OT - neighborhood children

niveaMay 31, 2009

Ok, this is way off topic, but I have no idea what to do and you all give such great advice here so...

The house next door to us has about 6 children living there. 4 of them I know and 2 never seem to be the same, so I'm thinking foster care? I don't know, but it's a tiny house, maybe 3 bedrooms at most. Different cars there all day and night, different people going in/out...a very active place. They just moved here recently and I've never been introduced to the actual parents.

So anyway, for the past two weeks anytime DD is out playing those kids come out and literally BEG her for food. I sit in our sunroom while she is playing, I can see out and I don't think they know I'm sitting in there cause when I'm actually outside, they don't say a word but just STARE at me without blinking... So anyway, I gave them all juiceboxes once and since then, they BEG her for food...and they are all extremely overweight, so I don't think they are deprived. She will come to me, I will say no and then then start bullying her, she will keep coming to me BEGGING me to give them food so they will stop...A few days ago I went outside and told them to stop bullying her, she and I got into the car a few minutes later and one of them called me an idiot! I didn't know whether to laugh or what.

Err, so now anytime DD goes outside, they come out too and start with the food begging and bullying. I've told them time and time again, to play by themselves in their own yard but as soon as they think they can't see me, they start in on her. And she doesn't get it, she wants to please them so bad and give them things to get them to be friends with her. It's heartbreaking to me.

I want to talk to their parents, but I seriously have no idea who their parents are, there are so many adults in and out of the house! I saw one guy a few minutes ago and he said I'm just a friend, in a really weird dead voiced way and he STARED creepily like those kids do at me. Ok, I'm not crazy and I know I'm rambling, but these people are just so darn weird to me! Our neighborhood is pretty friendly, everyone says hi...the people in that house never say hi back or anything, just so weird, I don't think I'm eplaining it right.

Should I just call CPS? I'm terrified of having a feuding neighbor scenario (my grandmother had one while I was growing up and it was a nightmare) and then I think what do I tell CPS? That the obsecenely obese next door neighbor children are begging my child for food? I don't know, I don't know but those people are creeping me out!

and uh thank you for letting me get this out :)

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Just call me chicken, but I would work real real hard at keeping my D occupied so she wouldnt be around for them. Maybe your next door neighbor is running some kind of informal day care, and doesnt give the kids snacks? Maybe you could bake a cake and bring it over in the evening when misc. kids should be gone and say hello to the parents?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 10:33PM
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lol, I'm chicken then too! Those kids are there all the time, so I definitely think they all live there. It just seems to be 2 of the kids that are replaced periodically by 2 other children. That's why I was thinking foster care.

And they have a boat load of cars there right now and it seems like all the time there's just loads of people there. So I'm sorta chicken to go over there at night.

I've already taken to pulling DD inside as soon as they come out, but the problem seems like they come out 2 - 5 minutes after her, every single time! This weekend it seemed like she couldn't play outside at all, even when was painting on the porch they came out to bug her. I've never seen them playing by themselves at all or at all active when they are outside. They are either sitting in the grass or will walk to the fence to bug DD for food. I don't get it, like they see her out and then come begging her for food. It's just so weird.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 10:52PM
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Are you freindly with the neighbors on the other side, or that back onto their property? Do any of them have kids?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 11:13PM
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Neither of the surrounding neighbors have children, but I am friendly with both. There is an elderly lady that lives behind them and she did say something to me about the noise when they first moved in, but I don't really hear them to tell the truth, I just SEE all of them lol.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 11:19PM
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Is it all the kids begging for food, or just the new ones? I think KK had a good suggestion. Bake a box cake, put it on a plate you don't care to get back and go knock on their door. Get a little nosey and find out who they are. Tell them you only have a few minutes "because your husband is at home" or something so they know you have someone who will come looking for you... if you're scared... which I would be too. I'm shy to meet "normal" people!!

Maybe have DD tell them that they are getting her in trouble with you. Tell them "my mom won't let me have snacks either" when they ask.

If they are of substantial weight I don't think calling CPS will do much good. IMO that does more harm than good most of the time. If there is obvious neglect, call away...

Hard situation. I recall posting about my difficut neighbor kid situation a while back and getting raked across the coals because he's special needs and the parents are disfunctional... they don't starve or beat the kids but it's not the healthiest home either. My dd wants to play with him when he's in his yard and I have a hard time saying no, even though DH hates it. I figure, kids will be kids, as long as I'm supervising what harm can come. But I have empathy for your situation.

Is there an area in your yard that dd can play in without being seen? Maybe you could get a big mean dog??? *kidding.. kind of*

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 11:26PM
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Yeah, I didn't thinking calling CPS was a great idea without at least meeting the parents lol, but these kids are so hungry right.

