T. asks from Excelsior, MN on August 01, 2008
When Neighborhood Kids Are Naughty at Your House What Do You Do?
I will spare you the whole long drawn out story but here is the short version. My neighbor and I used to be friends, but her 4 year old son is rather a spoiled little guy who is her self professed "baby". About 1 month ago he was over and punched my daughter in the stomach as he was not getting his own way. I sent him home and said that when he could behave he could come another day to play. And that was it...for me.
Something similar happened today and I sent him home again. Well 5 minutes after I sent everybody away the neighbor is at my door with her husband in tow to tell me that she was so angry that I would "humiliated and embarressed" their 4 year old son by sending him home 2 times in that many months! Steam was coming out of their ears and I couldn't get a word in edgewise. They never apologized for anything and I did for "humiliating" and "hurting his feelings" , although I kick myself now as I had nothing to apologize for I feel. They called me a liar basically because when I told the boy to go home he said I could not tell him what to do as I was not his mom (sassy little thing!) They said that he respected all adults and he would never say that ...this they knew for sure!!!! I had heard it with my very own ears and I kept telling them that I was sorry about the miscommunication and that I would like to be on friendly terms with them again, but she stomped out and he backed away as I was trying to make my point. I just feel like they never wanted to resolve anything they just came over to yell at me the "bad lady" who yelled at their sweet precious little baby. Now I am all worked up about all of this and they feel vindicated that they saved their baby from the mean lady next door, plus I still have to live next door to them! HELP!!
Sorry to be so long but I have to know....Am I wrong to send home the kid who just punched your child in the stomach? If kids are not getting along what do you do? The neighbors said all they do is go inside and wait for the "bad" kids to leave and then come out again. I feel that this doesn't teach any lessons to anyone and I am not into crossing boundaries by parenting somebody else's kids but removing them from mine and sending a message along the way is not a bad thing. Tell me your stories ladies and reassure me that I am not crossing the line here.
L.H. answers from Milwaukee on August 02, 2008
NO you are not wrong. I would do the same. Eventually they will see different when their child plays with other children and those moms say the same thing or when he goes to school and gets into trouble. You handled things right. You also gave him the choice to behave or not by telling him that he could come back if he chooess a different action. You did nothing wrong.
K.V. answers from Madison on August 02, 2008
I used to have a similar situation with a neighbor boy who was "always the victim" according to his parents. When he would hit or kick one of my kids I told him what about his behavior was not acceptable and sent him home. But what I also did was grab the phone and call his Mother to tell her exactly what happened and why I sent him home, and I did this before the kid got to his front door to tell his version of the story. I would say that you have a kid next door ewho already knows how to manipulate his parents and will try to do the same with other adults. Kids need to know their boundaries and what is and is not acceptable. You were completely right to send him home. That childs parents will at some point realize that you are not the only one who won't tollerate bad behavior from a visitor. I feel bad for you that this happened with a neighbor, you can keep trying to smooth things over, but don't let them make you feel like you did something wrong.
D.G. answers from Grand Rapids on August 02, 2008
Whenever my kids have friends over, I treat them just like they were my own. If they are misbehaving, I get after them like I would my own. I tell the parents of their friends to do the same thing. I would have not only sent the boy home, I would have informed the parents that he can only come back if he could go by the rules. If he couldn't or wouldn't, then he wasn't welcomed back. I don't pull any punches, I expect kids to respect me and my house, if they can't, they don't need to come back.
My daughter has a best friend that spends a lot of time here. She once told her mother that my husband had sent her home because she wouldn't follow the rules. I told her in front of her mom, that she didn't follow the rules, so she got sent home. We didn't have any problems after that!
A.L. answers from Sheboygan on August 03, 2008
You did the right thing! Though everyone is somewhat defensive about their own children. I have a hard time at parent teacher meetings when they tell me about a facet of my child I didn't see yet!
What worked for me with similar age kid in similar situation is taking the child home myself and discuss it there and then. The other parent will get input about what to do. The first time, the parent got the boy to say sorry then wanted the games to resume but I said they need a bit of time apart right now. Second time the parent kept him home though did want to know what my kid did to "goad" him. I just tried to stay calm and hold my ground, which was that even if she did goad him, I don't believe in retaliation through violence under any circumstances. If the parent disagrees then you have the right to discontinue kid relationship while trying to maintain a semblance of one between the adults.
I don't know what you can do for the best now but you probably do, since you seem to have a strong self-assurance, and you're willing to try and clear the air. They may need time to cool off. Then you could try and talk to her about what she thinks you can do the next time. As if you're asking for her advice. Since she may be feeling that her parenting skills have been slighted. It's worth taking the high road and try not to feel wronged, because it's so hard living next door with this tension. If she will talk to you maybe ask if it's OK to have a talk with both children before they get together to establish rules of the house. If there is no hitting in your house you have every right to lay down that rule in a firm and friendly manner.
