Rules for Friends Over

Updated on July 12, 2011
C.M. asks from Bartlett, IL
11 answers

My 10-year old recently had some friends over. Before her friends came I told her that no one was allowed to run in the house or throw things and it was up to her to see that her friends followed our house rules.

My husband overheard me tell her this and said that it is not her job to get her friends to follow the rules, it's my job.

I totally remember being in charge of my friends following my parents' house rules when I got older. I remember letting my friends know what was or was not okay, and I remember asking my friends to stop this or that because we'd get in trouble.

I was not about to sit around, policing my daughter and her friends. I know her friends are good kids (and so is she) but that sometimes they forget the rules.

I did let everyone know the rules when they arrived and then I checked in on them peroidically (with the guise of asking if they needed anything). I let my daughter know that if she had trouble with any of her friends, or if they got out of hand and she didn't know what to do, to come get me immediately. Of course everything was fine.

Do you put your older kids in charge of their friends when they come over? I certainly don't expect my daughter to yell at her friends, but I do expect her to remind them of the rules or try to stop them if they are doing something wrong.

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So What Happened?

Yes, absolutely I would not expect my 10-year old to "police" her friends or boss them around, but I do expect that she would inform them of what is or isn't allowed since I'm not going to be hovering over them 100% of the time. And I do expect that if one of her friends is breaking a rule, she should say nicely "we aren't allowed to do that" and if they keep doing it then come get me.

I remember getting more of what the rules were at different houses from my friends than from the parents. My friends would let me know, if we weren't allowed to do something. Like if I wanted to get a snack, they probably would have told me we had to ask first. I remember one friend letting me know that we couldn't walk on the living room carpet or play in the living room as it was "off limits" for hide and go seek.

I don't know if we were given more responsibility back then or what. It seems times have changed, my mom hardly ever supervised me and we ran wild in the neighborhood and came home by dark. I'd never let my daughter even go out of the yard without me.

Times certainly have changed.

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answers from Washington DC on

Nope, I'm the adult - I make the rules and the kids listen to me...

MY children can tell their friends the rules and what we are and are not supposed to do - but over all? the responsibility is MINE to control the kids...NOT my kids.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

it is her job to tell them the rules and kind of keep an eye on them but it is your job to be present and supervising.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I think it could be both ..the child or the parent depending on the situation. Its no big deal for her to say to her friend. "We are not allowed to"
It depends on the kid and the situation.


answers from Kalamazoo on

I agree with you - it's not like you were leaving the house and going to the store or something!!! I started telling my son that when he was about 8 yrs old.



answers from Washington DC on

I guess it depends on your definition of "in charge". I do think that kids that age and older can tell their friends not to do something in the house. "We can't cook on the stove without permission. We can't go down the street without letting Dad know where we are. We have to be in by 10PM for our sleepover." Etc. You might want to lay out a few simple ones and say, "Just ask if you aren't sure". Sometimes the "rules" don't come up til they are broken. We didn't make a rule of "no jumping off the swings" til a kid dislocated her elbow. Overall WE are the heavies and the kids can remind their friends, but it's up to us in the end to supervise. Not that we hover around older kids but I don't leave it to SD to tell her friend to come in off the trampoline. *I* call them in when I need them in.



answers from Louisville on

I would hope that my kids would let their friends know what is expected to happen or not happen in our home (and I have heard them coach/remind their friends when friends visit). But I would never make it completely their responsibility to control their friends, especially since they aren't the adult in the home. For the older kids, I don't police them, but I do stay nearby and keep an ear open (as well as make occasional stops in the room they're playing in). I won't always intervene, but if something happens that I feel needs to be addressed, I'll do so. I will also explain the rules to their friends so they kind of know what we expect, and I've never had a problem with any of them being disrespectful in our home or to me or taking it out on my kids.



answers from Bloomington on

I would have done what you did. Laid the ground rules and expected her to keep an eye on her friends to make sure they weren't breaking rules.

I wouldn't expect her to be able to enforce the rules (half the time adults have a hard time enforcing them), but since you let her know it was ok to ask for help I think you covered that.

Plus you were keeping an ear on things and if needed could have come in w/o her coming running.

I think what you did if nothing else gave her a first step into a 'leadership' position, which everybody needs to learn that role.



answers from Honolulu on

Sorry but I agree with your Husband, mostly.

Yes, your child is 10, Yes it is her friends, Yes you explained the rules to her.
But it is your home, your child, and no 10 year old is perfect in 'supervising' other kids, much less doing personality differences and negotiating.
And yes, you still need to supervise and be, present, as the previous poster said.
They are kids.

It is not 'policing' the kids or sitting around. It is, what it is. These are guests in your home, guests do not always act mannered, and you are the adult in the vicinity. If/when, your Daughter needs you and her friends.

I have a 4 and 8 year old. I have play-dates all the time. Sure, BOTH my kids KNOW the rules of our house, AND I explicitly explain this to all the kids and guests. But... I still am around ( I don't police), and supervise and keep my big ears open and step in when need be.
However, I do not expect, my eldest child to do all the governing of her friends or of our home.
No way.
Not that I don't trust her or her friends. They are great kids. But they are kids, these are the kids of other parents, and it is ALSO my responsibility, as the Adult "Host" of the play-date... to make sure things run smoothly and responsibly. Not leaving it up to my daughter.
I am the parent.



answers from Pittsburgh on

At age 8, I have overheard my son relaying a house rule to a buddy or two. So that's fine BUT overall, I do intervene because a kid doesn't "have" to listen to or obey another kid. And I don't want my kid to be the Debbie Downer all the time.



answers from Chicago on

I usually let me be the bad guy. Kids can also be cruel to eachother when they want. Although my older son had the bossy personality and he didn't have much problem telling them what to do. I don't think I ever told him either way, he just did it. The younger one waited for my prompting even though he knew the rules.



answers from Chicago on

My kids know the house rules and, yes, I expect them to relay those to their friends. I expect the children to play with me in the house, but not hovering over them throughout the playdate. My 8-year-old isn't good at all about telling her friends what is allowed and what's not, so I have to supervise a lot, which doesn't make me a big fan of her playdates.

I tell my children every house has different rules and you have to respect those rules. If their friend says something is not allowed at their house, it's not allowed when you're visiting, even if it would be at our house.

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