how to deal with little monsters

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so my daughter Veronica (2 1/2) is in this pre-pre-school playgroup sorta program. much to my and my wife's alarm, a pattern has emerged involving two other girls in the program routinely abusing/beating up my daughter. The bullies in question are a bit older and are probably venting the usual childhood frustrations on nearest younger/weaker target, but it's very frustrating to deal with - I can't really adequately convey verbally to my daughter how to defend herself, and while the staff at the program do their best to keep this from happening, there are of course still many opportunities (apparently) for bullying to go on (they say this usually happens during the chaos of kids getting dropped off and checking in). The mothers of the bullies in question have responded differently to my wife's efforts to engage them - one is very contrite and apologetic and eager to resolve the issue, the other acts like it's no big deal and won't even talk about it.

This whole dynamic of abusive little girls is strange to me. I was beaten up/got in plenty of fights as a kid but a) I am male and b) most of my memories of that don't go all the way back to before preschool, so they my experience isn't of much value. My wife is super upset about this - obviously no one wants to see their little girl with a black eye - and has talked to the staff about it, tried to tell Veronica to stay away from these girls/defend herself, tried to engage the parents, etc. but I kinda don't know what to do. We could take her out of this program on the days the bullies are there and that wouldn't be so big a deal, but I wonder if that's an overreaction and maybe this isn't such a big problem. I worry more about what kind of socializing lesson this is impressing upon my daughter...

any thoughts?

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 19:56 (eleven years ago) link

what kind of abuse? b/c yeah really little ones can be such shits but on the other hand, they're capable of such little, even if their malice is exquisite. so when my littlest one (age 3) complains about getting knocked down I don't think much of it.

my 7 yr old takes a lot of heat b/c he's small & pretty uninterested in engaging other kids, but so far he's not been seriously hurt & he's learned somewhat how to earn asshole respect, which unfortunately is a good skill to have.

I think Mick Jagger has suffered plenty. (Euler), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 19:59 (eleven years ago) link

scratches, black eyes, that kind of thing. last week they "washed her hair" (which I took to mean they shoved her head under the sink)

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 19:59 (eleven years ago) link

this is all third-hand for me, btw since neither me nor my wife ever witness any of it but my conclusion is yr standard punching/scratching/shoving nonsense

but yeah they aren't really gonna be breaking arms or anything. I suppose teeth could be lost in a worst-case scenario

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 20:00 (eleven years ago) link

My first thought is that once you deliver your daughter to someone else's care, someone who has contracted with you and promises a level of care, then the onus is on them to keep her safe -- so, getting tough with the staff at the playgroup program may be the way forward. It's harsh on them, because they're not the abusive ones, but they're the ones who aren't protecting your daughter. They've got to do more.

But does that run the risk of them kicking your daughter out because she/you are the sand in their gears?

Grisly Addams (WmC), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 20:07 (eleven years ago) link

yeah, that's bullshit, & it can scar a kid; dunno how the parents of the kids can be expected to help, unless they're significantly older than 2, since kids forget all moral instruction pretty quickly unless someone is there to enforce it. It sounds like getting the staff involved is your only hope.

I think Mick Jagger has suffered plenty. (Euler), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 20:07 (eleven years ago) link

xp

I think Mick Jagger has suffered plenty. (Euler), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 20:07 (eleven years ago) link

from what I can tell the staff is pretty engaged and upset by this - my wife said the teacher was in tears about it today, but I think she's at a loss as to how to authoritatively stop it. It's like if she takes her eyes off the bullies for a second then they leap at the opportunity, and obviously there are a lot of kids to watch. I'm sure we can ramp up our complaints, and Veronica getting kicked out isn't really a risk, I don't think (I would guess it would be more likely that the bully would be kicked out if we bitched about it enough)

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 20:13 (eleven years ago) link

I should also point out that my daughter hasn't been the only target - these girls have kind of rotated around the playgroup as to who they victimize, so it's pretty clear that the problem isn't unique to their relationship with Veronica or anything particular about Veronica even, it's more like they're just bitches who enjoy abusing smaller/weaker kids.

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 20:14 (eleven years ago) link

Then they've GOT to go, I think. The staff have to tell their parents "your hellions are putting other kids at risk -- you haven't taught them right from wrong well enough, or your home environment is messed up enough that they're acting out in frustration at innocents. Get a grip on the situation or we will."

