21 Mar
These Kids are Taking Over My Home

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

Every year when the weather turns nice, the neighborhood “hoodlums” start to wander the streets and inevitably show up at our house to hang out with our kids, ages 9, 5, and 2. When these kids are over, they are rude, disrespectful of people, pets, and property, and either ask for snacks or bring a bunch of junk food to spoil my kids’ dinners. In addition, when these kids are around, my kids think it is okay to be mouthy and rude and throw my household rules out the window.

I suspect that most of the kids that come over are living in poverty and do not have a positive home environment. I feel badly for them; however, I feel that I need to put the safety and up-bringing of my own kids first. My oldest child has Aspergers Disorder and is VERY impulsive. My middle child is adventurous and will try anything. For the safety of all three of them, they are not allowed to leave our property, and I have told them on numerous occasions that if they want to have a friend over, they need to arrange it with me (so I can arrange it with the other mom) in advance.

I feel guilty about telling these neighborhood kids to get lost and am torn between playing a “good Samaritan” and the neighborhood bitch.  I don’t know any of the other parents well, and do not feel comfortable approaching them. I have seen some of these kids wandering the streets since they were preschoolers, and I am quite certain we have different standards when it comes to parenting.

I want my kids to be able to play outside without having to worry constantly about the neighborhood kids teaching bad habits and breaking our stuff.

Is there any nice way of telling these kids they need to play by my rules or get off my property?

Mi Casa is not Tu Casa

___________________________

Dear Mi Casa,

You know what really bugs me? Well, yes, the new sweater vest craze inspired by one political candidate. I mean, believe whatever you want politically but I think we can all agree that the sweater vest is not good for America.

You know what also bothers me? This new trend where everyone is wearing these crazy bright colored pants. Yes, they look cute. Yes, I will eventually buy a pair for way too much money. And then you know what will happen? Out. Of. Fashion. Immediately. And please tell me what I am going to do with a pair of electric blue skinny jeans then?!

But the thing that really agitates me is when The Mouthy Housewives are needed. I mean, this is our calling! You have problems, we fix them. That was actually our motto but that thing about neglecting our kids to give you advice since 2009 seemed way funnier.

But you, my dear, don’t need us.  You see, the answer to your question is right there in your letter. You ask, “Is there any nice way of telling these kids they need to play by my rules or get off my property?”

Yes! Yes, there is. You tell these kids that they need to play by your rules or they can’t come over for play dates. In fact, put these rules on a big piece of poster board. Here are some ideas…. Please and thank you must be said at all times. No food can be brought into the house. One healthy snack will be provided. Anyone who gets to rowdy will be asked to leave. That sort of thing. Whatever is important to you.

I appreciate that you want to help these children who you suspect are neglected. But letting them destroy your family and house is not helping them. Set boundaries. Stick to them. This is your home and your children. And you’re not being a bitch when you insist on protecting them.  You are being a good mother.

Good luck,

Kelcey, TMH

12 Responses to “These Kids are Taking Over My Home”

03.21.12#1

Comment by Sally.

Stick to your guns, girl. Set the rules and make them stick. We keep hearing that kids are happier when they have boundaries. You may find that these neglected kids actually like the boundaries.

03.21.12#2

Comment by Cary.

You actually will be helping them, by showing them how to behave out in the world in a way to be liked and invited back. Set the rules, stick to them, and praise and thank when they are followed. It takes a village, and all that crap; that being said, the village has to remain standing for that to work…don’t let them burn it down and drive you out!

03.21.12#3

Comment by Plano Mom.

Um… perhaps they keep coming because they are drawn to a home with an INVOLVED PARENT. Keep modeling that great behavior, and they might learn to be great, involved parents.

03.21.12#4

Comment by Chelle.

I have this issue as well with the kids across the street. They are much younger than my 13 year old, who has asperger’s syndrome. Because of his emotional immaturity, he likes to play with them, but they follow no rules. Except when they come to my house. If they don’t follow the rules here, they go home. If they don’t stay in my son’s room where they are supposed to be when they are here, they go home. I am not a snack dispenser. They know if I will provide them with a drink, but not food, because they have food at their house and they most likely haven’t been invited over. (They usually invite themselves.)

With summer coming, this is a huge issue. But with my husband working from home, I always have an out by saying, you can’t come in right now, my husband is working. Maybe she could use the “You can’t come in right now because the 2 year old is napping?” Which will only work if the 2 year old is quiet and out of sight, of course.

And if these kids are wandering the streets with no supervision, you might want to consider a call to social services. It’s illegal to allow young children out like that unsupervised. I used to work for people who did parental capacity evaluations and that was one of the issues I saw a LOT. People would lose their children because they wouldn’t watch them and it was dangerous.

Just my 2 cents.

03.21.12#5

Comment by BrassyDel.

I really like the posterboard rules idea, and agree that our letter writing friend had already answered her own question. It is totally okay to tell the kids if they want to come over, these are the rules, and not following them gets you kicked out for the day. And since Mom wants her kids at home, I really do think having the neighborhood kids over is a good idea (so long as rules are enforced). Her kids get to play with others, and she still gets to supervise them. That’s the strategy my mom used when we were kids, and it worked out very well. Be prepared to be everyone’s favorite, though, especially if they don’t have firm boundaries at home! Kids like structure, so after the initial shock of rules enforcement, I really would bet that it works out well.

03.21.12#6

Comment by patrick.

There’s something to be said for sweater vests. .

Big ol' B with a capital B Reply:

Yes, there is something to be said for sweater vests…. let’s burn them. 🙂

03.21.12#7

Comment by NandEm's mom.

Great advice as always! My only addition: everyone takes 5 minutes to pick up and put away toys before they go home.

Big ol' B with a capital B Reply:

Agreed!

03.21.12#8

Comment by Nicole.

Please don’t call social services, I don’t think there’s a law saying kids can’t walk around alone. I wish we lived in a neigborhood where all the kids were out playing. Of coure enforce your rules, but it almost seems like you want your kids to play only with each other. Kids will initially copy their friends, but you are the biggest influence at this point and you can teach them better without protecting them from the world. Get to know these kids, and their parents if you see them

red pen mama Reply:

I was thinking something like this also. While I absolutely agree that children who “visit” need to follow house rules, there is a little bit of a helicopter vs. free-range vibe I am getting from the LW. Of course, the 2yo shouldn’t be out on his/her own, and she rightfully wants to protect her Asperger’s child from his own impulsiveness. But some parents are a lot more low-key about their children playing in the neighborhood. She shouldn’t think about calling social services unless she has clear-cut proof of abuse rather than what may be benign neglect. I really think she should reach out to the parents in the neighborhood — they may have no idea that their children are disrupting another’s house hold, and may be inspired to help their kids respect other people’s boundaries.

10.04.12#9

Comment by Play Dates are No Fun with Stinky Feet | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] So let’s focus on the positive. Your daughter made a new friend!! Making friends can be hard (have you tried it lately?) and how wonderful that she connected with someone in her class.  You don’t want to sabotage their blossoming relationship so we must find a solution to these stinky play dates. […]

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