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Neighbor boy temporarily lost tonight

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
A sweet 6yo boy, "John," lives next door to us and is friends with my 5yo DS. John comes over to play a lot, and one time as I was watching him leave our house I noticed that instead of going back to his house, he headed toward another friend's house. I stopped him and told him to go check in with his dad first so that his dad would know where he was and not think he was still at our house. I told my DH about that, and DH started doing the same thing when John would leave our house, reminding him to go check in at home.

Well, tonight John came over and asked to play and I said no because we had family over, and I didn't even think about the whole going-to-another-neighbor's house thing and just shut the door. Then over an hour later John's grandma came over looking for him and had no idea where he'd been all that time -- she thought he was at our house! We went outside looking and she went door to door looking, and a few other neighbors came out to help, and eventually John was found at another friend's house.

His grandma seemed pretty worried and said something about how he's supposed to come home in between friends' houses so she knows where he is. Even though we all knew he was probably fine and just at another friend's house, it was scary trying to find him, and I felt guilty, like I had dropped the ball since I know this has been an issue with this boy. On the other hand, I was busy and distracted by our guests and I can't be responsible for everything, you know? I'm just glad he's safe, and I guess I'll be redoubling my efforts to make sure he goes straight home each and every time he leaves our doorstep!
post #2 of 10
Well, it's nice of you to help keep an eye on him. Five is too young to always remember to check in. Maybe tonight will help him remember. But, it's good when other moms are willing to watch out for him.

If I hadn't had other moms looking out for me, I bet my childhood could have been a lot less happy.
post #3 of 10
Glad he's okay. It's definitely not your responsibility - so don't feel bad. It's nice that you remind him; I do, too, for the neighbor girl who is almost 9 b/c otherwise her mom will be calling me and I have to say all I know is she left at 3:00 or whenever. That would drive me crazy if my kids did that (and only my oldest plays with neighbors, and she has a phone).
post #4 of 10
sounds like the little boy should have a phone on him.

i am pretty impressed with him though, to confidently wander off to neighbours house. to also have so many neighbours to go to. very envious.

i dont think you need to remind him. but his parents need to know which houses he does visit. i am sure they wont be that concerned or scared next time.

that was my childhood growing up. though i am not sure if i started at 6.

my dd used to do this when she was 3 1/2. i would tell her to tell me but she wouldnt. my mom lived in a tall apt bldg and dd would go visit our neighbours on our floor. i would hear the door slam and knew she left. but she stayed on our floor and didnt go anywhere else. usually closer to lunch she would call and let us know if she was coming home for lunch or not. it was just 7 apts so not that tough. there was security in teh bldg so she wouldnt be able to leave without anyone seeing her. if she wanted to go to another floor she would ask or tell me where she was going. all the people looked out for her. she loved that community and misses it terribly.
post #5 of 10
My now 11 yo did this when she was 6. She was riding her bike around the block & it was taking an awfully long time for her to get back. I found her at a friends house the street behind us & a couple of houses over. She picked some dandelions in the backyard & was not allowed to go to friends houses for the rest of the week & reminders after that to come back home before switching houses so I'd know where she was & she never did it again.

My other 2 kids friends all live in acreages so it's not an issue as they have to be driven.lol
post #6 of 10
Am I the only one amazed at this? Isn't that sort of young to just go out without anybody watching to see if he arrived/was welcomed wherever he was going? Even in a safe neighborhood I would think he might need to be in somebody's sight....?
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kanga2roo View Post
Am I the only one amazed at this? Isn't that sort of young to just go out without anybody watching to see if he arrived/was welcomed wherever he was going? Even in a safe neighborhood I would think he might need to be in somebody's sight....?
I personally wouldn't be comfortable not knowing which house my DS was in for hours at a time, but I know that lots of parents are more free-range than I am. My DS isn't allowed to play at these neighbors' house because their level of supervision doesn't mesh well with mine. So, I have their DS over to my house instead, which they seem fine with.
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by kanga2roo View Post
Am I the only one amazed at this? Isn't that sort of young to just go out without anybody watching to see if he arrived/was welcomed wherever he was going? Even in a safe neighborhood I would think he might need to be in somebody's sight....?
If he were my kid, I would tell him he needed to call when he arrived at someone's house to play, so I could find him when I needed to, but I see nothing wrong with his walking around like that at 6.
post #9 of 10
We moved into a new neighborhood last summer and the neighbor boy who is 7 does this same thing. We were here about three days when he came over, introduced himself and stayed for hours in hour backyard. I had to send my name and number home with him so his mom could call me. She never introduced herself or anything and he came over almost every day for a few weeks. Another neighbor told us if we ever saw a patrol car, they're probably out looking for J.

It's sad to me that this boy is so ill-supervised that his parents don't know where he is and will allow him to spend hours with people they've never met. I love the idea of having many neighbors that are comfortable enough to be a community like that. But it's just not the case with our neighbor boy. I don't know if it's the same for you. I think if it's going to be a functional community there needs to be a system in place between a group of families that play together. I definitely don't think it's your sole responsibility, but it is a nice thing to do to look after him.
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by limabean View Post
...I guess I'll be redoubling my efforts to make sure he goes straight home each and every time he leaves our doorstep!...
It takes a village, doesn't it? This is a good thing for you to do, instead of just throwing your hands up and saying "he's not my kid, he's not my problem" like soooo many other people sadly do. So, good for you. You might want to suggest to his parents/guardians that he be required to call home when he arrives at a friends house, and establish a time when he's to leave, then to speak to the friends parent and confirm the leave time. In the meantime, keep on the lookout for this boy.
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