Neighbor Kid

silverswordSeptember 23, 2008

My neighbors drive us crazy. They are always fighting with each other, drunk, coming over and asking for sodas, etc (the parents, not the kids!). I've been working a lot in the front of the house, doing yardwork, and my DD age 6 is with me. Their son, age 4 1/2, is always in their front yard, often not being watched, and my DD wants to play with him. I allow him to come onto our driveway and they play with chalk, shovel dirt, etc. while I work next to them.

Yesterday my DH came home and said "what are you doing?" to me. He was not happy that I had the son in our driveway. Also, the poor kid has some kind of mental issue and speech issue. He says "mama dada" and "rhummm rhuummm" for his main words. Everything else is grunts, shrill sounds, etc. So, he can kind of drive a person crazy. And he makes my DH really irritated because the kid is just plain annoying. But he and my daughter get along pretty well. And I feel bad for him because his home life is so bad. And, while his mother and grandmother are not even slightly sociable to me, I don't feel the need to take it out on the kid.

Question: Should I keep letting the kid come over? (just to the driveway, and just when I'm there with them- we live on a flag lot, so we have a very long driveway that goes up against their front lawn, so if the parents were in the yard with their kids they would be able to see him at all times).

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I do se your dh's point. I understand your sympathy as well.

If it were me I would probably just interest my dd in helping me with yard work and try to keep her away from the child. Is this really a child you want her to develop a friendship with?

Do you want the responsibility of the boy playing in your driveway? What if he was to run into the street or do anything that caused him to get hurt. Sounds like his family would be the type to say "well he was in your driveway and we thought you were watching him" and try to make you pay for the incident.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 2:59PM
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Come on. The kid is only 4 1/2 years old. Give him a break. Unless you grew up in an alcoholic home you have no idea what it is like. Let the kid play with your daughter and have some fun in his life. Of course, you are responsible for supervising him while he is on your property not only for liability issues but just common sense.

I don't think it is right to make the kid pay for who his parent's are. Believe me he will suffer and pay for it plenty enough.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 3:23PM
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As my children grew up, and I knew a child that would come to my house had a crappy hope life, then I would see it as a opportunity for that child to have a small amount of "happy, normal home life". That is what you can do with this child.

I think as long as your child is safe, that supervision issues are to your liking, then I can only see this child as benefiting greatly from the interaction at your place.

By being a good role model, yourself, and you are, you never know how much you can influence the child and his parent. They may see what you are doing and how you interact and take something from that.

Sure he sounds annoying, but perhaps "big picture" ideas can come into play and you could work on his speech with him.

You sound like a great mum, keep up the good work.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 6:22PM
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Maybe I'm reading into this wrong but it sounds like you need to call someone about the fact that a 4 year old is alone outside with no parents in sight. I think you need to take this 4 year old under your wing. He sounds like he's a special needs kid and I really have a problem with him being alone outside. I say call someone about it. Get involved. Do something to help the poor kid out.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 9:26PM
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I see no harm in the little lad playing with your child.
mom2emall,if everyone had your attitude these children would never have any friends.what if your child was special needs and every parent didnt want their kids to play with yours,how awful is that.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 7:05AM
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Mom2emall: "If it were me I would probably just interest my dd in helping me with yard work and try to keep her away from the child. Is this really a child you want her to develop a friendship with?"

I do interest her in yard work, and I don't encourage the friendship. Herein lies the question of me choosing friends for my daughter. I think it's good for her to know different kinds of kids. The little boy isn't destructive, or a "bad" kid, he's just got mental/physical issues and serious parental issues. My DD has never been in their yard, and I try to keep their playtime to a minimum. But have you ever had a child in one yard and a child in the next yard, and they want to play together? It really becomes a non-issue to me at that point.

"Do you want the responsibility of the boy playing in your driveway? What if he was to run into the street or do anything that caused him to get hurt."

