Neighbor kids and setting boundaries! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 05-05-2017, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Neighbor kids and setting boundaries!

Hello friends,
I need some guidance! We have new neighbors with 4 kids. 9yr boy, 6yr old girl, 4 yr girl and 1yr old son that usually stays inside with mom.

The kids are home schooled, stay home pretty much all day other than church. The parents are nonsocial and never say hi to us, look at us, and are never outside to watch the kids. I have seen the mother out twice... maybe three times.

They moved in 3 weeks ago and the kids constantly ask if our 6yr old son wants to play. Everyday while I'm backing the car in the carport they are standing in their driveway staring at us like children of the corn. Waiting for us to open the car door to ask if my son can play. If i walk outside to check my mail the kids all pounce on me "what are you doing? why are you doing that? I got a new shirt. Can your son play? Why can't he play? How long will it take him to eat? How long will it take him to do homework. Can he come out after homework. My response- we will see. Kids response- Why?......So on and so on and so on. It is seriously overwhelming.

The other evening my son was playing in his trampoline and didn't want to play with the new kids. They stand on their side of the privacy fence badgering my son. Calling him rude (because he doesn't want to play), calling his name over and over and over again for about 10 minutes. Hey come look at this. We want to show you something. My son would say no. My husband finally asked them to stop name calling and to not make our son feel bad b/c he didn't want to play right now.

Sometimes I just don't want to be bothered while I'm doing my gardening or walking to my mailbox. It just doesn't end.
They also don't call us by our name. They just scream HEY over and over and over again until you acknowledge them. I have started ignoring them when they start saying HEY. The 4 yr has typical fits when she doesn't get her way. She has taken her strider bike and stood in front of me and my husband while we were talking. She has even bumped my son's kettler car b/c he didn't want her to ride it after he asked her to stop. When I saw that I immediately told my son that we were done playing, we were not going to play with kids that treat us mean. Which doesn't seem fair if he's having fun and I feel frustrated over the other childs behavior.

When they do all play together it ends up becoming aggressive on the new kids end. It seems like they gang up on my son, he gets frustrated and doesn't want to play anymore. I noticed this right off the bat and started limiting their play time together to an hour and I stay outside to watch over things.

Sooooo. Is it out of line for me to set boundaries and tell the kids to bluntly leave us/me alone? That we need privacy and family time? My approach can come across very harsh if I don't think before I speak. I also feel myself getting frustrated b/c the parents are just not involved or approachable.

Thanks for listening and any advice, tactful ways, different ways to word things is greatly appreciated.
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#2 of 12 Old 05-05-2017, 10:29 AM
 
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They are kids, so you have to be direct. If you hedge, or give excuses, or try to reason, they will just keep looking for a way to get a yes, and sometimes the answer is no. No, you need to go home now. No, he does not want to play, you need to stop yelling.

It sounds like none of your interactions are positive, so maybe the answer should always be no. Again, they are kids so if they can sometimes get a yes, they are going to ask every chance they get. If the answer is always no, they will eventually give up.

I am willing to put up with a lot, but if they always become aggressive and it's just not ever fun for your own child, there's no point to it. Your child doesn't have to deal with kids he doesn't enjoy just because they happen to live close. Learning to set boundaries (by seeing you do it) with people who don't treat you well is a valuable life skill.

Not all kids are a good fit for playmates. It is so hard with neighborhood kids, because some parents are content to let them be someone else's problem as long as they, they parents, don't have to get involved.

Just say no and send them home.
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#3 of 12 Old 05-05-2017, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for responding. Your right I leave a lot of open ended promises like maybe, we'll see, I'll let you know... I don't know how to be direct without thinking I'm hurting someone's feelings. Then I feel like I become passive aggressive. Which is not the path I want to take.

None of our interactions have gone to welll. The first one ended with the 9 yr old boy becoming verbally aggressive with me. He was mad b/c he was engaging in something I asked him not to do and he says to me you've got to be freaking kidding me! My response that's it. I asked you not to do that and you started to do it anyway and I asked you not to say the word freaking. And you said it again. He turned it back around on me and said Come on to his sisters. This obviously isn't going to work out here. I thought these people could be our friends but I guess I'm wrong. I said your sisters can stay b/c they are playing nicely its your choice if you want to leave. He proceeded to coax his sisters to leave with him. I thought man that kid is good. He's real good....lol...

I've been trying to guide my son to push back a little. Like with the 4yr and begging to ride his kettler car. To not give it up if he doesn't want. Don't let the 4yr old guilt you if you don't want to do it. Usually an hour is all it takes before the kids start showing their true colors.
And my son gets frustrated. I tell my son if you feel frustrated then your not having fun. Playtime is suppose to be fun not frustrating.

This is why I'm bouncing it off of others. My way is not working. And I'm looking for other options. I like the idea of just saying no all the time and they will at some point stop asking. Problem is sometimes my son does want to play.

Thanks again for your help.

QUOTE=NiteNicole;19673834]They are kids, so you have to be direct. If you hedge, or give excuses, or try to reason, they will just keep looking for a way to get a yes, and sometimes the answer is no. No, you need to go home now. No, he does not want to play, you need to stop yelling.

