Sunday, August 26, 2007

To play or not to play

Our neighborhood is filled with children. If you are ever around on a night when we have a bonfire you can count anywhere from 12-20 kids running in our backyard. This does not include the parents and even dogs that come with the kids. This is a great time and for the most part I love all the kids.

However, there are certain kids that I am not so fond of. This comes from many instances where I would send them home for being disrespectful or not talking/treating others nicely (mainly my children).

Both my kids are very open and willing to share whatever they have (and even stuff they think they could get). So the kids in mention will take advantage of their generosity. I try to keep an open mind but lately I have come to the conclusion that I would not be heartbroken if they moved out of the neighborhood.

This may seem a little extreme but here is the issue: There are multiple families living in this house so there are a total of 5 kids running around. Grandpa and Grandma (who has had a stroke and cannot move around well) are there "taking care of" the kids during the day. The parents (the ones not in jail) are gone for most of the day and evenings. Grandpa and Grandma do not speak English so I cannot have any kind of discussion with them.

None of the kids play any organized sports activity and pretty much just run the neighborhood from morning til night stopping anywhere that might provide them with food or a snack.

I have put a stop to them eating every meal over at our house. There was a reason that I had only 2 children, and I was not going to feed 7 now.

Last year Ty was not really interested in playing with them. He seemed to realize that they were not always nice and could (if given the right situation) try and take advantage of him. So for most of the past school year it was very nice to not have those kids over.

Towards the middle to end of this summer these kids have started to show up more and more. Ty (who just wants to run and play with friends) doesn't see the issue with playing with them. He does, however, prefer to play with the other boys in the neighborhood, but will resort to playing with them if no one else is available.

I will usually keep a close ear on the conversations that are had when he plays with them and am not afraid to speak to them if need be. Ty considers these kids friends. I have tried to explain to him that it is okay to play with them sometimes but that he needs to play with other kids more. He has a hard time understanding why.

In Ty's eyes the kids (at this age) are just fine. I think with supervision they are fine too. It is what I foresee happening that makes me worried. The older kids that are in that family do not play any sports or do any organized activities as well. They are left to run free morning til night and have been found to play not so nice games which include ding dong ditch etc... Although, annoying, no harm in the game, I know. Recently, I found them throwing apples at each other (and Ty) across the culdasac. They had hit Gregg's truck among other things. I had a fit. I was yelling and screaming making all the kids pick up the apples out of everyone's yard.

I again, tried to explain to Ty that he does not want to be associated with those kids. With school fast approaching Ty is worried that the time spent with his friends will be minimized. When asked what he wants to do this fall/winter for an activity he states "nothing, just play with my friends".

This has not settled well with me. I am not a crazy sports fan where I am pushing the kids to do things that they don't want to do, but I do see that an organized activity is very healthy for them. It teaches them discipline, how to deal with winning or losing, and expands their network of friends which is important, especially later on. It gets them up and moving where in winter it can be difficult to do.

Ty is very good at almost any sport he wants to play, and seems to enjoy them. He is just having a hard time committing to the time restraints of a sport. Maddy is good at everything as well but has an awful time deciding what to do. With her, it usually depends on the day, time of day, and the color of the sky.

Am I crazy for pushing that they be in something? Am I being paranoid of the kids next door? Please comment and let me know what you think. Thanks

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I will say to you what your dad and I did with our kids. Organized activities and sports are mandatory almost for each season to teach them many things about life. Kids who don't participate, are usually the ones who get in trouble. Part of parenting is helping the little ones choose their friends until they get older to make better decisions in choosing them for themselves. Activities also help kids not to just sit and watch tv, eat junk food, play videos, and hang around with too much down time-but they also need some time to play with friends under adult supervision. I guess as my parents told me-if one is never taught to keep busy and stay out of trouble, we were headed in the wrong direction!!!!!

Love, MiMi