How do you set Boundaries with your Children’s Friends?

How do you set Boundaries with your Children’s Friends?

Today and the past week my girls found a new friend. She lives right across the street, so they’ve been playing a lot! They play in the sprinkler, ride their scooters outside and play inside with all of the toys they have. The girls beg me to let them play with her everyday. I usually let them and have no problem with her coming over, and then today something happened…

The girls were playing here in the front room with a ball tossing it back and forth with one another and having fun. All of a sudden this friend grabs my middle child by the neck and around her head trying to get the ball from her and to get on the ground. Of course I stop it immediately and say, “Hey! Don’t you ever put your hand on my daughter ever!” She looked at me stunned and confused. Now I am sitting here and just thinking about what in the world just happened. A little background on this girl, she is an only child and has very nice things. She has many toys that she brings over. Her family is a different religion then our family, and she is allowed to wear different types of clothing that my children will never be able to wear.

Now, I am not saying that these are bad things. I just don’t know how to set the boundaries with this new friendship. I don’t know if I should talk to her parents and see what they think, or do I just let their friendship grow, and hope that she treats them the way I think my girls need to be treated. Also do I set boundaries at my house of what can happen here. There have been a few things that have happened. She climbs on our couch and counters. If I knew that my children ever did this I would probably croak. The couch instance happened and I said to Izzie, “What happens if you climb on our couch?” She responded, “We get a time-out.” The friend looked at me with disbelief.

So I am left here trying to decide the best course of action and if I should just keep telling her that we don’t do those things around our house, that my girls act a certain way for a reason. Any thoughts out there? Am I in this alone, or do other parents have these same issues? I just am kind of shocked that she acts the way she does. Yes, I know my girls aren’t perfect, and I know that whenever anyone comes over they act like they are never around anyone and have to tell them a million things. But I think we do a pretty good job letting our girls know what is wrong and what is right and how to act. I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

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2 Responses to How do you set Boundaries with your Children’s Friends?

  1. Smee says:

    Our kids often had kids with questionable families, backgrounds, or circumstance.

    For us the the determining factor was the kid’s ability to respect our family, the rules, the house. Many times we had a kid who forgot the rules or whatever in the moment. A reminder would be given and dependent on how the kid responded they either got to stay or asked to leave, but knowing they could come back again when they could act appropriately. We were fairly loosey goosey, but there were things I just couldn’t bend on, so we didn’t.

    Our kids fully understood what we expected, and if someone new came by they were also informed about what was expected (no jumping inside, inside voices, blah blah) usually the kids also added their advise about not testing or trying mom. They knew I wasn’t the mom who would give more than one chance to turn it around.

    We had kids who smelled of pot or alcohol pop in from time to time. That’s o.k. our house was a safe place, you could feel the Spirit here and if a kid came by to feel “your house *feels* — I don’t know, but nice” feeling we knew it was a good thing for them. They absolutely knew they were not allowed to continue drinking or using once they were here, and again, high expectations were held, but I wanted our house known for the Spirit, and it was.

    A few times I had to get involved and as you did, I talked to the kid like they were my own. “Get off that couch!” then usually followed by some snarky remark about animals or rude people – I wasn’t Emily Post, I was me, and they knew as quickly as I yell, I could forgive if they stepped up. They also knew I could laugh and goof off, but mess with my kids and you get the mama bear.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is communicate all the rules, treat them like your own, punish and forgive equally fast and deep, allow the Spirit to teach what a good home feels like to those kids who may never feel it outside of your home. The big rule: “Better, funner, safer at the Brown’s (or Dummar’s), than at your house.”

    (having kids with different (not necessarily bad, just different)standards being your kids’ friends has benefits, some of which your kids will never get if they only play with lds kids. also learning to make difficult choices early is also key.)

  2. robynski says:

    I agree with s’mee. I also think its more important to teach your own kids the rules. Then they have the opportunity to teach their friends, allow them to make their choices, and live with the consequences. It is important to stress being an example to everyone. Kids will make mistakes. There are always teaching moments and its good you’re at home to be able to take advantage of that blessing.

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