and then there is this potential

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    neighborhood issue...

    So, difficult child just gets off the ankle bracelet and gets a little freedom back. He had been able to play and ride his bike right in front of the house, but that was it for 4 mos. He's lost his best (really his only) friend, so he has no place to go to hang out with kids his own age that I approve of in this neighborhood.

    We live on a cul-de-sac at the end of a street that is about 1 to 1 1/2 blocks long. All the kids, which range in ages from 2 to 15 play in the street. The 15 yo is a girl with a major weight problem, and she is out walking a lot because she's really working on losing weight. difficult child is next, at 13, then the next is a boy about 10-11. The 15 yo really is only out there occassionally.

    The mom of two younger ones (7 and 5), who happen to be the younger siblings of the 15 yo, had told difficult child a couple of weeks ago that she didn't want difficult child playing with her kids. Used to, difficult child would try to toss a nerf ball or play hide-and-seek with the ones from 5-10yo, but the mom wanted that to stop with difficult child. She doesn't mind if her younger ones still play with the 10 yo.

    It hurt difficult child's feelings because it isn't like he's trying to "hang out" with a 5 and 7 yo, it is that the kids are just playing in the cul-de-sac like neighborhood kids do and he doesn't understand why the 10-11 yo can run out there, but he can't. I told him just stay away, but they are playing all over the street and they come and ask difficult child to play or pass ball, etc. difficult child speaks to them to be polite and I have told him that they don't own the street- he shouldn't play with them, but he can ride his bike or whatever, he doesn't have to come inside just because they are out there.

    Today, all of them were out- including the 15 yo. So, difficult child went and talked to her a bit. Then, he asked if he could go for a walk with her and I said sure (he could stand to lose weight too). She went inside for a few mins before they left- the next thing I know, difficult child is out there passing ball with the 2 younger siblings, plus a 7 yo and the 7 yo's parent. I called him over and he said he was waiting on O. She came out, then they went for a walk. About that time, here comes the Mom out and she starts talking to the 7 yo's parent.

    I just have a concern that the Mom is going to make issue over difficult child being around at all. I'm sure that she is concerned if she's heard him rage at some point or if she saw him walking on the roof a few mos ago when he was manic, or maybe she's seen county cars over here through this legal ordeal. But, difficult child has NEVER done anything out of line around any of those kids and they are always where many parents can see them- never inside anyone's house alone. Her kids have never even needed a bandaid as a result of difficult child.

    I just hate for him to end up feeling pushed away and "rejected" because of this. Yet, I don't know the mom well enough to talk to her about it.

    Any suggestions?
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    What if you were to go out with difficult child a few times to sort of supervise in an unobtrusive way when he's out there? Do some yard work or just hang out in the front yard sipping some lemonade, watching all the kiddies play? Surely the neighbor wouldn't have the nerve to meddle in who's playing with whom if another adult, especially YOU, are out there? That might pacify her enough to let the kids be kids.
  3. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I think the only way things are going to have a chance of working out is for you to talk to her. Tell as much as you feel comfortable discussing with an emphasis on the fact that you know he has problems, you take responsibility for his actions and you would never put another child at risk.

    Honestly, if it were my daughter out there playing and a young teen wanted to play with her I would look twice. If I then found he had a "history" of whatever nature, it would take some serious reassurance from the parents before I would let my child be near this teen. I would also want to protect other kids in the neighborhood and would warn their parents of what I knew (no embellishment, just what I personally knew).

    I know it hurts when our kids are forbidden to play with others but I did understand when this happened to my daughter -- she would rage at home and at school. Many parents found this frightening. It didn't help that she'd stolen little things from some of the kids. It made for a very lonely childhood until I went out of my way to reassure the parents that (1) the raging would never happen at another person's home nor in our home when their child was there -- just something my little one would not do and (2) I was are of the thefts, had been the one to report and would be sure to let them know if she was to start with this type of behavior again. This did help in allowing the kids to come to our home although they were not comfortable having her in theirs.

    It wasn't easy to do but the choice was have the discussion and hope the parent would have some compassion to give her a chance. I hope you can find a solution before this mother makes him a total neighborhood pariah.
  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If you feel comfortable I like the idea of talking to the mom like MB suggested and/or being outside with them like gvc mom suggested. Our difficult children sure do have a tough road. Sending hugs your way-I know it hurts when are kids are actually acting appropriately and still run into problems.
  5. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I wish I had suggestions. My difficult child was so ostracized by every parent from our neighborhood, it was heartbreaking. The only thing that seemed to help, at times, was building a relationship with the parent. Unfortunately, difficult children own actions caused the relationships to end sooner or later. Ugh.

    If there was one problem I wish I could have solved it was/is this one. Now he is 17 and completely void of friendships. However, it is almost like he wants that - because he seems to know that he always makes a choice that severs them. Maybe someday, when parents are no longer an issue he will be able to forge a relationship that he can sustain.

