A mom writes: “Help—the kids in our neighborhood think our house is their playground—and their snack bar!” Show Notes

Thursday, May 29, 2014 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Dear Dr. Bill,

I would like your advice about some children in our neighborhood.  We seem to have stricter rules than most parents about where our grade-school children are allowed to go and play.  As a result, it seems like the whole neighborhood plays in my yard!  These kids may be here for several hours a day, and inevitably, questions about snacks and using the bathroom come up.  My kids don’t want to turn their friends away, I’m getting tired of being everyone’s den mother.  What should I do?

--Nadine

Dear Nadine,

This issue has a lot more to do with the PARENTS in your neighborhood than the kids.  On the one hand, it’s great that that these children feel so welcome at your home that it’s become the neighborhood hangout.  On the other hand, I can sense you are beginning to resent that you’re expected to provide snacks and restroom facilities.

I’d suggest that you have some friendly, straightforward conversations with the parents of the neighborhood children.  

Explain that while you love having their kids play at your home, you’d prefer it if their children could use the bathroom BEFORE coming over to play and bring their own snacks instead of raiding your refrigerator.  Have the same conversation with your own kids, explaining these ground rules to them.

When you’re talking to the parents of the neighborhood kids, you can learn more about them and their values.  Discuss the type of limits you set in your home, and find out if they’re on the same page.  

If they are, and you’re confident that they provide adequate supervision of their own kids, there’s no reason not to allow your kids to play at their friends’ homes.  

This situation can be a marvelous opportunity for evangelism.  Your kindness and hospitality will make a lasting impression on these kids and their families, and may open the door for you to share Christ with them.

Thanks for writing Nadine.  I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.
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