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Need Advice - How to deal with out-of-control neighbor kid

Posted by on Mar. 9, 2013 at 10:11 PM
  • 34 Replies

Hi all,

I'm relatively new to Cafe Mom, and this is one of my first posts. Sorry if it's really long, but I need some advice on how to deal with a child in my neighborhood. I have two children, 8-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl. This neighbor kid is 6 years old, but her and my daughter have been good friends for about 3 summers now. When we first moved in, I was warned by a different neighbor (who has since moved out because this child is so terrible) that the parents don't have any control over the child and don't discipline her or teach her anything. They told me that I shouldn't let her start playing with my kids because she would become a big nuisance. But I didn't really take the warning seriously because I thought it was just neighborhood drama, and I figured that the two families had something against each other. However, I soon learned differently.

When my daughter first started playing with her, it didn't seem too bad. They got along pretty well, and the little girl listened to me if I told her to stop doing something she shouldn't be doing when she was in my yard. But gradually, things seem to be going downhill. The past several times they've played together, I've caught the little girl hitting my daughter, pushing her down on the ground, taking her toys away and telling her she wasn't going to give them back, screaming in her face (these things didn't all happen on one day--they've happened on several different occasions). I've told the child that if she can't start being nice, I'm not going to allow my daughter to play with her anymore. I've even made her leave my yard a few times when she was being really mean. But she keeps trying to sneak back into the yard when I tell her she has to go home. And that's not all--she bit my daughter and left teeth marks on her arm in the church van (on the way home from a youth program at church). My husband actually went over to their house and talked to the parents that time. The father's response was, "I don't deal with the discipline. You'll have to talk to my wife about that." The mother's response was, "Yeah, she has a bad habit of putting her mouth on people. I don't know how to break her of that." Basically, nothing was done.

There's more--the child is totally out of control in the neighborhood. She slammed my son's hand in a shed door, and he got poked with a nail and had a large bleeding hole in his hand. She screams at her parents and hits them. She walks into other people's yards whenever she pleases, even when she hasn't been invited (I've caught her sneaking into our yard when she thought nobody was home). She opens up the door and tries to just walk into all the neighbors' houses (she's tried that over here a few times and I've had to explain to her that she can't do that--we have to keep the door locked even when we're home because she repeatedly tries to just walk in here). She yells over here at us when we are outside in our yard, even if we are talking on the phone or talking to company. She'll repeatedly ask if she can come over, and when we tell her no, she'll just keep shouting at us at the top of her lungs. Usually, the parents are outside when all of this is going on. Most of the time, they don't even tell her to stop. If they do tell her to stop, they just yell things at her like, "Get back over here right now please, thank you!" And if they do say that to her, she still doesn't go back home because she knows that there are no consequences for her actions. She runs out of her house late at night, and her mother will come outside and chase her down, arguing with her to try to make her go back in. One time last summer, I caught her opening my neighbor's mailbox and taking mail out of it (I've caught her doing that over here, too). When I told her that she needed to quit, the mother came over here and yelled at me and told me I had no right to jump onto her kid. She said I need to come to her if I have a problem with her child. Well, my husband and I both have tried that. Yet, there has been no improvement in the situation. I've tried telling the child that she can't come into my yard anymore, but she comes anyway. I even left a note for her parents and told them I don't want her over here anymore. But as soon as she sees my children outside, she comes running over. My kids can't even play outside without her bugging them and yelling things at them. I'm dreading warm weather because I know it's going to be an everyday occurrence.

How would you handle this?  It's really more of an issue with the parents than it is the kid. They have no control over her, and the rest of us have to suffer because of it. If I've warned them that I don't want her in my yard anymore and they keep allowing her to come over, can I report the parents for trespassing? Legally, is there anything I can do to make them take control of their child? I'm worried she's going to hurt one of my kids, steal important mail out of my mailbox, or destroy my property. She doesn't listen to me when I tell her to stay out of my yard, and talking to the parents has done NO GOOD at all. We can't move until September because we're under a lease, but she's making the neighborhood miserable...


ETA - I forgot to mention this and here's the best part -- the little girl's dad was sitting outside today while she was beating up on my daughter!  I know without a doubt he saw the whole thing because he was only a couple feet away and was watching them the whole time.. Yet he did nothing to stop the situation. After I made the kid leave, I asked my daughter if the dad had said anything at all to the little girl. She said that he didn't say a word. What kind of parent sits there and allows their child to hurt another? He knew they weren't playing because my daughter was screaming, "Stop!  Stop!" the whole time! I should also add that she's so bad that one neighbor has already moved out because of her, and another neighbor is getting ready to move and spends as little time at home as possible!

by on Mar. 9, 2013 at 10:11 PM
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Replies (1-10):
frndlyfn
by Emerald Member on Mar. 9, 2013 at 10:26 PM

Talk to your town/city's police to find out what can be done about it.  I do not know laws pertaining this matter.

kimber2465
by Silver Member on Mar. 9, 2013 at 10:30 PM

you call your police dept. one of my neighbors have some issues with the little girl across the street from us. that is what our landlord told the parents to do.

