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Feeding the Neighborhood Children

I'm just wondering what other people do when the kid's have friends over at meal times and for snacks. At my house, I usually offer to let the kids eat with us. My DH & MIL have no problem sending the kids home while we eat. As for snacks, our cupboards used to be open to anyone who came in, but with food prices rising, I can't afford to feed everyone all the time. Who sends the kids home for meals and limits snacks and who lets the kids eat meals with the family and has an open cupboard policy?

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  1. We always feed them, (as I type this my son's college roommate is sleeping on a air matteress in his room and we made a special run late last night to pick up his favorite soda). It can be hard on the wallet sometimes but I love the idea of having an open home and fridge for all of my son's friends....who knows maybe we will turn one of them into a Chow Hound!

    1. Not so much neighborhood kids, but lots of family that drop by on weekends. I always have snacks they like on hand, and have juice boxes in a special place for the little ones to help themselves. I try to bu y things on sale, and freeze for later. This weekend, for instance,I have 6 beautiful rib eye steaks. I bought them at a local supermarket a few weeks ago- they were 4 bucks a pound! We will eat well on Sunday!

      1. The neighbor kids go home during dinner. Of course, these are little kids (under 8 years old), and I'd be feeding six kids instead of my only one if I allowed them to stay. Also, I dont' want the other two families involved feeding my son their typical chicken nugget/french fry/hotdog meals, so I don't offer to feed theirs (plus, their kids always turn their noses up at the dishes like fresh sauteed vegetables, roast chicken, grilled fish, and couscous that my son typically eats). I know I sound snobbish here, and I don't mean to. My DH and I have enjoyed cooking for our son and exposing him to a lot of good food at a young age, but I understand that it isn't everyone's priority.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Cachetes

          I just started to experience this recently. My son, who is only three, is the most generous little soul I’ve ever met. When the kids next store come over he is the first to say, would you like a snack? and the second thing is, Mom, would you make us a snack? (usually a veggie plate) The first few times I thought it was really cute. And the few times the kids have been over at dinner time, I politely ask them to leave and tell to come back later.

          I have also supplied juice boxes, freeze pops and fruit roll ups. There are only 2-3 other kids so it hasn’t amounted to much but I can see if I don’t keep an eye on this it can easily get carried away.

        2. I was raised with that "open cupboard policy" [I really like that term!] so extending it to my home wasn't difficult.

          When my older two were still in elementary school, our house was the watering hole -- usually starting right-after-school until dinner. Weekends, between traveling to soccer events, just meant the kids were there for longer periods.

          BTW, whoever led me to believe girls were "dainty" and couldn't pack away food better than boys lied!

          I'd boil up pounds of plain pastas, huge pots of rice, provide fruits and veggies, water or juices; things of that nature. It was great for pantry turnover. I also implemented the rule that if the girls were going to expect _me_ to be their personal chef, then they would also learn how to cook. Pretty soon, I was promoted to executive chef and kicked out of my kitchen. My youngest daughter is a traveling socialite, though, so is often off visiting others' homes; I don't have to train her as much. The gathering of teenangsters has not diminished, though. "Meet at Alpha's house" is still the rallying call.

          Main meals are also easy: If the parents agree, we have guests. Adding extras isn't hard and fillers just mean an extra side of pasta, vegetables, or perhaps bread. Mains are always prepared with leftovers in mind.

          My ONLY concern is allergies. As I get older, my body has decided to push hives on me more frequently (vine-based berries, crab, walnuts); it's made me a little more aware. Preparing foods is easy and fun as long as I'm not surprised.

          1. I don't have kids but remember that my mom always taught me to leave a person's house before dinnertime. She had no problem with feeding my friends snacks, but had issues with them hanging around during dinner time. When I had people over, my mom thought it was rude when my visitors stayed for dinner. She would feed them and never send them home or anything like that. But she would think that the kids were ill-mannered, and would blame the parents.

