Worried about dd's safety at her friend's house

freezetagMarch 8, 2009

My dd (6) has a close friend from school, and played at her house yesterday. Dd told me that she walked around her friend's neighborhood, and that a truck honked at her as she was crossing the street. So immediately I was shocked that dd could be running around with no one watching her, but knowing dd's friend's parents, I would be surprised if this were really the case.

I've noticed that when I am inside, and my kids are out, it seems like they are often not aware that I am watching them. And also, sometimes I will tap my horn and wave at a neighbor if they are outside. So I guess it could all be nothing, but obviously I will have to find out more before feeling comfortable about dd playing over there again. I will probably just repeat what dd told me, then mumble something about being an overprotective parent. I don't think I would be offended if it were me, would probably be glad the my kids friends have concerned parents - hoping this is true for most people. I am not really friends with dd's friend's parents, but like their daughter very much and genuinely want dd and her to remain friends.

I always tell my kids that no matter where they are, our rules still apply (helmet while riding bike, no tackle football, no jumping on furniture, etc), even if their friends' rules are less strict, but that is easier to say than do!

Just wondering if anyone had a similar situation, and how you handled it? Seems like it's been discussed here before, and I used to think that it was better to just have kids over to our house, if I wasn't comfortable with their parents, but now think it isn't a good long-term strategy because inevitably (with my other kids) it has become noticable / awkward that I don't let my child play over there. Just discouraged because I have been happy with this friendship...hopefully it will turn out OK.

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6 is a little young to have the kids walking around the neighborhood alone, imho. Were they with older kids perhaps? My DD is 9 and I allow her to walk/bike/etc around our subdivision without supervision and so does everyone else in the subdivision. I would not have allowed her to do that at 6 though.

I think you should have a conversation with the friend's parent(s) and simply ask that when your child is over there, that she not be allowed outside unattended. She should respect your wishes and probably will with no arguments. One of my DD's friends asked me not to allow her daughter on our trampoline because she didn't think it was safe. Although I dont agree with her, I respected her wishes, much to her daughter's unhappiness.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 8:06AM
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I know it all depends on where you live, but around here kindergartners walk to school all the time....my kids did.
If you have taught your children the basics of "look both ways before crossing" and to give strangers a wide berth....I don't think there is any harm in kids being within a block of home without a baby sitter.
But...at the same time...I would never let my kids play at anyone's house that didn't share my standards. I remember once when my 5 year old told me about being at his friends and the friend going through his mother's purse and getting matches and lighting them.
I said....Tommy will play at your house from now on!
Linda C

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 10:43AM
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I had a situation like that before. Our situation was more clear though. One of my sd's had a friend invite them to go to a public place with them. They were 11 at the time. I assumed that they would be with the adults. Found out from sd later that they were dropped off with her friend and then picked up at the public place and left unsupervised the whole time!!

To me that was too young! We never confronted the family because clearly to them it was fine. We just decided that from then on sd would only be allowed to play with that friend at our home. And we stuck to that. SD's friend did eventually ask sd why she could never come to her home and sd told her that it was because we were upset about them being left without adults that one time.

So you really have 2 options. Not confront the parents and just have the friend play at your home only. Or simply ask the parents in a non-threatening way. Say "dd said that they were outside crossing streets and a car honked at them...." See what the response is and go from there.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 9:04PM
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Well, they do say that children under the age of 10 should not cross the road without an adult, because they don't have the depth perception and judgement to do so safely.

Not to say that I didn't when I was younger and survived, but my parents also used to smoke in the house with us too.

Sometimes I think we may be overprotective now, but we also know a lot more too.

It's a fine line and hard to know where to draw it sometimes but I guess if nothing else, follow your gut.

Keep in mind also the story as it comes from kids can also be a little distorted.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 11:30AM
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Not sure who says that kids under 10 don't have depth perception....ever watch a little league game? Granted that sense will be come better developed, but kids sure can see a ball coming and swing at it or catch it.
They have soccer leagues for preschoolers now.
Kids don't get hit by a car because they are making a planned street crossing but because they dart out between 2 cars to chase a ball or because they are riding their bike thoughtlessly.
Linda C

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 12:13PM
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I am sort of confused. Was she walking to her friend's house and crossed the street and someone honked at her? Or was she outside playing at her friend's house, crossed the street and someone honked? Was her friend with her or was she alone?

Frankly, I think what your DD told you is too vague to act on. You have absolutely no idea if the person in the truck was actually honking at her (and not someone else he may know or another car) or even why he/she did that. You seem to be implying that her friend's parents were negligent but I am not understanding how from your OP.

Anyhow, I also have a six year old. She is allowed to play outside in front or back with a friend or her sister while I am in the house. She is also allowed to ride her bike up and down our street. My rule is I must be able to come outside, look left or right and see you. Also, I am almost always in the kitchen (near the window) or in the den (near the window) to check every few minutes. She is never allowed to cross the street.

I would not expect at this age that a parent has to sit outside to watch them.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 9:25PM
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You need to ask your daughter more questions about the situation if you're so concerned. Who was with them? What were they doing crossing the road? etc.

Maybe the mother was walking around the neighbourhood with them and someone she knows honked at them.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 10:53PM
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