Originally Posted by elus0814
You said that you're unable to provide "the supervision they need". If that is so why are all these kids at your house? I don't want that to come across as snarky. If you're truly unable to properly supervise a bunch of kids then maybe your house isn't the best place for them every day? Maybe it is? Maybe it's just better than the alternatives?
Kid #1 - 7 years old. He generally comes over at 9am and stays until 8:30pm. He can go home - the door is unlocked there - but often there is no one at home. I considered calling 911 when there was no one at home but I guess I feel really badly for the family; mom's in the hospital and dad is at work. guess what I fear most is that CPS won't really do anything, just do a plan of correction if that, and that the boy's father will then forbid him from coming to our house.
Kid #2 - 4 years old. He comes over for a few hours each day, usually. His dad is a single parent who lives across the street. His dad is generally responsive when I call and say there is a problem, and he will come get his child, but unless someone calls him, the child could be anywhere; sometimes the 7 year old will take him to his house, then there are 2 children unsupervised in a house that is not child-friendly (e.g. has guns).
Kid#3 - 5 years old. He is left in the care of his brothers who are about 10 and 11. The older brothers have been doing crazy stuff lately like taking the riding lawnmower out onto the streets and chasing the little kids; shooting at the little kids with an air-pellet gun, taking the younger kids toys and breaking them. Both myself and the neighbor across the street have called the police, but the police's response so far has been to tell the kids to take the lawnmower home, don't shoot the air rifles at people, and go apologize to the parents of the kids' toys you broke (which they do).
Kid#4 - 7 years old; she's the sister of the one above.
Kid#5 - gone to foster care (removed from the house across the street after being seriously injured while being molested by a person yet unknown at that address).
Kid#6 and #7 - situation at home was particularly bad and I did end up calling CPS. CPS gave them a plan of correction and said they would be back in 30 days. The family packed up and left to another state before the end of the week.
When I say I am unable (more likely unwilling, being a single mom in total burnout mode) to provide the supervision they really need, what I mean is that I am not out there with them coaching them through their interactions, but I am in earshot and respond to screaming or worrisome noises or the lack of noise.
The neighborhood is a mixture of people who are not very responsive to their children and aren't aware of their children's needs and are using drugs, etc, and neighbors who are very responsive to their children, always know where they are, etc. Its an odd mixture of low-income and middle class homeowners. Things got worse when the recession started; the neighborhood used to be pretty safe. But now it has quite a few houses in which people rent for 6 months then leave or are evicted. Turnover among these families is pretty frequent and I know that the kids that are visiting today will probably not be here a year from now.
I'd like to move but can't really afford to. I own this house but the value of it is less than the mortgage currently. I've thought about just ditching it and getting a rental in a better neighborhood, and let my credit take a hit, but I hate the thought of not being able to buy another house for 7 years (until my credit recovers from the hit). I love the house and yard because its got a big yard with lots of room to play. Our county just got elevated to the county with the most heroin use in the country, and the task force and police are currently overwhelmed. Any place I could afford around here is likely to have similar problems, and my job is really great; I hate the idea of trying to find another job so that we could move to another county. My current job is so flexible I can homeschool and work, and I can also bring my child to work with me.
The downfall of the neighborhood happened so quickly that I keep thinking its bound to return to normal pretty quickly as well. I'm thinking this is just a particularly bad time but it won't be like this forever, or for very long. I might be fooling myself.
I also wonder what will happen to the other kids if we leave. #1, in particular. He seems to be an unattached child. Even when he's hurt he won't ask for comfort or seek out comfort, doesn't want his mom or dad, hides away, likes people or dislikes people based on what they have or what kind of car they drive and not on who they are. After two years of having him here for most of the entire day, every day except for the time he is in school, and him making decisions based solely on "what will she do to me if don't comply" or "what will she give me if I comply," last weekend he, amazingly, saw that I was upset because of some goofy thing the other children did, and cleaned up after the other children solely because he was responding to my distress and not because of what consequence he would receive. He is starting to attach but its really fragile right now.
I like the idea of me playing with the child who is left out, not as a lesson to the other children but just in response to his distress. I will sometimes do 30 minutes of floortime with that child. Sometimes he is welcomed back into the group after that; if not, I'll usually let him play on the computer or something. But I only do that if I feel like it (I'm trying to manage burnout).
I like the idea of setting aside a few days of the week for DD and #1 to play alone together. They sometimes want to invite another child over and that's when it starts to get hairy, because they will play for a few hours then want the child to go away. My response is to remind them that they invited the child therefore they are committed to playing with the child. But they are masters at escalating the other child until the other child has to go home for hitting. It might work to set a time limit upon invitation ("okay, you can invite #3 over from 4pm until 6pm") then it doesn't get to the point where the child is being rejected. But he will wonder why #1 gets to stay and he doesn't. But I guess I can figure that out.