I just spent 45 minutes escorting an 11 year old out of my house.
Initially, I gave a casual mention that dinner would be in half an hour, so she needed to be heading home. She tried to take a bunch of my daughter's belongings before leaving, dragging out the process. (My daughter agreed to a couple things, but this child always presses for more.) I backed my daughter up when she asked me to, but still had to physically confiscate the items and put them out of reach because this kid does. not. stop. Then I had to escort her to the door. She hung around pressing against the door, looking in the front window, and eventually breaking the door latch.
In this time, her grandmother dropped by for a few minutes and spoke to her- at one point suggesting a switch!(Yikes!) She headed home to make dinner, and the child was to follow on her bike. She broke back into my house through a window, and I re-escorted her outside again, she ran around and away a couple times before I finally got her on her bike. She jumped off and returned to my back porch to look through (and try to break in!) the kitchen window. Finally, I did get her headed home, but it was nearly an hour and dinner is now cold and I am irked.
Complications- she is persistent and has zero boundaries. However, she and my daughter have many things in common. So they do get along well as friends- and she is the only other kid locally the same age.
I will not allow my daughter there to visit. She lives with an adoptive (or something) dad who- while seemingly very nice- gives me the 'something off' vibe. If they are going to spend time together, I want to be able to supervise.
Last weekend, she showed up just after breakfast. Her dad showed up a bit later, asked to speak to her outside, then left. When I asked if everything was ok she said, yes, but her dad had stopped by to say that her grandmother was in a bad mood. If he was home, she could go home, but if he was not, she shouldn't go home because her grandmother sometimes 'has bad moods'.
I don't want to shut down a safe place for her to escape to if she needs it.
I did- after getting very direct with her earlier today, ask her if there was a reason she didn't want to go home, she said yes. When I asked why, she wouldn't explain further. I got the feeling it wasn't just a delay tactic. I did say that we like having her around, I am glad they are friends, but she can not be in our house if she could not respect our rules or wishes. At that point, she shut down completely and simply repeated, "I'm dumb, I'm dumb, I'm dumb."
I am at a loss. I don't know what good options I have as this is a relatively new geographic area for us. I don't know that- after the comment about getting a switch- going through her guardians is necessarily the best approach.
It's your house and your rules. I would be furious if a child was breaking stuff, taking my child's stuff and trying to break into my house. We have children over that don't always respect their own houses or own parents, but when they are in my house I expect that they will respect me and my space or they will not be allowed to visit.
I have had to stand my ground and set firm limits before. This can be done gently, but firmly and it needs to be done. She will respect you more if you set firm limits.
The next time she wants to come I would say "Hey ______ can we talk for a moment? We enjoy having you over here, you are great to have around. However there are a few house rules that need to be abided by and if they can't be then we will have to have a time out from visiting for a couple days. This is our house and we welcome in our friends, however we need our friends to treat our house respectfully. When you were here last time you broke _____ and ______ and also tried to break into my house which is not ok with me and against the law. That is not ok with me and will not happen again. Moving forward, our toys belongings stay in our house unless offered freely to our friends. And if there is any whining or asking then there will be no offering. Also I will give a 5 minute warning to leave, when the 5 mins are up I will let you know and I will need you to leave promptly, without whining, dillydallying, breaking my stuff or trying to break back into my house. If this can't be respected then we will need to take a time out. We enjoy your company here and we really hope we will not have to do that. Is there anything you would like to say or ask? Do you understand that?"
If she starts down on self hate talk then stop it. It's your house and your rules. Regardless of her home situation, if she's at your house she needs to respect you and the house. And most likely this will help her anyways.
Wife to one amazing husband , SAHM to DS 10/09, DS 10/19, one furbaby , and lots of !
I took a breath, and a step back. I generally let her stay through dinner if she is here, but she has been here pretty much every minute she hasn't been at school for most of the week, and occasionally I like to have some family-only time.
However, if our house is safe harbor in whatever her life is throwing at her, we will be that. I did have another conversation with her about following rules of our house and respecting boundaries and limits. She did a bit better today, and having just left- said she would wait until 10am to come over tomorrow, as last weekend she kept showing up in the middle of breakfast.
Part of being that safe place for her is also being the adult and having those boundaries in place.
And it's ok too to say, not right now when you guys need the peace and quiet
Without reading the responses first I say this child is showing many red flags of either abuse or psychological problems, or both. This child really, really needs help. The fact that grandma threatened a switch, and the dad told her not to go in the house alone with grandma makes me afraid for this child. I think you need to call CPS or the police and tell them exactly what you wrote in your post.
I also respect your need for boundaries within your home. This child should not be taking things, trying to break into your house, and staring into windows. You are not equipped to solve this child's problems. That's great that she's allowed over to your house but that does not mean you own her problems. That's the job of the authorities. If you call them, you could very well be saving her life.
I am in the process of getting outside people involved. I did contact local authorities, and was told that unless I had witnessed an act of violence, they would not take a report about a concern. She did disclose information to my daughter, who asked me what we should do. Because she did not tell me directly, I need to witness it, not just hear about it. Right now, her grandmother has grounded her from visiting here for a few days.
I have spent many years as a mandated reporter, but the system here is not one I know well. It is a different country and different procedures. I am going through the school counsellor as it is one place I know that she thinks of as safe- and having been shut down when I called the police, I am out of other options.
Good for you for trying to report it! I'm so sorry they won't even look into it without you personally witnessing anything. And I'm sorry they won't listen to your child who says she was told some bothersome things by the child. I hope the school intervenes somehow and at least talks to the girl. If she tells them something they probably have to report it. You are really doing a good job trying to help her.
i'm a therapist and I agree that there is likely some bad stuff going on in this kid's life. at 11, she should have some better boundaries.
that said, mama...it is NOT your responsibility to "save" this kid. in the ideal situation, she'd be a good friend to your dd and a generally well-behaved, boundary-respecting kid. in that case, i'd say, go ahead and have her over as long as you can stand to have an extra kid in your house (ITA that sometimes you just want your own family in your house and don't want to hostess other kids, this is perfectly ok and doesn't make you a heartless person!) BUT, this kid has, IMO, gone waaaaaay beyond the boundaries of breaking simple rules of ANY household (trying to break in???? WTF??!! NOT acceptable.)
i agree with delightedbutterfly about having a serious talk with her the next time she is over, but i would tell her that this is her last chance. if she tries to steal, manipulate or willfully destroy property, she cannot return to your house. don't give her a bunch of chances. IMO you "help" her more by setting a strong boundary, letting her know explicitly what is expected and then FOLLOWING THROUGH. this teaches her respect, consequences and boundaries, and also shows her a mom who is strong and deserves respect. IMO, you also show your daughter that it's ok to set down boundaries with someone you like, but who does things you cannot tolerate.
also, this girl sounds very manipulative to your dd (i'm thinking about the girl insisting on taking your dd's things and then your dd offerring her something to take). perhaps your dd feels somewhat manipulated (by the girl) into continuing to be friends with this girl and doesn't know how to tell you? my dd had a friend years ago who would not follow the rules of our house regarding sleepovers (mainly not waking the whole household when she awoke at 4:00 am, but there were other things). i spoke with her many times (probably far too many) and with her mother who was very dismissive of the problem. when i finally put my foot down and said she would not be returning, my dd opened up about how uncomfortable the girl had made her and how she didn't know how to set a boundary herself, she had not wanted the girl to sleepover for months before and didn't say anything because she felt bad.