Charlotte - posted on 01/12/2014 ( no moms have responded yet )
My 9 year old daughter asked me if she could tell me something secret. When I looked a her, she said, "You can't tell Dad or he will kill me." We share the same amount of time with N. but he has custody. I told her I could keep a secret unless it involved her health.
She then proceeds to tell me about an incident at her neighbor's house. This neighbor has 2 children, a boy, age 10, and girl, 6. When these neighbors first moved in (to her Dad's block), the son and N. were best friends. That was 3 years ago. Now N. tells me that when she goes over there, he either wants to play football and tackle her (hurting her) or he wants to play a video game and ignore her. N. has taken to playing with the 6 yr old. But the little girl is whiny and obnoxious...I have only spent a little bit of time in her company and i would not like to spend more.
N. was over one afternoon and she had brought a toy. She was playing with it with the little girl, but after a while she was bored so she put the toy in her pocket. The little girl still wanted to play so she started hitting N. My daughter was in a chair and the little girl was on the floor. N. said she told the little girl to stop hitting her, but she didn't, so N. put up her foot to push the other child away. Unfortunately, her foot connected with the little girl's cheekbone and eye.
The little girl started screaming and I am sure that it hurt. I barely survived 8 siblings, so I know when rough-housing hurts. The mother ran into the room and looked over the little girl, who said that N. had kicked her in the eye. The mother said she thought her daughter might have a black eye which made the little girl scream louder. Then the mother said to her daughter,"Why do you play with N when she always hurts you?" She turned to N. and said, "I am going to get my daughter's Dad and he will take care of you for this." Apparently he has a terrible temper and is a big man...his kids are scared of him. My daughter just sat there; she said she felt paralyzed. Then the boy came into the room and said to N., "My Dad is really going to give it to you." The mother came back into the room and told my daughter (exact words, according to N.), "I am going to take a picture of my daughter if she gets a black eye and give it to your Dad. Now get out of this house and don't come back for 2 weeks." N. ran home and didn't tell her Dad. He belives in corporal punishment and often shouts and yells at her. She said before she was told to leave the neighbor's house she apologized to the little girl and the little girl said okay, but when she apologized to the Mom, the Mom said, "Sorry just doesn't cut it".
I spoke with my daughter about keeping one's body under one's control. We brainstormed some others actions she could have taken other than kicking the little girl. I talked to her about not having any control in your life (i.e., her dad is a control freak) sometimes makes you want to have control over kids who are smaller than you. To make yourself feel "big", you have to make them feel "small" as in this situation, where N. dominated the play and then kicked the other girl. I asked her if she felt that way and she burst into tears and said yes, that she was bored and suddenly felt mean and wanted to hurt the little girl. I told her firmly that hitting ANYone was not allowed, ever.
When I asked her what she would do when her Dad tells her to go play at the neighbor's, she said she would just hide in the garage or stay in her room. I asked if this had happened before nd she said yes, that if she got into any kind of skirmish with the neighbor kids, verbal or physical, the mother would scream at her to get out of the house and not to come back.
N.'s dad knows nothing about the things that go on in the neighbor's house when N. is there. There have been several incidents where N. has been the one hurt, but he chalks it up to childhood antics. He does not know that the mother screams at N. cusses and threatens her. Apparently the mother never talks to N.'s Dad and he doesn't wander over once in a while just to see how things are going.
I don't have any control whatsoever of N. when she is at her dad's house. If I did, I would not let her play with these children, or at the very least, have their play supervised. But I know, for many, many, many past experiences that N.'s dad will not listen to a word I say. And N. fears her dad too much to tell him.
SO, (whew) do I just let this situation keep going on? Do I try to intervene in some way? Should I try to talk to the mom? I don't know her at all. I plan to keep reinforcing to N. that hitting is NOT a possibility and work with her to come up with other possibilities of actions that work out for EVERYone. But I don't trust the neighbor mother. How do I help my daughter?