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by Abigail Van Buren

Teen Plays Naughty and Nice on Twin Facebook Profiles

DEAR ABBY: My 5-year-old son, "Miles," is passive, kind and a genuinely sweet kid. He has made friends with some neighborhood kids who are his age or a few years older.

While watching them play I have noticed a few of the more aggressive boys tackle, push or kick him and -- at one point -- even punch him. Afterward I asked Miles why he didn't stick up for himself. He said he didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

Obviously, I don't want my son engaging in fighting or resorting to violence. However, I am torn as to whether I should intervene. I have talked to Miles about how friends should treat each other. With that in mind, he ought to be able to say "stop" when someone gets too rough.

Should I step in to correct the other child? Should I speak to the other parents? Or do I allow my son to work it out on his own? -- HELICOPTER MOM

DEAR MOM: If you step in and "correct" the other boys, it will make your son appear weak. If you speak to their parents, it will make those boys resent your child. If Miles were my son, I would sign him up for activities where he will be part of a team. It will give him self-confidence, help to improve his athletic skills, make him more physically fit and introduce him to children in addition to this particular group.