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Don't know how to proceed re: Son's behavior, my behavior, and war with neighbors

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

In a nutshell, I seriously contimplated listing my house last night I was so angry.  I got home from work, relieved the baby sitter and nursed the baby to sleep.  As per the norm, the neighbor's 10 year old rang the bell as soon as the baby was sleeping - something I have told him repeatedly not to do.  Baby is awake and crying, and I have this kid at my door step telling me my son is throwing gravel from the driveway.  I passed the baby off and went outside to deal with it.  I called my son over from his friend's house 2 doors down, who told me that his friend was doing it, too.  The neighbor's kid said no, it was just my son that was throwing the gravel.

 

Meanwhile, my neighbor stumbles out of her house drunk.  She is on partial disability for back injuries (but is able to shoot a crossbow in the back yard on a regular basis which is scary enough, I really don't know...) so she has told me she is on oxycodone, I believe it's called?  Because of the drinking and the drug use, I tend to avoid her because she's just an angry, screamy person on the best of days.  So she stumbles out of her house and says that I need to deal with my kid.  I told her that I was dealing with him, and he would be disciplined, and that it must be something in the air this week because all of the boys have been making poor decisions - her boys had been kicking soccer balls at the lights in front of my house, breaking 3 of them.  She inturrupted me and said: "Oh, you're going to be a C*** about your stupid lights?  Your kid was throwing rocks.  That's a big deal.  I don't care if my kids are kicking their ball around.  How DARE you tell them they can't play in the front yard."  I tried to explain that I had said no such thing, I had simply asked them to be careful with the ball, or find somewhere else to kick it around, and she started screaming at me about how I think my kids can do no wrong, her kids are always getting yelled at and they are just being boys (over the course of the summer, they have destroyed quite a few things in my yard including a storage bench, the play structure, my son's soccer nets, part of our trampoline....  - I have not once yelled at them, but have told them that if they are going to be destructive, they can't play with those toys.  I have not talked to the mom about it because, frankly, she scares the heck out of me.)

 

I called my son inside because I was just so upset about how she was talking to me.  I felt totally attacked and vulnerable and on edge, and much to my shame, I reacted in anger and spanked my son.  I felt so bad about it afterwards.  I also grounded him from his best friend for the remainder of the summer (they go back to school in a couple of weeks) because they are just boneheads when they are together, and keep doing stupid things like this.  I also sent my son over with money from his own bank account to offer to pay for paint for their door (they had hit the door with gravel, I guess, which was the issue.  There was no mark, but I felt that he needed to have some sort of natural consequence ie: it costs money to fix things that you wreck).  She told him that she didn't want "his mom's F***ing money" and sent him home.  He went to his room and cried until he fell asleep. =(

 

So....moving forward....  I just don't know what to do.  Obviously my son was in the wrong for throwing gravel.  I was in the wrong for reacting in anger and spanking him.  The neighbor was in the wrong for cursing at me in front of my kids (my 9 year old is now saying "Mommy, I'm so mad she called you a c***", a word she should certainly not even know!!) and I'm just beyond frustrated with her boys, who have zero consequences for their actions, but are the first to run and tattle the moment my son or his friend do anything wrong.

 

I went and spoke to the parents of my son's best friend to let them know that my DS isn't allowed to play with him for the next 2 weeks, and they said that the neighbor's kids had gone over and told them that it was THEIR son throwing gravel, and mine wasn't involved.  So obviously there's more to the story there.

 

And now I feel like we are all prisoners in our own house.  I'm scared to go outside because she's always out there drinking on her back porch and shooting her crossbow.  I'm scared to let the kids outside because she obviously hates their guts (and is drunk with a crossbow, to boot!)  I'm scared to talk to her because - again, she has a wine glass in her hand 100% of the time that I see her, and I really don't think we can have a rational discussion about this while she's sloshed.  I'm just so sad about this. =(  I'm at work and can't stop thinking about my DS and how bad I feel for spanking him, and how sad he must be at home, trapped inside for the day.  This just really sucks and I don't know how to proceed.

