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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not sure of the exact right forum for this but I'm concerned and looking for input. I have an across the street neighbor who has 3 little ones 4 1/2, 2 1/2 and 6 months. Today when I know the oldest was at preschool I noticed her take a walk with her friend with no other kids in tow. I wouldn't normally jump to the conclusion that the kids were left by themselves but there was another instance where she came over to let her older two play with my kids and left the baby home alone by himself for 2 hours only going over to check on him twice, once after the first hour and then again after another hour. She didn't bring over a baby monitor nor is her house close enough she could have heard him crying if he had woken up. I thought at first maybe the two little ones where out with a babysitter because my neighbor took her walk and then came home and mowed the grass and still no kids in evidence but then I saw a friend bring home the oldest and suddenly she is in the backyard with all 3 kids, and the friend definitely only brought the oldest back from preschool. So either she has a nanny or babysitter at her house I don't know about, that also doesn't drive because there are no extra cars out there or she really is leaving these two little ones home all alone. Should I just continue keeping a close eye on her house to see if maybe there is a mystery babysitter that I haven't noticed or to try and see definitevely that she really is leaving these kids home alone? I don't want to make judgements about someone in error but I wouldn't be able to live with myself if she's leaving these kids home alone and something happens! WWYD?
 

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Are you close enough to ask her if she has a new Nanny she can share with you?<br><br>
I think I'd call CPS, no friendship is worth the safety of children to me and you COULD make it anonymous. I'd say leave your house, call from a cell and come back after the cops come and act surprised.<br><br>
K
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Scrubsjm</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8129392"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">...there was another instance where she came over to let her older two play with my kids and left the baby home alone by himself for 2 hours only going over to check on him twice, once after the first hour and then again after another hour. She didn't bring over a baby monitor nor is her house close enough she could have heard him crying if he had woken up.</div>
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Did you say anything to her when she did this? What did she say when she went to check on the baby -- was it absolutely clear that he was home alone? Did she make it sound like it's something she does regularly?
 

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I'm not sure what I'd do. I would probably keep an eye out for a babysitter. I've dealt with this with a woman from another culture. It was normal for her in her culture, so I told her that it was very bad in ours and that the police would come to her house if she left her children alone. I told her this when I realized that she was picking her child up from preschool and leaving her child at home. Then, she improved by bringing the baby and leaving him in the car<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: She honestly didn't know.<br>
Hopefully your neighbor is not leaving her children alone.<br>
Lisa
 

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You could just ask her the next time she comes over sans kids or happen to bump into her while walking, "where are the kids today?"<br><br>
And go from there. If she says gone then so be it, they aren't home. If she says at home then you could ask where she found her sitter. If she says she didn't you will know they are alone and go from there. I would likely let her know that it was not acceptable to leave them alone and you wouldn't want to see CPS on her doorstep when it could be easily avoided. But you also don't want to see them hurt while alone and supposedly 'sleeping'.<br><br>
Good luck, you are in a really poor situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>limabean</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8129679"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Did you say anything to her when she did this? What did she say when she went to check on the baby -- was it absolutely clear that he was home alone? Did she make it sound like it's something she does regularly?</div>
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When she did this before I was completely shocked, as bad as it is at first I thought something had happened to the baby and that's why she didn't bring him over, so I didn't want to say anything and upset her. When she went over to check on him the first time I was in complete shock he was home alone. She was completely nonchalant about it, saying he always sleeps for a good two hours so she just left him home to sleep. So it was clear he was home alone and she thought this was perfectly fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Max'sMama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8129821"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">You could just ask her the next time she comes over sans kids or happen to bump into her while walking, "where are the kids today?"<br><br>
And go from there. If she says gone then so be it, they aren't home. If she says at home then you could ask where she found her sitter. If she says she didn't you will know they are alone and go from there. I would likely let her know that it was not acceptable to leave them alone and you wouldn't want to see CPS on her doorstep when it could be easily avoided. But you also don't want to see them hurt while alone and supposedly 'sleeping'.<br><br>
Good luck, you are in a really poor situation.</div>
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Thanks this is a good suggestion, she's actually been acting really strangely lately and doesn't say hi anymore so I wonder if something is going on with her family. Regardless that isn't an excuse to neglect her kids if in fact that's what's happening. I'll just have to find a way to talk to her and make sure the kids aren't being left alone.
 

