Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Unexpected Behavior

A worried mother called me last night reporting about D and his friend, M’s unfriendly behavior toward her kid. Up until last week, they were buddies. They hung out together. They were bus mates who shared the same seat to and fro from school.

This little boy, V, who feels excluded, is the tiniest of the lot. A cute little boy who calls D his best friend. M, the bigger, sturdier of the three, decided that V is no longer his friend since he didn’t attend M’s birthday party a few weeks ago. M, of course, didn’t know that his mom forgot to invite V to the party and used his own little boy interpretation to arrive at this decision. And in the process managed to convince D that he should be on his side and ignore V going forward.

D is someone who goes along with others to the extent that he can be taken advantage of. Assertiveness is not his strong suit-something we need to be watchful of. And in this situation, he did what he is comfortable doing-he went along at the behest of his friend. The fact that M is in his class and V is not could have influenced his decision to take M’s side in this matter.

Anyway, to make a long story short, both of them formed a clique to which V wasn’t allowed access. They did their own thing while little V wondered and worried why he was being treated this way. Since last Monday, he has been returning home from school sad and upset that his friends no longer see him as one of them. His mother hoped that things will go back to the way they were but every day V got sadder and sadder.

My heart went out to him when I was informed and a gazillion thoughts crisscrossed my mind trying to make sense of this whole situation- Why is D doing this? Is my sweet little boy really capable of being mean to someone? How could he? May be this is all a misunderstanding...it’s probably not D’s fault.

When we confronted D last night soon after we got the news, he had a hard time admitting to his mistake. He informed us that he doesn’t remember what exactly M said to V but did nod when we asked if he was mean to V. My heart sank because up until then I thought this was all a mistake. I almost lost it but thanks to Hubby dear whose calm demeanor kept me cool-headed. His logic was-at this age, stuff like this happens all the time -they are kids but we need to help him understand that this is unacceptable, reinforce what is good behavior and what’s not to avoid this in the future. Oh! Bless him!

Late last night, D called V and offered his sincere apology. We also made M’s mom aware and he did the same too. She was equally clueless as we were about this whole situation. Hubby dear made D draw a picture for V as a sign of friendship and he stayed up way past his bed time to do so. This morning, he tucked the picture is his school bag, ready for a fresh start, set to renew the friendship he almost lost because of his behavior.

I am not sure whether D comprehends the gravity of his actions and their impact on his friend but I do hope that this is one of the many experiences that positively shape him.

Edited to add: Looks like the intervention was a success. V apparently got off the bus grinning ear to ear and flaunted to his mother the two drawings his apologetic friends gifted him enroute to school.

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