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by Abigail Van Buren

Playmate's Cruel Comment Breaks Mom's Heart

DEAR ABBY: Recently my 11-year-old son, "Jackson," was at a neighbor's house playing with another boy a few years younger. The boy told my son he plays with him only because his parents make him, and he said he isn't Jackson's friend and never wanted to be.

Jackson came home upset, and I was heartbroken for him. I comforted him and told him at least the boy was honest. I advised Jackson to find another friend to play with.

I'm at a loss on what to do next, if anything. Do I talk to the parents? Or just let it go? Friendship shouldn't be forced, but my heart aches for my son. Please give me some advice. -- MAMA BEAR IN ILLINOIS

DEAR MAMA BEAR: Tell the parents what happened if they ask again for Jackson to come over. While children say all kinds of things in the heat of the moment, it would be better for your son if you found some other activities for him -- group activities involving sports or science or the arts -- for at least a while.

While it's understandable your neighbor's son may resent being forced to play with Jackson, it is equally understandable that Jackson might be reluctant at this point to have anything more to do with him. Don't push it.

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