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  1. #1

    Default Bullied by "Best Friend", Again (warning: long)

    I'm starting to think we have a real problem. It's going to be a long one...

    We live in a very impoverished village - the kind where most houses have 10 people living in three rooms, no flush toilets, dirt floors... you get the picture. We live here because we want the country life, but also because I run a social project here.

    We are far from wealthy, but have much more than most of the people around us.
    My son has his own room, eats three meals a day, knows his birthday, brushes his teeth regularly, has never been belted, isn't Christian...
    These are just some of the things that make him one-of-a-kind amongst his peers.

    He had a best friend for about a year, and it ended terribly.
    About six months later, he made another "best" friend.
    We were very happy because the boy seemed very sweet and comfortable in our home.
    His mother started letting him spend the night.

    He came last Saturday and stayed for two nights. Then his mom called and asked if he could stay a third night because she needed to go somewhere and wouldn't be home. We said yes, thrilled for our son. It seemed like they were having a really good time.
    They had a melt-down at one point, but I figured it was normal. I remember fighting with my friends, no biggie.

    The next day, the boys came to me asking if he could stay through Christmas. His mom had called again saying he could!!? I said that he could stay one more night, but then grandma was coming, and people need to be with their families for Christmas (for all the obvious reasons plus the culture shock it would mean for him).

    30 mins later, the boy comes out with his stuff to go home. I asked him why he was leaving, and he muttered something about other friends possibly visiting him. Once he left, I realized that my son was a mess. He was all wound up, looked like he was about to cry, and would barely talk. Finally, he told me that, from 1-10, their days together had been a 5. But why? It looked like you were having fun.

    To not make this longer, I'll tell one of the 20+ ways of the boy was bullying my son:

    When they went to bed, the boy started kicking the covers. My son nicely asked him to stop. He didn't. Son asked again, and again. Finally, son took his pillow and went to lay down on the floor. Boy asked if son was coming back to bed. Son said he would if boy stopped kicking. Boy said "stay there then, because I'm still kicking". This happened another three times before boy finally agreed to stop kicking. Son was on floor for about an hour.

    I explained the differences between how he lives and how we live. How he might feel that it's SO unfair. How he might feel powerless, so he bullies in this way to feel like he has some control.

    My son has grown up around human rights and conflict resolution people. He is extraordinarily mature in his way of dealing with these things. He confronts a problem with the kind of reasoning and words one would expect from an adult, but not from the average child. But the boy was obviously being totally unreasonable and playing mind games. He was constantly threatening with no longer being son's friend, even though son was doing his very best hosting. Boy wouldn't help make bed, pick up toys, share... But he would put on a very different suit when dh and I were around, so we didn't even notice any of this was happening right under our noses. He is 3 years older, but much smaller in size than our son. I don't feel he is "older" in any other way than age - emotionally, intellectually or academically.

    Since the exact same thing has happened twice now - with first friend and second friend - I'm really starting to worry that my son is never going to make a true friend here. We're just too different, and it seems like that is always going to get in the way. Dh and I have a small international group of friends who live here part-time, but most of them don't have kids, except for one couple. They have a girl same age as our son. They're friends, but not besties.

    I really don't know what to do anymore. I'm also realizing that son is bottling it up. He doesn't talk about it unless I start putting words in his mouth, like - that really sucked, you must be really pissed off, what did you say?/what did he say? If I didn't insist, he wouldn't say much at all. But once it starts coming out, it's like a slow-motion projectile vomit of confusion, anger, frustration and sadness.

    I worry most that he will go to extreme measures to keep a friend.
    What if next time around the manipulation leads to someone getting physically hurt?

    He's perfectly happy when it's just the three of us. We have a blast.
    The loneliness only comes up when he has a friend who's letting him down.
    Should I just keep him away from "best-friend" relationships?

    Sorry for such a long post. And thanks for reading this far.
    5th year homeschooling my one and only ds12 in Bananaland
    and writing about it in my spare time at Luminous Fire - our homeschool journal

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  3. #2

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    It is terrible to be bullied. Also sometimes not having a "best friend" relationship is ok. If your son is happy with just your family unit and some occasional friends I wouldn't push for more. At least until you can find a kid that's not going to behave that way toward him. A real best friend, or even friend won't treat you that way. Someone who threatens to stop being your friend over something trivial is best told "Fine, go."
    Teemie - 11 years old, 6th grade with an ecclectic mix

    Blog : Tumblr : Instagram : Facebook
    http://jessicamckelvin.com

  4. #3

    Default

    My ds is older than yours (14), and he's always been an introvert. He's happiest on his own and with family. He's not antisocial; he is polite with others and belongs to 4-H and a teen national park progam.

    It seems like your son is a younger version of mine. If he's happy otherwise, I wouldn't worry about a "best friend."
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University graduate: BS in Computer Science, minor in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  5. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by inmom View Post
    My ds is older than yours (14), and he's always been an introvert. He's happiest on his own and with family. He's not antisocial; he is polite with others and belongs to 4-H and a teen national park progam.

