or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Claiming Our Neighborhoods
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Claiming Our Neighborhoods

post #1 of 121
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'd love to get input from others who live in neighborhoods where there are lots of nice and honest families, but a handful of kids who seem to get a thrill out of bullying and intimidating others.

My daughters and I love going to our local neighborhood playground, and we love the friendships we are building there -- but at the same time we've had some situations that I've kind of been at a loss for how to handle.

All of these situations have involved at least one or more children from the same family. I've never seen the parents of these children at the playground; the siblings range in age from 12 to 3. I know the actual ages of the oldest and youngest (both girls) but am guessing about the ones in between.

I am often the only adult at the playground, and I've sometimes been unsure of how much to involve myself in some of the interchanges these kids have initiated with my girls, especially with my 10yo. Apparently they don't like it that she's sometimes "dusty" from playing outdoors and that she currently just has a few changes of clothes that she alternates between.

And sometimes if I just did laundry in the morning, dd will put on the same outfit that she wore to the park the day before. So the kids in this family sometimes ask her about her bathing habits, and today one of the girls who looks to be 8 or 9 informed dd she was a "he-she." I told her it's none of her business what my daugher wears, and I encouraged dd to ignore this child because she's not a nice person.

The 12yo also got very up-in-arms today when my 5yo fell down (she doesn't usually wear dresses to the playground but she did today), and her dress went up and I guess dd's butt-cheek was exposed. I tried to ignore this girl while she went on and on to her friends about how disgusting it was, but when she decided to come over and inform me about the matter, I told her that little kids really don't think about these things.

As an example, I pointed out the 9 or 10yo boy who was running around with his pants hanging down and his underwear completely showing, and she walked off looking a little put out. This is when another child pointed out that the "pants-down" boy was this 12yo's brother.

Anyhow, the "pants-down" boy decided today that he wanted to start addressing my 10yo as "b!tch." She told me and I said that isn't her name so just don't answer to it, but when she ignored him he swatted her on the head and said, "Hey b!tch! I'm talking to you."

When I told him he is not allowed to touch my girls. He said, "What you gonna do about it? Call the police?" and I said I would if the harrassement continued. The 12yo thought this was so funny that she started roughhousing with one of her friends and asking me if I was going to call the police because she was being harassed.

I feel so strongly that this is our neighborhood; we've bought a home here and are committed to staying here. I realize I need to just refuse to get into conversations with kids who are just bent on being hateful, and I need to be proactive and call police at the very first threat of violence if it happens in the future.

I also want to help my 10yo find ways to enjoy her favorite hangout at times when these kids are trying to verbally start stuff. When I was her age I got intimidated and avoided these kinds of situations, but I think I missed out on a lot by allowing myself to be "criminalized" and "jailed" just because other kids had targeted me as someone to pick on.

I've talked to a police officer and have learned that they can do absolutely nothing about kids addressing other kids as "b!tch" -- but they do want to know about actual physical violence or threats of violence. So we need to ignore the language but be quick to dial 911 if they get physical.

I also think I should talk with the mother of the little girl who told me she was recently bullied by two of these children; I've been getting to know many children but hardly ever meet any parents out there, so I may just need to go introduce myself.

Again, input is welcome, and especially if you are dealing with or have dealt with anything similar, please share.
post #2 of 121
Do you realise that *you're* being bullied by this girl?

You need to stop worrying about hurting peoples feelings or getting into confrontations and start telling her to back off in no uncertain terms.
post #3 of 121
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Learning_Mum View Post
Do you realise that *you're* being bullied by this girl?

You need to stop worrying about hurting peoples feelings or getting into confrontations and start telling her to back off in no uncertain terms.
Gosh, thanks for giving me this perspective!

Today, one of the other sisters (somewhere between the age of the 12yo and the one that looks to be 8 or 9) heard me talking with me 10yo and advising her not to get in conversations with these kids, and came up and told me "You need to quit judging us."

I just told her that they were saying whatever they wanted to say about us, and I was going to keep talking with my kids and helping them learn to cope with the situation.

