30 answers

Neighbor's Child Always at Our House

Hello everyone,
I have a situation with my neighbors... There are 4 boys that play in our back yard everyday, 2 of which are my boys ages 6 and 10, our next door neighbor child, who is 10 and the child who lives behind us, who is also 10. These kids have been playing regularly, usually in our backyard for 5 years now. For the most part this has been OK, although at times there have been problems because I am the only one policing the playing. The next door neighbor never watches her child, but he will listen when spoken to. The child that lives behind us will not listen and just goes home and tells his parents that my children are hitting him or picking on him. This is not true, but his parents don't know this because they never are out to witness the playing. The other evening this came to a head because the child left angry because the kids weren't playing what he wanted to play. He threw a basketball at my son and left. The next thing I knew the dad was outside talking to my son asking him not to hit his son! This never happened, it was the other way around! My son was so embarraced, almost in tears because he knew the child was lying! I called the mother to tell my 10 year old's side of the story, and she discounted the whole thing, saying that her child would never hit unless provoked. This whole thing has made me so angry! I always watch all of the children! The other mother says that she can not always watch her child because she has a little one, when I have been able to watch them and I have had 8 surgeries and chemotherapy in the last 2 years! Don't you think this family would get a clue!
Well, after I talked to her on the phone her child has not been back out. i didn't mean for him to never come over, just not every day! What should I do, not say anything to the family and let it ride itself out, call her back and tell her it is Ok if her son is over once in a while. My kids do like to play with her's sometimes, it just gets bad sometimes. The problem is that the family only sees things from their own point of view, not from anyone elses, so when you try to negotiate something they think that it is crazy. Also I don't exactly want my kids to play at her house. If I call her back to ask if the boy would like to come over and the situation gets rehashed I am afraid that I will say something that I might regret! Thanks for any suggestions!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Don't invite him back unless you want more of the same with escalation. When my children were growing up, I would let the friends know the rules of the yard. 1st offense you're asked to go home. 2nd offense we get parents involved. (It seems these ones aren't aware that we don't always know what are children will do.) 3rd offense, you are no longer welcome. Sounds like he's no longer welcome.


It sounds like this is a family that believes their "angel" is that way everywhere. I have come into that myself with a family around the school that my kids go to. The first thing that comes to mind is a question: Do you have a video camera? Maybe you could tape the kids playing and when you "catch" the boy in the act and the parents don't believe you, show them the video. I wouldn't let any of the kids know you have the camera set up if possible, because then he won't act up. On second thought, maybe if he thinks he's being videoed he won't act up!

Good Luck!


You are in a no win situation. I would leave it alone and see what happens. Perhaps the other family will see that without compromise their child is missing out on having great friends.

More Answers


You are not alone. Many of us face these same issues, especially when school is out for the summer. Some of my friends have suggested putting a sign (one side red and the other green) out where it's visible for the other neighborhood kids i.e. in a specific window or on the fence. When it's okay for the other kids' to come over and play then the sign is green. When it's time for family or you're doing homework during the school year then it's red. It's an easy way to communicate to the kids' when they're welcome before they can even read.

I wouldn't call the neighbor back but would let it go. If the boy is mean just send him home. Pretty soon he will realize that if he wants to play in your yard then he will have to follow the rules. This keeps you from doing any discipline but gets the point across all the same.

Good luck and hang in there!

1 mom found this helpful

WOW, that's crazy! I can't believe the number of parents that think their kids do no wrong! I honestly wouldn't even worry about it. They will let him out again when they feel ready. It's probably better if the kids take a break from each other. Maybe in a week send your son over to see if he can play. That is all I'd do. You can talk to the parents until you're blue in the face and they will never agree that both boys are at fault.
As far as other kids being in your yard all the time. When you don't want others over you simply tell them -We aren't having friends over right now. Or We're having family time right now. I have never had a kid not leave when I tell them either. I always tell my kids before we go out if friends can come over or not, that way they don't run to play with the friend as I'm saying no. It's your yard not the public park and they need to respect that. If a mom calls you tell them the same thing - I'm really sorry but we're ....what ever you told the kid. I know it's always a rough situation dealing with neighbors. I've had my fare share of situations, but have found that if I don't deal with it right away it festers and gets really ugly. Good luck!

I really like Ann's suggestion that you have your child come straight to you if a parent tries to speak with them. I would not want someone else "speaking" to my son about a behavior issue that happened in my yard/house, that I witnessed and they did not. I think that was the most inappropriate part of the whole deal and tells you what type of people you are dealing with. That is a bullying thing to do and it sounds like you know where their child gets it. No wonder you are so upset.

