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When is it too much for having kids round?

(24 Posts)
Rhubarb Mon 12-Oct-09 15:56:29

I hate being put in this position and it seems as though I'm always being put in this bloody position!

dd, aged 9, has a girl in her class who, by her own admission, she rarely plays with at school.

This girl has taken to calling for dd every day. She used my telephone without permission once to call her mum and ask if she could stay longer (without asking me mind!). Then once when I was in the bath she came to the door, the children are forbidden to answer the door when I'm in the bath, but that didn't stop her from ringing the bell, banging on the door until I had to get out of my bath and tell her to go away.

On Sunday she turns up just as we are about to go out, with her little sister in tow who's about 6.

Now I've always presumed that she must live fairly local, dd didn't know but thought it was at the end of our street. Her mother hasn't met me at all.

Today when picking dd up her friend comes along too and asks to come for tea, to which I say no. She then tags along anyway and when questioned I realise she lives a good 2.5 miles away!

Now I've told dd that I don't want this to be a regular occurence. I'm actually quite peeved to think that this friend might start following us home every evening and hoping I'll feed her. I've had this problem before with the kids around here. dh and I are struggling atm and it's hard enough with organised teas, let alone impromptu ones.

Am I being a mean old grump?

How would you handle this?

thisisyesterday Mon 12-Oct-09 15:59:04

no, you aren't being a grump... where the hell is her mother???????

Rhubarb Mon 12-Oct-09 16:01:06

I don't know, but like a lot of kids around here I'm presuming that her homelife isn't great. Or that her mother simply lets her roam, she comes across as very streetwise and cocky - another selfish reason I don't want to encourage the friendship with dd. She speaks to me like a grown-up, which I'm not used to at all.

So how do I handle it?

HuwEdwards Mon 12-Oct-09 16:04:53

Blimey, what a nightmare, no I wouldn't appreciate this at all. A good friend of your DD would be a different story, but not this.

If she started to tag along regularly, I would just tell her, 'soory but we don't have play dates/teas in the week as we have a lot on.

If I had to get out of the bath in those circumstances, I would say 'Look if you want to check if it's ok to come round, you need to phone first, ok?'

HuwEdwards Mon 12-Oct-09 16:06:19

Just be final, matter-of-fact. Use statements that don't offer any comeback from her.

Mousey84 Mon 12-Oct-09 16:06:50

Do you think there may be issues with her family?

I wouldnt like to be in your position. I know the parents of any kids that come to my house, and have contact details for them. Im not sure how I would handle it though. 2.5 miles is awfully far for a 9 year old to wander. Maybe she has family closer by that she is supposed to go to every day? I would gently try to find out more, for my own peace of mind that the child is safe (even if she is very annoying)

Rhubarb Mon 12-Oct-09 16:07:54

There's no way she's having our phone number!

She's off playing now with dd. I might call dd in shortly and send this girl on her way. If I seem to encourage this then she'd be here every day.

I do feel sorry for her, the other day she saw me making a pie and could hardly believe it. But then a lot of kids round here are like that, I caught one in my kitchen once looking in my oven. He didn't even play with dd much, just used to come round on the pretence of playing and ask if he could have anything to eat.

Do you think it's something I should mention to the school or is that overreacting? After all, plenty of kids wander far from home and it doesn't mean they're being neglected.

Mousey84 Mon 12-Oct-09 16:09:06

lol, x post cause it took me so long to write it.

In light of what you just said, I agree with Huw - if she speaks to you like an adult, you can be very frank with her.

Rhubarb Mon 12-Oct-09 16:09:23

Mousey, she is allowed this far, I know that much. The first time she came I insisted she call her mum to let her know where she was.

Everyone seems to know her too.

She may well have done this to everyone and now it's dds turn.

thisisyesterday Mon 12-Oct-09 16:09:26

does anyone at the school gate know her mum? maybet hey could give you a little insight into it?
i dunno, i think i'd be a little worried about her if she is usually walking home alone? might be worth a word with the teacher? i don'tknow where you live though, but 9 seems young to be doing that?

think huw is right though, you just have to be firm and say no.

HuwEdwards Mon 12-Oct-09 16:10:34

I think unless she's distressed or wandering around after dark, then it may be normal for her (and as you say not necessarily neglect).

PuppyMonkey Mon 12-Oct-09 16:12:28

Ooh, your pies do sound smashing. grin

Have you tried hiding behind the sofa when she rings the doorbell? I am a total coward and that's what I'd do.

Rhubarb Mon 12-Oct-09 16:12:55

If they are in Key Stage 2 they are allowed to walk home on their own.
And trust me, speaking to other mums isn't a good idea, gossip spreads like wildfire.

My main concerns are that her mother doesn't know me.
She brought her 6yo sister on Sunday.
Her mother doesn't particularly care much where she is.
She may not be a good influence for dd.
Having another child tag along is a pain in the arse.
I don't want to be known as the local softie who takes in waifs and strays.

Singstar Mon 12-Oct-09 16:14:22

I don't really have any advice but maybe rather than being annoyed (although can see how you have right to) you should take it as a compliment.

Maybe she sees you with your dd and thinks she'd like a mum like you and if her mum is letting her travel 2.5miles to see your dd or doesn't bother to find out where she is all the time she's at yours it doesn't sound like she does.

Maybe try talking to the teacher to see if there is anything they are aware of which could explain it- if she is having problems then another rejection (as she'll see it) is the last thing she needs.

paranoiabigdestroyer Mon 12-Oct-09 16:15:33

The nights will be getting darker soon and nine is too young to be that far from home IMO Ask the school for some advice.

