Hello everybody! I am amazed at the responses to this thread and am so glad that I wrote. I am grateful for the correction about my judgmental comments, as I can see that they are dismissive, as HomeAgain captured, as well as ignorant. In thinking over this issue throughout the last few days I realize I am coming from a place of fear and from there resentment has crept in too. Fear and resentment of the unknown with new situations and new people. I seem to deal with big waves of this every once in a while as we move into new phases of our children's development. Medicmom wisely questioned, "have you not had many interactions with children in your home?" Painfully few! It wasn't until after having my first child that I realized I had gone most of my life without being around children much younger than I was, which is sad. When I did finally babysit in my college years people were constantly telling me, "you let them walk all over you! You need to be doing/saying this, this, this..." Now as parents, we have tried to invite people over with children as much as possible, both homeschooled and not, but due to the ages of the kids up until now they usually came accompanied by parents, so I really have no idea how 10 year olds are supposed to act on their own. I just started thinking maybe there is something I am not saying or doing and that I am setting myself up as a passive and incapable authority figure and that these kids pick up on it. Jaybee wrote, "I am also an introvert, so to have a completely open house was stressful to me" and when I read that a lightbulb went off. Left to my own devices, that is what I would be all the time, introverted, and then also phlegmatic and melancholic...so this parenting thing has me way outside of my comfort zone. Having kids running through my house is taking some getting used to, but as madteaparty described early on, having them want to be there is a good thing. I feel very weakened by my extreme discomfort in correcting other people's kids though. I always feel like I am doing it wrong and that they can see right through me or that they are going to go tell their parents that I am mean or something, I don't know, but the critical voices in my head really have me on this one. But we are involved in a lot of groups and I do see other parents doing it quite nicely so I try to remember their tones, phrases, attitudes, and that sort of thing. I can't run from this forever. Mary Poppins is a good one to think of, I think. Bright smile, all the confidence in the world, happily and succinctly doling out boundaries...ahh. (Julie Andrews I mean; I have not had the privilege of reading the books.) But through friends, books, and now this thread, I am getting things figured out and can see the light with the the set-boundaries-don't-worry-about-niceties type of plan if B. is over, or any kid. Here I am tiptoeing around my own issues but in reality it seems like we as parents have to get over ourselves lightning quick and just deal with stuff. I feel heavy in the heart for any resentment for B that came through. Truthfully, his history did, and does, make me want to show more grace, but I needed to sort out how to show more grace without being a push-over, if that makes any sense. And about videogames and tv and corrosion to the family...I regret having mentioned that the way that I did and making that broad judgement. Not choosing to partake of those technologies at this time works nicely for us, but taking such a negative tone was insecure and definitely not what I wanted to convey. We have formed some pretty close friendships with about three or four families since we've moved here and we consider them "like-minded". All of them watch tv and at least two of them do videogames. And these are people we are considering as we try to find a family with which our children could live in the event of our demise. They are all amazing families, one of them even "free-range" as one poster (can't find your name right now but hoping to respond more!) described, and we consider them mentors in one way or another. I guess the like-mindedness comes in the loving of our children...we all do, and through that I hope to make more bonds and learn more things. Thank you all for your time and thoughtful replies! They are all helping me! I hope to respond more to individual posts as I get time here and there. For now, I am off to bed!
Hello all, I am new here but joined because I have an issue floating around in my mind that I would love to see from different angles. My husband and I have two kids, a seven year-old son and a four year-old daughter. We are homeschooling both and loving it. We recently moved out of state to fulfill our dream of owning a house and just completed the purchase a few months ago. We are now in an older housing track with lots of trees and children. Before we moved here, we lived in apartment complexes with few children around so we got resourceful about finding home-school meet-ups and classes. I believe I got a little soft, as the kids with whom my kids played with were pretty sociable, not only with other children but with adults. Here in the new neighborhood two boys, each from different houses on our street, came together to invite my son to play with them. They are ten and my son is seven. At first they only played outside, which is what I have often heard is a good limit for neighbor-kid-playtime. But as the sweltering heat set in this summer, I allowed them into our house and then with great hesitation allowed my son to go to their houses as well. I have met both sets of parents. While they seem pretty normal, I am still not comfortable with it. Perhaps it is because we aren't as normal and are not striving to be. We don't own a television, but keep up on the news through the newspaper. We are pretty socially active this year, with two outside classes and a park-day group keeping us out in the mornings three days a week. But there is so much to the mainstream mindset that is so corrosive to the family and everything that we are striving for that I just cringe when I think of my tender impressionable son going over to the homes of these families that do not seem concerned or careful about the same things that we are. Am I being overprotective? If not, is it reasonable to say "outside play only"? In this state the temperature either seems to either get to 100 or it rains or sleets, but hopefully they would adapt. The two boys are reasonably pleasant kids, but my judgement is unreliable at best and subject to rapid fluctuations. I have doubts that they are being taught any sort of traditional manners at home, as they initially came here and walked through both our bedroom and my daughter's room without any hesitation before I could shoo them out. One of them, A, interacts vibrantly with adults except when he is told "no", and I often hear him screaming or being screamed at and he is usually grounded or glued to his video games so we don't see much of him. The other one, B, interacts rather nicely with my son; he has an overall gentleness about him with both younger children and animals that is nice to see. It is this boy that my son sees a lot of; lately they play nearly every day. I do have a few concerns though and I welcome your thoughts about them. This boy comes over to play but has trouble making eye contact or even speaking to me or my husband. We share meals with him and he never says thank you or acknowledges us in any way if he doesn't have to, and when he does he seems irritated about it. It is such a contrast from the other friends our children have made. We are currently trying to give him a break for these reasons: 1) he comes all alone without a parent in tow to prod, "now what do we say?" as friends of younger ages usually come with and 2) we know from conversations with his parents that he went through the foster care system before they adopted him and may have some attachment/socialization issues. Any thoughts on how to handle this though? Should we just welcome him, be willing to set boundaries such as "no playing in other people's bedrooms" and that sort of thing, and not expect any acknowledgement? How do we love our neighbor here? Also, along with this boy coming over here, there is the expectation that my son should be able to play at his house too. One or both parents are usually home but they are usually engrossed in some home improvement project, which seems fine, but the boy keeps urging my son to play video games or watch youtube on his tablet in his room. I do not want my son left alone with one of his peers and uncontrolled access to youtube, nor do I want him playing video games at seven years old. B's parents don't seem to worry about these things though, and I don't think it would be realistic to ask them to police it. For now my son and I have an understanding that if video games or youtube comes up, he can suggest another game or bring things back outside, but I think that is unrealistic to continue to expect that of him. He could do those things and I would never know. It is an unfair set-up, I think. Am I crazy? Over-protective, out of touch, unrealistic, soft, selfish, naive, living in a bubble? Or just walking through an opportunity to exercise my parental rights and honor my gut? My kids are only 7 and 4; this peer-socialization thing is just getting going! I welcome your thoughts, advice, and stories about the realm of friends, peers, neighbor kids, and all of their wonderful influence over time.