No, I don't really want the responsibility. I don't really want to watch him at all. But he's a child near me, so I watch him whether he is in my yard or his. And I am pretty strict, they are not allowed past the last tree down the driveway, which gives me a lot of time to grab them since I'm on the other side.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 11:38AM
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Mommybunny, Tracystroke, Popi:
That's pretty much where I'm coming from. I know I'm responsible for him in my yard, that's why there are pretty strict rules (I'm a gardener, no stepping in the garden beds!), no going past my truck at the top of the driveway and no going past the last tree at the end of the driveway. It's a pretty contained space, and I'm right there the entire time. He seems to listen pretty well, and yesterday (he came over again) and when he didn't listen and went past the line 2x, I sent him home after explaining that if he can't play by the rules he can't play. But the only reason he did that was his older 5th grade sister came over and she wasn't listening. They both got sent home.

Yesterday, when he wanted to play I asked him if he asked his dad, and he said yes. About 1/2 hour later his grandma comes out and says, is xxx over there? And I said yes, and turns out he snuck out of the backyard. I apologized, she said it was ok, but he had to go on timeout. Then she came back 10 minutes later and asked if he could play now. I said yes, and it broke the horrible ice that's been forming between us. Then she bought the kids ice pops from the ice cream truck. And the mom came home, and saw him, thought he snuck out again, and I told her grandma knows he's here, then she complimented me on the work we've been doing. Another big icebreaker. It felt so good. I don't want to be their friends, but I want to be friendly. It feels so yucky to have that giant bad feeling parked right in front of my house.

My point is not to punish the kids for me not liking the parents. And I don't really like the kids either, but welcome to reality, right?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 11:47AM
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You bring up an interesting point. To do something. Well, the kid is fed and lives in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. The parents don't beat him, and he attends speech therapy 3-4 times a week and goes to kindergarten.

What should I do? Call CPS? I don't really think getting him taken away from his parents would be better for him. I've seen no abuse. Him being alone worries me too. But there are a lot of kids in my neighborhood who are "alone". One little girl rides her tricycle up and down the street every afternoon alone. Should I call the cops on all of them too?

I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't feel he is neglected. The parenting is not to my standards, it is a lot more lax than I agree with. He is special needs. But I really don't know what is going on and don't really want to get that involved. I just want to be able to have him play when I'm outside and able to watch over him.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 11:56AM
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I think you've got everything under control.

I strongly agree with Popi and Mommybunny. Why discriminate against the little guy because he's a "special needs" child? What would that teach your child? You say they play well together and that's important. Imagine if you wouldn't let him play with your daughter, what would be going through that little boy's mind. All the questions he would have... what's wrong with me? am I not good enough? etc., etc.

If you don't see any abuse, why report them? You'll only be creating trouble.

It's important to have "friendly" neighbours. You don't have to like them, but you do have to respect them if you want the same in return.

As far as sending him home if he doesn't listen, right on! Your rules are your rules!

Besides, he's only 4-1/2 years old. He's got a lot to learn. A kid is a kid!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 3:02PM
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You sound like you have it all under control and you have been very fair in your treatment of the boy and his family. I think you have absolutely done the right thing.

You may find that your daughter ends up not wanting to play with the boy. In other words she will end up deciding who are the "good" kids to play with.

My daughter struck up a friendships with "odd" children over the years, I just let it run it's course and she always let the friendships fade over time. The sweet girl always used to befriend kids who had problems, and then she got out of her depth.

Reading your post has brought it all back to me. One girl was even a bit like your neighbours', she was a neighbour too. Her parents used to drink, be loud, had a vicious dog, the little girl was strange because she was so mature, like she didn't know how to play child games. She would come to our house and try to join in.

I hope things get better with your neighbours, its good that you had a chat to them.

All the best to you.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2008 at 6:16PM
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Hopefully she will decide she doesn't want to play with him, because I don't particularly like him. But I have to look at my own prejudices on that one. Do I not like him because he's unlikeable or because he has special needs and drives me crazy.

Owch. I am not a good person. There but for the grace of God go I. My child is practically perfect.

I want her to learn that other kids have different lives.

This brings up a whole different sort of issue. We live in a town that is called "Little Mexico". Her school is in the high 90% for Hispanics and the high 75% for ESL. I could send her to private school with more white kids from higher income families. I choose not to. The value of her going to her neighborhood school, not spending hours in the car every day, and playing with the kids in her neighborhood are the choices I have made for her. I could have moved to a town with a racial mix closer to ours. But I liked this house in this neighborhood.