I don't have any advice, just wanted to give you a little support. Hope that it all works out.

Hi S.,
I understand that you don't want to look like a bad person, however the boys parents should have checked on their son regularly at someone elses house. It's not fair that you have to always watch all the kids. That kid seems to have some behavior problems. Sometimes it's best to let things work themselves out. You should remain nice to your neighbors, just don't let them make you feel like the bad person.

Sounds to me like you have your hands full and that you've been the good neighbor. If they are not "watching" their own child, you are the one that is left responsible for anything that happens in your yard including injury not only to your children but to anyone with them. You need to protect yourself and your family. Personally, I would let it ride out and not call the other parent issuing an invitation. There's a difference between being neighborly and being used by others. Good luck.

Hello S., Don't call! Let it play itself out. Not for the parents sake, but so that the boy understands that his actions will not be excepted by you. It doesn't matter what his parents think here, because it is you who needs to be in control of him since his parents are not. I faced the same problem with a neighbor boy. He was rejected by all of the families on the block from playing with there children. I just couldn't do that to him also. But he was mean! Hitting, kicking, trowing rocks, etc. What I did worked like a charm. I sat him down and told him that if I had a room to ground him to that I would, but since I didn't then I had to ground him outside of our yard by sending him homw. He would sit on the curb across the street on his "time outs" watching the other kids play without him. Consistancy is very important with this type of child as they don't get it at home. Always be kind and understanding with him, but hold him resposible for his actions and words. My son in getting married this July, and this "problem child" is his best man. Out of all of the rejection our home became his safe place to fall. When you get a chance to talk to this boy, let him know that when he comes clean with the truth, he is welcome back in your yard. Good luck.

Sounds like you handled it the way I would have. I say leave well enough alone...he is not bothering your children right now and his parents are keeping him in for whatever reason. Remember that no matter what he tells his parents, HE knows what really happened and he knows that YOU know it, too. He also knows that you will reprimand him and tell his parents if necessary, even if it does no good. Chances are his behavior will change if he comes over again. If not, send him home immediately when you see him acting up. At least he will learn how to behave at your house, and that's all you can control at this point. Lots of kids are perfectly behaved when they know the rules, but behave like monsters at home when the rules are unclear!



It sounds like this is a family that believes their "angel" is that way everywhere. I have come into that myself with a family around the school that my kids go to. The first thing that comes to mind is a question: Do you have a video camera? Maybe you could tape the kids playing and when you "catch" the boy in the act and the parents don't believe you, show them the video. I wouldn't let any of the kids know you have the camera set up if possible, because then he won't act up. On second thought, maybe if he thinks he's being videoed he won't act up!

Good Luck!


Re-read your own letter, it might give you a clearer underunderstnding of your own situation. You have received a blessing in deguise. Do not invite the child back to your yard. They have a "free" babysitter in you. Also, you should have intervened when the father was chastising your son. That is YOUR son. If anything, he should have spoken to you, NOT your child. Count your blessings and don't call the mother OR invite the child back. Perhaps you can put a time limit on the other child staying so long. I'm sure your children can find other companions. Better for your children and better for your health.

You are in a no win situation. I would leave it alone and see what happens. Perhaps the other family will see that without compromise their child is missing out on having great friends.

I say if the 'offensive' kid isn't coming over, problem solved. Either he'll find others to play with, and ultimately this scenario will repeat itself time and again until the parents get some sort of clue that there's a pattern, OR he'll on occassion come back and be welcomed in a friendly way and hopefully mend his ways about lying, OR he'll be one bored kid that the parents will have to monitor in the home. Then there's no problem. I wouldn't call the mom back. She's making excuses. And while I don't think it's necessary to constantly watch kids who are playing, even if you're monitoring, the other parent still didn't believe you when you told the truth. A parent always wants to believe their child and give the benefit of the doubt.
Kids are going to be kids. Think back to when you were and what would've happened in a similar situation then.


You've already gotten a lot of great advice but I just had to come back to my computer to respond!

I have had similar issues in my neighborhood but decided to CHOOSE to be the Kool Aid mom. I would rather have my kids in my yard than in a yard where they may not be watched. Other children are welcome over if:

1. They will follow OUR yard rules
2. They are not imposing at the time
3. They have parents who I trust to work with me if an issue arises that requires their help.

