“What do you do when your best friend’s kid is a bully and hits your kid all the time! I really need help!”

by Amy Hilbrich Davis

in Ask Amy,Kids

Best friend or not, this is about keeping your child safe. I believe that as a mom, you have a job to keep your child healthy and safe. Your child needs to be able to count on you to “watch his back.” He needs to know that you are there to protect him, especially when he doesn’t feel like he can protect himself.

 

I would address your friend in private and with compassion. I’m sure she is sensitive and will appreciate your understanding. Here is what I would say:

 

“I value our friendship and that’s why I need to talk to you. It’s my job to keep “Joey” healthy and safe. I’ve noticed that when the kids get together, there is lots of fighting. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I let that continue. It isn’t healthy for either of them and it’s not safe for “Joey.” We need to let the kids know that fighting is unacceptable and it’s our job to keep them healthy and safe. If the hurting in word or action continues, they will lose privileges to play with one another.

 

At the Davis house, my job extends to anyone playing with my kids. We have the same rules whether I birthed you, or not.  Our house is safe for everyone. If the Mom is there, and her child hits, I would say that hitting is unacceptable in our house and I would let her discipline in her way. If it doesn’t “fix” the problem, then I would tell her and her child that I am so sorry, but it’s my job to keep my child safe and when you hit my child, it hurts him, so we’ll have to try a play date another day. “Mrs. Davis is just doing her job.”

 

In the end, you need to know what your job is to establish boundaries and use logical consequences to promote cooperation. The result will be that if your friend’s child truly wants to play with your son, he will cooperate and modify his behavior. This approach removes you from being the bad guy. You are just doing your job! If this doesn’t work, it will be time for you and your friend to meet without the kids.

 

Good luck, you’ll be great. And let me know how it turns out.

 

Amy

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