to be getting a bit fed up with this, even though I feel sorry for this kid?(71 Posts)
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?
Apology accepted. We both think the Op is being wonderful by extending this support to this poor chap. Hopefully the support (even if temporary due to the move) will help him get through his parents split. It may well be that this is a short term problem because of the split, but even if the issues are deeper, then it will give him the "frame of reference" for a normal family life, that will benefit him long term.
Op you're lovely.
Forgot to say, of course YANBU to want your own space/feel fed up with the situation
Please keep allowing this child to be part of your family for as long as you can. I was that child. Unfortunately, whilst I had some lovely friends, their parents actively discouraged friendships with me because my parents seemingly didn't give a shit/were not "their type"/who on earth knows why?? I always responded graciously to any less than gracious behaviour on their part. And when I was allowed in I always pretended like it was absolutely fine that I had to go home at a certain time.....which was why your comment about him being fine about being sent home resonated with me.
Their response to me, and the behaviour of my parents, made me the mother I am today. I welcome all children into my home and have extended a listening ear, food and a bed for the night where necessary.
I agree with Zebra that a conversation about the situation with a teacher would be a good thing if you feel unable to approach the father. Also preparing him for your possible departure would also be a wise idea.
You are really doing a wonderful thing for this boy - whether he needs it or not.
I have been the child and mum in this situation and would say that the people who say there are no issues are probably mis-guided. Issues don't always come out when you're small , in fact you may not even know what they are you just know you feel sad, but just the fact that his mum has left home is a big enough deal for him to be sad. If his dad did want him at home he would stop him coming.The only thing I would say is to watch your dcs and make sure they are not showing signs of stress with it and keep on the chats about leaving him at some point. Keep on showing this child love and comfort.
His dad is probably sa at home thinking, I do wish we saw more of Little Johnny his siater has no one to play with.But that little Tulip expects him to be there all the time.Little Johnny is doing him a big favour he has weird parents who sit about all day in PJs , shout at their children and feed them nothing but pizza.
But yes good point about letting him know we will move sometime, will get ds to mention it.
Thanks once again for the nice posts. Bangwhizz he says he has an older sister but I agree we don't really know his situation well. In the end it's no big inconvenience to us to have him, especially if there's a chance we are helping him at a difficult time. He has seen us sitting around in pyjamas and seen me telling my dcs off and still wants to come over so he must be filtering out our weirdness....
You are doing this boy a great kindness op.
Although I'm in my 40's now, I still look back and am so grateful at those friends parents that took me in, gave me some normality and stability, a safe haven and made me feel part of the family. I hate to think where I would have been without their kindness.
YABU You should just say no sometimes!!
You make a lot of assumptionms about his home being unhappy but Maybe he has no siblings his age and is just bored at home.
My DS has a friend like this. When DS was 10, and his friend was 12, they became fast friends. His friends mum had walked out on him and his 3 siblings and whilst he had a great relationship with his dad, his dad was working all hours god sent to make ends meet and left the eldest (15) in charge at home. All 4 kids knew if they needed anything they could knock my door. Only twice did the others ever do that. When DSs friend was 15 he bought me a Mother's Day card. I was touched. He is now 19, and living 200 miles away with his gf. He still calls me mum. You are doing a truly great thing, giving that poor boy some stability.
Thankgoodness for people like you. That child sounds like me when stepmother moved in when I was 11. Thankyou Mrs Christie for mothering me and to Tulip too!
I practically lived at my best friend's house when I was growing up. My family was OK, some issues (step-family) but I just loved being with her. There were rules about their tea time etc, sometimes I stayed and I often stayed the night. It never occurred to me as a child I might be over staying my welcome, so maybe set up some rules in a very friendly way. I feel that a lot of my values and security were established by this friendship. She utterly broke my heart by drifting away when we were 15 though!
I too would say carry on, but set times that he can/can't come in, so you feel you have some space too. Otherwise you will come to resent his presence more and more.
Thank goodness for people like you OP. what you are doing for the boy is probably making the difference between an unbearably sad childhood and one where he feels like part of a family. I think what you are doing is wonderful and special. I also think it would be fine to set some boundaries to make the situation more comfortable. No point in doing more than you want to as you'll become resentful and that'll be no good for anyone.
When my DH's parents were going through a truly awful divorce, he sort of moved in with his best friend (one of four boys) and his family.
I think without that acceptance, love, attention and calm family life he would have been a very troubled young man.
He looks back on that time positively as 'when I was rescued for a while' as opposed to 'when I had the worst time of my life'
We named our DD after the mother of the family, so important to him were they.
What a lovely post ZebraOwl. Very wise words I think. I do think it is really important to prepare the boy for your family leaving at some point soon and to try and speak to his dad or other family member. I hope it all works out ok.
It is a very kind & lovely thing you are doing but it is also completely understandable you want some uninterrupted Family Time as well, you really shouldn't feel guilty, especially as from what you've said you've not let that desire make you behave differently towards the wee lad!
To me it sounds as though the boy is lonely & also understandably upset by the changes in his family set-up, so it makes sense he'd seek out company & an environment that feels stable & secure. He might want to be out of the house because it feels "wrong" being there without his mother. My mother died when I was 10y5.5m old & I cannot express the utter awfulness of the Wrongness of her absence. Obviously his situation is different, but it must still be hard for him to adjust to her absence. There is a chance he stays away from home so long because he can imagine things unchanged whilst he is out & part of him is hoping that maybe it's all a mistake & she'll be there when he gets home & he doesn't want to have to face the dashing of that hope.
I do think you perhaps need to set some groundrules on how much time he can spend at your house - and then enforce them firmly & gently. I think you should talk to your DCs about why you're doing it, too, so they don't think you're Just Being A Mean Mummy. In my opinion it would also be wise to ensure that the boy understands you will be moving away in the relatively near future. Making sure he understands now; ensuring he doesn't somehow see it as a rejection of him (he's probably still just young enough he might given the situation with his parents); and letting him know about the move almost as soon as it gets settled so he's as long as possible to prepare for the change would all be good.
As someone else suggested, if you can't talk to the father, could you maybe see about talking to someone at the boy's school to try to ensure he's getting adequate support there & that they are aware of the situation. Hopefully that would also make you feel less responsible for him & less concerned about what will happen to him when you move away.
It is incredibly generous, kind & generally Very Lovely of you to do this
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.
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!
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" ) 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 for him.
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.
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