As the weather turns warm in my neck of the woods I am starting to notice something more and more-it appears that we have a pack of unsupervised children roaming the neighborhood ala Lord of the Flies. I am seeing all sorts of behavior that I personally find inappropriate-dashing behind cars while they are backing up, running across streets without looking, leaving papers and bikes and ramps in the middle of the cul-de-sac, not to mention some very disturbing conversations that I've overheard revolving around death.
I am just astonished. These little kidlets are all around Monkey's age-between about 4 and about 8-and their parents just turn them outdoors with no one to watch them (although I did overhear one mother say to another mother that the older kids are supposed to be watching the younger kids. All I have to say to that is yeah right). Maybe I'm an over protective nut job or something, but I do not allow my children out of my sight. Monkey, just now since turning 6, is allowed to play in our fenced back yard by himself while every window and door facing that direction is open so that I can not only see but also hear him. If he so much as ducks behind a bush for more than a minute or two I am outside paying him a little visit-and he's alone in a fenced back yard, not playing on a cul-de-sac full of driveways with a bunch of feral children.
Normally I would just write them off as a bunch of hooligans and forget about them completely, but we have hit a little snag. Whenever we go out front to draw with sidewalk chalk Monkey sees them and asks them if they want to come over and play with him-and they act like he doesn't exist. Oh they hear him alright-they look right at him-but then they just walk on by without so much as a 'no thanks'! Sweet, kind hearted little Monkey just shrugs and says "Guess not. Bye kid!" and waves happily good bye to them, but I (naturally) am furious. I want to beat up those little six year olds for snubbing him like that. I know that they do it because he is the only kid who has a parent watching him (another of the kids' conversations that I overheard) but I just can't see leaving him outside by himself with a bunch of malicious, unsupervised children who take no care for safety.
Monkey doesn't understand all that of course. Just today when they ran away from him he asked me if he could go after them to play and I could feel my heart breaking when I told him no. I DON'T want to isolate him. I WANT him to have friends-lots of friends-I just want him to do it in a way that is safe and (if possible) with kids who aren't total brats. I really don't know what I should do.
What do you think-am I being smart and careful or just over protective?