Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Generous friend is overwhelmed by 'gimmes'

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My son is a sweet 8-year-old boy, who enjoys giving to others. He loves giving gifts and even enjoys giving to charity.

He has a friend, "Benji," who has multiple siblings and probably doesn't get a lot for himself. Benji is forever asking, sometimes begging, my son to give him things, including toys and special snacks.

I think my son is uncomfortable because he always asks me if it's OK to give those things to Benji. I tell him "no," because it's never-ending and we talk over ways to address it at school the next day.

I suggest saying that if Benji really likes it we can get it for his birthday or that it's not fair to give something to Benji when he can't give whatever it is to each friend.

But it's exhausting! We talk about Benji's case of the gimmes nearly every single day.

I've recently learned that Benji does this to other kids. He has even stolen small items from other friends' houses!

 

Benji is truly a great boy otherwise and my son adores him. I'm just wondering what we can do to make him stop harassing my son. Telling his mom feels awkward.

-- Gimme a Break!

Dear Gimme: First of all, if this child is disadvantaged, you -- the adult -- could simply decide to be generous toward him in ways that might begin to meet his needs. You could pack an extra snack, for instance, for your son to offer to his friend.

I can imagine the pressure your generous 8-year-old feels when trying to cope with this daily barrage from "Benji." You've certainly tried to provide useful strategies for your son to react to this particular form of pressure. Good for you.

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