool the other day and told my son to stay with Derek while I watched my other boy. Well I looked up and there was James, all-alone.
When I asked him what happened he said Derek told him to stay away and he didn’t want to swim with him. But the thing that really made my blood boil was when I actually witnessed Derek push James into the water, not once, but twice!
My problem is twofold; James really likes Derek and cannot see him for the mean kid he is. Complicating matters is the fact that my wife and I are now friends with Derek’s parents. When Derek’s mother checks in on the boys’ play dates, I tell her things are fine when in reality they are not.
I really am at a loss as to how to handle this. I don’t want to sever all ties with Derek because my son really likes him but I could use a bit of good, old-fashioned common sense.
A Concerned Dad
Dear Concerned Dad:
Wow, this really sucks. I know from experiences with my own kids how tough it is to watch your sweet baby be mistreated. It’s not right and it has to stop. But you have an opportunity here to teach James what is (and what is not) acceptable behavior. You have to attack this on two fronts; the explanation to James and the explanation to Derek’s parents.