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.

S.,

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!

K.

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

S.,

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!

~L.

S.,

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!

K.

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