I haven't actually been following my own advice to my 10yo, because she keeps seeing me "engaging" with these kids. I've kept hoping that somehow we can reach an understanding with them and go back to enjoying these lovely September afternoons and evenings that aren't going to last forever. And I've got my book that I want to resume reading.

I refuse to let these bullies steal our September! I will NOT engage with them anymore. I'll be firm and draw the line, and pick up the phone and dial 911 if anyone tries to physically harm anyone. And I'll try to network with other families, which means I'll need to take the initiative to talk with parents who don't come out.

I would try to talk with the mother of the bully-children, but their house is not visible from the playground so I don't actually know how to find her since, as far as I can tell, she never comes over. But maybe it's better to leave that up to the police at this point.
post #4 of 121
I have to agree, these girls are walking all over you mama because you are trying to make nice. Forget it. They need some tough talk and NOW. Bullies sense weakness so you have to toughen up. They will continue this type of garbage indefinitely until you put a stop to it.
post #5 of 121
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Latte Mama View Post
I have to agree, these girls are walking all over you mama because you are trying to make nice. Forget it. They need some tough talk and NOW. Bullies sense weakness so you have to toughen up. They will continue this type of garbage indefinitely until you put a stop to it.
Yes, I can see that this is very good advice. Now I just need to figure out a way to make my point without getting sucked into any fruitless discussions, because they do try to turn everything into an argument.

I know I can't "legally" force one child not to call another child "b!tch" or "MF" what-have-you, so in these cases I've reiterated to my 10yo that these are not her names so the person is obviously not talking to her; maybe they are just practicing the only words they know so they'll have something to say at school tomorrow.

Since I'm talking to my dd and not to them, I need to just put up a brick wall if one of them starts whining about how I shouldn't judge them. No need to explain, again, that just as they feel free to say whatever they want, we are also free. Just ignore them as I'm not talking to them.

Of course, if one of these kids is asking dd if they can use the swing after her (and is not using any profanity to ask the question), I want to encourage her to do what it takes to be polite and let them have a turn just as she likes to get a turn.

That's another difficult situation. The swings are dd's absolute favorite piece of park equipment, and it's upsetting to her that when certain kids are rude and say stuff like, "Here you can have my swing" -- and then after she runs over they laugh and give the swing to another child or keep swinging, I can't do anything about this, other than empathise with her and try to help her cope.

Yet I keep encouraging her to be fair and let others have a turn -- even if it's a child from this "not-so-nice" group who I see has been waiting for a while. I feel like it's important to be fair, and start every day fresh without holding a grudge over what "went down" the day before -- even to the point of being willing to share our snacks when some of these kids see we have something they like and want some.

Yet these kids are clearly "remembering" whatever beef they think they have with us -- maybe not when they want our snacks or want my help on the equipment -- but the next time they just decide they want to be mean, they do it. It makes my older dd really upset when I am nice to them, and I think it's at the point where I just need to shut them out.

I did reach the point yesterday where I didn't feel like getting up to help the boy when he was calling out for me to help him down after he'd climbed on top of the swingset and got scared -- and he finally figured out how to jump down on his own.

We've got other plans and are taking a break tonight and maybe even tomorrow night -- but we're still not giving up our playground. We just need to talk together beforehand and resolve that any rude communications from these kids will be ignored -- by me as well as by them; maybe not ignored in terms of me talking with my 10yo and helping her to cope, but ignored in terms of not talking with the rude children.

If there is any more threat of physical violence, I will pick up the phone and dial 911 since I need to follow through with what I said. I realize the boy would probably love for me to resort to responding physically, with his older siblings watching, so that he could run to his mama and they could get a lawsuit rolling. I'd REALLY be letting them bully me if I bit the bait and got sucked into an ordeal like that.

