Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How do you handle neighbor kids?

Apparently, the house we bought came with a 7 year old neighbor boy. I've never had to deal with other people's children showing up in my yard unannounced and uninvited. It's very strange and rude to me for other people to not supervise and take care of their own children. I know most people accept this with neighborhood life but I didn't grow up in a neighborhood, and I wasn't raised to go onto other people's property uninvited, looking for then to entertain me. I don't like feeling that I am suddenly responsible for some one's child. AND, that I have NO privacy!
People have to keep their animals out of other people's yards, why not their children? I love children {obviously!}, but with three little ones of my own and a fourth one on the way, I really am not eager to take on some one's child just because they don't want to deal with them.
Every time we set foot out of our house we live in fear that he will show up yet again, and usually he does. We have been nothing but nice and friendly to him. I have intentionally not invited him in. It's nothing personal against him, he is really a very smart, adorably red-headed, cute as can be, well spoken kid. He comes over to visit with Joe and I, not our kids. I do feel sorry for him, he comes from a family that is split about 6 ways and he seems really lonesome. It's not that I haven't considered the possibility of God putting him in our life, but then I go back to it being too much. I'm not a babysitter!
We really don't have a relationship with his dad and step-mom, they are a retired older couple {we thought they were his grandparents}. I'm perplexed as to how we should deal with this situation. I just want to tell him, "Look, it's rude for you to come over uninvited." But I really don't want to offend him or his parents. They aren't worried about offending their neighbors and leaving him to be entertained by us. I'm being patient and giving it some thought before I say anything.
So, I need advice! Have you ever had to deal with something like this? Did you say anything, if so what happened and did you regret it? I'd also like some help on how to address it with him. What would you say if you were me? I'm sure many of you will think I'm being unfriendly and un-neighborly. Any help would be appreciated!

I hate the heat, and it's been really hot lately. There are things I love about summer, so I'm trying to focus on all the great things instead of how hot I am. I love that Joe is home with us everyday, I love that we don't have to have school, I love that we now have a/c in our van and I love watching the kids play in the pool. They have so much fun playing in the water and imagining together. We have been alternating between my mom's blow up pool and our own.
I love pop-cycles, even if I can't eat any!

I love Bethany's freckled face!

I think Jenna drank a little too much pool water because she woke up sick yesterday morning. Thankfully, it didn't last long. She laid around and drank Gatorade most of the day but was up and running by supper time.

I'm 15 weeks pregnant and have a doctors appointment tomorrow. Looking forward to hearing the baby's heartbeat. The nausea is officially gone and I'm SO grateful!! I had to break out the maternity pants this week. Why is that I always feel guilty about putting my regular pants away? I feel like I'm too big, too fast. Of course, when I slipped them on I told Joe they felt heavenly! Got to love stretchy pants. It's like eating ice cream, the guilt goes away while you're enjoying it!


Bernadette said...

We have had a similar issue with neighbor kids. I have no wisdom to impart, and will be looking forward to what other "stalkers" say about how to tactfully deal with the issue. Just wanted to affirm that you are not aweful for wanting your outside playtime to be a family thing, not you babysitting someone elses kids so they can do whatever they want... At least you can praise the Lord he is well mannered! That is a starting point! :)

Kristen & Cliff said...

We just treat them like our own in a situation like that. If it is ok for them to be there we say so, if we need them to go we tell them they need to go home. If that failed to work I do not know what we would do. I will be anxious to see what others say. Glad you are feeling better!

Amanda Brady said...

Well, growing up we were defintely one of the neighborhood hangouts. My parents were very gracious - our house was a safe place and my parents were loving and great, so a lot of the neighbor kids loved hanging out there.

If you seriously believe that God may have put this kid in your path for a reason, then maybe you set some rules. (only allowed to stop in between 3-5 p.m. or only on the weekend or something like that) Otherwise, you may have to have a conversation with his parents.

Anonymous said...

I think we need to stop and use the babysitting word. Perhaps he longs for what you have as a family. I have 3 growned children and 2 grandchildren, our home was like that, and I never ever turned my back on any of them. Trust me when I tell you that he has not any kind of family home life and he is so seeking your attention. Maybe you can kindly say to him that this is not a good time for him to visit and always ask him if there is something he needs or tell you?? be gracious !! and please DO NOT go and speak to his parents, that might get hm into trouble and he is NOT doing anything wrong. Hugs!

Miranda said...

