I just wanted to reach out to you moms for some support. I don't want to print too many details but I have just now realized my son is being bullied by an adult neighbour. They moved into our complex a few months ago. They have the "fun" house...trampoline, all the kids are allowed to play there and such. When my son was over there for the first time he left crying. My husband went over and saw he was crying, my son said the kids weren't taking turns and he told the mom, she didn't do anything and he said that wasn't fair, she responded with "life's not fair" ok I get that, not too big of a deal. He said he was going to go home and she said "good" which was what made him cry. As he was telling his dad she came out onto the patio and said she never said that, my son looked right at her and said "yes you did" My husband just took him home because he was not going to get into an altercation. We believed our son but didn't get too excited over the matter. The boys have since played and the woman was very friendly to me. I started hearing things from other kids over the next few months, so and so's mom doesn't like J and whatnot. Again, didn't think too much about it. I started to notice changes in my sons behaviour, sleeping patterns, not wanting to go outside, just being generally depressed. He kept saying all the kids were at this boys house and he wasn't allowed over. I just brushed it off. Not all kids can come to my house either. Now I find out she waits for all the kids to be outside and then invites all of them in except my son and then tells him no one likes him. WTF? I actually witnessed it first hand today. When she saw my son crying she actually smiled. I walked my son home and went back, I still wasn't sure if I was right about what I saw. My son started crying, begging me not to go over, his reaction made me really need to go over. I calmly asked her about this expecting I was somehow mistaken. She fully admitted it. She saw nothing wrong with socially isolating my son and said he was a bully that no one liked and she won't be disrespected in her house. I realized she was talking about what happened months ago. And then told me my husband disrespected her by walking away. What's weird is she's usually overly friendly to me. She had just chatted with me about her dog less than ten minutes earlier. That's what is so creepy about this.
EVERYTHING in these last few months makes sense now.
I don't know what to do.
I apologized to my son for not taking him serious and said I would fix it and he was so relieved, except now I don't know how. She is clearly not a person who can have an intelligent conversation about our kids.
What's even more sad is my son didn't want to get her daughter in trouble because when he gets left outside she brings him cookies. We live in a secure townhouse complex but I don't have a clear view of their house, we've lived here for 6 years and the kids all play outside with no problems.
I am so sad right now, how could I have missed this? I feel like the worlds worst parent.
Oh, your poor son! It's easy to miss this stuff - bullies can be clever. And I don't know how to fix it either. I am so sorry.
There are kind of three approaches that come to mind -
You can try to play fixit. Since she's so friendly to you, you can point out that the way she's treating your son is really hurting him, and he'd love to play with the other kids. Ask how you can make that happen. But, to be clear, I hate this, and I don't think that it's any kind of solution. She's obviously an awful person and this gives her way too much power.
The more emotionally satisfying alternative is to tear into her. Lay it out - she's been mean to your child for months because of something an adult did. A reasonable person would have taken that up with your husband and left the kids as much out of it as possible. Instead, she chose to take up taunting your boy by inviting all the other kids over right in front of him - what is she, twelve? That behavior was cruel in junior high, and now that she's an adult doing it to children, it's cruel and pathetic. You prefer not to talk to power-tripping jerks, so she should get off your lawn. This isn't a solution either, since it leaves your child excluded and hurting. On the internet, if you did that, you'd be starting a flame war. You may not want to do that in your actual neighborhood.
The only other approach I can think of is that your child, at least for the next few months, is never in this woman's orbit unsupervised. If he's out playing with other neighborhood kids, you're around. The best thing would be for you to hear her, firsthand. If she invites all the kids over, but not yours, you can stand up and say, so that all the kids can hear you "I'm sorry Soandso, what you're doing seems mean to me, and it's a bad example for the children. We've taught DS that it's not nice to exclude people, or to tease them by telling them they're not invited when everyone else is." Whether or not you give her a chance to change her mind at that point is up to you, but if she does, you kind of have to hang out and make sure she doesn't try anything else poisonous. And then you and your kid head home, and make other plans. This is time-intensive, and involves a ton of your presence.
(Okay, alternative four, invite a spare adult who really loves your kid to spend a week or so vacationing with you, and be generically inoffensive to the neighbor until the opportunity arises for either option 2 or option 3. Ideally, this person would have some experience as a drill sargeant or a sports coach, because those people can lay on a good, thick guilt trip, at high volume. All the kids should be able to hear this.)
