April 04, 2008,
S.R. asks from North Richland Hills, TX on April 03, 2008
Bad Neighbors and Bad Kids?!
I don't know what do do about our terrible neighbors. Before I start this story know that I am not one to point fingers or be truly hateful towards anyone. Last fall we had a new family move in across the street. A single mom twice divorced and her 5 kids. I never see a dad around and I think there are 2 or even three. The kids are terrible. The youngest is always very dirty. The 2nd youngest is 4 and is always outside with no shoes or socks, dressed inappropriately for the weather, and never supervised. The other school age children are forever fighting with each other and the younger siblings. When they first moved in and we were outside having a garage sale they all came over. After that first meeting and listening to mom and kids we didn't want to associate with them. They kind of remind of give them an inch and they'll take a mountain. Anyway my neighbor's monitor signal got crossed with the family across the street and oh my goodness- I wouldn't talk to my dog the way they address each other. Also the boys just go to the front yard and pee for all of us to see! I feel sorry for the kids because they are victim of their upbringing. How do I keep my kids away and vice versa? I don't want to be mean and ugly. It must be very hard for her to have such a large family on her own but I feel that I have my own family to take care of first. What do I do?!
So What Happened?™
Thanks for all the responses. I don't know if I am ready to call CPS, but I will definitely keep a close watch on things.
This weekend since the weather was so nice my kids played outside all weekend. Therefore the neighbors could not be avoided- the basketball goal is in the front. Anyway I allowed the kids across the street to come over but set some fierce ground rules. Then mama showed up. I had told the kids if they wanted to play shoes were required. She shows up with shorts 5 sizes too small and no shoes! I told her I had gotten on to the kids because I didn't want them getting hurt with no shoes on. Didn't seem to bother her but conveniently it was time for dinner so I did not have to truly confront her! Now we have to battle school getting out and swim season (we have a pool- another battle in itself!)
T.B. answers from Dallas on April 04, 2008
They are not "terrible" neighbors - they are children who have not been taught the common decencies that society has established. Be an example of how a loving Mother AND neighbor behaves. God has put them in your life for a reason. Accept the responsibility and step up to the plate. Show them all the wonderful things you were taught. You were privileged to have wonderful parents, it could have been the other way around. Who knows, if you extend yourself, the mother may turn out to be a treasured person in your life as well. She is just probably tired, overwhelmed and full of regret for the poor choices she has made in life.
Sign me... one of five, terrible, dirty children, raised by an alcoholic, single Mom that someone took an interest in, taught and loved and was given a wonderful life because of her...
1 mom found this helpful
S.H. answers from Dallas on April 04, 2008
S., I agree with some of the other responses, I think you should take this opportunity to be a good influence in the lives of these children and their mother. I know from personal experience that one person can make a big difference in someones lives. Don't write them off just yet. Spend time with the children, have them over, teach them the rules of your house. Make sure your children put their best feet forward to set a good example. If they don't follow the rules then they are grounded from coming over for a while. Children like haveing boundaries and respond well to it, They will not want to miss out on the fun have going to a friends house. Plus, maybe their mom is just tired and needs a break every once in a while, if she could get that, maybe her way of caring for her kids could change.
If you try this and all of your efforts are rejected, or it seems the mom just doesn't want to change, then maybe look into other options. I know CPS seems like the best answer, and many times it is, but sometimes it can make a situation worse. You only met them once, you are not completely sure of their situation, wait until you know a bit more before you get others involved. Once you take that step there is no turning back. Sometimes all people need is just for one person to care and make an effort. You would be surprised on what a difference it could make.
I hope this helps, Good Luck.
S.A. answers from Dallas on April 04, 2008
It sounds like the kids need help! I honestly would consider calling CPS if the kids are truly being neglected than its what should happen. You have to protect your children and bring them up so no one feels this way about them or God forbid there children one day. Set your boundaries and don't allow them to be cross and if need be I would nicely explain that you don't agree with her parenting and she should take a look at her children's safety. Maybe even a nice letter would help, you don't have to sign your name, you can put concerned neighbor. The women was probably brought up the same way she is raising her children so she only knows this way. Bring it to her attention and maybe even leave a parenting book along with the note. Good luck
B.P. answers from Dallas on April 03, 2008
Unfortunately, we are experiencing something simiar right now. It is my opinion that there is nothing you can do unless this somehow crosses over into your territory. However, if you feel the children are being neglected, you have an obligation to report them to CPS. Good luck.
P.S. answers from Dallas on April 04, 2008
The first priority from all this mess is the 4 yr. old being
unsupervised in the front yard being subjected to stray dogs or worse, being kidnapped. It might be in the best insterest of the children to involve CPS. It could be a blessing in disguise and certainly in the children's best interest. CPS can get the mother into parenting classes. Their objestive is to keep the family together. It could be the wake-up call
this mother needs. She has been living this way for so long, she may not even know better. You may call anonymous. Keep a
journal and send it to the investagator you speak with. I'm
a childcare provider and in my experience with CPS, they are very human and care deeply for the children and their family situation. Also, if you told them who you are, they cannot divulge that information.
Will keep you and your neighbors in my prayers.
T.L. answers from Dallas on April 03, 2008
I agree with Becky. All you can do is shield your children away from those children. There is nothing wrong with not allowing your children to play with them for fear of the influence it may bring. I know it's hard because it's not the children's fault. It's the mother's fault.
If those children seem neglected in any way, you should report it.
