25 answers

Neighbor Mom Always Reprimanding the Other Kids. Are We Out of Line?

We have new neighbors. The family moved next door to us about 3 months ago. All the neighbors in my neighborhood are friends, all have kids the same age, get together often etc. We’ve been living here for 10 years. When the family moved in we all became friends. They are really nice and have a 2 y/o daughter.

Their daughter is the youngest and there are all boys in our neighborhood ranging from 6 – 9 yrs old. This little girl LOVES to play with the boys because they are so kind to her and they always share their toys with her, but the Mom is constantly on edge when her daughter is around them when playing afraid she is going to get hurt.

I can completely understand that but anytime the boys are doing something wherein her daughter may get hurt, for example, running in front of the boys riding the scooter (she does this a lot), the Mom will get stern with the boys to watch out. If the boys are playing softball and the little girl runs in the middle right when the ball was thrown, she will reprimand the boys and not move her daughter out of the way of the game because she throws a tantrum. Those are just a couple of examples. Us Moms are always getting involved by saying “Boys just keep a close eye in case she runs in the middle of your game again ok?” or “When she is running around the street, just don’t ride your scooter. Wait until she is on the sidewalk”. Believe it or not our boys will comply because they know this little girl just doesn’t know any better so the boys don’t get upset. They are pretty good kids overall. Especially my friend’s 9 y/o. He’s just totally cool with it and always says to his Mom “O.K.”

So yesterday the boys are playing with their squirt guns. The boys were aiming their water at my tree in the front of my house. Well the little girl stood right next to the boys, the water was ricocheting back into her eyes and the Mom flipped out. The other Moms and I were standing on my driveway and we heard her start yelling at one of the boys to not squirt the water at the tree as it’s getting in her eyes.

At this point my Mom friend went over there and said to the little girl “Sweetie, the boys are squirting the water so can you watch from back here so you don’t get water in your eyes?” instead of saying something directly to her Mom so as not to go off on her.

The Mom got MAD, said they should just stop squirting the tree, picked up her daughter and went into the house. Up until this point we have all bitten our tongues.

I had to completely take my friend’s side on this but the other Moms felt she shouldn’t have done that. What do you think? If something like that happens again what would be the best way to handle? We’re kind of over her constantly reprimanding our kids when they have done nothing wrong.

By the way, my Mom friend has now given the Mom the name “helicopter mom”.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

She might be more concerned that her daughter is a lot younger insteead of being concerned about her gender (6yr olds can play a lot rougher then 2yr old) but I do think she is getting a little out of hand. younger or not the whole neighborhood should not revolve around her daughter. I wouldnt mention it though intill she reprimands the other children again, then maybe mention. that you appreciate her concern for her daughter but maybe if she is so worried for her safety maybe she should remove her from the situation

5 moms found this helpful

I completely agree with other parents disciplining a group if they were doing something wrong (fighting, swearing, etc.), but it sounds like they were playing like normal 6-9 yo boys. They should not have to stop playing just because a 2 yo is in proximity. The mom should keep her daughter out of a dangerous situation for a 2 yo rather than stopping the boys. I don't understand why the mother had such a problem with another mother talking to her daughter when she tell the boys what to do all of the time. Someone should very nicely suggest to the mother that she needs to keep her daughter away from the boys if she does not like how they play rather than stopping the boys.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I think your friend did the absolutely right thing. That's what I would have said to that little girl too.

If new-to-the-area mom tries to reprimand the boys again (which, honestly they all sound like wonderful kids!), just politely tell her that maybe her daughter shouldn't be playing with them when they're doing something and her daughter could get hurt (so basically, anything they play). Say it out of genuine concern for her daughter. These boys cannot be expected to cater to a little toddler ALL the time.

12 moms found this helpful

That is ridiculous. She thinks it's fine to police everyone elses children, but she can't even guide her own daughter. Your mom friend was absolutely correct to do nicely guide the little girl, her own mother isn't even doing it. I'm frankly surprised the other friends think that was wrong what she said.

Next time the little girl runs in the middle of the boys game, tell her mom kindly, "Please watch your daughter so she doesn't ruin the boys game again today."

12 moms found this helpful

Enough is enough, to be really honest. This was your yard, your tree, and the boys were playing a game with each other. That mother needs to get an attitude adjustment and stop acting like she has a right to make other kids change everything they are doing to accommodate her little one.

Let her get mad. That will mean she will stop bringing her daughter out to play with the boys. When she says something about this, and she will, you all need to just tell her that her little child "can't hang with the big boys" and needs to be removed from the situation, whether she has a tantrum or not.

If she wants to have friends in the neighborhood, she needs to learn her place. You all have been far too accommodating and you need to stop now. Not just because it's not fair to the boys, MM. But also because it is not safe for that little girl to be so close to these boys' games. (I'd say this if her child was a little boy too.)