Whatever you do, it may be wise to get out more. Find your kid an activity he enjoys, supervised by adults who behave like adults. Make a point of inviting his particular friends over to do things with him, or of arranging to take a few kids out someplace now and then, where even if your neighbor showed up, she'd have no control. This doesn't solve the problem of her being a UAV in her own home, but it gives your son more spaces in which she has no influence.
Feel free to cut her dead next time she wants a friendly chat. I'm not friendly with people who hurt my kids.
I think MimppyCat has gone through the scenarios and I agree - option 3. Yes, tons of effort on your part for the next month or two, but after that either it will be resolved, or she will still be a jerk, in which case you don't want your kid over there anyway. My guess if your kid isn't there, she will eventually find another kid to bully. Actually, I don't think I would want my kid over there alone, more than 15 min or so, even after a month or two.
What about having all the kids over to your house? Have a party, doesn't have to be a birthday. Have water guns or water balloons or whatever the local kids like. And don't exclude her dd; don't do tit for tat. She just moved in. I think if she really is a jerk, this will become apparent to everyone in the long run. It may take some parents a lot longer than you to find this out, but in 2-3 years this will be a non-issue; it will all be her problem.
The first thing I thought was to make your house more attractive so that the kids play there more. Get something fun that will bring them over. And be kind to her daughter. She is probably being bullied every single day by her own mother.
As far as you fixing it, tell your son that some people need help and aren't so easy to fix. Be honest with him and tell him you are concerned about him being around such a person, but that her daughter is welcome anytime. Then maybe the two of you can come up with ideas on how to make your house more attractive to the neighborhood kids so he won't have to worry about her and he can feel safe when he plays.
Seriously, this woman has mental issues. I wouldn't be surprised if she had some kind of addiction such as alcohol or something. Her behavior is indicative of something seriously wrong. What adult does this to a child??!
Wife to one amazing husband , SAHM to DS 10/09, DS 10/19, one furbaby , and lots of !
Jacksmum8 My DS was bullied by a teacher at school for years before it came to light. My DS has a language disorder and could not speak up for himself. All he could say was that the teacher was mean. I thought that he was saying the teacher was mean because the teacher made him do work. Finally another child reported the bullying and several other children backed up the stories. I was devastated, so I know how you feel. The teacher was told not to have any contact with my son but he did not abide by the rule. The teacher eventually left (fired? I don't know?) the school. From my experience your neighbor is not going to change how she acts so talking to her is pointless. In my opinion the only option is to make your house the fun house. I agree with other posters about letting the mean neighbors daughter come to your house.
~Patti~ Momma to three girls and three boys , First mother to one girl
Certified, card carrying member of the IEP Binder Club
Thank you ladies! I knew I could count on some sage advice. Unfortunately my husband and I did some more digging and we have had to involve the authorities. It is not the way we had intended to go but we were out of our depth. Clearly this is not something we can resolve with her. My son saw her walking on the road as we were talking him to day camp and he became very upset and proceeded to throw up his breakfast. This has been going on for over eight months. I also should have mentioned that this is a women who introduced herself to my son the first day they moved in and said we had been friends in high school. At first I didn't know who she was, but alas, yes, we did go to school together. I fear there is much more going on than I knew about.
For now my main focus is getting my son the help he needs. I made an appointment with our family doctor.
This has been a huge wake up call for me.
Poor little guy! Throwing up from fear and anxiety I am so glad that you got the authorities involved! We had a neighbor once that I had to get a temporary protective order put in place because he harassed my kids when they played outside. After they would get scared and run in the house, he would park his truck in front of my house, creepy!
~Patti~ Momma to three girls and three boys , First mother to one girl
Certified, card carrying member of the IEP Binder Club
I would talk to the other parents about it. I doubt he is the only one she is doing this too and as soon as he is not there for her to torment she will pick on another kid until no one is allowed over there. I would jsut not allow my son to ever be around her. Too bad he can play unsupervised anymore but I assume it will all blow over. I would also exclude her from any get together or conversation.
Hi Ladies. I have been reading your responses and my thanks for the continued support. My husband and I decided to take the high road after the police talked to her. It was so hard to watch her with neighbours knowing what she must be saying without giving our side of the story. We have just been outside with our son letting him play with very close supervision.
