7QT: Summer of the Street Urchins


The 7 Quick Takes today are hosted at an alternate site while the usual hostess is on vacation, so THANK YOU to Kathryn at Team Whitaker for stepping in as a substitute!

Little Brother, age 12, has a pack of friends whom I have nicknamed The Street Urchins. Middle Sister thinks that’s mean, but I just call ’em like I see ’em. There are four Street Urchins on this block. Three of them live in divided households (one lives with his grandparents, so he splits things three ways). The fourth’s parents own a restaurant, so he seems to be left to his own devices as often as the others, who could be here for several hours, spanning two mealtimes, without any adult looking for them.

I don’t mind if the Street Urchins play at my house or swim in my pool, but I do insist on some house rules, and yesterday things got pretty rocky in that department, and I told them all to go outside or go home. I might have raised my voice. (Sorry, not sorry.)

I don’t put up with their nonsense because I don’t want these guys, in 4 years, to be the ones binge-drinking at someone’s house party and destroying property/mistreating others. Looking into those faces yesterday, I could see where this could happen. I’m not their parent, but if they’re at my house, they’re playing by my rules.

Without further ado, here are the 7 things I expect from visiting Street Urchins.


RESPECT THE ADULTS. Say hello when you arrive and goodbye when you leave. I deserve to know who is in my house/yard/pool. If I provided a snack or a meal, thank me for that. Don’t rant because the pizza isn’t from your preferred source.


RESPECT THE OTHER KIDS. You are too old to tattle-tale over nothing, and that’s not a nice way to treat your friends.


RESPECT MY HOME. Don’t throw things in the house. (That goes double for the pieces of the remote control that you tossed behind the couch.) Put away what you take out. My pantry is not your pantry.


RESPECT MY TIME. You live on this block. If you want to swim in my pool, bring your own towel. I am not your laundress.


RESPECT MY HOSPITALITY. If you want a snack, ask. If you have a snack, clean up your mess.


RESPECT YOUR OWN GROWNUPS. If they call here or show up here and tell you it’s time to leave, do not make them wait until you play one more round of a video game.


RESPECT MY POOL. Have fun but swim safely. Don’t climb on the sides. Check in with me before you swim and before you leave.

Sometimes it does take a village to raise a child, when that child’s own personal adults don’t take responsibility. These children are in my village, and when they play here, they’ll play by the same rules my own kids must follow.

7 thoughts on “7QT: Summer of the Street Urchins

  1. I love that you care for those boys, and I love that you lay down rules, too. We don’t have street urchins around here, but when the girls’ friends come over, they are expected to follow our rules.

    Have a great weekend, Barb! πŸ™‚

    • My Big Kids think I’m the meanest person alive because I don’t put up with the kind of nonsense they tried yesterday. They’ve acted out on other occasions, but yesterday was a hot mess.

  2. Hello from 7QT!

    You are a stronger person than I. Street urchins scare me and I do my best to avoid them. I don’t have any living on my block now, but I have in the past. I never handle them well because their behavior shocks me. Who walks into a person’s kitchen and demands food?

    Good rules, though!!

  3. Boundaries and clear expectations are good things. The kids here used to roam in a pack and each house had slightly different rules. Weeach stated them clearly (there shoes came off, here, they don’t; no gum here, period!…). They all managed fine with figuring it out, even when they were very young. I did throw out one child who spit bubblegum onto the hardwood floor – he was aghast, but I had no further trouble with anyone that summer!!

    Good luck with it all!

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