Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cruel to be Kind

Why is it that when you try to teach your child how to be kind, you wind up making him cry?

A few minutes ago, Adventure Boy came to the door. Little Brother said he didn't feel like playing, so I told Adventure Boy, "Little Brother doesn't want company right now." Well, Adventure Boy is not one to take no for an answer, and Little Brother is the curious sort, so (as usual) we wound up with two little boys, one on either side of the screen door, chatting. Adventure Boy told Little Brother to come outside and Little Brother did.

At that point, I figured that Little Brother had decided to play with Adventure Boy, and went back to cleaning up the dishes from lunch. Out the kitchen window, I saw the two of them running around in the backyard.

Then Backyard Neighbor Girl came outside. I saw her talking to the two boys, then coming into my yard, talking with them some more, and then starting to return to her yard. I couldn't hear the conversation but I got the sense that she was trying to tell them not to come over to her house. So I called the boys inside.

Little Brother told me that Neighbor Girl only wanted him to come over, not Adventure Boy. I said, "That's a problem, because he's here playing with you. So she can play with both of you or none of you."

Little Brother wanted to send Adventure Boy home but I said that was not OK, because he was playing with Adventure Boy first, and that he cannot dump one friend to play with another. There will be no "something suddenly came up" moments on my watch. Not if I can help it.

Cue the Little Brother Meltdown. I told him that if Adventure Boy went home, he still couldn't play with Neighbor Girl. He said he didn't want company, so I sent Adventure Boy home. And now I've got Little Brother crying and carrying on because he wants to play with Neighbor Girl.

Not gonna happen.

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