It sounds like none of your interactions are positive, so maybe the answer should always be no. Again, they are kids so if they can sometimes get a yes, they are going to ask every chance they get. If the answer is always no, they will eventually give up.

I am willing to put up with a lot, but if they always become aggressive and it's just not ever fun for your own child, there's no point to it. Your child doesn't have to deal with kids he doesn't enjoy just because they happen to live close. Learning to set boundaries (by seeing you do it) with people who don't treat you well is a valuable life skill.

Not all kids are a good fit for playmates. It is so hard with neighborhood kids, because some parents are content to let them be someone else's problem as long as they, they parents, don't have to get involved.

Just say no and send them home.[/QUOTE]
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#4 of 12 Old 05-05-2017, 05:27 PM
 
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I live in a neighborhood full of children and I don't hesitate to tell other kids that my kids don't want to play with them. My son is a little older (10) and sometimes I make him do it himself if they come to the door. I think they need to learn that you can't always make everybody happy and that's ok. You need to do what's best for you sometimes and not worry about what other people think. I also think it wouldn't hurt for you to go and tell the parents how you feel. Maybe they would make their kids stop pestering your family. Even if they get offended by it they probably won't want their kids over at your house so problem solved
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#5 of 12 Old 05-06-2017, 05:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for responding! At some point we will have to chat with the parents! Like I said they are recluse and when they are outside they don't say hi, look us in the eye and very unappoarchable! We know more information about their family through the kids than the parents.

I like the comment of you can't always make everybody happy. If there is one thing I've noticed and learned these past few weeks is we are people pleasers and it's hard for us to say no or we feel bad when we do. My husband has always said we are and now I really see it.

With some coaching we do have our son tell them no in the beginning. And then the 50 questions begins of why. Usually at that point we have to take over b/c the kids just badger. We continue to take over for at least an hour or however long we are outside. Now I know why their parents send them outside unsupervised. They probably bug the living tar out of that woman.


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Originally Posted by cschanz3939 View Post
I live in a neighborhood full of children and I don't hesitate to tell other kids that my kids don't want to play with them. My son is a little older (10) and sometimes I make him do it himself if they come to the door. I think they need to learn that you can't always make everybody happy and that's ok. You need to do what's best for you sometimes and not worry about what other people think. I also think it wouldn't hurt for you to go and tell the parents how you feel. Maybe they would make their kids stop pestering your family. Even if they get offended by it they probably won't want their kids over at your house so problem solved
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#6 of 12 Old 05-06-2017, 07:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jw454 View Post
Thanks for responding! At some point we will have to chat with the parents! Like I said they are recluse and when they are outside they don't say hi, look us in the eye and very unappoarchable! We know more information about their family through the kids than the parents.

I like the comment of you can't always make everybody happy. If there is one thing I've noticed and learned these past few weeks is we are people pleasers and it's hard for us to say no or we feel bad when we do. My husband has always said we are and now I really see it.

With some coaching we do have our son tell them no in the beginning. And then the 50 questions begins of why. Usually at that point we have to take over b/c the kids just badger. We continue to take over for at least an hour or however long we are outside. Now I know why their parents send them outside unsupervised. They probably bug the living tar out of that woman.
This sounds to me like a perfect opportunity to teach your son a very valuable lesson. You can teach him to set boundaries and stand up for himself when he is being mistreated. We have kids in our neighborhood and we still allow our son to play with them because sometimes they have fun together but he know is someone is mistreating him then it's time to tell them to stop and if they choose not to he just comes home. Are there other kids in the neighborhood your son can play with? That makes it easier for us because there are lots of kids my son can play with. He just goes to play with somebody else.
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#7 of 12 Old 05-06-2017, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have the feeling it's going to be a valuable lesson for all of us. 😩
There is one other child his age that our son is good friends with and plays with.


QUOTE=cschanz3939;19674562]This sounds to me like a perfect opportunity to teach your son a very valuable lesson. You can teach him to set boundaries and stand up for himself when he is being mistreated. We have kids in our neighborhood and we still allow our son to play with them because sometimes they have fun together but he know is someone is mistreating him then it's time to tell them to stop and if they choose not to he just comes home. Are there other kids in the neighborhood your son can play with? That makes it easier for us because there are lots of kids my son can play with. He just goes to play with somebody else.[/QUOTE]
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#8 of 12 Old 05-07-2017, 02:24 AM
 
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We've always had a signal among the neighborhood kids.With my oldest it was a flag in the window if they were available to play, the youngest and her friends use stuffed animals on the porch railing to indicate which sibling wants/is allowed to play. The older ones can leave notes-"I can play after I finish math". It works really well to avoid multiple knocks on the door "How about NOW? Can she play later? Whyyy?" and asking Mom to "Tell him I can't play" when they just don't want to.

Our situation wasn't as extreme as yours (so sorry! That sounds infuriating!) but we did have some work to do with our current next door neighbors-all girls very close in age meant a TON of fighting at first! I guess it took about a month of both sets of parents/older sibs repeating "Whoa! We don't hit/tattle/speak harshly/exclude anyone, etc. in our house. Time to go home; we'll try again tomorrow."

