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What to do when our neighbor / kids's friends have dangerous toys?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

First of all, a general question: What do you do / say when your kid goes to someone's house where they have a dangerous toy, and they think it's overprotective to tell a kid not to use it?

 

 

Secondly, any advice for my predicament (below)?

 

My son (just turned 6) loves the kid across the street. He's an old 8, and is *always* available.

 

But his family has such different ideas about safety and rules that we decided to tell our son he can't play at their house - their play dates have to be here. How do I make sure it actually happens?  Also, I think I need to limit their time together but don't want to deny my son a friendship.

 

The problem is, my son, who has always been 100% trustworthy until a week ago when he met this kid, has no self control when it comes to this neighbor (my son even said "I really like him, so when he said to do something I shouldn't, I did it"). If the kid says come into my house, he does. Which means I can't let my son walk over and invite the neighbor to play at our house - and trust that he'll come back.

 

They have guns, which I think think this kid uses for hunting, because he was joking about shooting the the other neighbor's pony in the head and skinning it and cutting it up. Ug. The father was very squirly and misleading about whether they lock up the guns - he's the first parent I've come across that I don't trust or respect.

 

They also have a trampoline in an area that no adult can see, with no rules. When my son played with this kid on it, I went and watched after a while and they had a hard plastic bucket on the trampoline, the 8 year old was doing flips, jumping against the net, etc. There was a 4 year old on there that was entertaining himself by shoving my son towards the edge while he was in the air, no adults anywhere.... The info I found about trampolines said that about 5000 kids died from accidents on them in 2010, the american ped. society recommends not letting your kid use one.

 

So after that, no trampoline. They also have ATVs, which their kids use without supervision, helmets or rules.

 

Their kid proudly told me that he gets to watch violent R rated movies (my son, and most kids in his class wouldn't even want to yet!) and this kid has no bed time or curfue (which he told me at 9pm when I said it was time for him to go home).

 

OK, and last complaint. When the kid was playing here he called his dad from my phone. His dad yelled at him "don't call me, I'm trying to sleep!" It was about 6pm.

 

Friends are important! My son loves this kid. What should I do? 

 

Thank you for any comments!!!!!!!

post #2 of 15
I'm glad you gave examples because I was ready to say, "Oh, give a little so the kids can be friends." But unsecured guns would be enough without the ATVs and dangerously used trampoline. Wow.

I think I would just be consistent about only playing at your house until the kids get used to it. My dad was a sometimes-violent alcoholic, and everyone knew it, and I got very used to kids not being allowed to play at my house at some point. Kids get used to this stuff.

And get very used to setting boundaries. I forsee boundary issues in your future.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thank you mamazee!

post #4 of 15

I would not allow my son to go there anymore at all or play with that boy especially if they have guns.
 

post #5 of 15

You may see things differently, but the dangerous toys would be the least of my concerns.  My priority list would be:

-your child can't/won't speak up for himself around this friend.  This would be an issue for me even if the home was otherwise "safe".

-the adults who are present give you a bad vibe.  Respect your instincts.

-complete lack of supervision at the friend's house.  I'm not opposed to some unsupervised play, but think it's important for there to be a responsible person available when needed, which the friend's parents don't seem to be.

-the dangerous toys
 

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much! We just moved to rural SD a year ago, and it's a culture shock for me (my husband is from here). There's such a culture here of .. not supervising children and not asking about dangers at play friend's houses. It seems to be a sign of good character if you blindly trust any adult with your child. I try to not be overprotective, but it seems like 3/4 of the houses we visit have something that I just don't feel comfortable with (like a bb gun sitting out on a table in the room that only kids go in - where I had let my son play with her kids many times over that last year! That mom rolled her eyes when I asked her to put it up, and said that "it would be a good lesson if one of them got shot with it". And she said their other guns were put away, but looked embarrassed and didn't respond when I hinted that I'd like to know where / how. There were 3 kindergarteners and a 4 year old playing alone in that room.)

 

I feel a little crazy.

 

It's refreshing to hear some other view points.

post #7 of 15

I would not let my kids go to that house, no way.
Guns available? That is just a no for me. If the kids play with them, someone could get killed.

They could play at my house.

And, I would work with my child on saying no and setting boundaries for himself.

post #8 of 15

Quote:

Originally Posted by rainytown View Post

 

They also have a trampoline in an area that no adult can see, with no rules. When my son played with this kid on it, I went and watched after a while and they had a hard plastic bucket on the trampoline, the 8 year old was doing flips, jumping against the net, etc. There was a 4 year old on there that was entertaining himself by shoving my son towards the edge while he was in the air, no adults anywhere.... The info I found about trampolines said that about 5000 kids died from accidents on them in 2010, the american ped. society recommends not letting your kid use one.

 

 

First, I wanted to reassure you that I am fairly confident that number is incorrect about deaths from trampoline accidents.  The AAP does recommend not using them, but they are not a primary cause of death even for children.

 

http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/pdf/10LCID_All_Deaths_By_Age_Group_2010-a.pdf

 

http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/pdf/10LCID_Unintentional_Deaths_2010-a.pdf

 

Now, I wouldn't let my child play on *their* trampoline, but I just didn't want you to be needlessly worried for other friends your child might have.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelsmama View Post

You may see things differently, but the dangerous toys would be the least of my concerns.  My priority list would be:

-your child can't/won't speak up for himself around this friend.  This would be an issue for me even if the home was otherwise "safe".

