rumor about neighborhood child

miscindyAugust 17, 2009

My son is in 6th grade and had a friend, Mike, over to play. Mike doesn't play with our son very often. He lives on the other side of the neighborhood and last year starting attending in the school district where his mother works. While Mike was over, another boy Sam came to play. After a while Sam asked to use the phone to call his mother. Shortly, his mother called back to talk to me. She said the reason her son called was because he's not allowed to play with Mike. The mother said Mike had physically hurt her son and daughter while playing at their house a few years ago and last year spread sexual rumors about the daughter around the elementary school, which got him expelled from the school. I have had some problems with Mike in the past, mostly with him being unkind to my younger son. I have allowed my 6th grade son to play at Mike's house more than him at our house, since my 6th grader seems to enjoy playing with him and that way, my younger son's not there.

Another mother in the neighborhood told me she doesn't let her son go to Mike's house because a few times he was there, the dad was sleeping (works odd shifts) and the boys were watching rated R scary movies.

I know the parents a little bit, and they seem like nice people. I met them at church.

How would you respond to the rumors about this child? I'm thinking about having the boys only play at my house where I can keep an eye on them. I have always been a little worried about Mike's influences--a little violent in his play and a year older, but in same grade.

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Mike doesn't sound like the type of child I would want my child associating with. As parents, we have a lot of say at the younger ages about who are kids play with and I strongly feel we should exercise that authority. Once the kids become older, you will have less control over their friends, but if you teach them to make good choices as far as friends are concerned at the younger ages, they have a better chance of choosing good company when they are older. As multiple parents have banned their kids from playing with Mike, there seems to be truth in the rumors. Mike sounds like a bad influence.

There is a girl in our neighborhood who many of us parents have banned our kids from playing with because she is just not a nice person, already exhibiting signs of being a bully and her parents don't believe anything anyone tells them about their daughter's behavior.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 6:03PM
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Maybe your son would be a good influence on Mike. But it would be awful if your son picked up on some of Mikes bad behavior. If you do allow them to spend time together I would opt for him coming to your house so you can monitor what they are doing. Set strict ground rules for Mike about not hurting your younger son. My son sometimes had a "troublemaker" at our house and he did abide by the rules. I think my son got tired of him and also saw me setting ground rules for this other child so it made it ok for my son to see you just don't have to put up with poor behavior.

But as they get older it more difficult to choose their friend and to know just what they are up to.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 6:59PM
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My stories.
Last summer a boy showed up here to hang out with my sons and other friends. He behaved offensively, I told him so... three times in one afternoon. The third time he realized he had ticked me off and left, as I said something like "If you can't be respectful, you can't be here." He didn't come back for a year, until just last week, in fact. This time, he was gem, apologized for the way he was before and offered to make dinner if I'd let him stay for dinner! LOL. I cooked, but still let him stay- 3 nights in a row. He says there is no one at his house until way after dinner every night. As long as he's respectful, he is welcome. But I can tell you, knowing there is no one at his house night after night, my son is not going to hang out there. And these guys are 15 and 16.

My 9 y/o likes to go to a friends house and stay all day and spend the night. This friend is the youngest in her family, with adult siblings, one of whom lives at home. Mabye 20 y/o. I knew this brother was sometimes the only one there when the girls were playing, but I was comfortable with that, I was responsible at 20 and DD seemed to like him. (She'd tell me if she didn't, she has another friend she won't go see b/c she thinks the dad is scary.) Until the last time I picked DD up and saw the brother wearing an ankle monitor! Wow! Someone shoulda told me that! Now I don't trust them. I'm sure the brother's crime did not involve children, probably a misdemeanor. Still, it tells me his judgement is probably not good enough to supervise children. DD is not allowed over there anymore. I'm distrustful of the parents who either didn't think it was worth mentioning, or worse, tried to keep it from me. I don't think they should have left the older brother, under house arrest for some lack of judgement, to be the "adult" in charge when someone else's child was there. Maybe that's just me. I'm undecided right now on how to handle the next phone call inviting DD over. I did not ask questions when I saw the ankle monitor, we were walking out the door anyway. I just needed to decided how I felt about this to say the right thing. I still don't know! But I guess that's another post, heh? I'll get there, a conversation will happen sooner or later.

So, my thinking is I trust kids until they give me a reason not to. And I am willing to give second chances, especially to kids. I would not make my decisions based only on rumor and the opinion of others. Maybe all of what you heard is true, maybe some of it, maybe it's loosely based on truth. I would go on what I saw of the kid while he's there AND my own son's opinion of the boy. I would absolutely ask my own son how he felt about the kid being there, his behavior in general, the rumors, the whole thing. But such rumors would be enough to stop me from letting my kid go there, until I saw for myself, knew the parents better. I mean, you have to be careful. But if you can get him to follow your house rules, I'd let him play there if the boys enjoy it. As for how he treats others in the family, including your younger son, I'd call him on it the first couple times, make him apologize. A kid in my house gets treated like my own. ;o) But if he refused to play by my rules, he would no longer be welcome.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 10:50PM
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I normally don't like to put too much stock in 'rumors' but this is more than that--this is eyewitness accounts from other parents.

IF they're telling the truth, there's a reason why this child is acting like this. Sounds to me as if he's a child who has been: possibly abused, probably has little in the way of 'normal' rules at his house, and whose parents aren't on top of things enough to realize he has serious problems that need help. In any and all of those cases, I would NEVER allow my child in that house. And I'd seriously restrict my child's playtime with him. Probably would only let them play together when there was a large group--a school or sports activity, for example.

As a parent, there were many times I felt it was in my dd's best interest if I kept her from bad influences--and honestly, they weren't nearly as bad as what you're describing. We only get one chance to raise our children to be happy and healthy. The child you describe is exhibiting some extremely disturbing behavior, there is the possibility that he may move on to even worse things as he reaches puberty. Be very careful.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 8:05PM
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Can you believe all rumors? Nope. Can kids do something bad when they are younger and change? Yes.

With that said I would not allow my child to go somewhere I did not trust that they would be properly supervised (a sleeping parent is as good as an empty home).

I would let the boy come to my home and if he acts inappropriately be blunt with him. Tell him "In our home we do not do _________, if you would like to come here to play you must follow that rule in our home". If he continues to do things you don't approve of then by all means stop letting your child play with him.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 2:52PM
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