Too Much of a Good Thing?? Neighbor's Kid Is Always Over.

Updated on July 09, 2010
B.S. asks from San Antonio, TX
16 answers

A new kid "Bobby" has moved into our neighborhood just a block away. He used to play on my son's sports team and doesn't know anyone else in the area yet. I know his mom through the team and we get along just fine. But since Bobby has moved in, he has been at our house every possible day. He is a great kid and my son had fun playing with him at first but now it's getting old.

Last night, I had another, mutual friend over for dinner. I had told Bobby to come over the next day knowing we were having company, but my husband told him when he called to come on over, not knowing of the prior arrangement. So needless to say, he was there when our mutual friend and her son (another kid from team) showed up. I told him he could stay for dinner in an attempt to not hurt his feelings.

I had asked our mutual friend advice on approaching "Bobby's" mom about the frequency of his visits. Bobby's mom came by to pick him up and while she was here, our mutual friend basically told her Bobby was coming over too much. I love having Bobby here but can understand why my son doesn't want him here EVERY day. To add to that, my godson (who is also my son's age) will be coming over during the day for the rest of the summer while his mom is at work. That's just one too many 10 year olds to have at any given time (I have another child as well).

I KNOW Bobby's mom's feelings were hurt. I needed to talk to her but would have handled it differently. I know she kept Bobby home today which means his feelings are hurt as well. They're going to be in the neighborhood a long time and we have many mutual friends and activities so we'll be seeing each other frequently. How do I smooth things over without sounding like a wuss but still get my point across that Bobby's visits need to be much less frequent?

Quick Edit: I left out that I work full time but with a very flexible schedule. My oldest son is responsible for anyone that's in the house. This is the first summer that we've had this situation (where the boys are on their own). "Bobby's" home is not a place he needs to escape from and he is totally appreciative and considerate. It's just that he is a typical nine-year-old boy that wakes up wanting to play and came from a neighborhood where there were a lot of kids the same age. There's some in our area but no where near as many or as close so the first and obvious stop is here. His mom doesn't "dump" him here as she has welcomed and invited my son over as well. My other son had a friend that he saw almost every day last summer (by choice) and now they don't talk at all. My younger son is showing signs of this as well. I'd hate to see them NOT be friends but now that our mutual friend has blurted it out, I've got from an akward situation to a worse one.

And I should add, I'm already baking the cookies to try to smooth things over.... that's just me.

What can I do next?

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answers from Chicago on

When I was younger, I was "Bobby". I'm 9 &11 years older than my brother and sister. My next door neighbor was close in age to me. I seriously thought we could play every day since he was slightly older than his brother and sister too. I would sit in my window and wait for them to come out or go swimming. Even worse I would sit on my play set and watch the family swim. My mom tried to keep control over my inviting myself over as much as she could.
Anyways, coming from "Bobby" I think its better to come from you and not just his mom. My neighbors and friends' parents never told me that I came over too much. My mom always said something and years later told me that they talked to her. All that time I thought it was my mom being "the bad guy", I didn't know I was annoying my friends. Start with a simple 'we need a family day' and see how the response is.

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answers from Las Vegas on

umm you are in a tight spot for sure... However, I can say this.. as the "ten year old" who spent a lot of time over "other people's houses" I did it for a reason.. home was NOT a great place to be... not to say that Bobby's home is negative, but could be he is not just wanting to be your child's friend, but too... there might possibly be something going on over at his house that sadly, he is not allowed to speak about. That said, no, it's NOT your responsibility to tend to this child. but know that each day you are there sharing a smile, a bite to eat and a safe place to play where he can have fun being a kid are memories that Bobby will take into adulthood...
I am thankful to this day for having had specific friends whose moms allowed me to come over everyday. it was just a given eventually that I would... Again, it's not really your problem.. but know that it IS appreciated even if Bobby has not said it.. Also.. look at it in the bigger scheme of things.. is it that much of a pain to have him there, I mean truly? I think if you have a couple of kids, what's one more. again, that's my perspective and do take into account, if kids are coming to your house to play, then at least you know what your son is doing, personally, I prefer for kids to play here.... I know our house is safe, clean and fun.... and I know what my child is up to... works for me...
whatever you decide best of luck :)

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answers from Allentown on

First, I think you are great to be sensitive to Bobby's feelings and invite him in when your husband mistakenly told him it was OK. I see Moms on this forum feeling hurt for their child when someone suddenly doesn't want to be their friend. Now you are giving the other perspective, but you are trying to be kind.

Bobby is at an age that he likes company. I had a good home life but wanted to be with my friends all the time at that age. I think you should talk to him Mom ASAP to settle the hurt feelings -- your friend should never have said anything to her! Anyway, just tell her you are sorry about how it was handled and you think Bobby is a great kid, but tell her the situation and that you are feeling a bit strained with the constant company. You'd like him to continue being friends but could he make the visits shorter/call first (whatever you prefer). I think it's fine for you to tell a child when it's time to go home. Everyone has different boundaries.