            1. Depends. We're not dealing with little kids (our son is 20 and home from college for the summer), but still...

              Of his two best friends, one has a family who insist he be home for dinner except for special events (something I can approve of, in general), another has a mother who can't cook much of anything but eggs, and he's always delighted to be invited to stay for dinner at our place.

              And speaking of turning your kids into Chowhounds, we've definitely achieved that with our boy. He's actually my stepson, but his mom and I have been together since he was 11. Since we all moved in together five years ago, I do most of the cooking (both because I like to and because I work from a home office while my wife has to commute) so for him having the man of the house cooking is normal. He now lives during the school year in an apartment in Montreal (great food town!) and often cooks for his friends. He's even done Thanksgiving dinner for over a dozen people - while still in his teens! I'm so proud!

              1. My answer isn't a cop-out, but "it depends".

                It depends on the situation; it depends on the kids.

                For everyday noshing, keep some popcorn and lemonade on hand. They're inexpensive and generally well-liked by young children. Bonus = neither stains! Also, I used to involve the kids in making something to eat whether peeled watermelon cubes or baking soft pretzels. Waffles were a surprising treat for many.

                Meals could be a different story. We had a neighbor child who'd always show up early on weekend monings saying "Mom and Dad are still asleep and I'm hungry". That one was tough to resist so I fed him with us. Dinners were a different story. I insisted that the children receive permission from their family. Either they would call or I would.

                When my sons were in college, it was nothing to have eight extra mouths at table. Lord, those kids could eat! When money was tighter, they'd eat lots of starchy food - I majored in pasta - and I saved the steaks for another time. One year I had eight young men at the beach for a week and finally thought the grocery store should send a limo for me to shop.

                As I look back, I'm grateful that our home was open and welcoming. Yes, I drew lines about what was appropriate and when it was appropriate but generally, the boys could count on having their friends included in our life.

                1. It's well known in our neighborhood that we feed strays. I'd rather have everybody enjoy a meal together than watch my kids fidget until they can be excused to go hang out with their friends again. Besides, it gives insights into what's going on in the kids' lives that we wouldn't get if their friends weren't around.

                  As far as an "open cupboard policy," I don't even let my own kids snack at will. Mostly because, given the opportunity, they'll load up on starchy snacks an hour before dinner. If a snack is being eaten, the guests are welcome to join in, but those who raid my pantry unbidden do so at their own risk.

                  1. We feed them snacks and dinner if they are around at that time.

                    We don't have an open cupboard policy, they have to ask, and we will serve them what we choose. If they don't like it, they can go home or not eat.

                    We like the fact that we get to meet the kids friends and see how they act. Our house has become the social spot and staging area for all the kids in the hood. Much better than inflicting my 'precious little darlings' on the rest of the neighbors.

                    1. When the little jfoods were growing up not only was there an open cupboard policy but an open door policy. When they come home the same policy still exists. Jfood never knew how many kids were in the house at any point in time. Most nights jfood is watching TV and the front door opens. Voice rings, "Hi Mr jfood, where's little jfood." The next morning the sink would let jfood know what was consumed. Usually just cereal and frozen pizza. Sunday morning jfood would count bodies and prepare big breakfasts.

                      But what used to get to jfood was when M&M would go away for a weekend and when they came back on Sunday and go to the stash for some short ribs or canelloni and it was gone. So some minor rules were put in place.

                      1. When we first moved to this neighborhood four years ago, I would give the kids snacks and sometimes invite them to eat. Then we had one child (11 years old) that would wake us up in the morning knocking on the door and be here until we made her go home at night. Work got slow (construction) and I could barely make ends meet to feed my own family so started making her go home. I felt sorry for her since her mother didn't spend any time with her and basically left her to fend for herself. Since then her mother was caught dealing drugs and imprisoned so the child went to live with an older sister. I had no idea her mom was doing that but never spoke more than a hi when she happened to be outside.

