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Am I being nosey or am I doing the right thing?

3593 Views 41 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  GaryDebs
My 8 year old has recently had 2 kids (a brother and sister) showing up here everyday wanting to play with her. They live on the next block - one is in 3rd grade (8 yrs old) and one is in 1st grade (6 yrs old). They are sweet, yet horribly unsupervised children.

Every day they come over - one with no socks, one never has on a jacket. They never look "clean" - Today they came over again, the boy had on the same clothes as yesterday (no coat again - 40 degrees outside and he's riding his bike) and the girl unmatched with no socks on, in her pajama pants and a lite sweater. I came to the door and asked them "Where are your coats, guys? Aren't you freezing?" They said "No". I then asked them who was home watching them and they said their mom, but she was sleeping.

As a mother, several things come to mind:
Are these kids supervised and taken care of?
Does their mom sleep all day long and that's why these kids look like this?
Does she sleep all day because she is a single mom, overwhelmed by the demands of raising children by herself?
Does she sleep all the time during the day? Does she work nights?

Not sure what to do, and didn't want to come off as a nosey neighbor, but you know what? From what I've seen so far these kids run the neighborhood too far from home unsupervised and always look unclean and not taken care of. So, I went over to their house - I drove up and down the street until I found it. What I saw was mortifying, sad, and now I feel like I don't know what to do.

The house was in complete and total squalor, for starters. Sh!t everywhere. Food, clothes, dirty dishes, crap as far as the eye could see. 2nd, the kids came to the door and let me in, I stood in the door way while they "woke up mom" - She came out, I shook her hand, introduced myself and asked her if I could speak to her in private.

We went in her bedroom and talked for 10 minutes. During the conversation I asked her if she needed help - if she was overwhelmed - if there was anything I could do for her - if there were any family members who could help her, etc. SHe took my # from me and explained that she is recovering from surgery - O.K. understandable why she would be sleeping during the day. But still the kids were totally unsupervised and that is just WRONG.

The most horrifying part comes next...

After 10 minutes of talking to the mom in her bedroom while the door was closed she opens the door and brings me in the kitchen to meet "the baby". Yes friends, there was a 15 month old sitting in the highchair in the kitchen with Zwieback crackers on her high chair, hapy as a clam, eating away. The part that bothers me is this: We were talking for 10 minutes and the baby was in the high chair unsupervised, she was sleeping in the bedroom with the door shut when i came to her house and the baby was obviously in the high chair with snacks unsupervised. I'm sure the older kids (8 & 6 mind you) helped mom watch the baby, but that is not their responsibility. And they were not helping mom watch the baby when they were at my house earlier today.

What do I do?

Do I "pop in" unexpected again in a few days to see if the situation is still the same? Am I over reacting? Do I get the principal at the school involved in checking up (then, I'm quite sure Child Protective Services will be called) - I don't want to have that cross on my shoulders but MOST IMPORTANTLY my GUT FEELING today told me to go over there and see what the hell is going on ~ and you know what? My intuition was right, it was pretty sad.

So, what do you guys think? Stay on top of it - ignore it - don't make a mountain out of a molehill (although how could you NOT) - offer help (did that today) - any other suggestions?


ps. Makes me THANK GOD for my sense of self in terms of being responsible and being a good parent. This could be any of us in this situation.
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I don't know what being a parent is like and the overwhelming responsibilities. However, ask the kids some questions about what is going on around there non-challantly. I do know that children are brutally and innocently honest. If you don't like what you hear I believe you need to take the situation to a higher level.

I don't think you are making a mountain out of a mole hill after what you saw. If you were jumping to these conclusions without going over there then yes I would say you were making a huge mountain. Always, trust your instincts and intuition, never go against it.

Damn, I should have stayed in Social Work. This situation makes me mad. You are not the only one.
Shannon, I don't think you can let this go. Maybe a few unexpected visits would be good, then calling the proper people if you don't see improvment. Best of luck, thats a hard call to make. But you proably wouldn't be able to live with your self if something were to happend. Does there appear to be a father in the picture? We have a cousin who is a foster parent right now for a homeless girl. They spent Easter with us, now my heart has been heavy since.
Hey Shandog!

Well if your going to let your kids go over there and play, you have every right to keep an eye on the situation. I wouldn't get anyone else invloved unless the kids are being harmed. You would feel horrible if you told the principal and the kids got pulled away from there mom. Who knows what would happen to them then. But I would definately keep checking in and making sure the situation isn't getting worse.
Makes me angry

I am a NINJA parent...always vigilant
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Thanks for the great advice and words of wisdom so far guys -

For the record, I have NEVER let Danielle go play over there. I like to go meet the parents first - and call me crazy, or tell me I've watched too much Oprah in the past - but at the first meeting of the kids' parents at their house I ask them if there is a gun in the house and where is it kept.

I'm too anal - and, Danielle will NEVER go over there and play. I have the house where the kids are always here because we're right across from the playground and we have the trampoline, and, well, Mrs. Gino is just cool so the kids hang here. Sometimes it gets to be a bit too much and I need a break - especially when work and homework is piled up and there are 8 little heathens on the trampoline. But hey, I know the kids are ok here and in good hands. Next time I roll my eyes in frustration about having a housefull of kids AGAIn, I'll think twice - It's safe over here and that should be the most important thing to me.

