Verbal abuse of a toddler

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Malika, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I just wanted to vent about something - nothing anyone can really "do" in terms of advice. So I hope that's okay... :)
    I live in a house that is part of what was originally one big house. This means that my sitting room - where I am for much of the day, working - is directly above my neighbours' sitting room. They are a youngish couple (in their twenties I think) with a little girl who has just had her second birthday. They are a strange pair, not liked in the village, and I have had my share of problems with them although since I complained about their behaviour, to them and the town hall, they have been much more civil and friendly. Anyway... the mother doesn't work and is at home all day with the little girl. Because of the terrible sound quality between the two houses, I hear everything that goes on (alas). All day, constantly, she is screaming at the child with venom and hatred in her voice, sounding like a drill sergeant - it seems to be for things like getting into things or helping herself to a sweet. Normal child's stuff. She does not hit her but constantly sends her to stand in the corner... When the father is there, in the evening and at lunchtime, he also roars at her in the most draconian, terrifying way... The little girl does not speak but makes screaming sounds (hardly surprising). She is being verbally abused. Yet I am quite sure that if this were said to the couple, they would be absolutely horrified and instantly protest that they love their child, are just "disciplining" her, etc.
    There's really nothing to say, as I say. I just HATE listening to this all day and knowing there is nothing I can do to help the child.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Of course, France probably doesn't have an equivalent of CPS or DSS...?
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    UGGG. That is ugly.
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Well, yes, I think every western country has an equivalent of that. And the government actually recently introduced a number that people could ring with guaranteed anonymity to report cases of child abuse. It's not that simple, though. People here generally are more severe with their children than in other countries I've known and I don't know that this would be seen as abuse (even though it is). And then... it clearly wouldn't be anonymous, as I'm the only person who witnesses it - she doesn't do it when she has family or visitors in the house...
    I don't know what is in their heads, really. I feel sure it is pure ignorance. They seem to have no notion of educating the child or seeing her as a tiny child... They talk to her (seriously) as though she were a detainee in a prison camp. They seem pretty messed up.
  5. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Maybe you should try to befriend her? Just a thought...sympathize a bit with how frustrating parenting a toddler can be. Maybe she is isolated and young and doesn't know any better. Perhaps be a role model for her?
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Oh Signorina... what a kind thought. And misplaced, if only you knew my neighbour! How to explain the wonder that is she? I don't mean to be nasty but... she is. Nasty, I mean. Delights in telling malicious lies, has to be in command, is as tough as old boots. Young, yes, but not naive or helpless. Underneath, I know she must be fearful and unhappy and lacking in self-esteem - otherwise she could not treat her child (part of herself) like that - but it would take a far stronger and wiser spirit than I to know how to get through to her. I really don't trust or like her enough to try, to be honest.
  7. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    Ahhh, gotcha. Well, maybe you can befriend the child as she gets a bit older and more independent. Give her a soft place to land
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hey, Sig!
    I was just jumping in here to say the exact same thing!
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    If the mother doesn't act that way when others aren't around, then she knows what she is doing is abusive, regardless of the culture.

    It is a shame that the little girl doesn't have at least one parent to show her tenderness and affection. My heart goes out to her.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I have neighbors like that- 2 doors away but I still hear them yelling at their very young child who has a diagnosis of something- not sure what- and I fee so sorry for him. I'm sure part of it is that my son is well past that young, tender age and I don't feel those types of day-to-day frustrations anymore and feel like I have learned so much I could do better if put in that situation now. Of course, I have different types of painful and frustrating issues with my son now and I still sympathize with these people to a certain extent, but I can't help but wonder how much better he might thrive and behave if they weren't yelling such hurtfull things to him, including how 'bad he is', over and over, every 2-3 days.
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Although... I have to say... the one good thing about this sad situation is that it puts J's meltdowns and my occasional bouts of loud annoyance into the shade. I don't have to feel embarrassed. :)
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yeah, I agree- it's one thing to lose it occasionally and yell but it's another to have a regular pattern of this- like the yelling hurtful thing is the only form of punishment they use with the kid.
  13. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I remember you talking about these people before, klmno. Didn't you or someone else wonder whether there was any chance of befriending them? It is terrible to witness a child being consistently verbally abused; one feels like a colluder.
    It is funny how chance arranges these things... because it is like a daily, constant reminder to me of how ugly it is to have no self-control, to just visit all one's pent up emotion on a defenceless child (and adults - they are just as bad with each other). We're all capable of it, and I've also been in that ugly place... though mostly I try to be more of a parent than that.
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I say hello and ask how they are, or whatever, when I see them in the parking area or outside but they just chat a second then we go our separate ways. I guess we are corgial but it seems best to keep going our separate ways now. I think they feel isolated, whether due to really being more abusive than I know of (IOW, more than the yelling is going on) or feeling isolated because they have a difficult child and think no one would accept them without judgement I don't know. I wish they'd get some help though. Of course I know just getting someone from dss to the home isn't necessarily 'helpful'. Sometimes they are more ignorant than the average person on the street.

