Should my children be allowed to play with the neighbors' children?

We have lived in a trailer park for 13 years now. My children have always been able to play outside without any problems. It all started in March when the new neighbors moved in behind us. My 9-year-old daughter quickly befriended their 10-year-old daughter. A few weeks later, toys, clothes and a few electronics started disappearing, my daughter starts using inappropriate language and talking about boys, and begins getting rebellious and disrespectful to her (step)father and I. A few more neighbors moved in, as the weeks passed, till we ended up with 6 children total who I view as inappropriate for her to be hanging out with. They lie, steal, vandalize, tattle-tale (one child lied to her Mom, who then called the authorities), mooch, curse, tease. I have been overly observant to any activities that occur while my children are around any of these 6, and sometimes I have to tell these kids myself "that wasn't very nice," or "you shouldn't do that," but none of these kids have much, if any, supervision, in addition to being raised with completely different values.

My question is, should I continue close supervision, and explain to my children correct behavior, even if "all their friends are doing it." Or should I find something else to do with them (ie, stay in and play a game, or take them to a park)?

We recently ceased the friendship with the 1st troublesome neighbors, but they're trying to reconcile. I'm still keeping my distance, and my daughter's. I tell her we're not rude people, and we will say "hello" (etc), but we don't hang out with thieves.
By BlessedSAHM 15 years ago :: Neighbors
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