Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: Ezio on March 24, 2013, 12:36:37 AM

Title: How to handle this situation?
Post by: Ezio on March 24, 2013, 12:36:37 AM
First time poster here.  8)

A woman and her kids moved in down the road from me about a week ago. The area is heavily wooded and I am generally at work during the day so I hadn't noticed them before.

I was walking my dog and this swarm of kids came out of nowhere and mobbed the dog. I got them off my dog and tried to get them to back up a little and listen to me. The kids appeared to be in between 6-10 and the oldest ran to get tattle on the youngest for "running in the street". The mom comes to the door and yells at them to "Get out of the street and stop pestering the man." It takes her yelling for 20 minutes for them to comply.

That was the last time I saw the mom leave the house, usually she just yells out the door when she wants them to come in and eat/shower/go to bed and they spend the time between those events wandering freely.
My fear is the fact that we have several sex offenders in the area and two are less then a mile from this woman's house. Both are charged with crimes against minors. I'm also worried that they could get hit by a car, attacked by one of the many loose dogs or get hurst some other way.

My closest neighbor (houses are a distance apart) who just had his third grandkid born dreads what could happen to them. He is 5'10, 220lbs and is friends with the area Bandidos. He has told me that "hell will come down" on anyone who touches the kids. He is involved in various charity runs  (St. Judes, ToysForTots) and is the defacto "gaurd" of the neighborhoods kids. Everyone knows him and feels safe when he's around. He's a big guy with the heart of a teddy bear.

Is there any polite way I can warn the mom about the dangers?
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: katycoo on March 24, 2013, 03:02:56 AM
No.  Unless you think these children are being abused or neglected, it is none of your business how she chooses to parent.  She may very well already be aware of anything you plan to warn her about.

If, however, her children are bothering you personally, you could approach her about that.
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: cicero on March 24, 2013, 04:11:55 AM
unless she was living on a deserted island before, she has to know that there are dangers out there in the world. whether it's a registered offender, an offender who hasn't been caught yet, an unleashed dog, a car...

It's possible that they lived in a more sheltered neighborhood before where kids *could* roam freely and not worry about cars and dogs. you *might* want to say something along those lines - not in a "you're a terrible parent" kind of way, but more a head's up "you know i noticed your kids running in the street. you should be aware that we get a lot of traffic/crazy drivers around here - i know you are new here so your kids may not be used to this" or something like that.
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: Slartibartfast on March 24, 2013, 04:18:42 AM
Is she doing anything that would have been frowned on fifty years ago, in terms of letting her kids run wild?  If not, I wouldn't say anything.
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: Ezio on March 24, 2013, 10:08:20 AM
Is she doing anything that would have been frowned on fifty years ago, in terms of letting her kids run wild?  If not, I wouldn't say anything.

If the kids just played/explored the woods in and around their place it would be fine. They are wandering quiet a distance from the house and they are climbing/exploring an area with deep ravines and snakes. Another neighbor down the road breeds horses, two of which are in pens in his front yard. The two are breeding stallions. They are nice and friendly horses, but when they smell a mare in heat they become nasty. Both me and the owner are worried the kids will want to "pet the pony" and they will get bit or worse.

Also, the way the ran up to a stranger with a large dog was kind of concerning. They don't listen to anyone but the mom and I just want them to be safe.
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: JenJay on March 24, 2013, 10:16:42 AM
I would go up, knock on her door, and tell her about the sex offenders. Just in a "You're new to the neighborhood so I thought you needed to know" sort of way. I'd probably even write down a description of which houses they live in & what they look like so she can tell the kids who to stay away from. That's the best you can do. As for the neighbors with animals, if the kids come onto the property and pester the animals then the owner needs to approach the mom. I wouldn't get involved in that.
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: Klein Bottle on March 24, 2013, 10:32:18 AM
Is she doing anything that would have been frowned on fifty years ago, in terms of letting her kids run wild?  If not, I wouldn't say anything.