Am I right? Am I wrong? I only get one chance to send her to first grade. But she's thriving, even though she is the only blonde, blue eyed kid in her class. And I'm doing ok too, even though on parent teacher night the teacher spoke to me in English, then translated to everyone else in Spanish.

Who are the "right" people? (I understand why you put italics, and am not thinking that you meant it in the nose-up-in-the-air sort of 'right', it's just a general question that I ask myself too :) )

I just want to introduce her to as many different lifestyles as I can so that she has a good perspective on what the world is like. And being from Hawaii, she went to a very expensive (IMO, $8000.00/year for preschool is outrageous) school with upper class caucasians. Maybe being driven around to ballet in mommy's suv and living in a private community would have been better for her, I don't know. But we don't live that life anymore. Now we are outside, with our (other) neighbors, bbqing on the driveway on the weekends. I think it's healthier. And if that causes her to be around undesirables, well, welcome to the real world kid. Count your blessings, 123.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 11:27AM
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I did not think I would get bashed for my advice! Geez. I was not discriminating against the child because he may be special needs.

My point was that the parents already act in an agressive manner (drinking and fighting...going to your house to ask for sodas, etc). They are your neighbors unless one of you sells your home and moves. I would not want to take the chance of angering them in any way and having them get drunk and act towards me as they act towards eachother.

My sd (who lives with us full-time and is 12) had a friend who came from a bad home environment. We allowed them to hang out, but always had the child coming to our home to play because we did not trust the adult supervision over there. The girl would be here all hours till we sent her home, she would constantly want to eat our snacks and invite herself to meals, and she just had no manners. She would call our home over and over again even when we told her sd would call her back. Then my sd started telling us about some of the things the friend was saying and suggesting they do. It was awful!! So it got me thinking that if the situation could have been avoided I would have avoided it!!

As for the type of lifestyle you chose, I do find it a little odd that you would go from upper class to lower class and see no issues with it. I would not want my child going to a poor (and I do not mean that in the sense of money) neighborhood school. I would want the best education possible for my children and I would wonder what type of education my child would be getting in a school like the one you described.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2008 at 10:12PM
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Sorry if you think I bashed you but I didn't see the harm in the kid playing at the person's home since he is only 4 1/2 years old. I don't know about you but I've noticed that when kids are small they will play with most anyone and they do not get more picky until they become older.

I do see how if the kid was closer to the teenage years that there would be a problem since there could be issues such as illegal behaviour and other moral issues. But at 4 1/2? I don't think so.

Maybe I see things differently considering how I grew up but I don't see why the kid should be ostracized at such an early age.

As for class. High class, middle class, low class, no class, who cares? As long as you have good morals and basically do what you are supposed to what does it matter what class you are? Some so called upper class individuals are quite immoral and abusive people and the only difference for them is that they can use money to hide who they really are or to bail them out of trouble.

Same with schools. If it is the public school system you can thank your government for not providing children with an adequate education. They can't even control the kid's behavior let alone educate them. Why do you think there are bullies in school, victims of bullies shooting the bullies, drug dealers, teenage pregnancies along with a host of other negative things in the schools. What do any of these things have to do with the education. It seems they get everything but education in the public school system.

Unless you are paying for private education or doing homeschooling then lots of luck with the education of your child.

The point is I just feel bad for the little boy if he is from an alcoholic home and also is special needs. That is a double whammy and hopefully he can overcome his upbringing in the future.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 1:58AM
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Well said mommybunny,i totally agree with that

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 4:06AM
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Mom2emall: "As for the type of lifestyle you chose, I do find it a little odd that you would go from upper class to lower class and see no issues with it. I would not want my child going to a poor (and I do not mean that in the sense of money) neighborhood school. I would want the best education possible for my children and I would wonder what type of education my child would be getting in a school like the one you described."

WOW! How can you assume the school quality is poor based on demographics? Yes, the people are poor. Part of that is the re-zoning that happened when the school was put in. A few blocks away there are a lot of apartment buildings and those children go to the school along with the children from my more "middle class" neighborhood. One year ago the house behind us sold for $750,000.00. I hardly call that lower class! But the school is brand-new, has teachers exceeding the qualification standards of California schools and at a higher percentage than other schools. My daughter's teacher is extremely qualified and dedicated. She has art and music and tons of extra activities offered. The school is very dedicated to lifting the education standards of the community.

