Overprotective Parenting?


The other day, a child showed up at my door and asked if he can play with the boys. The boys had just been outside playing on their scooters, so he must have seen them outside. But I had just called them in so I told the child that Finn, who apparently knew the boy from school, would be home the next day if he’d like to try to catch him outside then.

The next day, while Finn is in the living room playing Wii and while I am in the kitchen on the computer, I hear the storm door shut, I hear hushed voices and I hear a voice I don’t know say, “Are you sure it’s OK?”

I enter the living room and the kid from the day before is there with Finn. He apparently showed up at the front door on his scooter and Finn asked him in and play Wii. This is the first time we’ve had to deal with neighborhood kids dropping by like this so I don’t really fault Finn for not knowing that he should’ve asked me first. I greet the kid from down the street and tell Finn it’s OK for him to play Wii but that next time he should ask me first.

I ask the kid if his mom knows where he is, to which he says yes. Now, I have no idea who his mom is or which house is his so I can’t actually check. I’m trusting that this 7-year-old had permission to leave his house, to ride his scooter to our house, and to go inside our house and that some mom or dad isn’t down the street somewhere panicked, calling his name over and over while thinking the worst.

That’s totally what I would be doing if Finn was outside playing on his scooter and suddenly disappeared. 9-1-1 would have been called and the Amber Alert system activated. I don’t let Finn go to the house of people I haven’t met, and even if I have met them he doesn’t go without both mine and their permissions. We don’t know them, what they’re like, is it safe, what will he be exposed to there, and are they home and open to have him over, etc.

I thought that was pretty much “the norm,” but maybe I’m just being overprotective. Anyone have any thoughts?

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4 thoughts on “Overprotective Parenting?

  1. My kids are too little for me to have to deal with this yet, but I’m trying to think ahead – and I think I would be the same way. I remember too many times I was allowed to go to someone’s house to play, and shenanigans went on (harmless, for the most part, but not stuff I would have gotten away with at home).

    I wasn’t really allowed to have people over, but I’d like my kids to be able to. Honestly, I’d be happy if my house was “the place to be” for the kid’s friends, even if it means that I have to deal with them underfoot all the time – at least I know where they are and what they are doing.

  2. Lain says:

    No, I don’t think you’re overreacting. Having met adults before you let your kid into their home is an eminently reasonable standard.

  3. I wish it were as easy as when we were kids, but it’s not. You are not overreacting. On the other hand, I think it would be a good idea to encourage the boys to make new friends with the stipulation you stated already in place. The positives are 1) new friends for the boys, 2) potential new friends for YOU, and 3) potential reciprocal babysitting. There are a LOT of positives if you continue to handle it with caution.

  4. Reda Ellis says:

    When our children were small, we had to know the parents of the children before our children could go to their house. We had many neighborhood children that came and played in our yard for a while. When our children were older and were asked to birthday parties and such, we still had to know or at least get good recommendations from others about the parents. We always helped pick their friends when they were young. Of course, in high school they befriended people we didn’t know. Then we sought God’s wisdom and peace even more. Half way through high school, they were wise and chose good friends. So I don’t think you are being over protective. Dsellers is right about it possibly being a positive experience. God could be bringing these new friends into your lives for you be a witness to.

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