25 February 2007

Mom Advice Needed on Playmates

Living in a neighborhood is a new situation for me as a mom. My children's only playmates used to come to our house because there was an arrangement between the parents to transport the children from one home to another – and there was always an understanding of when the playmates would arrive and when they would leave. Living in a neighborhood has provided a constant stream of companions for my 9 year old son, and at times for my teenaged daughters. There is boy who is here from the second he gets off the school bus until we make him go home – eating dinner with us many nights, and on the weekend he is here in the morning as soon as he chokes down a bowl of cereal. While we enjoy this much of the time, it also starts to wear on you after a while having the door to your house always open with a steady stream of traffic. For instance, this afternoon, my husband who has not been feeling well is attempting to take a nap on the couch – and we just want peace and quiet, and privacy. I honestly don't know what to do. We took the boy to church with us this morning, and dropped him off at home afterwards, and only a few short minutes he was at our house again. I sent him home because my children had some yardwork I wanted them to do, and a short while later he was back. I am not sure where the language barrier is, or where the communication is breaking down.

One thing for certain is that this boy has some emotional issues. Whenever I tell him no about something, he sulks and pouts. I have started to tell him that if he is feeling that he is unable to be with us and enjoy the company, then he can go home. Even after being told no, he will repeatedly ask me something – which is behavior I do not tolerate from my own children, and provokes my son to ask things again to which he has already been given an answer. (Kullen's own fault – but the point is that he is a bad influence in this way.)

Every single weekend he asks to sleep over. I am going to say something that may be unpopular with some parents – but I HATE SLEEPOVERS – especially when kids are young. This particular boy lives only a block away – and I let him stay and play until late – but don't understand the need for him to sleep here at our house. It makes bedtime miserable. It makes the morning chaotic. I am also guarding my son from the late night "chats", and other opportunities for negative influence. I also think that it is rude for him to ask - and have told him if we want to invite him for a sleepover, Kullen and I will discuss that. He seems to have no understanding of how this works, so I try to be patient.

I am really feeling at a loss. I know that it may seem simple – just tell the boy to go home. But, I want to share the love of Christ with him as well. I am just struggling to establish some well-defined boundaries. Any suggestions would be appreciated!


  1. First of all, the book club. Read the book by Mar 9th and post your thoughts on your blog about it and then come to my blog and comment and link to your post. As for the button, click on my button and it will take you to Boomama's button where the code should be. I'll double check that here in a min.

    Secondly, I loved living in a neighborhood and the steady stream of traffic in and out of the house.My hubs on the other hand, did not. AT ALL. So we just made some ground rules. They were really for me and my friends since the girls are still too little for theirs to just pop over. I'm thinking with this child, who apparently doesn't have any restrictions at home, needs the rules of your house--ie: everyone gone by 7, no one can come over until after homework or whatever--and enforce them. If he keeps coming over, just answer the door (when you need a break), tell him your son isn't available, thank him and close the door. I'm assuming you aren't going to cut him off totally(he obviously needs some attention) but you are responsible and have to answer for the upbringing of your kids--not those of the entire neighborhood.

    Hope that helps and doesn't seem too harsh.

  2. Sounds like great advice from Robin! I also think that anyone hanging around that much is part of the family. If he won't go home, give him a rake or a dish towel and put him to work!

  3. We have some regular visitors here too - but I love it because, unlike yours, mine go home when I tell them to!
    Ann W. once told me how she was having a similar problem and solved it by putting a flag of some sort outside. She explained to the neighborhood kids that when the flag was a certain color that meant they could come over but when it was the other color that meant they were having family only time and the neighborhood kids should not disturb them.

  4. The first three chapters is for the book I'm reading for work. All of Beth's book should be finished by Mar 9th, and then you post your thoughts on the whole thing on your blog.

    Sorry if that was confusing. I'm pretty confused all the way around right now!! =)

  5. I had a similar experience with a boy who lived directly behind us. He wanted to stay at our house even after my son went to sleep! He said he would help me with my nightly chores and everything. I had to walk him home every night. He was a handful! I am ashamed to admit this but there were a few times we had enough of his visits and we pretended not to be at home. The only worked one time.

    I did talk to his parents and it turned out the boy was ADHD. The parents really enjoyed having their evenings free from his antics. My reaction was…They are his parents! How could they say that?. His mother was away on travel quite a bit and the father was a very angry person who couldn’t keep track of his little girl. Several times I have come down stairs and found her in my living room, sometimes with their black lab. I would hear the father outside calling the dog and hoping no one knew he also misplaced his daughter. “I was doing the laundry and when I turned around she was gone! You are a life saver! My wife will be back home any minute.” Apparently the children saw our house as a peaceful place. I noticed the parents fought often as I could hear them when I was working in our backyard. They were divorced about six months later.

    My suggestion is to have a lunch or dinner at your house inviting the parents. It will give you time to talk without it seeming a formal “lets talk about your son” situation. You might find out why he is so eager to be at your house. You might also find out his parents have the same expectations as you do at their house.


Awaiting your words......
♥ Juls ♥