Party Pooper

I'm ruining my kids' social life. Five or six neighborhood children all just descended upon our house and everyone started pulling things out of the garage. They were swinging hula hoops around in the garage and fiddling with stuff that isn't even a toy.

So, I shooed them all out and told them to go play in the yard and on the swing set. They all looked horrified and sullen.

I always wanted to be the house where all the kids hang out. I'm fully prepared to stock a minifridge with sodas, etc and let the preteens and teens hang out all over the place. But for various reasons I'm having trouble breaking into that with this particular group of neighborhood kids.

They leave out everything they bring out. They talk my kids into stuff my kids know they aren't supposed to do (I know this is also my kids' fault, but I've more than once heard Em or Mackie say, "We're not allowed to x-y-z" to which the Other Kid responds "If you don't, you're " or "Well, then, I'm leaving." etc. They've actually come over to play and asked if they can play with a certain thing (like the sprinkler in the summer) and if I say no, they all turn around and leave again without a backward glance. They try to form clubs ("Girl Club" or "Older Than 1st Grade Club") that exclude only Matthew. They tell the kids scary stories about dead bodies in the woods behind our house. They never wear bike helmets. The youngest is Emily's age and the oldest is frankly too old to be playing with a 1st and 3rd grader.

Basically, I don't like these kids. I've never invited them inside the house. I've never encouraged the kids to play with them. I don't let my kids go over to their houses. I don't like these kids and I don't like how my kids are when they're all together.


Not the childhood I'd pictured for them, so far. When two houses in our development recently sold, I'd so hoped the new neighbors would add to a more positive playmate pool. But no luck, there.



ps. I think they're all leaving now. I'm not that bummed.

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