Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A child tried as an adult

As a parent of a young child, I often have to remind myself of 2 things:

1. He is only 7 years old.

2. He’s just a child.

That second one pretty much does it for me. Yes, my son IS still just a child. He is a child and I am the adult. No matter how mad he makes me, I STILL have to be the adult, the mature one, and act accordingly. I have to set an example because I am his parent, his role model.

But I also have to understand that, yes, he IS just a child. He does not understand everything we grown-ups understand. He is not mature enough to express himself as an adult. He is still LEARNING and GROWING. And, unfortunately, there are some things he has not been taught yet.

And also unfortunately, that ended up being a problem for him today.

Today, Jesse was at a playdate at his friend’s house. After a while, he came home really upset and told me he had been banned from his friend’s house. I asked him what had happened and he said he had done something without asking permission: He explained he had been playing in the backyard with his friend then he had gone into the house and into a hall closet looking for something and he got in trouble for that. After a while, he thought he could go back to play with his friend outside. But after I explained to him what exactly it meant to be “banned” from somewhere, he broke down and cried. My heart really went out to my little boy as he sat on my lap with his head against my chest, sobbing. He had so looked forward to playing with his friend again and now he couldn’t.

I was a little concerned about this, too. I felt that banning Jesse for what he did was a little drastic. I mean, he is just a little boy and he didn’t know he had to ask permission. That had never been explained to him. I texted the child’s father to talk with him about it and after I got more information, I apologized and asked if I could walk Jesse over to apologize in person. I never got a response so I had Jesse text him his apology. I had also offered to host playdates here from now on because Jesse and this boy are best friends but still no response on that either.

I am a little upset over the whole thing, not only because of the punishment but also the fact that Jesse had even done that. But Jesse is VERY upset because he thinks he’ll never be able to play with his friend ever again. This child is his best friend. They’ve been buddies for years and they have even played soccer together. I tried to console Jesse that at least they’ll be playing soccer together again soon, but it was of no comfort to him. He was miserable thinking he’ll never get to play with his best friend again.

I also feel guilty too. I haven’t EXACTLY explained to Jesse what’s expected when he is a guest in someone’s home. I have not told him he needs to ask before playing with something that doesn’t belong to him when he is at a friend’s house (we HAVE gone over that many times at home with his sister’s stuff) nor have I told him that he needs to follow the rules when he is at a friend’s house.

But I know that, as a little boy, he tends to forget things. (Boys ALWAYS forget things!!) And I realize too that because he has hung out at that house so many times and we’ve known these people for years and they’re our good friends, there is a sense of familiarity among us and it’s a whole “mi casa su casa” sort of thing when he’s there. I understand that could’ve been what made Jesse feel comfortable enough to do such a thing.

But now he knows he cannot feel that way at his friend’s house. He has learned that lesson the hard way, unfortunately.

I really do hope he will be able to play with his best friend again, and not just at soccer. I totally respect the dad’s decision not to have Jesse in his home, but I really, really hope Jesse and his friend can continue to hang out in some way and have some playtime together somehow, even if it’s at the park or just to ride bikes. They shouldn’t have their friendship put on hold or destroyed over something like this. Jesse made a simple mistake, he is sorry, and I would feel really bad if he lost a friend because of that mistake.

As of 3/22/15, this matter has been resolved. Jesse will be able to play with his friend again, just on different terms. Things will be different all around, from now on.

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