    I like your new avatar, by the way!
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Working in a day care center, we KNOW many of the kids are abused. Heck, some have mother's new boyfriends (some looking very menacing) to deal with every month or so, whenever she switches boyfriends. In Wisconsin (not sure about the entire country) we were told at an inservice which had two CPS workers there that there is NOTHING they can do about verbal abuse, no matter HOW abusive. I raised my hand and asked about if a parent routinely said that he/she hated the child and that the child was the devil, they could honestly get away with it? I was told "yes." The only way they can really remove a child from home is if there are serious bruises or proof of sexual abuse. Kind of shocked me. There are many children all of us feel sorry for and wish to help, but there is nothing we can really do other than send over a social worker of ours and try to teach the parents how to parent (if they want to learn).

    It would be very difficult for me to sit and listen to a child being abused all day. It would break my heart as I'm sure it breaks yours.
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Is is possible that the parents do not realize how bad it really is? I don't 100% agree with Lisa. We all have company manners and I think many people "let their hair down" so to speak when they are home alone. It is entirely possible that they know how bad it is, or that they know how bad it is and don't know how to change it.

    Often we say something and have NO clue how it sounds to others. Years ago husband and I did a parenting class out of a Children's Hospital. It was specifically for parents of kids with adhd/autism spectrum issues (not labelled that back then). The first night we talked about bosses. What makes a good one, what makes a bad one, where do we fit? We didn't answer out loud where we fit, but it gave us a lot of food for thought.

    One exercise was to record yourself either as you fixed dinner, kids did homework, etc... or as you got ready to work in the morning and got your kids ready for school/daycare. WOW. NONE of us had ANY clue what we sounded like. Or what our spouses/partners sounded like. We were not all much harsher to our kids than we thought, some of us were very much into babying, giving in, etc.... It gave us some objective outside info.

    Your neighbors are young. Your country is one we are not familiar with. but maybe putting a tape recorder where you hear them the clearest might help them realize? Not sure how to give it to them. maybe say you were recording sounds in your home for a project and didn't want to include this because if other's heard it then it might hurt their feelings? Just something to explain why you were taping and why you are letting them have it.

    I know how hard it is to listen to abuse of a child. We had one apt above a woman and her boyfriend and their kids. The oldest boy was locked in a closet for hours at a time (we heard him begging and screaming AND the parents admitted it like it was as normal as breathing), the oldest girl was 8 and offered my husband all KINDS of things that she shouldn't even know existed, and the new baby was the king. New baby was the boyfriend's first child and a boy, so he made a big deal. this guy was into a LOT of stuff and NO ONE would do anything. I finally had ENOUGH and started having "ceremonies" on the lawn around our stairs. I found maracas and painted them black with mathematical symbols (all I could think of - pi, etc....), got some black candles, made a robe out of black cloth, would make my hair look ALL strange and would go outside and chant things like "agricola est in silva", "Ego a caput capitus quod feet". (Those mean the farmer is in the field and I have a head and feet, pretty much most of my hs Latin, lol).

    That did what 19 calls to the police did not. No one in that family would draw my attention in ANY way, not even when they were in their own apartment. I worried at one point about what if the guy decided to kill the witch, so I made SURe that his girlfriend heard me talk with my mom about how much stronger I would be after death and how I could come and possess anyone I wanted to and make them do anything I wanted, etc..... It was a risk, but not more so than calling the cops.

    So i know how hard it is for you. For us? Scaring them with fake voodoo meant if they abused their kdis after that, and of course they did, at least I didn't have to hear it or have it terrify my kids. We did report the abuse, MANY times, and nothing happened. One of the reasons I love where we live is because CPS actually DOES things. Not usre what they do with verbal abuse, but they deal with everything else.