Mark, a protective father living in a relatively safe neighborhood, faces a dilemma when his daughter’s playtime with friends becomes unsafe due to unattended kids wandering in and out of houses, leading him to have a conversation with the other parents in the neighborhood to find a solution that works for everyone.
It Made Him Paranoid
Mark, a 36-year-old father, had a 3-year-old daughter who was quite independent and had the mindset of a 13-year-old, which made him a bit paranoid about leaving her to play unattended in their relatively safe street and park where there were often cars on the road and a busy main road leading into their street.
Never Left Alone
Mark usually followed his daughter around the street and park, making sure she was okay, even when she was playing with her friends, Sarah (5), Kiera (3), and Meg (4), who were allowed to play by themselves without their parents or older siblings there.
Entering Without Permission
However, one day, when the kids went round to another boy’s house, Stevie (4), they dumped their bikes on the street, and Sarah went up to the front door, leading the group inside without asking the parents’ permission.
He Found it Rude
Mark told his daughter not to go inside until she had asked, which caused Sarah to ask why not. Mark said it was a little rude without asking, which she ignored and went inside anyway. The parent in question came out and said it was fine, and that indeed, it was “an open-door policy” on the street.
He Became Uncomfortable
This made Mark a bit uncomfortable about the multiple groups of kids, including unattended three-year-olds, wandering in and out of houses. The next day, Mark came downstairs to make a cup of tea and found Meg in the living room, going through his daughter’s toy box, with the door wide open. He led her back to her house and explained what happened to her mother.
She Laughed It Off
Meg’s mother laughed it off as it had happened before and said that Mark didn’t get it because he was one of the newer parents and that he shouldn’t worry because she would spread the word to make sure his daughter didn’t go inside anyone’s house.
He Deemed It Unsafe
Mark was not okay with this and thought it was unsafe for everyone involved. He didn’t want to impact his daughter’s social circle, but he also wanted to make sure she was safe. He talked to his wife about it, and she supported him.
He Sat Her Down
Mark decided to have a conversation with Meg’s mother to find a solution that would work for everyone. He invited her over for a cup of coffee and to talk things through. During the conversation, Mark explained that he understood that the kids wanted to play together and that he didn’t want to impact his daughter’s social circle. However, the other mom did not agree and insisted it was just the done thing on the street and he needed to accept it.
Straight to The Internet
Mark was left feeling confused about the situation and wondered if he was doing the right thing or not. He decided to head onto the internet to seek advice from a popular internet forum.
The Internet Responds
One person writes, “If my child just went into someone’s house without knocking or without me knowing them, I would be upset. That’s not safe if they don’t know you. I know there are some people that don’t knock, but I think that’s rare. The kid that came in needs to understand the difference. The mom should be happy you came to her. Perhaps you didn’t communicate that in a way she could understand. So make sure you make things clear. The last thing you need is to be in any problems with neighbors.”
A Further Comment
A second person comments, “That’s the part that gets me. Dude said he didn’t know the parents that well, and they didn’t know him. How do we know this ‘open door policy’ isn’t leading to a predator having a field day? Beyond even that, what if a kid has a medical emergency or allergic reaction at someone else’s house and their parents aren’t available or if the adult who MIGHT be around doesn’t know what to do? Or if it’s just unattended kids and someone falls and hits their head on the asphalt?
A Final Comment
Another person states, “Not just went into someone’s house without knocking, but proceeded to make themselves at home by digging through someone else’s toys. This whole street/parent group sounds really strange.”
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