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#1 of 121 Old 09-09-2010, 06:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#2 of 121 Old 09-09-2010, 06:36 AM
 
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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.

It's complicated.
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#3 of 121 Old 09-09-2010, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#4 of 121 Old 09-09-2010, 09:16 AM
 
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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.

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#5 of 121 Old 09-09-2010, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#6 of 121 Old 09-09-2010, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#7 of 121 Old 09-09-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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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.
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#8 of 121 Old 09-09-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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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.
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#9 of 121 Old 09-09-2010, 07:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#10 of 121 Old 09-09-2010, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#11 of 121 Old 09-10-2010, 11:48 AM
 
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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.
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#12 of 121 Old 09-10-2010, 11:50 AM
 
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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.
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#13 of 121 Old 09-10-2010, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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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.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#14 of 121 Old 09-10-2010, 05:49 PM
 
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Find a big, protective momma pit-bull from the animal shelter and walk her to the playground every time you go.

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#15 of 121 Old 09-10-2010, 06:04 PM
 
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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.

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#16 of 121 Old 09-10-2010, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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!

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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.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#17 of 121 Old 09-10-2010, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#18 of 121 Old 09-10-2010, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#19 of 121 Old 09-10-2010, 06:17 PM
 
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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.
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#20 of 121 Old 09-10-2010, 06:17 PM
 
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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.

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#21 of 121 Old 09-10-2010, 07:29 PM
 
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Id call the city and ask for a "no cursing" sign to go up at the playground.
Even without freedom of speech laws this is ridiculous. Who is going to police it?
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#22 of 121 Old 09-10-2010, 08:00 PM
 
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Yeah... somehow I don't think these kids are likely to obey a sign.

I'm also not sure the OP should try to find the kids' parents. What if they're scarier than the kids? I mean, bullying kids are often like that for a reason. What if the parents get offended and egg their kids on, or start with their own threats and bullying?

I'm sorry, OP: that sounds like a very uncomfortable, stressful situation. Not sure how I'd deal: I'd probably wimp out and abandon the playground, or at least find times to go when the other kids weren't around.

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#23 of 121 Old 09-10-2010, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah... somehow I don't think these kids are likely to obey a sign.
This is a good point. I guess it's just a matter of instilling in dd that her name isn't "B!tch" or "M_F_" so she should just assume that anyone saying these words is talking to themselves or an imaginary playmate, or maybe their own "wee-wee," and ignore them.

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I'm also not sure the OP should try to find the kids' parents. What if they're scarier than the kids? I mean, bullying kids are often like that for a reason. What if the parents get offended and egg their kids on, or start with their own threats and bullying?
Another good point. We actually recently had some drama at the playground between two adults. There is an older lady in the neighborhood who is involved with parks and recreation, and she has been going over every day picking up trash (and sometimes syringes), and trying to get the kids to stop littering, because her granddaughter likes playing there and the city has been considering removing all the play equipment because of the trash, and some other problems late at night.

There's one particular neighbor who likes sending her dog across the street to poop at this park, and the older lady got fed up and one day headed over to their house to ask the lady to give her a plastic bag so she could clean up the poop.

Well, the lady got mad and yelled at her and said, "You don't come knocking on my door!" and wouldn't give her a bag. So the older lady got mad and called animal control (or said she did) -- but then she got out of line and started making a big deal to this woman's children and telling them, over and over, "You're gonna lose your dog! And all you had to do was give me a plastic bag, that's all I asked for and I would have been nice and cleaned it up..."

Which of course upset the mother, and it culminated in these two grown women having it out (verbally, not physically) right in the middle of the playground a few days ago.

It makes me sad, because if this older lady wasn't so prone to going overboard and going on and on and on about grievances to children at the playground and anyone who's too polite to walk away from her, I'd really like to team up with her.

There are just so many hard feelings toward this old woman right now. Apparently some neighbors are getting prosecuted by the city because they were emptying their home trash into the bins at the playground, which go 10 feet deep into the ground.

I was surprised to learn about the depth, because they are usually full to overflowing with trash scattered on the ground around them because it won't go in -- and the older lady explained that they are 10 feet deep so that they only need to be emptied something like every 3 months -- only with some people throwing in their home trash they fill up really past.

