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