I Don’t Want a Neighborhood Kid to Be Friends with My Son (Sorry, Long Story)

Updated on April 15, 2012
D.S. asks from Miami, FL
15 answers

There’s a kid in the neighborhood about a year older than my son that I just don’t like but that’s very close to my son. There have been many little things, but its mostly my gut telling me I should stop this friendship.
The dad is friends with my husband since high school and it’s a friendly guy, but just the type of guy that “doesn’t get it”, sometimes it’s like he’s just an older kid. He’s a single dad and just to give you an example, there have been instances when school is out and the kid comes over to see if I can babysit because his dad is already at work. The boy is 9 yrs old and I feel the dad takes advantage of the fact that I’m a full time WAHM that has to be home and that I can’t, in good conscience, send a 9 yr. old back home to be alone. On weekdays he comes to my house every day after the bus drops them off. His grandma is waiting for him most days but because he would just sit in her car until his dad gets home, he comes over to play and snack.
This is a kid that I have caught several times lying to my face, likes to hit trees, rocks and anything he can and that uses foul language (although he usually doesn’t in my house), that’s allowed to play teen and adult video games at home. I don’t know what he’s exposed to in his mom’s house either (parents are not together and dad has main custody), but I just don’t like the way he looks at me (kind of with hate). I’ve had to tell him and my son a few times that they can’t “try” to destroy squirrels nests or chase them, and this is something my son never does on his own. I know other neighbors don’t allow him in their homes either because he destroys things.
So I guess my question is, how do I get my son to not play with him at all? As of now, they’re only allowed to play outside or inside my house, I don’t let them go to the other boy’s house because the dad is outside many times doing his thing and I don’t like them to be by themselves unsupervised, but I would just like them to not play altogether.

What can I do next?

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answers from Biloxi on

Why can't the Grandmother and the boy go into the house when Dad is not home? That just strikes me as odd and sad.

Other Moms fave great advice -
Set boundaries for the child when in you home
Set limits on when he can come over
Def have hubby talk to the other Dad since they are friends.

Please try not to cut the boy out completely - he most likely desperately needs some positive influences.

My son has brought home his share of wayward youths. Many behave completely differently at my home than elsewhere - one, a next door neighbor boy - finally got limited to playing only in the front yard - eventually my son dropped him because he got tired of the boy's bad behavior.

Good Luck.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Boston on

If I were you, I would feel sorry for the kid and would like to think that my home is a soft place for him to land, where there are parents who care and supervise and can offer him what he clearly isn't able to get in his own home. It sounds like his dad and grandmother are doing the best that they can, which isn't working out too great but they're doing what they know.

I'm sure that having a single parent, and having that parent be dad and not mom, is very isolating for this boy. That look that he gives you is probably one of resentment (you sound like you have rules in your house and he's not used to them) but maybe it's also about not having a mother in the picture.

If I were you, I would open my heart and home to this kid and try to be welcoming and friendly to him, while still being firm about your house rules. Your family may be the little bit of normal that he gets in his life. Have some faith in your own child that you are raising someone who can make good decisions even in the presence of someone who can't. Maybe instead of worrying about him being a bad influence on your child, you can rise to the occasion and make sure that your son is a good influence on him.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from La Crosse on

We have a boy in our town that is like this also. He is always in trouble and has been sent to juvie for about 6 months. He is 12.

I feel so bad for this child! His mom doesn't give him the time of the day and when she is "paying attention" to him its cutting him down and telling him how worthless he is going to be and never amount to anything.. then turns around and puts her daughter higher up on the pedestal ( although she is no better than him). When he gets into trouble he gets attention.. its negative attention but its attention. When his 6 months in juvie was up he begged the judge to let him stay instead of going home.

He isn't allowed anywhere in our small town! People's houses, business not even the bank or post office...

He is a punk plain and simple. But he is allowed at our house. He uses his manors and is very polite here. He has even helped me do dishes and fold laundry many times. I give him the positive attention he is missing out on. When he acts up ( anywhere I see him) I put him in his place nicely. We take him fishing, hiking, shed hunting... boy things with our own boys. He loves it and unfortunately after its all said and done he usually acts up really bad when its time to go home. But I think he does it because he knows what he has to go home to...

Its hard Im not going to lie and some days I want to ring his neck!!

This kid your dealing with sounds alot like the kid in our town. I guess I learned to put the bad aside and focus on the good with him because honestly if we didn't do it nobody would.