Hope you get some help with this issue. It'll work out somehow in the end, as things do!
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C.H. answers from Omaha on August 02, 2008
I understand your frustration. But I am on the other end of it. My son would be the one to punch someone but I have to say I would have not gotten mad at you for sending him home. Would I be embarrassed by it, absolutely! Would he gotten a time out when he got home, you bet! Nobody wants to admit their child doesn't behave but when you put physical violence into the picture you have to do what you have to do. I guess my only advice would be to ask your neighbor how she would prefer you to handle her son in those types of situations. Maybe even sets some ground rules for your house that all children and their parents are aware of (i.e not sharing gets a brief timeout..hitting,biting,kicking gets you sent home.) That way the parents will know what your rules are and be OK with it or let you know how they would like it handled.
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A.L. answers from Wausau on August 02, 2008
He's only 4, right? I wouldn't leave my 4 year old to wander around the neighborhood at all and play dates would be supervised by me for at least the first few times (at any location). Why? Because I know that my 4 year old is very well behaved but you can never really know how they're going to act in a different situation or environment. Not to mention, there's the wildcard of the other child to worry about, too.
I think they're neglectful and ignorant. Please don't second guess yourself. You shouldn't even have had to apologize! :(
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D.I. answers from Appleton on August 02, 2008
You did the absolute right thing!!! I only feel bad, for you, that these miscreants were able to get you so upset that you felt you needed to apologize. This boy may or may not be back, but I don't think you should hesitate to send him home at the first inkling of trouble. If the parents come over again, just simply say, if he can't behave he has to go home. If they continue, tell them you don't have to listen to this and close the door(not slam).
This is easy to say when you are not in this position, but I am a recovering doormat myself, and we have anywhere from 6-15 kids at our house in a day, so we run into this sort of thing now and again. I've never had such terrible parents to deal with though, thankfully! Anyway, I can see 2 great outcomes from this: (1)either he doesn't come back and you can play with all of the well behaved children in the neighborhood ... or ... (2) he and his parents learn how to behave and then everyone can play and have fun!
Either way, keep strong sister and enjoy the rest of your summer!
M.K. answers from Sheboygan on August 03, 2008
Upon sending the child home I would have either 1) walked him over there to explain WHY he was getting sent home or 2) if there were other children that you could not leave unattended, I would have at leaast called and told the mother "I am sending him home b/c he did....; I don't know how you handle discipline, but that behavior is not tolerated in my house" Then the parents would have heard from you rather than the child's version which may or may not have been accurate. Possilby too late now, but just a suggestion for the future. In the future (if the neighbors ever cool down), maybe have playdates with parents present so you can both witness how the kids interact and go from there.
J.M. answers from Davenport on August 04, 2008
Well, let me start by saying you are nicer than me because I would have done more than just send him home if he punched my daughter! There have been some kids fighting in my neighborhood lately. None of them have actually been fighting with my son (lucky for them, maybe they are scared of his dad). But they were fighting in front of my house and they were told to go home. One of the boys was fighting twice in one week in front of my house and was told to stay completely away and I don't want to see him at my house EVER again. I don't want my son to see fighting all the time and I also don't want them to start fights with him. I know that you still have to live next to these people but your first priority is to protect your own child. GOOD LUCK!
A.M. answers from Eau Claire on August 02, 2008
Don't feel bad for doing what is right. The idea that you are concerned about how you treated them, tells us where your heart is. This is a heart issue. Hey, if they do discipline their boy do care about how their little boy acts, they would be thanking you for helping them as parents teach their child right from wrong. Remember, there are a lot of people in this world that are "it's all about me" when we used to be about others. It's a simple decision about right and wrong. We can't control how others act, but we can at least stand up for our own family. Great job and keep teaching right from wrong in your home - no matter who is in it!
S.R. answers from Davenport on August 04, 2008
I don't think you did anything wrong. Kids should respect your rules and behave appropriately when they are at your house. I have sent neighborhood children home as well when they misbehave. I have also sent them home when my children are misbehaving. As far as dealing with your neighbor, I would just stay away as much as possible. When the kids are outside you can be friendly and keep a watchful eye if your children decide to play with the neighbor boy. But, I wouldn't invite him into your home anymore. That is a lesson to your children...that they don't have to tolerate being mistreated by others. It is okay to protect them and yourself from that! Good luck, I know that when it's a neighbor it is an uncomfortable situation!