Can A Great Neighborhood Cure All That Ails Me?

1113000212876_500X500School will possibly be a difficult place for my son someday.  He is still young enough that the kids don’t notice that he gets pulled out for all academic subjects or that he goes to the school nurse every day to get his medicine.  He is still young enough that he doesn’t really know that he is different or that things come easier for others than they do for him.  He doesn’t know yet that other kids will value each other for being smarter and cooler.

Someday they will notice these things. They may care and they may not.  By then my son may already be a good enough friend that they won’t care that he is a little bit different.

Or they might reject him.  We all know how mean kids can be.  And that could make school a not so happy place for him. As if school isn’t already challenging enough for him academically.  It may someday be challenging for him socially as well.

I worry about this a lot but I find one piece of solace within this anxiety:

We live in the best neighborhood in the entire world.  It is like this little one block of utopia (And its not just because I like to drink wine with all of the moms).  The kids are genuinely nice kids.  And there are a lot of them.  It’s the type of neighborhood where the kids start playing on a Thursday afternoon and pretty soon someone brings out popsicles for all the kids.  And then someone initiates that we should all just order pizza and have a picnic dinner together.  It’s the type of place where even the bigger kids let loose and swing on the swings, pretend sword fight and run through the sprinkler.  No one has to act cool here.

None of the kids are in his grade.  Everyone is either just a little bit older or a little bit younger.  They are close enough in age that they enjoy playing together but far enough that they will never be in the same class with each other.  With his neighborhood friends he can always just be the kid who is good at hitting the whiffle ball at block parties.

I’ve heard that research has shown that even if you don’t have many friends at school, you’ll be okay as long as you have a few good friends someplace.  You’ll be okay as long as you feel connected to someone.  It might be school for some people, or on the basketball court for others.  It might be church.  Or it could be the most awesome neighborhood in the world.

Just recently, my son and I started talking about planning his upcoming birthday party.  I asked him what type of party he would like.  He thought about it for a while and finally said, “Mom, can I just have a neighborhood party?  I just want to have all my neighborhood friends come over and play outside with me.”

And I know he’ll be okay.

Kim Clary Cafiero

Kim is a stay at home mom to two boys. She came to parenthood through adoption and was a teacher and school administrator before taking the plunge to stay home full time. She lives in New Jersey.

Related posts:

adhd and school, adhd and social problems, General ADHD, Kim Clary Cafiero ·

About the author

Kim is a stay at home mom to two boys. She came to parenthood through adoption and was a teacher and school administrator before taking the plunge to stay home full time. She lives in New Jersey.


  1. Ingrid Jones says:

    Amen – we have lived in such a neighborhood and the blessings that flow from it are huge. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Georgia Frasch says:

    Kim- such a beautiful article…you could be speaking about my son. I oftentimes have anxiety that, because of my son’s challenges, he often doesn’t get the joke, the slight nuance or inference when the other boys are playing or fooling around. I see them rolling their eyes when he asks them to explain what was obvious to all. He has 2 really, really good friends who cherish him and accept him for who he is and i am so thankful for that but oftentimes worry that he puts ‘all of his eggs in one basket’ by not expanding his circle of relationships. But I agree…he has found a safe enclave of comfort and I am grateful for that. Thanks for the article.

  3. Dee says:

    Can I move there? I live in a neighborhood that should be all that. It’s super family friendly, although for whatever reason there are not a lot of kids on our particular block. Well, not entirely true as one family w/ 5 kids did move in, but they are all younger and the closest in age to my son are girls (and therefore have cooties). We moved to this neighborhood hoping for what you describe. We live two blocks from what is billed as a “great” school. Turns out it’s a great school if you are academically gifted or at least if you have internal motivation to do well. For us, it’s not been so great. Thankfully, my son does have 2 good friends. They were a year behind him but now that he is repeating fifth grade they will all be in the same grade. That is a saving grace. Neither lives really close. One is about 2 miles away. Eventually my son will be able to bike there, but not quite yet. (Not with this inconsistent attention to traffic.) The other wants to move into the ‘hood but not sure when/where that will be.

  4. Sue S. says:

    If your son has made friends with neighborhood kids, he’ll make friends in school. And he’ll likely have a few close friends that will follow him up through the grades. At least that’s what’s happened with my son. Yes, there have been a few kids in school (other grades) that gave my son some grief (fortunately just a few times, nothing regular), but he made friends in the younger grades, who are still his friends as he enters fifth grade this fall.


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