I am all about free-range kids, and have raised my child that way.  However, fifty years ago,we were not as aware of sex offenders, nor did we have the information available to us that we have now.  Therefore, I think a friendly heads-up to the mom would be OK.  It verges on a "safety trumps etiquette" situation,IMHO.
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: snowdragon on March 24, 2013, 04:28:15 PM
Is she doing anything that would have been frowned on fifty years ago, in terms of letting her kids run wild?  If not, I wouldn't say anything.

If the kids just played/explored the woods in and around their place it would be fine. They are wandering quiet a distance from the house and they are climbing/exploring an area with deep ravines and snakes. Another neighbor down the road breeds horses, two of which are in pens in his front yard. The two are breeding stallions. They are nice and friendly horses, but when they smell a mare in heat they become nasty. Both me and the owner are worried the kids will want to "pet the pony" and they will get bit or worse.

Also, the way the ran up to a stranger with a large dog was kind of concerning. They don't listen to anyone but the mom and I just want them to be safe.


By snakes, I take it you mean something poisonous, that is worth warning her about, as are the horses and the bothering you and the dogs. These are all risks to the safety of the kids.  And in the case of the horse and dog, dangerous to the animals... I would not want to risk the consequences to the animals if the kids spooked them
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: katycoo on March 24, 2013, 06:13:24 PM
What do you know about the sex offenders?

I ask, because it doesn't take much to get yourself placed on that list, and unless they're known to be child predators, I wouldn't worry her.  People are paranoid enough these days.
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: LeveeWoman on March 24, 2013, 06:34:24 PM
What do you know about the sex offenders?

I ask, because it doesn't take much to get yourself placed on that list, and unless they're known to be child predators, I wouldn't worry her.  People are paranoid enough these days.

I don't know about elsewhere in the U.S., but here we have a Web site giving each one's name, address and offense.
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: MOM21SON on March 24, 2013, 06:56:37 PM
What do you know about the sex offenders?

I ask, because it doesn't take much to get yourself placed on that list, and unless they're known to be child predators, I wouldn't worry her.  People are paranoid enough these days.

I don't know about elsewhere in the U.S., but here we have a Web site giving each one's name, address and offense.

Yes, there are several sites available.  And the Internet is free lots of places.  And the local authorites also have a list.

As far of the other dangers, that is up to her.  Everyone parents different and she may be fine with her kids exploring those dangers.
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: doodlemor on March 24, 2013, 07:08:49 PM
I would go up, knock on her door, and tell her about the sex offenders. Just in a "You're new to the neighborhood so I thought you needed to know" sort of way. I'd probably even write down a description of which houses they live in & what they look like so she can tell the kids who to stay away from. That's the best you can do. As for the neighbors with animals, if the kids come onto the property and pester the animals then the owner needs to approach the mom. I wouldn't get involved in that.

POD 

Some cookies or brownies would go well with this too, as a welcome to the neighborhood.
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: MommyPenguin on March 24, 2013, 07:18:22 PM
Are the kids sticking to public areas, or are they actually going onto other people's property?  Because if they're sticking to public areas, I don't see that the horses would be an issue at all.  And at the 6-10 age range, they're old enough that they should be able to be somewhat independent and explore the neighborhood, etc.  If there are specific dangers that you think the mom may not know about, due to being new to the neighborhood (snakes and how to watch out for them, dangerous dogs and where they might be, locations of any sex offenders that seem like they might be a particular danger to children (in so many cases, somebody seems to be on the child offender list because they were under 18 and had relations with somebody too much younger than them, but both were in high school, or what-not).  Not so much as a, "So, you shouldn't let your children roam," thing, as much as a, "I noticed that your children are out and about a lot, and I wanted to make sure you knew what to warn them about."
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: MOM21SON on March 24, 2013, 07:51:38 PM
What do you know about the sex offenders?

I ask, because it doesn't take much to get yourself placed on that list, and unless they're known to be child predators, I wouldn't worry her.  People are paranoid enough these days.