So apparently some city employees went through the bags of garbage and found enough identifying information to prosecute the guilty families. Since the older lady has been going around telling everyone about this, people kinda seem to see her as a snitch, I think.

It's hard because I can tell she really cares about the neighborhood. It seems like there are the folks who maybe care a little but not enough to really get involved, and then there are the folks who care but maybe just reach the boiling point and don't know where to try the line and let up about something.

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I'm sorry, OP: that sounds like a very uncomfortable, stressful situation. Not sure how I'd deal: I'd probably wimp out and abandon the playground, or at least find times to go when the other kids weren't around.
We homeschool so it would be cool with me and, I think, with my younger dd to go earlier in the day when we'd have it pretty much to ourselves.

But my 10yo isn't that interested in just playing on the equipment; she really wants to see her friends and play with other kids in her age group. Even her favorite activity of swinging is no fun to her when she doesn't have any friends around to watch her jump off.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#24 of 121 Old 09-11-2010, 04:42 AM
 
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Wow, this is truly horrible. I'm really sorry your family is experiencing this. You and your family can get through this, I know it.

Can you call Parks & Rec and keep going up the chain of command until you get someone who listens? Could you make a request for an employee to patrol the grounds for a period of time? With the poop and trash issues happening simultaneously it seems like some serious attention is needed in that specific park. Or do you maybe have an assertive friend or family member who could accompany you to the park? Is there another nearby park you could visit temporarily?

I gotta agree with the other posters, just don't engage with these children anymore. Not with food, not with swing offers, not clothing discussions, nothing. Have some very short replies ready beforehand if they try to engage and stick to them and keep calm and don't engage. Be busy with your book or your cell phone. It will be difficult because their behavior will ramp up to try to get a reaction from your family. You are their target and once your reactions stop being fun they will stop.

This article has some good advice: http://wondertime.go.com/learning/ar...our-child.html

You are a wonderful mom for seeking advice here and learning along with your child. I am sorry this is so hard right now, I would be so very angry.
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#25 of 121 Old 09-11-2010, 05:13 AM
 
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i haven't experienced this myself, but my mom was never afraid to stand up to kids who were being jerks. it was funny, kids who were rotten always acted like angels around my mom (neighborhood kids, field trip kids etc). my mom had rules about how she was to be treated and how her stuff/house/car/kids were to be treated as well. i think you just need to be harsh with them once and stick with it. boundaries.

oh and that is insane about the trash, who takes their house trash to the park?? disgusting. or better yet sends their dog to poo at the park then come back home! i am with the old lady, who cares if she "snitched" ... they were in the wrong.

mama to one '07 and one '09
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#26 of 121 Old 09-11-2010, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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kathteach -- what a great article! Thank you! The second page seems to take a while to load, so I'll have to finish it later. I also want to read it to dd. She loves the Back to the Future movies.

lookatreestar -- my reservations about the older lady are not that she "snitched" -- but that she was targeting these women's children who probably have no control over their mom's decisions.

I also think it's great that the parents who were using the park to dispose of their trash got caught and are being prosecuted (this includes the lady sending her dog to poop at the park) -- but IMO it's kind of dumb for the older lady to make it so obvious that she was involved in this whole process.

I also think it's tacky to pass along information about who's being prosecuted to other people -- and mostly she's passing it along to kids since they're the main ones who are out there.

I understand that I may need to talk about the bullies to other people, but I feel like there's a difference between working together to deal with a public menace, and giving out information about other people when it's truly not helpful.

I guess she just needs to talk about this, and if kids are the only ones she can find to talk to, she'll just go up and unload on them. I am very thankful for the internet and MDC, because I was so very very angry about our own issues a couple of nights ago, but talking about it here is really helping me to work through it and start calming down and seeing the positive.

