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

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#1 of 28 Old 08-03-2012, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#2 of 28 Old 08-03-2012, 08:21 AM
 
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not much help here, but hug2.gif


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#3 of 28 Old 08-03-2012, 08:47 AM
 
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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
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#4 of 28 Old 08-03-2012, 08:54 AM
 
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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
 


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#5 of 28 Old 08-03-2012, 09:00 AM
 
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Drunken + drugged + crossbow = call to police. Hugs.
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#6 of 28 Old 08-03-2012, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#7 of 28 Old 08-03-2012, 02:24 PM
 
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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.
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#8 of 28 Old 08-03-2012, 08:02 PM
 
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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.


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#9 of 28 Old 08-03-2012, 10:00 PM
 
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I would also call the police. I'm not one to usually do that, but this woman was way out of control.


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#10 of 28 Old 08-08-2012, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#11 of 28 Old 08-08-2012, 12:35 PM
 
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I'd have called the police on her already.  Maybe more than once.

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#12 of 28 Old 08-08-2012, 04:51 PM
 
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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.

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#13 of 28 Old 08-08-2012, 05:24 PM
 
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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.


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#14 of 28 Old 08-09-2012, 06:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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. ;)

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#15 of 28 Old 08-09-2012, 08:48 AM
 
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Do you have a fenced yard that will keep her boys out?  How old are her boys?

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#16 of 28 Old 08-09-2012, 09:20 PM
 
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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.

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#17 of 28 Old 08-10-2012, 06:48 PM
 
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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. 


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#18 of 28 Old 08-10-2012, 08:06 PM
 
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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.
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#19 of 28 Old 08-11-2012, 02:04 PM
 
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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!
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#20 of 28 Old 08-11-2012, 04:25 PM
 
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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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#21 of 28 Old 08-14-2012, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I had a wacky mom that flew off the handle on a whim, constantly embarrassed us by making scenes in public when people "wronged" her, and creating drama that was never "her fault."  So I totally get how her poor boys must feel.  This isn't the first time I've seen her go off on somebody, it's just the first time that I was the target and it really freaked me out!  Thankfully, things have been very very quiet since the incident first happened.  Her boys (age 9 and 11) haven't been around much, and school starts in another week so we'll only have to worry about it in the evening.  I've been keeping my kids busy, taking them to the park and for bike rides so that they're not in the yard and being judged by the back porch drunk. ;)

 

My son saw her boys playing outside last night and really longed to go play with them.  I had to remind them that they're off limits because of all the trouble.  Her boys are older than mine (age 7) and in my opinion, just really don't need to be hanging out with him because no good ever comes of it.

 

We do have a fence separating our yards, but it's open in the back (we have a creek that runs along our back yard so a fence won't work there) so the kids are used to slipping in and out of eachother's yards. 

 

Thanks for all the thoughts and tips.  It has really helped calm me down, and I think I'll be able to better deal with a situation like this in the future.  With any luck, there won't be any future situations. ;)

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#22 of 28 Old 08-14-2012, 03:12 PM
 
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Mama, 

 

I had another thought when reading your last post -- can you maybe have a blanket rule for playing with neighbor kids that restricts playing with this family but is thought of more as an umbrella rule. I thought that this way you don't have to single this family out (if that becomes complicated for your DS). Maybe something as simple as asking you before playing...and then you can always make an excuse for these kids? At least until things mellow out...

 

I'm glad to hear it's already better. Maybe she also sees the error of her ways - we can hope, right? 


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#23 of 28 Old 08-15-2012, 04:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yep, I hear you.  I did try to word it in such a way that didn't make it come across to the kids as "I'm in a fight with their mom so you guys can't play together."  I've always had a rule in our yard that the kids are responsible for their guests.  If they invite other children intot he yard, and those children trash the place, the kids have to make sure they help clean up before they go home, or they'll be stuck doing it, themselves.  This has always seemed to be the best way to ensure that the whole group encourages eachother to make good decisions (ie: don't dump all the toy bins just for the sheer joy of making a giant mess).  But it's obvious that my children aren't able to influence these two older boys, at all, and that's why things are getting broken in the yard.  They won't even come and tell ME about it, because as it turned out, they're afraid of the two boys.  So I tried to stress that if their friend aren't being good guests, perhaps they shouldn't be invited over for awhile.  The kids agreed whole-heartedly, and I realized that all this time they were just trying to be polite to two little neighbors who took advantage of them because they knew that my kids were too afraid to "tattle" when the boys broke things.  Sigh.

