moyshekapoyre asks:

13yr. old son wants to be friends with the bad neighborhood kids. They bully him. What can mom do?

This is in Mexico. The mom is my wife's best friend. She hit her son and grounded him so he couldn't go and play with these kids (he's also failing in school). I wonder if there is a better way of making sure he doesn't hang out with the wrong crowd. Should she just let him decide his own path or what?

Btw there's no father in the picture. And there's no way to get counseling as she doesn't have money for that.
In Topics: Teen issues, Bullying and teasing, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Jun 30, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

It sounds like you are being faced with a tough situation and it's great that you want to help your wife's friend.  We don't advocate for physical discipline and since grounding is only temporary, it may be helpful for the mom to look into other ways of restricting her son from hanging around the bully crowd.  She needs to sit down with him and tell him the exact reasons he shouldn't hang out with those kids.  Explain what the consequences could be later in his life for making bad choices and discuss other options for him to keep him away from that group.  If she continues using the types of consequences she currently is, her son is likely to rebel and act out as a way to get back at her.  

Encourage her to get her son involved in some sort of after school program or big brother big sister program.  This may keep him out of trouble and increase his interaction with other kids that may be a better influence on him.  If she is unable to access counseling services at this time, encourage her to talk to the school counselor or one of his teachers for ideas and help.  Working with the school counselor is free.  She may also want to check with the Department of Social Services to see if they have any referrals for counseling services that are free or very low-cost.  

You may even want to spend some time with her son yourself, encouraging him to hang out with a better group of friends.  Since he doesn't have a father figure in his life, is it possible that you could offer to spend some time with him every so often?  A positive adult presence in his life could make a big difference.  

Good Luck!!
Boys Town National Hotline

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