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Neighbor kids in these modern times

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I have two sons who are soon to be 14 and they happen to be the oldest kids in the neighborhood, of the kids they play with.  When the next door neighbors moved in, my sons were 6.  The neighbors son was 3 and their daughter was 1.  My sons have really enjoyed playing with their kids over the years and view them as younger siblings (they have even played dolls and tea parties with the daughter:). We have gotten to know the parents also.  Although we have many differences in how we raise our kids, we have worked together over the years to make it work. Their kids have played over here a few times (mostly the son) but the vast majority of the time it's my sons playing at their house and even babysitting their son at times now that they are all older. With the age difference, it makes a lot more sense for my sons to play there than for her kids to play here. If you make your rules clear, the kids will learn them and it should get easier.  My boys had no problem with their rule of not pretending to "shoot" someone with a toy gun at their house (except with nerf guns), for example. They are more lenient on the amount of video game time so my sons just come home if their son starts playing games. Their son knows that too so he won't play his video games if he really wants to play with my sons.There are other things we don't do at our house that they do but my boys know our rules and we have worked through any issues that have come up. It has been so worth the effort. They don't spend as much time together these days as they once did but they still enjoy each other even now.

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On 9/22/2019 at 2:32 PM, Pen said:

@MegaSwan100  welcome!  You seem to have picked a hot topic to start!



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 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!

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