Its not over. A neighbour finally came over to us last night to let us know she was going door to door explaining to people how he is a "psychopath".
He is 8 years old.
I felt that an odd choice after being talked to by the police.
Our son has bounced back pretty well, god bless him, his dad and I are doing our best.
Taking the high road is always good. However, in this case I may be worried about the other children around her. She is a predator and will soon find another victim if she hasn't already.
It is also safe to assume that the bullying is just the tip of the iceberg. She is an abuser.
I hope further action can be taken. She needs to be away from children.
Wife to one amazing husband , SAHM to DS 10/09, DS 10/19, one furbaby , and lots of !
Sounds like you need to make a follow up call to the police who originally handled the incident.
I know it seems petty to keep calling the police about this. But it seems like an escalating problem and you may just be glad that you have a clear paper trail.
I'd also suggest getting a referral from your pediatrician for a therapist who can help your kid and your family with coping strategiez.
Hello - I am replying to a post re: a child being bullied by another parent. These things are very sensitive and I am unaware of the laws of how to counteract such behavior. I am well versed on laws of children bullying and the school districts and their responsibility; however, freedom of speech and other constitutional rights might prevail. Saying this, within the constitution and freedoms we so reside by, children's rights are being disregarded by the effects of adult bullying other children and the harmful psychological effects that such negative behavior can produce. I have 3 children, all in elementary school. Last school year, my oldest child was in the 7th grade and "rumors" were being started by 2 sets of parents that my child was a "negative influence on other children". When I was made aware of this, I of course, discussed with my son why parents were speaking of him with such negativity. I observed, as I always do, his interactions with other students and how his interactions might be perceived by adults. Saying this, I observed no indication that he was being negative and even received feedback from other parents that my son was appropriate, kind, and loving. Most parents I spoke with, without bringing up my concerns about other parents spreading negative "rumors" indicated to me that he was well liked and a good person for their children to interact with on a daily basis through school and outside activities. I went to the school and was told that nothing could be done because they could not control what others were saying. I referenced the student handbook's policy on bullying, which I played an intricate role in developing and implementing, and informed the school that should a student act in a manner as the 2 sets of parents I was dealing with, the student would receive consequences based on infractions of the school's bullying policy. This incident came to my attention in April 2013 and since the school year was ending, I decided to not pursue but I supported by child to continue to interact well with others and be "himself". Well he was not "himself". He was observed to be depressed for the remainder of the school year and once school was over, he was fine again. this year, I am happy to report that he has not had issues with these other parents and they have not said anything about my son who is now in the 8th grade. Here is lies the issue and I am looking for advice and support. My youngest son is in Kindergarten with a sibling of one of the parents who was spreading "rumors" about by oldest child. I entered the new school year with a positive attitude and a "clean slate" so to speak; however, yesterday, my oldest child came home and reported to me that the parents were targeting my youngest son. things have been said to other parents in his Kindergarten class noting that "he is bad influence on other children and other children should not be around him". I again have approached the school in a 3 page letter re: this and that this could be an opportunity for change to uphold the same values and morals of the parents that we hold our children too. I am not sure what the outcome will be but I am expecting the same as I received last year. Does anyone know of any laws/regulations re: this? I am not one to blog on the computer and I am a pretty private person, but I am looking for some help/advice with this situation.
Dalia, that was what I was thinking. There is a woman like this in our neighborhood, whom I was "friends" with for several years. It turned out that she would bully my children when I wasn't around, as well as doing similar things to other children. She LOVED to have all the kids at her place because she could have total control over what was happening. She could be a very "friendly" and engaging person. What I should have known was that this is par for the course for certain people with Personality Disorders. I saw her lose her temper a few times and it scared the hell out of me, some of the things she said and did. As time went on, and once she actually was going to "kick her husband out of the house and he'll never see his kids again" and when I tried to let her see that the Courts would insist he have visitation with the kids.... she told me she was going to kill herself and all her children and had detailed elaborate plans on how she was going to do this "to punish him." I was aghast and just stood there with my mouth open. I got an "don't judge me" speech from her and I began to back away from the relationship. Her "mood" was all over the place, she set things up, even with children to pit people against each other, and she is a very very sick woman. (I found out years later she was drinking alcohol while baby sitting my children in the morning. I have not yet forgiven myself for letting her do small amounts of child care for me, even though it was 20 years ago and it was only for short amounts of time.)