                        When it came to snacks, I'd share those but we would end up with so many kids, I'd run out of stuff in a couple of days. I also allowed the kids to play inside the house until the day I ended up with 13 and they were totally wrecking my house. We've worked too long and hard for someone else's kids to destroy our home. Now neighborhood kids are never invited indoors. I've learned that if I allow one in, then I get the others knocking and begging with the excuse, "Well you let so and so in so why not me?" It's just not worth the aggravation.

                        My daughter has a boyfriend who comes over some and if he's here at mealtime, I do invite him to eat if I have enough. One of her friends called one afternoon and asked if she could come over to visit for a while. Her grandmother dropped her off here at 2:30 and then I found out she wouldn't be back to pick her up until after 7 pm. We eat around 5:30-6 so I ended up changing plans quickly to accomodate an extra. I don't mind it sometimes but in the case of neighborhood kids, it quickly becomes an every day thing. Sadly, I don't live in a community where the parents are involved with their kids. I sometimes think I'm the only one who ever cooks because the kids get all worked up over my homecooked meals. I hung out a lot with one mom and when it was time to cook, she'd still be at my house. It got to the point, I'd have to ask her to leave. Anytime I asked what she was making for dinner, she'd say mac and cheese with hot dogs or chicken nuggets. I can't imagine feeding my kids that every day!

                        1. When our daughters were young and I worked, during the summer they stayed at home alone (they were old enough and I was very close to our house) and since they were pretty girls there were some boys that liked to come over. The girls would bribe them with snacks and get them to do the yard work. The boys were not allowed in the house, and since they never knew when mom would pop in, they obeyed that rule. So rather than buying popsicles I made them out of koolaid, and I only kept a few snack items, mostly ones I got on sale or in bulk at Sam's, in the pantry. They were allowed to share any of those, and make more koolaid if needed.

                          In college one of them went to a University in town, but lived at home and she was notorious for bringing kids that lived out of town home with her. All of a sudden I had no leftovers! They would come in, go to the fridge and ask "what was dinner last night?" I was working out of our house then, so I was around, but it amazed me how they would devour leftover potatoes, beans, chicken, whatever wasn't moldy! Of course I didn't have a heart to refuse them. Cafeteria food at college can be awful. I had to learn to cook for 8 instead of 4, be very frugal, and NOT count on leftovers! One time she brought 2 boys home when we were having spaghetti. I always made enough for us to have at least for 2 meals. Well these boys hadn't had homecooking in months and they ate like they had hollow legs. There was hardly any leftover. My DH told me after they left that he didn't want to EVER feed those 2 again! And he pouted for a couple days!

                          Now it's just the 2 of us, and we have snacks that we never indulged in before. The girls come over, go to the pantry and ask why wasn't it stocked like this when we lived here? LOL!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: danhole

                            Dani -- great story! (And my dad would applaud the yardwork angle too!) We used to refer to my brother and his buddies as the human food processors. The first time I went shopping with mom after he left for college, she automatically started putting gallons of milk and large boxes of cereal in her cart until I reminded her that the Food Processor didn't live there any more.

                            As a kid I was thrilled to be invited to my friend's homes for meals, as their moms inevitably were making something different (read:better) than whatever my mom was slinging out that night. It was in other people's homes that I first tasted such exotica as avocados, mushrooms, and a neighborhood favorite, Baked Alaska.

