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Communication Skills/how to deal with a child that is being used by a friend


Hi Peter my son is 8 years old and has been friends with our neighbor's son since the age of 3.They have been great friends for years, but recenlty a new boy moved next door and became very close to my neighbor's son. They always play together now and don't invite my son to play with them. One time I heard my son asking them if he can play with them and the new neighbor told him"no" and to "go away". There have been ocassions where my son is playing with my neighbor's son in our backyard and the new boy would come over but just to take the other boy to play with him to his house and doesnt invite my son. Also, I notice my neighbor comes  around only when new boy is not home. And as soon as new neighbor is back, he stops everything he is doing with my son, and runs to new neighbor leaving my son just hanging. I feel he is just using my son when other boy is not around. There have been certain situations  that makes me think that new boy does not like my son and manipulates my other neighbor to not hang around with my son.. I witnessed that today and it broke my heart to see my son cry over his old friend choosing new neighbor over him. I am very upset and I feel like I shouldn't let my neighbor's son come over anymore since he only comes for his own convience.  But am I doing the right thing? What is the best thing to do? How do I handle this situation? I would really appreciate your advice.

Hi Ely - I respectfully acknowledge your empathy for your son. I suggest using this situation as a teaching/learning opportunity. Teach him on a child's level about these topics:

These topics will apply throughout your son's life. Have you mastered each of them yourself?

- Pete  

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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about how to significantly improve your thinking and communication effectiveness, and your relations with adults and kids. I cannot answer legal, medical, grammar, punctuation, spelling, or spiritual questions.


I have studied and taught communication and relationship skills for 40 years, and have been a professional family-systems therapist (MSW) since 1981.


I am a past Board member of (a) a large suburban community mental-health center and (b) the Stepfamily Association of America, and I am a current member of the National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council

I have published 6 books, including one on communication skills: Satisfactions ( 2nd ed., 2010); and over 150 articles in the nonprofit educational Website Break the Cycle! -

I have also published articles for and over 150 educational YouTube videos.

BSME, Stanford University, 1959 MSW, George Williams College 1981 Clinical internship U. of Illinois Institute for Juvenile Reasearch (IJR) 1981 Over 100 post-grad courses on a wide range of human-relationship topics

Past/Present Clients
over 1,000 self-referred Midwestern-U.S. adults, kids, couples, and families

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