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to be getting a bit fed up with this, even though I feel sorry for this kid?

(71 Posts)
StainedTulip Fri 22-Mar-13 10:16:19

There's a boy who lives on our street who is friendly with my ds (both 10), they don't go to the same school and I don't know the family at all, but they started playing outside after school and at weekends. Nice kid and he and ds get on well, all good.

Anyway he started calling on ds and coming in to play and as we got to know him better he has been telling us lots of news about his family - namely that his mum has moved out because his dad has a new girlfriend. From what I can gather the dad and girlfriend live in the house on our street and he sees his mum sometimes. So it's obviously a hard time for him.

The issue is that in the last few weeks he has been coming over more and more, to the point that he arrives the minute we get home from school and often stays until I tell him ds has to go to bed. He often ends up eating dinner with us. At the weekend he is often already sitting in the living room watching cartoons with ds when I get up around 8.00am.

I feel so sorry for this kid, but he's here all the time. I assume he doesn't want to go home. The other night he turned up as we were about to eat pizza and I said well I've only made one (large) pizza between my 3 dcs so it's up to them if they want to share it out. Then I felt bad for saying that. DS asked him if he'd had dinner and he said he had but he liked pizza!

Not sure if it matters but we are British but not living in UK and the friend is not British.

Should I tell him to go home sometimes or just hope this changes in time?

shewhowines Fri 22-Mar-13 17:03:25


But isn't there a danger of doing more harm than good by taking him in virtually full time, then basically abandoning him when they move. I'm worried about this.

PearlyWhites Fri 22-Mar-13 17:12:47

I think you should carry on letting him come round . Btw bit confused as to him not being British possibly being relevant?

yawningbear Fri 22-Mar-13 17:18:36

I'm sure you have probably done this OP and I have only scanned the thread so apologises if I have missed it but have you been able to really talk with the boy about his home situation?

Its just that it sounds desperately sad for him. I work in child protection and often think if we as adults are unnerved by an adult or their dog, whatever, then how must it be for a child? He is obviously having a really tough time and is very unhappy at home and has found a safe haven with you, but it sounds likes that can't be sustained either. I just wonder if there are other solutions within his own family - mother, grandparents etc.

Also I would be concerned as to what actually is going on when he is at home. Does he go to your son's school? Could you perhaps speak to one of the teachers if you don't want to approach the Dad?

It does sound as if you and your DS are very kind, and that is what this child needs, lots of kindness.

WildeRumpus Fri 22-Mar-13 17:36:54

Ah, I was this child! My mum left me at a a b and b when.I was 16 to finish my a levels and bit by bit I stayed at my best friends house more and more. In the end I had my own place setting at the table and was treated as one of the family.

I was lonely and didn't really have a family of my own that was functioning. My friends family taught me how families can function, can be kind and as a parent now they are a role.model to me (i don't talk to my parents any more).

Their kindness and warmth really helped me and I would do the same to another kid who needed refuge in my home in a heartbeat.

However if you are tired and just want time with your dcs then do talk to his dad who can then gently dissuade him.from.coming over so much... Saying it yourself - if the boy is finding refuge in your home - could feel like rejection?

Your family sounds lovely, you should be very proud smile

3littlerabbits Fri 22-Mar-13 17:46:59

Can understand that you want your own space, totally understandable - but have to say that it soubds like you are providing a haven for a little boy going through a troubled time and you must have a lovely home and family. Welling up thinking about it. You are a good person x

FarBetterNow Fri 22-Mar-13 17:47:42

OP, you sound so lovely, caring and charitable.

The boy is very lucky to have found you and your family in his hour of need.

BenjaminButton172 Fri 22-Mar-13 18:55:25

Where does it say that this boy needs the OP to be charitable and be cared for?

All the OP said was that this child lived with one parent and didnt see the other often. That is pretty common.

Fluffymonster Fri 22-Mar-13 19:48:20

StainedTulip I agree with the other posters saying how lovely you and your family sound. It may seem a bit of a pain at times, but what you are doing is incredibly important for this lost and lonely child, please don't stop.

As WildeRumpus already said, it's not just that you're helping him in the short or even medium term - you're all providing him with experience of what a loving home looks and feels like. This may affect him far into the future, and any family of his own one day.

Oh, what is it about the threads on here in the past couple of days...this is the second one that has had me welling up!

Setting a few boundaries seems like the way to go, like so that you don't feel so imposed on that you eventually run out of goodwill. Set some times that are acceptable for you - and I agree that he needs to be prepared for the eventuality that you will all move away one day.

