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I don't know where this belongs, but I just have to get it out because it's really weighing on my shoulders.<br><br>
I have a neighbour who is so loud and mean (imo) to her little son and is very public about it. She has in the past been very loud and mean to her son's father (doesn't live with them and never comes around anymore) in such a way that everyone sees/hears it. It's really quite embarassing.<br><br>
I feel awful for her little son (almost 4)... he is socially isolated and just wanders the neighborhood alone. Everyone makes an effort to include him. She just leaves him to go for a run because she sees other parents out (doesn't even ask them to watch him) or to have a half hour shower. I realize she is a single parent and she has a lot more stresses than a lot of married parents and I feel sorry for her, but I can't accept her attitude.<br><br>
This past weekend her son fell off his bike and a neighbour was hugging him and consoling him when she came along and yelled at him, "That's what you get for not wearing you helmet! Get up! Get your bike and go home!" She turned around and left with him. I made a face like "Oh my god" to my neighbour and then called to the little boy "Thanks for playing with us! We had lots of fun on the swings and watching the birds!"<br><br>
Now this mother is ignoring me. It's quite obvious. I'm guessing she saw my face or something. The problem is, I am so not like that. I never burn bridges and I'm always a peace maker and I always make an effort to be accepting. I guess that day I'd just seen too much and I was feeling a little too comfy with our neighbour (we had been discussing this mother earlier, too). Clearly I hurt her somehow. I don't hate her, I just have issues with how she parents.<br><br>
Now I feel sick to my stomach for this. I know she will not make my life pleasant if she thinks I have a problem with her, seeing what kind of person she is and how she treats other people in her life. And we live in a very tight co-housing type of community (university family housing community) where everyone is close (physically and relationship-wise), so there's no escaping her.<br><br>
I guess I just had to get this off my chest. I can't confront her because I just can't do that sort of thing.<br><br>
Thanks for listening. It feels so much better to get this sort of thing out.<br><br>
lilgreen
 

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I am sorry I have no slack for mothers that leave there children alone, and at 4 thats just flat out insane!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/disappointed.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="disappointed"><br><br>
I would have called the police along time ago. From the sounds of it to me he sounds verbally abused. I do not know if thats the full story, but that just makes me so sad for that little boy.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I do not know what you are thinking about doing, but if you have seen him being left alone and being yelled at so much I think you should take the step to help this little boy.<br><br>
Thats just my opinion.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2">
 

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I don't think you burned a bridge? In fact - I'd implore to keep making efforts to include the little guy. Maybe even ask his mom if he can come over to play or come with your kids to the park? I just feel sooo bad for the little boy.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lilgreen</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7948669"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I know she will not make my life pleasant if she thinks I have a problem with her</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blush.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blush"> what in the world could she possibly do to you to to make your life unpleasant?
 

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there will probably be a lot of "OMG, can you believe that woman?" comments, but my first reaction honestly is that I feel really bad for her. Could this woman make better parenting decisions and be a little kinder to her child, yes, absolutely....does this woman then deserve the neighbors appearing to bond together and against her? no.<br><br>
and if I was her and was really stressed out and maybe even depressed and tight on money etc. and told my son 15 times (hey, you never know) to put his helmet on or he could get hurt and then made a really hasty comment only to watch others sneer at me and talk all loving to my kid (which might have sounded like a dig on her-TO her) I can totally feel that this woman was mortified.<br><br>
Nobody WANTS to be a bad mom, a mean mom, or an uneducated mom. maybe give her a little bit of slack and especially since you're worried about burning bridges, you could invite her over for coffee or dinner and let the kids play--it would help her on a number of levels--she could watch you parent, she might get a friend, and she would see that you and the neighbors aren't all against her.<br><br>
If I had been in her position, I would have hid from you all for the rest of my life, constantly wondering if you were judging me.<br><br>
And FYI, I totally would have made the same jaw dropping face you did, But in hindsight, I'd look at this from another angle.<br><br>
Sarah
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>doriansmummy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7949239"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I am sorry I have no slack for mothers that leave there children alone, and at 4 thats just flat out insane!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/disappointed.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="disappointed"></div>
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We have a 4yo and her 2yo sister that wander the neighborhood alone- never supervised. They have even walked to houses outside of our neighborhood (I know because the woman brought them back to the neighborhood scared for their safety and told my dh about it while he was outside working on the yard). I even saw the two year old using a construction portapotty by herself then running around my yard with no pants on (we were not outside). The neighborhood faces a very busy travel road and gets lots of through traffic. I figure it is a matter of time before they are run over by a car or snatched. The homeowner's association put out a flyer about children playing in the road unsupervised and according to their 10yo big sister, their mom thought it was "stupid" and was "p!ssed off".<br><br>
At first I didn't want to hurt the mom's feelings, but now I am just looking not to be unpaid childcare for her.<br><br>
I am like you, lilgreen, a natural peacemaker, but it is done. Just be nice from now on. Don't talk about her or make faces in the future, and you won't feel so bad. But I would set boundaries on her child so you don't end up providing free childcare unless you want to. Myself, I spend enough paid time caring for other people's kids, when I am home, I want to enjoy my own family.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>TripMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7949240"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I don't think you burned a bridge? In fact - I'd implore to keep making efforts to include the little guy. Maybe even ask his mom if he can come over to play or come with your kids to the park?</div>
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I don't think you did either. If you had said something mean to her, then yes, you may have. I would keep being nice to her boy and her too.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> Good for you for including this little guy!
 