                          2. Timely topic. I made a run to Smart & Final (a big box type store geared more towards small eating establishments or folks cooking quantity) We have an "open pantry"- literally, I can't close the door of the walk-in pantry. The kids are active 17 year old boys and pretty much help themselves. I invest in inexpensive paper plates and they are allowed to use the microwave. "Their" little freezer has individual pizzas, quiches, burritos, corn dogs, individual ice cream bars and otter pops. They know better than to go into my cupboards for glasses or plates. They are pretty good about their trash. If I have some nice fruit, or feel like playing in the kitchen I make them something, but I ask first after having been burned several times when I would make something and 10 minutes before it was ready to serve they all took off. One year I was experimenting with the bounty of zucchini in the garden and added it grated, plus cheese to my cornbread, and one of the kids asked if I had any every time he came, and another time I improvised Latin style samosas with phyllo dough- they were amazed that I had made them. Those kinds of moments are gratifying. Since it is just my son and I, and we usually are eating different things, I am very flexible about meal times. I prefer that the teens feel comfortable hanging out here.

                            1. I ask "would you like to stay for dinner?" And if so, "would you call your mom to see if it's OK?" With snacks you have to be careful, what with food allergies and such. But otherwise cost shouldn't be a factor, unless your house is the neighborhood kids hang out and it gets to be a real burden.

                              1. Growing up my parents were like the Cleaver's compared to my friend's families. Most of them had parents who weren't home at dinnertime for whatever reason so they gravitated to my house. My mom baked all the time and had no problem cooking for four of my friends and two of my sister's friends. At dinnertime our family of four became a family of ten. My parents actually bought a bigger kitchen table to accomodate everyone! To this day they all still call them Ma & Pa. My best friend's mom told my mom she was jealous because my mom saw her daughter more than she did! It made for some awesome memories having all my friends and family wanting to hang out together. If you can afford to do it don't pass up the opportunity, your kids will always be grateful for the extra effort!

                                1. If we wanted someone to stay for dinner we knew to ask out parents first if it was okay. I do remember feeling uncomfortable when a friend would invite me to dinner without first making sure it was okay.

                                  Like others said you could either purchase less snacks or inexpensive ones. Another suggestion would be instead of letting them serve themselves, serve them the snacks. That way you can limited the serving size to only a couple cookies or a hand full of chips (not a whole bag). I do remember one friend's mother who didn't have an open cabinet policy, but every hour on the hour brought out a snack for us (a frequency that I don't suggest).

                                  In the neighborhood we did most of our playing outside so this was never an issue. Mothers just yelled "dinner time" and we all scattered. If we were inside they would just call and either ask us to come home for dinner or the host mother would say it's no problem if we stayed. I think because there were so many of us no parent got overwhelmed.

                                  During college breaks my BF, our good friend, and I would call all the mothers and see what they were cooking for dinner. It was great because they all wanted to see us and started to "compete". The winner got us (some nights multiple winners).

                                  1. As a sort-of grown-up, I look back on food at friends' houses with a lot of pleasure: the strange delights of Coke with dinner, Rice-a-Roni and bologna sandwiches, none of which I got at home, and all of which were generously shared with me by households decidedly less Cleaver-esque than mine. Or Korean party-food, also generously shared with me.

                                    On the other hand, I don't like kids in my house bugging me (and not my husband) for food because they are used to seeing women as automatic snack dispensers and then, after pleading and wheedling, playing with the food and wasting it because it's not the same kind of thing they get from their own mother. Saying no absolutely is much easier for me. But then the kids lose out in the long run, with no memories of being introduced to something new and different . . .

                                    If I were you, I'd say no to snacks (for everyone) and yes to dinner. A more formal arrangement (call and check, expect them to sit and eat) might work better than a constant stream of food . . .

                                    1. It would depend on the number of kids and which kids were around. For example, I almost always had two of my daughters' friends stay for dinner. At 8 or 9 years old, they truly seemed to appreciate my cooking and would start asking what was for dinner and whether they could call home and ask if they could stay. It was amusing at times, because it seemed as though they were evaluating their options. Their mothers rarely cooked, so it wasn't as though I was keeping them at my house while their moms had a dinner waiting for them (which is one of the things I hated when my kid ate at a friend's without pre-planning -- I cooked for her and she didn't come home for dinner). Dinners in those days used to be things like roast chicken, pasta, veggies -- things that we not fancy but stuff my own kid would eat. No chicken nuggets and pizza here.

