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You let your kids watch what?

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It has been our family rule that my kids can’t play at homes where I don’t know the parents. My 8-year-old twin boys have begged me to let them play at the neighbor kid’s house. I have told them “no” for months. I see the neighbor kid’s mom on the playground. We have exchanged salutations. We are even involved in some of the same activities, i.e. soccer and scouting, but that is as far as our association goes.

Last Saturday, I gave in and told them they could play over there for an hour. I thought it was weird when they came home after only 30 minutes. I didn’t find out until bedtime why they came home early.

It wasn’t five minutes after I shut off their lights when they came downstairs crying. They said they couldn’t sleep because they saw a scary movie at the neighbor’s. I did my best to comfort them. I told them they could sleep in my bed. I told them what they saw wasn’t real. I asked them if the mom knew what they were watching. They said she did (that’s questionable). I asked the boy who seemed less freaked out what the movie was about. He said it was about man-eating worms. Turns out, the movie was Tremors. Thanks for the sleepless night, Kevin Bacon!

The next morning they were fine and all was forgotten but I let my boys know that they weren’t going over there again. I told them I was sorry. This was my fault. I didn’t know the mom as well as I should have and obviously they have different rules at their house.

The one good thing that came out of this is now my boys appreciate and understand why we have some of the rules that we do.

I vacillated on whether to say something to the neighbor lady or not. I have to live in this neighborhood for a long time and I would just rather avoid strained relations.

What would you have done?


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  • comment avatar Hyphen Mama October 13, 2007

    This post came at just the right time! I have a newly-turned 4 year-old daughter who has a new “friend” at preschool. She’s been asking to go play at their house (the little friend lures her with promises of sleeping over in her big princess bed, playing with her fun princess toys). Yesterday the little friend’s mom mentioned that “soon, we’ll have her over for a play date”. I have really struggled with what to allow.

    Do I stay there? I’ve only met the mom once and we exchange greetings at preschool drop off and pick up. I know the little friend’s dad is a really big instigator of bad behavior.

    I no longer allow my daughter to watch the Princess movies, due to all the big, dramatic crying that’s involved in the movies….that turn into big, dramatic (FAKE) crying fits in my home. Do I tell this other mother I don’t allow princess movies? Do I even let my kid go over???

    Thank you so much for a reminder that moms need to listen to their gut feelings and that rules and boundaries are set for a reason. Regardless of whether the child understands what they are in place for.

  • comment avatar Annie October 13, 2007

    Thanks, Hyphen Mama.

    I like how you mentioned trusting your gut feelings. I think too often we ignore our gut for fear of being too paranoid or over-protective. I would rather err on the side of caution when it comes to my kids.

  • comment avatar Lizzy October 13, 2007

    I have learned to be brutally honest with other mothers. before i let me kids go over to another person’s home I call the mom and say , “I know I’m going to sound like a paranoid/overprotective parent, but that is because I am.” Then I let them know our family rules. I also talk to our kids about this. They know that before they watch any movie at someone’s house they need to call me and ask if it is ok, and the only TV they can watch is PBS (And really my kids should be going to a person’s house to play, not watch tv). They also know they are to keep the doors open in any room they play in, never to be in a room alone with a man/boy, and are to come home if the parents are not around. I also like to pick my kids up early from a firt time playdate at someone elses house, this gives me time to see the way they play and I can talk with the mom while the kids finish playing.

  • comment avatar Gretchen aka mopsy October 13, 2007

    I also agree with trusting that gut feeling.

    I am taken aback when we invite kids over and the parents don’t ask US if we smoke, have guns, watch iffy-for-kids movies/TV. I want to be asked, because it shows me they care where there kids spend time. I am much more likely to send my kids to those houses in the future (after my 20 questions are answered).

    In the future, invite the other boy to play at your house. It sounds like you and your boys have a great relationship. They were able to share what bothered them and they understood where you are coming from with certain rules.

  • comment avatar elasticwaistbandlady October 14, 2007

    Kevin Bacon movies always give me ‘Tremors.’

  • comment avatar Mom7 October 15, 2007

    Use this opportunity to teach your sons to tell their friends when they feel uncomfortable with an movie, activity, or conversation. They need to understand they have that ability because mom or dad are not always there. Today it maybe a movie tomorrow it maybe sex or drugs. Teach them to trust their gut feeling and act on it.

  • comment avatar Annie October 15, 2007

    Great advice, Mom 7. Does that refer to the number of kids you have?

  • comment avatar Mom7 October 18, 2007

    Yes,call it crazy as some days are but I love it! They are from age 20-6 years and are always ready to help me learn lifes littleand big lessons