post #2 of 28

not much help here, but hug2.gif

post #3 of 28
Hmm I would call the local police I think. I'm not usually calling the police kind of gal, but a drunken and drugged out angry woman with a cross bow warrants some intervention I think. That can't be legal. I personally would be very firm about her sons NOT being allowed on my front yard and breaking my stuff. As far as the ds goes I would have a talk with him about being upset and reacting out of that and apologizing again. Also, is there a daycamp or something you can put him for the duration of the summer? I would hate the idea of him sitting home next to THAT too

But hugs! It sounds like a tough arrangement for sure
post #4 of 28

huh.gif  I would have my husband chase the boys off of my property if this were happening here.  It doesn't sound like they're there to play
 

post #5 of 28
Drunken + drugged + crossbow = call to police. Hugs.
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the thoughts.  Arrgghhh.  It's just such an uncomfortable situation, and it makes my blood boil that I have to live next to someone like that.  DH and I are seriously exploring our options re: listing the house and moving.  It's something we've been discussing for awhile, and this might just be the final straw.  I hate that we're on an acre of land for the kids' sake, and now I feel like my kids can't even go outside and take advantage of all the outdoor space.  They LOVE being outside, but between calling them in because she's drunk outside shooting her bow (her target is right on the other side of the fence from our trampoline....ugh...dangerous much?) and having to watch them like hawks when they're playing with the neighbor's boys because it can so quickly dissolve into chaos....  It just sucks.  It really does.  I feel so bad for her partner, because he's a really sweet guy, very meek and very shy.  And she's just so....explosive and unpredictable.  We heard them outside fighting last night about it all, him trying to talk her down because she's just so spun out and losing her mind.

 

I will for sure have a couple of numbers written down and ready to go if needed.  Local police, and municipality for starts.  They were having a huge bon fire right next to my fence during the burn ban a couple of weeks ago (after draining both of our wells - they're close together - filling up their pool in a drought....that waterless shower was a crappy way to start the day, that morning).  It frightens me that she's responsible for children.  After all of this went down, she hopped in her car to take her kids to soccer, and it didn't even occur to me until much later (because I was just glad to see her leave) that she HAD to have still been drunk.... unless she has the tolerance of an elephant.  That's just not cool.

 

I'm planning on taking the kids out somewhere fun this weekend to cheer them up, and to get away from suck-neighbor.  I just get so filled with anxiety every time I see her.  I never know what she's going to do/say, and it sucks to have to live on edge like this, for all of us.

post #7 of 28
I think you should explore getting a restraining order to stop the crossbow incidents and call cps if she seems to be putting her kids at risk with her erratic behavior. I would also call each time an item is destroyed by her children. One incident is okay but it has crossed over to vandalism and she is encouraging their behavior.
post #8 of 28

Your son probably shouldn't have been throwing gravel, but in all fairness you're punishing him thrice-fold. (Don't even know if that's a word, lol) There is a difference between punishment and discipline and I believe that you punished him. It's not his fault that your neighbor is bat sh*t crazy and her kids are terrors.

 

I always try to look at if the punishment fits the crime. Throwing gravel, while not appropriate it's not the end of the world. He got spanked, had to apologize and is grounded. In his head he must be confused as all get out, because not once did you yell or get upset when her kids wrecked things on your house, but he gets punished by you for doing something that caused no damage because you were mad at your neighbor. KWIM?

 

I know you feel bad and I'm not trying to make you feel worse, but I would sit down and talk to him and explain where you made your mistake. It's okay for kids to see us make mistakes. (Not saying that you don't do this, but in general it's okay)

 

Is there a way that you son and his best friend can play away from the neighbors kids? I would call the police about the crossbow thing and see if they can have her move her target so it isn't sharing your fence. That is completely dangerous. I also wouldn't hesitate to call the police and/or CPS the next time you see her driving drunk or outside acting like an idiot.

 

If you moved, would you be guaranteed to get "better" neighbors? What if they were just as bad or worse? I know that living in anxiety isn't fun, but the grass isn't always greener. Maybe see if there is something else you can do first, moving would be a last resort for me.

post #9 of 28

hug2.gif

I would also call the police. I'm not one to usually do that, but this woman was way out of control.

post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hippiemombian View Post

Your son probably shouldn't have been throwing gravel, but in all fairness you're punishing him thrice-fold. (Don't even know if that's a word, lol) There is a difference between punishment and discipline and I believe that you punished him. It's not his fault that your neighbor is bat sh*t crazy and her kids are terrors.

