A Question of Atheist Scruples – kids and their friends

Apologies for blur; too lazy to find the card again and reshoot.

Your 10-year-old son’s best friend is neglected by his single parent. Your house has become his second home. Do you ask his parent to assume more responsibility?

It can be rough to be a single parent. Without dragging actual family history into this, I can at least say that shit gets in the way of getting other shit done, sometimes.

The Young one is 9 and the Hubs and I have been together/married for half his life, give or take. (edit – I’ve been informed by the Hubs that it’s more like 2/3) But his mom’s still single and while she’s had a few relationship attempts, nothing’s been quality and long term stable. Without specific details, we’ll just say “stuff” happened and it was good the boy has had our house and love as a reliable cushion for his life’s other stresses.

He’s yet to bring friends over, though we’re willing to accommodate them should the request be put forward. (Perhaps he’s thinking I’d say no? No to that..)

I’ve said to the Hubs previously that it’d be cool with me if our house became the friend hangout, and not just so we’d know what kind of kids he’s hanging with. Maybe as he gets a bit older that’ll be more likely on a Friday after school or something…

As a bit of an aside, but still somewhat relevant, who in the audience grew up reading Baby Sitter Club books? I sure as hell didn’t, but the three of us have devoured every graphic novel copy available so far (five of them, four of which are illustrated by the fabulous and heartily recommended Raina Telgemeier). I’m quite tempted to find the originals now. Anyway, in the fifth GN (done by artist Gale Galligan and also good), Dawn’s been tasked with sitting for the Barretts, three kids whose mother is far busier with her career crap to focus on the kids and has Dawn filling in a lot more than Dawn likes. She’s stuck cleaning the whole house, checking homework, and basically momming things up while the actual mom is off and running. Things come to a head the day the boy, who’s outside playing, goes missing. Dawn and the rest of the club and neighbours pitch in to look for the kid. Police are called and everything. Turns out Mrs. Barrett had her calendar wrong and it was supposed to be the ex’s day with the kids, so Dad (thinking the mrs was home) took the boy to “teach her a lesson.” Great lesson. But, Dawn got through to Mrs. Barrett, and the kids, too, that some things are things Mom needs to be around to handle. Happy ending.

Long aside there. Point is, presuming we’d know the parent of this kid, perhaps we already know why our house has become the second home. Maybe the parent is working two jobs just to afford a nice house to live in. Maybe the parent just has really long hours at the one job for the same reason. But maybe there are other problems at home for why the friend would rather hang with us than Mom or Dad. Maybe it’s drugs/alcohol? Maybe it’s abuse? For either of those, I don’t think we’d want to let it slide, but I don’t know how much we’d be able to do about it. I wouldn’t want to kick him off the sofa if that’s what’s waiting at home for him…

Another one I don’t really have a solid answer for. Obviously if we can get through to that parent to say, hey, Ricky’s spending a lot of time over here. What’s going on with this? Maybe it’s just been a short term work issue that’s taking him/her out of the house so much, and things will settle soon. If it turned out to be something more serious, then I guess we would need to get official professionals involved. Best I can do here.

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About 1minionsopinion

Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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