Grisly Addams (WmC), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 20:25 (eleven years ago) link

Um, what? I have always been so thankful that any programs my kids have been in have had absolutely zero tolerance for anything like this. The idea that the teacher doesn't know how to stop it seems totally bizarre. It's not 1972 for fuxake. The bullies would've been expelled at the second incident without question. Otherwise I'd pull my kids outta there fast.

everything, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 20:37 (eleven years ago) link

this is a co-op deal, so I'm not sure how expelling someone from the program would work. and I'm not sure what other options we have for daycare, would have to do some serious hunting (it's slim pickings here in SF)

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 20:59 (eleven years ago) link

Fuuuuck. Raw nerve time since I have lots of experience with co-ops and actually work in the co-op sector for a co-op company. In my experience if you find a good co-op then it's fantastic but there's a lot of co-ops who find it difficult or impossible to deal with bad behaviour or challenging situations and that can destroy all the positive elements. Mostly due to bad governance and/or lower standards for pretty much everything.

They ought to have a policy and a procedure for dealing with these type of situations. Often it is not being followed because, well, it takes balls to tell a parent that their kid's a monster and that they are not welcome. Co-ops sometimes don't have a hard-nosed board of directors/employee who will take on that responsibility. Plus it means some extra meetings, possible legal fees etc. Sometimes the policy gets ignored. Ask to see it and insist that they follow it to the letter.

everything, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:12 (eleven years ago) link

I'm up in British Columbia, working for a Canadian federal co-op program so my assumptions and generalizations about co-ops may differ from your experience in SF.

everything, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:14 (eleven years ago) link

yeah I think we're going to pursue this "we are not getting what we're paying for"/follow the rules angle

for extra lolz, my wife was noting the intransigence/nonchalance of one of the bullies' parents, who happen to be German (I'm Jewish) and I pointed out that if we wanted to get their attention/get under their skin there's a REALLY obvious button to push that would definitely get under their skin. but I dunno how much of a dick I wanna be.

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:16 (eleven years ago) link

even something as indirect as "as a Jew, I don't like my kid getting beaten up by Germans" would probably set off some alarm bells

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:17 (eleven years ago) link

Any childcare setting - school, pre-school, whatever - has an absolute duty to deal with stuff like this and the response from your people sounds v. unsatisfactory. Don't know what the regulation of pre-school groups is like in the States but I wd keep on their asses until they properly deal with it, whether that means excluding the bullies or not.

I like big cuts and I cannot lie (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:17 (eleven years ago) link

Obv dealing with the parents is a thing too but imo this is totally about a failure of the pre-school.

I like big cuts and I cannot lie (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:18 (eleven years ago) link

warning: i'm not a parent

warning: slate content

http://www.slate.com/id/2223976

solutions offered begin on page 2

goole, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:20 (eleven years ago) link

My advice is to absolutely make them stick to their own rules and take the moral high road as much as possible in terms of getting what you want. Pretend that you are willing to hire a lawyer and if necessary take it all the way to court in order to enforce their own rules, because the co-op means a lot to you etc. That's always a good tactic in co-ops because they are usually terrified of any legal costs.

everything, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:20 (eleven years ago) link

did I mention that the bullies' parents are both on the co-op board of directors? makes things complicated

maybe we should just leave

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:24 (eleven years ago) link

You should ask for their conflict of interest policy and their director's job descriptions also. Chances are that they won't be able to participate in any discussion about this at the board meetings.

everything, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:26 (eleven years ago) link

You cd leave for pragmatic reasons if you can find another pre-school you like but I wouldn't let that stop me from calling these dicks to account.

I like big cuts and I cannot lie (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:27 (eleven years ago) link

Board members usually have little idea of their true roles or the rules, policies etc of the organization they are governing. They are only there by default because no-one else would stand for election. Making requests for policies and so on is often a way of introducing the directors to their own rule books.

everything, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:29 (eleven years ago) link

I should also note that this co-op childcare program is brand new so I'm sure this is uncharted territory for pretty much everyone involved, hard to say how it will shake out. obviously our making a stink is going to shape policy down the line.