I realize I really am now having to learn to deal with the bullying that I worked so hard to avoid when I was a kid. I guess unresolved issues will keep coming back into our lives until we chop them up into little pieces, digest them, and flush them into the waterworks ... and sometimes we even have to use a plunger and give them a second send-off.
post #6 of 121
Thread Starter 
For anyone who's interested, I've posted the following thread in Religious Studies to journal, and get insights from others, about this in relation to my spiritual journey --

http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1260900
post #7 of 121
Your being bullied. Stop letting them do it. Stand up for youself, stand up for your kids. If they curse at you curse right back - put'm in their place. 'Goto hell' is *not* out of place to kids that are calling you/your kids bitch. Its really not.

And whatever you do, do not *ever* make idle threats. *never* threaten to call the cops unless your 100% prepared to do so/already have done so. And whatever you do, don't ever get physical - unless they do so first. If they try and hit you, you are 100% in your right to grab their hand/arm and tell them in no certain terms that they *WILL NOT* hit you/your kids again. And hold onto'm while you call the cops.
post #8 of 121
You & your kids need to ignore these other kids.

If they call over hey you want this swing, she should ignore it even if she really wants to. THey are doing it just so they can take it away. They have no intentions on letting her swing.

If they ask her if they can swing when she's on it, she can ignore their requests.

If they need help (not in an emergency sort of way) ignore them.

If they want your snacks. Ignore them.

Act as if these kids are not there.

If they do threaten or act in any violent way towards your kids or other kids phone the cops.

These kids aren't just bullying you they are using you. I see no reason why you should share the snacks you bring. If they are hungry they can go home.
post #9 of 121
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
These kids aren't just bullying you they are using you. I see no reason why you should share the snacks you bring. If they are hungry they can go home.
Yes, even though it doesn't come naturally to me to refuse anyone food, I realize that I just need to ignore them.
post #10 of 121
Thread Starter 
Actually, I think I can learn a thing or two from my 10yo about not sharing unless I want to. I think one reason some of the kids in this group don't like dd is that she doesn't want other people to ride her bike, and I don't do forced sharing so it's totally up to her.

Her decision actually makes a lot of sense, because if she let everyone who wanted a turn have a turn, she'd hardly ever get to ride. And also there'd be a lot more wear and tear a lot faster.

We do share small stuff like balls and frisbees, but dd doesn't share her bike, and I respect the way that she's able to just say "no" without worrying about any hurt feelings. This is really going to be a great learning experience for me, my daughters, and probably for everyone involved.
post #11 of 121
We are thinking of moving over a similar situation. Our next door neighbors are nasty horrible bullies with the parents to match.

I have found that, oddly, some parents think it is a sign of good leadership skills and such if their child is a bully. They seem to like it.
post #12 of 121
I refuse to share food. I always just assume that I do not know what diets or otherwise their parents have them on. Regardless, bullies do not get my food. If they have to go home and eat, then they will stop bullying your child for that period of time.
post #13 of 121
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post
I refuse to share food. I always just assume that I do not know what diets or otherwise their parents have them on.
As far as special diets or food allergies, I've always kind of assumed that parents who are letting their kids connect with the world independently must be trusting them to make their own food choices. I mean, if my child would die or have a serious reaction if she ate a particular food and I didn't trust her to be vigilant about what she ate, I sure wouldn't be sending her out on her own.

Sometimes a small child accompanied by a parent will come over and ask for something we have; if the parent is there I check with him or her before sharing with the child. But most/many of the children who come to this playground, who are older than maybe five or so, come without parents.

I've always been willing to share if we have enough of something to share, and I still will with those who are acting respectfully. Sometimes people have shared their snacks with us, and I really like that family feeling. I like feeling like my neighborhood is my extended family.

Quote:
Regardless, bullies do not get my food. If they have to go home and eat, then they will stop bullying your child for that period of time
That would be cool. However, a few days ago, after I had shared a couple of helpings of our nuts with the boy and then explained that we needed to make our supply last, the boy kept begging me for more, and I suggested that he go home and eat something if he was so hungry. But he just kept on coming to me, and I just kept on telling him no.