You've got good advice already, I just wanted to commend you for being sensitive. It's not being a wuss to care about others' feelings!!

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answers from Los Angeles on

You're such a sweetheart! There is so much caring and compssion in this posting.

Take them some cookies and explain to the mom all the things you explained to us. I am sure, if she's as nice as you described her, that she will understand. And perhaps you can set up some kind of regular schedule for the boys to play, that will work well for all.

[hugs] Good Luck!

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answers from Topeka on

Why not talk to the other Mom about this, start off by apologizing for talking with the other already know that was way out of line. But it was ALSO way out of line for that Mom to approach the neighbor without consulting you!!! ( But that is a whole other conversation!!).
I would tell her that you don't want Bobby and your son to get tired of each other, how about setting up a or two days a week at your or two days at Bobby's house...if that is reasonable? You can also use the fact that you are going to be gone and your older son is going to be "in charge"...and your Godson coming to spend part of the summer.
Don't fall on your sword over isn't the end of the world...and I bet that those cookies you are baking and a few kind words will get everything back in order!!!
One other thought...we had a swimming pool at our house for years, when our girls were growing up...and that attracts the neighbor kids like having an ice cream truck parked in your driveway!!! We finally came up with a system...we had a wind sock that we used to signal the neighborhood children. If it was not hanging on the front porch...then the house ( and pool!!) was open for visitors...but if the wind sock was hanging...then it was "family day" and they had to come back another day.

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answers from San Antonio on

Is there something wrong these days with a parent (or even the child) CALLING to make sure it is ok to play BEFORE they come to your house? We have several kids in our neighborhood that play together, however, we have one that consistently shows up at the door and never calls first. He has been at my house before from 9:00 in the morning until 9:00 at night and his parents never even check on him. I have told him he needs to call before he comes over. That lasted about 3 days. I ALWAYS call the other parent before I send my son to their house. It's common courtesy. Sometimes my son will have another friend already here and I don't want 3 or 4 kids in my house at the time. Often it creates problems when there are several of them here at the same time. I love that the kids come to our house to play. I always wanted it that way. However, sometimes it is not an appropriate time for a neighbor child to be at your house. What if you and your husband were in an argument and suddenly this child is coming into the middle of it? I have had kids come to my door when I am sick as can be. Didn't matter as long as their kid wasn't in their hair. It's not so easy to turn the child away either as the neighbor child is looking at you with sad eyes and your own child is begging you to let them play. Parents really need to be considerate and CALL the other parent to make sure it is ok for their child to come to your house.

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answers from Dallas on

I have a neighborhood kid at my house everyday too. But the simple solution is - just tell him when it's time to go home or when he knocks on the door, just tell him your son can't play right now. That's what I do and no feelings have been hurt. I don't see the need to get the mother involved - I haven't needed to. Now a situation has been created between you and the other family that has to be worked around :( BTW, my son is 9 and he is a 7.

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answers from Albany on

I love AL's answer, I feel the same way, over the course of my kid's lives, we've had many cling-ons, I've enjoyed providing a nice hang out for them all through the years, they follow the rules of the house, it's nice for me to be able to help them in anyway I can, nice for my kids to learn patience and understanding....on the rare occasion it got to be too much, I would just send them home, no questions asked!

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answers from San Antonio on

Hi B.,

You sound like a really considerate person. If the mom is as great as you say, this should be pretty easy to resolve. You are right to want a gentle honest conversation with "Bobby's" mom, starting with an apology for any hurt feelings. After that, you can both decide what guidelines / rules will help both families as you move forward. "Bobby" and your son are both lucky to have each other in the neighborhood and can look forward to growing up together.

It sounds like you might be letting your kids have friends over while no adult is there to supervise them. If so, please rethink this. Great kids can make poor choices sometimes. One of my son's teenage friends jumped off our second story balcony (once) when they were outside. Fortunately, I saw him land (unharmed) and cautioned him against doing that again. Had he hurt himself or had I not been there to stop him, we all would have felt bad about the consequences.

Good luck,
Parent Coach J. B.

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answers from Houston on

I would pull the mom aside and talk to her about your son's feelings. Say something that he was starting to act like a typical, fickle little nine year old and you were concerned that the friendship might actually break down if they continued to play all the time. I would tell her that you mentioned this to your mutual friend for advice bc the very thing you were trying to do was avoid causing either of them to feel that "Bobby" wasn't wanted. Then just apologize for the blunt way the mutual friend said it. Maybe even tell her about the situation with your older son. Friendships based solely on need of the moment, don't often last. I think the cookies are a great idea, who doesn't love cookies. I think if you basically told her what you posted here, you are good to go. You like her, you like her kid, just need to space out the visits to preserve the boys relationship and neighborhood harmony;) Then just let it go. We jilted some neighbors on the day of their son's bday party. It took them a while, but things smoothed out and we are all good now. So even if it is a little weird, if you talk it out, it should be ok in the long run. Good luck!