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:31 (eleven years ago) link

like, I think this conflict is going to write the policy (or at least re-write whatever flimsy shit is already on paper)

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:32 (eleven years ago) link

Theoretically that should not happen. In co-ops there is not any precedent setting. Board's aren't there to rule by their wisdom, just to apply the rules as they stand. If the policy is just some flimsy shit then it will likely be a "zero tolerance"-type statement. That's good for you but the harder part us generally making the board enforce it.

everything, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:35 (eleven years ago) link

And if they don't enforce it then you can make a case to the general membership to have the board removed.

Blah blah blah. I'm dying to move into the private sector again. This kind of stuff drives me crazy every day.

everything, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:37 (eleven years ago) link

it could be worth it to take up this conflict with them, because, yeah, it's a problem for the whole enterprise. it should be perfectly fine, encouraged even, to bring a bullying problem to the staff, because that's the only way bullying gets curbed. but in this case you maybe can't, cos the bully's parents are running the show. chances are it's not just a problem for you and your kid, and it won't just go away on its own.

on the other hand, it could be fruitless and these parents/board-members could be defensive and stonewall you.

it's not an enviable situation to be in.

goole, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:41 (eleven years ago) link

They are probably not running the show though. Chances are that the show runs itself and the board just rubber-stamps some cheques ever month while a manager does whatever they think is best. Most boards are 2 smart people and 5 lame ducks who do not know and never will know what the fuck's going on.

everything, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:45 (eleven years ago) link

our kid isn't the only one these little bitches have hurt, so I don't think we'll be on our own, but this is definitely going to make some waves if we bring it up at a board meeting, which may yet happen. unless the parents step up to the plate.

xp

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:46 (eleven years ago) link

Chances are that the show runs itself and the board just rubber-stamps some cheques ever month while a manager does whatever they think is best. Most boards are 2 smart people and 5 lame ducks who do not know and never will know what the fuck's going on.

yeah this is my impresson

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:46 (eleven years ago) link

So read yr rules. Will put you several moves ahead of most of the board.

everything, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:50 (eleven years ago) link

yeah thx for the solid advice

will report back

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:51 (eleven years ago) link

Good luck.

everything, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:53 (eleven years ago) link

Yeah, good luck -- this is potentially a minefield, but who else would we walk through one for if not our kids?

Grisly Addams (WmC), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 22:25 (eleven years ago) link

Sounds like the two bullies are setting each other off, what about getting them separated?

Well, because whatever happened changed him. (Dr. Superman), Thursday, 24 June 2010 03:03 (eleven years ago) link

What a horrendous situation! Probably not saying anything new, but if the teacher can't deal with it then it's time to escalate it. Is the next step the board or is there a general manager? It's worth trying to have a united front with the other parents too, so that it can't just be shrugged off.

Vicky, Thursday, 24 June 2010 08:03 (eleven years ago) link

yeah, this is more a problem with the child-care providers rather than the li'l monsters themselves. Anyone in charge of a number of children should have the skills and experience to be able to discipline that kind of behavior, esp. older/bigger kids picking on the younger ones. If it's the matter of too many kids for the teacher to watch, they need more adults in room.

Your 2-1/2 year old shouldn't have to defend herself but know to tell a teacher when she's being bullied, which itself is hard for some kids. my daughter would clam up around that age when another kid would steal her toy or whatever, so it took some role-playing and practice. now she doesn't take any guff from nobody.

No one is too good for this album; it is better than all of us. (herb albert), Thursday, 24 June 2010 16:08 (eleven years ago) link

Sounds like the two bullies are setting each other off, what about getting them separated?

yeah this is basically what's happening. on their own, each of them plays fine with my daughter, but the two together gang up on her and get abusive. one of the bullies' parents is cognizant of this and already pulled her kid from one of the days when she would be there with the other bully, so that's a help. the other parent doesn't seem to care, but in an e-mail exchange last night the teacher said she would contact her and make it clear that her bully needs to be separated from the other bully, and that this will require her moving her schedule around so that that the two bullies and my daughter don't share any class-time together. the teacher and the cooperative parent/co-op boardmember also said they would have this type of solution written into the co-ops rules & regulations.

so, problem solved I think. at least for now.