The girl later told me that they were hungry because they didn't have food at home. However, she told me this as they were eating the ice cream bars that they'd bought off a cart. We didn't have money for ice cream that day, so I guess they're doing better than we are.
post #14 of 121
Find a big, protective momma pit-bull from the animal shelter and walk her to the playground every time you go.
post #15 of 121
Two quick things:

Id call the city and ask for a "no cursing" sign to go up at the playground.

I would go door to door to find her parents if I had to, but I would find them and tell them what is going on. This has gone on for too long, its not one or two times. Their mother/father needs to be aware that their kids are being a**holes.
post #16 of 121
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post
We are thinking of moving over a similar situation. Our next door neighbors are nasty horrible bullies with the parents to match.
I'm so sorry! They must be awful for one family to be making you think of moving!

Quote:
I have found that, oddly, some parents think it is a sign of good leadership skills and such if their child is a bully. They seem to like it.
You know, this makes me think of the issue we had with the oldest (12yo) sister in this family a while back. I'd actually started a thread about it here titled "Playground Drama."

I had really felt that she was targeting my 10yo, when she made a big issue of demaning an apology because she said my dd had kicked her 3yo sister when the little girl had walked in front of dd's swing. Dd likes to swing with her eyes closed, and was not aware of kicking anyone, but she did apologize.

It was weird because the child was not crying and did not seem to be hurt or upset, but the 12yo made a big deal about how the apology was necessary so that it could be "over." Also, on a side-track, she picked that evening to question my 10yo about her bathing habits. I ended up feeling a need to go up to her and ask her what her problem was with my daughter, at which point she totally backed down and said there was no problem any more.

She just seemed like a real case of something undesirable -- but after that she seemed to mellow out and even sat with me on the bench and chatted on an evening soon after. However, the other day she seemed to think it was really funny the way her little brother was acting.

So I honestly don't know what is going through their minds, or if they see this as some kind of stand that they need to take to assert their "leadership skills." Since I've never seen their mother or father, I'm not sure if they are nice and mellow, or easily offended and nosy about other people's business as their children seem to be.

Of course, it's really not my business what is going through the minds of the children and parents in this family -- except where it affects my own family and the other children who have a right to enjoy the playground in safety.
post #17 of 121
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaBorn View Post
Find a big, protective momma pit-bull from the animal shelter and walk her to the playground every time you go.
I'm too scared of pit-bulls, and other aggressive dogs as well, to be able to do that.

Plus, I really don't want any of these kids to be killed or injured -- I just want the playground to be a safe place for everyone.
post #18 of 121
Thread Starter 
Adaline'sMama - that's a great idea about a no cursing sign! I hadn't thought of that, but I know some other parents have sometimes grumbled about the way that some teens come over and curse in front of the little children.

I actually haven't felt upset about "conversational cursing," although, yeah, most teenagers haven't yet mastered the skill of using curse words sparingly in order to express strong emotion or punctuate a point.

We don't censor our girls' speech, and one day my 10yo actually came to me and wondered why "those teenagers over there" were cursing like every other word. She seemed to think it was kind of dumb, but I guess it's not like forbidden fruit to her so it doesn't give her quite the same thrill or surge or whatever.

However, I do have a problem with people using curse words to abuse others. So since some kids seem to want to use the words in this way, I think a sign is a good idea. And I have a feeling I wouldn't have any problem getting a lot of parents to sign a petition, should that be required.
post #19 of 121
By continuing to share and make nice when THEY feel like making nice, you're just making yourself a door mat. These children are old enough for you to say no, I am not going to share food with someone who is rude to me and my family, go do something else. They're old enough to understand that if you're mean, there are people who won't be intimidated by a pack of kids under 12.

There is no point in trying to win them over. Do your thing, ignore them, tell them off when you need to, but helping them and feeding them, then letting them talk to you and your kids like that is not going to improve the situation.
post #20 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaBorn View Post
Find a big, protective momma pit-bull from the animal shelter and walk her to the playground every time you go.
That is a terrible idea unless the OP is an experienced dog owner and could end up with somebody getting hurt, her getting sued, and the dog getting killed. Bringing dogs to a playground for the purposes of protection is a sure way of having a child get bit.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Claiming Our Neighborhoods