If this lady doesn't have any online community to help her process the stress, maybe she just has to let it out to whoever's around, or burst. I will try to be a better friend to her. I think I hurt her feelings when I got onto her the other day about the way she was talking to the kids.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#27 of 121 Old 09-11-2010, 08:17 AM
 
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I ahve one experience with addressing a bully. He for some reason targeted my kiddo at the school playground after school one day shortly before school let out last year. DS was in Kindergarten, the other kid was in 3rd grade (in the beginning they were all introducing themselves so I overheard). There were 4 boys: 2 3rd graders a 2nd grader and a 1st grader, and my son. The one kid just decided that my kid made an easy target, and started tripping him and shoving him while they were playing their rescue/adventure game - being slick about it at first so it seemed like part of the game, but I saw it from the first time and was watching. After a couple times I called DS over and told him to try to steer clear of that kid since he seemed to have a problem; DS tried, but was unsuccessful as the kid kept targeting him. My breaking point was when I saw the boys running behind a tree out of view of all the parents except me (because I was on a swing next to my DD), and this kid ran behind DS, stuck out his foot to hook my kiddos foot to trip him, while simultaneously grabbing the back of his shirt and tackling him down to the ground. Adrenaline took over and I shouted across the playground, "HEY! NO WAY!" and jogged over there. There was another boy there who looked kind of shell shocked because I dont think he was on board with that part of the play, and he got up looking real scared and ran off. I used my loud, firm voice and said, "Come ON, that's NOT COOL." He said, "we're just having fun" with a smirk. I said, "Doesn't look like he's (my son) having fun being tripped, and it's NOT fun to *me* when a bigger kid tackles and picks on a younger kid. Nobody else is hitting or tackling in this game." Of course DS was embarrassed, but he got over it and started playing in a different area.....and some of the other kids around migrated over to him to play a new game. SO this older boy, and I cannot believe this, walks over with a fist sized rock in his hand, and chucks it in a puddle below the tire swing my DS was standing on (the kids were using it as a prison they had to rescue DS from) so that he'd get him wet/muddy. SERIOUSLY? I was too far away to do anything about it, but for a moment I was terrified because I swear I thought the kid was going to throw the rock AT DS. I was just getting up to go to the kid and ask him what the HELL his problem was, when the dad finally shows up at the playground and calls him over and has him sit in time out because by that point the kid had started kicking at his sister and the dad saw that. So the dad calls him over like 5 times in 30 minutes, for trying to hit kids with sticks, shoving another kid to the ground, tripping his little sister, etc. Then they finally leave. I've seen the kid twice now that school has started up again, and he's always messing with somebody. It takes a lot for me to say I don't like a kid, I can usually find something redeeming or have sympathy that they have some kind of problems going on in their lives, but I really don't like this kid. I guess I feel bad because something is clearly going on, but i have NO desire to teach my kid to take that on just to be "nice". Ugh.

So anyway.....that day was so stressful to me, and it was only one day - I can't imagine the adrenaline you have in your body every time you go there and the kids are there. You're going to have to stand up to them gently but firmly, and I'd tell them exactly why in words they can understand: If you can be polite and respectful, we'd enjoy being friends and having fun together, but we won't let you keep bullying us with words and actions, and then deciding when you want to be nice to get things from us. Period.

Good good luck, mama.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#28 of 121 Old 09-11-2010, 08:56 AM
 
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I just read that article and the accompanying website and holy COW, it rocked my world!

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#29 of 121 Old 09-11-2010, 09:36 AM
 
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I just read that article and the accompanying website and holy COW, it rocked my world!
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#30 of 121 Old 09-12-2010, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all! Thank you everyone for being such a help to me!

We've had a lot going on for the last few days, plus it felt good to take a little break from the situation, so today was our first time going back.

We were there this afternoon for a good three hours, and overall had a pretty good time. Dd2 and I walked over while dd1 went ahead of us on her bike. She said that as she rode up, a bunch of the teens/preteens from this group were there, and one girl yelled, "Hey wedgie-girl!"

Dd said, "Are you talking to me?" and the girl said, "Yeah I'm talking to you," and so dd rode back to us (as a whole bunch of them joined in and started yelling "wedgie-girl") and told me what happened. I just reminded her that her name isn't wedgie-girl, so she shouldn't even respond to that.

We arrived together and, yeah, they were all hollering "wedgie-girl" and I just said again to dd "That's not your name" and encouraged her to go swing on the empty swing, so she did.

