Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Prayer in this challenge

As I have shared, we have been blessed to move into a very lovely and spacious home. In all of the places I have lived, I have graciously opened up my home and made it to be the hang out. I love having kids around and for the most part the kids, regardless of their family back round, have behaved well in my home. I have felt that my home is truly a place to just be yourself and enjoy food, fun, and the process of life. My older two loved that their house was where kids wanted to hang out. The younger boys have loved that too.

I remember often the misfits of the neighborhood were always the ones who hung out closest to me in the kitchen, slowly finding their place amongst their peers and moving away as confidence was built to no longer hang back out of fear.

The past three weeks have been a very hard internal struggle. Many tears, anxiety like I have never felt and fear of not knowing what to do, how to handle, and what action to take. We have a neighbor with four children six and under. They are left unattended and wander the streets like rats. I know that sounds terrible, but it has put us into a very difficult situation. I can no longer drive up to my home, open the garage door and let my children out to bring in groceries. Within seconds her children have run into my garage, stirred up things and absolutely have no ears for direction or instruction. Mother is no where to be found. The two year old has been found down the street, crossed over a busy street and in the neighbors driveway more than once. I only know this because as neighbors we are beginning to brainstorm how to handle such a delicate situation.

We have had to spend $1100.00 to put side fences in our yard to keep their kids out. On several occasions they have come into our back yard, even the one year old playing, while parents are no where to be found. My husband and I are beside ourselves. Their six year old decided my four year old was a bad guy and hauled off and just punched him. Eric did not even see it coming. I do not have the energy to parent seven kids under six. I have my own three six and under.

I had to have the fence guys come back out to put reinforcements on our fence because the neighbor kids were climbing it, kicking, and basically our property is used as their constant playground. They only have one car, so often she runs her husband to work early in the morning, leaving all four kids at home. I am sure they are all sleeping, but I can't be certain as she does not supervise them while she is home.

What do I do? I want to be kind and caring to these kids because it is not their fault. But I also want to live my life in peace. A few days ago I had friends over on two separate days. On both days these children were running wild interrupting the flow and fun of having company over. These other moms watched in horror as the one and two year old played around our large Vans, in my driveway. I have spoken, kindly to the mom, explaining to her that her children could not play in my yard and that if they are entering through my front door, they must leave through my front door with an adult handing them off to her or her husband. She looks at me with this blank stare and says okay, but that has yet to be implemented. They are not mean people. They just have little concern over the safety of their children. We were out in our driveway chatting with them about a week ago. Trying to be neighborly. Their two year old ran into our garage and got onto a bike. I said that that bike is really fast, and she needs a helmet and shoes. The poor thing went flying down the hill and crashed into the fence. Neither parent seemed alarmed, as my husband and I watched in disbelief.

This is turning into a long vented plea for ideas on what to do. My husband contacted children's services to ask for some advice as to what we can be doing for our own safety. They did not get involved nor will they unless the police are called. We want to know how to protect ourselves from their children being injured on our property. Last week I felt like I was running rodents off my property. I yelled at the older two kids to stay off my fence, my retaining wall, and that they could not play in my yard without permission, to which they look at you like your speaking a different language. I even went up to the front door and told the mother that I absolutely CAN NOT have her children running about my yard. I said it was intense energy, and now for the past two days her children have been no where in our space.

I feel terrible. I see her children watch as my children have friends over, and other neighborhood kids. I have tested the waters, inviting them into my home when I have complete undistracted attention, because they are not children who obey the rules of a home. This did not turn out so well.

They moved in a week after we moved in and both the grandma and sister-in-law to this family warned me that we were in for it. How encouraging was that? So, for those of you who may have some words of wisdom, please impart your words to me and lift me up in prayer. My husband goes nuts being home on the weekend, and he said this weekend that he can't imagine how I put up with this all week.

I am planting rose bushes next to my new fences because the fence is not providing the barrier we had hoped, as they keep climbing the fence. I can not, nor do I have time to police my yard 24/7. My husband said to me this weekend that something drastic needs to be done before someone gets hurt. So please lift our family up in our prayers. In a sad unfortunate way Ethan saw their one year old take a terrible fall from an outside staircase onto the concrete. Both parents were standing there and it scared Ethan. So he now knows that he can not go over there to play because the parents do not keep the kids safe and we want him to be safe. So we have resolved him begging to play with the neighbors. Which this goes against everything inside me.

Thanks for reading....


  1. I love how we can call a "brainstorming session with neighbors" exactly that, when in fact it is gossip.

  2. When you have a 59 year old woman pick up a screaming toddler on a hot day with now shoes on, across a busy street, and a 42 year old mother who has darn nearly ran over the neighbor kids it is called brainstorming for the purpose of how we not only protect ourselves but these children. To make a comment like you have and hide behind it is more perplexing to me. I never could understand that one.

  3. How very tacky of your last commenter! A discussion about the welfare of children who are in danger due to neglect is most certainly not a 'gossip' session.
    Since decisions must be made and the parents are not responsible, someone must step in, and unless the commenter was there she has no room to speak! Instead of calling you a gossip, she should be printing out her own label of 'busybody.'

    Sorry,Elizabeth, but it bothers me greatly when people are cruel or unkind unnecessarily.