Re: Anonymous. . .
First off, I'll just clarify that anonymous comments always lose credibility with me. Particularly since 95% of all anonymous comments I've ever received have a rude/mean tone. When someone won't post their name to their opinion, it obvious that they are being unkind and don't want to be responsible for their words.
Secondly, I see NOTHING wrong with the use of the word babysitting. Please explain to me how taking care, attending to and being responsible for another person's 7 year old is not babysitting. Webster's defines babysitting as: to care for children usually during a short absence of the parents;
It's not that I don't understand your view about being attentive to a possibly hurting child, it's your wording. I have been and will be nothing but kind to him. However, I can still be kind in setting boundaries. It does not make me ungracious or a bad person if I don't wish to deal with another person's child at any given moment. If I'm not at a place in my life to have a child continually over, I shouldn't have to tolerate it out of duty.
He agree that he is innocent and clueless that his intrusiveness is wrong, but it is wrong.
Are you at a place in your life now that if you had a neighbor child continually showing up it would be fine?
HUGS back! lol

{Kimber} said...

don't you just love anonymous comments :) haha

we had a neighbor child show up ALL THE TIME and I like you tried to be kind but it was in fact ANNOYING and RUDE...I finally did ask his parents to please don't let him just show up and it all seemed to work out fine after that.
It is your right to say something, yes it is sad that he is lonely but it is still rude to just show up uninvited :)

Marsha said...

Hi Miranda!

It's me Marsha. I must say that that is a hard situation to work through.
I myself love to see Lily play with other children on an on/off basis. I like to have "family time" with just me and the kids, and then again I also like to see her interact with others outside the family (on a lesser level than family alone time). Even though I like to see her playing with other children, it's in particular hard on me because I'm in almost constant worry. I worry that the child might fall, or that Lily would unexpectedly throw a toy and hurt the child, visa versa, etc. I guess I'm a classic worry-wart. Perhaps you can approach the subject on the "safety" side of things. Maybe speak to the child or to the parents (stessing that the child is extremely well behaved) with the idea that you are worried that if something happened, or if he got hurt without one of them being there, you would feel really bad or responsible for what happened. If the response is, "That's ok, I'm sure he will be fine." Then I would just stress that I would still feel really really bad if something happened so I would really appreciate it if mom is there when he visits just in case. 9 times out of 10, mom doesnt have the time to be out with him as often as he is wanting to visit, so you would be reducing the visits to 1 time out of 10. If they do come over together for a visit, then you have the opportunity to share some encuragement/be a light to them both while she is there to care for him. Please take or toss because I know what works for one, doesn't always works for all.

I can definately see how that would become a very stressful issue especially since you can sense that the child is craving attention. I hope you find a way to work things out for the best. I try to pray before I act. The Lord can lead you to do the right thing. :)

Lyndsay Taylor said...

Hey girl! I woke up thinking about this, this morning! (I read it yesterday)

First of all, I would be aggravated and perplexed about having a constant visitor as well if I were in your shoes. Ultimately, as in ALL ministry opportunities, there are boundaries and I know you guys will share those in a communicative, clear, and kind way...maybe first to the boy and then if he doesn't respond, to the parents. I don't see how this would be offensive as long as you aren't eluding to the idea that they are bad parents for letting him run around without their supervision, etc. :)

A lot of times in ministry we have shared family time with some strange and sometimes time-consuming characters! I think it has made Selah a really accepting and loving person, even though sometimes I was wanting to protect our family time. I remember one time at Diverse City she said "Group hug!" and it was me, Jack, selah, a friend in a wheelchair, a friend with several learning disabilities, and some pierced and tattoed kids too. It was such a reward to see that! The more the merrier was my thought at that moment. :)

Don't feel bad to set boundaries, (I am really big on boundaries!) I just wanted to share how God can use the sacrifice. Y'all are such a precious family. Love the pictures and stories!

Bryony P. said...

Well, we had a pretty similar thing happen when we lived in town. When this little 4 year old girl showed up on our steps one day I thought she was lost. She told us her name and was in our yard while we tried to find out where she belonged for over half an hour before we heard her mom start calling for her from 2 houses down. Basically we let her hang out with us for the most part but I did let her know that if she was at our house she'd have to go by our rules or go home. Also we would often say no when she rang the doorbell and asked to come in. I think that's perfectly okay to do when it's not a good time to have extra kids around. We never did talk to her mom about it because when we did chat with her from time to time it was quite clear she was barely coping with life in general, which is probably why the little girl preferred to be over with us to begin with. Definitely, you need to have boundaries with the child. I would think though that if he listens to you and leaves when you ask him to, it's probably not neccessary to make it an issue with the parents. Maybe just tell him he needs to ask for permission to come into the yard, and then you have an easy chance to say "No, sorry, not right now." when he does. Good luck!

Vanamari said...

Hi, I was searching the web and found your post. I'm actually experiencing something very similar. I live in apartment complext and the 2.5 yr old upstairs is constantly being left alone to wander around, up and down the stairs, even on the edge of the parking lot. I guess because of our dogs and my container plants he frequently goes in our porch area (not enclosed). The mother is rarely outside, and today, when she was, he still managed to pull all my container plants out, she was right next to him and did nothing! Basically, I looked into it more, and even though a child isn't physically abused, a child left unsupervised, even for a short while, is a sign of neglect and concern. I call these people ( and they gave me the appropriate number in my area in my number to look into it. Many of my friends have 2.5 yr olds, that speak a lot, or atleast developing their speech well. This poor boy yells, slurs nothings, and I'm worried that him not being supervised is just the surface of the problem.