Minimizing Contact with Neighbors and Their Kids, Am I Rude?

Updated on September 25, 2013
S.R. asks from Scottsdale, AZ
16 answers

Last summer my dd and the girl across the street finally ended their friendship....not really a fight, it's just that the neighbor got jealous when my dd had a different friend over and she called them stupid. Prior to this, she was mean to my dd on the bus (for example saying "who cares!" whenever my dd would say something, and wouldn't let my dd sit by another girl on the bus among other things).

We decided not to ride the bus because it was usually a "hot bed" of misbehavior, and also because it gave us an extra 30 min. in the morning. Since then we hardly ever talk with the neighbors since we used to see them at the bus stop. My dd has moved on to other friends and is perfectly happy not to play with neighbor, but it's really a change because they used to play almost every day.

Why am I feeling bad about this? I'm sure the other mom thinks were being rude because her dd doesn't tell her what she's done to my dd and I absolutely don't want to intervene...

Anyone go through this stuff?

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answers from Anchorage on

I don't think you are rude at all. I have lived in a subdivision since my oldest was 2. There are some kids in the neighborhood who are just downright mean and the parents won't do a thing about it. I used to feel bad or rude when i wouldn't let them play. To be honest he is 8 now and I don't feel bad at all! It was really causing self esteem issues with my kiddo and that is when I put an end to it. Worked out wonderful. We did the same as you and I started driving them to and from school. Sometimes kids can and will work it out but I also believe that avoiding certain situations and playdates really are best.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Not with a neighbor, but we have transitioned from formerly close friendships to "nodding acquaintances" a few times. Usually, it was because of growing differences in interests and values, rather than a misunderstanding or argument. It is awkward at first, but in time, everyone adjusted.
Ironically, I am dealing with the adult version of this right now. I'm willing to be warm when we meet, but I just am not invested anymore in spending time together.
You don't owe an explanation to the mom--especially when it would require giving the mom the 411 on her daughter's behavior.

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answers from Washington DC on

You're over-thinking this and putting far too much thought into what another adult (who seems to not even be your close friend) is thinking about you and your child.

You don't even encounter them much any more. It's not like you're bumping into them all the time and the mom is saying, "Can Janie come over to play later? Why not?" Be glad that you're not in a situation where the other girl is always bugging your child to play (and then being mean to her) or you are constantly running into the mom.

Look into why you feel guilty when you did nothing wrong and neither did your child. There does not have to be some formal, official "discussion" to end a kid friendship and make sure all the adults are fine with each other. You certainly haven't been rude -- you haven't even interacted with them so you have not had any chance to be rude.

Did you grow up in an area where kids in the neighborhood were very tight friends and stayed that way for years? Or where moms judged each other on their kids' relationships? If so, that might explain why this means so much to you though you don't see them and your child is happy and has moved on. Something to consider. That's not your life now, so you can stop worrying about it.

Smile and say hi if you encounter the other mom and if she asks about the bus, tell her that it gives you an extra half hour not to take the bus. No other discussion of her kid's meanness on the bus is needed.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Although there is no need for you to actively reach out to the neighbor to tell her what happened with the two girls, I do think that you should feel free to act "normal" and say hello to the neighbor (the adult) any time you see her, AND, if at some point she decides to make a comment like "the girls haven't played together in months", I think you should definitely mention that her dd was not so nice to your dd. I don't think you need to hide behind mumbled excuses about being "busy".

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You don't really know what the other mom thinks.

School friends and relationships change... That's a given throughout the school career.

Don't feel bad. You need to empower your daughter to make good choices ( and it sounds like you are!!!). You can't worry yourself about what others think.

Some children get along beautifully as neighbors and some don't.

We had our share of "neighbor friends" who were not " friends" and we had to allow our daughter to figure that out and let her know we supported her 100%.

It's not always easy in a good neighborhood.,. The children don't always get along. As parents, we assume the adult role and when it is clear that some personalities don't mix... No hard feelings.

Just stand by your child and support him/her. The other relationships will average out over the long haul.