The 4 kids are the ringleaders and pretty big. I thought by their physical looks they were teens, but DD said two of them are twins and they are 11 and the other 2 are 8 & 10. They also did not go to DD's school and seemed maybe special needs, but I'm totally just judging on that from certain speech impediments, I could be totally wrong. The other 2 always seem to be in normal weight range, but the latest 2 also start in with the bullying.

And no, they can always get to her just by coming to the fence. We've tried switching to the front and backyards, but they always come to where she is at. It's frustrating! I mean it, I have not seen them play amongst themselves. Whenever DD has a friend over, they will leave her alone or when they physically see me. But they will still stand or sit by the fence and then just STARE then. It's creepy.

Maybe I will take a basket over or something(I'm terrible baker lol), the situation does creep me out though and I'm not a nervous by nature person. Mostly it just bothers me that there just may not be a solution, how do I ask another parent to keep their kids from the fence and yelling at my DD for gummy bears/bananas/capri sun and stop staring at me? LOL, it kinda sounds crazy just typing it.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 11:51PM
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Can you find out if they own the house or rent? If they rent, can you find out who the landlord is and let him know the number of people there and that they are kinda creepy.

Its unfortunate, to deal with this in a childs life, but you are going to have to keep telling DD to stay away from them. I would tell her there may be some medical reason (diabetes?) they are not allowed candy -- and the adutlts may find the only way to monitor is not allow to anyone in the house, but regardless, there will be bullies, but at least these respect the boundary of the fence.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 8:47AM
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What about switching to healthy snacks only -- apples, oranges, celery sticks, water -- the kinds of snacks that may not appeal much to children with poor eating habits. That way, your daughter could readily agree to give them snacks, it wouldn't cost you a fortune, and the neighbor kids might be less likely to be so eager. I'm an optomist, but it might be a simple case of the parents realizing their kids had gotten fat and instituting a 'no junk food' policy, and the kids reacted with a 'we can get junk food next door' strategy.

Somebody in the neighborhood needs to meet these neighbors. Is there someone there who's brave? You say they don't go to your daughter's school? If they did, you might be able to ask a teacher or school counselor if there was anything you needed to know.

If you know their names, you may want to look them up in publically-searchable databases to see if there are any legal proceedings. Just for reassurance.

Or, you could attempt to talk to the kids. Be outside while your daughter is playing -- maybe strike up a conversation over a bowl of apples or popcorn. See what information you can casually get from the kids.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 11:52AM
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we had neigbours once who bullied DD (verbally and eventually physically), two sets of neighbours actually, we ended up moving eventually but belieive it or not two of those kids ended up in juvenille detention facility (for other things but thsoe police reports from me added up). don't let it escalate. one of the neighbours backed off only after i had about 3-4 police reports filed.

and yes you can tell the parents that kids ask for food continously and that you do not know what to do.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:41PM
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If they have 4 children of their own and live in a 3 bedroom home, they would not qualify for foster children unless it's different in your state. I would call CPS so I would have peace of mind and I would do it from a pay phone or a phone card. I hear they can't trace that call. I couldn't live with it if I didn't call and one of the kids died or disappeared. There was a lady in our city that went around pounding on doors, saying her boyfriend was going to kill her and no one would let her in. He did kill her and I wonder what those people who were afraid to let her in think now.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 2:28PM
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You need to call the Department of Children and Families to investigate. There doesn't seem to be proper square footage and I bett leeping arrangements are not acceptable. Just the fact that these kids are always begging for food would be red flags for me.

If I were in your situation I would have to report by law since I work with children for the state of Florida. We are all mandatory reporters.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 2:33PM
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Even if the kids are obese it doesn't necessarily mean there isn't nutritional needs not being met.

Sounds like possible drug activity going on to boot.

I always ask myself....Does this situation seem secure and safe for those kids? If the question is any where near a no I call. Better to be safe than sorry. There people out there who "suspected" neglect or abuse but didn't report out of fear of ppissing off the parents only for a child to turn up dead and then they never forgive themselves.

If nothing else it will wake them up that people are watching them and have noticed some off behaviors.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 2:38PM
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Good discussion points...

And then there's the issue of bullying. Kids who become bullies generally learn it at home by being bullied. So Finedreams' experiences of the bullies ending up in detention aren't far off the norm.

While you don't exactly have a 'smoking gun', the situation just doesn't pass 'the sniff test'. Fat kids who are always starving to death, that act like bullies, that are overly aware of your daughter's activities, that disappear or retreat and stare when you come out, and lots of strange adults in at all hours of the day and night.