    I can imagine this must be a very difficult situation. You feel for the children, but your own children's welfare must come first. My suggestion would be to talk to the grandmother and sister in law and tell them the severity of the problem. Surely they are interested in the chilren's safety. I would go so far as to tell them that if things don't improve, you will be forced to call the police...or at the very least take out a warrant against them all to stay away from your property...or be arrested.

    I will pray for you as you deal with this.

  4. What a horrible situation. I'm sorry for your trouble. I pray that it can be resolved for your sake.

  5. Oh, dear! I have been traveling... and not keeping up! You have been a busy girl.

    Wow! I'll have to say that the first person who left a comment must have quite a log in their own eye! (Could it be your neighbor?) Don't let this comment get you down... that's just what the enemy would want.

    I agree with tonja. The safety of your own children is paramount. I have no words of wisdom... except for prayer.

    You are a good woman, Elizabeth. Trust in what God is showing you and telling you.

  6. Your first commenter was extremely inappropriate!
    What a sad situation. I really feel for you. From what you've said, it sounds like it's the parents of those kids who need to be dealt with, not the kids. Would you consider calling the police? Even if nothing came of it, it might scare those negligent parents enough to make them get off their heinies and do something.
    Your family is the most important here, but also listening to what the Lord would have you do. I"m sure those people are in your life right now for a reason, I'll be praying that you'll discover it and have an extra measure of His grace in the meantime.
    BTW, thanks for stopping by my blog!

  7. Oh my goodness! What a terrible situation you're in. I can absolutely see how you'd want to be kind to these kids but at the same time, you need to take care of your own family too. I think your neighborhood is doing the right thing in brainstorming a solution. Thats the only way this will be worked out.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and letting me know an alternative to the 'Time Out'.

  8. So Sad. Tough Love is called for here, just to keep you & yours safe & not have these children get hurt on your property. Fences are a first step. You might need to put up no trespassing signs and ca;; the police to file a complaint against the neighbors for neglect in watching their children. I know this sounds tough and a bit mean, but from a legal standpoint you have to cover your bases.

    Spiritually, you must pray. Pray. Pray. Speak kindly to the parents, but firmly, in love and concern. Maybe reach out to the extended family. Maybe offer to help find a sitter or mothers helper or some kind of program for the children.Do everything in love, but you don't have to be a doormat.
    You have the right to enjoy your own home in peace.
    Bless you.

  9. I would keep a notebook and write everything down and if one of the children are in a dangerous situation again call the police. Better safe than sorry.

  10. First of all to the first annonymous commenter, your comment was rude and totally inappropriate. This is a group of obviously caring and concerned neighbors trying to look out for the welfare of four young children who are obviously in serious danger.

    That said, if it were me I would have to contat the police the next time I found one of the kids on my property or in a dangerous situation. I'm not typically one to say that because I do believe in community and so forth, but its obvious that the parents are completely oblivious to the reality of their responsibilities. These kids are in danger and this family needs some help.

    We are praying about this situation here too! Please keep us updated.

  11. Hi Elizabeth.. I must agree with everyone.. and say that you must do something about this appaling situation. Are the parents lazy? Do you think they are alcoholics? or worse? Are the parents young?

    It seems that the job of good mothering is a lost talent. so many times I have witnessed parents with no common sense. It just amazes me. I have a good friend who is a good mother.. who lost her two year old to a car backing up.. Accidents happen.. but these children left unattended.. are an accident waiting to happen.. it's not a "IF" something will happen, it's a "WHEN" something will happen.

    The Bible says, "Love your neighbor as yourself". I know you want to see them become a happy and balanced family. I know you care..Even those of us who are reading your blog cares.. But the sad message this mother is sending to her children, is.. that she doesn't care. Though they are young now, they will grow up knowing Mom didn't care.. and as they get older, they will find other entertainment.. and other mischief to get into, as they search for someone who does care... this will only lead them down the road to heartache..They need boundaries.. This kind of chaos is not healthy for anyone..Now is the time to make changes.. before it's too late.. Foster homes are not always the answer, but it may be what is needed. This mother needs to be told, she is in danger of loosing her children. That they will probably be seperated, and she will have a hard time getting them back. Is that what she wants? Can she understand what that will do to her children?

    Don't be a prisoner in your own house.. You must be at peace too.
    Are there any parenting classes that you could point her to? I will be praying for you.. that God impresses your mind with a way to help, and solve this situation. And maybe to lead her to God..

    One more point.. your children are watching to see how much these kids are allowed to get away with.. Use this as a parable, as a see what happens when we do this? or that? When we disobey.. this is what happens... Mommy doesn't allow you to do that, because...

    Best of luck, I'll be praying for you.
    Your friend.. Lis Allen, the table lady...

  12. I worked with a lady who lost her 5 year old daughter to a neighbor backing over her. I agree that these kids are going to have something happen and what a horrible thing it would be to be in that situation.
    I also deal with several neighbor kids that are over every day from the time my eye balls open till I close them. Some can't say no to their kids but others simply don't care. I feed and take other kids out with us a lot. It's not fair for you to have this and I will pray for you. :)

  13. I would definitely call the police. I had a neighbor like this awhile back and I really think this needs to be handled quickly. If something were to happen to one of them you are such a kind person that it would be heartbreaking so for their safety and the safety of you own family call the police and let them come so you can explain the situation and maybe they can help you come up with the best course of action. Please let us know how this turns out.

    Ignore the comment from the person who has no idea what gossip actually is.


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