Too much neighbor?

Jennifer - posted on 02/15/2014 ( 2 moms have responded )




Here's the problem: Child up the street (we'll call him Bobby) constantly wants to play with my kids. In general, I'm fine with them playing together, but it's too much, too often. Unfortunately, the solution isn't as simple as telling Bobby "no".

Bobby has a severe developmental disorder, and will likely never live independently (to give you an idea of the severity). So when he comes over to ask to play he is accompanied by one of his parents. The times that I have said "no" his parents look at me like I am crazy. As if saying "no" is just horrible thing to do to this child. I usually articulate some sort of reason, but of course, he only hears "no". His parents simply don't pick up the hint that my kids don't want to play with him every minute of the day and that we have plans as a family both at home and out of the house that there isn't an open invitation to.

Here's the thing; Bobby goes to the same camp as my kids and the same after school program. They see each other PLENTY. When given the choice, my kids choose to play with other kids and not Bobby.

It's fine if Bobby plays over our house, but this child requires more supervision than my own children do and I kind of feel like a babysitter. He asks me for food (which he then doesn't eat), pouts, screams, is not fully potty trained and throws tantrums. I understand that this is part of his health condition and he doesn't mean it, etc. He doesn't like to play outside (without some serious persuasion) and has poor fine motor skills, so it's hard for him to get enjoyment or fully participate in the things my kids like to do. Occasionally they can find something that he can enjoy, but it's on a play level that my kids are well past. This was fine when my younger child was...well younger...but now not so much

Don't know what to do here..........?


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Brian - posted on 02/15/2014




You are his babysitter. Unfortunately, you have enabled his parents into relying on you as their babysitter. They bring their child to you to play with their child so that they are free from him.

This is a decision that your children need to make, and you need to support.
If your children wish to play with Bobby, and you approve, that is their choice, and you must set the time limit. If your children do not wish to play with Bobby, then you should not force them. There will be arguments that you are teaching your children to discriminate against Bobby for being mentally challenged, and that may be true to a certain degree, but that is their choice. Your children are your responsibility. You are not responsible for Bobby, that belongs to his family.

You need to explain this to Bobby's parents. You are not a sitter, nor are you responsible for Bobby's happiness. Your children are polite and courteous to Bobby, and that is enough. Friendship is a choice, and all friendships should be considered wisely. Change Bobby's description from special needs to drug abuser/bad influence. Your feelings about who your children play will alter. It may be that a single play day may be acceptable for your children, and helpful to his parents. Remember, compassion for their situation is different then being manipulated through guilt.

Ev - posted on 02/15/2014




I think its high time for you to invite Bobby and his parents over for a long chat. You and your kid's father need to sit down and explain that its okay for Bobby to come over sometimes to play but that he can not always be there to do so. Tell them that they need to call ahead and ask first before just showing up or letting Bobby run over to play. Tell them you do have things outside the home you do as a family and even at home. Tell them that if they do want their son to come play, then maybe a playdate needs to be set up in advance like once a week or whatever you think is best for you family. Tell them it is getting hard to do things with Bobby always coming over. Do not tell them that your kids would rather not play with Bobby as it will hurt feelings. Be firm about what it is you want and are willing to do.

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