Weird Situation. HELP!!! (long rant)

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Weird Situation. HELP!!! (long rant)
10
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 4:11pm
My husband and I went to a wedding last weekend. The neighbors, whom we had been friends with for the past two years, offered to take my 5-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter overnight, while we stayed at the hotel about 15 minutes away. They have a 10-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son, with whom my children have become pretty close.

On Sunday, when we got back, I was met at the door by a hysterical mother telling me that my son was a bully-wanna-be, and that she never wanted to see his nasty little face at their house again (in front of my son and daughter). What little information I got was that their children had taken my children for a bike ride and they stopped at a graduation party in the neighborhood. Three boys that their 13-year-old had been bullied by all year came to the party, tackled their son and started to pinch and kick him. In the meantime, my five-year-old turned around and saw the boys wrestling and jumped in. He started kicking our neighbors' son and tried to pull down his pants.

In the meantime, the 10-year-old sister, the girl friend of the 13-year-old and my 7-year old were standing nearby, and all say they didn't know the boy was in trouble, so no one went to get help, even though there were many grownups in the back yard, and our houses were only around the corner. After the other boys left, our kids went back to the party for a while and then went home.

When they got home and told their parents what happened, they also said that my son helped beat him up. From what I've been told, the mother went ballistic and started yelling at my son, put him in a long time-out in the upstairs hall, and made him sleep in a room by himself (which had a bed, but he wasn't allowed to sleep in it because he didn't deserve a bed). Apparently, there was some name-calling that included both the mother and the children. I had given my cell phone number to them and checked it every hour, and no one called, even though we were 15 minutes away.

The neighbor has finally spoken to me, but doesn't believe that there wasn't intent and malice on the part of my child, and that he is destined to be a juvenile delinquent. She did calm down somewhat when I told her that my husband and I had witnessed their children being verbally (if not physically) cruel to our son in the past few months. I asked if their son would talk to my son to let him know how much it hurt him that a friend would kick a friend, but he is not interested in speaking to my child.

I know that our friendship (?) is pretty much shot, and that they will always believe that my son is a monster; however, I need to know if I have anything to worry about where his behavior is concerned. I called his preschool teacher (who has had him for two years)immediately and asked if there was anything going on at school that I didn't know about, and she said absolutely not. She said he was the sweetest boy she had, and he was the only one in the school who was willing to stand up for and befriend a little girl that no one else liked. He and the other five-year-old boys liked to chase and wrestle, but that there was always an adult there to refocus unsafe choices if it looked like it was going to get out of hand. We have not had any trouble with his behavior at home, other than the regular sibling stuff and an occasional stubborn streak.

I am still trying to get my head around how they treated him, and I am riddled with guilt for not knowing I shouldn't have left them there. I've told him that even though it was wrong for him to have kicked and 'pantsed' their son, it was also wrong for the grownups to have treated him that way, and that it's not how grownups are supposed to resolve problems. Not to mention that my son is the only one who has been punished so far. None of the other boys' parents, coaches, or teachers have been called. I also told him that I was sorry that I could not be there to help him. He knows he did a naughty thing, but it is clear to me that he has no idea what the bru-ha-ha is all about, or why he can no longer play with the neighbor kids.

Please give me some insight. Do I need to take him to a child psychologist for evaluation? Am I raising a bully? Why did he do it? I'm so emotionally drained that I don't trust myself to think this through straight.

Thank you.

Distraught mom and neighbor.

Avatar for limute
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 4:56pm
First of all, YOUR SON IS NORMAL AND ACTED LIKE A FIVE YEAR OLD. Second, your neighbors acted SO incredibly inappropriately they bordered on abusing your son. You should tell the mom that you would never ever trust them to watch your son again because they obviously don't know how to handle a situation and were downright cruel to a 5yo boy. It was extremely immature of them to 1) blame your son 2) call him names 3) tell him he didn't deserve a bed 4) left your very young children unsupervised. How irresponsible of them is that?!?! Very neglectful. So they let all the kids out, unsupervised, to play in the neighborhood and visit other kids? What if the 13 yo boys decided to beat your son up instead--they could've killed him. What if your son walked off alone towards the street? I can't believe they let your precious kids just go off into the neighborhood, to other people's houses, without a care. I'd be going ballistic on them for being so NEGLECTFUL with YOUR kids.

If it were me, I'd be completely outraged and threatening to call the authorities on your neighbors for abusing your boy. I think the intent and malice is on their part, not your son. I can guarantee that if any 5yo saw a melee taking place, he'd join in THINKING IT WAS ALL IN FUN. You are not raising a bully. A bully goes around instigating things. A five year old boy likes to wrestle around in fun. I see it all the time.