C.P. answers from Dallas on April 04, 2008
I feel for you. and at the same time imagine how tough it is for your neighbor. Can you imagine being in that situation? do shield your children but be careful what you say in front of your children. if your church has activities for kids, pass her the info. (specially if your church would provide transportation) you could just leave the info in her mailbox. also, pray for them. you don't have to become buddies but some kindness would go a long way. Now the challenge for you is to protect your family. BTW, before you 'report' her anywhere, make sure you have proof. Maybe there are nonprofit agencies that can help? how about telling your pastor about it? He may have some suggestions. Perhaps your neighbor needs Divine intervention =) Good luck. it's a sticky situation and I hope my comment helps you. ~C.~
C.W. answers from Dallas on April 04, 2008
It sounds like these kids need some love. I would recommend trying to befriend the family and take a special interest in the kids. If the children could play at your house sometimes your children could model good behavior and you could teach the other kids the rules of your house and what the expected behavior is. If there is a nearby church with vacation bible school you could offer to take the kids there during the summertime for a week. Maybe you could get some information on Big Brothers and Sisters and give it to the mother. Maybe you could invite them over for dinner. I wouldn't worry too much about the peeing in the front yard. My 4 year old son does that on occassion and yes it is embarrassing but it's not the end of the world. You may not want to do these things but it sounds like you are a concerned caring mom and maybe you could be the one to make a difference in this family's life. Is it possible the mother is watching the 4 year old play outside from the front window or she thinks the older siblings are watching him when he plays outside? If not, that is a neglect issue and you should either point it out to the mother or call CPS. Good luck!
C.A. answers from Dallas on April 04, 2008
It sounds like there may be an issue with the children's safety and emotional health. If you believe that is the case I would call CPS. I think ensuring the children are protected is the most important thing.
K.B. answers from Dallas on April 04, 2008
First let's try not to be judgmental. We do not live in a perfect world and unfortunately this happens. You/may or may not know what kind of situation the mother is in mentally and/or health wise. I know it can be a big pain and very irritating, but the good thing is that they are still young (not teenagers) so they are still impressionable and can be taught respect and values with the right coaxing.
I too was in a similar situation I actually moved next to the problem that was already there not knowing there was a problem. I have a single mother with a unsupervised 17 year old daughter, oh my, we had loud music, illegal use of drugs, beer bottles in the yard, condoms in the yard, vehicles coming and going, hungry continuous barking dogs, destructive dogs to personal property and trash, it was a rough year.
However with perseverance they changed their routines. I made several phone calls to the police and animal control. Parties which meant me standing outside until 3am monitoring their activities b/c of course momma was not home to supervise. I spoke with the mom (on the one occasion when she was actually at home) and those only by chance b/c the dog had came in my backyard and strolled trash all over it. That was the only should I say pleasant conversation we had. Finally at (about 7 or 8 months)I had to write a very detailed 3 page letter to their landlord and that seem to be the answer a lot of things leveled out after that.
I would like to recommend that you befriend the mother first, speak to her and communicate with her on her level and not appear to be belittling her, she sounds like she may get very offensive really easily. Also, allow your 6 year old to befriend the oldest, let them socialize inside w/close supervision so you can monitor the conversation and activities. Kids learn by what the see. The younger ones I would limit access b/c they pick up things really easily and it's hard to break bad/improper behavior.
The little one that's outside urinating it sounds like he wants some attention so that next time he does that and see him. Grab a snack/treat and go out to the street and ask him why does he do that and offer him a reward if he promises not to do that anymore you will reward him with a treat at the end of each week. I know you really shouldn't have to be doing this but sometimes you have to go out of your boundaries for the benefit of the whole team.
I agree to invite them to church even if Mom chooses not to go and if you can convince the kidz to promise to behave to take them church they probably need to get involved in some activities away from home and build some social skills.
If this is just too much for you to handle and if you know of someone that you think will be able to handle the matter better ask them for help; if you do attempt to intervene and it’s not welcomes and there is no/limited change then you have acknowledge the fact that you did try b/c sometimes with all that we do some people refuse to change, however always pray, for them, for you, for your kids, and ask God for guidance and strength.
God Bless Hopes this Helps
T.W. answers from Dallas on April 04, 2008
You should pray for them. I don't know what it's like to be a single parent, but we all need prayer. God Bless You.
D.D. answers from Dallas on April 04, 2008
If you think the conditions merit it, perhaps you should call Child Protective Services. Of course, you could also try to reach out to the mom and help her learn how to be a better parent. Lastly, if things don't improve, maybe you should consider moving! If you need a good Realtor, contact me or check out my website at www.debdunn.com. FYI--I've already said a prayer for the mom and her kids.
K.S. answers from Dallas on April 04, 2008
Call CPS. Let them check it out. If you don't want to go that route, you could ask a friend to call CPS.
K.F. answers from Houston on April 04, 2008
I understand where you are coming from. My neighbors across the street also have 3 boys, but there are different people coming in and out all the time. I am not sure what is going on over there. I try to encourage my boys to play in the back yard. They are 6,4,& 2. When the other boys are outside I try not to draw attention to them and we just quietly move to another location if we are in the front. You don't want your kids to know how you feel (they will repeat it). And the children of the family across the street are victims like you said. You may want to notify the school district, they also may know if things are going on in the home.
J.W. answers from Dallas on April 04, 2008
Maybe you could call the police to at least talk to them about urinating (which seems like it would be indecent exposure) outside along with keeping the noise down & possibly Child Protective Services about the neglect.