I’m tired of aggressive kids and neglectful parents

Please note that this post was written out of frustration, not about the child, but about the parents who aren’t working with this child. I wrote this so I would get these angry thoughts out of my mind so that I could let them go. This post isn’t to offend anyone and I do understand age-appropriate expectations for very young kids. But, I also believe parents need to step in to help their kids when they can’t help themselves – when they are habitual hitters, or biters, or acting out in other ways … the parent should not ignore the problem or excuse it but help the child express their anger/frustrations in appropriate ways. And to me, this means taking responsibility to help the child cope and intervening when they act out. Two of my own children really didn’t need much direction. My third intense child needed help coping with her big emotions and it had to come from me as her mother. For two of my children, a regular amount of attachment parenting/authoritative style worked just fine. For my intense child, who had a neuro-developmental delay in her emotion regulation, who had mild sensory processing disorders and selective mutism that caused her to act out, I needed to intervene and learn all I can about emotional development from every resource I could. Because many mainstream parents and doctors knew very little about the conditions she had, I had to take it upon myself to read from books what it was all about. Two years after the fact, she has come a long way and can now express herself much better than she used to.

But beyond that…I would hope that anyone else that reads this post understands that I can have compassion for this child I’m blogging about, and I can still have a lot of irritation with her parents for not taking an active role in preventing their child from acting out against my children or other children on my block. I don’t really care that this child is 3.5. That is the perfect time to start coaching a child to how to cope with their feelings. Children persist in acting out if they aren’t taught constructive ways of handling their anger and frustrations.


I got yelled at yesterday by one of my neighbors because my girls keep getting hurt by the 3.5 year old girl down the street who is very immature and aggressive towards anyone who makes her mad. At 18 months of age, her parents stopped supervising her play outside. Oftentimes she’d wander over to our house or other people’s houses without telling her parents. After some time, they’d realized she’d wandered off and finally come look for her. Then they put a lock on their driveway gate, but at 2 years old, she figured out how to climb over it.

She’s also very fond of hitting, throwing things, pinching and pushing kids of any age. She’s hit other kids with brooms, toy swords, her hands, rocks. Her parents have given her time outs, but for only 2 minutes and then she’s back out to play. They do nothing to teach her how to stop. Many adults on this block feels this girl is a little bully. My neighbor across the street came outside to tell me she saw her from her kitchen window hit a boy a year older than her with a toy sword, hard.

Often, the targets of her frustrations are my girls. My girls don’t fight back and they for sure don’t pick on kids younger than themselves. My kids know better. It’s not that they never had problems sharing (because they did every once in a while, but they never habitually hit their friends because they didn’t get what they want, not even when they were 3). They just did. NOT. do. that.

If it weren’t for the fact that I know this child has no one her age to play with, and often times has no one to play with during the day, I wouldn’t have even let them play with her. But lately she’d taken to ringing our door 2-3 times a day asking to play with my kids. Yesterday after school, she sat on my porch waiting for us to come home after I picked up the oldest from school.

Then about an hour later, my youngest daughter, 4, comes home crying to tell me her friend S pinched her arm and pushed her in the back. I found out it was because she didn’t want my daughter E to get out of her little toy motorized Jeep so that she could go ride her own bike. So S pinched her and hit her in the back.

Later, as I go to collect our girls’ bikes and shoes that were left at S’s house, I was grumbling awfully loudly about S always picking on my kids, and then told S to tell her parents that she doesn’t know how to stop hurting my kids.

Her father came out to “discuss” (read: yell at me about) this.

It boils down to the fact that my kids are tattle tales, and kids need to figure these things out on their own without tattling. My husband is of the opinion (and has been for a long time since this isn’t the first time other kids target my kids) that we should teach them how to fight back. Other kids won’t mess with them if they learn how to push and hit back. Yeah, somehow I don’t see that as a great alternative…but I’m thinking something has to be done. Apparently me sending the child away when she hurts my kids like I’ve been doing isn’t enough to dissuade her from picking on my kids (who are 4, 6 and 7.5). Even my 7.5 year old thinks she’s a bully. Her 7.5 year old friend too was hit by her with toys in the past.

I come to find out that S also hit E in the head with a rock, because apparently S was throwing a rock at the play house in the back and it bounced on the roof and hit S in the head. But S thought E did it, so she threw a rock at E and it hit her in the head. Apparently it was hard enough that the father put ice on it (but he didn’t tell me it happened until after the second incident where my daughter got pinched and hit in the back).

I don’t remember what I said to him, other than the fact that if E was doing something wrong, I should have been told so that I could deal with her. Then he said, “well you should keep your kids at YOUR house”.

Um…I DO, except his kid keeps ringing my damn doorbell and waiting on my steps.

The parents of this child also are the parents of a 8 year old boy who lets him play Halo and Gears of War video games, let him listen to very hard rock and took him to his first Nickleback concert two weeks ago. In case you don’t know who Nickleback is, check out these lyrics Just to Get High and Burn it to the Ground.

Last year the boy had issues with play fighting aggressively and saying “you’re dead, I killed you” and “I’m going to kill you”. When I asked him why he was so into “killing”, he told me how he had nightmares at night where he’d be killing people. I asked him if he was killing good guys or bad guys and he said, “both”.

Great. They are creating little deviants and they don’t give a carp about it. They’d rather the children govern themselves like in the book Lord of the Flies.

I’m glad this is the fall, and soon enough it will be too cold to play outside for long. There will be more time indoors and away from kids who have no self-control.