Example: My daughter as a freshman in college has just reacquainted with late elementary and middle school friends. Who would have thought!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

sounds like you and your DD have handled everything just fine, and you have nothing to feel guilty about.
it's not necessary for kids to be friends with all their neighbors. and nor is it necessary for parents' friendships to mirror their kids'. i'm not close with any of my neighbors here (at the moment my neighbor's dog is outside MY door barking at me....grrrrrrrrr) but in our sweet old neighborhood the kids' friendships were in a constant state of flux. sometimes even nice kids are mean to other kids. short of helping your child cope effectively (which you have), no need to get overly involved in the drama. if the other mom brings it up, by all means have a careful conversation about it. but if you don't run into her naturally, it's not like you have to manufacture reasons to talk to her if you don't want to.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

It sounds like things ended fine and this is a non-issue. Unless the mom or girl becomes a pest in the future, I wouldn't spend another moment feeling bad about it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Don't project. Your DD had a falling out with the girl over the summer. You don't see them much and it seems that it's been a natural decline of communications. There are people I used to talk to a lot more for various reasons. Sometimes your friendship is only as long as the children are in the same school. I would just let it go. If the neighbor has something to say, she can say it to you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

It sounds like your neighbor is OK with the separation as well.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Ditto TF...

Being neighbors doesn't mean being friends. It's important that she gets to choose to not be a friend to someone who is mean.

It's great that you have the flexibility to drive her to school.

If at some point the mother laments them not playing together, I think that you should be honest and say "You daughter doesn't like my daughter very much and it's a good thing that they aren't playing with each other anymore." If she asks why your daughter thinks this, tell her the truth. It might be hard for her to hear, but it would actually help her deal with her daughter. You aren't associating with this family anyway, so it's not going to make a difference in your relationship...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I've gone through this several times with my kids. In fact, right now my son has a very close friend who no longer visit because he's mean.

The best thing to do is let it be. I know it's hard because you live next to each other, but that's life. Who knows, maybe this girl will grow up, learn some respect, and one day the friendship will rekindle.

If this girl treated your daughter poorly, rest assured, she will also treat others poorly as well.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Not really. I stay out of my granddaughter's friendships. Just because she has a falling out with the child, does not affect my friendship with the parent. See, we understand they are children, we are adults. They do their thing, we do ours. They make a mountain out of a molehill but we still recognize it as a molehill and don't intervene. Perhaps the other mother is the same way and really hasn't given this as much head time as you have. And even if she does, what do you care? It sounds like you don't/won't associate with her anymore so what do you care what she thinks? It's a shame to let your daughter control your friendships.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Huntington on

I think you did what you needed to do. You found ways to cut out the drama. You might be feeling "bad" because you wonder if the neighbor feels upset, and there was never a discussion about what was going on and that you were going to take a break. Perhaps she has no idea that her kid was being a twerp. However, I suggest that sometimes a discussion such as this often does not go well and often causes more hurt feelings than it fixes. At this point, if she brings up the fact that you all never talk or see each other, you could just tell her, "yes, now that we do not bus we do not see much of each other! Things are sure busy for us!"
And you know...I have neighbors and friends that I REALLY like and don't have any issues with, and still can go months without chatting. We are all busy and it seems to go in cycles. Don;t feel bad about it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

When it comes to my Kid's well being, I do not care what any one else thinks, and I'll put any and all boundaries necessary for them.

If the other girl is mean why would your little one have to play with her or be friends at all?

I am not particularly friendly with my neighbors, I have a decent and respectful relationship but we all have things and lives that are different and we do not have to hang out, we can help and support each other when in need but our daily lives we do not have things in common and that is just fine.

Your girl moved on, you do the same.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

A girl was getting friendly with my daughter. She was kind of forced on us. My daughter went to her house a few times. Daughter felt happy to have a friend in our neighborhood. The girl disappeared for the summer and now is very busy with activities. They used to be in scouts together but I took my daughter out because she seemed bored with it and the time and costs involved. We try inviting her over on occasion but she usually busy.

Now this girl has moved on with another girl who is much more outgoing than my daughter. Luckily, my daughter doesn't ask about her much anymore, although the girl is coming to my daughter's party Saturday. I feel sad because I know their friendship died before it had a chance to really start. Not sure I can resuscitate it at this point or if they are even compatible. I know, it's not our job to fix a friendship that didn't work out. for whatever reason.

It sounds like your dd's ex-friend doesn't have a lot of friends and that may be why she formed the unhealthy attachment. My daughter was following her friend around scouts like a puppy dog because she doesn't have the social skills to mingle with all the girls. Maybe this is why it didn't work out with your dd's friend.



answers from Minneapolis on

Don't feel bad at all! I went through a similar situation and we just had to pull back a bit. If she ever asks just say that you have a busy schedule or that the girls just needed a little time apart. I think a lot has to do with maturity level too. They may someday be able to play together just fine but right now they need to grow up and kids grow/mature at such different rates. I've also had to teach the lesson that while you should be nice to people, not everyone has to be your best friend. There are plenty of others out there that you can be friends with.

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