There is a little boy who lives next door. His age is directly in between Anthony and the Brothers, he’s 5. He’s a tiny little thing, and it’s funny to see him and Anthony together since Anthony towers over him by a foot. But Anthony is real fond of him and it’s a daily ritual to ask permission to go next door or have his friend come over here.
His parents are young but seem nice enough. Anthony comes home with new phrases and words that he claims he learns from the dad (things like “aw, my nuts!” and “pecker”). So I’ve questioned to myself whether he should even spend so much time next door. But he is Anthony’s only friend (besides family) and I don’t want to discourage him from developing this relationship.
Today, the little boy came over. Right away they were scuffling and tattling on each other (mostly between the little friend and the Brothers). I know this is normal with kids so it wasn’t a big deal, just annoying to have it start right away. And then Anthony had me talked into letting his friend sleep over. I wasn’t thrilled, but the neighbors have Anthony next door a lot so I figured it would be okay.
Anthony talks. He talks a lot. Quite frankly, unless he’s asleep, I don’t think he ever shuts up. But he generally means well and is kind hearted. Today the friend was trying to put together a Bionicle and Anthony was trying to give him instruction. He kept telling Anthony to stop talking. He kept saying “I know, I know, I know, don’t you ever stop talking!?” “Why don’t you ever shut up?!” “You just never stop talking!!”
I couldn’t listen to it anymore. My heart was hurting hearing the way his friend was yelling at him.
Now, I know kids say hateful things. I’m not so stupid to think otherwise. But this little punk kid was being downright mean to my child, in my home. So I sent him home.
Oh, my gosh. The drama that ensued! Anthony started wailing and crying and screaming “I’M SO MAD AT YOU MOM!” He told me how horrible I was for sending his friend home. He wanted nothing more than to have his friend stay for a sleepover, “mom, you promised!”
I tried to explain. I told him I wouldn’t allow his “friend” to be so hateful. I asked him, “didn’t it hurt your feelings?” I told him that it certainly hurt my feelings. I told him if he was the one speaking to his friend like that then I would have done the same thing. I don’t let him talk to his brothers like that without consequences either. Anthony told me he did have he feelings hurt, but he didn’t care. He wanted his friend to stay. He said “it’s okay, mom.”
Um. I don’t think it was okay.
So, did I handle this appropriately? Did I overreact? Would you have sent him home? Would you rather your child tolerate belittlement for the sake of keeping a friend? Was this just a case of kids being kids?