We've been having some problems with Bebe and another child at her Y program. These problems have come and gone (so they're not a daily or even weekly occurrence), but they happen nonetheless. The child, R, is overly critical of her. Counselors say it's just how he is--"he's very blunt." But his bluntness is also very rude. One day she came into camp and he looked at her and said, "You need to brush your hair." When I overheard and informed him that I did, he looked at me and said, "Well, you need to do a better job." At the time, Bebe tried to joke it off. I'm proud of her for that, even though I knew the incident upset her. R is also a fountain of information--some of which I just don't believe Bebe needs to know. Nothing nitty-gritty like sex or anything (at least not yet), but he's told her about wars, juvenile detention centers, etc.
Then during the last week of camp, R became a ringleader and convinced Bebe and her friend that they should sneak out of camp and go to his house for the day to play video games and Beyblades. Thankfully, this never happened, because Bebe is like a piece of cellophane--very easy to see through. She got in the car the day that he had come up with the plot and kept pressing questions about how I'd feel if she escaped from camp, how would I feel if she fell asleep on the soccer fields by camp and was left behind, etc. I kept pushing back, asking her why all the questions, was she planning on doing something? Then she confessed to their plot. She said she had said once or twice they shouldn't, but R kept insisting they wouldn't get caught, etc. and she was SO bored and SO done with camp that the plan sounded like a dream come true. Obviously, we alerted the Y to keep an eye on the three of them, and they never ran away from camp.
At that point, though, we told Bebe that we no longer wanted her associating with R. She wasn't to play with him or engage him at all. There were plenty of other kids at the Y for her to play with. This seems to have been my boo-boo. Now that school has started, there are only about 8 kids who are at the Y before school, Bebe and R being among them. This morning when I dropped Bebe off, she sat down in a group of kids with her back entirely to R. It was like R was outside the circle of everyone else. Then he said something, and she rudely replied, "I'm not talking to you!" She hadn't said anything before that, so it's not like he was saying something back to what SHE had said...
So, I have to figure out how to teach Bebe to find a balance... how she can include R in a group and not be rude to him, but at the same time, she doesn't HAVE to be around him. I feel like we haven't been very good at teaching Bebe how to make friends. As I mentioned in another post, she'll be friends with anyone and everyone... but this leaves her vulnerable to kids who take advantage of her kindness, or those who know they can make fun of her or insult her and she'll still stick around.
How would you handle a situation such as this? (Also, I need to add that R is also in her class this year.) Any and all thoughts/help/suggestions are welcome!