 

So it seems to be working out, so far.

 

Unfortunately, I don't think the mom is getting any better.  I own a semi-detached house, and they happen to be the ones attached to me.  In three years, I have not heard a peep from the other side of the wall, and thought we had a pretty good soundproofing in place.  Turns out that's not the case, and they've just been considerate this whole time.  Since "the incident", I have had several nights where I've called up to the kids at 8 or 9pm to please be quiet and stop thumping and go to bed, and have found that they were previously fast asleep and had been woken by the noise, as well.  It sounds like multiple people kicking at or hitting the wall?  Not a hammer and nail, or construction noise, or anything innocent as a night-time noise, but a deliberate "I'm going to kick the crap out of the walls to wake everyone up" sort of thing.  I've also witnessed her slowing down while passing my house to throw garbage from her car into my driveway.  So no, she's not better.  There's definitely a screw loose, there.  I'm just glad that the harassment of the children seems to have stopped.  Hopefully she'll get the help she needs, because there are definitely some anger problems, there.

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#24 of 28 Old 08-15-2012, 07:02 AM
 
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If that thumping keeps up, I might innocently call the police voicing neighborly concern and ask them to come check it out.....

That could possibly make things worse, but I'd be tempted.
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#25 of 28 Old 08-15-2012, 07:51 AM
 
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Does she own or rent? I would call the police. Everytime there is an event. Also reccord a video of her throwing trash in your yard. If she rents I would contact her landlord that it sounds like they are taking down walls or something. If you act out of fear then she will always win.

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#26 of 28 Old 08-15-2012, 11:16 AM
 
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I get wanting to allow kids to be outside alone and play.  However your son and his friend are only 10 and you have a nutjob for a neighbor.  Okay, they threw gravel and I do agree with having him offer his own money to repair any damage (but only if there was actual damage) but I think you need to make changes.  It sucks but until things can be brought under control by a person in authority (police), your children should not be outside unsupervised.  Better than she called you a "c" than (Gd forbid) shoot an arrow through a child.


Walking to raise money for Apraxia - feel free to join me if you are in the area or donate http://www.apraxia-kids.org/southjerseywalk/juliefoxx
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#27 of 28 Old 08-15-2012, 11:51 PM
 
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I'm generally pretty laid back and mind my own business, but I'd be calling the cops on this woman.  Thanks for this--I needed to see what could be worse tonight.  ;)  (never thought I'd be happy my biggest problem is telling my kids to avoid the neighbor kids whose parents are obviously racist.)


lovin DH since 1/04, best mom for my 3 boys 10/04, 11/08, 11/10 one girlie (1/07), and one 13 wk (10/13) just your average :ha ng multigenerational living family!!
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#28 of 28 Old 08-16-2012, 05:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah it totally sucks.  They also own, so no landlord to call, unfortunately.  It's too bad that she has to act like such a child because our collective children made stupid decisions.  Thankfully she hasn't had the crossbow out in awhile - that is something I'll definitely be calling the police or municipality about (as i'm sure there has to be some sort of law about shooting weapons in a residential area, right? =P)  I think it's possible that she lost her job recently, and maybe that's why she's more whacked out than normal.  I know she also works for the government, and we're getting hit with several waves of layoff letters over the next couple of years.  My position is fairly safe, but she talked to me a few months ago and said she knew that she was at a high risk of her position being eliminated.  And now suddenly she's at home every day, drinking and screaming at her kids, her husband is cleaning up their yard and seems to be "staging" it, and as of yesterday her brand new vehicle is gone and replaced by a used beater.  So I don't know....all signs point to the fact that they MIGHT be selling.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed, anyway... Because she scares the crap out of me too much to confront her on her BS shenanigans. =P

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