One of dd's friends arrived a moment later, and another friend came soon after, so dd got very busy playing with her girlfriends and seemed pretty oblivious to the mean kids, who also seemed to give up trying to engage with dd.

The teens all got engaged in an "acorn war" but I didn't stress because they were only throwing at the others who wanted to play. Dd at one point wanted to join in, and I explained how this could really cause an injury if she was hit in an eye.

She and her friends ended up gathering up acorns to supply one of the nicer teen girls with ammunition, and I felt this was fine so long as dd wasn't actually throwing at anyone herself, since a couple of these kids really seem to have it in for my dd -- and some of them were throwing so hard that they managed to put a welt on one of their friends.

The war tapered off, and a bit later the boy from the other day came over. He walked over to my dd and said "B!tch!" (she told me about it later) but she just ignored him and he moved on. After playing here and there a little, he walked over to where I was sitting off to the side trying to read my book, and started zinging acorns at me.

I told him if he did it again, I would call the police, then another acorn zinged past my head so I just picked up the phone and called. Someone answered right away; I explained the situation and she said she'd send a couple of officers by.

Then the boy ran off, but he actually walked back over when the police car pulled up. I went over to them and pointed out the boy, and he came up when the officer called him over. He didn't say much when the officer questioned him. When the officer asked about his parents, he pointed out his older sister, and the officer asked him to get her but she refused to get up so they went over to her.

At this point I went back to my area and sat down until one of the officers came back to talk to me. I did hear one officer tell the boy that if he kept having to come over and deal with him, he'd be taking him somewhere and it wouldn't be home. Dd1 hung around and listened (as many others were doing), and she told me that the boy accused her (or someone) of taking his swing.

The officer just asked him if she had picked him up and thrown him off the swing, and the boy said no, he was off the swing but he was going to get on it, and the officer said that if he gets off then someone else can get on. The officer who came to me asked who my daughters were, so I pointed them out.

Then he said the boy had claimed that someone took his swing, and I said that sometimes a lot of different kids do go after the same swing, and maybe something like that happened the other day -- but today what happened was he came up to me and started throwing acorns at me. I thanked them for coming so quickly, and they went back over to the group and gave another pep talk about nobody throwing acorns anymore and they left.

At this point, dd1 came to me upset because one of her friend's dads told her that he didn't know if he wanted his dd coming to our house because I had called the police. Dd's friend also has an older teen brother who is friends with this group, and the parents don't usually come to the park, but today they had come over and were hanging out and laughing and talking with the teens.

I don't think anyone else even observed the acorn-throwing, since I was off to the side and all I did was give the boy one warning and then just call. I had decided that I needed to follow through with my promise, and that I wasn't going to wait for the situation to escalate. But maybe I should have tried to draw some others' attention to the problem, I don't know.

I really don't think it's productive to keep second-guessing myself. If dd's friend's parents had come to me I would have explained -- but I wasn't going to go over to talk to them with the group. Plus I know I didn't do anything wrong. I suppose it may have looked to them like I just sat there while all those other kids were having their "war" -- and then turned around and called when I saw one little boy throwing acorns.

However, dd later told me that her friend's mom did ask her why the police were called, and dd told her that he was throwing the acorns right at me, so then the mom told the dad it was okay and it wasn't "like that" (whatever he apparently thought it was like), and they told dd that their dd could come over after all (they have planned a sleepover for this Friday).

I've told dd that it's okay if she comes, but to be prepared that they might decide she can't. I said that if people don't want to be our friends because we're not willing to be harmed, then they're really not our friends in the first place. Dd seems pretty cool with the situation, though of course she's still hoping her friend can come.

The boy did run over to us as dd was putting her new acorn collection into a bag in my purse, and actually reached right into our space to try to take some acorns -- and I said "Get out of our space! We don't get in your space, so stay out of ours!" and he backed off.

So we'll just take it day by day. I feel much more empowered now, and I'm prepared that some people may misunderstand the situation and think I'm some sort of a "snitch." If they want to ask me about it, I'll tell them why I called, but I'm not going to get sucked into needing to go up to everybody and explain and be all on the defensive.

I think this may be partly what happened with the elderly woman. She was always wanting to explain everything to everybody -- and some people don't want to be involved.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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