kids playing outside.

This week we have played outside lots and I love it.  I love dirty boys at the end of the day.  I love washing dirt and all kinds of stuff off of our hands before dinner.  It makes me feel good to see my boys playing outside.  Cayden has turned into a little boy and loves being out there all day long.  Deacon still gets tired and wants to rest lots more.

Recently there have been kids from next door over in the backyard and they usually play very well together back there.  We are not used to this, because these kids don’t live there, but are just there while their parents work on the house to get it ready to sell.

Seeing the kids out there playing all evening has got me thinking about fears of mine that I have with my kids playing with other friends.  I love to have the kids in our backyard, but not so sure I’m ready to let Cayden play in someone else’s backyard.  How old is old enough to do that?  I’m not ready to not to be able to monitor everything that goes on in front of my kids.

When we move to a new house I want a great backyard.  I want to be the cool backyard so all the kids want to come and play at our house.  I want to be the cool mom.  Anyone else share these feelings with me?

I have a fear of something happening to my kids when they are at someone else’s house.  Not a fear of them getting hurt or scraping their knee, but a fear of some form of abuse happening to them.  Not sure why, but I fear that for my kids.  I want to always be able to see them and hear them and know what is going on in their playtime.

Today the kids next door came in to use the bathroom and when they were in they started playing.  I told the little boy to run next door and tell his mom where he was and ask if it was okay.  I told him it was fine with me, but ask his mom.  He came back and said his mom said he had to stay outside and not inside.  I sent him on his way as my boys continued to play.  This got me thinking about this topic again.  In no way was I offended, b/c I would NEVER let me kids play in someone’s house that I did not know VERY well and know everyone that was in that house.
Now, I know that my kids are young, and this could explain some of my fears, but what age is old enough to send your kids off to the neighbor’s yard?

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19 responses to “kids playing outside.

  1. jamie, i hope you know i think you are an amazing mom. i love reading your blogs, because they remind me of all the things i feel and think about constantly. i left a comment on aaron’s blog, because it is amazing how many comments he receives, i seriously get about 1-2 and normally one of those are mine. but i enjoy your blog so much, because i too just write about my kids and the day. that’s all i know and do. i always feel so lame, because I never have anything thought-provoking, but at least others can make me think and I appreciate that. i too love seeing Rylor play outside. i don’t know if i told you this, but we just moved on a cul-de-sac and it is so awesome. it isn’t in a neighborhood, just a street with eight houses and we live right at the end. all rylor wants to do is play outside, and i love it. we have kids on the street and the parents slowly all migrate outisde. it’s a chain reaction, one garage door opens and then another and then suddenly we are all outside talking and just letting the kids play. but i too struggle with the whole letting my kids go to someone else’s house. i always feel guilty, but you just never know. i fear the abuse thing, constantly. i’m glad in a weird way, someone else does…i always feel like such an idiot. but it happens, and I never want it to happen to my kids. i don’t know when the age comes, to let them go over to someone else’s house. i think it truly has to do with really knowing the other home, the parents, the siblings, and then you hopefully can feel comfortable. it is so hard. parenting. i truly do not want to mess these kids up. aric is always a little more carefree and just has peace about the kids, he doesn’t seem to stress, he has the whole thing down…you know he rests in knowing they are God’s ultimately. for me I continually have to pray for that peace. i want to hold onto them forever. anyways, it is fun getting to talk this way. our lives are so stretched out from each other, but I still feel somewhat connected whenever I get to read your blog. i love you and truly think you are an amazing woman, mother, and wife. i truly and honestly admire you in so many ways.

