So we just moved to a ritzy well off area that I can't afford, lol! But the schools are better here, so...anyway....

My son has made friends with a child who is almost 2 years older than him, but they get along and enjoy playing together. This child has been diagnosed with ADHD and a Defiant Disorder of some kind. His parents are trying to treat it "naturally."

Whatever.

This child is from what I can tell neglected. His parents let him roam around outside all day mostly by himself. While he gets plenty of excercise, he's getting no attention or discipline. Now every day when I come home I am met with this child eager to play with my son.

My son enjoys playing with him too but can sense something is "off" about him. I talk to my son all the time about boundaries, and what to do if someone mistreats you...this little boy has called my son names while they were playing and I swiftly brought my son inside. He has started to become physically violent. This little boy has no sense of boundaries.

Initially my approach was to let them be friends, limit the time together to no more than a few hours a week, and to ensure I'm watching them as they play.

So I have also thought this might be some good learning experiences for my son in learning how to be around "difficult" people.

I have however seen that when my son gets around this other little boy he starts to imitate him (sometimes) and copy what he does.

I am considering what to do.

I also think his parents are into some kind of cult. They are "off." I don't know what it is. Anyway, for those of you who are Atheist parents, what would you do?

Let them be friends and monitor the situation?

Cut off the friendship?

Call CPS for child abuse?

I really want to call CPS. This little boy is not being cared for. But I recognize that is not the little boy's fault. I am always nice to him and positive, but I also discipline him. I have thought I can have a tremendous impact on him. But is that my place? I'm open to hearing other perspectives on the issue.

How do you handle your kid's friends?

My son is almost 5 (next week) and this little boy will be 7 in September.

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If you ask me, the parents are into drugs.  Maybe they are too busy to supervise their son. 

Blimey Simon, that's a bit of a quantum leap! You can decide that the parents are druggies just from the OP? You're wasting your incredible talents if you don't go work for the police at once.

I've just got this hunch. 

Priceless
Actually, Simon you are correct. I didn't mention it in the original post, but the dad is a dealer.

It seems that no-one wants to play with this little boy. 

Very true. it's very sad to me and it makes me furious inside to watch this little boy have such need for love an attention. It makes me sick quite frankly. And then we wonder how criminals are bred. Well here you have it. Right here. This is where it all starts. Neglectful parents who should really not be parents. I would even go as far as to say if his parents were doing a good job I highly doubt he would even have any issues to begin with. I think his so-called diagnosis of ADHD and ODD are because of the way he's grown up. Isolated and abused. The words that come out of his mouth are likely an imitation of how his father talks to his mother. It's clear to me that he is an abuser.

I have worked hard to become less codependent and always want to fix or help people. It's a battle I fight from my own upbringing. I understand that this little boy is NOT my responsibility, on the other hand I am in a unique position to make a positive impact on his life. I am trying to work through whether or not it's a good idea to get involved and also by default get my son involved. There's no middle ground here. My son is either friends with him or he's not. And if he's not that goes with it's own set of consequences for both children. If he is allowed to play with him then that's an additional responsibility I'm taking on myself. Am I willing to do so? Without any promise of a positive return? I don't know.

I also weigh the fact that I don't want my son to chose friends who are abusive. I want to send the message to him that he needs to play with kids that are well adjusted. I worry that by reinforcing the friendship I'm subconsciously reinforcing the fact that it's OK to be friends with people who mistreat us. I don't want my son to think it's OK. That's another battle I'm fighting. So it's really not as easy of a decision as it sounds. But it's become disruptive to our lives and some kind of decision has to be made. Soon.

You omitted to mention that this troubled boy was the son of a drug dealer? Don't you think that might be a tad significant here? Your question was focused on a 7 year old being too boisterous around your 5 year old.

I wonder if you had phrased it to ask whether your 5 year old should be playing with the troubled 7 year old son of a drug dealer, you might have evoked different responses.
What would be so different? How would your response change? He deals pot. Pot is legal in the state of WA and everyone knows he does. But in my opinion, the parent's activities/lifestyle should not influence how I treat the child. If they were busy corporate execs who did the same thing - neglect their child, what would be so different?

Keeping in mind that this child does have needs that aren't being met, I'm trying to find the right balance of how involved I want to be. His parents allow him to come to our house, and I can straighten him out at least for the time he's under my roof...but again, is that my place? What effects would it have on this child if I were to say my son cannot play with him? As it is he's isolated. Do I shun him out of no fault of his own but because of the parent's lack of care? Do I wash my hands of the problem? Or do I be a friendly neighbor and have a small influence on this boy? How will that affect my son's choosing of friends? It's very hard to try to explain to a 5 year old why he cannot play with a person when all they want to do is run around and play, and climb trees...

What would you do Strega?
Sorry Belle, misunderstanding. To me a 'dealer' sells hard drugs. The weed guy is just the go-to guy. And yes it makes a difference. Kids are always around other kids parents.

However, your kid cones first, so yes I think he is your priority. If another kid makes him uncomfortable, protect him from the other kid. If you think you have cause, contact the relevant authorities. Not only is it not your job to raise this other kid, but you can't. You can't be there whenever he might need you. You can't be there to change his life. So if you are asking what I would recommend, it would be to protect your own child, and contact local authorities who can at least provide continuity for the other child if they intervene.
Thank you Strega, that is very helpful :) I never have nor will I ever allow my son to be alone with the other boy's parents. I agree with what you said. My son is the most important thing.

Only in the last couple of months I have watched my son flourish and mature back to a much more normal pattern of behavior. I have struggled this past year with my own issues and trying to heal, and get safe, and now that the stress of it all is gone and we really are "normal" again I want to make sure to protect that. I don't want to do anything to put him at risk. It has been a long road to recovery, and I consider myself still in recovery, but my son is doing very well. Very well.

Thank you

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