By choosing to be the Kool Aid mom I don't feel put out by the other families. I am choosing it, they are not doing it to me.

By setting boundaries and telling kids what is expected when they come over, I am setting the ground rules for appropriate behavior at my house.

If kids misbehave or our family is ready for quiet time I have no problem sending anyone home.

I have had to ban one child from my yard. Her grandparents had had free entertainment for her for several summers along with free snacks and juice boxes. I never even saw them. I did have to send her home here and there as she tended to be very bossy. One time a bigger altercation happened - but still nothing more than a little lower elementary/preschool age tiff. I definately had my boys own up and apologize for their part, they were not right - but her family treated it like a federal case and did not have her take any responsibility - and she definately was the instigator. I did not want to expose my kids to that ongoing and I also felt a need to protect us.

In this day and age it goes beyond just keeping your kids away from those situations. You also have to worry about lawsuits and other silliness. I've heard several stories of neighbors suing. If they are the kind of people who take no reponsibility for themselves they are more apt to be the kind who would take you to court over something that happened in your yard. Not to encourage you to be completely paranoid but it is a consideration today.

I'd leave it all alone. If the boy comes back set up the groundrules for his behavior and send him home if he doesn't follow. If his parents continue to work under the assumption that the boy can do no wrong I would stop allowing him over and wish those parents good luck as he gets older and bigger!

S.... you really don't want that kid to come back over, do you? At least not for a while, right? You just feel guilty about what happened (even though in my opinion, you shouldn't).

I notice you are a nurse which probably means you have a warm, nurturing personality. You don't like people to be hurt or unhappy or in conflict. It also sounds as though you have dealt w/cancer and know how precious life is, and how not to sweat the small stuff.

In my opinion, it will blow over in time. Enjoy the break from this kid and don't feel guilty about standing up for your family and what's right.

Sometimes us women need to think more like men when it comes to conflict. And by that I don't mean punch each other - lol - I just mean call it like it is and let it be. Negotiating only works with people who want to negotiate.

I might let it ride a bit, cool off. But I would say if she was there to watch the kids, she'd know how there playing and what's really going on. That the kids do like each other, and he was welcome if she would take her turn helping out. That you have had 8 surgeries and chemotherapy in the last 2 years, to her excuse. That there hostility is to much for your condition. I'd probably talk to my kids about how they felt about the lying. And if it changed how they thought of the kid. It will let your kids to think about lying, and maybe they can learn something from it.
And if the kid does something like that be close to send him home for tossing baseball bats at people. Call and tell his Mom why you sent him home.

Our neighbor's 6 yo son would leave my house without saying anything. My daughter ran to tell me the left, ran right out of the yard when I stepped in the house a moment. I went over and made sure her got home. And told him he couldn't come over if he did that again. That when he's at my house I'm responsible for his safety. I always watch the kids home.

Good luck! A. H

Unless your son is very upset about this other boy no longer coming over, I would just let it run its course... It sounds like your neighbor isn't overly interested in paying attention to her child (based on her comment about how she can't watch him!?!?!) and this is probably why he's lying, saying your son is being violent. He's probably just trying to get his parents' attention. If your son says he's sad that the neighbor no longer comes over, you may want to reach out to the boy's mother or father and simply set some guidelines. But if your son's not upset at his absence, I would let things just play out.

Beyond what terrible parents the neighbors behind you are....there comes a time when us parents must realize that our sweet little boys are getting older. (i have a 15 year old son) please don't get angry at what I'm about to say...I'm not there and I don't know...however...at about the age of 10 these boys start to test their boundaries and become pre-teens. They will say things they never used to, and do things you wouldn't expect. It sounds to me like maybe your 10 year old is slightly more mature than the others,knows better than to hit or push and that the other boy resorts to throwing fits and being violent...(here's the part you might not like) but is it at all possible that your boy or the boy next door might have SAID something that provoked his reaction? You wouldn't have SEEN harsh words. I'm definately not justifying the other boy throwing a ball at your son, that is WRONG and he obviously should not be allowed to come over if that is how he acts when he doesn't get his way. But at the age of 10 and up (unfortunately) you will find that boys will be boys, and ALL of our little angels start to do things that surprise you. My son is the sweetest kid, he's always thinking of others first, is very helpful and kind hearted...but there have been quite a few times that someone will tell me something that he did and I am just shocked!! I will confront him and he will admit he did something wrong!?!?! I ask him why, and he just won't know, or it was the influence of someone else and he just didn't think to use my instructions over theirs. it sucks. Just know that you need to teach your boys the lessons in life that they need. Its up to you to show them what was wrong about the situation that happened and how to avoid it next time. teach them about sharing, and kindness, and closemindnedness and how to approach it. You are already a step above the other parent, that refuses to believe that she is doing anything wrong and neither is her son, because you are opening your mind and asking for advice. I applaud your strength in all that you have endured and that you still hold your kids, their safety and their enjoyment of life above yours, especially with what you have been through lately.
Bless you and your family....and get ready for the ride!! it doesn't get much better when they are 15! :)

