Today we are watching the grandson of our next door neighbor. He's 8; 9 in November (my son Kiernan just turned 7) and has some emotional problems. My kids both like him (we call him Alexia's boyfriend because every boy in the neighborhood is "Nick") but with my son it's like a love/hate relationship. When Nick is on his meds (and he is on meds and in therapy) he is a very good playmate. He and my son play pirates and army and ride bikes etc etc. But when he's got "the devil in him" its like he loses touch with reality. He's done the typical things like pushed Kiernan down or twisted his arm too hard. My last straw was the time where he grabbed Kiernan by the neck and tried to choke him. Nick let go and begged for Kiernan not to say anything (which Kiernan told him about as soon as I saw him).
I'd like to not let him come over but my husband Mike takes these opportunities to work with him. Mike is so much more patient then I am. When we first had Nick over about a year ago, he and Kiernan got into it and Nick him in the head with something. Mike sent him home (Nick begged and begged to stay). That's become the norm. He knows that we're not going to tell him "Don't do that" or "Work it out", we send him home. In the strangling case, he was grounded from our house for the week.
When I was growing up my mother was the ONLY mother on the block who didn't forbid me from playing with other children on the street. We could always make our own choices. I can remember playing with one girl and wanting to go and expand our playgroup but "my mom says I can't play with her anymore" kind of but a kabosh on that. I always promised that I would never be the kind of mom that did that but I have been tempted time and time before.
For all his destructive ways, he is the complete opposite with our daughter. He is the only friend that Kiernan has who ALWAYS takes the time to stop and say "Hi" to her. He always makes the extra effort to let her know that he sees her and will wave or pat her head. I've even found him on the floor with her, totally absorbed in play. After the strangling incident, I don't leave the two of them alone. I can't assume he "will know better" anymore.
That is all :)