Having friends over

carla35February 17, 2006

My little boy is 7 and a lot of times when the moms go to pick up the kids after school an invitation is given to have someone come over and play at that time. I have always extened the invitation to the child's parent first (before asking the child) but it seems like most people just tell their child they can have so and so over and the kid goes and asks the other kid. That kid then gets permission from his mom, the moms verify the invitation and set plans for pick up time, etc...

Do you think I should continue asking the parents first, or just have my child give the invitation to the other child? I just find often the mother has plans or is getting the kids haircuts, etc.. and it can bring out a lot of disappointment with the kids. And, if she says no, there's often time to aks someone else but if the kids are involved, all order is lost! Not to mention that kids usually have no tact and often uninvited kids have to overhear the invitations given to others.

The other mothers seem to really want to give the child himself a choice in the matter. One time a mother was having car problems and called and asked that I bring her child home, I said, sure, and can he just come over and play for a little bit too? She said that I'd have to ask him, and give him the choice when I pick him up. I just thought that was really odd. My child is very popular and everyone has always really wanted to come over--jumped up and down, etc... so it's not that they don't want to come over.

Just wondering if you think I am treating my kid like a baby, or are they giving their kids to much control? It's like there's this fad with having to ask your kid and give him the choice if he wants to do something. What do you think? Am I missing something?

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It was always a rule at my house that before you issue any invitation to another child, you should first ask me so I can ask their mother if it's OK.
And even when they were 16 and 17 they would ask me if it's OK to ask so and so to stay for dinner....but by that time I didn't think it necessary to check with the parent.....and once I got ( or rather the kid did) into deep doo doo because momma had other plans for her son....and he was eating my spaghetti and making goo goo eyes at my daughter rather than cleaning the garage!
But I do think you should give the child a choice in the matter too. There was one child who wanted to play with my son and his mother would call and he would go to his house for the afternoon. Turns out that was a really bad kid....taking money from his mother's purse, smoking ( at 6 or 7!) cigarrettes stolen from his brother and who knows what else. One day my son just refused to go....and upon careful questioning I discovered why. I asked him why he continued to play there....and he answered "you never asked me if I wanted to go"...
Yes ask the child as well as the parent.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 1:06PM
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Well, I guess the child is always asked. It's just that the mother is consulted first. No one has ever demanded the child come over or just told them they had to. It's just that at this age, they're usually jumping up and down excited before the invitation is finished coming out. Even when I make arrangements for my son in advance, (after the fact) he is asked. "Wanna go to Ben's house on Sat.?" And, I bet if you think about it hard enough, you probably asked your son too; it just wasn't real formal. I'm sure you didn't just say "You're going to Joe's house...get in the car, now!"

I would have just thought the mom in my example (who asked if I could drive her kid home) would have said something more along the lines of if he doesn't feel like coming over to play, just bring him home. But, she said he had a problem with being told what to do, and that I would even have to ask him if I could drive him home (yeah, when I'm doing them a favor). Of course, the school was notified that I was taking him home and I had to ask his permission to drive him home. I would have asked if he wanted to come over to play for a while and not just secretly drove him to our home in hand cuffs to play anyway. It's just the order and formality of having to ask that seems odd.

It's like the mothers make a big point about having to ask their kids first...just ask them. I would bet the kid's get asked if they want to go to church, or to grandma's, or to a cousin's b-day party. I understand the safety issue or if a kid is uncomfortable about going somewhere, but it's like they're 7 and they get more control of what's going on in the family then the adults do. Funny, though, most of these same parents don't seem to care that no one personally knows (or knows of anyone that knows) their son's boy scout leader from a different school that they leave them with (Only with the kid's permission, I'm sure). But, that's a whole 'nother story.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 2:21PM
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Oh Carla, I totally agree with you. I have had this conversation with my kids over and over - "Ask me first, then I will ask the mother!"

One of my neighbors actually had her kids call quite often to see if they can come play at our house while their mom does "such and such." I have always made sure to say no and have a legitimate reason. Eventually they stopped calling.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 6:30PM
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I can't see any reason why visits should NOT be arranged with parental consent. In fact, I won't have a child at my house unless I have spoken with the parent first.

We have latchkey kids in our neighborhood. When I was out of work for 4 months, these children (who normally don't socialize with my child at school) would show up at my door to play. I said for them to have their mom or dad call so I could chat first.

One was kindergarten age and lived a good half mile from my home. He would typically show up unannounced at dinner-time. I felt bad but if I allow him over once, it becomes a habit.

And houseful's comments are also true - we have another family that literally pawns their kid off on well-meaning neighbors when they want to go to work or go shopping, etc. Not to say I don't trade kids with other parents sometimes but it's prearranged, AND it's reciprocal. These neighbors are not in that type of arrangement with me.

Anything could happen if I let a child in my home - as benign as a food allergy or as concerning as an injury or accident. Without even having met the parent, much less spoken on the phone, how would I handle such things? Or even, what time should the child go home?

I think it's fun to let the children help arrange social activities; give them a sense of responsibility. But I'm not sure why the parent should not be involved.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 8:15AM
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