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 24 June 2010 16:33 (eleven years ago) link

good work -- as parents we can't take any guff off of these toddling swine

Grisly Addams (WmC), Thursday, 24 June 2010 17:45 (eleven years ago) link

it looks like the board is taking this very seriously and the one proactive bully parent initiated proceedings to move schedules around and keep the kids separated as well as get a process on the books, so that's good.

I'm still kinda freaked about what happened to my daughter, now that more details about what basically sounds like a coordinated beating are trickling in

little asshats, who teaches them this kind of behavior...

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 24 June 2010 21:41 (eleven years ago) link

e-mail from the teacher to the Board:

"Hello Ladies,
Because of the severity of the situation that occurred yesterday along
with the previous situations leading up to it with the same children I
have decided that what is best for everyone involved is to have
GURL 1 and GURL 2 seperated completely for the remainder of the
RUBBERY DUCK Program.
At first I considered only separating them on days V. a was not
present, but I do not believe that will be enough. GURL 2 and GURL 1
play well on their own, just them, but when together and around other
children quite literally situations can and have become dangerous. The
only reason it was Veronica and not another child was because she
desperately wanted to join their group. Other kids stay away when they
can. V. has not been the only child hurt by GURL 1 and GURL 2
together. Even with all four of my eyes and all of my energy I cannot
promise that they will not hurt another child. This time around they
knew to do it where I couldn't see them and the one minute while I was
out comforting another child in the lobby.

I would very much appreciate the Board to add a new policy to the
RUBBERY DUCK program so that in the future when this happens again,
and it will, we are more prepared.
On a side note - I was moved to tears yesterday while holding V.
because seeing her cry, feeling her shaking, listening to her recount
the events was just too much to bear. This will stay with her for a
long time. I have great guilt for being in the lobby and wish I had
just come back ten seconds sooner. Drop-off time can be intense
understandably, but I still wish I could have stopped what happened.
But again, I can't promise that safety at this point so the girls
being moved is necessary as they know now to do these things when I am
not present.
I know M$ and S$ mentioned taking the girls out of the program
completely and I DO NOT feel that is necessary. They just can't be
together is all.
Thank you, Let me know your thoughts
N$"

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 25 June 2010 16:24 (eleven years ago) link

I dunno about the "this will stay with her for a long time" part... I hope not

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 25 June 2010 16:25 (eleven years ago) link

Wow.

progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Friday, 25 June 2010 16:37 (eleven years ago) link

(Might want to google-proof that.)

progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Friday, 25 June 2010 16:37 (eleven years ago) link

Also.. "RUBBERY DUCK"??????

progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Friday, 25 June 2010 16:37 (eleven years ago) link

Veronica has not been the only child hurt by @nya and S0lve1g
together. Even with all four of my eyes and all of my energy I cannot
promise that they will not hurt another child.
This time around they
knew to do it where I couldn't see them and the one minute while I was
out comforting another child in the lobby.

DAYUMMMM. Naming and shaming...I like it!
Also, congrats to the teacher for taking this 100% seriously.

Grisly Addams (WmC), Friday, 25 June 2010 16:39 (eleven years ago) link

let me know if you want the memo googleproofed

Grisly Addams (WmC), Friday, 25 June 2010 16:39 (eleven years ago) link

eh I'm not worried about it, this is a pretty small co-op/program

insert your favorite discriminatory practice here (Shakey Mo Collier), Friday, 25 June 2010 17:57 (eleven years ago) link

6, I was just about to make a post about how young your kid was to have to deal with this, too.

kkvgz, Wednesday, 30 June 2010 17:12 (eleven years ago) link

Jeez, sorry about that punctuation.

kkvgz, Wednesday, 30 June 2010 17:12 (eleven years ago) link

yeah prior to this I would not really have thought 3 yo girls would be prone to this stuff but guess what. the two in question have a whole bully-and-sycophant dynamic going on, it's obviously bad news

has arlen specter never heard clarence thomas's laugh? (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 30 June 2010 17:19 (eleven years ago) link

how's it goin?

