When You Decide Your Child Can't Be Friends With Another Child
When I was little my neighbor did not like our family. Sadly, they were the only family on the street with kids around my age, and the mom was the president of our church's Sunday school program.
And she did.not.like.me.
Or any of my family, really.
The only time my siblings and I were invited over, we had a BLAST playing and playing and playing. Then we went home.
A few days later, we went back to play and my friends told us we were never allowed back in the house because we didn't clean up the playroom when we left. And we never were. If we were running around outside and the group would go in to get drinks, we stayed outside. I never stepped foot in that house again.
I know now she was a total, hardened wench to be so petty to a little kid about a rule I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW ABOUT, but that didn't matter to my five-year-old self. I vowed I would never be that mean to my kid's friends.
Whoops. I have failed in that area.
I told my boys that they are not allowed to play and be friends with a little boy.
I feel for this kid, I do.
But it got to the point that I could not allow him around my kids anymore.
"Randy" is well known around the neighborhood. He is out at night until 10:30-11:00 p.m. on the street with no one looking for him. I don't know that he is "neglected" in the traditional sense, but this kid sure does not have good parenting around him at all. At the functions I have seen his family at, they are usually screaming and yelling at each other publicly. I don't want to write slamming them, but there are definite reasons why this kid is the way he is. You don't get the mouth that you have on him at 10 from TV alone. My children were not allowed to play over there. At the very least, the parental supervision is non-existent, at best ... there is just an element there I don't want my kids around.
For a very long time we had the "Randy needs to play over here. Abide by our rules. You aren't allowed at his house" rule, but it was a constant battle to get him to listen to our rules and all of that went out the window when he started fighting us about going home and then not leaving our yard without it turning into a big stand-off. It seemed rules were meant to be repeatedly broken for this one despite consequence. The final straw was when my youngest said that -- after days of begging and pressuring -- he violated our "do not go over there to play" rule and sobbed out that "Randy" showed them pornography and some other things we just do not want our children around.
So we banned him from our home and our kids' lives. They do not go to school together, and he is to have contact at scouts and that's it.
I cannot trust him, and I cannot trust his parents. I also cannot trust my own children to obey my rules and not give into peer pressure around him. This child has brought a lot of harm into my son's lives, and I am not going to allow that to happen.
My boys weren't surprised and actually seemed really relieved that we came down with the edict. They fought a lot, and, at heart, my sons don't disobey without a lot of weight on their consciences. I am not trying to make them into little angels, but whenever they went against rules to do something "Randy" wanted them to do, they felt bad. They always told us, and I think having that pressure gone is a relief. They don't seem to miss him.
I pointed out to them that they need to be able to say "NO," because there are lots of "Randys" in the world, and I can't make all of them go away. They need to make their own good decisions just because they are good choices.
I realize this makes me seem pretty heartless and cruel about a kid. I guess you'd have to know him and me to really know for certain. I would love to be the character in the movie who sees past it all, who comes in and makes a difference in this kid's life, but it's just not something I am capable of right now. I am just trying to get my own family raised. We've tried to let him play at our house, but honestly ... every instinct I have as a mom says "keep this kid away from yours as much as you can."
And I have a lot of guilt about it.
Just not enough to risk putting his welfare above my kids'.
What about you? Have you ever had something like this happen with your kids and their friends? Have you been able to work it out and mentor them or have you had to cut ties?