Bratty kid? Am I over-reacting?

Alex is 7. This neighbor kid he’s been playing with is 9. I don’t like him anymore. Here’s why.

  1. They’ve been trading Hot Wheels the last couple days. Alex asked me about it and I told both of them the trades will be 1:1, they both have to agree, and all trades are final and I don’t want to hear arguing about it later. So, with that in mind, it’s hard for me to bitch because I explained to Alex that they’re his cars so he can do whatever.

Alex traded a nice Vikings semi with trailer for an old, broken FedEx truck with no trailer (you have to understand here that Alex loves the Vikings and big trucks). And I’m not going to raise a stink or tell him it’s not fair and he should trade back, because that goes against everything I already told them, but it still feels shady to me, like this kid is doing a lot of fast-talking or something.

  1. Every time I go outside, the kid talks to Alex in hushed tones. I don’t know, it just seems like he’s trying to be sneaky.

  2. When he knocks on the door, he doesn’t really “knock”. He taps very lightly or scrapes his fingernails on the wood. He has also come to the open window and whispered for Alex to come out. More “sneaky”. Alex knows better than to go outside without asking, but I think this kid is at least attempting to encourage that.

  3. (The big one, in my mind) Today I went outside to tell Alex to pack it up because we were going into town. The kid said something, asked Alex if he’d be long (like he’s going to know that?), and then said “Better not be long, we were having fun.” He yelled again when we came around the corner that Alex needed to hurry up and Alex was like “Okay” and I was like “No, not okay.” and explained to the kid that he’s NINE and I (and, by association because he has no choice, Alex) will take as long as I damn well please. When we got back he was like “Oh, good, that wasn’t long at all.” And Alex told him “I’m going inside and I’m staying there.” The kid has “knocked” twice in the last half hour. I told him no, Alex is helping me clean. When we took the garbage out, he asked Alex, not me, if he would be outside when the cleaning was done.

The kid seems like a complete asshole to me, but I don’t know. Maybe he’s just being a typical 9 year old?

Yeah.
Over reacting.

I’d understand that behavior in a 5 year old, but the kid is 9! I don’t think there’s any need to call his parents or anything and I get that time passes agonizingly slowly at that age, but, yeah - that sounds irritating as hell and I think he should know enough to be more respectful.

Oh, and it does seem like he’s using his age to advantage and bilking Alex with respect to the trucks. But, like you said, it’s up to Alex to determine whether it’s a fair trade.

Your child has a friend. Your job as a parent is to make sure they do nothing illegal or harmful. Beyond that, keep out of it and then let them work out their relationship on their own terms, and that includes making bad trades. One day your son will be dating a girl you don’t like and the same rules apply.

If the friend is being “sneaky” then call him on it. “We don’t keep secrets here, so if you want to invite Alex to play outside, just say so.”

When the child told your son to hurry up, that’s a normal kid-to-kid thing to say. BFD.

There are good kids and bad kids. If something is striking you wrong about this kid, I say encourage your kid to focus his attentions elsewhere. The neighbor already dicked your kid over in the car trade. I’ll bet that won’t be the last time.

We have a strict no-trading rule in this household. I don’t care how fair the trade is. I don’t care if you have a negotiated contract that has been signed by a notary public. I. Do. Not. Care. There will be no trades. The reason is that someone always seems to be taken advantage of when kids trade toys, because they’re kids, and I don’t want my kid to be on either end of that situation.

Item #4 on your list seems like a non-issue to me. Kids are always talking to themselves as though the parents aren’t involved. As for being sneaky, well, possibly he is, but I’d just do what PunditLisa suggested: “There’s no need to whisper. Whispering sounds sneaky. You can talk in a normal tone of voice.” Or whatever.

I wasn’t clear. The “Better not be long” part seemed to be a response to me when I told Alex, who asked after this kid asked him how long he would take, that I was not sure how long we’d be and the yelled “Hurry up” was said to Alex and, while it’s hard to convey tone, it seemed to me to be a more bossy “Hey, hurry up because I said so!” rather than “Aww, I’m going to be all alone with no one to play with so I sure do hope you aren’t gone long.” So, yeah, kind of a “BFD”.

And I said right in the OP I was staying out of their business re: the Hot Wheels, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look at it and think it’s shady.

MsWhatsit, I told Alex already today I didn’t think he should trade anymore. To me, it looks like has has fewer cars than he started with (a whole giant tin bucket full) anyway, but it does look like unfair trading and, while I won’t make anybody trade anything back, I can say he can’t trade anymore.

Additional thought. The rule was 1:1. That doesn’t sound like 1:1 to me. 1:1 would have been semi with trailer for semi with trailer. I think you would be within your rights to tell the other kid that the trade is off. And then ban further trades, but that’s just my opinion as someone who hates trades.

Edit: I simul-posted with you. Yeah, it sounds like the other kid has been taking advantage of your kid. I know there is a school of thought out there that says that this sort of thing is a learning lesson for kids, but having been a kid in a neighborhood where all the other kids were older and therefore sneakier, it was really hard to avoid getting rooked when making trades like this. All it really taught me was that the older kids sucked. This is not a learning experience I feel I need my child to have.