You ladies need to talk this over and be on the same page about it.

Good luck!
D.

11 moms found this helpful

I think your friend handled it just right. Having the little girl move back is exactly what I would've done.

The new mom is in the wrong for not putting safety limits on her daughter just because she doesn't want a tantrum. Take your pick: a tantrum or a wet face. Can't have both! If the little girl isn't going to watch out, then the Mom should have her wear a bike helmet as protection!! =)

M.

8 moms found this helpful

it sounds more like shes trying to parent the other kids and not so much her own kid.
Thats backwards.
I think your friend was not in the wrong in any way when telling the little girl to stand back. that is the smart thing to do!
if that little girl doesn't learn to protect herself she will end up getting hurt really bad when her helicopter mom happens to not be around.
If all you moms on that street start telling the little girl to stop running in the midst of trouble she will listen and chances are the mom will think about it more and may realize you're right. She might not, it depends on how stubborn or prideful she is.
To each her own.
Stick up for your friend if you think shes right! i do and i would!

7 moms found this helpful

Sounds like everyone has been really tolerant of this little girl and her mother. I think it's really nice that the boys allow the little girl to play around them and hopefully it can continue BUT they shouldn't be getting reprimanded by this other mother or always having to stop their games to keep her from getting hurt. It's the other mother's job to keep her daughter from getting into trouble. Especially considering the age difference! I have a 2 year old and wouldn't ever let him just run through an older group of boys that were playing softball. Your friend did the right thing. It sounds like this other mom hasn't had a lot of experience around other kids and could use some parenting advice along with common sense. Goodluck!

6 moms found this helpful

Definitely a "helicopter mom". She is teaching her daughter how to be a victim and not to watch out for herself. The other mom did a great thing! It was the perfect intervention. The child needs to learn to watch what she is doing so that she doesn't get hurt. I suppose if she walks in front of a swing and gets a foot to the skull, it would be the person on the swing's fault?! How about, well, sweetie, if you stand where the kids are squirting water, you might get wet! Live and learn, reality discipline. Perhaps someone with a good personal relationship could share how she has handled similar situations with their child? A mom's night out with a couple moms and having a nice discussion with her might work. She is obviously just a really nervous mom and might benefit from a little mentoring from a more experienced mom. Good luck!

6 moms found this helpful

hmmmm, this mom has gotten away with this for too long. I thought it was universal knowledge that one needs to keep their toddler away from the older kid's line of fire, not try to control all the older kids who aren't theirs. What??!
So how are you guys going to handle this now that little miss 2 year old runs the block? Several of you may need to show up at the Mom's door, with a gift, brownies, cupcakes, bottle of wine, anything, and have a "chat" about, how since everyone loves her and her daughter so much since they moved in (mention their moving in as a reminder that she's NEWER than all of you), a sort of habit has gotten started about her not removing her daughter when the older kids are doing things that may be unsafe for her. As much as you don't want to make waves, from now on, you're going to give your kids free reign again, and you're just letting her know, that they no longer have to curb their playing, so she'll need to watch her daughter accordingly.
Then just tell your sons to ignore her (the mom not the girl).
Tough one! Weird!

6 moms found this helpful

Hello, This mom is completely out of line. I can understand parents disciplining other children, if necessary. However, this woman wants to control the whole play experience for all of the children, and is ruining it for them. I think what your other friend did was exactly the right thing. I would continue this every time the child interferes with the play time. She could get hurt and is making the other children miss out on their fun. She doesn't belong in the middle of a ballgame or out in front of their scooters. The mom is obviously too lazy to entertain her little girl and is therefore expecting the other children to do it for her. I would just go to the child and say, "Sweetie, this is not a safe place for you. Why don't you come over here and ........." If mom doesn't like it, too bad.
Good luck.
K. K.

6 moms found this helpful

I think you are getting a lot of great advice and are on your side, including me. I think that mother, first time mother at that, needed to be put in her place a bit. I think your friend mom did just great on how she handled it.

I really feel for the boys... They do sound like a great bunch.

I know it would get under my skin if someone else was always reprimanding my kids and they weren't doing anything. I think all of you held it together for a long time.

If she gets on her rampage again, I think you should have a one on one talk with her. Let her know that you do understand she's a new momma and she has a young little girl, but the boys are kids too and they aren't doing anything wrong. If they are playing football or any kind of ball her daughter really shouldn't be around or she will get hurt, it's not fair to the boys to always stop what they are doing because she's around. It's not like they are on her property. Let her know the boys do like her little girl and you want to have a friendly neighborhood for all.

Good Luck!

6 moms found this helpful

I don't think your mom friend did anything wrong. I think it is AMAZING that all the boys in the neighborhood have been so understanding about this little girl affecting how they play all this time. I know that MY son (who is now 12) would be very watchful and careful around a younger child as well, but not days on end. There would come a point, probably long before now, when he would have complained loudly that the little girl was in the way..... again.