In Hawaii I was the financial manager of the school my daughter attended. I knew each student individually and their parents. The students there were just as deprived as the students here, except it was love deprevation rather than financial.

How could I go from rich to poor? Ummmmm. I didn't. I went from the elite in one culture (Hawaiian) to being "normal" in another culture (Californian). I don't think many people realize the poverty level in Hawaii, the disparity between rich and poor, the language issues nor the racial issues. But that's another story. I just chose a different lifestyle. And it was easy. I had a husband who was doing drugs (as are many "rich" people, because they have the funds!) and being neglectful. That's the short story. I left my home, my family, (who has been there for five generations) my friends to make a new start for my daughter. I made a quality of life decision. I chose health over wealth.

As a child I went to a very fancy prep school in Hawaii. Only 175 students from 6-12 grade. A six to one ratio. Most of those kids are now drugged out. There was so much drugs in our school and of more danger than the pot and alcohol the other kids were doing. Kids in my school were driving bmw's and doing coke on the weekends, opening the wine cellars and having giant parties in their mansions when their parents weren't home, but with their parents permission. Just because you have what is considered a "good" education doesn't mean you use it. I want my daughter to be well-rounded, not some little spoiled rich girl. When her grandparents and father die, she will be a very wealthy little girl indeed. I want her to have values beyond that.

I'm still stunned by your comment. The only mention I made of the school was the racial and ESL mix. I'm not sure how long your family has been in America, but all Americans did not speak English in the beginning. Irish were minorities, as well as Italians, Jewish and other "races" we consider to be the "majority" in America today. We all have to learn sometime. I personally want to learn Spanish, so I find it to be helpful to be immersed.

As for public vs private schools, ironically the girl who beat me out to be validictorian of my college in Washington was from the public high school that was closest to my posh private high school in Hawaii. How can we be critical of the public schools when as soon as we get enough money we pull our kids out and put them in private? If all the people with the means pull out, no wonder the ship is sinking.

I was homeschooled. I went to private schools. I had a live-in tutor/nanny for 2-3rd grade. I also went to public school. I can see how some people may see me as throwing my daughter to the wolves. To those people, I say, we have different outlooks on life. My father went to public schools all around the nation as a military brat. He lived with an alcoholic mother. He shopped at K-mart. He was in the top percentile in the nation upon graduation. He has a double masters in physics and English. He has a multi-million $ company that he started from the ground up.

The quality of people in our neighborhood is very high. They are caring, lovely people. And they are brown. And a lot of them don't speak English as their first language. Well, they speak English better than I speak Spanish.

My daughter is in first grade. She can read, write, do simple addition. She can spell kangaroo and sphere. She is caring, helpful, and loved by her classmates. She is part of a community, and gets to walk to school (with an adult) rather than sit in the car for hours.

I think there is way to much judgement, bias and assumption. I believe in being the change you want to see. I agree that at age 12 there could be some concern. But they're playing with chalk for goodness sake, and right in front of me. There is no whispering of bad things he wants her to do, the poor kid can't even say his own name. He signs to her, she tells him what to do, and what they will play and they run around chasing each other.

What I get from you is fear. And I'm sorry you are afraid. I don't think being rich is any better than being poor, and I've lived on both sides. I aim for comfortable, in body and in spirit. And our family is quite content in our little neighborhood. I don't think paying more money will keep my daughter from being exposed to violence or drugs. I know from experience rich kids have just as much access or more to those things as poor kids. The only difference is rich kids usually have a lawyer on retainer to get them off.

My neighbor now is a truck driver. He works hard to support his wife and four kids. He is the kindest, most gentle man you will ever meet. My neighbor in Hawaii was a doctor. He was very uptight and rarely said hello as we passed his home. Just before I left he was accused of molesting a local teenager.

I am so offended I can't even write anymore. You can't buy class. And trash comes in all colors.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 11:38AM
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Mommybunny: "As for class. High class, middle class, low class, no class, who cares? As long as you have good morals and basically do what you are supposed to what does it matter what class you are? Some so called upper class individuals are quite immoral and abusive people and the only difference for them is that they can use money to hide who they really are or to bail them out of trouble."

