Feedback Friday: Read and Discuss

A new feature to help me in my numerous parenting struggles as the mother of three boys. Things come up now and then, and I thought this is as good a spot as any to gather opinions and advice. I will state the issue, leaving out my own thoughts and feelings, and hopefully gain some insight from all of you. I will comment at the end of the comments to share my conclusions.

Say hello to my little friend...


An 18 year old boy (a senior in high school) from my neighborhood has shown a sudden interest in playing with the neighborhood kids. The nine children he plays with range in age from 6-10, but the core group are boys around 7-8 years old.

He comes to the door to ask if the kids can come play or if they are playing in the cul de sac he comes out to join them. They ride bikes, and skateboards. They jump on the trampoline and run around. The kids follow him like the pied piper. He just bought some kind of spinning out big wheel thing that he brought out over the weekend to play with all the kids.

His family moved here 18 months ago from a neighboring state. He is a starter on the high school football team, he has a girlfriend, he is cute and popular in school. He has a job in a local indoor playground that parents rent for birthday parties. There are several teens on my street and many in the neighborhood.

The week he turned 18 he got a large tattoo, pierced his ear, and began playing with all the little children.


Now, it's your turn...


  1. hmmm... I would be a little suspicious. It's just not like an 18 year old boy to be soooo into kids that he buys toys.

  2. My first thought was...creepy, selling drugs...sexual predator...in that order! It's trouble waiting to happen!

  3. I think it was the phrase "sudden interest" that threw my red flags up. I tend to be the naive, optimistic, rose-colored-glasses-wearing type except when it comes to kids. I would be cautious, even to the point of a parent meeting. Are other parents concerned? I hadn't even thought about drugs, I was only thinking sexual predator.

  4. What!!??? I seriously would take this SERIOUSLY!!!!!!

  5. Oh My...That's quite the questionable behavior. As long as there are no closed doors involved, I'm guessing that he's somewhere between a boy and a man. Just trying to shake things out...probably will be both for the rest of his life.

  6. I don't like this at all. What do the other parents think? Better yet, I wonder if HIS parents are aware of his sudden interest and what they are thinking...

  7. This was an excellent post. It really made me think as a parent. I agree with everyone else. I would be very concerned about his behavior.

    I mean, I hate to be judgemental, but I always think the worst. I'm the guy who calls the old man a pedophile when he stops and says, "Your daughter is very cute." I don't trust anyone.

    It is my firm belief that a popular 18-year-old should have his own friends to play with. And if he is being a nice guy and playing with the neighborhood kids, it should be supervised.

  8. Now I have an immature 13 year old, but an 18 year old??? And the "sudden interest" really throws up my red flags. A lot of what you said throws up red flags. Something isn't right. He could be completely innocent and just like being around kids, however... I would be very suspicious and just majorly watchful, not only for your kids, but all the kids in the neighborhood.

  9. Hrm...
    I would most definitely be cautious, and I would most definitely go and speak with his parents face to face.
    I would also check out my states sexual predator registry to see if he's listed on there, or just do a name search on him because you said his family just moved here 18 months ago, they may have had a reason for moving.

    I would not alert any of the children to your concerns right away by telling them that he cannot come around and play until this is thoroughly investigated.
    You could frighten the children, and without the truth, it may be unnecessary fear.

    While it does raise my red flags, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and so far, no crime has been committed that you or anyone else knows of.

    Do your research Mom, look him up on the state sexual predator registry, speak with his parents face to face in a non-accusatory way, but a concerned way, that you need to know if there is anything about their son that you and other parents need to know about him.

    It may turn out that he is not what we are all thinking, a pedophile, but a young man who is mentally/emotionally behind. Like, instead of having the mental/emotional brain of a typical 18 year old, his brain is stuck at age 12 or 14?

    Or what if he's just one of those guys who just honestly loves children, and maybe wants to pursue a further education in early childhood development, or become an early education teacher?

    We just don't know the truth yet, this kid's truth, and it may not be as sinister as we're all thinking.

  10. I think you should definately be a little suspicious.. i think you should supervise playtime and also look him up like the other commentor suggested. Not everyone is bad but you cannot be too careful when it comes to your kids!!!

  11. this definitely makes me nervous. it's sad, but i would not be comfortable with this situation. good luck!

