Wednesday, 14 December 2011
I have a good friend who has a son who is turning 5 this weekend. She also has 2 older daughters. All of her kids are pretty intelligent, in fact her almost 5 year old has been reading books (not just words, but books) since he turned 4. Up until recently she has constantly bragged about her kids and how smart they are and how bored her son is going to be in kindergarten next year, and maybe she should just put him in kindergarten now...ad nauseum.
I agree with her, her kids are smart. But, I disagree that he's ready for kindergarten. He can't sit still, he won't follow directions, he is super destructive and he tries really hard to be the alpha male.
Anyways, recently her son has become more and more destructive and less and less social. He won't look people in the eye, he demands things and when he's told that whatever he is asking for is not available, or that he needs to ask nicely for it, he just repeats himself. For example, he was over for dinner last week and he yelled, "I want milk!" My husband told him we didn't have milk but he could have juice or water. He kept yelling, "I want milk!" He also bit a girl in his preschool class (for reasons unknown) a few weeks ago. Remember, this is an almost 5 year old biting a classmate until she bled.
When he was over at our house he kicked my 2 year old in the stomach because he wanted the basketball. When I was asking him about it he refused to look at me and told me my son spit on him. Okay...so I said to both of them, "We don't hit and we don't spit." My friend's son then interrupted me and said, "Hit and spit rhyme." Okay...that's not the point. Later on, he was kicking my son (the same one who is 2) in the crotch and wouldn't quit when my son kept saying, "Ouch! Stop that hurts!"
I've told my friend about the incidents and she always follows through with making him apologize. When he refuses to apologize, she says, "Oh, well, his dad never apologizes either..." (which doesn't mean that we don't teach our kids manners) There just seems to be more going on here than simple "5 year old boy" antics. She's always the first one to point out other people's kids' issues (like when a mutual friend's daughter was diagnosed with autism, she was the one who told her she probably should get her checked). Do I point out that there seems to be something wrong with her son?
Maybe I'm just spoiled by my own kids (who have their own issues, like all children do), but am I crazy to expect a 5 year old to listen and not be aggressive towards children smaller than them? How can I sensitively bring this up with my friend? I truly value our friendship and I don't want to worry about what injuries my kids are going to come home with after spending time with her family. Is there something my friend should be concerned about developmentally?
Oh, and just as a caveat. I'm not saying I'm a better parent or my kids are better kids or anything like that. I'm actually concerned that my friend is so focused on her son's intellectual abilities, that she is overlooking his social graces.