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Do you keep your kids away from other kids?

post #1 of 114
Thread Starter 
I mean this in the nice possible way, but...

I feel like other people's kids are really bad influences on mine. She is quick to imitate/copy/pick up bad behaviors and then it takes SO long for her to overcome them. In general I'm just NOT a fan of this generation of kids. Is that horrible to say, or what?!

I feel like homeschooling will help since she's picking up bad behaviors at her preschool, but even so, it's kids around here that are really obnoxious. I live in a place where parents are very free-flowing and don't have rules. I'm a HUGE fan of as little rules as necessary, but these kids have almost zero rules. It's been so hard.

I just picked up a copy of "Hold on to Your Kids" and the author goes into detail about what I'm feeling...that kids these days aren't as well-mannered as previous generations. His theory is that children follow their peers instead of adults and therefore don't learn to listen to adults. This seems like it's really true of what I see going on. Kids believe other kids more than adults.

I don't really know what to do...I know it would be wrong to keep her completely from other kids, but it's very tempting until she's at an age when she can stand on her own two feet, understand what isn't right (behavior-wise), and follow her heart instead of just wanting to fit in.
post #2 of 114
I think it's perfectly fine to keep your children away from specific kids that you believe would be a bad influence but keeping them away from all other children because you are worried about behaviors rubbing off doesn't seem healthy IMO. But I think you already know that. Yes it's tempting though.

Can you find families that parent in ways similar to you? There's AP groups, homeschool groups, etc. Make friends and have playdates. Not everyone lets their kids run wild, even though it may seem like you are surrounded by them.
post #3 of 114
Complaints about the general worthlessness and rudeness of youth have been on record since Ancient Greece. And the reason we don't have them from before that is that the records deteriorate.

I don't know how old your daughter is, but you are going to need to overcome your aversion to kids her age. Ideally, soon. My son is two, and while yes, he has picked up the occasional bit of bad behavior at daycare, he's also taken some bad behavior in. It's not like the devil-children at the DC corrupted my innocent angel. It's more like, they all got together and compared notes.

Anyone who has ever been lonely has some level of desire to fit in, so you're probably best off finding a group of parents you like and kids your own child's age who you can cope with.
post #4 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raene View Post
I just picked up a copy of "Hold on to Your Kids" and the author goes into detail about what I'm feeling...that kids these days aren't as well-mannered as previous generations. His theory is that children follow their peers instead of adults and therefore don't learn to listen to adults. This seems like it's really true of what I see going on. Kids believe other kids more than adults.
I'm a fan of "Hold on to Your Kids," but I didn't pull what you are getting from the book. My understanding is that kids will form affiliations or attachments, and the lack of strong parental affiliation or attachment predispositions the child to form strong peer attachments, which he terms "peer orientation." Where the primary orientation is will be where the child looks for guidance and acceptance. Obviously, children are not mature enough to parent other children.

A preschool aged child is bound to imitate other children - regardless of where the primary orientation is. The role of the parent is to discuss what behavior is acceptable, why and vice versa. A young child left to sort this out on his or her own can not be expected to make good decisions.

Neufeld and Mate give good pointers to parents on how to keep attachments with their children strong, or reattach if necessary. I doubt, though, that they would advocate keeping a child completely away from other children.
post #5 of 114
I think you might be seeing one of the peaks of imitating group behaviour. It's not fun to navigate so I understand what you are feeling.

For me, I think homeschooling has allowed us to be selective of the kinds of kids we want to spend the majority of our with. And when we encounter families whose expectations for behaviour are different than our family's, it gives us a chance to talk about that in ways that reinforce the values that are important to us. It gives my kids a chance to stretch their problem solving skills and sometimes their compassion and/or tolerance.

I don't think keeping kids apart from others is the answer. I do think that it's important to be present for your kids and to be able to step in and help when it is needed.

For example I just sent some neighbourhood kids home. My kids have tendency to clash with these kids and these particular kids don't have a lot of skills in constructive or creative problem solving. Almost every issue quickly devolves into them calling my kids names, excluding or shunning, general stereotypical schoolyard nastiness. It would be easier for me to just say that they aren't allowed to play here ( and it often cross my mind ) but I also need to be aware of what affect me declaring these kids off limits will be as they seem to be particularly attractive to one of my kids. So it is my preference to be really present when they are hear which tends to have a dampening effect on out of bounds behaviour and allows me to 1) reinforce our family rules to keep my kids safe and help them be respectful and 2) help my kids and by extension the neigbhourhood kids develop some better problem solving tactics. In contrast we have another neighbourhood family and the kids are lovely and really play well with all my kids and I would hate for my kids to miss out on that friendship.