  12. Happy Friday! Dropping by from sits. Have a great weekend.

    Ms Cupcake
    Zen Cupcake

  13. Hi, I was sent over by The Constant Complainer. Though I would be slightly concerned about this (and keep a watchful eye on the situation) I have a younger sister who just turned 18 and she has sort of done the same thing, but in her situation, like I am guessing might be this guys issue is that they don't want to accept that they are 18 - now an adult. That all seems good and cool before you turn 18 but once it hits its like 'oh crap, I'm 18 now I have to start acting like it'. Just a thought.

  14. Hmm...interesting. Yes my first thought was 'not good' but then I realized I was only saying that because he's a boy. I was the oldest in my nieghborhood and defaulted to play with kids much younger than me and I guess people didn't think it was weird, because I'm a girl. So why should we think it's weird because he's not a girl?

  15. I don't like it. I can't see an 18yo girl choosing to hang out with littles either. I'd ask him "what's up? I'd like to know why you're playing with little kids rather than doing what other 18 yo's usually do." Then I'd ask his parents what they think about it. Maybe they could shed some light for you. In asking them their thoughts they'd be more likely to really look at what's going on. Again; I just don't like it!

  16. Very different.

    Stopping by via SITS to say hello.
    Have a great weekend!

  17. Hi...visiting from SITS *waving*

    Anyway, the boy who's 18? I don't trust him. It's just weird. Don't let him out of your site around you kiddos is all I'm sayin.

  18. Well I'm glad you are aware... I know a child molester and honestly - you would never had thunk it. It's better to be safe, then sorry. Heck - if you have to, take some pictures, just for records.... a friend of mine's daughter was abused by her dance teacher who was 18. They are people who first build a trust with the child AND parents, and then when it comes to accusations, most people don't believe that person would even be capable.

  19. Wow! I would be watchful. I just can't see why an 18 yr old would want to be with 7 & 8 yr olds..just not good.IF he's a good guy he would talk to parents and work at a kids club.I just don't trust it. Be watchful ( I just a had to say it again.)

  20. TRUST YOUR GUT (as I mentioned before). Having lived next door to a pedophile for 18 months. It may be completely innocuous, but better safe than sorry. When we met our neighbors, they had just moved in and seemed nice enough, but there were just some strange things that made you go, "hmmmm.." The dad's work hours were weird, he was often playing with his own girls, and his mannerisms just seemed STRANGE. Then one day my daughter went outside to play with his girls. As she left, i noticed that the little button on the back of her shirt was undone, but figuring that she would come back in to change her clothes in five minutes anyway- I let it go. She came back 20 minutes later and I noticed that it was buttoned. I asked her who buttoned it, and she said Mr.M. i then asked if he had touched her anywhere else, and she said no but his hands were cold. UGH! Just a few months later, the cops converged on their house, took the computer and we later found out that he was targeting two sisters in the neighborhood, ages 10 and 12. TRUST THE GUT.

  21. It seems to me that we are all moms that responded to your post. We all have a gut instinct that tells us that this just isn't right, no? Well, what happens when we go against our gut? We regret.
    I would listen to the instinct that you have - if for no other reason then to "help" this teen pursue friendships that are more age appropriate. He's old enough that you should be able to explain that it's weird.

  22. My initial feelings are "stay away". That seems kinda wierd plus I am not a big fan of "little" kids playing with teenagers with visible rebellious things like tattoos, earrings, etc. Sets a bad example and precedent. Only my opinion!

  23. Also, why is it the family moved to the area only 18 months ago? Running from something? Do they need a "fresh start"? Dunno!

  24. this post and all the responses make me feel really sad ... I admit, felt red flags rising as I was reading and that started my sadness ... he may not have any motives at all, but all of us mom's automatically get a little spooked by what if's, why's and out of the norms ... I think Kat is right - be cautious and do your research.

  25. NO way in whoever would my child be going out with the 18 year old to play.

    Has anyone talked with his parents to ask why this might be something their son is doing as his afterschool activity? Or have you and other neighbors discussed?

  26. Yes, we had a boy at our church like this. Nice kid and we knew his parents, but I felt he paid all too much attention to the young boys and almost none to the young girls. I figured if he just liked kids, he would have been more impartial.

    He invited himself along on a visit to the zoo with us and I let him come, but I watched him very carefully and made sure my boys were never alone with him. After that, we were just "too busy" to have him come over. I felt bad, but I wasn't taking any chances and he just gave off a creepy vibe.

    Definitely trust your gut and do what you have to do to protect your kids.

    Stopping by from SITS.


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