My friends son keeping hurting mine, what should I do?

Casey - posted on 11/21/2010 ( 18 moms have responded )




I have a very good friend who has a son a little bit older then mine and we often get together to catch up but her son is very aggressive towards my son, he runs him over on his bike, pushes him, hits him, kicks him and I have also found bite marks on my sons arms. My friend knows her son is like this and shes very frustrated by it and she never lets him get away with it she gets straight up and smacks him and yells at him but it just doesn't bother him he just keeps on doing it. I don't want to take my little boy back there cause he is really a sweet little thing and doesn't understand why the other boy is hurting him and he just ends up in tears the whole time we are there, but I am worried about what to tell her when I show up there without my son, I don't want to hurt her feelings but I don't want my son used as a punching bag.

Also she is having another baby very soon and I worry about the new baby being around it's older brother cause his very nasty but I don't know how to warn her (or if I should warn her) to keep and eye on them, I'm so worried he is going to hurt it bad, what should I do?


Janice - posted on 11/23/2010




Sorry but I wouldn't take my son back to visit and just go myself. Tell her why you wont bring him with you but it's up to her how to deal with it. try not to let it come between you as friends though and wait and see if she asks your advice before offering it. Not that I would know how to deal with her boy anyway but her disipline is not working and your son is suffering.

Angie - posted on 11/22/2010




If she knows there is a problem, I'm sure she'd understand why you can't bring your son there. If the choice is between keeping your child safe and hurting your friend's feelings, I think it's an easy decision.

Eugenie - posted on 11/22/2010




Casey, if she is a very good friend, then you should not be afraid to tell her the truth - that's what friends do. You can try to find a nice way to break it to her as Laura says, but you should let her know. She may not take it as well at first, but if she sees you as a good friend, she will eventually come around to her senses. She will realize that you are concerned about her son, as well as yours, and just trying to help. She definitely needs to find a new approach to disciplining her son, and if possible get him professional help. She does not want him to feed that aggression which could escalate into problems later on.

I hope it works out in your favor so that your son and your friend's son can play together nicely, and you and your friend's friendship gets stronger.

All the best!

Sneaky - posted on 11/22/2010




I hope this helps - when I was having trouble with my first toddler an early child hood nurse recommended a fantastic book to me: Toddler Taming by Dr Christopher Green. It is all about using positive reinforcement (e.g. lots of attention for doing the right thing) and ignoring (e.g. the time out suggestion for misbehavior) as opposed to the negative reinforcement (e.g. negative attention) that your friend is currently giving her son. It takes patience and I know she must be so tired and frustrated but it really did work for me. I thinking that you could either buy her the book (or one like it) or just tell her all about it and just rave about how it has worked so well for you and your son and suggest that it might be something different she can try with her son. It always feels less like criticism is it's just a different method in a book to try. Good luck with helping your friend :o)

P.S. I think you have definitely made the right decision in keeping your son away from hers.

Laura - posted on 11/22/2010




Jodi's right about your friend's discipline techniques; smacking and yelling are not effective methods to use when trying to correct aggressive behavior (or any behavior for that matter)!

In the meantime, keep your own child safe by not bringing him with you. If your friend asks where he is you have a choice: You can tell a little white lie to try and spare her feelings or you can tell her the truth about her son's aggressive behavior. There is no easy way to bring up this subject, but if you really care for your friend you will provide her with truthful information as tactfully and lovingly as you can. One approach that might take a bit of the sting out of the criticism is to use "I" statements to express yourself. This method of speaking gives you ownership of your concerns and feelings while lessening any actual blame towards her. An example might be something like "I am concerned about you--you seem to have your hands full with disciplining your son all the time, how will you manage with an infant? Is there anything I can do to help?" This is what I would suggest you do, especially if you have concerns about this boy's aggressive behavior around an infant.

Considering that she uses aggressive behavior herself as a means of trying to discsipline, I would not be suprised if she doesn't take the news well. Be prepared for that. Don't let her intimidate you either. Be prepared to leave if needed, that's all. If she does take the news well enough, you can offer to help her learn better techniques of disciplining her son. Otherwise stick to your guns and do not bring your son around hers until you feel some progress has been made on curbing his aggressive behavior. By talking to your friend now, as unpleasant as it may be on this subject, you may be helping to avoid serious issues later down the road with this aggressive boy; perhaps even trouble with social services and the law (yes, that is always a possibility with aggressive kids!). Hope this helps and best of luck to you!


View replies by

Anabella - posted on 02/02/2015




I know I'm 5 years late, but who gives a shit about your friend's feelings? The feelings which matter most are the ones of your son.

Olesya - posted on 12/04/2010




I am sorry to say but there is no easy way out of this one. I know it is a hard thing to do, but you need to be honest. If she asks why don’t you bring your kid tell her why (just remember not to make it sound like an accusation, because that is when most of the people stop listening and get defensive, start with something like “I feel like you son might not like him” and that should help leading it to the conversation) if she is as good of a friend as you say she is she will understands. I also suggest don’t tell her what to do about her sons behavior unless she asks for advice. If she does asks what to do, then feel free to give her your feet back and what you have observed from a bystander point of view, but always remember do not make it sound like an accusation. Good Luck.

Sneaky - posted on 11/28/2010




I'm with you Casey - you do NOT want them growing up together if that boy is going to torment your son for the rest of his life! Can you imagine how traumatic that would be???? He'll run into enough bullies in school and in life so I STILL think you made the right decision in keeping them apart!

Basically the question does come down to this: Do you care more about your sons safety and well being than you do about your friendship? I'm not knocking friendship, I don't have enough friends to randomly throw any away, but if my friend was incapable of controlling her son and my child was getting hurt then she would become a 'meet for coffee when the kids are in school' kind of friend only.