Thanks again for the advice
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What more do you have to see? If you noticed just one or two of the things then maybe wait and see. What if some creep notices these kids and they just let him in the house? I would call child protective services and I would probably feel a little guilty, but I would feel more guilty if I waited and something happend. Just my .02 from what I've read.
I would be careful about letting your kids go over to their house and I'd also keep a close eye and ear on them while they are playing with your children. If the situation is as bad as it sounds, those kids may not be taught the difference between right and wrong and their habits could have a negative influence your children...

There are plenty of financially, less fortunate people out there that still find the time to care for their children. Maybe you should give a drive by at night and see if the mother is burning the midnight oil then neglecting her children during the day. If that is the case, her lack of parenting skills could have a negative influence on your children. Especially if she is into drugs or prostitution...

My .02
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Shandog, your instincts are always infallible. My advice is to continue on your path doing what feels right and you can't go wrong.
All I can say is wow

How can a mother let her little children run recklessly through a neigborhood, grant it, it is not a bad neighborhood, but none the less, they are young, little kids, they need supervision, and there are alot of crazies out there, as soon as i read this, i thought they could be one of those kids on a milk carton, or flyer you get in the mail for missing children. Or someone innocent can get hurt here to (other than the kids) like a motorist, may be driving down the street. doing the 25mph or less posted speed limit, and one of those un supervised children could easily pop out intoi the street, and get hit, injured, or killed. Then youy have an innocent child, and a innocent motorist involved. i know how bad i would feel if they would get hit by me...

so i belive you are correct to pop in, as your children are playing over there, or have your children, invite them over, you can pick them up for play time, then return them, maybe get their mom to bring them around too, to see how it is supposed to be done, clean house, supervision, ect....
i really don't know what else to say, but i would definitley keep an eye on the situation, when your kids are involved. you have a kind heart shandog, but, sorry to say, you can't help everyone, and especially those who won't help themselves. i know you will make the correct decisions when the time calls for it.
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I know back when my uncle, aunt and cousins lived 5 houses down from my parents a few years ago, they had kids just like that next door. They were all about that same age. Those kids would actually say or try to do naughty perverted things to/with my little cousins. Can you believe it AT THAT AGE!!?!
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Shandog, you're not being nosey in the least. You are to be COMMENDED! Most people (especially a single mother such as yourself) wouldn't have the freakin' BALLS to approach a stranger in that way! You kick MAJOR a$$ for that! As a parent, I too am very anal about my child's safety. They way I see it, if you're not concerend about your children's safety you shouldn't have them. I see everyone's points so far, but I agree most with Budcouch so far. And I'll take it a step farther and say if it were me I'd call CPS or the school immediately! If these kids are roaming the streets who's to say they're not ALREADY being harmed? If no adult is there to supervise them on their trips through the neighborhood, then how would anyone know where they may be spending their time? In some sick-o's house, who's doing God knows what to them??!!! Stealing from party stores 'cause they're hungry??? Breaking things or breaking into things 'cause "they can"???? Yes they're little, but let's not be naive. Kids NEED supervision. Otherwise the legal age would be 6 or whatever.

I'm sorry, but this has got my fur up! I don't care what surgery that woman had, as far as I'm concerned those children, ALL CHILDREN, need to be loved and protected. And to me it doesn't look like they are. And a baby!!! 15 months is TOO DAMN YOUNG to be left unsupervised. Anyone with a brain would know that. Maybe the mother had a labotomy, that's the surgery that's screwing up her judgement, I don't know.

Again, I apologize for getting so worked up, but you asked for opinions and that is mine.

PS - I wish you lived in my neighborhood, Shandog. You sound like the type of parent I want my child playing with. A REAL parent. One that LOVES their children! You'll do the right thing, Shandog, you're a good person!

I'm not normally ninja, but I too am always vigilant, as my friend Ninja Neeley says.
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WoW Campari ~ Thanks

She seemed very receptive to me, and not offended by my popping in at all. That's what's weird. She did act like she definitely loves her children - I could see that - she just needs a lot of fine tuning. In the mean time, however, the kids are the main concern and that's what I will watch out for. And, I will take careful thought to question them in a non-threatening, investigative way to find out what goes on behind closed doors next time they are over here playing.

Thanks Again!
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Does the elementary school or the district have a social worker? If so, that person may already know of the situation. Also, the social worker could give you some guidance or talk to the mom and/or kids.

I don't think you're being nosy. I think you care.

I wouldn't wait more than two weekes for things to change. and plan on talking to someone at the school in the meantime.
That 15 month old was proabably put in the high chair so it couldn't wander around the house eating sh!t.
It will be 15 and 1/2 months old in two more weeks
.....only two more weeks of your life spent in that high chair, little one, and soon you'll be free.....
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I agree Shandog,
You need to take this to a higher level. Those kids need to be supervised. I was apauled when I read the part about the 15 month old baby in the high chair. Child protective services should be notified.

I may be a little late in my response, but i think you must call someone on this right away.

I have 2 small children one 5 and one 2, and i don't care what kind of circumstances the mother is going through, there is absolutely no reason for these kids to be treated like this. My oldest boy is 5 and i have a problem letting him play in his room by himself for 2 minutes for fear he'll jump out the window. I can't imagine a 15 month old baby by itself at a high chair. Imagine the horrible things that could happen.

If it was me, I'd make a call right away. I would not want the responsibility of knowing i could of stopped something from happening!!
Ask yourself this question: If something happens to those kids can you live with yourself?

I couldn't I would be doing what you are!
QUOTE(pirlgirl @ Apr 22 2003, 03:24 PM).....only two more weeks of your life spent in that high chair, little one, and soon you'll be free.....

Oh my God. Brought a tear to the eye.
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