Who are these kids and why are they calling me mom?

Sometimes you just have to put on your big girl panties and deal with it

When to step in?? September 22, 2007

Filed under: Kids — Steph @ 12:47 am

I have a couple of posts in draft but after reading Slacker Mom’s posts regarding parenting lately, this one seemed the most appropriate…

Joey is such a sweet, kind, generous kid… In fact he’s me, he’s TOO generous, TOO trusting, TOO kind. At only 7 he’s being taken advantage of by some boys he’s made friends with. Don’t get me wrong, he can be a brat like every other kid so I don’t always jump to take his side in things. The only reason this is becoming a problem is because his dad and I are seeing it. He doesn’t see it, he’s too young, it’s beyond his 7-year-old comprehension.

So, what’s going on? Over the Summer he made friends with two boys in the neighborhood. They’re both 9 so a little older. I was THRILLED!! There are NO kid in our neighborhood, so for him to have someone to play with was just awesome!! The problem is the one seems to be really manipulative. I think he sees Joey as being younger and an easy target. He spent two nights here and we saw a lot of things going on that were rather concerning.

First of all, they got Joey hooked on Pokemon cards. Both boys were nice enough to give him a few starter cards, and he was so appreciative. The next thing we know we hear conversations about money changing hands for cards. One of the boys figured out Joey was clueless so he started bargaining with him. He’d give him “very rare cards” worth “$45” for $5 a card! I have to admit I’m clueless, but I put the kabosh on that. It really felt like Joey was getting ripped off so we told him he could buy his own cards with his own money from the store or get them for his birthday.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, Joey has saved up his chore money to buy his own cards. Next thing you know the other boy is wanting to “trade” cards or “battle” for cards to get Joey’s cards. I know that’s the point of the cards, but what got me is the day Joey got his first cards the other boy says “wow, you really don’t have any powerful cards in here, they’re all just standard cards”. Well, if that’s the case why do you want so badly to trade him??

So we told Joey to hold on to his cards and try to learn a bit more about them. Joe even found him a book telling which cards were truly the better cards.

Next thing we know while the other boy is spending the night Joey says “my mom said I shouldn’t trade cards” so the other boy gets mad and wants the original cards he gave Joey back. They asked me to mediate and I said if he wanted them back Joey would give them back but that wasn’t very nice since he gave them to him.

At that point I had a semi conversation with the other boy about taking advantage of Joey. I just said “Joey’s a little new to this so maybe rather than trading cards you can tell him why his cards are good or bad and teach him something”.

So we fast forward about a month. We went to Arizona to visit my dying grandfather and be with my family. While we were there Joey was the only kid for the first few days and my grandpa is really ill. His hospital bed is in the living room behind a partition my uncle built, it won’t fit in the bedroom. So Joey has to be really quiet and he’s doing an exceptional job of it. So I had to run to Wal-Mart in Page, AZ for my mom and while I was there I picked up a couple of new packets of cards for Joey to keep him busy. Two days later the rest of the kids got there and my cousin’s kids had Nintendo DS machines. Joey has wanted one for just EVER and he’s been saving his money for one. He and my nephew had been so awesome, they were quiet and respectful, etc… So my mom decided to buy them each a DS to play the remainder of the time after my cousin’s kids left, and to play on the 18 hour drive home. Joey didn’t stop playing with that thing for 2 days. HE LOVES IT!! On the drive home after a few hours we had to make him shut it off to take a break. It went that way the whole way home!

So we get home and the boys show up. They are excited to see Joey and he’s excited to show them his new cards, etc… The first thing we hear I kid you not is, “hey let’s trade”. I said no and as soon as they left I told Joey if they want to trade they must be good cards and he should wait for his book to get here before he trades or battles.

Yesterday Joe goes to make lunch for Elizabeth and he moves Joey’s DS case and the DS isn’t in it. Joey’s in BIG trouble, he snuck it to school. Well, that’s bad enough but when he gets home we say “have anything to tell us?” Guess what he says?? “I gave my DS to XXX for the day”. WOW!!! Of course he was sent to get it immediately and got it taken away. So Joe and I are thinking, WHAT could make Joey part with that game machine??? He swears it’s nothing and we know better but we figure it will come out. Today Joey gets off the bus visibly upset and I finally get him to tell me his friend XXX is mad at him because he gave him 3 Pokemon cards for the DS for the day and Joey didn’t hold up his end of the bargain!! We made him take the cards down to him and give them back.

So, my opinion here is this kid is taking advantage of Joey right and left and Joey’s both too young and too generous to see it. My question for you is…

Do I step in and speak to both boys? Do I let them work it out?

There are a few other things here as well of course, the biggest being the other boy wrote out some note saying “I hate Joey” so we found that note and one Joey wrote saying “I hate XXX” in his room He says it was a joke. I don’t know that it was and I despise the word “hate” and obviously it’s not something friends say to each other.

I am really torn here. I used to loathe my dad picking my friends, he was horrible at it and for years if he didn’t like someone I would not be their friend. Then one day I stopped living for him and started picking friends I knew he’d disapprove of to “stick it to him”. Obviously I went way to the other end of the spectrum and I’m still friends with a lot of those people today, but I can see now that he was trying to protect me.

I don’t want to “pick his friends” but I don’t want him to be treated poorly and taken advantage of like I was either. What do I do??


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