 

I always try to look at if the punishment fits the crime. Throwing gravel, while not appropriate it's not the end of the world. He got spanked, had to apologize and is grounded. In his head he must be confused as all get out, because not once did you yell or get upset when her kids wrecked things on your house, but he gets punished by you for doing something that caused no damage because you were mad at your neighbor. KWIM?

 

I know you feel bad and I'm not trying to make you feel worse, but I would sit down and talk to him and explain where you made your mistake. It's okay for kids to see us make mistakes. (Not saying that you don't do this, but in general it's okay)

 

Is there a way that you son and his best friend can play away from the neighbors kids? I would call the police about the crossbow thing and see if they can have her move her target so it isn't sharing your fence. That is completely dangerous. I also wouldn't hesitate to call the police and/or CPS the next time you see her driving drunk or outside acting like an idiot.

 

If you moved, would you be guaranteed to get "better" neighbors? What if they were just as bad or worse? I know that living in anxiety isn't fun, but the grass isn't always greener. Maybe see if there is something else you can do first, moving would be a last resort for me.

 

The risk of getting worse neighbors was definitely a topic of discussion between DH and I. orngbiggrin.gif  We've been talking about moving for awhile, and this may be the last straw but we've decided that for the time being, we're going to just hold off because, frankly, it's a lot of work and money and we're not quite ready yet.

 

I already talked to DS re: my over-reacting, and explained that I was so upset at the way the neighbor treated me that I didn't know how to deal with it and I took it out on him without thinking.  I'm still pretty shaken up over it, and haven't even been able to go outside because the neighbor is always out there with her glass of wine in hand, and I have so much anxiety about what she might say to me, next.  I've gotten little to no sleep, and I really need to try and get over it, but it really hasn't been fun. She's already been snarky to my MIL (who is watching the kids for the summer at my home), when my MIL said hi to her, and she made a point of picking up her lounge chair and turning it around so that she wouldn't see her.  And then picking up her husband's chair and doing the same.  Childish, much? ;)  Her husband seems mortified by her behavior, and they've gotten in a couple of pretty bad fights over the last few days.

 

I'm going to lift the grounding of playing with his best buddy.  It's irrelavent this week, as his friend is away on holidays.  But the other two boys, I really am not comfortable having over in my yard ever again.  Their mother has made it more than clear that it's ok for them to destroy other people's property so long as she doesn't like the person, or if she deems the item of little value.  This isn't the first time they've broken things in our yard, and in the past when I've sent them home for doing it, she's always been snarly for a few days.  I don't dare discipline her children, but I WILL ask them to leave when they're being destructive, and she doesn't seem to think it's a big deal.  "Boys will be boys" when it's her children involved.  When my son and his friend are throwing gravel?  FUTURE CRIMINAL.  It's absurd, really.

post #11 of 28

I'd have called the police on her already.  Maybe more than once.

post #12 of 28

Honestly I would really consider whether you are willing to sell your home.  If you really do think this is a possibility I would suggest not to start making all these police reports and calls.  I know that some on here are going to get their feathers ruffled but here's where im coming from. 

 

DH and I were recently buying a home.  In that process we investigated the neighborhoods,schools,etc.  We absolutely fell in LOVE with a house and put in an offer.  During our option period I tracked the home with the pd and found at that there had been over 15 phone calls/reports tied to that address.  The majority involving a particular neighbor (I assume as the address was listed)  let me tell you we immediatley backed out.  I didnt want to "chance it" that we'd end up next to, well, someone like your neighbor.  I know that some people say its being dishonest in a way but if your really considering moving I would just think about how, at this point, with you already leaving how that might impact the sale of your home.

post #13 of 28

Or sell during the winter, less chance to see Mrs Drunkard outside. It sounds like these boys are craving real attention, not just the drunk kind. Thus the story they told to you and ds's friends parents.

post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 

Ohh, good point with the police reports.  Thankfully it's been quiet, and she's been keeping mostly to herself.  Her boys were at their father's house on the weekend, and since they've been back they haven't come over to play with my son, so I have a feeling that she's given them the same instructions as i've given my child. ;) 

 