Im not telling you that you should do the same by any means!! We have cut kids out of our own kids lives because they weren't a good influence, I am just giving you another view to see it from. For some reason this boy has always found his way into my soft spot in my heart.

Hopefully others can give you some advice on how to distant yourself from him nicely, since my way with the other kids was just to bluntly tell them why I didn't want my kids playing with them and they were punks. ;)

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I work from home, too, and have some neighbors that overstep boundaries and expect that I be their childcare provider. One of the best things I have learned from the wonderful people on Mamapedia is that people only take advantage if you let them. I am working in being more assertive and laying down boundaries, especially with the neighbors. It is no good to let this stuff steam you but to not say anything or put down a boundary. You can do it!

Here is what I would do: I would tell both this boy and his dad and grandma "This is no longer working for me. I cannot have Timmy over here (you do not have to give any excuses or reasons why, because this just gives them room to wheedle). You will need to make other arrangements for his care".

If you are ok with him being over at any time, you could give them a specific time that he is allowed. This worked really well for me as I have constantly been interrupted as early as 8 am with constant ringing of the doorbell from the neighbor kids; I just told them a few weeks ago that it was no longer working for me and they need to not come over before 11 am, ever. Guess what, they haven't! Not even once! And by 11 am, I am usually heading out the door to run errands and go to the park or whatever. Then we get home, have lunch and my kid takes a nap. It has been great because we simply are not available. Setting specific limits and also just being busy and unavailable has been a good solution as I really do not like the behavior of the children that come over and feel they are not a good influence most of the time.

Also, you could tell the boy, and his father re his son "You are allowed here as long as you are following our house rules. Our house rules are (good language, not destroying things, etc). If you do not follow the rules, you will be send home and will not be welcome over any longer".
Good luck :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Two issues going on here. One is the boy himself and his behaviors. The other is the untenable "babysitting" situation, which is really about the dad and not the boy.

Has the dad ever actually asked you HIMSELF to look after his son? Even a casual "Hey, would you mind watching Bobby for an hour if he gets home some days and I'm not home from work yet?" Or has this entirely arisen because the poor kid, himself, is coming to your door?

You're right; the dad is frankly flaking out and expecting you to be his "village" and look after his kid. First, I'd tell the dad, "Bill, I know you want Bobby to be supervised when he comes home from school, but starting (date) I am going to be very busy in the after-school hours, and won't be able to watch him, and it's not going to work for us to have him and my child play together at that time. If he comes to the house on his own, I'm going to have to call you to come get him then. I hope you understand." And then-- DO be busy. Have activities for your own son to do, so he will make new friends outside the neighborhood and eventually this boy will be less of an attractive playmate. If you are going out the door to a class or event or sport with your own son, you can legitimately tell Bobby, "I'm phoning your dad right now. We can stay only until he picks you up." A few times of this and dad will maybe get the message. But you do need to make a friendly but direct statement to the dad that you cannot be on call every day for Bobby to just drop in.

(And as your son gets older, this has to stop anyway; your son's homework will increase and honestly, gobs of play with the neighbor doesn't work most weekdays when your kid has plenty of homework!)

I also might tell dad that if grandma is there, Bobby shouldn't come over. Not sure at all what that's about--why can't grandma go into the house with him? Sounds like she's a reluctant sitter herself, or like dad does not trust her somehow...?

As for the poor kid himself, he needs some guidance. It sounds like he's aimless and unsupervised and probably undisciplined if he's destroying things. I wonder if any of the other families who say he's destroyed their stuff have ever told the dad face to face and asked what he planned to do to have the boy clean up, make restitution to them, earn money to repay, etc.? If they had it would have done the boy AND the dad good. If you hear other families say the kid did something like this, I'd advise them to tell the dad -- not angrily but in a factual way -- and say they need to talk to the boy about making things right.

You can be a somewhat soft landing place but don't be too soft-hearted either. Let your son play with him only at your house, with you present, a very limited number of days a week, maybe even one day. Perhaps even tell the dad, "Our family schedule's changing (true, because you're doing it right now) and Bobby is welcome to come over to play each Wednesday after school until 5:30" or whatever. But at the first sign of destructiveness, tell the dad. At the first sign of "Let's wreck the squirrel nest," tell the dad, and ask him kindly if he knows that harming animals is not a good sign. The first bad word gets a warning from you and the second, he gets sent home and is told next week he can't come over. And so on.

