DEAR ABBY: Because of a job transfer, we moved to a new home in another state a few months ago. Our son is a fourth-grader who has never had a problem making friends. However, since moving to our new neighborhood, he has encountered the "one-friend-at-a-time" rule with two different neighborhood boys.
He comes home from school, hops on his bike, goes down the street and knocks on "Johnny's" door, only to be told that Johnny is playing with "Billy" now, and he's allowed to have only one friend over at a time -- so my son ends up alone.
Abby, the parents of these two boys call themselves "good Christians." They have pictures of Jesus all over their homes and go to church every Sunday. (Maybe they read a different Bible than we do -- ours says, "Love thy neighbor.")
Needless to say, our son's feelings are hurt and he misses his old buddies terribly. He is well-mannered and has been taught to share.
My husband and I are at a loss as to how to deal with these parents who think nothing of hurting a child's feelings. Please help. -- MOTHER OF NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
DEAR MOTHER: Many parents schedule "play dates" for their children, and it's possible that when your son drops in, this is the situation he's encountering. It's also possible that the parents feel they can accommodate only one child at a time, or are uncomfortable having an unfamiliar child in their home.
Encourage your son to reach out to other boys in the neighborhood or at school. They don't have to be the most popular or the most athletic.
An alternative to that would be to make sure he is involved with extracurricular activities such as sports, special interests or scouting -- common interests can also be the basis for lasting friendships.