Our larger homeschool group has a similar dynamic with kids who I think are great and who I really enjoy and other kids that we tend to limit our contact with. It's the same for me as an adult. I want to help my kids learn to discern the kinds of friends they want and the way they want their friends to treat them. I hope by doing this now they will have a stronger sense in their teenage years when the stakes are raised.

Good luck - navigating this stuff is rarely easy unfortunately.

Karen
post #6 of 114
No, I don't keep my kids from other kids.

And I think a lot of the times, the problems with kids in large peer groups, is that there is a minimal level of supervision and adult feedback about particular activities. This is reduced in a lot of homeschooling communities because families often attend events together. And while the kids often go and do their own thing, there is more of a presence, and swifter intervention when problems arise.

But no, I don't keep my kids from other kids, and think peer interactions are very important. And I can't help but admit that when I saw one woman be open about how she's glad to find a homeschool group so she can avoid Those Daycare Kids and their bad habits, it left a bad taste in my mouth, and didn't have me feeling particularly comfortable with her.
post #7 of 114
The great thing about homeschooling is that you do have an incredible opportunity to create the kinds of environments your child will do best in, including the people he or she learns from.

My oldest is such a social guy, he loves playing with friends! The challenge for me was finding a way for him to be with other kids and adults who would honor him for who he is at heart, teach/model for him positive skills and behaviors, and who he could have a good time with.

As luck would have it, we were able to forego the typical preschool route when a friend of mine invited us to join a 6-child at-home preschool co-op she was putting together. He participated in it twice a week for about 8 months, until we moved. He made friends, and I knew and trusted the moms, who had similar value systems and goals as I did. Of course, we were all different people in many ways, but it still worked SO well. I also learned a lot through that and from seeing my son grow in healthy ways, my trust of him being with others grew.

When I moved, we created our own co-op with mothers I met with children of close ages, and that was wonderful, until he was 5. He has always been a Leader type, starting games and inviting others to play, which makes it easier for me (He wasn't the one to pick up bad behaviors from kids, but he did occasionally from TV! Whole 'nother thread, ) . If things came up, we'd talk about what our family values are and how he can make good choices in how he speaks and acts no matter where he is. That works well for his age. He now is 6 and no more regular playgroups, but there are a few friends he has in the neighborhood, and I know I can trust him in their homes and they come to our, also.

I would add, that it can be helpful to read about socio-emotional stages so you can become better acquainted with what is normal and what needs attention in children of various ages. This helped me a lot to see through what might seem annoying behaviors, which were actually quite normal to certain ages and stages (like biting and hitting in toddlers, which needed correction or prevention, but was normal for that age), and to recognize when a child may be acting out consistently, and their parent avoided correcting their behavior, making it not a safe or happy person for my son to be around--we tended to avoid those situations.

One-on-one play is also a good way for kids to learn the social aspect without a lot of "overload" (for child or mom) and gives you a good opportunity to support them in making friends perhaps at a pace that works well for you as you are navigating this as a parent. ETA: Remember to provide things for them to play with, but spend more time letting them lead their own activities and just help when asked. They need time and space to figure things out, and I have found my son really appreciates his space when he has a friend over. If he needs me, he'll call for me (and occasionally I'll step in to referee if things get out of hand, but that's few and far between)
post #8 of 114
In the young years no, because most of the incidences of bad influence are developmentally normal things. My kids never threw tantrums, but had friends that did. And my kids never snatched toys, but had friends that did. Things like that I just consider part of the normal learning curve of growing up- even though I lucked out with my super mellow kids.

As they grew older I did and do keep them away from kids that display abusive behavior- physically or mentally. Kids that are very rude, or highly manipulative. A child has to be pretty bad before I say "mmm no."

I also tend to steer my kids away from kids with parents I would never in a million years associate with. I'm not talking poor vs rich (we are pretty low on that totem pole), but pretty much lifestyles I don't agree with. Violence, active addicts things like that.

We are over protective and I always give people the benefit of the doubt before I make a judgment call.
post #9 of 114
There have been a couple of kids I didn't want my dd to hang around a lot but I haven't really thought I needed to keep her away from all kids.

Your dd sounds pretty young. I think it is perfectly okay to limit peer socializing at that age. Maybe just try to find 1 or 2 families that are more of your mind to hang out with instead of putting her in a group setting.
post #10 of 114
no i don't keep my kids away from specific children. we have one child that isn't my favorite for my dd. but we simply keep playdates at our house, which allows a little more supervision from my part. i wouldn't allow my daughter to spend the night at their home, but this little girl is welcome in ours. as my children get older, i'll evaluate situations as they arise & step in if needed. i think if i severed a friendship without my kids being part of that decision though, it would take away from the growth & lesson they may have learned & simply leave my kids feeling bitter with me. ykwim?

fwiw, my little girl is 7 1/2. she picks up mannerisms of her friends too. i think that is very common in children, especially girls.