                                      On the other hand, I knew for a fact that the kid next door was not supposed to eat snacks and that her mother restricted them. So, when she would come to my house, often the first question out of her mouth was "do you have any snacks?" and I would have to suggest that her mother didn't want her eating individual bags of chips, cheese crackers, fruit snacks and cookies, so she could have only one if her mother said it was okay. She would often eat just one and that would be it. If I didn't approach it that way, she would literally raid my pantry without permission, and I often didn't know this until I found the wrappers (BTW, these were supposed to be lunchbox snacks, so I usually had a few packages from Sam's club).

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: RGC1982

                                        "she would literally raid my pantry without permission, and I often didn't know this until I found the wrappers"

                                        Wow. I think that girl may be on her way to be those really annoying people who eat roommates' or officemates' food without permission.

                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                          Or an eating disorder waiting to happen. She clearly felt so deprived in her daily life of the foods she wanted that she had no control when she was around them.

                                        2. re: RGC1982

                                          that's so sad, poor kid! my mother wasn't strict about snacking, but she was strict about junk food. she never bought ANY -- unless I had friends over and they asked her for it while we were grocery shopping. (i guess her sense of hospitality was even stronger than her anti-junk food sentiments.) my friends were in on the scheme and always helped me out until my mom finally figured things out and closed that loophole!

                                        3. My kids are pretty much grown and one is never home. The younger 17 yo loves to have friends over and our house has always been the neighborhood hangout. Have always felt pretty lucky about that. Fortunately, we have not felt a cost pinch. We don't stock a lot of processed food and after several raids on the fridge and freezer, we haven't seen major "spoken for" items disappearing. I like to cook and bake and we always have provisions that can be readily adapted should extras suddenly materialize. Many of our kid's friends have spent major amounts of time with us, lots of them have divorced parents who don't seem to care much about making food from scratch. We have housed friends while their parents were in Europe for weeks at a stretch or other vacations (ours have gone away a time or too as well). A couple of them have parents with serious substance abuse problems (yes, in our nice upper midlle class suburb) who have come to stay in the middle of the night while the parent had to be taken to rehab and the other spouse was nowhere to be found. Another friend was kicked out of her house while the mother entertained her BF and stayed with us for a few days. So, I guess you could say we have WAY more than an open cupboard policy.

                                          A lot of children besides mine call me Mom and that's just fine with me. The few extra $$ we spend on food outweighs the safety net we provide for our children's friends. Reading this, please don't think all our suburb's children are dysfunctional, but our neighborhood is just exactly that - a neighborhood and we subscribe to the African philosophy, it takes a village to raise a child. Food provides comfort & sustinenance and fond memories to lots of kids.

                                          1. I've been so touched reading so many of these stories of such generosity. Growing up, my BF and I had our lunch traditions - at my house it was English muffin pizzas and at her's it was Kraft mac 'n cheese. Those are my first memories of cooking anything! Now I live in a small NY apartment without the space to host too many of my daughter's friends (or mine, for that matter!) at one time. But there's a pretty easy give and take among her friends and I'm always happy to have an extra person for dinner. The conversation is always a hoot!

                                            1. For snacks, we have an open door policy. If the kid is at your house (they're all 6 or younger), feed 'em. We all have a good idea of what the other moms approve of and try to stay within the lines. At our house that means fresh fruit or crackers usually. In the summer I always keep a box of popsicles or fudgesicles in the freezer for outside treats.

                                              For dinner, the kids are always sent home unless the parents have pre-arranged it. Sometimes our child does eat dinner at another home and we're always sure to return the favor.

                                              1. It is wonderful to hear that so many are so generous. My mother seemed to feed the whole neighbourhood too. But she insisted that those who stayed for a meal had very clean hands (which is tough after playing in the mud), sit up straight and observe the very strict table manners in force at our house. I remember one little friend of my brothers wanting desperately to stay when she was frying chicken but telling her that he didn't he could manage to sit still at the table, but would she save him drumstick for when he came back the next day?

