J.R. asks from Saint Louis, MO on November 03, 2008
Difficult Neighbor - Saint Louis,MO
In my neighborhood we have a family that is a little odd. We'll call them the Smith's. They are thoroughly convinced that we are all out to get them. (plotting against them, talking about them, threatening their kids, really off the wall bizarre stuff) As a neighborhood we have all tried being friendly, complimenting their yard, how well behaved their children are etc. But somehow the compliments get twisted around in their heads and they turn compliments into very strange insults. (i.e.: One neighbor made a comment on the great job Mrs. Smith was doing on a classroom party, Mrs. Smith proceeded to berate this neighbor and told her to keep her mouth shut. If I had not witnessed it, I would never have believed it.) I had thought I was the only one in the neighborhood on good terms with this family. My children get along very well with their children. Now I have found out that I have been targeted by this family. They are saying horrible things about my family to the other neighbors. No one believes them of course because of everything I mentioned above and a lot more. And confrontation will only make things way worse; I am sure my children would become a target, as have other neighborhood kids. After witnessing several bouts of this type of behavior I have had to unfortunately tell my children they cannot play there anymore. I am at a loss for how else to handle this family. Or how our neighborhood should handle them. We worry about their children, too. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
So What Happened?™
I want to thank everyone for their replys. I think the best course of action right now is avoidance. Our neighborhood is not one to gossip about each other and because of this I just found out that the real reason one of our neightbors moved out was because of this family. The "SMiths" were going to their door and threatening them. So it might be better for us (my family and neighbors) to just avoid them.
I also want to clarify the odd statment. The Smiths make their kids sit on the porch and watch the other kids play together, but their children are not allowed to join in. If you park to close to their property line, they will back into you. Things like that are what make them odd.
thanks again. I really appreciate all of the suggestions.
T.W. answers from Kansas City on November 04, 2008
Maybe? one or both parents has a mental issue, who knows. However, if you are truly concerned about their children then call the DFS hotline.
A.S. answers from St. Louis on November 04, 2008
Has anyone asked them why? I mean, while I've never gone off on my neighbors for asking a simple question, we are considered the "oddballs" in our neighborhood. Why? Because the mom next door used to leave her 9 year old in charge of her other 4 little kids while she went to work for 40 hours a week, and we called the cops & DFS finally after they came over to borrow a can opener to cook a can of corn on the stove because there wasn't any other food for them to eat. We also asked her to bring her 6 week old puppy inside on New Year's one night b/c it was so loud and it was so cold, but I got cussed out at her door and then cussed out on the phone b/c it was her property and not my business. Then we called on the across the street neighbors b/c she whipped her two year old with a belt and made him pick up his poop with his hands and throw it away after he pooped in his underpants (on the front lawn, while many people were outside). If I'm out gardening at the community garden that I manage and another child--unsupervised at three-- throws dirt at someone, I make him leave (and with up to 13 unsupervised kids under the age of 8 flocking out whenever I garden with my son, I have to be the neighborhood sitter while gardening, too!). We ask the neighborhood porch drunks to keep the loud music down after ten on weeknights. We get cussed out, so we change tactics and call the cops. Otherwise we don't sleep until one or two in the morning on a Wednesday! What do we get? A reputation for being nosy, judgmental, and unfair. They like my son, although they don't usually allow their kids to play with him that much (and we'd never let him go in some of these houses), but they avoid us. Does that sound familiar? Maybe you should ask them why they are distrustful of their neighbors. Ask them if there's anything you can do to make them more comfortable in the neighborhood. It sounds like a more friendly, child-oriented neighborhood than mine, to be sure, but you might be surprised at what they've had to deal with, either there or in another neighborhood where something happened to make them that way.
2 moms found this helpful
M.B. answers from St. Louis on November 03, 2008
Dont worry about them at all. They are obviously people you will never get along with. And unfortunately their kids are probably going to turn out as weird as they are. You just have to cut people like that out of your life. They dont even sound stable and I wouldnt want my kids over there anyway! I know its hard living close to them but if you ignore them hopefully that will just become routine and THEY will keep their mouths shut! Good Luck. Sorry about your weird neighbors!