progressive cuts (Tracer Hand), Friday, 2 July 2010 17:02 (eleven years ago) link

kind of amazed to ehar about this at that age! all the three year olds I worked with had trouble with like pants and remembering their last name---can't imagine actual bullying. general childish monstrousness sure

fresno's wet (gbx), Friday, 2 July 2010 17:08 (eleven years ago) link

oh the firestorm continues - now there's a Safety Committee and a Discipline Committee and the co-op is discussing whether to implement some kind of time-out policy and whether that would lead to the current teacher quitting (she is categorically against time-outs in principle, a position I find sort of baffling) and all kinds of random parents weighing in about what happened. there was a post on the co-op's discussion board yesterday, clearly written by a parent with experience as a lawyer, pointing out that the co-op and individual parents providing care are exposing themselves to some incredibly serious legal liability without clear, consistent policies in place to handle threats to childrens' safety, for example.

in practice, things are going better at the co-op already and they've instituted a few changes that are ensuring all the kids are more closely monitored, etc. and V seems totally happy there. today she checked in and one of the bullies had left her a present (a pink princess dress), which was nice.

I think it's all going to work out fine in the short term, but in the long term we're looking around for somewhere else to put her, just because this whole situation has been very irritating to deal with, and we've lost a great deal of confidence in the teacher and in some of the other parents' child-rearing philosophies.

on a sidenote, this whole affair has led to me learning WAY more than I wanted to know about other families' issues/dysfunctions, including some real-life horror-movie level trauma

yeah I guess that's reassuring in a weird way? like, gettig bullied at daycare is probably not gonna be hat traumatic in the long run?

fresno's wet (gbx), Friday, 2 July 2010 17:24 (eleven years ago) link

someone else pointed out that V is now probably going to be the SAFEST kid at the co-op being that she was (mostly unbeknownst to her, I'm sure) at the middle of this whole brouhaha.

but yeah, her being on the receiving end of some little brats kinda doesn't even compare to some of the other shit I've heard in recent days (like surviving a murder/suicide attempt on the part of your mom, which claimed the life of yr sibling, for ex. I can see how your dad+stepmom might be a little hyper-protective of you after that)

oh man :(

fresno's wet (gbx), Friday, 2 July 2010 17:32 (eleven years ago) link

yeah my eyes kinda popped out of my head when I heard that

"but in the long term we're looking around for somewhere else to put her"

Have you looked into L4ur3l Hill, Shakey? That's where my brother and I went to pre-school and it was a really good experience.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Wednesday, 14 July 2010 17:44 (eleven years ago) link

we haven't taken a serious look anywhere yet, just compiling a list - need to get on this tho

Major Lolzer (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 14 July 2010 18:16 (eleven years ago) link

two months pass...

so the bullies are gone - new school year, my daughter is now one of the oldest in the program (keeping her here while we look around for a real pre-school, so far fingers crossed for Glenridge which seems like our first choice)

altho now she has a classmate who humps everything... which is more comical than anything but it's just like WTF this kid is literally humping something every couple of minutes. the floor, the furniture, toys, other children (latter doesn't always go over so well). Future porn star?

crude interloper of a once august profession (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 6 October 2010 20:16 (eleven years ago) link

Oh man, long story but I ended up briefly reunited with a long lost sister about 12 years ago and during the reunion I met my niece who was about 4 and who constantly humped everything, just frottering away while we're having this estranged family reunion, and it made an already awkward situation almost unbearable. I would say it is just a normal thing some kids do, but I there was nothing normal about any of that.

Regular Stormy (Jenny), Wednesday, 6 October 2010 20:25 (eleven years ago) link

I think this kid is around 2 yo

crude interloper of a once august profession (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 6 October 2010 20:38 (eleven years ago) link

wow, it's tough when kids that young are doing it. the best thing to say is "that's something you do when you're by yourself, like going potty" but a kid that young prolly doesn't have the greatest grip on public vs private behavior. he might still be going in his pants.

(e_3) (Edward III), Wednesday, 6 October 2010 21:37 (eleven years ago) link

^ and obv the parents should be the one delivering the privacy message

(e_3) (Edward III), Wednesday, 6 October 2010 21:38 (eleven years ago) link

shakey don't be all like 'get a room you freak!'

(e_3) (Edward III), Wednesday, 6 October 2010 21:39 (eleven years ago) link

I really hesitate to mention it, but isn't that sort of hypersexual behavior in toddlers a warning sign of sexual abuse?

In "Bob" There Is No East or West (WmC), Wednesday, 6 October 2010 21:39 (eleven years ago) link

I have heard that and I was concerned it might be the case w/ my niece (for other reasons, too, but like I said: long story). But it could also just be a kid who hasn't gotten the hang of socially acceptable behavior or just has a discomfiting self-soothing method.

