September 24, 2012

When you don't like one of your childrens' friends...

Has your child ever been friends with a child you just don't like?

My son Lukas has made friends with a child at school this year, and that child's approach to making friends is to isolate a popular child and belittle their friends. It's actually the inverse situation to what has been happening with Bryn (in that Bryn is one of the children being disparaged) - oddly enough.

I get that these kids are new to the school and it's difficult to make friends in groups of previously well established friendships, but what is it with kids who break into groups of friends by pitching those friends against each other?

So, in Lukas' situation, the new child decided Lukas would make a good friend (Lukas has always been quite popular amongst his cohort), but this new kid didn't just try to make friends with Lukas and be part of the previously establish group of friends. Instead he made friends with Lukas and started disparaging all of Lukas' other friends.

To our great disappointment, while Lukas didn't engage in putting his friends down, he also didn't defend his friends. He told me today he is concerned that if he doesn't support this new friend, then that child will be 'pissed' with him (which I assume means, he will then pick on Lukas).

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Erik has reported that many of Lukas' old friends no longer want to hang out with him because he hangs out with the new kid who has a tendency to put other people down and generally be unlikable.

We're not sure why Lukas is attracted to this child, or why he is okay with his other friends not wanting to play with him any more because of this child. Maybe he is not okay with it - he's not really saying. Lukas has a profound sense of what is fair, so perhaps he feels that while the new kid isn't helping his own cause much, he might view the new kid with compassion because he is in a strange environment. Perhaps Lukas feels his old friends have each other and the new kid has no one. I don't know.

I've talked to Lukas about it a few times, hoping that if he is dead-set on pursuing this friendship, he does not sit idly by while the new kid disparages other kids at the school. Maybe Lukas can be a friend to this child, but also a positive influence? My fear is that he made be the influencee rather than the influencer...

What else can I do?

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