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Old 07-07-2004, 09:09 PM   #1
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Question Concerned about neighbor's treatment of her son...

I don't have any children yet, but I understand (or at least I think I do! ) what it takes to care for a young child. I strongly believe that it's everyone's duty to protect children. I realize that people parent in different ways and that we have to have respect for those differences. But if a parent is being neglectful or abusive towards a child, that is a different scenario altogether.

Ok. Here's my concern: I feel that something is not right with the way my neighbor cares for her 3 year old son. First, at 11 months old, the poor child would have crying fits when his mother and father had loud domestic disputes. I would be awoken at 4:30 AM often by the loud arguing and baby crying. The father was arrested about a year and a half ago for domestic abuse and disorderly conduct and no longer lives in their household. The mother has full custody and has a restraining order against the father of the child. I thought things would improve after her boyfriend left, however, the mother often yelled and screamed at the little boy: "Get over here!"; "Stop that!"; "I can't get any work done with you around!"; "No!"; etc. The boy would respond by crying and sometimes throwing fits. As he grew over the past 2 years, he's seemed to tune his mother out or answer her commands by saying a firm "No!". I've NEVER witnessed the mother hugging the boy, or comforting him when he cries, or showing love...maybe she shows love behind closed doors, I don't know, but I do hear her yelling at him when she's in the house. Also, when she is outside with her son, she often does a poor job of watching him...she's too busy engaged in mowing the lawn and other yardwork to be able to fully supervise her child. He wanders into other neighbors' yards. But what is especially worrisome is that he runs into the street with his toys and plays, then runs back into the driveway, then back into the street, and on and on...he doesn't know how to watch for oncoming cars. The street is not busy with cars, though, but we do have cars and some delivery trucks (like UPS) coming through at different times of the day. When he's in the street, his mother is not close by and often has her back turned. One day the boy lay down on his back in the middle of the road for a minute while his mother was in another neighbor's driveway...she never knew he had been laying down. Then that same day he disappeared for over 5 minutes, and when the mother finally noticed that her son was missing, she had a 5 year old girl look for him. So obviously she doesn't teach her son to stay close to her and to not go into the street unattended. The other day, the boy was riding his tricycle all alone in the street, and his mother was up by the house not paying full attention. When the boy got scared (possibly because he found himself all alone riding too far out from his house), he cried, so she raised her voice and said "it's time to turn around now." She didn't walk up to him to help escort him back to the house.

Am I being concerned about a 3 year old's well-being when I shouldn't be? Would you tell me to mind my own business and not pay attention to how this boy is being treated? Also, is it neglectful to allow a child as young as 3 take toys into the street to play, while the parent is several yards away from the child and is not carefully supervising the child's activity? What do you think about the mother mowing the lawn with the child running around? Is this mother's treatment of her child a form of child neglect?

Please, any comments and advice will be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by sealover; 07-07-2004 at 09:32 PM.

 
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Old 07-08-2004, 03:32 AM   #2
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Re: Concerned about neighbor's treatment of her son...

It is neglectful to not watch a child properly. Most people think of neglect as not feeding or clothing properly...maybe not enough affection...but she is neglecting him by not keeping him safe. If you are concerned than call and report her. It is doubtful that the child will be removed...but i'm assuming that the system works pretty much the same there as it does here..they won't remove the child but they will make the mother/parents take parenting classes and things like that.
It sounds as if this woman has been through a lot and maybe she just needs some therapy and a good parenting class. If you feel strongly about it make a call...it's only a matter of time before the little boy gets hit by a car, goes missing or hurts himself because of his mothers inability to watch him properly. I have 3 kids and i bet i can count on one had the amount of times they've gotten into the street...if i can keep a close eye on 3 i think she can keep a close eye on one.

 
Old 07-08-2004, 08:43 PM   #3
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Re: Concerned about neighbor's treatment of her son...

The mother of this boy has already had to take parenting classes, and I haven't noticed any difference in the way she supervises her son. She still doesn't show affection towards him either. I can only imagine that she tells Social Services what they want to hear.

My other neighbors also remarked how they notice the boy playing in the street while his mother isn't watching. They said that the boy is a "terror." Well, it's not the boy's fault he turned out this way! Obviously a 3 yr old doesn't know that it is unsafe to play in the street unless he is taught that he must stay in the yard and not wander away from his caregiver. But she never taught him this.

Last edited by sealover; 07-08-2004 at 08:55 PM.

 
Old 07-09-2004, 02:36 PM   #4
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Re: Concerned about neighbor's treatment of her son...

Hey all,

I thought I would throw my two cents in here. I do think that they child would be ok without her having to sit on top of him 24/7. My husband is in the army and I have to small children 8 and 5. There are things i need to get done like mowing the grass and hoeing the garden while the kids are in my care. I do believe it can be done without letting him get into the road or nieghbors yard and she may definitly need pointers on how to possible accoplish this. I also wonder if yall are so concerned for this childs wellfare how many of you have offered to help and support her and show her a different way to do things. She may never have been taught how to show affection or love and seeing someone else interact with him on that level a hug or a icecream for no reason. Saying something nice to him and giving her something visible to go on. I believe it is easy for some one to say hug your child and walk away it is the ones that are will to take active roles that can really make a difference on people are.

 
Old 07-09-2004, 11:43 PM   #5
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Re: Concerned about neighbor's treatment of her son...

I must respond to the post by maze322. I'm speaking of a 3 yr old (that is a young age to be unsupervised, and this boy seems a little behind in mental development), and this neglect that I speak of has been going on since I met them 2 years ago.

Thanks for the advice about helping out this woman, giving her pointers, etc...I'm sure some people would be delighted to be offered tips and help. Unfortunately, this woman is not the type who wants other neighbors getting involved in her life. She has been nasty towards me. I tried to be a friendly neighbor from day one, but she simply ignored me. I still tried to be friendly, but she continued to outright ignore me. She acted the same way towards my other neighbors.

 
Old 07-10-2004, 07:45 AM   #6
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Re: Concerned about neighbor's treatment of her son...

I am glad to hear that you tried befriending her and helping. I am not saying that the child shouldnt be supervised at all. I just wanted to point out that not all of us have the oppertunity to have a partner or babysitter watch our children while we do things such as cut grass and ect. I was also concerned cause everyone wanted to get dhs involved but no one was saying anything about other poeple and neighbors she may have been involved with trying to help out. If this has taken place though and she is to stubborn to addmit she needs help or to self rightous to accept it then I must agree with everyone else and the only thing left to do is get outside resources involved. Thanks for your reply and sorry if I offended you.

Last edited by maze322; 07-10-2004 at 07:47 AM.

 
Old 07-10-2004, 08:52 PM   #7
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Re: Concerned about neighbor's treatment of her son...

maze322,

You didn't offend me...I'm sorry if my response came off that way. You didn't know what this woman's personality was like. And like I said, some people would accept help gladly. So it was a nice suggestion you made. It's great when neighbors can help each other out! But this woman never wanted to know me or my other neighbors, and she ended up being nasty to me. So she loses out on a possible friendship, that's the way I look at it.

Thanks again for your advice.

 
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