It was well worth it to have neighborhood friends with clear boundaries, though. Now the kids pretty much enforce and respect everyone's house rules without us having to play referee very often.
Maybe make some cookies and go knock on their door? Sort of politely force them to interact and lay some ground rules?
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#9 of 12 Old 05-07-2017, 06:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi stormborn- I do think it's going to take some time. I like the signal ideas! And It's nice that you had the other parents involved. Yesterday I was a little more cut and dry with the 9yr old. That seemed to help.


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We've always had a signal among the neighborhood kids.With my oldest it was a flag in the window if they were available to play, the youngest and her friends use stuffed animals on the porch railing to indicate which sibling wants/is allowed to play. The older ones can leave notes-"I can play after I finish math". It works really well to avoid multiple knocks on the door "How about NOW? Can she play later? Whyyy?" and asking Mom to "Tell him I can't play" when they just don't want to.

Our situation wasn't as extreme as yours (so sorry! That sounds infuriating!) but we did have some work to do with our current next door neighbors-all girls very close in age meant a TON of fighting at first! I guess it took about a month of both sets of parents/older sibs repeating "Whoa! We don't hit/tattle/speak harshly/exclude anyone, etc. in our house. Time to go home; we'll try again tomorrow."

It was well worth it to have neighborhood friends with clear boundaries, though. Now the kids pretty much enforce and respect everyone's house rules without us having to play referee very often.
Maybe make some cookies and go knock on their door? Sort of politely force them to interact and lay some ground rules?
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#10 of 12 Old 05-07-2017, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone that has replied. I really appreciate all your thoughts and ideas. There are some really good ones. Some I feel are going to helpful now and others I think will be helpful in the future. I welcome any other stories and ideas. It's nice to know I'm not the only one that's dealt with this.

So far the one that works the best right now is to be very firm and direct.

Yesterday my son wasn't even home and I'm coming back from my walk, walking back up my driveway and the 9yr old boy asked if my son could play. I said no. I gave no other explanation. The 9yr starts talking to himself saying he can never play. I don't have anyone to play with. Wonder when he can play. This is so boring. A few minutes later I went to my backyard to chase the geese away and he starts talking to me through the missing privacy fence slat. I look at him and say I need privacy. And he walks away. Being this firm does make me uncomfortable. So this will take some practice.

I'm just going to say! My 6 yr old is having a bday party with a big bouncy. We will have it for 4 days. I feel nervous that when the guest are walking up the driveway the neighbor kids will be talking to the guest and making poor pitfall us comments. I already know they are going to pester the tar out of me. Not looking forward to that. Im hoping if I'm setting clearer boundaries now it won't be to hard in a few weeks when we have the party.

TO BE CONTINUED....lol

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#11 of 12 Old 05-09-2017, 02:17 PM
 
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I feel that everyone has given solid advice. I personally feel that in addition to all of the above mentioned ideas, you really need to knock on the door and try to have a conversation with one or both of the parents, like, NOW (easier said than done, believe me I know!). Their kids sound very lonely and under stimulated, almost borderline emotionally neglected to be honest, and they're being inappropriate. While I can't possibly say whether speaking to the parents will get you anywhere, I think that just as your kids are learning to speak up for themselves and be direct, you too need to be direct with them and say, "Look, I appreciate that your kids want to play with mine, but some of their behavior is unacceptable. I'd appreciate you talking to them about not badgering me or my kids when we're not in the mood to hang out." Boundaries, personal space, etc., etc. I just think you can only get so far with the kids without involving the parents, or at least trying to.
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#12 of 12 Old 05-12-2017, 12:29 PM
 
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We had a similar situation in 1:50 miniature a few years ago. It was just one kid, but things did not always go well with her.

I echo what the others have said: be firm but kind with the kids, like you did in the backyard. Don't feel you need to give them excuses (unless there is really an excuse and your kid really does want to play when the excuse is over, like he's in the bathtub but when he gets out he'll come find them, that kind of thing). They do not need a reason, it's just "not a good time." If they want to know when, find some nice way to tell them you will not answer questions about the future. Coach your son about how he can set limits with them so he can play without you having to be his bodyguard. This doesn't have to be a complicated relationship with them, and if the parents are odd and defensive, which sounds like it's got to be among the possibilities if their kids are badly behaved and poorly supervised, it's probably better to be as simple as possible with what you tell the kids.

Continue to be kind, do invite them over if your kid ever wants them over.

Think about a fast-growing hedge, or a stockade fence. Remember that the sidewalk is common property and will always be a free-for-all.

Edited to add: The trampoline is probably a huge draw. Finding a way so that they can't see it, like with a hedge or fence, may be helpful. We were the ones who had set up our high wall, and it was to keep our climbing-then-roaming dog in, but it also served well to shield us from the temptation of our neighbor's pool, which came along years after the dog. We loved those neighbors, but I'm glad our kids weren't always pestering them to get in their pool (or on their trampoline -they had one of those too).

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