A Problem Shared: Next Door’s Naughty Boy


A Problem Shared | by | 8th Jul 2016

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Where’s the line with telling off other people’s children? Elin from Ceredigion has this week’s A Problem Shared…

My next-door neighbour has a 12-year-old boy, Daniel, who Isabel, my 6-year-old daughter, loves to play with out on our street.

Daniel however can be quite rough and often misplaces Isabel’s toys. He has so far lost her football and her outdoor chalks. Yesterday, while Isabel and him were playing outside, he climbed onto Isabel’s bike and did quite a dangerous stunt, which ended up breaking the bike.

I got very angry and gave him a telling off. Isabel started crying so I took her home. I haven’t seen him since or spoken to his parents. Have I gone too far by disciplining Daniel, as he’s not my child? I don’t want to stop Isabel from playing with him as he’s not a bad child, just lacking in respect over other people’s property.

I also don’t want to fall out with my neighbours as they are really lovely people. Help!

Our FamilyPoint Cymru response

Thanks for getting in touch. It sounds like your daughter Isobel really enjoys playing out in the street with your neighbour’s son, Daniel. I’m sorry to hear that he is sometimes rough, and has misplaced or broken some of Isobel’s toys.

There is quite a big age gap between them, which may account for why Daniel appears too rough in his play compared to Isobel. Depending on how much time they play out together, the age gap could also lead to Isobel being influenced to engage in play that is beyond her years, for example, trying to do dangerous stunts on her bike as Daniel did.

I’m wondering if Isobel and Daniel have opportunities to play with children in their own age-group some of the time, as this may reduce the number of incidents which seem to occur when they play together. Regarding those incidents, you might also want to think about what toys Isobel takes out with her when she plays with Daniel, as there seems to be a pattern of things getting lost or broken.

It seems like you regret telling off Daniel, both in terms of the way it affected Isobel and the possibility that Daniel and his parents may be upset about it. Have you thought about going to see your neighbours to check out how they’re feeling, and to discuss what happened?

You mentioned that they’re lovely people, I’m sure they would welcome the chance to talk about what happened, especially if they are upset about it. You may also want to explore whether the children need to be set some boundaries when they play together in the street, particularly given the gap in their ages.

I hope that you find this response helpful, and that you will continue to enjoy good relations with your neighbours. Please do not hesitate to get back to us.

Kind Regards,

FamilyPoint Cymru


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