Tuesday

Little Neighborhood Boy a Bother Because of Mindless Mother

OPINION
I have been a nanny for almost a year now and I love the family I work for. My only concern with my job is the neighbors, or specifically the neighbor's child. Nearly every day I am working, the little neighbor boy (just turned 5), walks across the street and rings the doorbell asking to play. At first I allowed him to come in and play with the 4 year old I am in charge of. After awhile I got sick of being the neighbor's free babysitter, as she never invited my charge over to play, so I only allowed the children to play outside together. Although I was still watching both children I wasn't having to clean up the messes. (I discussed all these issues with MB, who agreed with what I had decided) It wasn't until the weather got nicer that this problem arose and it has gotten to a point where I am worried about the safety of the neighbor child.

When my charge has to come in for a meal this child has stood in the garage and waited for 20-30 mins for my charge to return outside to play. Today, he came by and rang the doorbell, but my charge had lost her privilege to have friends over for misbehaving for her mother. I sent him on his way. Twenty minutes later I received a text from MB asking if the neighbor child was over at the house because his mother couldn't find him. He had walked about 1/4 mile down the road (they live in a acreage development, so there is only a few houses on this stretch of road) to another friends house and was riding a scooter outside without any other children or adults around. I guess I am at a loss of what to do. I know he is not my responsibility, but I can't stand to see this go on. Any advice? - Anonymous

15 comments:

Caring Mom All Day said...
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MissDeeIsInLove said...

Mom is right. He is not your responsibility, but his parents. And based on what you wrote, it's clear they are irresponsible.

Days and times have changed. When I was a kid, I was outside all day, and I fondly remember my grandmother standing on the porch calling me to come inside. I was usually within a three block radius of home, so I could hear her call me. If I wanted to ride my bike somewhere, I would stop at home and let her know where I would be and who I would be with.

The next time he shows up at MB's house, I would walk him back over to his parents. Make something up about having something to do or somewhere to be in a short time, and that he cannot play. I don't think she would stand at the window and verify you are leaving, at least I hope she wouldn't. I would keep sending him back over and she will get the message. You could also plan one day a month for a playdate, which is better than watching him all the time.

Keep us updated!

Dr. Juris said...

This child is five and the mother is neglecting him. I'd personally call CPS, because he could get swooped up by a kidnapper, hit by a vehicle, or fall into a body of water and drown. There is no excuse for letting a child that young wander around without adult supervision.

BrooklynMomma said...

I completely agree with Caring Mom All Day. In this situation I would ask MB to help be the buffer between you and the child's mother and basically state that this boy's mom should join in on playdates otherwise he can't come over. You are being used as free babysitting and its not right or fair. As well, heaven forbid something happens to this child and it will of course be your fault since you are the only adult with him.

Laura said...

Caring Mom is absolutely right. It's sad, but the little boy should not be allowed on the property anymore when you are there. Focus on yourself and your charge only.

Calanna said...

I completely agree with CMAD. Stay far away from this kid... it's a lawsuit waiting to happen.

However -- I would call CPS just to discuss the situation. Not necessarily to file a report, but to ask for their advice. I have done this in the past and they are great about respecting your anonymity.

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

I know this is hard, but truthfully, you are not a bit responsible for this little boy. What a sad situation to see, and it would be tough for me as well not to get involved somehow.

If it REALLY bothers you, you can opt to speak to his mother, however I warn you doing so may not be so pleasant.

Just try to reinforce yourself that as much as you would like to, unfortunately none of us has the power to save the world.

You sound like a wonderful and caring human being. ♥

Put your foot down said...

