I’m sure every single mother on this planet has had a neighbour come knocking- or calling on the phone- to tell you about something your child has supposedly done.
And whether my kidlet is guilty or not- it’s never nice and I always get defensive and mother bear-like. I can’t help it, its mommy programming, and it’s built in!
Case in point?
The other night at friend L’s place, while the toad was in the oven, there was a knock at the door. And judging by friend L’s puzzled frown, it was unexpected. T answered the door and I heard a woman’s voice asking T if she could speak to his mom. Friend L went to the door and greeted the woman whom I could not see, and I heard the woman say something like “Oh, you have guests?” and she sounded friendly enough, I figured she’d thought to pop in for coffee and was now going to leave since friend L was busy.
I headed for the kitchen, and friend L appeared a moment later looking apprehensive, saying the woman wanted to speak to her outside. I had a feeling I knew what was coming since I’ve had several conversations like this with my neighbours- and I’m not going to go into detail- but what it boiled down to was that the woman told friend L that her son T had been swearing and teaching her children (a little younger than T) rude words and signs they shouldn’t know. She hadn’t heard or seen T do it himself, her children told her about it.
As you can imagine, this little exchange pretty much ruined the rest of friend L’s evening.
I thought it was immensely selfish of the neighbour to have come to talk to friend L? firstly at night and taking friend L completely by surprise; secondly the night before a public holiday (or a weekend); and thirdly while friend L was entertaining.
Could it not have waited? Could she not have made an appointment or something, at least giving friend L some time to prepare? And why would she bring it up if she wasn’t 100% sure T had actually done anything wrong. Her decision to talk to friend L about T’s alleged misbehaviour stemmed from the fact that she believed her kids to be naïve? yeah right- not in today’s school system, lady!
I dunno bout you, but these things are never nice and more often than not are confrontational as well.
Maybe because I’ve been there, I think twice before confronting a child’s parents. First of all- unless I am more than 100% sure of the situation- I’d rather not bring it up. I leave Damien to handle it himself and if he needs help he can ask me for it.
If I can deal with it by dealing with Damien, or teaching him how to handle it, then I’d rather not get hold of the other child’s parents at all. If I think its serious then I will contact the kid’s parents, but something as niggly as swear words- come oooon!