When I got pregnant with my last baby, (I had been backing away from her for a while at this point) at almost 38 she came to my house to tell me she "didn't think I could handle" an other child and that I should just get an abortion because "At your age you're going to give birth to one of those kids who are screwed up and just be a drain on society." I just stood there, pregnant and shaking and asked her to please leave my home. A few weeks later she refused to even make eye contact with me, running out of stores if she saw me in them. Her husband and mine were supposed to go to a concert together and she grabbed a bee (to which she is allergic) so that he husband would have to take her to the Emergency Room and not go to the concert with my husband, then had her 9 year old son call my husband and cancel. Then the rumors started... all kinds of horrible things about myself, my husband and our children. The thing is over time, most people realized that this woman was really mentally ill (and enjoying hurting other people) and neither she nor her husband (who appeared to be emotionally and probably physically abused by her) would do anything to get her help.
The thing is this women lives right across the street from me, someone I thought was a friend and turned out to simply be a manipulator an abuser a liar and someone I should never have trusted my children around.
Predators exist, not all of them are sexual predators. Some have, emotionally never left Middle School Age and play people against each other, try to control the lives of others and bully people, even innocent children.
My policy with people with Personality Disorders who refuse to get treatment is strict NO Contact. It's simply too dangerous to my mental health and too dangerous to my children. My husband who rarely has a bad thing to say about any other human being refers to this woman as "Satan." It sounds awful, but that's how bad it got.
Jacksmum8, as soon as I started reading your post this woman's face popped into my head. I am SO sorry your child caught the worst of a really evil person's attention. I don't think you can "change her mind" because a mind like that is always looking for the advantage, she trusts no one and only is looking out for ways to "best" other people. A No Contact rule would most likely be best. You can be human to her, but I wouldn't trust my child in her presence.
Seasoned Psychiatrists have a hard time treating people with these types of Personality Disorders and there is virtually nothing you can do but keep your child safe and out of her way. I can't stress enough that what you have told us sounds simply dangerous. There is no way to change someone like this. There are other children than her dd, (I feel deeply for her dd, the woman I was speaking of has grown children who are among the most miserable and dangerous young men I have ever known.)
If things go as they usually do, in a few months or years most people will realize how ill she is (because people like this usually run afoul of just about everybody they know eventually.) I agree with others in finding other friends and things for your child to do. I used to pray this women would just move away, but it never happened, as it is now, people tend to have been all burned by her rage and manipulation, she's burned most of her bridges and most keep their distance, but 15-20 years ago, her house was where all the kids went. Her "friendliness" is a form of manipulation, these people can say the most horrible things behind your back or right to your face and then bring you a plate of cookies the next day and act as if nothing happened and actually make you think YOU ARE the one who is crazy. I wish I had known years ago to simply stay away from her.
You son is your focus, not this woman. Do what is best for him and for his safety keep him safe from her rage and manipulative schemes. I never thought I would have to think like this of an other human being, but this woman in my neighborhood changed me as a person in ways I can't even describe. I am less trusting, less innocent and I honestly wish I had never met her. She seemed SO friendly and OPEN at first.... too open actually, telling me stuff that actually made me uncomfortable, forcing "intimacy" between us before I knew what hit me, which should have been my first red flag.
We have had at least 3 families MOVE from our neighborhood in part because of this woman's actions, rumors and schemes. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't witnessed it myself. Focus on your child and keep him safe. Not all predators drive panel vans and look creepy, some have children and homes and can insinuate themselves into your life before you realized what happened.
Good luck, please keep your little boy safe. He'll be better off.
I think you have received great advice. I, too, wouldn't hesitate to involve the police again. I would also let other parents in the neighborhood know (not going door to door per say, but when you see them), because I agree completely that she is very dangerous and will pick on other kids. And document everything you can, just do you have it. I know this sounds petty, but could you get a trampoline? My mom got one for free in the paper when we were younger.
And I just want to say, regarding your first post, you are NOT a bad mother. It sounds like you have been there believing in and advocating tirelessly for your son and that is wonderful.