My husband and I just moved into a house and one of our neighbors has a young boy between the ages of 4-5. Our neighbor (the father of the boy) only has the child on weekends and lives in a (not well taken care of) house with his mother; they are both out of work. I'm concerned about the child's behavior towards us and think that his lack of boundaries with strangers may be a sign of abuse (perhaps not by the father or grandmother, but perhaps by his mother (who lives in another part of town) or her partner (who we know nothing about)). I'll give you some examples:
- the first day we met him, he came over on his own to introduce himself, but proceeded to ask us if he could come in the house and help us do things. He then proceeded to walk into our house without permission and pick up all sorts of stuff. We gently told him it wasn't wise to walk into a strangers house.
- he's nearly always supervised, but the first second his dad turns his back, the boy is on our front porch, ringing our doorbell over and over.
- the boy can't be kept out of the house except by force. The minute we open the door, he literally pushes his way through our legs to get in and proceeds to touch computers, the cat, our Wii video game. Again, we always take him back to the porch immediately and warn him not to walk into strangers houses.
- last night at 9:15pm (which seems a little late to be up for a kid his age, but I don't know what the circumstances were), he rang our bell and when we told him we had company he tried to push his way in so he could meet them.
- he often tells us he's been waiting all day to see us.
- he asks for information like our phone numbers when he sees us out for a walk.
It's also important to note that he's rarely in our presence more than a minute before his father or grandmother catch up with him and give him a good, firm talk about respecting other people and getting himself into dangerous situations. We've never witness physical or emotional abuse.
Do you have any general suggestions about what someone in my situation should do? Am I obligated to make a call to social services? I feel uncomfortable unsettling a family situation that I know nothing about, unless this is the sort of thing child services normally deals with.
I read this post and your comment and it disturbs me. My son has sensory integration disorder and is 5. He does some of these same things as he is excited about playing and exploring. I too scoop him up and try to problem solve on how to make him more respectful to our neighbors. As summer is drawing to a close, he is finally getting it a bit and adhering to boundaries. To suggest that my son who does some of these same things has emotional deprivation or has been abused in any way could not be farther from the truth. This boy sounds like he has a loving father and grandmother as well. Your comment to this woman has her wanting to call social services. Is she going to mention his bedtime too? My sons go to bed late as well as this schedule works for our family. I think this child most likely lacks impulse control and his new neighbors lack patience.
Excuse me, specialmom, but it's very rude to suggest I lack patience with a situation that I've gone out of my way to make sure was resolved properly. You haven't been privy to the reality of this situation and it's inappropriate to compare it to your own. It's further more inappropriate for you to suggest I need to be patient by letting someone else's child repeatedly barge into my house and touch all my things. As you say, your child has a disorder, and likely so does the one I'm referring to; my question to the Dr (not YOU, you'll notice) was whether or not it was a result of abuse.
These can, in fact, be signs of abuse, at least as I've researched it. I came to this forum looking for a way to explain the exact situation to someone who could assess it properly, not to be a draw for angry mothers who feel that if the behavior approximates that of their child, nothing could be wrong, except my own decision to not let it interfere with my life.
My suggestion would be to talk to the father and grandmother and express your concerns. I agree that it doesn't sound like he is being abused physically or emotionally and it might be a problem like the other poster mentioned. Not to sound harsh but as I can gather from your post you do not have child(ren) and honestly without the day to day knowledge of working with children it is hard for you to make an assumption. Talk to his father and grandmother and see what they say.
I speak from experience with the child service for a step child of mine and his mom, if you are not privy to the the family atmosphere that this child lives in your call to a social worker could cause a perfectly good enviornment for a child turn into a terrible one. If you've never dealt with social services you will find they are more adapt to taking away the children from good homes and forgetting about the children in bad homes.
Sorry if I insulted you, that was not my intention. And I agree that saying you were inpatient was a leep and inappropriate. I do, however, feel bad for this child. He seems to not know better and probably has that innocense of a child that doesn't realize what a burden and frustration he is to you. I don't know if something is wrong with this boy or not but I'm sure that he has no idea that he is causing you to feel the way you do. His father and grandmother from your discription seem to care that he is bothering you--- so I agree with the above poster that talking to these folks may be beneficial to solving YOUR problem which is to have the boy leave you alone. I think you would be adding to this families burdon to have social services involved. I don't speak from a place of not knowing the generalities of these situations as my field prior to being a stay a home mother was psychology. I spent years dealing with children with terrible circumstances in their lives. This boy may have a bio mom that has done bad things to him or neglected him (but it sounds like impulse control and an overzealous kid who really loves your WI game)---- but the dad and grandmom is not neglecting him. You said yourself that they are right behind him trying to get him in. But you are absolutely right that I don't know the actual situation you are dealing with and am only writing from the info you provide. For the record, my post was to the psychologist expert as I didn't think his answer was a good one. And your post back to him was if you should call social services based on his answer---- I was not trying to answer you or insult you. The part about patience should have been left out. I also don't expect anyone to be burdoned with my family issues with my son---- but it is important to know that many families like mine are really trying to do the best that they can. Good luck solving these tough issues and I'm sure it is not what you expected when you moved into your new home.
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