Q. My 12-year-old's friend is always bragging at my son's expense. Should I talk with the boy's mom?
A. If your son says it doesn't bother him, stay out of it. If he's annoyed, he can talk to the kid one-on-one, saying, "Hey, Brian, we're good friends, but I'm asking you to stop trying to outdo me." If your son decides to pull away from his buddy and the families are friends, then tell the other parents what the problem is, how your son tried to resolve it, and that you're available to talk. Resist the urge to one-up the bragger yourself or talk about him with others under the guise of information-sharing. It's vital to model for your child that problems should be dealt with directly, not by talking behind someone's back or playing the bragging game.
Originally published in the July 2006 issue of Family Circle magazine.