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barbszy 05-17-2007 09:59 AM

Setting Boundaries with Neighbor Kids
With summer coming and the kids playing outside more, we have more neighbor children visiting our home.

Some of these children see our car in the driveway and show up--EARLY--like at 8 AM! (On a school day, we're already up because the Big Kids are out the door by that time). But in the summer, I'm not going to want company that early. And if we get home from somewhere, as soon as the car hits the driveway, this child is knocking on the door!

I want to set some ground rules NOW that I can carry through the summer, about when it's OK to visit and when not.

I do NOT want to spend the coming weeks acting as the Gatekeeper where I have to answer the door 27 times a day and only let a visitor in when I want.

Has anyone had success in setting up a "family policy" about when visitors can come over, and how would you signal that to your (pre-reading) visitors?

texasmomof2 05-19-2007 03:48 PM

I wish I had some good advice for you. I am in the same boat. I always wanted my house to be the house the kids wanted to hang out at, but it gets very overwhelming. I too would like to know what others have done about this. My problem is I don't want to be the "mean mom", but our neighbors kids are something else. They will call and ask to spend the night, which I do not allow my kids to do. My kids must be invited somewhere, they do not call and invite themselves over. Am I too old fashioned or is this just rude behavior?

barbszy 05-20-2007 04:19 AM

Texasmom, I wouldn't like it that kids are inviting themselves overnight either. I have told my kids never to invite themselves anywhere, and that if they want to ask a friend over they must ask me or DH first (outside of the friend's hearing).

DeBora4BobbyL 05-20-2007 05:47 AM

Barb, I too had the house that everyone wanted to go to in order to play. How old are the kids? Are they old enough that you can explain your rules in a nice way? The only time I have had problems, it was with a adult. She would come over a lot. I would nicely tell her not to come between certain times since I homeschool my children. This is when I lived in Texas. Anyway, she came over anyway. So, I made a sign that I put on the front door that said, "Do not ring doorbell or knock on door. Homeschooling or testing." This girl didn't think it applied to her!!! I started yelling at her and calling her names. I got meaner and meaner to her and she still came over. I decided that I would HAVE to figure her out if I were to ever become a psychologist. I realized that she craved attention, even negative attention. So, I stuff cotton in my doorbell and did not answer my door when my sign was up on the door. She came over 2-3 times and since nobody ever answered, she stopped coming over. My sign prevented everyone from coming over. Of course, I didn't and still don't give out my phone number to everyone. The only people who have my phone number are those who should have it.

So, you could have a sign stating that you are asleep or busy, do not knock or ring doorbell. You could be a vase or something out to let your friends know that you don't mean them. lol That way, you don't have to be mean to the kids, but you have set boundaries. You could explain to the kids that sometimes you are busy, even though it is summer, and it isn't a good time for company.

Texasmom, I hate to tell you this, but you have the WRONG driver in your picture! ;) You need a good ol' Texas boy. lol

barbszy 05-20-2007 07:04 AM

DeBora, this child is 5. He has never gone to school or preschool yet, and his verbal skills are behind--no way can he read a sign. My neighbor and I are kind of worried about him; at 5 he already will not cry if he falls and skins his knees. The most emotion he ever showed when he got hurt was one time when I was washing off his skinned knee before bandaging it, and of course it stung, and he grabbed my wrists so tight--but never made a sound. Poor kid.

But anyway, he will show up before 8 AM some days, stay all day if I let him. If my van is here, he thinks it's OK to come over.

I hate feeling like I have to hide from a 5-year-old. I know he is a child in need of some attention and care--but I cannot be his full-time extra parent.

His grandparents have care of this child and his 3 older siblings and they are pretty much left to run free.

DeBora4BobbyL 05-20-2007 10:27 AM

Oh my! 5 years old is WAY too young, in my opinion, to allow a child to roam around the neighborhood. I was picturing a 10 year old or even older. Doesn't that parent care that this child could be going to the house of a perpretrator?

Barb, do you think the children are neglected? If so, you should turn it in to Child Protective Services, or whatever you call it in your state. Another thing you could do is sit the child down and explain that whenever you have a red bandana tied to the doorknob, or whatever method you use, that you are either asleep or too busy to answer the door. Do you think he would understand that?

I am concerned about his verbal skills and the fact that he doesn't cry. Even for a boy, that is odd.

barbszy 05-20-2007 10:37 AM

DeBora, whenever I even explain to him that Luke is not at home, this kid will not look me in the eye.

This is not new; they used to do the same with his older brother (age 14 and in high school now) and as far as I know with the 2 girls ages 11 and 10. The girls were wild around the age of 5 or so and we never let them play here. I already had the big brother all the time and was not about to have 2 extra girls too!

DeBora4BobbyL 05-20-2007 10:47 AM

Do you think it is possible that he has a mild case of Autism? Do you think the authorities need to know about this so that can make sure the grandparents are meeting their phyical and emotional needs? That is so sad that some children live in environments where they aren't loved or appreciated or taken care of.

barbszy 05-20-2007 02:19 PM

DeBora, I wasn't thinking autism at all. I was thinking more along the lines of, this child has learned NOT to cry. I suspected that either he is punished for it or he doesn't gain anything by it so he doesn't do it. As for the verbal abilities, I thought that it was due to a lack of attention by adults--he has not learned how to talk because no one talks to him. He can speak and be understood, but his language ability is more along the lines of "just turning 4" instead of "5 and 1/2."

He won't look me in the eye when I talk to him. He looks down at his shoes.

All these things cry out to me that this child isn't getting what he needs at home. He is fed and dressed. That's pretty much it.

DeBora4BobbyL 05-20-2007 02:37 PM

Barb, that is so sad! Bless his heart! I get the picture now.

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