Regular Stormy (Jenny), Wednesday, 6 October 2010 22:39 (eleven years ago) link

shakey don't be all like 'get a room you freak!'

lol I've only seen this kid in action once, I'm not working at the co-op so no worries

But it could also just be a kid who hasn't gotten the hang of socially acceptable behavior or just has a discomfiting self-soothing method.

I think this is more what's going on. Both of his parents appear flummoxed/surprised by the behavior and like I said he is only 2yo, abuse would be a pretty extreme scenario/explanation...? It seems more likely that he just has no boundaries and discovered this thing that feels awesome and hasn't gotten a handle on it yet. but hey, that's what socialization is all about, right?

in the meantime it is kind of hilarious

crude interloper of a once august profession (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 6 October 2010 22:49 (eleven years ago) link

also yeah pretty sure this kid's still in diapers

crude interloper of a once august profession (Shakey Mo Collier), Wednesday, 6 October 2010 22:49 (eleven years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Alright folks. So, as noted on the redneck thread, the extremely troubled kid-next-door (I'll call him Chase) comes over to my house every day seeking to escape from whatever hell is going on over there. He and my son play together. It's about a 50% mix of them playing together nicely, as little kids do, and 50% of Chase acting up. The acting up is pretty extreme.

When he's in a bad mood, Chase often complains that he is "so bored" and that we are "so boring" and that whatever it is that we happen to say we like doing "sucks." My wife and I both believe that he is pretty jealous of our life. When he comes over to our house, there are toys to play with and attentive parents. From what we've learned about his house, his older brother sits around playing Halo or watching horror movies. The place is a complete dump (as witnessed from the outside - god knows what it's like on the inside). He wore the same shoes from March through August and frequently wore the same socks for days on end. His dad has been arrested on drug-related charges in the past and the word around the neighborhood is that he's into PCP. I don't credit rumor mills for much, but maybe they know something.

We don't see his dad much, but one of the few times we've seen him and his son together, his son had hurt himself playing in our yard. Chase had whacked his head on the gate to our backyard and was actually bleeding from the head. His father hollered at him for running and flicked him in the head - hard.

So Chase comes over, sometimes plays superheroes with my son, sometimes cusses us all out and vows that he'll never come over here again, only to return the next day when school lets out. My wife and I are completely sick of it. We feel that he is a bad influence on our son and I can tell that keeping him in the environment is having an impact on my son, who is acting up. Just a little bit more than usual, but it's pretty easy for me to see where it's coming from. I want my son to play with someone else.

On the other hand, we feel really bad for this child. He's a fucking child for god's sake. A little kid who comes from a shitty world and probably lives a shittier life than we know. At the beginning of the summer, my wife and I thought we might be able to make a difference in this kids life by modeling constructive behavior for him. It hasn't been working and it's taking a lot out of us.

Any thoughts, ilxors?

kkvgz, Friday, 22 October 2010 01:14 (eleven years ago) link

Like, talking to the dad about the kids behavior is out of the question. He'll probably just holler at him or beat him for it or something. Do you know how to work with extremely troubled youth? Are there good agencies or nonprofits out there I could contact about this kid? I don't even know what I'm looking for, really.

kkvgz, Friday, 22 October 2010 01:20 (eleven years ago) link

Umm... can I be blunt and suggest you call child protective services? If you were a teacher or doctor this would be a Mandatory Reporting issue –- i suggest you protect yourself, your son, and "Chase" by leaving the decision to professionals.

Seriously... call your state's agency and tell them exactly what you told us here: you are (almost) legally obligated to do so.

once a remy bean always a (remy bean), Friday, 22 October 2010 01:23 (eleven years ago) link

I'd tell him he's not allowed to come over anymore until he can keep a civil tongue in his head. You can raise your own kid, but you can't raise your neighbors' kids.

I also think you should have a man-to-man talk with your son, walking a fine line between a peers and father-son. "I'm worried about that kid, but more than that, I'm worried about the acting out he's teaching you. It's not okay. Just because we're not disciplining Chase, it's still not okay, because it's not our job to discipline Chase. But it is our job to discipline you, and if you do stuff because you see him doing it and getting away with it, you're going to find out who's in charge. I love you and I don't want you to turn into the kind of kid who insults and cusses out adults. Now let's watch baseball."