I like the suggestion of calling anonymously from a pay phone, just to get someone to take a look at it...

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 5:30PM
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I agree with Sweeby, I personnally hate to attack people anonymously, but this is just too hinky. Do a little recon work and scout out -- do google search on names, etc. Find out who owns home, etc. Good luck.

It could be innocent -- foster home, kids who arent allowed sweets -- but it seems to me over the line.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 7:14PM
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I'ld like to hear from Ima, she has more experience with various parts of the legal system.

I would write down license plate numbers -- if something goes wrong, and the house is rented, this can help police track down people.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 7:35PM
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Thank you all for all the great points. I will start a mini investigation. I did think the kids learned to bully somewhere, but I was blind sided by the Mama Bear emotion of protecting DD. My initial gut was to call CPS but I wasn't sure what for or if I would sound crazy. I still want to meet the parents cause I do feel bad just calling without getting more info.

I have tried talking to the kids btw, but they do just stare at me, even when I did give them the juice boxes..just always staring. I feel so bad now and really hope that they are ok and just not big kids looking to get a junk food fix.

And that's funny, when I posted last night I intially thought of Ima and thought she would know exactly what to do. I hope she comes in here soon.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 7:58PM
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Nivea - If you do decide to call CPS, make sure they NEVER find out it was you! As weird as the children sound, I can only assume that the parents are just as weird...

I also think Doodle may be on to something - sounds like suspicious drug activity maybe? I hate to be an alarmist but do you have locks on your first floor windows? A dog?? An alarm system???

They know when your daughter goes outside. They are watching you. Closely.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 9:31PM
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"Even if the kids are obese it doesn't necessarily mean there isn't nutritional needs not being met"

Working through the double negatives, I'd say the fact the kids are obese actually PROVES their nutritional needs are not being met - correctly.

I'd tread warily on the topic of CP services etc, you can't take it back and it could cause some unfortunate hassles - neighbourhood disputes are the worst!

I'd suggest ignoring them - the kids might have some sort of developmental issues and it could even be somewhat perception that they're bullying, than fact, but if they're upsetting your kid it's hard to ignore. Ignoring might be best though.

I guess some alternatives are that you take your daughter elsewhere to play, plant big screening plants or erect a better fence.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 1:27AM
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Are you hinting at doodle's grammar- usage of double negatives? Now are we going to make comments about each other's grammar here? Are you grammar police? Some people aren't even native speakers. Stay on topic, pjb.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 9:34AM
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Does CPS take anonymous reports?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 9:38AM
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excellent suggestions, I have one strong caution to add:

Whatever you do, *don't* let these people think that you're being nosy or checking up on them.

If/when they have trouble from police or CPS, they'll think you turned them in, which will mean that their trouble is your fault, & they'll take revenge.

Whatever you do, do it anonymously.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 12:09PM
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Does CPS take anonymous reports?

Yes. All reports are.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 12:13PM
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Thank you doodle.

Then OP, you should check the number of CPS. Write that down, and also license plate numbers of any cars hanging around. Get LPs discretely, like when you are in your car,not walking. Then go to a pay phone, NOT right outside your office or home. Call in the facts.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 12:15PM
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Oh wow, thank you for all the great advice. I bought a basket to bring over today, but I'm really nervous about going over there still and I don't know if it is a good idea.

I bought a bunch of those carrot stick snacks with the ranch dipping in the carton and bags of apples and oranges, great suggestion Sweeby :)

So we will see, start collecting info in the mean time. CPS here will take anonymous phone calls, but apparently phone records can be subpoenad (sp? lol) so the pay phone is what I'll use, thank you all!

I also asked a neighbor across the street today if she had met anyone from the house and she gave the side eye and said NO! lol, they make her nervous too. But I didn't say anything about the kids cause I don't want anything to get out about me having to do with calling CPS if it gets back to them. ugh, so nervous and panicked.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 5:40PM
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Oh and no, I have no alarm system or dog or anything. This is a very old, quiet, safe neighborhood. I never would've thought I would need it before.

DD has been asking to get a dog and I thought she might be getting old enough now to help take responsibility for it, so there's a thought. But I know next to nothing about dogs. I was attacked one time by a german sheperd, so I'll probably stay away from them lol. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 5:45PM
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Nivea, My impression is just back off and observe..Nothing you can CPS or police report yet..Staring , begging and lots of company wierd, but not a crime LOL Also advise against dropping in, if there is trouble ahead, I dont think you want to be the cake lady that called the cops on us ..Also, they may be not your cup of tea, and they may glom on to you, and it will be hard to get rid of them if they are right next door..Keep your distance..If you feel DD s safety in anyway compromised, then you can call police...Had a wierd neighbor years ago, mom (whom I had never met, she didnt even know my name)had her daughter give my DS a note that said, Dear (DSs name) parents, Can I have 2 dollars for a six pack???LOLOLOL

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 6:41PM
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What I think you'd want as a pet is a protective companion anyway, not an attack dog.