If your own son is busy with school and gets into other activities, eventually this boy will fade for him, and if your son is just not around as much because he's busy, the boy will not have as much reason to come over. These things will happen naturally as your son gets older and gets into other things that interest him, and leaves the idea of neighborhood buddies behind in favor of buddies who share his interests and activities. But meanwhile I'd be kind to this boy but very firm about when and where he comes over and what he can say and do when at your house.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I do not like runing kids away. You just do not know whats going on with them and maybe they just do not know how to act. I would do like the othe rmom and find some after school activities a few days a week. Even just go to the library after school. Or you can turn it around and accept the challenge of this boy in your life and help him.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

i suppose the right thing to do is raise him as your own because he needs the love, but I'm not that good of a person, I would be very unhappy about this too.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I didn't read all your responses but I have always been the neighborhood parent and I work full time! Set boundaries and give consequences for breaking your rules. Make sure the parent is aware too! I have always fostered my oldest child's choice in friends, good and bad, cause my belief is that its better to have negative influences early when I can correct it then later when I no longer have control. My 18 yo had a few that ppl didn't approve of but she knew how to handle it and these kids knew how to act at my house and LOVED me for taking care of them and for not labeling them for poor choices.My daughter only dropped one kid for her inability to make better choices but it was my daughter who did it not me. It takes a village to raise a child, we've just lost sight of that

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I had something a little similar with some neighbor girls...they were'nt bad people, but the mom didn't get home from work until 20 min after the bus came, and of course my dd would want to play...so they always wound up at my house and ended up staying for at least an hour - uh free babysitting by default and these kids ate everything in sight...it got to the point where I had to buy extra snacks every week since my dd doesn't hardly eat at all so I rarely have a lot of extra food around. This was very tiring because there were 3 of them (neighbors kids).

I ended up scheduling a number of after school activities for my dd so the parents had to come up with other arrangements...and they did since I wasn't around to care for them .

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

It's always hard to turn that type of kid away, but you can. You write that you can't "in good conscience" send a 9 year old home alone. But if you continue to think like that, the dad will continue to take advantage of you. How about send the kid home one day and then call the dad that afternoon and tell him that you can't keep watching his son? It's harsh, but you'll get your point across even if you do it politely. Just refuse to watch him (nicely) and he'll eventually stop coming.

As for playing with your son, you could set time limits, steer your son to other kids, or whenever you see your son playing with this boy, tell your son it's time to come home and do something inside with you. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Maybe the Dad doesn't even know he is coming over and asking if you can babysit him. Dad probably leaves him alone and says "maybe you can play with Johnny" today. You don't know if the Dad is intending for you to be asked for babysitting favors unless you ask. He may be just thinking the kids can play outside together and his son can go to you in an emergency or something. Talk to the Dad and tell him you aren't comfortable being put on the spot by his son asking you to babysit him. You won't always be around, so he needs to make other arrangements. You aren't looking for babysitting jobs, you are already working.

As far as the friendship goes, let it die a natural death. They can play under your supervision only. Your rules. Keep your son busy with other playdates, friends, and activities. Eventually, the neighbor boy will find other friends too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Since dad is hubby's friend I would have hubby talk to the dad. Tell him that you already have two jobs, the WAH and being Mom, and you can't add babysitter to that. Tell him, in advance, that if he sends the boy over to your house when he's not home again you'll send him home. That way dad knows what's going to happen and you don't just spring it on him. If he's clueless he doesn't realize he's imposing, to just send the boy home with no warning could get ugly.

About the boys playing together - if he's not coming over after school it will help some. Talk to your son; are there things that he gets in trouble with when they play together? If so, point out that good friends wouldn't ask him to do things that would get him in trouble. Don't trash the kid, but point out the negatives. We've got a kid across the street who is horribly rude and disrespectful. He's not welcome in my house, and my kids know why - they hear how he talks to other people, me included, and understand it's not right. As a result they don't play with him much, I've made a point to bring it to their attention every time this kid is awful and they don't want to be guilty by association, lol.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

Uggg this would irk me to no end. I would just say "no". It's not your job to watch him. He is one year away from legally (in most states) stay home by himself. There is no reason you have to ruin your own sons life by subjecting him to that kids bad influence.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I would just keep supervising them and allowing them to play under your watchful eye. Let the boy know what's NOT acceptable in your world whether he's at your home or not. Considering your husband is friends with the father, coming down too hard will only make life worse for you and all concerned.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Well, a 9 yr. old is plenty old enough to be staying at home by himself some of the day. Tell the dad next time that the son is coming over and you have stuff to do away from home. He could be unaware the son is coming over and staying all day.

I would have hubby talk to the dad.

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