Through the ages there has been this kid and often his siblings too that wander the block looking for someone to play with or someone to talk to. Part of me has taken the "it takes a village," point of view, the other part has been like, ok it's time to get honest with the child and his parent. If they come over every day and stay till you send them home, that's too much. Tell child's mom one day (or whatevers your ok with) a week to come over and play is enough that you have other things to do and it's exhausting to watch both children. When the child comes over and it's not a good time say "it's not a good time for us, you need to go home now.". If the mom is texting you, text her that you can't play today, no reason is needed! Just say, "sorry, not today!" If the children get along and are neighbors it's important to keep a friendly relationship. Outside time is best, but an hour inside with clean up at the end of playdate is perfect. Send the child home when playdate is over and text mom that you've sent her child home and you'll see him next week. There's no reason to call CPS, the mom thinks your watching her kid, you must be clear if your not. It's ok to walk the child home and tell the mom, today isn't going to work for us. If your really concerned about the child's saftey talk to the mom and share you concerns about child molesters, kidnappers and getting hit by a car, just talking about the reality of a young child wandering the neighborhood alone might scare her enough to watch her child more.

RBTC said...

i grew up in the free range days and 5 is way to young to not be watched - that is serious neglect.

In a rural area - 7 or 8 years maybe, but - look at jaycee dugard - this is a disaster waiting to happen and it's horribly sad

Caring Mom All Day said...
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Anonymous said...

Everyone above is correct; It is not your responsblity. If I were in your shoes, I would make it clear to the MB that you feel uncomfortable having him there because if something does happen, his mother will be coming after you.

I was in somewhat of the same position a few weeks ago where the mom neighbor would send over her two little children on a daily basis bringing my total to five kids. The little boy who is 6 and the 4 year old that I watch got into a tussle and the 6 year old got a very very tiny cut on his arm (a bandaid was all he needed) but when I sent him home she went ballestic and threatened to call the cops for child abuse and sent nasty texts to both my and my MB. After that incident, neither of he kids are allowed over at the house I watch.

Good luck!

--Southern nanny

Lyn said...

I agree with RBTC. I also grew up in a rural area (right on the Chesapeake bay, just outside of Virginia Beach) and after I hit about, probably 7-8 I was a free range kid. My parents always knew roughly where I was and I knew to stay close enough to home that I could hear them calling me in from the big wrap-a-round porch or ringing the cattle bell (we had no cows at the time, haha. They bought it just so I could hear them). Lots of exploring the woods, laying in fields and watching clouds, going on long walks down dirt roads, catching crabs, crawfish and playing in mud. I can't imagine a better childhood! I hope that we end up up in the same sort of setting so that I'll be comfortable letting my kids have that too. It was wonderful.

That being said, most people do not live in an area like the one I grew up in. Most people live in suburbs and near highways, with fenced in back yards and with neighbors (my family had over 75 acres of property). If you are a "free-range" parent then that's not necessarily a bad thing. But you have to have common sense when it comes to where you live, your kids, and your parenting style. Too many people just assume that because they live in a "nice" suburb nothing bad could ever happen and yet everyday we hear about another missing child, another sexual predator, another body found, usually in or right beside one of those same 'nice' suburbs. There are much safer places to live where you can be confident in your choice to free range. A suburb, is not one of them.

Calanna said...

No, you didn't offend me at all, CMAD. Not everyone agrees with my advice to call CPS to ask for their input on the situation. But typically, CPS is so overwhelmed as it is, they are not going to eagerly pursue every phone call unless it is something very serious. However, they might have some helpful input to offer.

I have done this once in the past, on a neighbor of mine. She was a single mom and worked the evening shift (3pm-11pm). She did not have a land line phone, nor did she leave a cell phone behind when she left for work each day. So her two daughters (ages 5 and 8) were alone with no way to call for help, five evenings a week. I was appalled and asked CPS if this were illegal and something I should report.

At no time did they pressure me to reveal my neighbor's identity... in fact they said there wasn't much they could do about it because in my state there are no laws about what age you can leave children home alone. However, they did make several suggestions about how I might approach my neighbor regarding the situation.

In the end, unfortunately, nothing changed and I worried about those two little girls all the time and tried to keep an eye on their place, but I wasn't always home every evening. It was a sad situation all around.

nycmom said...

Calanna,

That is my experience with CPS also. I have called them many times related to work and generally they try to be as UNinvolved as possible. They are busy and would rather triage the situation over the phone to try to avoid an investigation unless absolutely necessary.

Caring Mom All Day said...
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