I told my son that he'll be able to play with his best buddy when he returns from camp, and he was pretty excited about that.  But that I'd like for them to stay away from the other two, as it just seems to cause trouble for all the kids when the four of them play together.  It's been a hard week, because his grandmother was keeping him inside when the other two were out, to avoid trouble, and my son is getting so stir crazy and acting out because of it.  I told her to please let them play outside, haha, and just make sure the kids know to stay in our yard so that they don't get blamed for anything.  The neighbor hasn't gone to work at all this week, and has just been sitting on her deck...watching and waiting. =P

 

And nope, keeping the house OFF the market for now, we've decided....unless we happen to see a house for sale that's perfect for us.  DH reads the real estate websites as a hobby, so he's always dreaming. ;)

post #15 of 28

Do you have a fenced yard that will keep her boys out?  How old are her boys?

post #16 of 28

We have neighbors like that. I put up a 6-foot fence (had to get special permission because they only allow 4 foot in our neighborhood) and got an anti-harrassment order through the court. It isn't hard to get the anti-harrassment order, you only have to have two documented episodes in which you were called a hostile name, had arrows coming through the air in the direction of your property, etc.

 

Its been very quiet since. Its been 8 months since the order, and there have been zero issues. If she violates the order, swears at you or whatever while drunk, you call the police, and she will be taken to jail, which is probably the best way to get help for her and her children, as she is not likely to address her alcoholism otherwise.

 

It was the best decision, in retrospect. I also considered moving, but it would have been very costly, plus DD would have had to move out of the only home she's ever known and away from her friends.

post #17 of 28

Oh, mama!!!  What a huge, crappy bummer of a situation. 

 

What I think I would do is to tell DS that playing with this neighbor's family is off limits. I'd make it as nice as I could - maybe just say that the group of them have gotten in too much trouble and need a break for a while. Then I would make that break turn into a long, long time. As for the relationship with the adults -- I would take it way back. I have these neighbors that I decided after we had gotten a bit close that I didn't like. I just started avoiding eye contact. 

 

I'm sorry you're having such a tough time with your neighbors. 

post #18 of 28
Oh, what a horrible situation you're in. It sux that you feel like you do and can't enjoy your home. She has no right to harass you and your family. I would probably make those kids off limits for mine. And I'm pretty sure it's illegal to operate a weapon while intoxicated, I would certainly call the police. Not to be crappy but judgement is off and there are lots of kids around it sounds like.
post #19 of 28
How terrible! It sounds like you're doing the right thing by speaking honestly about it with your kids and keeping them away from the neighbor kids. Hang in there!
post #20 of 28

Well, since she's on prescription drugs, I would assume she's not the best person to confront for any reason.  Just try your best to avoid her and hope she winds up on Jerry Springer soon.  (she may be normal when not in pain and on pain killers, but again, assume she's not normal ever)  Pain can really make you do things you wouldn't normally do, or be something you never wanted to be.  Try to be patient with her in case she really does suffer from chronic pain.

 

 

Then, express to your son that for that reason alone, he is NOT ever, ever to go near their house.  No matter what.

 

He absolutely should not have been throwing rocks... if I had been the neighbor dealing with the rocks, i'd have been furious.  So, I do get why she's upset.  

 

It's too bad she was acting like that, because the best way to handle it would have been to make sure he picked up every single piece of gravel you could spot.  I'd have walked his little self up and down the street and made him pick up gravel that he didn't throw.  But, since she behaved like a lunatic, you can't subject him to her spewing those words.   Unfortunately,  her behavior became the new, bigger problem, and now your son didn't learn the lesson he could have learned if she'd been civil.  All he learned was "What a whack job".  

 

If you HAD yelled at all the boys for kicking a soccer ball at your lights, I don't think that would have been all that bad.  You wouldn't even have to explain why... they damaged property, they got sent home...too bad, so sad.  They'll get over it.  

 

I'm sorry for her own kids, because this is the type of thing they'll have to grow up with.  They want to be on mom's side...but, in 20 years, they are going to look back on this and remember what it felt like to be the kids with the mean off the wall mom.  (I had the drunk dad, so I can relate to what this is like later on in life...it seemed normal then, but now I realize what we looked like to the neighbors)

 

Hang in there, school starts soon.

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