My DS (8yrs) has controlling friend

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-25-2003
My DS (8yrs) has controlling friend
Fri, 04-25-2003 - 1:00pm
My son has come to me with a problem that is bothering him and I'm stumped with what advice to give him. He's 8 and has a friend that is a very nice boy. He really likes my son a lot. They get along nicely and I haven't witnessed anything unusual between them. The problem is my son is feeling smothered by this boy. Apparently, at school, this boy won't allow my son to talk to other people or play with other kids. He holds onto him and makes him feel guilty by telling him that he's being a bad friend if he likes other people. We are neighbors so my son has to deal with this at school, at home and on the bus. They have assigned seats and this boy won't allow my son to sit on the outside of the seat because he doesn't want him talking to other people. My son is small for his age and this boy towers over him and is stronger. Plus my son is very sensitive and tends to back down from confrontation. I have advised him to just tell the other boy he is going to play with other people and that the boy is welcome to come along if he wants. I offered to talk to the bus driver and his teacher but he doesn't want me to do that. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Avatar for sweettartnacho
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-18-2006
Wed, 04-30-2003 - 9:09am
Didn't we all have friends such as this in school?


I remember one friend who did this - turns out some time later that her parents were divorcing.

Another friend who "blackmailed" was being sexually abused at home.

My DD, 7, has already come up with this type of situation a couple of times in school (altho not to the extent of control that you are describing).

I try to tell her that is just not right. No FRIEND will stop you from having others.

I, too, was somewhat submissive growing up - didn't like confrontation - let people tell me where to sit & when to do what - b/c it was just easier than saying NO.

Problem here is that it will be harder to stand up to him because a precedent of submissiveness has already been established. Bigger thing is that your son can take advantage & learn NOW how to be more assertive in the future.

What to do? Gosh - I'd try to get your son to let you talk to the teacher - perhaps she can authorize seating & grouping changes. I doubt bus driver is/can be involved, since they really need to focus on driving. Is it possible to involve his mom & point out the opportunities her son is missing in not making other friends, too?

Maybe you & the teacher can "facilitate" this boy into making other friends as well & then he'd lay off your son!

I'd explain to your son that friends do not do this. I'll bet if he simply started playing with others, but still be nice to this boy, that he'd probably fairly well givein & join him.

Perhaps on the bus, your son could begin plopping down right behind the bus driver. When the boy starts hassling him, he could say he'd like to sit there for a while. If your son could just hold his ground- perhaps the "moral support" of the bus driver sitting in front of him would help. Also, I don't think the bus driver would permit the other boy standing there for a long time "begging". Standing is dangerous on a bus & "begging" is annoying to a driver.

Other than that, be a support for your son. You sound as tho you already are & good for YOU & HIM! Kids need supportive parents. Work on empowerment, not just for this situation, but for a life skill! Check out a book on self-esteem exercises, etc.

Good luck. I feel for your frustration at your son having to deal with this. I don't think it's terribly uncommon for young kids to be this way. Perhaps you can scour up some more advice on this board & some of the others. I'd love to hear what happens!