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Much older neighbor kid

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Hive, I could use your wisdom here. I kind of remember a thread a while back about a much older kid playing with younger kids and the hive concluded (maybe?) that it sounded developmentally inappropriate and should be discouraged. I tried searching. If anyone remembers and could point me to it, I'd appreciate it.

Here's my situation: My boys are 7 and 5. About a year and a half ago they met a neighbor kid and started playing with him. The kid'd older lives a couple streets away. I think he forgot where we lived. Recently he's been showing up again, and my kids are over the moon, because our same-age homeschooled neighbors moved away a while ago. My kids say he's 13, and he's definitely in middle school (he told me that). Maturity-wise he seems barely older than our 7 year old who has ASD (DH and I comment on it every time he's over). He's also barely taller than my 7 year old, so I had thought he was more like 8 or 9.

Now, he seems like a pretty nice, good kid. His mom and I have a mutual friend. He's obviously been raised well in a good and loving home.

The problem is that he's a lot older and knows a lot more stuff that my kids (especially my preschooler!) have no business knowing yet. Like the other day he started telling them about the N word, then he stopped and asked me if he could teach them what the N word is. Or a few months ago he told my kids to cover their ears and he sang me a song about drugs (DH and I started discouraging the friendship then, but lately he's been coming around multiple times per weekend). I don't believe the kids uses drugs, though. I'm pretty sure was just being a silly middle school boy. Yesterday my 5 year old started singing something that made my alarm bells go off, which he likely picked up from the older kid.

Between that and his lower maturity, I feel like I have to be really on top of things when he's over, and I'm getting sick of it. I don't want to outright ban him, but the more I think about it, and type out and re-read it, the more I think this has to be heavily discouraged. They're just on such different levels. BTW it's only pretty recently he's been coming over a lot and I realized he's a middle schooler. He always shows up at the same times, so I think he makes his rounds in the neighborhood and leaves as kids have to go in for meals. My strategy so far has been to call the kids in for meals after a little while, and to make them play outside because the weather is a little cold and miserable, so it limits how long everyone feels like playing.

Any hive wisdom? 

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I don't know that age itself is so much an issue as what kind of influence he is having. My 13 year old son plays with the six and eight year old neighbor boys, honestly they are closer to his social development level than most kids his own age. My kid though is definitely not sharing rude words or inappropriate songs with them, and at least one of my own younger kids is usually playing with them.

We had some older "bad influence" kids in the neighborhood we lived in years ago and I had to severely limit their contact with my own young kids. The kids who did spend a lot of time with them ended up getting dragged into some seriously problematic behavior.

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I agree with Maize. It’s not the age difference itself. I babysat kids your kids’ ages when I was 13 and I never sang them songs about drugs or felt it necessary to teach them about things like the N word. I played things at their level. Now I did it as a job but if they had been younger cousins etc I would have still acted more like a mentor/mother’s helper than a direct peer. 

If I allowed him access to my kids, the play/interaction would only be when I was right there. 

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3 minutes ago, maize said:

I don't know that age itself is so much an issue as what kind of influence he is having. My 13 year old son plays with the six and eight year old neighbor boys, honestly they are closer to his social development level than most kids his own age. My kid though is definitely not sharing rude words or inappropriate songs with them, and at least one of my own younger kids is usually playing with them.

We had some older "bad influence" kids in the neighborhood we lived in years ago and I had to severely limit their contact with my own young kids. The kids who did spend a lot of time with them ended up getting dragged into some seriously problematic behavior.

Thanks for this. I was raised in a large multi-age group of cousins, and it was beneficial for all of us, so I guess part of me wanted it to work out.

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I agree with the others. My 12 year old plays with 7 and 8 year old girls in the neighborhood because, until very recently, they were the only option for neighborhood playmates. She doesn't do or say inappropriate things around them and their parents say they're always happy to have her around their younger children.  I think it's more about what influence your neighbor is having and if he does play with your children you should be nearby to supervise.

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I agree with the previous posters. My kids (10 and 12) played with the neighbor kids daily until they moved (ages 3, 5, 7). My 10 year old especially enjoyed the 7 year old's company. However, my kids were simply playing; they would know better than talk about inappropriate things. (Haha, these little kids were the ones who told my youngest that there wasn't a Santa, so...)

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It isn't the age.

It sounds like he is processing things he is learning, out loud, and doesn't know what is appropriate for younger children. Or himself.  

 

 

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My 12 year old plays with much younger children in the neighborhood because there are no kids in her age range but she is not talking about drugs or using curse words used to demean a group of people. I think especially for the kids that are small for their age because they will hit puberty late that playing with younger kids is not concerning in itself. My dd takes on a mother hen type of role with younger kids and she tends to be at a similar peer or maturity level with kids a year or two younger or the kids her age who are also small for their age because they will be late developing. I would have an issue with what this kid is introducing but since you said his parents seem cool I would maybe bring it up with them and give them a chance to address it if you wanted to give him another chance. 

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Thanks for helping me think through this. My gut says he's a nice kid with impulse and filter issues. For now this is only a problem on the weekends. I think before summer break I'll have to bite the bullet and talk with his mom about limiting his time here during the week. I am not going to spend my whole summer supervising someone else's kid that closely!

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I think you can talk to the boy and tell him he is not allowed to talk about xyz at your house.

I would definitely supervise when he is over, given what you have said in your OP.

You could reduce the burden on yourself by setting specific times when he is allowed to come.  For example, only on Wednesdays from 4 to 5pm or whatever makes sense to you.

I doubt that I would ban a kid over the things you have said though.

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