ADVICE NEEDED PLEASE! Feeling somewhat upset and uncertain just now after a difficult conversation with my immediate neighbours - who have never been as outwardly warm and welcoming as the other people in my village. To make a long story short, the relationship is made difficult because of contention over parking space and the very bad (non-existent) soundproofing which means that we hear all that goes on in our respective houses - and these are people who do not talk but shout and scream... But that isn't the issue here. During a rather fraught conversation that I had today with the man of the couple about the fact that he never leaves space for me to park, he said all sorts of things about J - that "everyone" in the village complains about him (I know that this is an exaggeration but still...), that I am not educating him, that I don't monitor him, that he has heard all these stories about terrible things he has done at school. What stories? Why have the teacher and assistants never told me about this if it is true?? He said I make excuses for him because he is hyperactive but that he has a hyperactive nephew and his parents make sure he behaves... This is the nature of villages. And this village is no exception - people talk all the time and a lot of it is misinformation, idle gossip that has got twisted... A lot of the things I have heard are complete nonsense! I am of course taking this with something of a pinch of salt but it still hits home. And fears and hesitations and doubts arise... The main one of these questions is whether I have done the right thing in taking J away from Morocco and his family there, and my ex-husband. I feel he really does need a father, a male influence - is there something in this notion that he is "going off the rails" because I am not strong enough to contain him or simply because a woman alone cannot do that? When we were married, my ex-husband often behaved dreadfully and was a terrible example for any child. He seems to have changed somewhat - for many months now he talks to me in a civilised, respectful way, seems concerned and loving about J. He has little or no understanding about hyperactivity but has said J needs a father. I feel disturbed by all this. I know J behaves in ways in public that I don't like, that are not acceptable (he has kicked my neighbour's car when he told him off, for example) and that he is just wilder than French kids who are highly disciplined and well behaved. The French think English kids are very badly brought up, for example, because we generally allow them much more leeway and are more casual in our approach. So we were kind of onto a losing ticket from the beginning... Also I have had a lot of trouble keeping him near the house - the top of the village where we live is safe in that there are no cars that come here and other children do roam around to some extent playing (but they are more well behaved) and he has got used to the run of the place. He is so difficult to keep in - like a teenager wanting to run off and do his own thing. And he is only four! But he is so self-confident in this way, so independent... He really is seen as a difficult child by people at large... Those who know him better see all his sweet, affectionate, endearing side but generally he is already experiencing a lot of rejection. I do not want this to continue for him. I don't want him to become an excluded outsider because of his behaviour. Does he need a father? What to do for the best??