I am so conflicted over this. My two girls, almost six and three (still such a baby) have started playing with the girl next door. She is turning 8 tomorrow. We allow them to play for an hour here or there, but it gets out of hand. This girl would play with my daughters ALL DAY LONG if I didn't intervene. She is completely aimless. Her parents are nowhere to be found.
What is the problem? The girl is a bit disrespectful, is constantly trying to get food from us (my daughter coming and saying "B wants some ice cream." or "B wants some cookies." I just tell her "no, honey" and tell dd, you may have some after lunch... etc.
That, and her family has major problems. DH is a counselor at an addiction rehab center and knows that questionable things are going on in this house... not "just" alcohol addiction but meth use, etc. This girl's mom is never around. There are multiple men in her mother's life. Just to name a few. This girl always seems to be home alone. Her Grandma is the main person next door. We never see her parents.
We are a traditional family. We are religious (but crunchy too), we take our girl's education very seriously. In addition to school we do math with them, encourage reading, etc. We feel worlds apart from this "family" next door.
We have set some limits:
They are not allowed to play in this girl's house.
They can play outside (mostly, we have a large fenced yard)
Mealtimes are set and my girls must come in and have a normal sit down meal, etc.
This girl must be lonely, she sits outside and waits for my girls to see her out the window, then they get so excited "B is outside! B is outside" ...
Am I making any sense? Are there times when you just know that a particular child is not a good example for your child? Yet you feel bad to ban their play all together? And how do you handle a child who lives next door, who is always around? Please help!