I think, really, that they took their anger about the bullying from the other boys out on your son, which was totally wrong of them. Really, do they think a 5yo can do a lot against a 13yo? No. And that they didn't call you about that situation was absolutely wrong on their part--clearly they were more interested in mistreating your son than resolving the situation. And if it was such a horrible thing, why haven't they contacted the parents of the kids who REALLY were the bullies? The neighbors are being bullies themselves by taking out things on a defensless small child. And the fact that they haven't done anything about the other kids means they are COWARDS at heart.

Honestly, I'd be bawling that mother out for acting so horribly and cruelly towards your children. What kind of mother is that? I would tell her all the things that I posted here. I can hardly believe that they would offer to watch someone else's children, then let them wander off by themselves, and then treat them so harshly and call them names. The fact that they didn't bother to call meant they WANTED to be nasty to your kids for a good long time, without interruption. That is ABUSE.

You are not raising a bully. The only reason you'd have to take him to a psychologist is if he's scarred from that horrible treatment he received at their hands.

I'm sorry you, your son, and your daughter had to go through all that.

~ Limute

Three by the Sea

Avatar for inmommyworld
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 5:23pm
Wow, in ITA w/ Limute. These friends are the problem, not your 5 yr. old son. He's 5. Yes he knows right from wrong, but you said he doesn't understand what really happened with the older boys. I am sure he just joined in thinking they were playing, or just because "everyone else was doing it"--that's how 5 yr. olds tend to react, especially around older kids. I would never let your neighbors care for your children again. If I were you, I'd even end my relationship with their family. If this incident was such a huge problem, why didn't they call you? Their behavior was so inappropriate, it really made me mad reading this post. First for yelling at your 5 yr. old, punishing him the way they did, and letting your kids roam around the neighborhood. I don't think your ds needs a psychological evaluation, he sounds completely fine to me. Good luck with this situation.

Lisa

Avatar for boymeetsgirl
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 6:44pm
I wasn't sure if I should respond now or wait until I calmed down. It is apalling that they would make him sleep in a bedroom by himself, but not in the bed because he didn't deserve a bed. As far as I'm concerned that is abuse at it's finest. If I watch other children, I WATCH them, like an hawk. I don't let them out of my sight. I know what my kids are like, and what they will/will not do. As for other kids, I don't know. I would never let them go out with out me. I don't let my kids go out with a teenager, to roam the streets. This in itself is unacceptable. ITA that 5 year-olds will do what others do, probably thinking that they were just playing. I DO NOT understand why the mother didn't call you right away. I would have called and asked the parents explained the situation and asked them to come home, to help deal with it. The mother should have called the parents of the teenagers, immediately. My friend's son was beaten up by an older teenager and she called the police. There are definitely some "issues" with this mom. Either talk to her, or stay away from her altogher. Above all else, DO NOT let her watch your kids again. Hugs to you and your children that unfortunately had to deal with this.

Tracey

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Wed, 06-04-2003 - 7:37pm
Thank you all so much. You've alleviated some of my worries, and confirmed what I thought all along--that my 5 year old acted like a 5 year old, and that there were so many things wrong with the whole situation (the least of it being my son kicking their son).

I must admit that I'm very angry, and have not let loose on the neighbor (or her husband for allowing it all), but I figured that, even if I was right, it wouldn't help the situation and I wouldn't be setting a good example. Someone had to be the grownup, but it sure is nice to have a place like ParentSoup to vent, and have nice people like you respond.

Want to buy the house next door?

Thanks again.

Avatar for snowbabies97_98
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 06-05-2003 - 10:03am
Chiming in a little late (ok, a lot late) with my 2 cents. I agree with everyone else above -- your son probably thought it was just a game. Most normal 5 yo. just don't understand the concept of intentionally beating someone up. My 6 yo. son still understands bullies as kids who are mean to others by name-calling and teasing. If he ever saw a fight like that and figured out that they weren't playing, he'd be horrified and in tears. I'm sure if your son understood exactly what was going on, he'd have been very upset too. It's probably just as well that he doesn't understand.

I'm so sorry your son had to go through this, but in a way, it's a good thing that you found out what your neighbors are really like before something worse happened. Severing the friendship is probably the best thing that could happen, for your kids' sake. If there's any *monster* in this picture, it's the mother. Her treatment of your son was cruel, to say the LEAST. She's definitely got problems, and your kids are best kept far away from her.