                                                My mother told that story at his wedding and gave his bride her recipe for buttermilk fried chicken.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: pengcast

                                                  That's so sweet! Some of my favorite kid stories involve children besides my own, and I love the way it brings them into my world. Sounds like you've got a great mom.

                                                2. I would have no problem sending kids home at dinner time... as I remember it, dinner is the signal that playtime is over. I did have friends whose parents invited me to stay fairly regularly, but it was never to be expected (perhaps hoped for, but it was good for me to be sent home on occasion!) If you like, you could come up with a frequency you're comfortable with, say once a month, and a day of the week that works for you and doesn't seem to conflict with their family.
                                                  As for snacks, here's a tale from the other side. My son has a pal at daycare, his mother is a lovely lady who carries lots of snacks. It got so my son was expecting these treats, and they were affecting his appetite so he didn't eat much dinner. So if playtime is after school, consider offering inexpensive, healthy snacks such as apples and veggies. They're available if the kids are truly hungry but unlikely to be abused or ruin anyone's dinner.

                                                  1. Wow. Reading all of these posts made me realize how times have changed since my grade school days (over 20 years ago!). First, we didn't have this playdate thing while growing up-- things were much more casual.

                                                    Also, I tended to hang out with one or two people at a time, rather than in packs, so usually, I'd have one or two people over at a time at most. We did hang out in packs (=more than 4 at a time), but that happened mostly at our neighborhood park. In fact, from what I remember, I remember hanging out with the neighborhood kids zillions of times, but remember very rare occasions where I was in someone else's house, since most of the hanging out happened outdoors. Typically, the pattern was, come home from school, eat snack, meet at park, hang out, then disperse and go back home for dinner.

                                                    Sometimes, I'd go over someone else's house, or they'd come over mine, but I think they rarely stayed for dinner, unless we arranged it in advance. In fact, the expectation was that you went home before dinner, since after dinner was usu. homework time. Is this not the case anymore?

                                                    The one exception was a nearby friend whereby our parents were also friends. We often played and then stayed at each other's houses for dinner, but it still always entailed a call to the parents, and my parents, being traditional Asian parents, always had a complex about letting us eat away from home too often. :-P I noticed that they were much more lax with my youngest brother, but for me and my other brother, it was expected that we eat most meals at home.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: anzu

                                                      In the late 60s and early 70s, my Sainted Mother(tm) was very willing to host my pack of friends. There were almost always more than 4. She doubled as the school's librarian and pack/troop/team leaders, so she knew all the kids better than many of the parents. As one poster mentioned with his/her friends, it wasn't unusual for one of my friends to refer to her as "Mom;" they were over that much. My dad, being a darned good cook and solid negotiator also didn't mind having teenangster help over because we lifted heavy things like crates of vegetables and bins of fruit and cases of nuts that he'd purchased from some local farms. He take us along on these day trip to Watsonville, Sunnyvale, Gilroy, and Morgan Hill, talk to the farmer and put us to work loading and then unload the Grand Safari. Food was the one thing that everyone appreciated from my parents.

                                                      For me, I'm guilty as charged of overbooking my daughter-units' daze. If I'm not traveling about for soccer, I think nothing of inviting their friends over for playdates. It allows me to stay home and read newsgroups (or boards) while they have fun playing about the house, running down to the park, or simply hanging out. Again, food isn't at a premium and I used to use it as a teachable moment. Nowadays, the three shoo me out of my kitchen so they can "try that recipe from TV." If I have the ingredients, they make it. If not, they make something else. It's fun watching six to eight kids (boys are added to the mix nowadays, too <sigh>) group-cooking. Brings back some fun memories.