  2. I went through a phase of wanting acceptance from people and therefore feel like I neglected my parental ability…I let Tyler spend the night at friends houses that I “thought” I knew and I now, I have officially not done this anymore. I believe there is not an age that is appropriate to let your kids go…it is more of a feeling, or an awareness. I want to know and I mean KNOW the people my children are hanging out with. I love that my kids have friends but I plan on being the mom that has 18 kids in her yard or house or has all the sleepovers. I plan on making the sleepovers fun…in a way that is appropriate for their age. Right now, when tyler has a friend spend the night, we let her have a little tv in her room with a movie (that we approve of) and then we “wait” on her and her little friend. They get to have dinner and dessert in her room and have a little restaurant party. They love it! This is one way I am able to make sure my kids are under my watch. I know this is not the all time best solution, but it’s mine for now.

  3. also, i am so sorry i’ve never sent you those pictures from camp. let’s just say i’m a loser. but today i am doing a bunch of mail stuff and I’m going to put one in the mail box. i know it is over due and all the kids look so different, but they still make me smile. i love sharing our camps together and i love seeing the kids together. they are fun pictures.

  4. Hey! I have been thinking the same thing lately. Especially since we had a small group over here for a few weeks and we let Kyler go out and play alone with the other kids. I wasn’t too worried b/c there was a 13 and 10 year old out there with them. But, I say that he’s not allowed to go out without an adult until he’s in school. Like 1st grade or so. I may not be able to let go then, either. We’ll see. 🙂

  5. FUN! I just got to see and hear both perspectives on this from you and your hub. Fascinating. Alike, yet slightly different.

    I have always wanted to have the house where everyone wants to be. Apparently, we’ve accomplished this (as far as the elementary school kids go). Yet, you also have to prepare yourself because … well, it means that everyone is always at your house! 🙂

    The kids only get a refined sugary type treat once a day. 3:30 pm is “Candy Time” around here. Funny how many kids try their darndest to show up at our house RIGHT after school! ha!

    I have not had a hard and fast policy on the whole visiting other homes thing. My five-year-old has always been able to go next door, because we know those neighbors extremely well, and we can all see right through the fence, etc. They were the kind of family that wanted to get to know us quickly, as well – so we all had the same goals. We always started with very short visits and worked our way up.

    My eight-year-old son came home one day from a friend’s house and I could tell he was very uncomfortable. Come to find out, the mother would discipline through yelling and anger-filled spanking. He witnessed it, and it was really disturbing for him. The kids all still play together, but he rarely goes over there. I help him play it off, so they can all still play together, but so that my son is comfortable.

    It’s a constant give-and-take. I WISH there were some hard-and-fast rules, but there just aren’t. Every situation is different. Every kids is different. Every family is different.

    On another note – I’ll email you later with an update. I’ve currently got all five kids around me in the living room – sleeping, Wii’ing, reading – slowly acclimating ourselves to one another. It’s wonderfully exhausting!

  6. I am struggling with this topic with Makenzie. She is only one but when it comes to babysitters and childcare I find that it is really difficult to decide who I want watching my daughter. If my parents aren’t available I tend to not use anyone. It makes me think back to how many parents let me into their home when I was a teenager and watch their kids. They were placing so much trust in me and I don’t think I ever realized that. Now that I have to place Makenzie in someone’s care I find I don’t know who to trust, and I never want to leave her with someone at their house. It really makes you think.

  7. In the same boat girl!!!
    PRAYER lots of prayer and trust int eh Lord. I was just talking about this very thing with one of my dear friends this morning. We are both reading Bringing up Boys and Dr. Dobson highly suggests that you be aware and with your kids even to the point of someone saying you shelter them until they are at an age where they can defend themselves or tell you exactly what happened.
    My child has only gone over by herself to VERY good friends houses. She has only stayed the night at Nana’s and a friends I have known for years.
    We are so responsible but at the the same time our first and foremost responsibility is to not FEAR and trust our Lord to speak to us and guide us with each of our children.
    Right there with you girl, I will pray for you too!

