Saturday we had my BFF here, along with her three kids and her boyfriend. It's usually crazy when her kids are here with them, but normally I'm able to handle it. Although this time, they brought along a friend. A friend whom I've met before, didn't care for so much, but she's a child and who am I to turn away a child from my home.
Here's a bit of a back story on the whole friendship/relationship we have with their family. We met when her daughters were two years and 3 months, Nae was 6 months. We were moving into an apartment and they lived across the way. Our two families became fast friends. That was almost 13 years ago. A lot has happened in that 13 years. She became pregnant, I had a miscarriage, she gave birth, I did not. I had another miscarriage and she and her husband decided they were done having more children. I finally got pregnant and STAYED pregnant and had Zilla. She was a great source of support for me, Husband and Nae while I was pregnant with Zilla. She rescued Nae from the hormonal mess I was, many times.
When Zilla was around 2, little younger, we all decided to move in together. It worked out really well, surprisingly enough. We all shared chores, saved some money and I got to live with my BFF. It wasn't perfect ALL the time, but on the whole it was a really good experience. I don't regret doing it. Things got rocky between the two of them and they ended up getting a separation and then a divorce. This was a very rough time for all of us. Although, I was very happy that I could be there for the children because those kids needed a stable "mom" figure.
Long story, short..well not so long. The girls ended up not liking me so much and started acting out. They stopped listening to me, which made it really difficult to be responsible for them when their parents were at work. I had the responsibility of mom and dad, but got no respect from the children and no back up from their father. It was a very stressful time in all of our lives. Then we moved out and the two families became two ACTUAL separate families. It was a bit sad, because I was really worried about the children. I thought for sure they were going to fail in school or get into a rough crowed, or any number of things that children can do when they aren't being supervised. Even though I was worried about them, I couldn't do anything about it. Yes, I loved these three children like my own, but they are NOT my children and their father needed to raise them. I'm not his wife, he can't always fall back onto me when raising his children. So, we did a lot of separating. Mostly me, I had to disconnect emotionally from them. I needed to be their Aunty D and not their Mommy D.
As time has gone, the girls (11 and 13) now are hanging out with some kids, I'd rather not have Nae hang out with. They talk about things Nae doesn't talk about. I'm not naive and I know that Nae isn't innocent, but she isn't into all the things they are into..yet. Hopefully she won't be for a LONG time. Nae knows about boys and has had a boyfriend *cringes* but she doesn't talk about kissing boys and she sure as shit doesn't talk about drinking and smoking.
When the other kids were here and their friend, there were some conversations going on that I did not approve of. Not with 11,12, and 13 year old girls. The friend was talking about how she asked her mom how she was conceived and apparently her mom didn't want to talk about it so the girl assumed she was a "rape baby". She actually said those words! In a grocery store, no less! I don't know this girl very well, I've met her all of two times, including this time. I felt like I was stuck. There were three of Nae's peers in a grocery store with me and BFF and one of them was talking COMPLETELY inappropriately and the other two were doing things that I thought were inappropriate. Like putting cantaloupes in their shirts asking if we thought they had "nice melons". I didn't want to embarrass Nae, but I had to do something to keep her away from these girls. So, I just ushered her away from them and we went to the checkout stand. The rest of the afternoon, Nae was my little shadow. Both because she wanted to be and because I wanted her to stay away from those girls.
When we got home from the grocery store, I talked to Husband and told him what happened and we agreed that, that child is not welcome in our home anymore. Nae told Husband a few things that had been said at the grocery store and it sounded like she disapproved of the girls, as well. I know that Nae isn't perfect and she has friends and I'm sure there are conversations going on at school that we, as her parents, would disapprove of, but not like what was said on Saturday.
I'm a bit of a over protective parent. When we were pregnant with Nae, my older sister was doing drugs and we had her son a lot. My parents and I basically raised my nephew because my older sis couldn't and wouldn't get her shit together. We decided that we would never do that to Nae *obviously* Our theory was this child didn't ask to be born and we were going to do our best as her parents to make sure she is safe. This was after we got the news she might have a heart problem and/or be mentally retarded and then found out she was healthy. Because of that conversation and the way we chose to parent our children, they've never had a babysitter, only been in daycare if I worked there and one of us is ALWAYS home with them. We've left Nae home along MAYBE three times since we've moved, but on the whole we are always around. Since Nae has turned 12(!) we've let her have more freedom. We've allowed her to go to the park by herself with her friends and she was able to go to the beach with her friend and her friend's mom a few weekends ago.
I'm wondering what would you do in this situation? Or what you remember your parents doing when you were a pre-teen/teenager when you could be influenced by other friends. I know I can't protect Nae from everything, but I can, and will, protect my home from children like the one. Am I being a "Polly Anna" thinking that Nae doesn't know about this type of stuff? Or thinking that she isn't like those other girls? Am I/we being TOO over protective? I just don't want her to feel like she has to grow up too fast because these girls are doing things she wouldn't normally do. I'm welcoming any and all advice, suggestions, and/or anecdotes you've got. If you think I'm a smothering type mom, go ahead and tell me. I guess maybe I'm feeling a bit shaken by this weekend and the future of Nae and her friends. I just would like to know what YOU think. What YOU would do. Lay it on my peeps!