-the adults who are present give you a bad vibe.  Respect your instincts.

-complete lack of supervision at the friend's house.  I'm not opposed to some unsupervised play, but think it's important for there to be a responsible person available when needed, which the friend's parents don't seem to be.

-the dangerous toys
 

 

This is an excellent list of concerns.  I have had two children that I would not let my son play at their house.  One was when he was about your son's age and actually shot DS with a bb gun (I only found that out later).  I never "clicked" with those parents and once the fact that they had guns with ammo out for their 6 year old (and we're in Seattle suburbs, so this is *NOT* a cultural thing) that was it.  There were also other signs and put all together they made it clear to me that there was a reason I wasn't "clicking" with them.

 

My son is now 11 and we've actually only run into the second person.  I have two children and my daughter is allowed to go there and my son is not.  The biggest reason is because of personality (my daughter is in high school).  I have confidence that if my daughter was faced with some issue she could call me on my cell phone and would NOT go along with it.  I do not have that confidence in my son--- he is much more complaint and would not ignore an adult even if they were instructing him to do something against what we have said.  I don't trust the parents in the situation which means my son cannot be there--- he is not "old"/ personally "strong" enough to keep himself safe, and I simply don't trust them to do so. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lightbulb View Post

I would not let my kids go to that house, no way.
Guns available? That is just a no for me. If the kids play with them, someone could get killed.

They could play at my house.

And, I would work with my child on saying no and setting boundaries for himself.

 

Yup. 

 

Good luck.

post #9 of 15

Have the little boy play at your house . . . I don't like our daughter playing at her best friends' house- not because it's dangerous but just certain things I prefer to supervise myself.  So we make OUR house the fun house to be at and invite friends over.  Yes, it's more work for me, but the pay-off in supervision is huge.  If you don't mind your son being friends with the boy (outside of the danger issues), make your house the fun house and limit play to there.

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone!

 

Any resources or suggestions on how to make a house really fun?

post #11 of 15

I believe messy things are fun. Activities like mixing corn starch and water are freakishly fun. volcanoes with baking soda and vinegar. May be something they can build with -- like those plastic pipes with fittings, and then they could run water through it.

 

I suspect that the more hands off you can be the better, so some supplies that they can go crazy with on the back porch would most likely be a bigger hit than something you would need to help with -- like cooking.
 

post #12 of 15

BTW, I'm pretty mellow about other families doing things differently than we do and we used to own a trampoline -- but GUNS!!! ATVS!!!  scared.gif

 

oh my.

post #13 of 15

Fun?  Depends on the kids . ..  but I think providing them with a safe and yet not "confining" place let's kids have fun. For example- if the boys are into legos, pull out a huge sheet and let them dump ALL their legos out and encourage them to build huge creations and then take pictures of them showing off what they made.  Snacks!  Don't have to be huge, expensive or fancy, but I know our neighbor kids always act so excited (and my own kids) when I surprise them with a little tray of snacks where they are playing (maybe some cookies and juice for the girls as they do a tea party, sometimes little fish in a bowl for the boys who are busy playing adventure).  Give the boys your flashlights and let them explore the basement.  Creative and yet simple things that let them use their imaginations, yet are a little special.  Pull out hubbies boots and let them pretend to be explorers- print some maps off the internet and let them find "stuff."  

 

We have a house full of boys and I find that by just giving them little "things" to enhance their creative play, they love it.  Sticks and string to make bows and arrows.  $1 bottles of shaving cream to have a fight with.  Branches to make a "shelter."  

 

Being a good listener and enthusiastic about their creative adventures . . .even when you are tired or busy, etc. . . .makes a house a fun and welcoming place to be.  And food.  :Especially with boys!  

 

Hope you guys can find a good solution for your little guy!

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by LLQ1011 View Post

I would not allow my son to go there anymore at all or play with that boy especially if they have guns.
 

Same here. I would simply be firm on the gun issue.

 

I love trampolines and even take my 3-year-old on them regularly. But it's in a special environment where you can't fall off. And there are lots of adults supervising. I say over and over and over again to never share a trampoline with someone - jump alone because it's safer. The APA says "Most trampoline injuries occur with multiple simultaneous users on the mat." http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2012/09/19/peds.2012-2082.full.pdf
 

Likewise, I might allow some ATVs or motorbikes... with helmets and body armor and adult supervision. My rule is : no helmet then no wheels. I remind my son everyday that his head is the most important part of him and he needs to protect it. Still, I think 6 is too young for an ATV.

 

I think I might also just go have a talk with that family to explain that I don't feel comfortable with my son playing without my supervision. You can say he's too young. Try not to care if they think you're overprotective or a helicopter mom or whatever. This is about your son's safety - it's life or death. Guns are serious. Say whatever you need to make sure those parents understand that your son is never to go play there without you supervising.

 

I would also try to involve my son in other activities so he has less time at home to want to go play with that boy. He may make other friends through those activities too.

 

About making your home fun: games (video and board), building sets (robots, legos, blocks, cars, etc), movies and books, helping you out with cooking or gardening, taking care of pets, etc.

post #15 of 15
Holy moly!!! No way would my kids be over there. Don't they know they don't live in the Old West??? Geez.

Tell your son if you can't trust him to not go over there then he will lose his privileges to hang out with his friend at all. He needs to show you he can be trusted.
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