It probably is hard on the girl's mom, though. Her child is so much younger and it is hard to be the ONLY MOM who cannot take 10 minutes to herself to chat with the neighbor friends while the kids play, b/c her child is constantly in danger. It is just a fact. Her child is younger and requires more close supervision. She is jealous (whether she knows it or not) that she can't "hang" with you guys. And I'm sure it is WAY easier for her to fuss at the older kids than to have to walk away from the adult conversation to retrieve her (now) tantrumming daughter. It is a hard and lonely place to be sometimes. But such is life. The sooner she learns to deal with it, the happier you ALL will be.
But, no, I think your friend did the appropriate thing. And I APPLAUD her.

Wanted to add:
the SMALLEST age gap is 4 years. That is WAY too big of a gap for this little girl to be trying to play with these boys. At age 2, she has NO CONCEPT of watching out for herself. It is totally inappropriate that ANYONE should be expecting the older kids to be playing with her. She might watch from the sidelines (doesn't sound like she is getting any guidance on how to do that though), but should NOT be out in the midst. She is just too young. Her mom needs to find some age appropriate playmates and schedule some play dates for her. Perhaps if she did so, she wouldn't be out in the middle of the boys' activities all the time.

If they moved from elsewhere (not just a different neighborhood, but different town), has anyone tried pointing the mom in the direction of a moms group nearby that might have like-aged kids that she could hook up with?

6 moms found this helpful

Mom friend was right on...good for you for supporting her.

Boys will be boys, and honestly if her little girl is too fragile to be playing with them (which I honestly think she is) then mom needs to find other places to take her daughter, and not have them together. Honestly, it is not the boys jobs not to be boys...or you all to police the kids constantly to play nice with her. If she can't stand the heat...she needs to stay out of the kitchen. I give you all props for allowing it to go on this long.

A 2 year old of any sex doesn't belong with a gang of boys from 6-9, PERIOD! I honestly think some/all of you need to talk with her about the fact that you adore her little girl and do not want to see her hurt, but that boys will be boys, and until she is of an appropriate age where she can participate, it might be better if they limit her time with them. You can't penalize a bunch of boys continually for the sake of one member...who isn't and shouldn't be a part of the group to begin with.

6 moms found this helpful

She might be more concerned that her daughter is a lot younger insteead of being concerned about her gender (6yr olds can play a lot rougher then 2yr old) but I do think she is getting a little out of hand. younger or not the whole neighborhood should not revolve around her daughter. I wouldnt mention it though intill she reprimands the other children again, then maybe mention. that you appreciate her concern for her daughter but maybe if she is so worried for her safety maybe she should remove her from the situation

5 moms found this helpful

I didn't read all your other answers, but I'm totally with you on this one. The boys on your street sound wonderful! But they are totally out of the age group of a 2 year old. It's the mom's responsibility to keep an eye out for her own child, especially when she is that young hanging out with older kids. I'm glad to hear your friend finally said something. It needed to be said! It's a bit awkward, sure, but the mom of the 2 yo really put you in a difficult position. Tantrum or not, the girl's mom needs to remove her from potentially dangerous situations and not rely on a bunch of kids to do her parenting. I think it was handled appropriately, and if it happens again, I'd talk with her about your concern for a toddler hanging out with elementary school kids!

5 moms found this helpful

OK, then I'd let her stew. It's HER responsibility to guide her own 2 year old out of the way of older kid play if her daughter is out of her own yard, especially. If they were squirting directly at her face, that's one thing, but squirting at the tree? I think your friend was right as long as she used a kind tone with the 2 year old. I think she got the message. Hopefully, she'll lighten up on the yelling at the boys now for their normal boy type play.

5 moms found this helpful

I completely agree with other parents disciplining a group if they were doing something wrong (fighting, swearing, etc.), but it sounds like they were playing like normal 6-9 yo boys. They should not have to stop playing just because a 2 yo is in proximity. The mom should keep her daughter out of a dangerous situation for a 2 yo rather than stopping the boys. I don't understand why the mother had such a problem with another mother talking to her daughter when she tell the boys what to do all of the time. Someone should very nicely suggest to the mother that she needs to keep her daughter away from the boys if she does not like how they play rather than stopping the boys.

4 moms found this helpful

Well it sounds a little one sided. It doesnt sound like she is reprimanding her daughter for running in front of were the boys are playing.

If they are intentionally hurting her or being rough that would be a different story.
If she is the only parent outside and is the person in charge of all the kids.
I think she needs to own up to some of the responibity and not have her daughter run directly were they are playing ball. How could that be the boys fault. It sounds like possibly she doesnt have much common sense.