ETA: if my child doesn't like a specific child, i will limit contact for sure. my post is in reference to kids that my children seem to really enjoy but *i* have issues with.
post #11 of 114
Dude, I keep my kids away from a whole lotta kids. I would go so far to say that I'd probably prefer to avoid most kids. I find many kids out there in the world that are very exposed to TV, float around the PS school system, haven't been taught morals, & just generally get their beliefs & ideas from pop culture crap instead of their family, to be humans that I do not want my impressionable kids spending large amounts of time with. We've had good luck with our local homeschool group, though. My kids have made plenty of friends with non-obnoxious kids.

Just to clarify, I know that all kids do weird or rude things at times, but what I'm talking about are kids that just run by & trample toddlers at the park & don't even slow down, cuss & swear, yell instead of talk, talk back to adults constantly, & are just downright rude without being corrected by their parent.

We were picking strawberries today at u-pick. There was a little boy who lived there at the strawberry farm. He was about 4. No kidding at all, he called *every single person* that entered his parent's strawberry patch "dirtbag, poop head or jerkface". Everyone! Right in front his mom! Then he turned the hose on my friend's 4 yr old while she screamed, threw strawberries at my 11 yr old all the while calling him horrible names, & then yelled "don't hit me with your bag dirtbag!" at my friend who had never spoken a word to him but happened to be walking past him carrying a bag. I'm so glad my own 3 yr old wasn't with me to witness his behavior.
post #12 of 114
I don't keep my kid away from other kids. I have faith that with the emphasis we put on ethical treatment and respect, he will do the right thing. That doesn't mean he always does, but that he's learning slowly what really is right and wrong. Why would I steal such an experience from him to put him in a bubble?

He went paintballing the other day. Lots of kids, few chaperones. We were due to meet the group at 8:45 so we walked up at 8:20 (because early is better than late. ) It took a while for the group to get going (I was there until 9:30), but it did give me a chance to watch how about 20 kids between the ages of 8 and 13 handled themselves. They climbed on the sign, ran around in the store, play fought, bounced off the van....in general rowdy little boys and girls.

My child was not an angel, but nor was he one of the worst. He didn't climb on the sign, he didn't bounce off the van. He ran with the group until they got into the store and then decided that "blocking" the entrance was a way to maintain his status without going the full amok. (or in his words "I wasn't going to run in there! But I couldn't stop playing, they would have chased me!")

He's learning. Enough work on teaching how to figure out what's right or not is helping him now navigate his way at an age where there's less supervision and more danger. I have to be able to trust him in a few years to do what's right when no one is watching, when he has to deal with the peer pressure on his own.

It starts early. If your goal is perfection, a child who is an angel in your eyes, by all means don't allow your child to be with others. But also note that it will take longer for your child to be able to stand on her own two feet and learn right from wrong/what to do when others are in the wrong.

If your goal is to teach, take advantage of those opportunities! Let her have a friend over one at a time so she can figure out how to handle conflicts. Increase the group size as she shows more backbone.
post #13 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raene View Post
In general I'm just NOT a fan of this generation of kids.
Are you serious? I find that disturbing. As your child's peers, unless you plan on locking her in a closet for the rest of her life, you're going to have to find a way to relate to this generation. Some people are rude, sometimes people act unkindly. It's not restricted to any particular generation and I honestly don't see it applying across the board to an entire generation.

Quote:
I don't really know what to do...I know it would be wrong to keep her completely from other kids, but it's very tempting until she's at an age when she can stand on her own two feet, understand what isn't right (behavior-wise), and follow her heart instead of just wanting to fit in.
Around what age do you think this might occur?

I have not kept my kids away from other kids. There are some kids mine have not wanted to associate with, and that's their choice to make, but I wouldn't keep them away from other kids.

When they were small, I was on hand to help them sort out disagreements when they needed me to. I still give them ideas for how to respond to certain things or resolve difficulties. We talk about choices they make and choices others make.

I think that learning to "do the right thing" happens through experience. Sometimes it happens after we see reactions to having done the wrong thing. Sometimes the right thing is obvious, other times it takes some thought and angst. I'm not even sure HOW one would prevent contact with a whole segment of society, but if you could, I don't think it would be healthy. How can one learn to be social without BEING social?

I think that, being an involved parent, who's there as an example and advisor would be the way to go.
post #14 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
Are you serious? I find that disturbing.
Oh yes, I'm serious. In general I don't like other kids, only my own. There are a few exceptions, but the children around us are not disciplined/parented and are left to do as they please without having rules enforced. I find them to be little monsters. Sorry if that's rough...it's true. Kids need some boundaries to learn and grow, and these kids don't have it. I've had my friends and their children over for dinner and I'll make a really big meal and their kids will say loudly "THIS is DISGUSTING. I HATE this." To me that is unacceptable behavior, yet parents do nothing.