Let it go. Enjoy the break. If this child behaves like that you shouldn't want him around you children setting a bad example. The woman who cannot always watch her child because she has a little one is using you for a free babysitter and quite frankly that is her problem not yours. Parents with multiple children work it out when there is a little one they don't leave child rearing to the neighbors! If the kids decide to play together again, in your yard, set up days or time limits so it's not so overbearing and let those parents know they are welcome to take turns overseeing playtime!!! Good Luck.

Hi S.,

I would leave it alone and consider yourself lucky. The boy who lied needs to learn to live with his consequenses and you should not feel quilty. It's been five years of your good-nature being taken advantage of and they do not respect you.
If the boy wants to play with your son, he can suck it up and tell the truth. I would be severely put-out that the parent didn't come and talk to me and confront my son. They should know better, why would he want to play at your house everyday if he was being bullied?

Good luck!

Greetings S.,

I feel for you. My suggestion is to leave the neighbors child behind you alone. Don't worry, he'll be back. As for the next door neighbor, when you don't feel like watching other children tell them your children can not have company and send them home. A good motto to follow is "GIVE TO THOSE WHO GIVE TO YOU"
Wishing you much success.

Joy, Peace, and Love,


I would just let it ride it self out. In my opinon the little boy needs to learn that lying is not good for you, maybe by being away this will help. I know if I were you I would have said something a long time ago.
Just let it be, either the little boy will come around and be nice or he won't.

Good luck!

Don't invite him back unless you want more of the same with escalation. When my children were growing up, I would let the friends know the rules of the yard. 1st offense you're asked to go home. 2nd offense we get parents involved. (It seems these ones aren't aware that we don't always know what are children will do.) 3rd offense, you are no longer welcome. Sounds like he's no longer welcome.

Hi, it sounds like we all experince about the same situations. We also have a family like that across the street. The problem with our children playing is that both their daughter and my daughter want to be the boss. What I do after a few blow outs is to make my presence aware and watch out the windows as much as possible and if I'm on the porch and they have issues I usually tell them to try to work it out themselves, they are in school and have to do it there why not at home also. If the problem cannot be solved then I say well I guess we need a break from each other it's time for you to go home and maybe we can try again later, usually works and no one is getting blamed that way. Her Mom actually agreed with me on this and told me to do it too. She did tell my other neighbor that my kids are mean though, but my other neighbor has made her own judgements by letting her son play here it shows me that she knows the truth:) The best part of this whole situation is that the kids went back to their Mom's permantly and we will have peace at last lol!!!! So hang in there and stick to your rules. Good Luck and remember kids are kids and things like that happen all the time, don't hold grudges and move on:)

I would let the situation ride itself out. If you call and say he can come over "once in a while" they'll probably figure that means they can go back to the status quo of him being over there all the time. Perhaps the time apart will help the boy realize that he misses his friends and will need to behave better to avoid a repeat of the situation.

I had the same problem only with my daughter when she was little....

I'm sure as a little time pass' he will be back to play

...When that happens I would go out and talk with all the kids and tell them what is acceptable and not ,if there is a problem with your rules then they need to go home, and if someone doesn't obide by them they will have to go home at least for the rest of the day,that would be your descretion depending on the problem ..

I always say my house my rules...

I never let my daughter go to the neighbors either.....alot of reasons for that to me it wasn't it wasn't a safe situation in more reasons than one ...mothers intuition....found out years later I made the best choice...

Godd Luck as I know it can be very frustrating....

B. C.. now a grandma

I would not call. It was NOT appropriate for the father to confront your son. If there was a problem he should have spoken to you or your husband. You should not be responsible for other's children.

