Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What would you do?

There is a park we like that is a very quick walk from our house. There are many houses who have a backyard that is almost the small park. But some are pretty far away, yet still are in the same grassy area. There is a little boy that keeps showing up. He is four. He lives at one of the houses described, but his is almost the furthest away. I've seen this little boy many times. Yet, we've seen his mom maybe twice. There are rules here on post about how old a kid can be to be unsupervised. Obviously, four years old is still a bit young (note the sarcasm) to be unsupervised. I've told him that his mom needs to be out there. His older seven year old sister informed us that her dad is deployed (which means nothing to me. whether or not her husband is deployed does not inhibit or take away from her responsibility to her child), and that their baby sister was sick. So, if you as a parent cannot go out, don't send out your kids. She could sit outside her house and listen and watch, which isn't ideal, but I can live with that. The other day, their back door was shut, and I watched the house for a while looking for movement of any kind in the windows. There was none. Today, she was standing at the back screen door one or twice, but that door is made mostly of glass and she wouldn't be able to hear anything unless she opened the door. Last time I saw them, I had told them that their mom needs to be out there. Today, that little boy came up to us (I was with a friend) and told us to mind our own business. Well, I don't think so. It is completely my business when her son is throwing sand at our children, and coming up to us to ask for snacks and drinks. The next time I go to the park, and that little boy comes out, I'm going to go to her back door and ask very nicely for her to come out and watch her four year old. The seven year old, as much as she still needs to be supervised, knows enough (I hope) to not go in the road (which is right next to this park) and to be more or less well behaved. But I've had to correct both of their behaviors at one time or another. I have a feeling that this woman might give me a problem when I ask her to come out. I have a notice that housing sent out with the rules about kids, and how old they can be to be left alone. So, I'm not making it up. This keeps happening to me when we go to parks on post. I'm tired of it. So, would you do the same? And what would you say? I don't want to allow it to get angry, and I want to stay calm (which can be really hard for me to do!). I'm all ears for your advice.......

10 comments:

Shelly! said...

I've already told you my advice and I think she's about two strikes past when you should have said something :)

Do it for your sake. Like I already said, you don't want/need the liability of that little boy in your hands.

Nicole said...

I would let it go unless he is causing trouble. Throwing sand would fall into that category, I guess, and if I were to go talk to his mom that is the direction I would take the conversation.

The fact that his dad is deployed counts a lot in my book. Until you've been there you have no idea how draining that is. That hour she gets when the older kids are at the playground and the baby is napping might be all that is keeping her from losing it.

But I also think the post rules are pretty arbitrary. I don't think that a 10 year old needs "direct supervision" yet that is what the post rules require. When Michelle was 4 I let her play at the playground without always being out there. I could see her from inside my house and I was close enough that if something were to happen I could take care of it.

The whole reason to live on post is to be able to have the community support you when you need it. Unless you feel that those kids are in imminent danger, or they are a danger to others, the only thing you will accomplish by confronting their mother is being "that woman" in the neighborhood. I know you don't want that.

Let it be. Give the mom the benefit of the doubt. Help ease her burdens. Don't add to them.

Just my 2¢ but life's too short to worry about other people's parenting.

Nicole said...

And oh yeah - as for liabilty, that's where those post regulations come in. The MPs don't go around enforcing the child supervision policy, but if something WERE to happen the liability would be on the parents. THAT is the main reason they have those rules. To protect the Army and other people from lawsuits. Sad but true.

MommyK said...

If you do decide to approach her, try to be overly nice. Maybe I'm playing devil's advocate, but she could be suffering from depression or something and maybe sending the kids out to play is the only thing that is keeping her sane.

You could maybe phrase it as "your son was asking us for snacks and we don;t have any extra. Could you come out so he doesn't feel left out?" If you go in with guns blazing, even if she's guilty as hell, she won't be receptive, KWIM?

Terina said...

nicole, i thought the rules were for keeping kids safe!!! that is so sad that the rules are mostly for that. i've decided that i'll try and go to a different park, but if we go to that one, AND the kids is there, i won't say anything. UNLESS he starts to throw sand, use naughty words, or hit anyone. then i'll march him up to his back door and let his mom deal with it. but i still don't think that having your husband deployed is a good enough reason to let your kid play at a park, next to a road, who is four years old, without supervision. i know for a fact that she isn't watching him. cause i've watched the house. she's not checking.....

Fort Skinner said...

some parents just don't care.
I didn't realize you were so confrontational! You go girl! I couldn't do it. I do hate when stranger kids ask for food and drink from me though. Don't you feel kind of sorry for the kid - I bet he needs a friend.

Terina said...

i do feel sorry for him. thats whats hard. and i wouldn't mind sharing snacks with him if i knew his mom, and i wouldn't be choosing to be upset if this mom would come out, talk to us, ask us to watch him because of (fill in the blank), thank us, and give us some guidelines regarding her kids. life is never the ideal....

emily said...

ugh! that's tough!! I don't have any good advice... just wanted to send an "I support you" comment your way.

:(

Jen said...

My DH is not deployed, but he does work out of town a lot. Just because I'm tired doesn't mean I don't have to watch the kids. For my kids, that means when I don't feel like watching them outside, we don't go out.

I think you should say something to the mother, or report it anonymously to someone in charge who could bring it up to her.

We have some neighbors whose children I've seen up on the roof of their house running around. I said to a friend, "Don't you think we should tell N that her kids are on the roof?" My friend said, "The sad thing is, that N wouldn't even care, she's a very laid back parent."

In my book, there's a point where it is more than just not supervising, its neglect.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is everywhere huh??
I guess mentioning to the mom the Regulations about Children playing on post unsupervised. Maybe make her a copy. Here the MPs have started grabbing kids and brining them home and Citing the parents. Good! Is all I say. Even if you Dh or Dw if deployed it doesn't mean you can slack you need to step up. Good luck!

a past park mate!