                                                      The only thing I wish we had for my girls nowadays that my parents had for me: a full-sized pool. That's not going to happen anytime soon so we make do other ways.

                                                      1. re: anzu

                                                        Things have changed cince my childhood days, too. We did not have friends over for dinner when I was a kid- there were 7 of us, and most everyone in the neighborhood had families the same size! Everyone went home for dinner-

                                                      2. You have two separate issues: a money issue and an etiquette issue.

                                                        If money is a problem, of COURSE you should send the kids home at dinnertime . If there is no money issue, I tend towards being open cupboard because that's how my family and friends did things when I was growing up. My mother always told me to head home from friends' homes at dinnertime, as well, and she told my friends' parents as she was dropping me off to send me home at dinner time. But often, if not always, my parents and my friends' parents would have the kids call home and ask if they could stay to dinner. I value these experiences so much, since I never would've had such a wide variety of cuisines had my friends' families not been so generous. I had Austrian and Hungarian food and some of the best apple pie ever made at one friend's house and wonderful Vietnamese, French/Persian, Polish, Kentucky farm cuisine at others (and that delight of delights Chef Boyardee canned ravioli at still others). One friend's parents didn't cook, but were incredibly generous about taking me out to eat with them. My family didn't really go out for 'fine dining' such as it existed in Lexington, back then, so that was a wonderful treat for me.

                                                        I'm also pretty sure some of my buddies would never have had an opportunity to eat real (and really good) Chinese food had they not been frequent guests at my home, nor had access to such amazing homemade baked breads and cakes and cookies (which I never liked at the time because they were made with whole grains, wheat flour, honey, maple sugar and molasses).

                                                        I don't (yet) have children, but I'd like to think that when I do, I'll be as generous at my table, if finances allow.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: cimui

                                                          You bring up a good point about finances. That is why I was taught to go home unless I was invited because my parents thought I may be a burden on the family. While the sentiment is nice, not everybody has the funds to feed extra mouths.

                                                        2. I do NOT give any food out to any of my younger childrens friends without speaking to the parents first because I am scared to death that they may have a food allergy or be on some weird diet that the parents have implemented. WIth todays litigous society I am not taking chances. However with my older son, he is 19 and his friends are all the same age frame, so they are ok and I don't mind offering a snack or letting them eat over if it is that time of night at all, My son only has a few close friends, and I enjoy all of them, they are well mannered and very respectful.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                            G, you remind me of a situation that occurred about 12 years ago when oldest DD was still in elementary school and youngest was in kindergarten. It has always been my habit to bring enough food to feed a small army, was going to the community pool with kids and their friends. Had brought a cooler full of goodies, juice boxes, fruit, cookies, PB&J sandwiches, you got the picture. We were in process of unpacking our picnic and a whole swarm of kids were milling around. I always bring extras and was doling out lunch when suddenly out of nowhere this crazy woman appears screaming her head off at me for poisoning her son. I was flabbergasted, stopped dead in my tracks. Who was she, who was her son, why was she so upset? Well, it turns out, little Ricky was a diabetic who couldn't be eating PB&J and fruit because it would set off his blood sugar. Ricky LOVED all the foods he wasn't supposed to be eating (he was 11 yrs). Ricky had a sandwich in his hand and was gleefully chomping away.

                                                            This nut case absolutely took NO responsibility for policing Ricky. Somehow I was supposed to intuitively KNOW that Ricky was diabetic. She threatened to sue me if Ricky had to go to the ER. To say that I was a little upset was an understatement. From then on, I only brought enough for my kids' and their friends, no one I didn't know got any food. What a sad society we live in indeed!

                                                            1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                              My goodness! That woman really needs to teach her kid a few things about what he can or cannot eat. And if he's too young to make that distinction, he needs to learn not to accept outside food. And I can't believe that she'd be blaming you for not knowing his health situation. It really is sad -- I find that people are so quick to blame others and not take any responsibility.