Maybe I'm just living in the wrong place. This kind of behavior would never have been tolerated a few generations ago...
post #15 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raene View Post
I've had my friends and their children over for dinner and I'll make a really big meal and their kids will say loudly "THIS is DISGUSTING. I HATE this." To me that is unacceptable behavior, yet parents do nothing.
You do realize that what you are describing is age appropriate until about 6yo? Yes? Kids aren't born with filters.

With such a low tolerance for other children you might want to find a way to have a sitter take your child to playdates, clubs and other things so that your prejudices aren't affecting your child.
post #16 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raene View Post
I've had my friends and their children over for dinner and I'll make a really big meal and their kids will say loudly "THIS is DISGUSTING. I HATE this." To me that is unacceptable behavior, yet parents do nothing.
It can also be age-appropriate behavior. A young child could be at the point where they know how they feel and they're able to express it, BUT they haven't yet learned to consider how what they say might effect others. It could also be that they're still at a developmental stage where they're pretty self-centered and, in their minds, their own feelings are more important than others' feelings. Young kids are likely to just "tell it like it is" (for them) and not consider the time and effort that someone else has invested.

That's not to say I would PROMOTE these types of comments, just that they're entirely understandable.

As far as parents doing nothing: When I've felt the need to talk with one of my kids about something I don't do it in front of an audience--I'd speak with them later, in private about it, or, if a matter of urgency, I'd whisper to them or take them aside. It's possible that the parents ARE addressing these things, just not in front of you. Of course, it's also possible that they're NOT addressing them--I'm just saying it's hard to know.

And, it's not often the case that one single reminder from a parent is going to prevent the same thing from happening again. It takes time.

But your kids can learn positive things even by being witness to this. In reviewing the dinner with your kids, you could comment that it hurt your feelings when the child said that. You could say something like, "It's okay that he didn't like the dinner, but the way he said it hurt my feelings. If *I* was at a dinner, and I didn't like something, I would have just eaten the parts that I did like."
post #17 of 114
where do you live? in all seriousness, it's hard to believe all children but your's act like little monsters. and i also find it hard to believe all parents but you do absolutely nothing to redirect behavior. i would do 1 of 2 things. i would either move away quickly, or i'd re-examine my own outlook to see if my perception is misguided. i'm sorry you are having a hard time. i hope you are able to sort through your feelings and find a solution, especially for your children's sake.
post #18 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raene View Post
Maybe I'm just living in the wrong place. This kind of behavior would never have been tolerated a few generations ago...


even if that were true, it's just not helpful to your current situation. we can't time travel to our *ideal* era, and therefore you need to figure out how to handle this. i don't think isolating your kids is an option, but you can teach your children values & morals and lay a foundation that they can stand firmly upon. i believe my influence is greater than that of peers. i really believe you can expose your kids to things that grate your nerves and use it as a training ground to build character.
post #19 of 114
We have kids that we have said, "NO WAY!" My son was mad about one until 2 weeks ago......this kid is sitting in juvi. We have had a lot, I mean A LOT, of conversations about this. All our kids have inquired about how we knew that this boy was a bad/wrong influance. How it is different from one of their goofiest, but "oddball", friends.

We have other kids we advoid. Not the first kids we ask to join along but don't forget about.

But we don't isolate them from other kids. I think that is completely wrong. We just never made peer groups the main focus. It is good to play with other kids, even a few hours a day but not in the current day care/preschool environment were you don't have a good adult/child ratio.
post #20 of 114
I think you need to change your social circle. I agree, there are a lot of kids out there who have no guidelines and are little terrors. I didn't spend time with them when I was a kid, and I wouldn't let my kids spend time with them now. But my kids have spent plenty of time with other kids.

When my oldest was little, we participated in a playgroup. All the moms were there and we all supervised and helped the kids learn how to get along. Now we do more playdates with certain kids since our playgroup kind of dissolved (everyone's kids were starting school and everyone was too busy).

Siblings certainly teach social interaction. My boys play with each other all the time. They get on each other's nerves from time to time, but I'm there to help them handle it and work it out. When they play with other kids, I am very impressed with the way they treat other people. I am sure it has a lot to do with the practice and guidance they've received while playing with each other.

There are neighbor kids that used to come down and want to play with my boys that I allowed for a time and then said no to. The little girl was extremely bossy, and it seemed all those kids wanted to do was come into my house and watch tv. I don't allow my children to watch tv, and I don't want them coming over just to watch tv. I couldn't trust them to obey me when I was not in the room, so they are not allowed to come play any more. I also didn't like how the little girl bossed her little brother and my son around. No one has to play with someone like that, and you don't always realize at first how miserable it is.
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