POD.  Geez, you can breathe sideways and be placed on a list of somekind.
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: sweetonsno on March 25, 2013, 04:31:28 AM
I vote for going over to introduce yourself first. Meet the kids, give her your contact information, get her phone number, etc. That will put you in a much better position to give her advice.

I would *not* give her a heads-up about dangers unless you see the kids behaving in a way that is problematic or you see a near-miss. If you know that there is a particular part of the neighborhood that is hazardous because of snakes, hornets, or a particularly unfriendly dog, then yes, give her a heads-up. However, it sounds like you're feeling tempted to tell her not to let her kids play outside unsupervised. I don't think that's a good idea.

As for the sex offenders, I'm rather torn. On the one hand, I do think parents should have a right to know if there is a potential predator in the area. On the other hand, not all people on the registry are going to be predators. Take "sexting" for instance. If a girl sends her boyfriend a naughty text, he technically is in possession of child pornography (and she has been producing and distributing it). A couple of kids who decide they want to fool around together are technically guilty of statutory rape. In neither case would the perpetrator be likely to go after neighborhood kids.
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: cheyne on March 25, 2013, 07:22:39 AM
I think it would be polite for you and Mr. Teddybear to introduce yourselves to Mom.  She would probably appreciate a "heads up" about the ravines and snakes in the area.  As far as information on the s3x predators, that would be wise to let her know also.  It is concerning to me that the kids would run up to a man with a dog, as this is one of the techniques used by child predators to lure children away.

Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: wolfie on March 25, 2013, 09:55:20 AM
I vote for going over to introduce yourself first. Meet the kids, give her your contact information, get her phone number, etc. That will put you in a much better position to give her advice.

I would *not* give her a heads-up about dangers unless you see the kids behaving in a way that is problematic or you see a near-miss. If you know that there is a particular part of the neighborhood that is hazardous because of snakes, hornets, or a particularly unfriendly dog, then yes, give her a heads-up. However, it sounds like you're feeling tempted to tell her not to let her kids play outside unsupervised. I don't think that's a good idea.

As for the sex offenders, I'm rather torn. On the one hand, I do think parents should have a right to know if there is a potential predator in the area. On the other hand, not all people on the registry are going to be predators. Take "sexting" for instance. If a girl sends her boyfriend a naughty text, he technically is in possession of child pornography (and she has been producing and distributing it). A couple of kids who decide they want to fool around together are technically guilty of statutory rape. In neither case would the perpetrator be likely to go after neighborhood kids.

I also think they give a false sense of security. People forgot that it is only predators who have been caught that are on the list and they still need to be attentive to everyone else.
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: Ezio on March 25, 2013, 02:10:27 PM
Are the kids sticking to public areas, or are they actually going onto other people's property?  Because if they're sticking to public areas, I don't see that the horses would be an issue at all.  And at the 6-10 age range, they're old enough that they should be able to be somewhat independent and explore the neighborhood, etc.  If there are specific dangers that you think the mom may not know about, due to being new to the neighborhood (snakes and how to watch out for them, dangerous dogs and where they might be, locations of any sex offenders that seem like they might be a particular danger to children (in so many cases, somebody seems to be on the child offender list because they were under 18 and had relations with somebody too much younger than them, but both were in high school, or what-not).  Not so much as a, "So, you shouldn't let your children roam," thing, as much as a, "I noticed that your children are out and about a lot, and I wanted to make sure you knew what to warn them about."

The only public area is the road that runs through then neighborhood. The horses are in the guys front yard. If the kids squeezed through the bars the stallion could very easily bite/stomp/or pick them up if he felt threatened.

What do you know about the sex offenders?

I ask, because it doesn't take much to get yourself placed on that list, and unless they're known to be child predators, I wouldn't worry her.  People are paranoid enough these days.

