Filthy Dirty House & Play Dates

Updated on March 26, 2011
D.P. asks from Beverly Hills, CA
14 answers

Would you let your child go and play at someone's house even if you KNEW FOR SURE it was filthy dirty?

Now, let me first say, this neighbor family is always chomping at the bit to have their boy come here but have never once asked my son to come over. I suspect it is REALLY BAD and have seen (once) the unbelievable mess, clutter, etc. in their home with my own eyes. They always come out & shut the behind them if you go over & knock, etc., but WHAT IF they invite my child in?

Comments from their little boy about our home leads me to believe their house is very unsanitary. He's 5 and marveled at the cleanliness of our toilet for about a half hour! I keep a clean house, but it's not like we live in the Taj Mahal with a gold encrusted toilet or anything!

Has anyone been in a similar situation?

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answers from Chicago on

I really wouldn't worry about something that hasn't happened yet and is most likely NOT going to happen.

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answers from Dallas on

OMG! Are you my neighbor!?

Oh, wait, my son is 3...

We have a messy house. We vacuum and clean every weekend, but by Monday afternoon you would never know it. We try to pick up during the week, but somehow its still a disaster..

We have two little neighbor girls nexts door. Their house always looks like something out of a magazine. Everyday - no matter what. My son runs in their house, and they run in ours. I am always embarassed because my house is such a mess but its more important to me that kids get to play together and my house is a comfortable place that I just try to accept that I am not going to be admired for housekeeping.. ;) In addition, I am always so thankful for my gracious neighbor, with her immaculate house, who always graciously waved off my apologies and seems to mean it when she says a little mess does not bother her.

To get back to your question - If your child is invited, and you trust the parents to supervise, I say let him go. He probably wont get lost in the clutter and never be found again. He may be exposed to some more germs than at your house, but probably not any more than he gets in most public places. Hopefully your son knows to wash his hands after using a bathroom or before eating, which should take care of most of the germ issues.

Let him go. He'll have a great time tunneling through their house.

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answers from New York on

Sounds like they are hoarders, and chances are, will not be doing much "entertaining" anyway. I feel sorry for the little boy - it must be like paradise for him to go to your house - he probably is grateful for the break, it must be so depressing for him to live like that.

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answers from Modesto on

I remember going to friends houses that were very gross and some friends houses that were extremely awesome.
Getting to know the parents might help.
My mom didnt drive so she never saw my friends homes on the inside.
I lived thru all the wierdness tho, unscathed, for the most part.
If I knew a place was really disgusting tho, I'm sure I would not let my kids spend the night there, but I probably would let them play there. It teaches them to KNOW the differences between a clean home and a dirty one. The kids from the dirty home need to learn those differences too, by visiting you :)
We only KNOW what we grow up with for quite some time.

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answers from Denver on

No I wouldn't let my child go. Maybe they can have their playdate at a park or your house. Poor little guy... the tv show hoarders comes to mind...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

If they have not asked and their house is filthy, why would they ask? You can politely decline if they do.


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answers from Charlotte on

D., from your description, it sounds like they will never ask your child over to play. So don't worry about it. Try not to worry about other peoples' houses. It doesn't do any good.

I could have eaten off the floor growing up, my mom cleaned so much. Am I a clean freak? No. I hate cleaning house, and I do what I need to do to keep most of the rooms decent, though my home office is not what I want it to be - never has been. I usually end up shredding and throwing out so that I don't have to figure out what to do with it all. My hair sheds so much that I look at my bathroom floor and think I could make a wig with what I lose in a year's time. That means I don't vacumm the bathroom floor enough. Thank goodness I have a cleaning service to help me since I hate doing it.

It's so easy to have too much clutter living in America where houses are larger and the push for buying things is so prevalent. She probably has trouble throwing things away and the clutter prevents her from cleaning. I told myself when my kids are out of the house, I'll have half the stuff I do now with the toys and books and coats and jackets and boots that take up so much space, all gone. (Boys the size of men have such large clothes!)

Unless her house looks like "The Hoarders", I wouldn't worry about it.


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answers from Detroit on

I feel so bad for kids that grow up and have to live in homes like that, to the point where a clean toilet is a thing of wonderment. Like you said, there's periodically cluttered and messy (like mine, until I get the chance to take care of it all), and then there is unsanitary. My feeling is your neighbors are embarrassed by how their house looks, or maybe even have mental issues that prevent them from keeping a reasonably clean home (and would maybe cause them to have social issues as well). I would wonder about hoarding as well. If child services were called, they would probably be expected to clean it all up and hopefully get whatever help they need, or face the possibility of losing their kids.

No, I would not allow my kid to play over at a house like that - but I would let their kid play at mine, at least to give them a chance to see what a normal house should be like.

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answers from Philadelphia on

You sound justified in being concerned. I have had occasion to walk into homes as you describe and am appalled that children live in them. There is definately a difference between a messy house, and a house never cleaned up. Some people really have a problem when it comes to housekeeping. Clutter, and trash-food-all kinds of junk are 2 different issues. First, no I wouldn't let my kids in. Second, you should call child services. It's not a safe environment. I know there are some who would think this is harsh, but it's not. If child services came and thought it was sanitary then they would leave it be, but if your gut is telling you otherwise then don't let your child in. Also, it's great that you give their child a safe space.

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answers from Allentown on

I would not.

Even though my own home is filthy right now. :-o

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Personally, I wouldn't. Although, to a certain extent, it depends on the age of your kids. If they are 5 - 6, maybe.

Continue to have the play dates at your house, unless its warm weather and they could just play outside in the back yard.

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answers from Atlanta on

I wouldn't worry about sister keeps her house that way and we have even gone over to help them clean up the mess but to no avail it always ends up back to the way it was.....I keep my house very clean as well-I'm a bit OCD and a germaphobe but I wouldn't say you could run a white glove across my house without a speck of dirt getting on there. When my neice comes over she always comments about how clean my house is....I feel bad for her because she never gets to invite friends over because of the condition of the house and the filth they live in.....I just don't see how people can live like that-how do you let it get that far. My hosue will get to a point but then its time to DO something about it and at that I don't allow it to get very far. My sister and her husband is just lazy-that is all it is combined with their work schedules but I dont care personally I would FIND the time or at leasrt FIND the money to pay someone else to take care of it for me if I couldn't. I get in a bad mood when my house is a mess....don't know why but I just do.....

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answers from Dallas on

I think many moms will assume by messy you mean 'normal messy', and I don't think that's what you mean. My brother's house is like this; dog/cat feces on the floor, dishes piled to the ceiling, no clear counterspace, heck no clear horizonal space anywhere in the house, toilets so filthy I refused to use them, etc etc, we're talking borderline hoarding. They don't live near me so we have to travel to see them. Before kids it had gotten so bad I refused to stay in the house, and they live in a small town with no motel - so we slept in a tent in the back yard. After I had kids I had to stop visiting, I was too afraid of my kids getting hurt or sick in that environment.

So no - if the house is that bad, I would not let my child go over to play. I would continue to encourage the other child to come to my house though, socially it's going to get worse for him as he ages. I have 3 nieces, and none of their friends are allowed to go to their house due to the conditions; it's been very hard on the girls.

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answers from Houston on

clutter i would over look filth is a diffrent story. mine is clutterd but my floors you can see them dishes are done trash is out but most clutteris on the bar or the tables dressers etc.

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