Unfrozen Caveman Board-Lawyer (WmC), Friday, 22 October 2010 01:24 (eleven years ago) link

WmC, we have been upfront across the board with our kid about what's expected from him, etc. etc. The problem with the part of can't raise your neighbors' kids is that my wife was in part raised by her neighbors while her parents were dealing with serious drug-and-alcohol problems, so she feels serious empathy with this kid's plight.

Remy, I'll look into that. I had been thinking about it, but to me the idea of it seems like it's completely overblown or they wouldn't be able to do anything anyway.

kkvgz, Friday, 22 October 2010 01:31 (eleven years ago) link

risk to your own kid vs. benefit to the neighbor kid -- your call, obv.

Unfrozen Caveman Board-Lawyer (WmC), Friday, 22 October 2010 01:39 (eleven years ago) link

Oh yeah, no doubt. It's just that there are conflicted emotions. Plus my kid likes to play with him when he's not being an absolute terror.

kkvgz, Friday, 22 October 2010 01:42 (eleven years ago) link

so many xps

i had a big old post written out but remy and wmc kinda covered it. i also lost it when i hit reload, so

the only thing i would add is: since you are not a mandatory reporter (by law), at least educate yrself on signs/symptoms of child abuse, be it psychological physical etc. most ppl are reluctant (for various good and bad reasons) to blow the whistle on suspected child abuse. talking about why that's the case would be a whole other thread, probably. but: the more you know about what constitutes Real Deal abuse* will likely be empowering if/when you need to act to save this kid from whatever he's dealing with at home.

* this is an ugly binary, and ignores the subtle horrors of trauma, but i'm deploying a "know it when you see it" construction because it's expedient

BIG MUFFIN (gbx), Friday, 22 October 2010 01:43 (eleven years ago) link

word, gbx. I will take that advice. Thank you.

kkvgz, Friday, 22 October 2010 01:47 (eleven years ago) link

also, your wife's take on the issue is important, esp w/r/t a community's reluctance to investigate/report/act against domestic violence. neighbors/relatives/whoever can be valuable and necessary caregivers/raisers of children, but nowadays i feel like it gets weird, legally, and quickly. this isn't growing pains, you know, leo isn't moving in. at a societal level, a certain distance is maintained and agencies like CPS bridge the gap. just knowing where/when that gap should be recognized is the tricky part for parents, is the thing. i'm sure you will figure it out, tho

BIG MUFFIN (gbx), Friday, 22 October 2010 01:48 (eleven years ago) link

lol, this kid will never in his life be mistaken for leonardo dicaprio. hoooooooly shit.

kkvgz, Friday, 22 October 2010 02:02 (eleven years ago) link

have you laid down house rules for this neighbour-kid? like wmc says, maybe tell him 'this is how we do it here, you're a cool kid and we like having you around but you have to choose between following our rules or staying at home'.

just1n3, Friday, 22 October 2010 03:16 (eleven years ago) link

how old's this kid?

avoyoungdro's number (k3vin k.), Friday, 22 October 2010 03:59 (eleven years ago) link

The kid knows how we do things around here. And about 50% of the time, he behaves. If he misbehaves, we send him home, but we usually try to talk things out first. Sometimes he'll open up a little and it turns out that he got in trouble at school. He has framed it as "other kids were picking on me, so I hit them" which is a believable enough story, but based on how I've seen him act with my kid, Chase is usually the instigator.

k3vin k: both kids are six.

I'm totally going to follow through on gbx's advice and educate myself more about the signs of abuse to see if I should call CPS.

Thanks dudes.

kkvgz, Friday, 22 October 2010 09:42 (eleven years ago) link

two weeks pass...

kkvgz update?

Unfrozen Caveman Board-Lawyer (WmC), Wednesday, 10 November 2010 00:49 (eleven years ago) link

UGH, so since then, things got pretty hectic around my house. As I've noted elsewhere, our baby daughter was born Oct. 9 and she had to go back to the hospital a couple of times due to illness. So while she and mommy were in the hospital, I didn't let the kid come over because I mean, hell, my son and I were both extremely stressed out and I just couldn't deal.