According to the sit (Watchdog) they were convicted recently of sexual assault and rape. I had seen these guys before I even knew about the site and they are realy creepy. The way the kids just ran up to me and started talking (I'm a big guy) is what concerns me.
I think it would be polite for you and Mr. Teddybear to introduce yourselves to Mom.  She would probably appreciate a "heads up" about the ravines and snakes in the area.  As far as information on the s3x predators, that would be wise to let her know also.  It is concerning to me that the kids would run up to a man with a dog, as this is one of the techniques used by child predators to lure children away.



I think that's how we will do it, thank you.
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: *inviteseller on March 25, 2013, 11:02:35 PM
I agree that introducing yourself to the mom and just giving her a gentle heads up about the neighborhood, without seeming like you are telling her or the kids what to do/not do is fine.  And give her the website and say that there are a few registered offenders in the neighborhood...don't make it gossipy, just matter of fact.  I know I keep an eye on the list for my neighborhood.  There is actually a site for my county that tells you any parolees, not just registered offenders. I want to know, not just for my kids, but myself too. 
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: camlan on March 26, 2013, 08:49:45 AM
I vote for going over to introduce yourself first. Meet the kids, give her your contact information, get her phone number, etc. That will put you in a much better position to give her advice.

I would *not* give her a heads-up about dangers unless you see the kids behaving in a way that is problematic or you see a near-miss. If you know that there is a particular part of the neighborhood that is hazardous because of snakes, hornets, or a particularly unfriendly dog, then yes, give her a heads-up. However, it sounds like you're feeling tempted to tell her not to let her kids play outside unsupervised. I don't think that's a good idea.

As for the sex offenders, I'm rather torn. On the one hand, I do think parents should have a right to know if there is a potential predator in the area. On the other hand, not all people on the registry are going to be predators. Take "sexting" for instance. If a girl sends her boyfriend a naughty text, he technically is in possession of child pornography (and she has been producing and distributing it). A couple of kids who decide they want to fool around together are technically guilty of statutory rape. In neither case would the perpetrator be likely to go after neighborhood kids.

I also think they give a false sense of security. People forgot that it is only predators who have been caught that are on the list and they still need to be attentive to everyone else.

In addition, while sex offenders are required to register, not all of them end up changing their addresses when they move. There was a very sad case in my old town of a young girl who was killed by a registered sex offender who was living in her apartment complex in his girlfriend's apartment, but registered at his mother's house in a neighboring town. Yes, he was in violation of his parole, but there was no real way to catch this.

While the lists of registered offenders can be helpful, they do not have all the information you need to be safe. They are one of many tools parents should use to protect their children.
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: LeveeWoman on March 26, 2013, 09:37:11 AM
So people should not avail themselves of the tools that are available just because those tools might not work 100 %?
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: Judah on March 26, 2013, 09:46:04 AM
So people should not avail themselves of the tools that are available just because those tools might not work 100 %?

No one has said that. Just that one shouldn't rely on this one tool to keep yourself safe.  It's one tool in the toolbox.
Title: Re: How to handle this situation?
Post by: bah12 on March 26, 2013, 09:57:49 AM
I think this is a matter of approach.  If you feel that the kids are darting in the street, not careful around animals, etc, then I don't think there's anything wrong with telling the mom "Hey, I've noticed your children running up to the dogs in the neighborhood and some of these dogs are not child friendly.  I'd hate to see something happen to them (or the dogs) because they aren't aware of the danger."  or "Hey, I was walking my dog yesterday and two of the children ran out in the street.  There's a 'blind corner' and cars tend to speed.  The streets in this neighborhood are not safe." 
I don't think you can say "Hey, you let your kids 'roam free' and yelling at them periodically to come back inside is not appropriate.  Aren't you aware of the dangers?"

One is giving a friendly 'heads up' that the kids are not playing safely and another is questioning her parenting skills/techniques.  The latter is rude.

I also agree with those that say you should introduce yourself first and welcome her to the neighborhood before you decide to tell her how much danger her kids may be in.