4 moms found this helpful

okay this is probably going to come out wrong- for one I totally agree with the friend and for two I would have said something to this mom a long time ago-
Every once in a while a friend reprimanding your kids for doing something is one thing ( my friends and i do it all the time ) But this woman has a two year old daughter these boys are older she should know better. The next time she says something to the boys I would just tell her to move her daughter and the boys have done nothing wrong PLEASE stop nagging them.

4 moms found this helpful

ur friend did the right thing. If the other moms hold their tongue's any longer helicopter mom will continue to bully the boys play time when she should really be teaching her when it's okay to join in and play w/the boys or when her daughter needs to sit and watch.

And soooooo whatt if water is getting in her eyes?? it's play time hellooo this mom needs to chill or take her kid home!

3 moms found this helpful

I don't necessarily think you can call a mom of a 2 year old a "helicopter" mom....just yet. A 2 year old does need constant supervision.

That being said, your friend speaking up like that was bound to happen. Somebody needed to break the ice. There definitely ARE instances where the older children should be mindful of the younger one but there is also a time where the younger one should be mindful of the older ones. And her mom is responsible for this and since she wasn't doing this. Something needed to be said.

Maybe this was just the event that needed to take place to make the mom of the 2 year old be a little bit more mindful of the boys.

3 moms found this helpful

Good morning M M, In my opinion, and it's just an opinion but a 2 year old girl or boy for that matter is way to young to play with boys 6-9, the play is different, the games are different. She is in all rights of protecting her daughter, but she should find a play group or something that is more suitable for her age. Now for the moms of the boys, if you are going to allow your sons to play with or around this 2 year old little girl, then you need to make sure they modify their play when she's around. Just on TV last night on American Justice a 170 pound 12 year old boy killed a 48 pound 6 year old little girl, who were left playing together down stairs while the mother of the 12 year old was sleeping up stairs, yes they were unatended but accidents happen so quickly that even if all you moms are outside that does not mean that you may be able to prevent an accident happening with this little girl being allowed to play with these older boys. J.

2 moms found this helpful

My neighborhood is the same way (lots of boys aged 6-10). My son is 6 and my daughter is 2. She loves to play outside with them. BUT we make sure she stays out of the way. It's not their responsibility to make sure she doesn't get hurt and they shouldn't have to stop playing what they want to play so she doesn't get hurt. The only time we would ever say anything is if one of them purposely did something to her. Which I can't see that happening because just like the boys in your neighborhood, all of the kids in ours love her just like she was their little sister. And I've also had other Mom's say something to her if she's in the way or not paying attention. I look at it more like their looking out for her. I wouldn't take offense to it.

2 moms found this helpful

If she is allowed to reprimand your kids, your friend was not out of line in what she said. However, it would have been better for someone to have asked the other mom to have her daughter back up some. It is great the the boys are so great with a child that young but they should have some times when they can just be boys so as to not resent the little girl. If mom isn't teaching her now, she won't learn.

When things are calm, maybe speak to the girl's mom. Say something like "I think it is great how good all the boys are with the sweet little girl" and how much like a little sister she is sure to be to all of them. Maybe then it can be worked into the conversation that maybe sometimes a teaching opportunity maybe seized by showing the little girl how to also watch out for her own safety too and be aware that a step back can help all of them have fun.

2 moms found this helpful

Sounds like your friend did something completely innocent. The mom of that daughter is going to create a spoiled princess if she just lets her get away with everything and not teach her that she needs to respect boundaries too (walking in the middle of a baseball game). The mom was totally rude, she is constantly nagging at kids that aren't hers, but a mom can't talk sweetly to the little girl that isn't hers... hypocrite!

I agree with Amy's post except I wouldn't necessarily tell the boys to ignore her... it's gotta be give and take. If they ignore her, she could get seriously hurt by a baseball and that wouldn't be cool.

That mom seriously needs some common sense or something though. I wish I lived on your street. The boys over here sit on my car (they don't after I was stern and told them the 3rd time not to sit on the car since the bumper had just been broken) and are just rowdy that my daughter plays at the park, the backyard, or at our neighbor across the cul-de-sac but not near those older kids... their parents just let them play unsupervised (I mean they are seriously irresponsible, if you knew them you'd agree lol) and they are wild.

Whatever you do, if you talk to her (you should or you ALL should together, in a friendly manner) do not say boys will be boys. I have an only child, girl who is 2 and I look after her but I can tell you if someone told me boys will be boys (or girls will be girls) I'd want to just explode lol, those cliches should be buried 20 ft under.

1 mom found this helpful

I think the boys in the neighborhood sound like sweet hearts :-) If its her first child she's going to be concerned..... especially since she's a girl. just seems to be how it goes. But I dont think your friend did anything wrong at all. talk to the boys and just explain that she's just being over protective and they're not doing anything wrong. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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