Trying to Stay Out of It

“You should have punched him in the face,” my typically peaceful fourth grader said to my third grader, when the latter came home crying again.

“It was at school!” …as if school is the one place where punching someone in the face is a crime.

My son has been having a problem with one of his friends. A year ago, I would have called them the dynamic duo. They grinned from ear to ear when they were together. If I said I’d scheduled a playdate, my son would jump up and down, chanting his friend’s name in celebration.

Lately, he comes home saying this friend teased him about this or that. Today, he said the other boy used his password to log on to Club Penguin and typed in the f-word. He’d been banned from the Club for 24 hours for the crime he insists he did not commit.

I have no idea if his friend is being mean, or why, if he is. Is he trying to get my son’s attention? Is he just playing around, and my son is being sensitive? Or has he drifted to another friendship, with no mean feelings at all, and my son feels left out?

I’ve asked if he wants to try a playdate to get things back on track.

“No!”

“Do you want me to ask your teacher for help?”

“No!”

It is hard not to interfere. To try to sort it out for him, so he stops coming home with his feelings hurt.

“I had a bad day!” Again.

And then tears the next day too.

“Did he punch him in the face?” asked the fourth grader again.

I keep telling myself that it is his friendship to work out or not. His battle. I can only advise and hug.

But oh how hard it has been to stay out of it!

And the last two days may have put an end to that trying-to-stay-out-of-it-mom-thing. Especially when the fourth grader pulled me aside and whispered, “Mom, you need to tell his teacher.”

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