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Monica Buck

It depends on why your child is resistant. If he simply thinks that the other kid is “boring,” you might want to encourage him to give it a try anyway. (Part of growing up is learning to get along with people who aren’t exactly like us.) If he has a more concrete problem—for instance, the other kid doesn’t like to share—then consider compassionate honesty, says syndicated advice columnist Amy Alkon, the author of I See Rude People ($17, amazon.com). “Gently tell the other parent that you would like the kids to play together but her child has a tendency to get a little wrapped up and forgets to share, as kids sometimes do,” says Alkon. Having this conversation may be easier, and kinder, than making excuses until your child goes to college.