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My in-laws had a family that lived across the street that did the same thing. The kids were a bit older mostly, they were 10, 8, 4 and then a baby. She would leave them all home along while she dropped DH off at the train and then come back. Even that "short" time (about 30 minutes) really worried me. I never got up the nerve to call CPS on them, but I wish I had. At least they are all living with her mom now, so hopefully that isn't an issue any more.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Scrubsjm</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8129843"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">When she did this before I was completely shocked, as bad as it is at first I thought something had happened to the baby and that's why she didn't bring him over, so I didn't want to say anything and upset her. When she went over to check on him the first time I was in complete shock he was home alone. She was completely nonchalant about it, saying he always sleeps for a good two hours so she just left him home to sleep. So it was clear he was home alone and she thought this was perfectly fine.</div>
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Yikes, so she definitely is doing it. I think Max'sMama had some good suggestions, especially her nonchalant "Where are the kids" intro -- I ask my neighbors that when they're out alone just out of curiosity, so that seems like a natural enough thing to say to someone. Good luck, and keep us posted if you can!
 

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Something very similar happened in our neighborhood a few years ago. Complicated (we thought) by the fact that the 3 year old had a history of seizures. 2 of the little ones were napping when mom left & the 7 year old had no clue where she went, we called the police & were told 'unless something happens to the children nothing we can do'. It was a full 2.5 hours till mom returned & then she got mad at the kids because the neighborhood now knew what kind of mother she really was. Yep, even CPS said "oh well, nothing we can (read -WILL) do unless one of the children are injured, but someone should keep an eye on them." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:
 

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Fill her on on the girl who was abducted in Portugal while her parents went out to dinner. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:
 

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If this is a common occurrence or you have any reason to fear for the children's safety - call someone. I am NOT one to jump the gun on calling CPS (have never had reason to do so), and am a bit fearful of those who might, being a homebirthing family, etc. But if you can keep track of how often she's leaving the kids and for how long, then you'll get a good idea of whether or not this is a regular thing and how much danger they're in. I can see it as possible that the mom is leaving while the little ones are asleep and not thinking much of it - but we all know things can happen that no one is prepared for.<br><br>
I would hesitate to contact the mother directly, especially if you think you would have to call CPS/police. When/if you call, you can do so anonymously, but having talked to her already would flag you as a likely culprit. KWIM? But I might well go over and knock on the door when you know she's gone, and see if there IS an adult there. I'd certainly have some sort of auspice under which to go, but my main goal would be to see what was really going on.<br><br>
Sorry you're in such a tough spot! Let us know how it goes!
 

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If she's out for a walk without her kids, you can always go over and knock on the door. If a sitter answers, there you go. If not... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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With such little ones as that, it is a dangerous situation and something needs to be done, whether you feel you can confront her or you need to call someone. But as far as leaving a 10 yo briefly with younger sibs, I don't see that as so bad. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"> I was babysitting at 10. Some kids are mature and responsible faster than others. I know the law in most places is 12 or even 14 now, but I don't see it as dangerous.
 

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I really don't have anything to add, I would try to do some detective work assuming anything.<br><br>
But I just wanted to say that my sister lives in Martinsberg, WV. I haven't been there yet, but I am hoping to make a trip out there sometime this year. (cue it's a small world) <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Just to play devil's advocate, are you <b>sure</b> that they are home alone? I'd just like to point out most moms on this board would go check on their infant if he/she was left home with dad or a sitter just in case. I know I would.<br><br>
I would go over there and knock on the door when you think they are home alone. Then you will have your answer.<br><br>
BTW, today I had to tell someone, "no DD is not asleep by herself in the car when it is 90 degrees out. DH is in the car too and the AC was running." -She was in the car for about 10 minutes while we had someone here drilling something. We don't usually nap this way.
 

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ITA with a previous poster. Talking about Madeleine McCann is probably going to be the easiest way into such a conversation at the moment.
 

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I agree with others to go knock on the door when the mom's gone. I'd take a cup or something, that way if a sitter or someone opens the door, you can ask to borrow some sugar or milk or something. That way there won't be any weirdness. You'll have to go from there, because no answer is not a guarantee there's nobody there. I think my next step would be to ask her for a babysitting reference. If she doesn't have one, maybe ask who she gets to help her, an older relative perhaps or a young niece or something. If she said she leaves them alone, I'd just say I can' do that, it scares me too much (or however you feel about it. i wouldn't confront too much like others have said because you may need to report her. Tough situation. Do what feels right to you.
 

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I would tell her you would be happy to exhange babysitting (whether or not you'd be willing to have her watch your kids), make yourself available.<br><br>
As to the horrendous dangerousness of leaving small children home alone while sleeping or for brief periods when awake, it's clearly done in some cultures, it was done in this country 50 years ago, and while all sorts of horrible things can happen I'd guess that the vast majority of the time nothing happens or it wouldn't have been a common practice in some places/times. I'd urge all of us to closely review and be self-critical of all of our personal parenting practices before we call the government on someone -- without even talking to her.
 

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Has anything happened with this?
 
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