BenjaminButton172 Your attitude is pretty cold and self-centred by the sounds of it. From your earlier post about how you wouldn't expect someone else to feed your child etc. Of course, neither would most parents - but we are not talking about you, are we?? This boy's father seems to have very little interest in even where his son is, nor how long he stays out, or he would have been round to get him home surely. Most parents would be frantic, or at the very least, curious, if their 10yo child was out from as early as 8am to bedtime. He is clearly not coping well with his depression or separation.

That pretty much means that whether she wants it or not, StainedTulip is in the position of providing a safe haven for this child, which means in some respects 'caring for' him. He may not be in need of 'charity' but he is a child who needs a responsible adult and a place where he feels accepted and 'OK'.

Which part of that is so difficult to understand??

Fluffymonster Fri 22-Mar-13 19:53:56

I also don't agree with the concerns someone said, that it may be a bad idea, to get him so used to your family, knowing that one day you will be moving.

It's like saying why let anyone from a miserable background, get used to experiencing lack of misery, unless happiness can be permanent.

It's so they can have a frame of reference, for some future point - that they may have a chance of knowing what to look for.

BenjaminButton172 Fri 22-Mar-13 20:21:17

Im neither cold nor self centred. I just dont see abuse or neglect around every corner.

There are many kids in my street who spend near enough all day every day at the weekends and in the holidays happily playing out. Not a single one is abused or neglected. They are just being kids.

shewhowines Fri 22-Mar-13 20:32:06


I didn't say don't help at all. My previous posts said that limits needed to be set and then I said "else it may do more harm than good" - not to abandon him completely.

zwischenzug Fri 22-Mar-13 20:43:28

From the limited information you have/have posted it does sound like it's a distinct possibility that this kid's home life is pretty shit. Your choice but you may be providing a lifeline for this child and making all the difference to his happiness and confidence, could you live with yourself if you were cutting that off?

You could always try and find out a bit more about the child's living arrangements, to see if it is safe to restrict how often he comes round.

wannaBe Fri 22-Mar-13 20:57:22

I do think people are jumping to massive conclusions here with absolutely no real basis. Referring to this child as alone and unloved - nobody can possibly know that. He may be an only child and choose to spend time with his friends because spending time at home is boring. He may be out from eight until late because until not so long ago, that's what kids used to do and nobody batted an eyelid, perhaps the father chooses not to be a helicopter parent and instead is happy for his ds to be out happily playing with the other boys in the street - again, as most kids did until the inception of xbox and computers.

I wonder, if the boy had said that he lived with his mother as opposed to the father would people still be so judgemental? or would they be encouraging the op to befriend the mother in the belief that she probably needs support....?

As a parent I would want to know where my ds was, however if children randomly came round to play/stayed for breakfast/lunch/dinner I would also want to be sure that their parents knew where they were and were ok with them eating here. So while I don't think it's wrong to take in this child I do think that it's wrong to do so on a purely judgemental basis and that you really should go round and introduce yourself to the dad and make sure that he is actually ok with this child having such a major presence in your home.

You know nothing about this man other than what you've gained from the words of a ten year old who is most likely bitter about his parents' split. But whil you are judging the father who does actually live in the street it appears the mother has buggered off and deserted her child. I would reserve judgement until you have actually had an adult conversation with the adults in this child's life rather than taking the words of a load of strangers on the internet who are intent as labelling this child as unloved and your involvement in his life as charity.

notactuallyme Fri 22-Mar-13 21:05:35

I think you should find out more, before assuming he is having an awful time at home. That will allow you to decide what to do about the possibilty of leaving. To be fair, one of ds' friends has lovely parents, comfortable home etc but would spend all day here if they could, as the kids like hanging out together. No 'ishoos'.
If you find out otherwise, you could look at what support might be available for longer term help.

Domjolly Fri 22-Mar-13 21:12:32

Yes i agree that you are supporting this child but part of me thinks i might be inclined to call ss because surly by pu giving him what he needs it allows his dad not to

Bevause i wouldnt imagain you can do this for the long haul and its important that the reason why the boy wont go home is addressed

NotGoodNotBad Fri 22-Mar-13 21:28:15

To those saying the kid isn't having an awful time at home - if he was your 10 year old, would you be OK with this? With him disappearing first thing in the morning and staying out for meals etc., with you not knowing when he was coming home? With him spending pretty much all day every day with a family you'd never met? confused

BenjaminButton172 Fri 22-Mar-13 21:40:21

Not good - i have been on both sides of this. I have had kids at my home all day during the holidays and weekends. My child has spent all day playing out too. Not coming home for meals if i forget to give them a time coz my child has to be reminded to eat when playing out.

I know the parents to say hello but thats about it. It is the same when i and probably many others were growing up. How many posters parents knew your friends parents?

Fluffymonster Fri 22-Mar-13 21:46:58

Shewhowines Apologies if I sounded like I was criticising your post - I couldn't remember where I'd seen it and misquoted. I do see where you're coming from now. Still, I don't think it 'would do more harm than good'. Hopefully not, anyway.