Hugs,

Rebecca

Rebecca

Avatar for kansascity
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 06-05-2003 - 12:31pm
I'm glad you're feeling a little better about the situation - at least in the part that your son did NOTHING wrong. I just wanted to check with you to see if you've talked to your DS to see how he felt and is feeling about being treated this way by the mother (I almost used the word adult, but didn't feel that was applicable). That would be my biggest worry. I feel so badly for him being treated this way and being forced to sleep alone and on the floor. Personally, if you really want to push the issue, I would call CPS or police and ask for their input on your son being treated this way - borderline, if not out and out, neglect and borderline abuse. I would really want to send a message to this woman that no child should be treated this way. Honestly. I would!!!!! If this had happened to my DD or DS, I would want a STRONG warning sent to this mother that NO ONE treats MY kids this way - that's the "mama bear" in me talking.

Please let your DS know that he was not "naughty". He needs to know that HE did nothing wrong. I would try to confort him and assure him that he will never be put in that type of situation again and some "adults" made wrong decisions - not him.

Good luck and let us know if you do anything more.

Kathy, Alexandra (6/19/97) and Christian (12/22/99)

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Thu, 06-05-2003 - 5:01pm
Thanks "mama bear" and everyone else!

Thanks for your nice words. I'm much calmer today, and have finally realized that of all the things wrong with this situation, DS kicking the neighbor is the least serious. My son DID make a bad choice, but I told him that kicking hurts people, and that his hands and feet belong on HIS body, not other people's, and that he should try to remember how much it hurt when he's been hit or kicked by other children. I also told both of my children that the way the neighbor acted was inappropriate and childish, not how a grownup is supposed to act, and that mommy has acted calmly and like a good neighbor, even though I'm a little bit upset with the neighbor lady (of course, that is an understatement). If she says one more word or causes any trouble, I will probably launch, but at this point I think if I tried to confront her or get her in trouble, it would be like beating my head against a wall.

Basically, she took a year's worth of frustration about her son being bullied out on a 5-year-old who could not escape or defend himself. She could have called me at any time and I could have been home in 15 minutes, but she obviously wanted someone to vent at all night. I hope when she settles down, she realizes how badly she behaved, but I'm not holding my breath for her lightbulb to go off on this one. The one thing I'm left with though is a fear of whom I can trust. I honestly trusted this couple and their kids, but... My good friend said that DS could have burned her house down and she wouldn't have reacted like that. I don't know about that, but I believe her. Of course, she has 3 and 5-year-old boys, so that may explain it.

DS is doing just fine, and he is so sweet! Of course, like any five year old, last weekend seems like a lifetime away. He is afraid of neighbor lady, but that just makes it easier for me to keep him away from there.

Well, if there's a bright side to this, they are moving in a couple of months, if not sooner. I had been dreading a tearful goodbye, but now I don't have to worry about that.

Thanks again.

Stephanie

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 06-07-2003 - 8:43am
I agree iwth Limute. I'd be so upset. I'm going to read the other posts and then post one of my own.

~J~

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 06-07-2003 - 9:56am
Basically, she took a year's worth of frustration about her son being bullied out on a 5-year-old who could not escape or defend himself. She could have called me at any time and I could have been home in 15 minutes, but she obviously wanted someone to vent at all night. I hope when she settles down, she realizes how badly she behaved, but I'm not holding my breath for her lightbulb to go off on this one. The one thing I'm left with though is a fear of whom I can trust. I honestly trusted this couple and their kids, but... My good friend said that DS could have burned her house down and she wouldn't have reacted like that. I don't know about that, but I believe her. Of course, she has 3 and 5-year-old boys, so that may explain it.

What a healthy way to look at things! YOu hit it onthe head. She's a frustrated mom who vented inappropriately with your son. I would talk with her about what happened, and express to her your concerns about the treatment of your son. After that I would leave it and just remain neighborly, minus the friendship. You don't need that and neither does your son, who is trying to master the art of self control and resistance of peer pressure.

HUGS mom! What a yucky thing to go through!

Janet =)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-08-2003
Sun, 06-08-2003 - 4:41pm
What a terrible experience for both your son and you. My son is also five. I've discovered that he learns through example. Maybe your son thought that the boys were playing and wanted to be involved too. Sounds like the adults at the party probably thought they were playing.

Two questions: 1. Where were the adults that you had trusted your children with? When you agree to watch a child, you should "watch" that child. Goodness gracious that something should happen to them while in your care and you weren't watching. Shame on your neighbor for not "caring" for your children. Had she been there she probably could have handled the situation first hand instead of relying on the play-by-play from children.

2. Has your neighbor even apologized to your son and daughter for her behavior? We all understand frustration, but the way she talked to and treated your son was awful and should be explained and then apologized for.

Good luck with this. I don't think you son is a monster. He's five!