That being said we live on a circle (inside ring) and all the backyards run into each other. My 4 year old plays with the 2 girls next door (3 and 5). I rarely (like 1x in 1 year) see their mom or dad. I know they are watching them from inside b/c I hear them. The back of their house is basically one big window. I'm not outside the entire time, but if I'm inside I always have my son in view. To date, luckily we have not had a problem. However, I do not let the kids in the house or in the front or side of the house. I make them stay where their parents can presumably see/hear them.

I feel your misery. We have several neighborhood kids around AND I do day care. Some days I just don't want the extra "clan" around. With having three of my own kids and so busy 'round the clock, I completely understand. A suggestion would be, if it actually works out for you, Tuesdays and Thursdays are neighbor play days. Let them know that you have set aside a few days a week to be special days for them. If you are neighbors, chances are you will be for along time to come, kids will go to school together and grow up together. There is nothing worse then being enemies with the people you live near. My mom always told me it is good to be "friendly" with your neighbors, someday you may depend on one another and they are the closest people to you. clear the air after the fog has settled some. GOOD LUCK!!!!


You have gotten a lot of great advice. I would not call the other mother, don't extend an invitation to her son. If his mother does allow him over to play again tell him he can't play until he tells the truth about how he threw a ball at your son, but he needs to tell the truth in front of you, your son, and his parents. If he is not willing to do this then he is not welcome in your yard.

However, if he does tell the truth, lay down the ground rules in front of his parents so all involved know what is expected and let him know that if he lies again he will be banned from your yard until he fesses up.

You might also think about asking him to come to you if your kids say anything that upsets or bothers him. You may not have heard or seen something that your kids said that set this boy off. Sometimes the statement can seem innocent, but hits a nerve. You wrote that the boy was angry because the other kids wouldn't play the game he wanted to play, but how did your kids say they didn't want to play? Sometimes the way it was said can trigger an attack.

My son, who is 6, is very sensitive and when I question him about an incident it usually comes to light that he said something rude to the other boy that caused an altercation. The other boy should not have gotten physical, but my son shouldn't have gotten mouthy either.

I like the idea of a hidden video camera, but I don't know if you could pull it off without your kids finding it. If you can, good luck, I'd use it, but I don't know about the legality of it.

Overall it can be hard to deal with other people's kids, especially when the parents won't back you up. We have had a few problems with our neighbor's grandson, but we have just sent him home when he misbehaves. The last time he wanted to come over and play his father said "No, you always get into an argument when you go over to their place." Which is true, he doesn't like the rules and doesn't like it when we stick to them.

If he can behave he is welcome to come over, but until then we will continue to send him home.

Good luck with your neighbors.

Sometimes; it helps if you can just look into a 'mirror'. When there are so many problems with others, this is usually what it amounts to.

I say, let it be. It will work itself out in the end. Do tell your children that if they are approached by the parents of the other child, to come straight to you instead of talking to them.

Even though your children enjoy the company of this other child, it still may be the best as they are not exposed to someone lying and deceiving others. This is not a trait that is becoming. When we cannot get our way, and a tantrum is thrown this also is bad behavior not wanted to be learned.

I feel the parents know, deep down exactly the type of child they have and this may be yet the other reason he has not been by. Do not read more into it than you have.

Or if you really prefer; invite the parents and child over for a spell. Do this a few times so they may see what develops.

If I had a child behaving that way with my son, I would prefer he not be back, honestly.

Good Luck!

I suggest that you continue as you are doing at let it ride itself out. Time heals all wounds. If these boys are truly friends then they will work this out on their own. You really don't want this to escalate to something more than it has to be. Maybe with time, the little boy will appreciate what priveledge he had at your home and learn to play fair with the other boys. Once this rolls over maybe they mother and father of this young boy will come to their senses and speak with rationally so that you guys can come to some sort of resolutiion. Finally,I notice that they are only at your home. How about rotating the responsibility between all three homes and see how that works. That way all parents can see how these boys are playing and give you the break you need. Good luck on everything. I'm sure this will work it's way out.

"The other mother says that she can not always watch her child because she has a little one".....if this is the case, either she should not have had a second one or she should be paying you to watch her child. By discounting your account when you tell the parents that their little darling is acting up and lying they are disrespecting you, which is teaching their child it's okay to lie and be disrespectful.
And yes, the father has no business speaking to your child. If he has anything to say, he can say it to you.
If you feel non-confrontational, invite them over to witness the interactions. If they say no, then tell them when in your yard, the child abides by your rules - no exceptions. If he can't abide, simply tell the parents you cannot take care of him because they are too busy to take responsibility themselves.

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