unsavory friend (or really his family) - FamilyEducation
unsavory friend (or really his family)
03/29/2010 at 21:57 PM

My 7 year old has a friend from school and church who has come over to our house a few times for a play date. All fine. Now this child's mother has invited my son to play at their house. I am unsure...I met this family when they started coming to our church--at the time they lived in their car. I felt terrible for them and welcomed them as warmly as I could and spearheaded some help for them like clothes, toys, transportation, etc. The parents started work and got a house--awesome! The dad didn't keep a job--outstanding warrants (driving and bad check related--nothing violent), etc. Still, not the kids' fault, and I am happy to have my son friends with one of their children. Mom still works. Now a problem--thievery. Many things stolen that turn out to be from dad or older kids (not the little one my son likes). I myself had money stolen from my purse. The older boys were caught breaking into a lock box for a church fund for indigent health care. Plus other things I don't love my kids to be around--parents are okay with teenagers drinking and having sex, talk about hangovers, etc. in front of little kids, many other things like this too numerous to mention, including the little kids crossing the highway unsupervised.
SO, I don't want my son over there. Yes, I believe he can be trusted and won't do many of the things that he could be exposed to, but I don't want him even exposed to it. My mom thinks I am being crazy/snobby as my son is super responsible. SO I feel a little unsure...also, how do I get out of this invitation without being rude? And if I can't get out of this what am I going to do when my kids are teenagers and have lots of invites I don't like...any advice is appreciated!!

Your son is only 7 years old, you should do what you are comfortable with. It is not being "judgmental" if you have legitimate concerns about what your son will be exposed to at his friend's house. Everyone has different values, levels of openness, etc. As far as what you do in the future... cross that bridge when you come to it. Evaluate these things on a case-by-case basis. How to get out of the invite may be tricky... you could tell a white lie and say that your son gets homesick when he is away from home/at unfamiliar places etc. and it would be better for the friend to come to your place. good luck. :)

Or, you could be honest. Kindly bring up to the mom that her family is going through a rough time right now. Tell her you like her son, and that you want your boys to be friends. Ask if it would be okay if they played at your house for the time being, just until her family gets through this rough time. Invite the parents for dinner, too. Lock up your valuables before they come, so it can be a pleasant experience. You can put your wallets in the trunk of your car if you don't have any other secure place. (be sure you have a set of keys that aren't in your purse!)

If you do choose to be honest about the reaons you don't want your son at his friend's house, I would be very careful. No one wants to feel like they are being judged, especially if they didn't ask for advice. People tend to react very strongly to criticisms about their family and children.

DO NOT allow you son to spend any unsupervised time with this family. From what you have stated, any time together should be limited to church and functions at the church. By allowing your son to be exposed to the lack of morals you have listed in this family, you are opening him up to the possiblity of harm. And these are just the things you know about now! Sister83 gives good advice. There is no need to explain your decision.