    Sorry I am rambling about me...........I can just so empathize:mad:
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Steely & Sharon! This evening turned out like this- difficult child came back from his walk with O. I guess they had a chat about teen issues and she told difficult child that she had been through some of the stuff he's dealing with now (this is stuff about kids at day camp giving him a hard time- not mental health major stuff or legal trouble). Then, while all the kids and a couple of parents were still outside, the ice cream truck was heard going through the neighborhood, and all the kids wanted him to come down our street. difficult child had no money because he spent it on his field trip, but he rode his bike off our street to try to get the ice cream truck to come to the cul-de-sac. Eventually, the truck came and the 7 yo's dad (not one of THE mom's kids, but a different one), bought difficult child an ice cream because he told difficult child he knew he tried to get the truck here for the other kids. And the 10 yo boy's mom patted difficult child on the back and told him she knew he tried.

    So, difficult child came in pretty happy and "bragging" about how some people on the street liked him and knew that he tried. I was happy for him, of course, but worry how this could end up. So, maybe this is an ice-breaker of sorts. If a couple of parents are ok and giving him a little chance and the 15 yo tells her Mom that he isn't so bad, maybe it will help soften the blow.

    but, how do I tell people that my son might be BiPolar (BP) and he has times when he needs to be watched and watched out for, but that he isn't that way all the time? When he is, I get him to a psychiatric hospital or take measures to keep everyone safe.

    I like the idea of hanging out more around them all. I have been sitting on the porch to keep an eye out- they see me there, I'm sure.
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Do you even have to tell them he's BiPolar (BP)? Why not just say he's got some emotional problems if it comes up. He takes medications, he's under a doctor's care, you're doing everything you can to help him. What more do they need to know? Beyond that, I doubt most people would even understand. You are really the only one who is concerned about watching/watching out for him -- unless you think somehow any of the neighbors might be considered someone you could enlist as an ally to look after difficult child when you're not home? I guess you have to ask what your goal is. If there are specific behaviors you want them to be aware of in the event he is having an episode and you need to be contacted... that might be something to broach with them at some point.

    I'm really glad he had some positive interactions with the people out there today. It's little things like that -- flagging down the icecream truck, acknowledgement from other adults that he did something nice for others -- that can go a long way towards building relationships. I hope he gets more chances for people to see what a nice kid he can be.
  8. threebabygirls

    threebabygirls New Member

    When you saw the mom come out to speak to the other parent, maybe it had nothing to do with your son. I'm like you; I tend to immediately think it's something about my difficult child, but let's face it: few people other than our immediate families think of little else than our difficult children 24/7.
    I like the idea of you just being visible for awhile outside, seeing how things pan out. Hopefully your son and the 15 y.o. can bond over similar teenage issues and the mom will get to know your difficult child through her daughter. If you do talk to the mom, I agree with gcv. I wouldn't mention BiPolar (BP) unless I'd really gotten to know her well.
    I'm glad for your difficult child that he had a good evening!
  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I like the idea of "emotional issues" instead of "BiPolar (BP)". I guess my mind went immediately to "OMG, I have to tell them everything about him", but I guess I don't.

    I would want them to feel comfortable telling me if they ever saw difficult child doing things that weren't quite right, instead of just whisking their kids inside. Of course, I don't expect them to babysit him or watch out for him like protecting him or being responsible for him. I guess I'd like to gradually educate them like we advocate for our kids- you know, so they ultimately get the point that a kid who is unstable sometimes warrants letting the parent know what you've seen and yes, protect your own kids, but you don't have to panic and black-list the kid forever.

    I might be dreaming too much on that one- I guess I should stick to what you all suggest to start out with!
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't think "emotional issues" is a good way to put it. The parents can then think "He's a pervert" or "The parents hurt him emotionally in some way." I would say "neurological issues" and we are trying to control them with medication and teaching him self-control (even if it's not true). Neurology scares people less than "mental illness" even though neurology and psychiatric are closely intertwined...most people don't "get it." They think psychiatric means "dangerous."
  11. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    On the same page as MWM. Try going out and making small talk a few times. Get to know her a little better. That's the way I did it around here and now I even have the "Married to the Mob Mom" waving at me when she drives by.

    You know, she's probably got her own paranoia going on with her 15 year old daughter. Moms of chubby teens suffer more guilt in this day and age that she might also feel better having someone who's child has issues to talk to as well. All 3 of mine are "chunky" and so many moms with kids who are "plus sized" talk to me about how bad they feel all of the time.

    Try being friendly and engaging and if she asks questions, I'd hit the neurological angle. People are less threatened.

  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That sounds good Beth & MWM!! Maybe I'll have a chance this weekend. I'll take it slow so it doesn't look too forward. I have some yardwork to do so I can use that. Yesterday went much better for difficult child than I expected so maybe his improvement in social assertiveness can keep things moving in the right direction.

    Thanks everyone! Great suggestions, as always!

    I guess my first thought of walking up to Mom and saying, "well, he has a mood disorder- we think he might be BiPolar (BP) but don't worry, when I think he's a danger to self or others, I get him in psychiatric hospital, that is, if he isn't already in detention", probably wouldn't make her feel a lot more comfortable at this point! LOL!
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    You've gotten some great advice. I would definitely introduce myself to the mom and try to spend some time out there. I agree that you could tell her he has some issues but you don't have to be specific.