Exactly. Classisim is segregation. I have very rich friends and very poor friends. I have friends who live in mansions and friends who live in 18 x 10' homemade unpermitted houses in the rainforest with their kids. Who lives the better life? Well, who am I to judge? I'm doing the best job I can as a mother, making choices as they come up. I could have stayed with my husband and subjected my daughter to an oppulent rich lifestyle. I chose to go with a healthy down home lifestyle.

I could pick her friends for her, and only pick those from "good" families. But then how would she learn to choose wisely herself?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 11:46AM
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I would keep letting the kid come over. It's great that your daughter is being exposed to special needs kids early and learning that they are people of worth.

Regarding the school system, I agree with everything you say, in theory. My son went to a local public school that is known as the "rich kids" school, and I was concerned about all the things you mention - the drugs, the homogeneous socioeconomic aspect, etc. If you like the school your daughter is in, I don't think you are harming your daughter at all keeping her in that school.

However, I would strongly encourage you to look into what is happening at the high school she will be attending. There are elementary schools here that are just fine, but I would never, ever send my kids to the high school in that cluster. I have seen some kids live through harsh realities attending a school with a serious gang problem.

If you look at the high school and you like it, then your daughter is probably fine just where she is.

Also, and this is just my opinion based on what goes on in my county, I'd keep an eye on whether or not the area is transient. A blue collar neighborhood full of hard-working folks can be a wonderful place to raise your kids. But if the area becomes more transient, with more people moving in and out, then I'd reconsider. Because in my experience people who are planning to move soon in general (not always) don't invest in their community, don't volunteer as much in the community, don't support the tax funding for schools, and that makes a difference.

My daughter does not go to the local "rich kids" public school. She attends a school for students who are particularly focused on math and science. There seems to be a broader diversity of socioeconomic backgrounds there, more racial diversity. Nevertheless, most of the parents who send their kids to that school are very education oriented and we share the same basic values and goals for our kids. So it's a more homogeneous environment in attitude than our local public school.

If you are sending your child to a school where many of the parents show the same values you do, it doesn't matter if the school is rich or poor, whether they are ESL or not, and what the predominant skin shade happens to be. The key is that many of the parents have to have those values, not just a few.

Just keep in the back of your mind that if the high school has a lot of transience, gang problems, drug problems, etc. (more than most high schools in the area), then eventually the hard working lower middle class folks with great values will move from that area as soon as they can afford it and their kids get closer to high school age. If you don't mind moving, too, then that's not a problem. We wanted our kids to stay rooted in the same community, so that was an issue for us that may not be a problem for you.

Just something to consider. Your daughter's school sounds great.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 1:16PM
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From the way you spoke of your neighbors and school and neighborhoold I got a different opinion than you are now stating. Where I live when someone refers to a neighborhood as "Little Mexico" they are referring to neighborhoods that are crime and gang ridden. While the parents may have good morals in neighborhoods out here that are called that it is the kids running wild while the parents are working very hard and not around to control it.

And when you said that 75% of the school is ESL I am picturing a school that caters towards helping those students learn english instead of catering to the students that have always spoken english.

Because I was a teacher I see things and think of them differently than you might I guess. I have seen the troubles that happen in school and out when kids hang out with the wrong kids. I have worked in schools that focus on helping the lower students catch up and do not enrich the higher students.

My kids all go to a public school. Our neighborhood is not high class or 100% anything. The school is mixed, our neighborhood is middle class, we sit outside and bbq just like you. But when I was looking into schools I checked into them extensively. I started with test scores, finding out funding info, background on teachers qualifications, etc. I also looked into if they had enrichment programs and remedial programs, not just one or the other. I looked into if they had sports programs, after-school academic clubs, band, orchestra, etc. Those are all things that I thought were important.

