It's like watching a train wreck. (long)
I am friends with a woman who is at the early stages of what looks to be a messy divorce. We have only been friends for a few years, but since we both moved into this very tight-knit, and very uptight, upscale community at the same time, and have kids the same age, we became fast friends.
About 6 months or so ago, I started to cool off the friendship, as although I like her very much, we have VERY different parenting ideas and it was becoming intollerable to have her 4 year old son around. He hits, bites, and is generally quite violent and poorly behaved, with never a word from his mother except "oh, it must have been an accident". She admits that his behavior is very bad, but just shrugs her shoulders and says "what can I do?". She thinks I am way too strict, and perhaps I am, but it's working for us. I didn't want to lose my friendship with her and since our boys are in different preschools this year, I suggested we sign them up for a class together. There is constant supervision in the class as well as other children, so this has worked out really nicely. So we still see each other at least once a week and continue to occasionally - once every 4 to 6 weeks - go out together at night without the kids.
That's the background, here's the train wreck part...
Since her husband told her that their marriage is over, she's been a wreck. She is physically and verbally attacking her husband in front of the kids, saying horrible things about him to her son and vacillates between ignoring the kids and completely overindulging them. He's still in the house, so the violence is a daily occurance. She leaves her violent older son in rooms alone with the baby and just shrugs when the baby ends up crying (I've been on the phone with her when these things have happened).
None of the things she's doing would actually qualify as neglect or abuse to her kids and I would never call any protective services anyway (unless I really thought the kids were in physical danger, which I don't).
I'd like to take her older son from her occasionally to give her a break, but he's just too wild and it's not fair to have my own son in a position where he is consistently attacked.
I don't know what kind of advice I'm looking for. Just a vent really. It's hard to watch and know that these kids are on the road to being really messed up. If anyone's been in a similar predicament, I'd appreciate your thoughts.
An aside - I used to be really envious of them because they have an overwhelming amount of money and lots of wonderful material items. Now I'm counting my blessings.