How should we navigate this friendship kindly, but not be suffocated?
I am wondering whether I am worried about nothing. I have a 7yo son, "Adam" that became very good friends with another boy named "Leo" in kindergarten. Towards the end of the year, I became uncomfortable with their friendship they became too co-dependent--instead of playing with a group of boys as he previously did, my son now only played exclusively with Leo, just the 2 of them. We used to carpool with Leo, and when we couldn't, Leo had stomach aches and cried. When their playdates ended, the boys cried, even though they see each other at school every day.
I stopped the carpools and requested that the boys be separated in 1st grade. My son now has made new friends and is able to play with different groups of boys at recess. Leo is in the other class, and now plays exclusively with another boy, "Eddie", just the 2 of them, even though my son routinely invites them to play with the group. They now cry when their playdates end. When Eddie is sick and not at school, my son pulls away from his other friends to play with Leo "because he doesn't have anyone else." When Eddie does join in play with the other boys, Leo would ask him throughout recess, "Are you still my friend?"
Of course, Eddie's parents have requested that their son separated from Leo in 2nd grade. The teachers will put Adam and Leo will be back in the same class again next year because Leo needs more emotional support. How do I teach my son kindness, to play with and include everyone, but also not be sucked into such an intense friendship with Leo and be isolated from the rest of the class again? I had sleepless nights last year when we cut off carpools/playdates with Leo's family, because I worried that I would hurt Leo. But I also do not want my son to be the social emotional solution for Leo for the next 8 years. Please help me do the right thing for both kids.
I hope that Leo will grow out of this, but it might not be soon. He is the one that cries when it is too loud at lunch, when the boys are too boisterous in PE. When I comment to his parents that the boys need to branch out more, they even more playdates with Adam, because "they do not want to break up the friendship".