Boorish Parents Spawn Bullying Children
(Cranberry Twp., PA)
We are having an on-going bullying problem with a child (who I will call K) that lives directly across the street from us. When we first moved here my older daughters (C & V) befriended the girl, even though she is actually around the age of their younger sister (S). Several times over the course of the first two years we lived here I caught K (who is quite large compared to my tiny daughter) tripping, kicking, and smacking S. I have also seen her push around and hurt several of the other smaller children on the block. The one and only time I allowed C & V to bring K into my home she tried to exclude S. I immediately told the group of girls that they had to go outside to play. Excluding S became one of K's favorite pastimes for awhile. I asked C & V to find other friends as I didn't trust K, and tried my best to ignore her family.
A couple of years ago a group of children, including C, V, & S were playing together in front of the home of K's next door neighbor, a girl I'll call E. As my air conditioning was out I happened to have my windows wide open and could both see and hear what the girls were doing -- playing a silly game of tag. K came over and watched for awhile. When the girls invited her to join the game she said her knee hurt and asked E, only E, to come to her house to play with her. E said she didn't feel like it, but maybe after she was done playing tag. K went to her parents and brother, and told them that the girls were being mean to her. The next thing I know the two adults (who should know better) and big brother come out screaming that my girls are fighting with K. Nothing of that sort happened. K and her family were the only ones yelling, my daughters and E were running, trying to get away from them.
About a week later S came back from riding her bike in tears, all scraped up. She told me that K had jumped at her while she was riding her bike and knocked her off. Now S has a slight muscular problem which sometimes affects her balance, but she had been doing good on her new two wheeler. I began to follow S as she rode, and K actually followed us on her scooter (until last month she never rode her bike). I could hear her accusing C & V, who were not home at the time, of vandalizing her families property. That was the end. I forbade C & V to have anything further to do with K or her family.
A few weeks later C & V and a group of other children decided to ride their bikes together. K came running out with her scooter, but when she saw C & V with E and the other children she threw her scooter across the driveway and stomped hack home. The next day her mother bought her a trampoline.
A few weeks later while I was setting up V's school email account one evening, I noticed K's older brother (N) staring up into V's bedroom window. When I asked V about this, she confided that she had noticed N staring up into her window often, and had been keeping her window and blinds closed because of him. That was when I began to notice K and N staring at C, V, and S constantly. When they sat out front. When they practiced their gymnastics. When they walked down the street to the park with their fishing poles. When they rode their bikes, roller blades, and skatesboards. Constantly. Given the situation I guess I should have been prepared for this, but I was shocked when K's father came out yelling at my girls to stop staring at K while C,V, & S were busy quietly making friendship bracelets to take to their grandparents house.
Tonight C was outside playing with our next door neighbor, a little boy named A. V was roller blading. S and I were right inside the living room with the door and window wide open. Suddenly K's mother comes out screaming that C, V, & A better not dare stick up their middle fingers at her precious K again. This prompted C and V to ask what sticking up a middle finger means. Since my kids go to a virtual school rather than a brick and mortar school, I don't use such a gesture myself, and their gymnastics coaches would penalize them if they used a gesture like that at practice, they've never picked that stuff up. A, being only a first grader, was also clueless. Only K (and obviously her mother) would have known what it means and, I guess, use such gestures. This child (and her family) have told several of the neighbors with children that C, V, & S are troublemakers, accused my daughters of doing things even when they are not home, boldly lied about my daughters activities, stared at my daughters incessantly, called my daughters all manner of vulgar names, attacked and hurt my youngest daughter, and are basically making our lives a living hell.
I have tried to get my husband to help me with this problem, but although he agrees that K lies compulsively, has witnessed her being physically aggressive toward S and other neighborhood children, and knows that K and her family have told other families that C, V, and S have done things which they did not do, he backs down from actually helping me with the situation. Now I'm not saying that my children are perfect angels, and I know that they at eleven and nine they do stupid, childish things which they should not do. I try to be a forgiving person, but I do not want that child or her family anywhere near my daughters. I often tell my children that when they see K or N come out to play, go behind the house where they can't see them, ask to go down to the park and I'll let them, or come inside and we'll take the car and go to the playground or something. I am out of other ideas.