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Old 07-13-2010, 11:14 PM
 
Location: Wilmington, NC
410 posts, read 699,056 times
Reputation: 280
Default Dealing with parents of kids' friends

How do you deal with your kids having friends with "questionable" parents?

My 9 year old daughter likes to have playdates with her friends. Most of the time the playdate consists of her going to a friend's house for a few hours or the friend coming to our house for a few hours. Since I work from home in the summer part-time and there aren't many kids her age in our neighborhood it seems to help keep her socialized over the summer. Plus I also have a 13 & 16 year old who have friends over regularly so she wants to have the same.

Since she is still fairly young, and many of her friends have parents who work and are in daycare during the day, that doesn't leave many friends to have playdates with. She has one friend in particular that I'm not crazy about. She seems very clingy (calls several times in a row and is always persistent about spending the night/having playdates). The child's mom is a single parent. At first I was happy to meet another single parent since I am one as well. She recently became my friend on facebook and regularly posts stuff about wanting to party. Tonight she posted something about her live-in boyfriend & brother getting high as she watched them play video games.

If that is how she chooses to live her life that is her business. But I REALLY don't want my kid in that environment.

Luckily most of the time the friend wants to come to our house since her mom has a busy work schedule. But every time she invites my daughter over to her house I am in a very awkward position (I have only let my daughter go over there once and it was only for 1 hour). I can't exactly tell my daughter the full story, but I really don't want her going over there. I just really don't know how I should handle the explanation. I really don't want to offend anybody.
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:14 AM
 
Location: The mountians of Northern California.
1,357 posts, read 3,877,884 times
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We recently had to deal with this. There is a little boy that lives about 6 houses away and was in my son's class this year and last year. The mother of the other boy is an interesting person. About 6 six years ago she stabbed another girl in the neck with a fork over a guy. We are in a small town, so it was a well known event. She just happened to live down the street from us at that time, but on the other side of town. Their house was the party house and the kids walked around in diapers with no supervision outside. We lived across the road from a river and it used to freak me out. They had fights outside on a regular basis. We loved that street until they moved in, lol.

That family moved onto this street about a year after we did. I was not happy, lol. Earlier this year my son kept asking to go to the other boy's house. I said no a few times, but my son was persistent. I sat him down and asked him what my most important job as a mom is. He said to love him. I told him it was to protect him and keep him safe and to love him. Not everyone are like his dad and I. Some people make bad decisions and that puts their kids in danger. I told him that if I don't know the other kids parents very well, he isn't going over there. I told him that his friends mom has made some bad decisions in the past and I am not comfortable letting him play there because of those decisions. I told my son that when we talk about things like this, it is to stay in our house and not to be repeated. I told him I would be a failure as a mom if I let him go to a home that I know has had problems and he were to get hurt. He said he understood, gave me huge hug and has never asked to go over there again. That boy was expelled from the 2nd grade at the end of the year for bringing a knife to school to get back at a bully. I feel sorry for him, the cards are stacked againist him.
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:08 AM
 
852 posts, read 651,738 times
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Wow. That's a really difficult situation, especially since the other child truly seems to need the time with your daughter at your house. It's hard because you don't want to hold the girl responsible for her mother's actions. We had nearly the same situation, except there was a boyfriend and his adult children and their friends drinking and smoking hanging around the other girl's house. Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against the occasional cocktail, but it seemed like much more was going on over there.

I do think that people brag and overstate on facebook, but on the other hand, "high" can mean marijuana, or it can mean meth. I always question the judgment of a parent who would post something like that. The thought of what could happen to a little girl in a house with two adult men getting high, well, I think you know where I'm going.

First, I think what you're already doing--having most of the playdates/sleepovers at your house is great. This second part is harder. You're going to have to do that all of the time. If you are uncomfortable because the mother may be using drugs or permitting drug use in her home, you can't allow your daughter to go there for sleepovers. You can just tell your daughter that her friend can come over but that you're not permitting her to have playdates over there. You don't have to tell her why. Just calmly say that some things kids don't need to have an answer for and that she just has to trust you as her mother. I know this is harder than it sounds.

It seems like you're a little worried about offending people. That's okay. It's normal to feel that way. Still, you have to trust that little voice inside you that is already telling you to keep your daughter out of that situation. A few weeks ago, I was fretting about how to handle something, and a dear friend of mine said, "Hey, you know what? You don't have to explain yourself." I remind myself of that in times like these.
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:44 AM
 
Location: In Line For The E Ticket Ride
20,527 posts, read 10,908,951 times
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If there is something you feel hinky about regarding a particular house or family, it's very simple: You do not let your children go inside that house. Period. You are the boss. Do not feel uneasy or guilty. Your number one job is to protect your child, not worrying about "offending" people who are partying and getting high.

BTW This kind of a situation is nothing new. Fifty years ago there was a family in the neighborhood whose house my siblings and I were FORBIDDEN to enter. I didn't find out why until I was an adult. Let's just say I was grateful my parents laid the law down and "sealed off" that place.

