social norms -- neighborhood kids
The idea of neighborhood friends is really foreign to me. I didn't have them growing up and I am totally, completely introverted, so I feel insecure about what good boundaries about them are.
Our next-door neighbor's just turned 4yo grandchild and my 4 and 7yo want to play together all the time. How much do you talk to the other adults? How do you know who's supervising? How do you balance your kids' friendships with your own needs?
What seems to come up here, is that the other kids just come over and suddenly I feel responsible for caring for them, because someone surely should. The level of supervision they seem to get makes me uncomfortable letting my kids go over there, which comes up as well. I mean, I've met her mom once, literally 4 years ago; I just can't imagine being ok with letting my 4yo go alone to some strangers house unannounced and stay there for an unknown amount of time. Our other neighbor (they've moved) used to do this too, except she was 5 at the time. We do know the grandmother a little better, and she also seems to supervise more, but grandmas out of town this week and her mom is in charge. I'm a little confused about why they're even there. They don't live there, grandma just babysits all the time.
Anyway, the girls want to hang out all the time and go get things from each other's houses and want food and drinks and I'm never quite sure how to handle it. I do a lot of passive avoidance; it's not hard to say you can't go over there now. It's a lot harder when they see each other and just start playing. When it happens, if we don't have a pressing need, I usually let them play, try to stay outside, keep my kids out of their house, if you need to eat go home. But my tolerance is kind of low. It's not long before I start to be upset about being a free babysitter, and I do feel like I need to watch, because I don't know this other kid as well. I have a good feel for my kids in our environment, but not someone else's kid that by default I feel responsible for.
I'd love to hear how this works in your neighborhood.