We found a house that I absolutely loved, but the school was crap so we passed up the house. The house we settled on was a bit smaller and not as new, but the schools were great. To me the education and activities my children will be exposed to meant more than how much I loved my potential home.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 3:24PM
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Mom2emall, I'm not sure where you are from. I don't consider Mexico to be crime and gang ridden and never thought of me saying "Little Mexico" means those things. I simply meant that it is a community of Mexicans. I didn't really say anything in the beginning about the quality of schools I chose between and the quality of houses I chose between, I was referring to the neighborhood and ratio of white to brown. And, this was because there were insinuations made of quality of people/friends. My point was that I don't judge people like that. I love the Mexican culture. I want my daughter to be exposed to people with disabilities, and in lower income brackets, and who speak different languages. I think it's healthier than plopping down in a white bread neighborhood next to Susie and Timmy and their 2.2 kids. Because around here, you either choose to be segregated and live with "your kind" or you move into the mainstream. And the mainstream is Mexican. This house is actually in a less posh part of town and smaller than others I looked at. But I considered community, the long driveway so she can play safely, the proximity to parks and downtown, and a plethora of other issues besides the school, which was also a consideration. However, in my case the school was not "crap" so I didn't have to pass up on any house.

Just because the students are ESL does not mean the school caters to them at the expense of the other students. They are in integration classrooms. But a lot of the students who are not ESL have parents who are. Instead of making assumptions why didn't you ask me how they handle the communication disparity? The policy in California is to teach ESL students in seperate classrooms both in Spanish and in English so the Mexican students don't fall behind in their work, while learning a new language. They are mainstreamed pretty quickly. This is while the English speaking students continue on their main track.

I too, looked into my daughters school very carefully. AS I said, the teachers are higher qualified than the state average. I spoke with people whose children had attended the school, not just looked at numbers on a page. The parents all rated the school very highly, despite the low test scores, which are a direct result of having so many ESL children in the classrooms. There are quite a few GATE scholors coming out of that school. Test scores do not give an accurate reading of the overall environment of the school. And the way teachers are "teaching to the test" these days does not give me much esteem for test scores. I personally never tested well, but I graduated college summa cum laude and no, it was not in underwater left handed basket weaving.

I think in every neighborhood you will have kids not being cared for appropriately. My point was at what point do you start calling CPS? On every little kid who is unsupervised?

Just how do you define "high class"? Is it the size of your house? The type of car you drive? The neighborhood you live in? I consider class to be an attitude rather than a commodity, and I find it very disturbing to consider people either of very good quality, ie "high class" or poor quality. I would rather my daughter see how people live than get bourgeois ideas from classists.

I think that we have come to a "let's agree to disagree" point. You make snap judgements that I find offensive, and obviously you can't understand why I would want to live the way I do. Yes, I have a pair of drunks in front of me. I did not interview my neighbors before I bought my house. Did you? I also have three neighbors I feel comfortable leaving my daughter with, which is priceless.

My question was whether or not I should let her play with the neighbor boy. I brought the town, etc. into play because I was explaining that isn't how I operate. I have different ideals and morals. You don't think he would be an appropriate friend. You censor your children's playmates more than I do. As long as the child is not destructive or dangerous or mean, I let her play with any child she comes in contact with. I give my child the opportunity to learn to make friends with everyone.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 4:19PM
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Thank you, I have looked into the high schools. I'm not sure if I will be here in that time, but there is a good high school nearby, and she can always attend high school in the district in which I work, which is excellent. We may move back to Hawaii, where we still have another home and property. I can't plan my life around where my daughter may attend high school. :)

I don't know if any of the parents have the same values as I do, other than feeding, dressing, and loving their children. I don't really think that's something I can control in a school. Even when my daughter attended her private school in pre-school in Hawaii, or her private kindergarten here in California last year and the parents were better off financially could I say we have the same values. She went to school with Republican's children, and Atheist's children, with children whose parents are gross consumers and don't recycle. Since I am a liberal, health food advocate, Democratic environmentalist should I send her to the Waldorf school so she can play with all wooden toys and never encounter a spamburger?

If this doesn't work out for her, we have other options. I personally love Montessori, but I decided that's not right for my child, after her being in the program for three years. She needs a more traditional learning environment. I still use Montessori based methods for her at home, she has her own cupboard in the kitchen and sets her own place for dinner (since she was 3), as well as other things.

And, I can't control how transient the neighborhood is. You know the market right now! But the majority of people on my block are owners and are professionals.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 4:33PM
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"Yesterday my DH came home and said "what are you doing?" to me. He was not happy that I had the son in our driveway"

I am just curious why your husband was upset about the boy playing in the driveway??