    It seems like your son is a younger version of mine. If he's happy otherwise, I wouldn't worry about a "best friend."
    Yeah. He does great in structured group and team activities.
    It makes me sad because he's such a good friend. So polite, and cool.
    But it does make me want to just keep it a party of three (ds, dh and me).
    5th year homeschooling my one and only ds12 in Bananaland
    and writing about it in my spare time at Luminous Fire - our homeschool journal

  6. #5

    Default

    I'm also sitting here thinking -
    If my son were in a wheelchair, or was blind, or had a severe behavioral disorder,
    he would kind of be in the same position in that-
    he's treated differently because of something that he cannot change.

    I'm really leaning towards only supervised activities with other kids.
    Somebody slap me out of it if it's too over the top.
    5th year homeschooling my one and only ds12 in Bananaland
    and writing about it in my spare time at Luminous Fire - our homeschool journal

  7. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriela View Post
    I'm also sitting here thinking -
    If my son were in a wheelchair, or was blind, or had a severe behavioral disorder,
    he would kind of be in the same position in that-
    he's treated differently because of something that he cannot change.

    I'm really leaning towards only supervised activities with other kids.
    Somebody slap me out of it if it's too over the top.
    I think that's a good idea. That way you can intervene if need be and with some kids they may behave better knowing there is an adult watching.
    Teemie - 11 years old, 6th grade with an ecclectic mix

    Blog : Tumblr : Instagram : Facebook
    http://jessicamckelvin.com

  8. #7
    Senior Member Arrived dbmamaz's Avatar
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    i keep thinking it is a cultural difference . . . my husband grew up french canadian and very poor, and it really sounds like the 'normal' way for him to deal with people was just so much rougher than I what I grew up with . . . and i've seen ppl before that really think you have to toughen up and learn to play that rough game. It even reminds me - some cultures have a tradition of pushing cake in a kids face on their birthday, I think? and i saw a discussion of it - most ppl said its important to keep the kid humble, they learn that even on 'thier' day, they can fall, they learn to have a sense of humor . . . but at least one woman said it was done to her and she was humiliated and furious and still wont talk to her family. And it makes me think of the article (which i didnt read) that said that some people are predisposed to question religion - and so many here, even, have indicated that - that even growing up very religious, they could never believe it.

    Not helpful, i know. Even here, in the south, its harder for my kids to make freinds than it would have been further north. My daughter esp.

    And maybe its just me, but i would never have a kid sleep over several nights in a row. i guess i've never had a best freind like that, nor have my kids. My kids always need some space away from their freinds.

    so for me, i'd say, no, dont try for a best freind. Try for balance. Some times with freinds and some with family, but nothing that overboard. I also think of the whole 'culture of childhood' - thats one of the thigns that some homeschoolers want to AVOID - leaving kids alone too long where they make up their own playground rules which can be really cruel . . because the bullies rule, the 'strongest' personalities who are willing to push the hardest will win.

    Ok, also, i personally would discuss with both boys that there are house rules - that if the boy is going to be rude, you can take him home in the middle of the night or make him sleep in the living room.

    i'm all over the place and probably not helpful, sorry
    Cara, homeschooling one
    Raven, ds 10, all around intense kid
    Orion, floundering recent graduate
    22 yo dd, not at home
    Inactive blog at longsummer

  9. #8

    Default

    It's actually very helpful Dbmamaz. Very. Thank you.
    I have to remember that his childhood isn't going to be like mine, and that there are many ways to be happy.
    I guess I have this idea in my head for the recipe for a happy childhood that I need to get rid of.

    btw - the face in the cake is done here too. i hate it.
    5th year homeschooling my one and only ds12 in Bananaland
    and writing about it in my spare time at Luminous Fire - our homeschool journal

  10. #9
    Amanadoo
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    I am sorry that your family is struggling. And I will second the above that having a best friend all the time isn't necessary (imo it's not a big loss, but obviously if your son feels it it, then it is.)

    I wanted to say, though, that that is just a long time to spend with someone. I know some don't (I guess--folks claim they don't anyway), but in my experience even families that live together every day have kids...be it siblings or cousins or foster kids or whatever...they will get on each others nerves in a thousand different ways. The kicking thing you describe sounds annoying but SO normal, and not a bully issue at all. I mean that just sounds like a couple of kids getting on each other's nerves to me. My cousins and I did that stuff to each other all the time growing up. Then, when my mom had an in-home daycare, I did it with my friends she babysat.

    Like I say, it's very clear that you are having an issue, one way or the other regardless of what an internet lady thousands of miles away thinks of it. But *maybe* consider that if you don't want annoyances, just don't spend so much time with a person?

  11. #10

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    Maybe my personal experience isn't letting me be objective. And thanks Amanadoo for pointing out that it's not that terrible an act of bullying.
    I was an only child (like ds), and I guess I was just really lucky in that I had one amazing best friend at his age, for several years.
    Both of our moms were single working moms, and we were both latchkeys. We spent all day every day together.
    I guess that's how I envision the perfect childhood.
    It's good to hear that it doesn't have to be.
    Last edited by Gabriela; 12-21-2011 at 12:24 PM.
    5th year homeschooling my one and only ds12 in Bananaland
    and writing about it in my spare time at Luminous Fire - our homeschool journal

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Bullied by "Best Friend", Again (warning: long)