It's a good idea to try and have some sort of conversation with the father, to get a bit more information.

Is it possible at all, to invite the Dad and girlfriend to dinner one night along with his son - see where the land lies? (Though I realise you may have some reservations about doing that if you're already feeling as though you've gained an extra child, never mind inviting even more people round.)

Fluffymonster Fri 22-Mar-13 22:20:33

BenjaminButton172 I thought you said earlier:

I also wouldnt allow kids in all the time. Maybe its coz i dont expect other people to feed my child and i dont send my child out at silly o'clock in the morning.

It sounds like you're contradicting yourself. So you do allow kids in, all day, when it's holidays and weekends?

You don't send your child out at 'silly o'clock in the morning', or 'expect other people to feed your child', yet your child has been out all day, not returning for meals because you forgot to give them a time?

I'm not sure what your point is. The thing is, the boy in the OP seems to be forgotten about on a regular basis - perhaps he comes and goes as he pleases, rather than not being fed. But he's only 10yrs old. Not knowing where your 10yr old is for most of the day, or who they're with - and that being the norm rather than the odd occasion, is neglectful. How can people say it's not?

BenjaminButton172 Fri 22-Mar-13 23:12:14

Didnt you notice my post was in past tense.

It used to be like that until it became too much. Having someone elses child in your house all day can be exhausting and that is why i put a stop to it.

BenjaminButton172 Fri 22-Mar-13 23:18:14

Anyway i have said what i thought. I dont see the point in discussing it anymore as there is no way to tell whether this boy is being kicked out the house and left to get on with it or he just likes being around other kids.

OP if you are concerned about the boy speak to his father. Or if you dont want him there send him home. His father might be delighted to see him, you never know.

NorksAreMessy Fri 22-Mar-13 23:19:22

Thank you on behalf of this child for the kind thing you are doing.
It is irritating and annoying and a bit awkward, but you are doing a kind and loving thing.

superfluouscurves Sat 23-Mar-13 00:43:21

No advice but just wanted to say that we are in a similar situation StainedTulip (although child concerned is not here
as much as your ds's friend - only two or three times a week. If it were more than that, I think I would find it quite trying tbh.)

A child that lives up the road (a few years older than dd) has kind of "adopted" us. She met him at a local sports event.

(Funnily enough - although not sure of relevance - we are British , not living in Uk and friend not British too!)

He lives with his grandmother and although I don't know all the details - his parents have obviously been going through a very difficult divorce or separation. His grandmother keeps e-mailing me saying "his mother was meant to see him this weekend but has cancelled" sad) Of course that is only one side of the picture.

He often talks about his father but unfortunately it's usually in the context of the (patently unsuitable) television programmes they watch together.

His grandmother is rather odd inasmuch as I exchange very 'correct' e-mails with her, but when I walk the boy back home, she barely appears at the door, and usually doesn't appear at all.

We haven't asked him directly about any of this because it feels like prying and he visibly shrinks when the subject of family is mentioned.

He loves cooking (and so does dh) so he often comes for Sunday lunch which we all cook together - I've started laying an extra place!! DD is any 'only' so his company is generally very welcome (bit trickier when she has other (girl) friends here) and the boy's behaviour is really touching - he always says his pleases and thank yous, and helps clear the table etc and offers to help with our pets etc. He is a really good conversationalist for his age too!

Tbh sometimes it isn't very convenient to have him here, but it's like he is lost and not wanted by the adults in his life. Feel really sad for him.

StainedTulip Sat 23-Mar-13 03:56:25

Thank you for all the messages - so nice to hear all the votes of confidence!

To answer the questions - no, the boys don't go to the same school, and I don't have any contact with the family. To boy always goes home on his own and the only time I've seen the dad is walking the dog. And I only worked out it was him because the boy had described the dog, and because the dad is also not local to this country. The mum and the girlfriend are both local, although I've never seen either of them.

The boy has not talked at length about his home situation, just passing comments really, and mostly to ds who has then told me or DH. He doesn't seem miserable or anything, even when told it's time to go home, so I really don't know how he feels. All I know is that he seems to prefer being at our house or playing outside.

I must be getting used to the situation - having friends over for a bbq today and seeing the boy at the door reminded me to make an extra burger!

Chottie Sat 23-Mar-13 05:19:57

Stained Tulip please continue what you are doing, you sound so caring and loving, no wonder that child wants to be with your family. You are giving that child some support and stability. Ok, you maybe moving, but that is in the future and it truly seems like that child needs you now....

One of our neighbour's children used to spend a lot of time with us too. Even though he was 3 years older than DS. He loved helping DH with jobs in the garage and eating with us at the weekend. It later turned out that his parents were going through a horrendous divorce.

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