Casey - posted on 11/28/2010




Smita my son is only two I can't let him just handle it, the other little boy is a whole year older then my son and bigger so he is completely defenceless against him and I ma just not the kind of parent to stand there and watch my baby get beat up by someone bigger then him, if he was a little bit bigger and more mature then I would be able to let it go a bit easier but his still just a baby he can barely even talk yet.
Thats a good idea Betty and I have had him here before for a play but he did the same thing here, he treats my sons toys like they belong to him and won't let him play with them and the last time they were here he belted my son over the head with a metal bucket and my friend left straight away cause she was embarrassed and hasn't come back since thats why I have been going to her house, I dunno what to do I don't want this to come between us and I want our sons to grow up together but I just don't want my son to be a punching bag for her son.

Lori - posted on 11/24/2010




i am a single parent of 2... my son is 9 and my daughter is 7... they have the most amazing manners around.... do i think mine are angels??? not by a long shot....i have used the spanking method.... it works... time out works... taking things away has worked... my kids lie or cuss i will say this, i do "pop" them in the mouth... its the sound...they dont cry, but they know..... i dont hurt them because i love them... but i dont tolerate my kids disrespecting anyone.... even kids their own age that treat them like dirt....when i go to school all i hear is how pleasant my kids are... i have even been asked how i taught them sooooooo many manners.... they all look forward to seeing them... like i said, my kids are no angels... they have issues but they know when mom is serious....

sounds to me like she needs to gain control.... its gonna be a huge effort on her part.... lots of disappointments and discouragement... but if she is bringing another child into the situation she needs to gain control of the 1st one..if you are close enough to her ask her to let her son come and stay with you... teach him YOUR ways and YOUR rules...maybe she needs help in getting control.... it would even be hard on you but at least you can see it at face value and maybe even see the problem.... most people think that scaring a child is a good thing... it depends on the methods you use to scare them.... i have found with mine that i have to pick and choose which method... never a belt.. omg!!! ... if its drama, shut it down... if its hurt feelings, explain.... if its, whatever, there is always a method....sounds like he has gotten used to the hitting... not good in a way... take his favorites and do time out... hurts his feelings but she cant give in... lots of crying but he will learn....

i wouldnt put yours in that situation but never give up on her... she needs your help... stay strong and best of luck....

Betty - posted on 11/24/2010




I would not take my son back there but have you thought of having her son come to your house ?
I found that when I was having problems of this sort when my children were small i had the upper hand and could tell her son, "sorry but we don't act like that, or do that in our house" If he sees positive reactions and rules enough he will notice and teach mom.
They don't yell at their house, or they don't allow hitting or kicking at their house.
This worked for me even aften my kids were in their teens and beyond.

Smita - posted on 11/24/2010




I hope you got one of my reply just now..
In my whole life I have come to know that Indian mothers are TOO protective....they dont let their children GROW.
but what i'm watching in this column is totaly apposite of that....
What if your son gets this type of friends in his class?? his school? his basketball practice class?...or in his baseball class??
would you keep changing his school or his class??
let him handle it, Casey!!
Let him be strong!!
If you have not gotten my previous reply where I have told about some REMEDIES ,pls let me know..

Casey - posted on 11/23/2010




I totally agree that her aggression is whats causeing him to be aggressive, but it is hard to get her to see it that, I told her not long ago that we used to smack our son but we stopped cause he started to smack other people just to see if she would take a hint but she didn't, I know shes stressed but she needs to find another way to deal with him. Tracey I looooove the idea of the book that is fantastic and I have heard of that one before so I will be having a look for it and giving it to her and with a bit of luck she'll read it and take some of it onboard, she needs to change the behaviour and soon before it gets any worse.
I definitley won't be taking my little boy back there until she has gotten him under control and if she asks then I will be tactfully honest with her cause I think she does deserve to know.

JuLeah - posted on 11/22/2010




Part of the problem is that she smacks him and yells at him. Kids do what we do. They do what we show them. She hits, he hits. She strikes out in anger, he strikes out.
Your child is getting hurt and you are worried about her feeling?!

Casey - posted on 11/22/2010




her son is almost 3, and do I agree that smacking him is not working at all I actually think that was the begining of the problem to start off with, but she is very tense at the moment and is really frustrated at him and she just snaps I do feel sorry for her cause she must be very stressed out but I just don't think smacking him is doing anyone any favours. I am definitley not taking my son back there and I will tell her the trueth why, I know she'll be upset but I can't lie to her, I am so worried about her new baby cause I just know her son will hurt it cause he'll be very jealous and I just don't know what to say to her about it cause I don't want to sound like I am picking on her child, I do like the way Laura put it that could work for me.
Thanks everyone for your advice that has really helped :)

Stifler's - posted on 11/22/2010




I agree, it sounds like her discipline isn't working on him and needs to be sorted out.

Jodi - posted on 11/21/2010




I think the problem is that she is using smacking to stop him from being violent. Can you see why that might not work? Smacking a child for hitting just isn't teaching them anything other than the fact that it is ok to hit! Obviously yelling doesn't work either. Your friend needs to try different techniques to stop this behaviour. For instance, removing him from the situation and placing him in time out. THAT would be true punishment. She could also try rewarding him when he plays nicely.

Are you close enough to this friend to talk to her about trying a new discipline technique, or would she be likely to be upset by being told how she should parent, regardless of how you approached her?

I would say that unless your friend can control her child, you shouldn't take him there.

Katherine - posted on 11/21/2010




Well you obviously can't keep taking your son over there. It's up to her to seek help for her son. I don't know how close you are, but I might have a chat with her.
How old is he?

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