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Could the mom have a drug or alcohol problem? This goes to the other poster who has neighbors that let their 4 and 2 year olds wander the neighborhood. The more I think about it - its just not normal behavior -- so makes me think that the mom may be incapacitated in the house during the day?
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> I'm so sorry. I think you did the right thing. Maybe you can make an effort to be friendly with her (not that you wouldn't already) and she will get over it and her son can benefit from hanging out more often.<br><br>
That sucks though.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>laralou</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7950684"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I figure it is a matter of time before they are run over by a car or snatched.</div>
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The same reason I would not let this mother keep doing what she is doing.<br>
It is so dangerous, and the 4 year old has no voice in this. You as an outsider and an adult that sees this happening does. I would talk to the mom or figure out something to help this little boy.. Having him over for play dates will not help whats going on the rest of the time to him.<br><br><br>
I am not meaning to sound harsh. It just makes me so sad.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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I wouldn't beat yourself up over it...maybe I sound mean, but her behaviour was unacceptable and I don't think your reaction was uncalled for. If I were in that situation I probably would have made a shocked or an appalled face without even realizing it.<br><br>
I've been a single poor student mama, and I don't think it is an excuse to be a bad mother. Sure, we all have our moments, but if you see your child injured a normal parent's reaction would be to comfort them.<br><br>
Obviously you have to see her everyday, so just be as nice to her as you usually would. If she goes out of her way to make your life miserable then she clearly has issues and it's not your fault.<br><br>
I swear I am a really sweet person IRL, but I don't believe we have to make nice with everyone! Someone in your neighborhood does need to confront her on her behaviour...for the safety of her child.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>TripMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7951629"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Could the mom have a drug or alcohol problem? This goes to the other poster who has neighbors that let their 4 and 2 year olds wander the neighborhood. The more I think about it - its just not normal behavior -- so makes me think that the mom may be incapacitated in the house during the day?</div>
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Could be, but we are new to the neighborhood and don't live remotely close to their house, so I wouldn't know. Our homeowner's letter seems to have worked, because I have seen them a lot less since it went out.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you all so much for your replies. I feel better about it now.<br><br>
Our neighbourhood is very unique... no cars are allowed anywhere near our house and all green space is shared (ie. no private yards). Parents are always out and we're always watching someone's kid while they make dinner or whatever. Once they reach about 4/4.5, we all let our kids wander (but with strict boundary rules). But, if we have to leave our house to go somewhere, we ask another parent to watch our children. So, the fact that this woman leaves her child isn't such a big deal here. The issue is that she never asks another parent to watch her son. She just assumes. I find that disrespectful to us other parents.<br><br>
I know her mother and I realize where she gets her gruff temperment, so I doubt she has a substance abuse problem.<br><br>
And as for how she treats her son, I am concerned and I always have been. So are all of us in the neighbourhood. We just haven't seen anything specific. I guess I'm looking for physical abuse, but I haven't seen it.<br><br>
I will keep being nice to her because if I close her off as she has done to me, then I risk losing access to her son. Even the little that he plays with us I like to think helps rebuild some of his confidence.<br><br>
Thanks again so much for all of your thoughtful comments and suggestions.<br><br>
lilgreen
 

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I'm with Mamatoady 100 percent on this. However, yelling at your kid, though mean, is not in the same category as leaving him, at not quite 4 years old, to go for a run. That's actually a red flag for serious neglect if you ask me. Too bad she's so frosty to you right now--is there anyone else who you know who is aware of the situation and yet is friendly enough with her to have as neutral as possible a chat with her about getting some sort of help? Because help is what she needs, in order to help her child. It sounds to me like she is super sensitive to criticism of her parenting because she's aware (even if she isn't admitting it to herself) that it needs to get better. I don't think I would call the police just yet but I would speak to her (or appoint someone really brave--the woman is angry!) about it to let her know that it is unacceptable.
 

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I understand that the situation is difficult and even more difficult now that she has closed you off.<br><br>
If she is hurt by your facial expression and your nice comments to her son, could you apologize them to her? If you feel that you should have not done it, maybe you could genuinely say you're sorry that you did. I don't think that apologizing to her is accepting her behavior or taking her side but it could be healing to you (as you seem to regret doing it) and to your relationship with her and her son.<br><br>
Then maybe you could find someone else to casually say to her that you all have decided that from now on you all are going to ask the other ones to look after the kids when you leave them outside alone so that the adults outside will know who is with them. If you have to, you could make up a little story about one of the kids who was outside but the adults outside didn't know it because she was hiding somewhere and they left and her parents then didn't know that she was out all alone. Maybe she doesn't mean to be disrespectful to you and thinks that it's ok to leave the kid with you. Maybe she doesn't understand that the other people discuss it and don't just leave their kids there.
 
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