Early last week, now that everything has settled down a little better in our family life, we noticed that not only was the neighbor kid not coming around, he wasn't out playing in the street at all, which was his usual habitat. So we're a little worried about him, but we think that custody may have somehow switched to his mother. She has her problems, but we like her better and so does the kid. It's sort of on my wife to check around with the neighbors to see if they've heard anything*, but she's been busy with the baby. One of the neighbors had mentioned that they were going to call social services, so maybe that's it. We really need to follow up with some people, is what it boils down to.

*neither of us feel comfortable approaching the father's house.

kkvgz, Wednesday, 10 November 2010 01:24 (eleven years ago) link

The kid had broken his arm very badly in a fight with another kid on Halloween. He had been staying with his mother while he was out of school. He came over for a few hours yesterday and played with my kid. Both of them played together pretty well. Just gonna have to see how things go and be observant.

kkvgz, Monday, 15 November 2010 19:06 (eleven years ago) link

one month passes...

Just by way of bringing this chapter of the story to a close. xposted from the prison thread.

Suggest Ban Permalink

OK, should xpost this to the hillbilly thread - there are cops at my neighbor's house right now! I might know someone in prison before too long! : )

― rake rock reggae (kkvgz), Monday, December 20, 2010 3:15 PM (2 days ago) Bookmark

The cops were there because he died. I don't have any other details, except that his son who lived with him in those crummy conditions gets to go live with his mom now, which he desperately wanted.

― rake rock reggae (kkvgz), Wednesday, December 22, 2010 6:04 PM (2 minutes ago) Bookmark

rake rock reggae (kkvgz), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 23:11 (eleven years ago) link

:-/

kanellos (gbx), Wednesday, 22 December 2010 23:26 (eleven years ago) link

yeah mega-bummer

aaaaaand to close out the story that started this thread: the teacher who presided over my child's beating had her last day today. she is 4 mos pregnant and is leaving to take time off and pursue her master's/get properly accredited and the whole process of her leaving has made it ABUNDANTLY clear what an incompetent prima donna she is (complaining that the term "discipline" should have no place in the co-op's rules and regulations, demanding that she be able to tell parents, individually and personally, when she was leaving rather than let the board handle it, e-mailing parents about how unlikely it is that the co-cop will be able to find a replacement with her "experience" etc.) just ridiculous behavior, the woman does not know how to leave a job. my wife really had to bite her tongue through the whole process.

twat dust and ego overload (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 23 December 2010 00:33 (eleven years ago) link

Wow.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Thursday, 23 December 2010 00:37 (eleven years ago) link

haha maybe not the first ILP thread you should have clicked on...

twat dust and ego overload (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 23 December 2010 00:45 (eleven years ago) link

Hah well I'd followed this earlier. I will say one of the things I am not looking forward to is dealing with a wider assortment of mentally ill people in San Francisco.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Thursday, 23 December 2010 01:19 (eleven years ago) link

jesus christ can you imagine what her kid is gonna be like?!

just1n3, Thursday, 23 December 2010 02:48 (eleven years ago) link

is it just me who was all 'yay!' when they read kkvgz's asshole neighbor died???

calling planet dearth (sunny successor), Monday, 27 December 2010 06:57 (eleven years ago) link

You would be joining my wife. : ) I was certainly repulsed by and lived in fear of the guy. We had an alarm installed after one incident with him. We seriously considered buying a gun for home-defense.

But like in many, if not most, abusive relationships, he wasn't 100% always an asshole to his kid. So the memories of him hollering at the boy and the squalid and dangerous conditions the poor kid had to live in are offset a little by memories of the man fixing up the old dune buggy he kept in his yard and taking the little boy out for ice-cream this summer. It's a balance. I imagine the kid's memories of his dad will be bittersweet and Christmas might be a more difficult time of year to deal with now.

It's all I can do to hope that the boy's life gets better from here. I don't know how much better it will get, but I'm pretty sure it will.

kkvgz, Monday, 27 December 2010 13:16 (eleven years ago) link

(all of which as a way of saying that I'm not exactly all "yay", but more just like cautiously optimistic)

kkvgz, Monday, 27 December 2010 13:33 (eleven years ago) link

why wasnt he living with his mom in the first place?

calling planet dearth (sunny successor), Tuesday, 28 December 2010 08:05 (eleven years ago) link


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