I love loopholes! :slight_smile:

If that actually upset you, then yes, total overreaction.

Yes, that is the sum total of my entire problem with this kid.

Oh, and that part plus all the knocking plus we just took the recycling out, too, and it was the same damn thing… it’s not upsetting, it’s obnoxious. I’ve told him and Alex has told him that he’s not going outside right now. This kid has scratched at my door 10 minutes after me calling Alex inside for dinner to ask if he’s done yet. It’s a pattern of rude, annoying behavior and it’s just one more thing, and not even the biggest thing, in more than a few issues I have with him. And he’s the only kid in the neighborhood who does that, so it’s not like this is solely my expectation. All the other kids ask me if Alex can play or have company or whatever and if Alex wants to go play at another kid’s house, he knocks on the door and asks the parents if it’s okay. Maybe it’s a regional thing but that’s kind of how we roll here.

Have you said to the kid that you find it very impolite that he knocks on your door so much and while you know he’s a good kid, he needs to lay off or Alex wont ever get to play with him anymore? Nicely, but firm- in that mom way. You know what I mean. And if you have done that–

Then go talk to his parents. Friendly, since it really isn’t a big deal, it’s just obnoxious. I’m sure they know their kid can be a little too pushy sometimes.

Sounds to me like you need to tell him your rules - like no scratching/knocking, no whispering, no asking over and over and over again. Maybe when he knocks, you say “Alex will be coming out in an hour/2 hours/at 4 o’clock” rather than something nebulous like “later” or “after we eat.” Dole out appropriate “punishments” when he breaks your rules. And, of course, positive reinforcement when he complies. It almost sounds as if his parents set no limits or cave in to him.

These thoughts are worth exactly what you paid for them! :smiley:

Probably not a total asshole, but he’s definitely manipulative and pushy when it comes to your son, imo.

He’s running the friendship and expects Alex to jump when he says jump. The whispering would make me think he was up to something as well, whether he really was or not.

It’s normal, but I would not like it if it were my child playing with this child, yk?

Sounds like the neighbor kid is lonely and your son is his only friend. Outline your rules with him, remind him–because kids need reminding–when he screws up, but at least give him a chance.

That’s what I would recommend. The kid sounds annoying, but unless he’s actually affecting your son’s behavior negatively, I wouldn’t try to keep the kids apart or anything like that. I’m sure I had friends my parents didn’t like and that’s okay.

To echo what others have said, yes, he’s sneaky. And irritating. However, if your kid genuinely wants to hang with him, it shouldn’t be a problem if you keep a close eye on things.

I would re-iterate to your kid about the all trades are final rule. As far as the unfair car-truck trade, that’s a pretty cheap and minor lesson for your kid to learn and I’d let that go as water under the bridge. If you want to forbid all future trades that’s perfectly fine too – I’d make that crystal clear to both your kid AND sneaky kid in no uncertain terms.

In my experience “sneaky” behavior generally comes from lack of clear direction and expectation from the main authority figures in the child’s life; I agree completely with the advice above that you have to combat the “sneaky” with direct and unambiguous grown-up talk to this kid’s face about what the rules are at your house. If /when you catch him doing the sneaky thing just get right up in his space and say authoritatively: “You need to knock on the door clearly; don’t scratch on our door, that is something that I don’t like”. “Don’t talk to Alex through the window; if you’d like to speak with Alex, call”. “I don’t know when Alex and I will be home; you’ll need to go find something else to do and when Alex is ready to come out and play he will come knock on your door”.

Doesn’t sound sneaky, sounds lonely and nine.

IME, boys are very unusual creatures. My son is eleven, almost twelve. For years he has made overnight plans with his friends with no parents really involved until we get to the drop off. “Mom, I’m spending the night at Anthony’s tonight, can you drop me off?” I drop him off and talk to Anthony’s mom when I do - “the boys arranged this, are you ok with it?” Its strange, but it happens all directions and I know all the parents involved, and while we all agree that its a strange sort of boy etiquette, they all do it and no harm is being done. But its “boy world” and “boy world” is as independent of grown ups as the boys can get. (We dropped him off for the camp bus…we had to wait 20 minutes with him for him to get on the bus…but not “with him” - just “near him.”)

My daughter, only a year younger, is completely different. For her and most of her friends, an overnight involves a large diplomatic party of parents, kids and even siblings. I know exactly the terms - who is getting fed when, who is getting dropped off and picked up by whom when.

It sounds like this little boy is deep into “boy world.”

Why would you give that kid permission to make any unfair trade with your kid he wants to, as long as he can get your kid to agree to it? He’s 2 years older, which is a huge amount at that age. And you’ve promised not to interfere? You’ve basically set your own kid up to be screwed over. At that age, I would still oversee any trades to make sure they’re even. I’m glad you have rescinded that agreement, because it sucks.

Can you find boys your son’s age to fill his time with so he won’t be so available to Eddie Haskell?