1 mom found this helpful
S.D. answers from Topeka on November 03, 2008
well I would just ignore them and ask your kids to play with others and make friends with others unsure how old your kids are but maybe a simple expalnation will do for now.they don't need to know all the details because they are to young to understand.Don't even try to make conversaton with them
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K.B. answers from Wichita on November 04, 2008
Good Morning J., WOW what a delima. Ok their are some weird, strange, standoffish, rumormongers out there.
Nothing you can really do about that.
So how about a block party (before it gets cold). Invite all the people on the block, tell them to bring one of their favorite dishes to share, like a Salad or dessert party.
If your cranky nieghbors come good, if not, nothing lost.
If they don't show, they can sit and watch from the window see how all the Other neighbors get on so well.
Our neighborhood has two culd a sac's so it's pretty easy to do here. It's a get to know your neighbors.
If you don't want to try that, then next best thing is to become "Good Morning", "Waving" neighbors and let it go at that. Ignore the rest of it.
They are probably miserable unhappy people and it's a shame for the children, to grow up like that.
Most of the neighbors know how they are so the ugliness and rumors can be completely ignored. Don't talk about it to others either, if you hear a rumor. It becomes gossip.
I wish you the best. A Good God Bless you always gets to a grumpys head.
K. Nana of 5
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M.A. answers from Kansas City on November 04, 2008
I would say that it deppends on how much you care or are worried about the issue. If you 'd like to be friends with them or let yur kids be friends with them, I would probably invite the mom over for a cup of tea or coffee with some home made scones or something good and just talk with her and let her know that you would like to get to know her and her family better and that your kids lieke her kids very much. I think that it would be OK to let her know that you notice many diferences in things that both families do but that you could be friends anyway. You can also ask her if you can support her in amy way or if there is anything that bothers them that you can help with. If she reacts bad to somkething like this, then forget about them! You don't even want people like that to be close. But if she reacts nicely, may be you get to know them better and find out why they seem so strange or weird.
See, I understand a little better because I was born in Argentina from an Italian family and came to the US over 10 years ago, I have been the weird person everywhere I went and was very difficult to make friends. People used to look at me and be very nice (I have red hair and hazel eyes so I look like an American/European) but as soon as they heard an accent, they wouldn't be that frindly anymore and kept their distance. Yes, it wasn't nice for a long time. Luckily, after the years, many people got to know me and now I have many friends that even look for advice from me, I am very sincere and trustful and they know that. And when I have a friend I do anything for them, and one thing that I don't care is if they are different as long as they are good people and are willing to be good friends. Everything is more difficult when you are a little "odd" but that doesn't mean we are bad or weird. Now I help in both my daughters schools and they call me all the time for everything because they trust me, but that trust was very hard to earn.
I would have been very grateful if someone in my first years of being here would have talk to me and befriended me. There are still some moms that don't care about getting to know me at all just because of my accent. But I have heard that they think I am younger than what I really am and they don't like that. I am not younger, I just look younger. But they don't know because they don't share time with me...they just wave if they have no other choice. Those are the ones that for me are not worth it:)
My frinds are beautiful inside and out, so may be you need to find out how this people really are. It won't be easy though.
Best of luck and hope you can figure them out soon!
1 mom found this helpful
C.B. answers from Kansas City on November 04, 2008
i agree with the posters that said you should let their kids come over but keep your kids away from their house. not only is it unfair to your kids to completely remove their friends, but you never know, you may become a good example to your neighbors' kids. i would not put out any more effort trying to be nice to the grownups, however. they are adults and responsible for how they treat people. if they choose to treat people badly then they can deal with no one wanting to have anything to do with them. good luck!
J.M. answers from Kansas City on November 04, 2008
Pray for them, that's all you can effectively do.
S.B. answers from Kansas City on November 04, 2008
I think you have two options. 1) Totally ignore this family and don't have contact (including your/their kids at each others homes), and/or 2) have a neighborhood intervention. As a group, you should confront these people for their behavior. I agree to that you should document when/what happens should you need to actually have a face-to-face meeting. Good luck!