Misbehaving Kid

24 Oct

Dear LetterBalm: My son has a best friend who is a holy terror when they get together at the movies or on a trip to the mall. I understand if a kid acts up in a public place – it’s like being let out of jail and the energy kicks in. But now my son wants him to come to our house to play. How do I handle a rambunctious 10-year-old who’s a good kid usually, but he yells, runs around, won’t listen, pushes and shoves and generally creates mayhem?

–Not a Warden

Oh, but you are the warden-in-charge. Tell your son ahead of time that his friend can hang out at home, but that you will establish the house rules first. If he continues to misbehave, you’ll call his mother and he goes home, no exceptions. Ms. L.B. suggests you handle it calmly and matter-of-factly, first to your son, then to his friend when he comes over:

Joey, it’s good that you and Steve get along so well, and we’re happy to have him hang out with you here. But I’ve noticed that sometimes Steve doesn’t listen to his mom and other adults when we’ve been out at the movies or at the mall. He yells and runs around and smartmouths. This won’t be acceptable if he does these things here. I’ll tell him about the house rules, which you already know. If he continues to misbehave, I’m going to have to call his mom and he won’t be able to come over again.

Steve, we’re glad to have you here, but I must tell you about the house rules. They’re simple: no yelling, trashtalk, fighting, running, throwing balls and jumping on furniture inside. If you have trouble keeping to these rules, I’ll give one warning. If the behavior continues, I’ll have to call your mom and you won’t be invited again, which I know will disappoint you and Joey. 

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