  8. NEVER!!! lol

    I feel the same way you do! We just moved to a house with a big swimming pool in back and I’m like you, I want to be the cool mom and want kids to WANT to come to our house to play so I don’t have to deal with that situation of letting my girls go to someone elses house. It’s just not like it was when we were kids. I wish I knew my neighbors well enough, but that is not happening this day and age. We have to protect our kids even if that means making hard choices that they don’t like. I have a mom at Marlo’s MDO program that keeps calling me b/c her 4 year old daughter wants to talk to Marlo on the phone (hello a tad too young) and they want to have Marlo to their house to play. MARLO IS ONLY 2 YEARS OLD!!! I don’t think so…nice lady, but not going to happen. I know nothing about this family. Anyway….good luck and you are not alone!

  9. I totally know about wanting my house to be “the house”….when I was in school, my house was “the house” and it was so fun. looking back, I am so glad that my parents were always ok with friends, pizza, loud music, games, etc. My curfew was always 11pm!! unless people were at my house and then it never mattered. As a parent now, I know there are certain friends that aren’t my favorite and times when I am not so much in the mood to empty my pantry and “entertain” BUT I would always rather the kids want to be at my house than anywhere else….but I think the Ivey’s pretty much got it going on, so I doubt you will have any problems with being the cool house. 🙂

  10. i want to be a cool mom too.

  11. thanks for all these comments. Nice to see I’m not the only “psycho” mom.

    tamara – love your ideas for when friends spend the night. 🙂 we have a ways for this, but i know it will be here before we know it!

    Clarissa – would you happen to be the clarissa from FBC Sugar Land?

    Charlotte – love that about being aware of your kids to where you are close to sheltering them. I know that my kids are VERY far from being able to make these good choices on their own, so that is what we’re here for. To make them for htem and make sure they are doing the right thing. 🙂

    robin – that cracks me up that she wants to talk on the phone to your 2 year old and have her over. 🙂

    I think that parenting is the hardest thing i have ever done and will be the hardest thing in my lifetime. so exhausting and so amazing at the same time. I am constantly thinking about how things will effect my kids.

  12. Just make sure you’re the mom who’s always willing to drive carpool. It’s amazing what the kids will say when there’s a group of them chatting it up in the backseat. You’d be surprised at the insight and perspective you can gain from that!! I have a 16 year-old and a 9 year-old, and some of my favorite conversations with both of them have been in the car with a group of girlfriends!!

  13. I COMPLETELY understand…

    I have 3 kids. Sometimes 9.

    I guess we’re the “cool” house. Or perhaps we’re just the house in the middle of the street.

    My kids are 5,3,1 and there are six other kids on our street (ages 5-9) that seem to come over every weekend (it will be interesting to see what the summer is like…)

    Since my children are the youngest, it’s VERY important to me that if everyone is going to play, that it happens at my house, but I’m also pretty bold about just tagging along if they go to another house.

    I rarely see the other moms (they’re nice, just not protective, I guess). Perhaps I look particularly trustworthy but they’ll let their kids spend hours here – inside and outside.

    I do try to do fun crafts (I like to call it Kat’s Kamp…) and play games with them and feed them (this is key.) But I’m also sure to keep my distance so that I can see how the kids really play even when they think I’m not watching.

    This is definitely an issue I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

    I heard a quote once that said, “Treat your children like they are a million dollars.” If I had a million dollars-cash, I certainly wouldn’t send it to someone’s house that I didn’t know VERY well. Our kids are so much more important, so why should I respond any differently?

  14. Jamie, I am still nervous letting my 14 yo go stay at homes I am not familiar with. When he was younger I had the same strong abuse fears that you do. Now I worry that people will drink, do drugs, have guns in their home etc…Now though we have had many talks and I feel he is getting old enough to make some choices, but there are still situations that I am cautious about.

    My 7 year old daughter I still have buse fears, maybe because someone actually fondled me when I was a girl in my own home. I am obssessed with this not happening to my kids. I have only let her spend the night at grandmas by herself. She has stayed at a friends once or twice with her big brother there as well. She is so innocent and I want to keep it this way. Even a movie can change your child forever and I am not ready to give that control to any one else yet. i don’t know how old she will have to be!!!!