Last edited by DewDropInn; 07-14-2010 at 11:03 AM..
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Ca2Mo2Ga2Va!
2,293 posts, read 3,819,686 times
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whenever my kids have made friends with "questionable" parents I just always have them hang at our house, period...
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Old 07-14-2010, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Oxford, Connecticut
502 posts, read 500,508 times
Reputation: 546
Quote:
Originally Posted by DewDropInn View Post
If there is something you feel hinky about regarding a particular house or family, it's very simple: You do not let your children go inside that house. Period. You are the boss. Do not feel uneasy or guilty. Your number one job is to protect your child, not worrying about "offending" people who are partying and getting high.
Exactly!
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Old 07-14-2010, 02:40 PM
 
5,244 posts, read 2,939,225 times
Reputation: 1795
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inthesierras View Post
We recently had to deal with this. There is a little boy that lives about 6 houses away and was in my son's class this year and last year. The mother of the other boy is an interesting person. About 6 six years ago she stabbed another girl in the neck with a fork over a guy. We are in a small town, so it was a well known event. She just happened to live down the street from us at that time, but on the other side of town. Their house was the party house and the kids walked around in diapers with no supervision outside. We lived across the road from a river and it used to freak me out. They had fights outside on a regular basis. We loved that street until they moved in, lol.

That family moved onto this street about a year after we did. I was not happy, lol. Earlier this year my son kept asking to go to the other boy's house. I said no a few times, but my son was persistent. I sat him down and asked him what my most important job as a mom is. He said to love him. I told him it was to protect him and keep him safe and to love him. Not everyone are like his dad and I. Some people make bad decisions and that puts their kids in danger. I told him that if I don't know the other kids parents very well, he isn't going over there. I told him that his friends mom has made some bad decisions in the past and I am not comfortable letting him play there because of those decisions. I told my son that when we talk about things like this, it is to stay in our house and not to be repeated. I told him I would be a failure as a mom if I let him go to a home that I know has had problems and he were to get hurt. He said he understood, gave me huge hug and has never asked to go over there again. That boy was expelled from the 2nd grade at the end of the year for bringing a knife to school to get back at a bully. I feel sorry for him, the cards are stacked againist him.
I am having to deal with that right now and this is how we have dealt with it. We sat them down and told the kids what was what, how it was giong to be and the reason for it. They know they cannot go over there but the other child can always come over here if we are home.
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Old 07-14-2010, 03:06 PM
 
5,555 posts, read 7,451,050 times
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Your number one priority is keeping your kid safe and healthy. Hurting other people's feelings shouldn't prevent you from doing that.

Just tell your daughter that if she wants to play with that friend then the rule is you have the get-together at your house. Period. If she asks why, just tell her "Because I said so. Your choice - our house or no playdate." If the friend asks why, tell her the same thing. If the friend's mother asks why, you can explain to her that you just feel better with that decision. If she wants a more specific answer, explain to her about the drug use in her home, or whatever it is specifically that raises your red flags. Just keep it calm and watch your tone and body language when responding. If you can, try to make it seem more about you than her, this helps people to not get defensive. Even if you know it's her house or lifestyle that's making you uncomfortable, you can turn it around and use reverse psychology when dealing with her so that she doesn't blow up in your face or get all defensive. I've done this lots of times with relatives who feed on drama and love to pick fights. It usually works with them. I just have to be very clever.
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Old 07-14-2010, 06:02 PM
 
Location: Wilmington, NC
410 posts, read 699,056 times
Reputation: 280
Thanks for all of the responses! I know my priority is to keep my child safe and will always do that. I just hate being rude to people and in the past tended to give excuses instead. If I have to be rude though at some point I am trying to prepare for it.
Haggardhouseelf - If it gets to the point of having to explain my stance to the other parent, your reverse psychology idea is the best way to go.

Inthesierras - yikes! You handled that situation very well - effective but without giving too much information. I am going to sit my daughter down and have a similar talk with her. Hopefully my daughter will be just as understanding as your son.

Today the friend wanted my daughter to come over to her house, but I said no so they happily arranged for the friend to come to our house for the afternoon. They didn't seem to require an explanation this time. It helped that my daughter had gotten some new things to play with and wanted to show her friend. Of course the friend was asking about sleepovers but I simply said I didn't let my daughter have sleepovers.
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:20 PM
 
Location: The Middle
5,154 posts, read 7,069,692 times
Reputation: 6357
I always felt the hardest part regarding raising my child was dealing with other people. Give me the terrible twos and what not. I could handle it. I couldnt handle dealing with others dysfunction. I had a similar situation but unfortunately for me, that other parent was my good friend. We had known each other well before each of us got married and had kids. We got pregnant at the same time which was just a coincidence and our children were born 3 weeks apart. I thought it was going to be great! I never thought that she would be a bad mother and I never anticipated the complete dysfunction within her household. I took the cowardly way out to be honest. I wasnt strong enough to tell her that I didnt feel my child was safe alone at her home. So I made excuses as to why my child couldnt stay at her house. I think she picked up on it but never said anything. We are still friends but live many miles apart now and for the past 8 yrs we are just phone friends. Our children never really became close because I guess in a way I didnt allow it because it was too much stress for me worrying if something was going to happen to my child. My child is older and a boy so sleep overs havent really been an issue for me. It seems my son's friends are more within groups at school and so forth. I wish I could give you some solid advice but I my guess is, this other mother might actually like dumping her kid off at your house if she wants to go off and party. So her dysfunction might work in your favor where you can keep having this child come over and leave the other household out of the equation.
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