inspain
by on Mar. 9, 2013 at 10:33 PM

There was a very similar kid a few doors down in the neighborhood we lived in in SC.  Lots of the same behavior.  His mother screamed at me one day for pointing the hose at him when he came walking down our driveway one morning.  He had a habit of trying to walk into our yard when DD1 was outside.  She was about 18 months old when his family moved in.  He was 12.  The kid would shout and throw things and was a bit too interested in the neighborhood's littlest kids.  His mother told me he had "some developmental issues" and she was not pleased when I asked her why he was walking around alone at 6 in the morning.  The last straw was when I woke up one morning and saw him walking around in our back yard, throwing rocks in our little pond, trying to hit the fish.  I called the cops and they came and got him and took him home, but not before he'd sat on the ground yelling.  His mother was really nasty after that and I told her that I would be calling the cops from now on if he so much as set foot on our property again.  The situation would get better (we wouldn't see him for a month or two) and then get worse for a while (vacations and holidays he would often turn up daily).  I was so happy when we moved about a year later.

sarah824
by Silver Member on Mar. 9, 2013 at 10:54 PM

We are dealing with the same thing from our neighbor's boy. Most recently he has been throwing our solar lights into another neighbor's pond. They are supposed to be moving soon so we are hopeful that it happens quick. We called the cops on him back in September for throwing dirt and barkdust into DH's pickup and things got better for a while, but with nicer weather he is out causing problems again. Because he is only 5/6 hte cops can't really do much but file a report. Good luck to you! I feel your pain! :-)

Tristin12
by on Mar. 9, 2013 at 11:02 PM



Quoting sarah824:

We are dealing with the same thing from our neighbor's boy. Most recently he has been throwing our solar lights into another neighbor's pond. They are supposed to be moving soon so we are hopeful that it happens quick. We called the cops on him back in September for throwing dirt and barkdust into DH's pickup and things got better for a while, but with nicer weather he is out causing problems again. Because he is only 5/6 hte cops can't really do much but file a report. Good luck to you! I feel your pain! :-)

See that's what I'm afraid of. She's only 6, but I was wondering if the parents can be legally held responsible somehow. Like taking other people's mail out of the mailbox is a federal offense, but since she's 6 they aren't going to arrest her for it--but what about mom and dad? They were sitting outside when she did it, and I know they saw her because I saw her do it!


spiritclua
by on Mar. 9, 2013 at 11:05 PM
1 mom liked this

If you can't afford a lawyer look into legal aide and take your kids with you so that they can tell them their stories too. If you can I would get a security camera and record some of this stuff. Have your kids tell the counselor at school if it continues on at school too. Document everything!  Call the cops anytime your children are attacked, your mail is broken into, if the parents come over and yell at you threaten you. Establish the pattern you may be able to get out of your lease earlier because of endangerment to you and your family. But this too you will need to ask a lawyer on.

Roo1234
by Bronze Member on Mar. 9, 2013 at 11:11 PM
1 mom liked this
we had a boy somewhat like this in our neighborhood. for us, the final straw was the day that I came out of the shower in our second floor master bedroom and find him in the room.

I would say that if the mother wants you to come to her about everything, then go to her about everything. every time you face a problem, walk the child over to her front porch, ring the doorbell and inform the mom that you are bringing the child home because get behavior isn't appropriate. you may have to so this several times over the course of a week, but I bet enough interruptions in the other mom's day will soon out an end to many of her behavior issues in your yard because get mom will grow tired of you being a bother to her and will tell her daughter she can't come to your home/ yard any more.
Tristin12
by on Mar. 9, 2013 at 11:17 PM



Quoting Roo1234:

we had a boy somewhat like this in our neighborhood. for us, the final straw was the day that I came out of the shower in our second floor master bedroom and find him in the room.

Oh Good Lord!  Thankfully, that hasn't happened here, yet, but it's because I keep the doors locked at all times, even if we are sitting in the living room watching TV because, if I don't, she tries to just walk into our house. I have caught her spying into our windows several times, though.

MissTacoBell
by Taco Bell Princess on Mar. 9, 2013 at 11:35 PM
1. Talk to your city office and see what city ordinances, if any, this childs actions violates. If she is, file a complaint based on that. You WILL have to report every time there is an issue. It's best if your neighbors do the same. The more the merrier kwim?



2. If she IS violating ordinances and the city gets enough complaints, they will warn the parents (or outright fine them if its delinquent enough and there are enough complaints from different neighbors).



3. If she is not in violation of an ordinance, you can call the cops, but like PP said, they aren't going to do much (nor can they unless she is breaking an ordinance, because she's too young to be charged with a violation of statute unless we're talking about Texas).



4. If you can't get satisfaction through legal channels, here are your (and your neighbors recourse).



-call CPS and report her unsupervised and/or delinquent. You AND the effected neighbors need to submit written statements affirming that she is engaging in violent and/or distructive behavior AND the behavior continued AFTER the parents were notified by the respective person. CPS MIGHT take action, they might not, but its worth a shot.



-submit a letter to her parents via certified mail (across the street, lame i know, but its important nonetheless) expressing the issues you outlined here. declare that in defense of your family and property you will take any action YOU deem appropriate should she tresspass on yoir property and/or have contact with your family. dont say what youll do, but turning the hose on her once she sets foot is a good one. Submit a letter to your landlord/lady if you rent so they are aware of the problem. If she causes damage to the property they can sue the parents easier.



Important to note, you are the steward of the property. You have use right and protective responsibility. You have a right to enforce that right. You cannot be held liable for turning the hose on her, but obviously don't put a hand on her unless you have witnesses to her violence.



Good luck.
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Mazie0723
by Platinum Member on Mar. 9, 2013 at 11:35 PM
I would have stopped allowing her to play with my child after the first few times of her beating on my child. Call the police for trespassing. No she wont be arrested but maybe after the cops brin her kid home a few times she'll keep her in check.
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