As for censoring my childrens friends, I have not done that. That is why I had the story of the bad friend to share with you. But I do try to discourage friendships with children who I feel are bad influences. It makes me think of the saying "if you lay down with dogs you will get fleas".

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 5:29PM
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"And he makes my DH really irritated because the kid is just plain annoying."

That's why. The kid drives him crazy. Which I can understand. But my thought is that this goes beyond my personal irritation. As I responded to Popi:

"Hopefully she will decide she doesn't want to play with him, because I don't particularly like him. But I have to look at my own prejudices on that one. Do I not like him because he's unlikeable or because he has special needs and drives me crazy?"

My question to you: Why would this child be a bad influence? He can't even speak! I think he's a good influence because my daughter notices what he does that's innappropriate and can point it out. She says "no xx, stay away from the sidewalk, we don't go past the tree" and stuff like that. It gives her a chance to reiterate the rules.

Lie with dogs, get fleas. You're right. But I don't think this kid is a dog. I think he is lonely and living in a less than ideal situation. I don't hang out with the parents, or encourage my daughter to see them as people we want to emulate. And like I said, I do not encourage the friendship either. It's simply a little lonely boy who is in his front yard when we are working on our driveway gardens and I don't feel there's any pressing reason why I should not let them play. I thought I'd throw it out there because maybe I was wrong. The more I listen to you, the more I think I was right. I think a little compassion goes a long way.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 10:42PM
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Silversword....I don't think it is ever wrong to show kindness to a child. You do have to set limits sometimes if another child is a bad influence on your child. You and your family may be the only glimpse of "normal" that this child sees. You kindness will go a long way.

When my kids and I moved into our home there was a neighbor boy that none of the other families would let their kids play with because his dad had trouble with post dramatic stress syndrome from the Vietnam war. I let my little boy play with him. They became fast friends. Several years later the little boy woke up in the morning and found his father dead. Although his mother was there, at 7:30 a.m he ran to our house and rang the bell. I was touched that he felt safe enough and trusted us enough to come to us when this never know what your kindness and example can do for a child that is living in unhealthy circumstances.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 1:45AM
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You Said: As for censoring my childrens friends, I have not done that. That is why I had the story of the bad friend to share with you. But I do try to discourage friendships with children who I feel are bad influences. It makes me think of the saying "if you lay down with dogs you will get fleas".

I get your point about the dog reference being if you keep bad company that there are consequences that may not be so good. Your story about the 12 year old I think is in a different category since at that age a person is more likely to be starting to be a bad influence. However, at 4 1/2 other than being the usual kid that doesn't always listen or behave I don't see much of a threat.

As for dogs and fleas. I've had naps with my two dogs many times and have never woke up with fleas. I don't necessarily like derogatory dog comments since I find that some dogs are more kinder, loving and loyal than most people. I love my two dogs and they are part of my family. In fact, having dogs is great for your mental health and emotional healing being that they give you unconditional love.

Not everyone sees things the same way or else we would all be robots so maybe it is better to state your case and then agree to disagree.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 2:09AM
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The child is 4 1/2!!! I don't think he's stealing cars and making Meth in the back room!
OF COURSE let your daughter play with him when youa re in the yard. But I would not let her play at his house.
If the association with you and your daughter does one very small thing to further that little boy's self esteem and his ability to get along in the world, why then you will have done something worthwile in your life.
Lie with dogs come home with fleas, indeed! Perhaps if you go with the "dog" to unsavory places and do bad things, you might catch the "dog's fleas"....but be nice to this poor kid!!
Frankly it's not even worth conversation....that's just what nice people do!
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 9:12PM
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At the childrens young ages I would not stop them from playing in your driveway together. And I do think that it may just help that little boy having you and your dd around to play on occasion so he can escape what seems to be a less than adequate situation at home. Your dd may be a great influence on him. And being around someone talking instead of yelling may just help him to start talking. I think the years of helping your children choose friends wisely are still pretty far in the future.

With my 12yr old dd and 12 yr old sd we have only banned them from one friend and it was for very good reason, but that story is for another day. They usually make pretty good choices in friends. And when they do choose bad friends the friendship usually runs its course pretty quickly because the girls figure out on their own that the child is not someone they want as a friend.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 11:22PM
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