Akitas are wonderful-
I've talked to parents & grandparents who are *smitten* with the way these dogs protect the children.

& you might post on the Pets Forum for some suggestions.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 7:57PM
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Akitas are NOT for everyone--and especially not for anyone who has any fear of dogs. They require a very knowledgeable owner with a lot of assertiveness. Yes, they are a wonderful dog if handled properly, but I wouldn't recommend them for anyone with any fear. I also know that an Akita is one breed that my homeowner's insurance will not cover.

I'd be more inclined to recommend a shepherd of some sort. Easy to train, good with kids (generally) and a natural protective instinct. My Australian shepherd was an excellent watchdog--made a lot of noise, sounded awful, and no one in their right mind with mess with her although she was gentle as a lamb and never hurt a soul.

Even a boxer or a Doberman would be a great choice. Much easier to handle.

Anyway,... carry on....

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 6:00AM
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well, Vivian's right, of course.

Akitas are wonderful, protective family dogs, but they are bossy.

The ones I've known have been brought up with the children from puppyhood & babyhood, so they've always known their place in the family (pack) hierarchy.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 11:04AM
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I love golden retreivers -- they do need space though

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 11:09AM
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First thing I thought of when I read lots of different adults coming in & out of the house at all hours was "drug house." Kids being over weight but still hungry --- nothing but junk food in the house.

An anonymous call to CPS might be in order...might also want to think about calling the local neighborhood watch officer and report what you've observed...or contact the local drug enforcement division of your local law enforcement agency and report what you've observed...let the authorities take it from there.

About the dog...we also have an Aussie...great dog. Very smart....a herder...treats us as the flock that he has to protect....very territorial. I was a bit nervous when the granddaughter was little because he would be very protective when strangers were around until we made it clear to him they were OK. I wondered how he would do with the little one....he is GREAT with her; has been since day one...has been great with all the grandkids. Very loyal and devoted...sometimes I think he'd rather be petted than eat.
I've also had Siberian Huskies (great temperament; very friendly; would invite robbers in, show them the fridge, help yourself to whatever you want, etc etc...not good
watchdogs:-)...also had Border Collies...similar to the Aussie in smarts and temperament...but not as loyal.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 6:15PM
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"Sounds like possible drug activity going on to boot"

That was my first thought when you talked about all the people going in and out of the house.

If it were me, I think I would most certainly make an anon. call to CPS.

I would be most worried about my own DD's safety. That seems creepy to me that they come out everytime she's outside. I would not let her play outside unsupervised AT ALL, which is really sad because a child should be able to play safely in their own backyard. :(

The whole food thing is just plain weird. I don't know. I don't like the bullying at all.

The whole situation gives me the heebie-jeebies.

I would report it and continue to do some detective work on my own...but that's just me.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 6:54PM
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the cake lady that called the cops on us

    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 9:05PM
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lol weed, I thought that was funny too :) how do you do those smilies by the way?

I found two golden retrievers at the animal shelter today, we are going to play with them tomorrow! DD is excited, I told her we are just getting one but I think we may end up with both lol.

DD gave all the kids apples today and they thanked her a lot and started talking more to her when I went "inside" where they couldn't see me. I think there is something really wrong there and I feel really bad since I could've been nicer before. There is something wrong, I can feel it in my gut.

I talked to DD too because I don't want her thinking that you win friends by giving in to bullying tactics, not so sure that she understands.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 1:20AM
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That is really sad and disturbing. Their hunger really bothers me. :( I would definitely keep an eye out for the parents and see if you can't talk to one of them and get a "vibe."

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 11:15AM
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Its not clear to me if the kids are hungry or just want junk food. I think Ima has relayed stories of how she does care what her SD eats, and tries to monitor food, but not a hunger issue.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 11:26AM
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Yeah, it could be a no-junk-food in the house issue. But somehow, based on the description of the home, and the kids, it doesn't sound like it. I just am not getting the impression these are caring parents that would really care whether their kids are getting nutritious foods or not.

Just my gut feeling, I could be wrong, though.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 11:42AM
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Great steps Nivea --
Goldens are fabulous pets (though I'm also partial to Aussies), and having a dog around would be great on so many levels.
And it's nice that the apples are being well-received and that the kids are talking.

You keep your eyes open and I'll keep my fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 11:56AM
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