So my daughter has a new friend. Her new friend is a little girl who’s just moved into the neighborhood. The new neighbor is a cute, sweet and well-mannered child. But there’s just one problem -- I don’t know a thing about her family. And that’s just not working for me!
You see I’m very protective over my daughter. Some might call me overprotective. But in an age where crazies seem to lurk around every corner, I think that moms have to be protective over their children. And we definitely have to be protective of them around strangers – even when those strangers are cute, sweet and well-mannered children. Why? Because even well-mannered kids can have crazy parents and introduce your child to crazy lifestyles and bad habits. So that’s why I’ve made it my business to play amateur detective.
The first time that I met my daughter’s new friend, I played it cool and kept the questions to a minimum. But after the little girl made several more visits to our house to play and stayed for several hours each time without her parents checking on her, my detective radar went off. It was time for some questions. If this little girl was going to be around my child for that long, I just had to know who her people were and what they are all about.
Over the next several playdates, I began to ask the little girl these key questions:
Is it okay with your mom for you to come and play? First things, first – I wanted to make sure that her mother knew where she was and that it was okay for her to be at a stranger’s home for such an extended period of time.
Who lives with you? In the unlikely case that my daughter had to spend time at her new friend’s home without my supervision, I needed to know who was there. I made sure that I not only knew what adults were living there, but I also found out the ages of her siblings. And I inquired if there were any extended family members that lived with them.
Where do your parents work? It sounds like a snobby question, but it had a purpose. Confirming that her parents worked and what they did gave me an idea of their schedules and their lifestyle.
What does your family do on the weekends? Papa could smoke crack and mama could strip for extra money. How would I know if I didn’t ask?
Does your family go to church? Knowing whether or not their family worships on a regular basis gave me a little insight into their character and what they value.
What’s your phone number? Probably the most important questions of all. If there was an emergency while the child was at our house, I needed to know how to get in touch with her parents quickly.
As the weeks have gone on, I’ve finally met the girl’s parents and feel a bit more comfortable about my daughter’s new friend. But believe me, my guard will stay up for a while and you can best believe that I’ll continue to ask questions!
What kinds of questions do you ask your children’s friends?
Words: Yolanda Darville
Yolanda Darville is a mom, writer, and blogger focusing on philanthropy and empowering women. Learn more about her on her blog www.bahamamommyinc.com.