Singstar Mon 12-Oct-09 16:21:06

Understand what you mean about not wanting to be known as local softie but obviously kids feel safe at yours and maybe like they can talk to you.
Agree with others about being frank with her (in a nice way smile) but would def get the school involved - if there is a problem its not your responsibility to sort out and also you could run in to all sorts of problems if you try to.

Just as an aside - as anyone been to this girls house to play ?

Rhubarb Mon 12-Oct-09 16:28:23

Ok, will I have parents eve with dd's teacher tomorrow and I know him fairly well so will bring it up then.

I don't know anything about this girl. dd doesn't particularly play with her at school and seemed totally surprised when she first turned up.

Whilst I do have sympathy. Tbh and this is going to sound selfish, there's a reason I only have two children, I'm not actually very good with them. I love mine to bits, but I do struggle with other peoples and perhaps that's why I'm seen as a soft touch, I never know how to relate to them.

And I really really cannot afford to feed another mouth.

So yes, it's nice that she feels safe here, but difficult for me as she tends to do things without asking, like using my phone and being very direct, like asking why if I say 'no'. I'll leave it until I speak to her teacher though.

Thanks all, I just wanted to get the balance right as I know I'm a grumpy cow at times and need reining in, so to speak. However dh is just as bad, if not worse, and he's much better at being just as direct with the little buggers as they are!

Rhubarb Tue 13-Oct-09 13:18:36

Update: the girl was with us until 6pm, so I wonder where her mother thought she was? I don't know if she got fed or not when she got home sad

I had a word with the teacher this morning and he told me to leave it with him.

Dh and I have decided that if she does need a safe place, we'd rather have her here than roaming the streets, and I'll see if I can't give her something to eat every now and then. But we did both agree that she's not a desirable influence on dd, she's the kind who would rather talk about boys than play with dolls, whereas dd is the polar opposite. So if this becomes a regular thing, we keep a close eye on it and enforce strict rules.

Sounds totally selfish, but I really would rather not have this added stress - the stress pile seems to be mounting.

jobhuntersrus Tue 13-Oct-09 13:27:27

I think you have done the right thing by telling the teacher. Maybe you could find an excuse to walk her home one day to try and meet her mum?

typical Tue 13-Oct-09 13:39:37

Rhubarb - a similar situation happened to us not so long ago. In our case the visits eventually fizzled out when, I think tbh, the child realised that my dc are on a tighter rein, eg can't stay out for so long, can't go so far etc. Basically I think the child got bored of us.

But what I wanted to say really was that I did go into the school about this child. The teacher is obviously bound by confidentiality so didn't go into any great detail but gently prompted us to consider that our homelife probably appears idyllic to some people (...if only they knew!). Basically saying that this child kept coming to us because they craved our family life, because it is sadly lacking from their own life. Just thinking of it like that made us (and our dc) a lot more tolerant to the situation. Which then of course fizzled out in its own time. That child has now moved on to another family.

Rhubarb Tue 13-Oct-09 13:44:44

Well the teacher didn't give anything away, and I think he would have done if he knew. I used to work at the school so have done the child protection course and I do think he would have told me things if he could.

It's parents eve tonight and he's seeing her mother, so is going to tactfully question her. But it's obvious that this girl knows how to fend for herself, because she's had to no doubt. But taking her 6yo sister to a house without her mums knowledge, not knowing us very well at all, that's putting herself and her sister in danger. Just because people have kids it doesn't mean to say that they are safe.

ChopsTheDuck Tue 13-Oct-09 13:51:33

I really would put a stop to it personally. I think 2.5 miles is a much too big a distance for a 9yo to be wandering, let along with a 6yo with her. I wouldn't want the responsibility of encouraging her to walk that distance on her own by letting her in. Maybe you could tell her she can come round if her mother drops and collects her?

I think you did the right thing by talking to the teacher, I hope it gets resolved.

oneplusone Tue 13-Oct-09 14:04:25

I went through something similar not so long ago when DD was in yr1. She was good friends with a boy in her class and we would have playdates at his place and our place fairly regularly. But then this boy started to get very attached to my DD and started asking her to his every day after school. I found it hard to say no (but I did) as I was on good terms with his mother. I ended up making up lots of excuses as to why DD couldn't go to his/he come to ours every day after school so as not to offend his mother.

Things eventually came to a head when he started to come knocking at our door after school even after i had specifically told him not to when i saw him at school whilst picking up DD.

He had come knocking uninvited a number of times and i finally had enough and called his mother. (His mother works and has an au pair, but it seemed like the boy was in charge as the au pair knew i did not want the boy to come knocking at ours after school but he forced her to come here anyway). Instead of saying sorry about her boy's behaviour, when i called his mother, she came round, after the boy and his au pair had gone from my doorstep and accused me of getting in the way of my DD's friendships and that DD (who was 5 at the time) would resent me for this when she was older!

As it seemed the boys' mother had no intention of speaking to him and ask him to stop coming to our house i ended up talking to their teacher. And she told me she had noticed this boy was becoming possessive over DD even at school.

Luckily it was nearly the summer holidays and i kept DD well away from the boy and it seems to have broken his attachment to her and we use a different exit from the school to him and so he can no longer pester DD to go to his house after school every day like before.

Again i think the reason this boy got so attached to DD is because there are problems at home. I think he is feeling neglected and lonely as his mother is working and his au pair seems bored and incapable of keeping him occupied and entertained after school.

Anyway, thankfully the whole problem seems to have gone away now, it was awful whilst it was all going on.

Rhubarb Tue 13-Oct-09 14:06:14

You do feel so sorry for these kids.

Stuck between wanting to help them and feeling the need to protect your own family.

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