Is there some sort of calculation that is accepted for allowing your kid to have a certain friend who is either a few years older or younger?
Take Mo, for instance, who is 8. Should he be allowed to have friends that are 5? What about friends that are 11? Is three years too big a spread for little kids? What about two years?
How does one make such decisions when you don't know the "friend" well?
I gotta say:
when I was 8, if I had stopped to think about it
(which I did not) I certainly woud have deemed it within
my sovereign personal autonomy to decide to whom
I shall be a friend.
On second thought,
I remember my father conversing with other adults,
as a result of which he demanded that I befriend
some other kid, to whose parent he had spoken
on the subject. I refused. He felt bad about it
and (unsuccessfully) tried to extort me into this
friendship because he had (without consulting ME)
committed me to it. He was afraid of losing face.
I acquainted him with the fact
that this was HIS problem, not mine.
I counselled him to learn from his mistakes
(and stop committing me to things).
Friendship is a matter of personal taste
and judgment; it comes into being sua sponte
for the time when my mother successfully convinced me
to stay away from a girl (whom I liked, mildly) because she was dangerous,
to wit: she was known to have head lice.
To this day, I have never discriminated anyone on the basis
of age in friendship, neither too old nor too young:
I am very approachable. I 'll talk to anyone (almost).
Do u believe that Mo woud actually LET U control him
in such a matter ? At that age, I 'd have deemed it
an intrusion on my personal rights.
At that age, visiting friends in the neighborhood,
their relatives of all ages were hanging around
their own homes. It is a natural part of life
to speak to them and be friendly,
unless there is something about them that u find offensive.
This concept of personal freedom
clearly does not apply to situations
that we have already discussed qua "playdates"
wherein u are called upon to chauffer him somewhere.
U clearly have the right to decide where u are going
to drive and where not.