DEAR ABBY: A little over a year ago, my sons -- ages 10 and 11 -- met a 10-year-old boy named "Adam" and have played with him often since. During this time, Adam's mother and I have cultivated a warm friendship that I don't want to lose.
The problem? My sons don't like to play with Adam anymore. They say he cries and storms out when he doesn't get his way. I have observed this behavior myself. His mom has commented on it to me, but doesn't know what to do about it.
How can I tell my good friend that my kids don't want to play with her son anymore? CAN I tell her? My sons have "sucked it up" several times now so I could visit with her, but I don't think it's fair to keep asking them to do that. My boys get along nicely with their other friends and would rather play with them. Is there any way to solve this? -- BAFFLED IN CHARLOTTE
DEAR BAFFLED: It would be a kindness to tell Adam's mother that it's time to do something she should have done years ago -- better late than never: explain to her son the effect his behavior has on other kids, and that if it continues he will have no friends to play with.
The boy is old enough to understand plain English, and also cause and effect. If there is a father anywhere in the picture, he should also talk to his son.
Adam should also be warned by his mother that if he pulls that nonsense again with your boys, he won't be invited back. Then he should be given one more chance to participate at an appropriate age level and not a 2-year-old's.