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answers from Austin on

I think it's wonderful that your son has a new playmate but just think about the other 'new' kid you call Bobby. Does he have anyone else? You said no, perhaps your son has something Bobby needs in a friend. You should be happy your son (and Bobby) has someone to play with. If there was something about Bobby you didn't like or trust then that's a different story. Yes I agree sometimes ppl need a break from each other but to allow your mutual friend to tell them wasn't their place to do so. From what I read I believe you were just discussing it in confidence & they chose to say something out of turn? To smooth things over, try to call first, leave a voicemail if necessary & just state simply that you wish to apologize for your mutual friend's behavior. It was inappropriate for them to say that & should never have hurt your feelings in that way. Let Bobby's mom know that you still wish to remain friends & Bobby is welcome to play together w/your son & perhaps you can set up a set schedule for a 'play day' for him to come over (or vice-versa) like say on Fridays and/or Saturdays b/c it's the weekend. I would avoid saying things like "That's not what I meant" or the like. It'd just make you appear fickle & indecisive & dishonest b/c the cat's now out of the bag & she knows how you seem to feel. After relaying the message, it'd be her turn to accept your apology or not. I'd then wait a few days to see if she contacts you. If not, say after a week, try to call again & just say simply that you just wanted to get back in touch w/her & hope that they're doing well, etc. That you want your children to remain friends but if she decided to go a different route then to please let you know. At that time, you deserve a reply either way. Hope this helps & good luck!

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answers from Honolulu on

Okay, to me the "problem" is, not that you like Bobby or not.... it is, that the kid is over ALL the time, and the Mom probably likes the "convenience."

AND, meanwhile, your own home and privacy and want/need for your family, and schedule, is being usurped.


It is not about how nice you are or not, either.
The kid, has to also learn about manners and that he cannot just waltz over any darn time. HIS Mom, needs to teach him that too... and not just "assume" he can come over every darn day or anytime.
Who's house is it anyway?

Just talk with her. Maybe her feelings were hurt.. but gee, this is life and there are manners and other people's lives... that goes on. A 'home' is not a public community center.

AND what if, Bobby gets hurt while at your home? Who will be liable?

Just talk to her. She can't reasonably "expect' you to have your doors open to Bobby 2/47 like a 7-Eleven store.
That is just not reasonable.
If she is an adult, I am sure she can understand that.

I would have, sent Bobby home... when I had company... despite, what my Hubby mistakenly told him.

ALSO, your own son, does not want him over EVERY day either... and you have other obligations. Bobby, should NOT be your 'obligation' nor priority. AND you have your Godson too....

All the best,

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answers from Phoenix on

I'm an insurance agent and have the perfect answer for you. Since there is not an "adult" home during the day, having non family members over on your property is NOT a liability that you are willing to risk. Just be honest with her and tell her you don't mind him over sometime but everyday is just a bit too much. I'm sure it will turn out fine! Good luck!

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answers from Minneapolis on

My 10 year old DD has a couple of neighbor friends who come over or call every single day, sometimes several times each day. I do like these girls, and their families very much. They are good friends, and my daughter enjoys playing with them. However, after hours of free time, they run out of things to do, don't agree on what to play, and then it's obvious they just need a break. Even my social butterfly daughter does not want to be around the house with the same friend for 10 hours a day, day after day. Sometimes I so feel bad because I know these kids just really have nothing else to do to fill their summer days. But for everyone's sanity, I make sure we have plans some days to go someplace, meet other friends, and have family time regularly, etc so even when these friends seek her out 24/7, sometimes we are just busy with other things. Sometimes kids just get in to a habit of playing together all the time, and it's good to shake things up a bit, just so it's not every single day, all day. You need to be your child's teacher and set the example for balance and boundaries for healthy friendships. So as long as you are honest and polite, I'm sure your neighbor friends will remain your good friends. Bobby's Mom was probably just a little embarrased (human nature), I'm sure she'll come around once she sees you value hers and Bobby's friendship and didn't mean to hurt their feelings.

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answers from Victoria on

yeah that didnt go over very well at all. i remember between my neighbors and me we were constantly floating over to each others house. why dont you just talk to the woman yourself appoligize and tell her you were asking that friend how to approach it as you never intended to hurt her feelings. when he comes too frequently suggest they play outside or go over to bobby's house. i also think you should step back a bit and not worry so much about there friendship. i suppose i am missing the point of the kids being together too much??



answers from Austin on

Not sure why you are asking the question now. It looks like your "problem" has been solved by your mutual friend. I hope you haven't lost a friend in the process. I would love for my daughter to have a friend that wanted to come over that often. If that were me, cookies wouldn't smooth anything over. You should have talked to the mom before all of this happened.

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