  15. This is such a great topic Jamie- thanks for bringing it up. I am not usually freaked out or worried per say but thoughts of what COULD happen when I’m not around definitely pop in my head from time-to-time. Cru is having to go to quite a few people’s houses at random times since I work random hours 6 days a week now. Sometimes I wonder…what did they do all morning? Were they nice? Did they yell? Did he watch something bad? I always try to pray and have peace about my son though and at the same time not be naive. He’s only 1.5 but if he starts crying and yelling “No Mommy!” I try to stray away from that particular place, unless I know it’s a great person and he just doesn’t want me to leave.
    One thing I can say from my own childhood experience is that I can vividly remember times when I went to birthday parties or houses where my parents didn’t know their parents and unhealthy things were going on. Even at the “older” age of 7-9, I remember feeling uncomfortable- and we have to remember part of that uncomfortable feeling is healthy- you want your child to understand and begin discerning when he’s around something he shouldn’t be a part of. That is the very beginning of decision making skills he’ll need though his whole life- what parties to go to/friends to hang out with/girls to date- especially when our kids have the Holy Spirit, you want them to hear His voice and dicern what is wrong and make the choice to get out of the situation. However, there’s always the risk of something more serious happening but I think if we as parents really KNOW (like the Bringing up Boys book talks about) their friends parents and neighbors- I believe we can prevent a lot. But you do want to always help them in making those judgements when they are young school age- like telling them if they ever are uncomfortable or feel “weird” around some kids or parents to call you immediately. When we were older like 10-14 we had a wonderful family on our street and we would play with them at their house (their mom stayed home- ours didn’t) ALLL day for hours! My mom was never worried with them. Under school age I would only let my kids hang out at houses of close family or great friends! Just my opinion- based on my own experience! thanks for reading!

  16. that last comment was me, Crystin- I forgot to change names from husbands

  17. Great my whole long comment just didn’t save- only the last stupid one that won’t even make sense now! Well, in a nut shell I said this
    1. we can prevent lots of serious things from happening by realling KNOWING our kids friends and parents
    2. Sometimes when your kids are getting “older” and they begin going to friends houses alone- it’s ok for them to feel uncomfortable-what I mean is, IF something weird/unhealthy happens you want them to be able to start discerning good from bad. Later when the Holy Spirit comes in you WANT them to have already been practicing discernment and making the right choices. (and I’m talking if they let their kids watch bad shows/yelling/cussing/etc not more serious things.
    3. My experience- when I was 7-9 I remember going to birthday parties/houses where my parents didn’t know the parents at all. When those parties were awkward- I was told to fake a stomach ache and call home. Sadly, when parents weren’t supervising 7 year olds and getting drunk I had to call home- you do want your young kids to have those kinds of “help options” in case something like that ever does happen but we should also KNOW parents as much as possible.
    4. As I got older, 10-14 there was an awesome family on our street and we went over there EVERY day during the summer foor hours…probably 10 hours! My mom never worried b/c they were such great people.
    5. My opinion- I wouldn’t let my under school age kids go to people’s houses alone unless they were best friends. Not until I was 7-8 could I tell my mom something was “weird” and I was a pretty smart kid and had to mature quickly. (this is totally not stated in a boastful way)
    6. And I too want to be “the house”. I LOVE cooking/baking/being hospitable. I always want to be the mom that makes the homemade goodies and meals and people are always welcome. I always want kids to know they can trust me and be taken care of and loved. I guess the only problem with the idea is….I will have to have the cool “apartment”… 🙂
    I hope all that made sense- this was a really quick recap from my earlier failed message!

  18. Oh my goodness…I’m so sorry to have written a million times! I thought my first comment didn’t show up and I guess…it did..

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