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39 Responses to I’m tired of aggressive kids and neglectful parents

  1. I feel for your children. It’s tough to deal with someone has no boundaries, and no one to keep them in check.

    In your situation, there is no question: I would NOT let this child stay on my property, or play with my children.


    1) This child is aggressive, does not listen, and the parents don’t care what the children do.

    2) If this child gets hurt at your home, you WILL be held liable, the parents will see to that. There won’t be any ‘kids will be kids’ then… it’ll be ‘see you in court’!

    3) If this child injures one of your children, or damages your property, the parents won’t be held responsible for it [at least, not without a court order].

    The easiest way is to call the parents whenever S. shows up on your doorstep. If you feel that you have to explain [and you don’t], say that you are busy and won’t be able to keep an eye on S.

    If your children are playing outside, and S. comes over, let S. know that they have to go home [as you call Mom or whoever].

    You are entitled to enjoy your property without uninvited guests hanging around. [Remember #2, liability issues ;-)]

    Almost forgot… it’s not your problem, responsibility, or duty to make certain that this child has anyone to play with. The natural consequence of her actions is that no one plays with her. There doesn’t appear to be much hope for the parents, but maybe the child will get the point. In any event, your children shouldn’t learn that they have to suffer for this bully.

    If you feel really bad for this child, maybe you can spend some one-on-one time playing with her [without your children having to bear the brunt of her bad behavior]… maybe some adult attention is what the child needs.

    Hope this helps, and good luck!!


  2. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Laveda –

    Thanks for your very thorough and thoughtful reply. I do try to spend time with this child (in fact two days ago, I set out a toy tea party set for them to have a tea party with water and crackers on the front porch, and the next day I let her paint rocks with my daughters for something to do when they were all bored), but I know it’s not enough. She still hurts my children. I don’t blame her as much as I blame her parents.

    They don’t want to take responsibility to connect with and guide their children. It really makes me sad, both for their children, and mine. Aside from this child and one other (a 2 year old who we rarely ever see), there are no girls for them to play with.

    I’ve told my girls that we will start playing at the park instead, or riding our bikes around the block instead of up and down the nearby houses.

  3. Beth says:

    I started reading your blog at the suggestion of a friend and I must say that up until this posting I truly felt sorrowful over some of the events in your life. I had to go back and read some of the archives to get a good picture of where you are coming from and to be totally honest, I just don’t get it. I admire you for being able to accomplish what you have as far as your education is concerned, but I am afraid you are a little out of touch. I understand, from what you wrote, that you have done a lot of book research on the subject of parenting. As a mother of 7, I can assure you no one can learn how to teach, direct or nurture a child from a book. While some books are informative and can be a great source of guidance, I think that what you are forgetting about is the natural motherly instinct that God intended for you to use in rearing your children.

    I probably should apologize now if my comments have offended you, that is not my intention. I just think that when someone is so sure that their parenting is superior to that of another, you are definitely missing the boat. I had to ask someone what PITA was and after having it explained to me, I was to say the least shocked. You seem to have a lot of concern for S and yet you felt the need to call her a pain in the a**? I should also remind you that at 3 and one-half years old, no one can anticipate S acting maturely. Perhaps there is a book about the intellectual, social and psychological levels that 3 and one-half year olds have. I know from experience that they do not have the mental capacity to handle anything “maturely”.

    I guess the bottom line is that I emplore you to speak and act from the heart not your intellect. You might find that you get a lot further that way. I do wish you luck in your endeavor to be the best mom that you can be and I will be praying for you to see that your worth is in how you are preparing your children for life.

  4. raisingsmartgirls says:

    For the record, I didn’t call her a PITA to her father. On the other hand, I do believe that everybody is a PITA at some point or another in their lives. No one is perfect. Not even me or my kids.

    Quite honestly, I write not to please anyone. I write what I write so that I am not mean and nasty to people around me. And quite honestly, there have only been a handful of commenters, so as far as I’m concerned, I don’t make any assumptions that those people who do read my blog stick around to read more. If they do, that’s wonderful. But if they don’t, that’s okay with me.

    I did, out of courtesy for you, edit out the PITA word, but FEELING a person is a PITA and SAYING it out loud are two totally different things. And even with 3.5 year old behavior, letting your child hit with toys/hands, pinch, push without CONSTANT supervision is IMO, negligent on the parts of the PARENTS. You should see this child get so angry her whole body shakes and she yells “go home” to any adult who corrects her (even when she’s in my yard playing on our swingset). She is an angry child and the parents don’t seem to feel the need to supervise her more closely and teach her “hands are not for hitting” OR EVEN PLAY WITH THE POOR CHILD. Her parents are around, but I never see her mother hug her, or kiss her or talk to her, or cuddle with her or play with her. EVER. She’s always outside, walking around, looking for someone to play with.

    I don’t ask anyone to feel sorry for me and my struggles. I write to process what I feel – to get the anger out, to get the frustrations out, to get my negative feelings out of me so that I can go back and parent with a better frame of mind.

    I don’t know what to tell you about the motherly instinct thing. Some women are born to be mothers, some are not. I have too much anger and have seen too much in my own family of origin that was ugly and I believe that almost every mothering instinct was in me was damaged almost beyond recognition. But, that being said, I’ve been working to recover it. And, if you are a mother of 7, I am pretty sure you had always wanted to be a mother. Not everyone is called to be a mother. I’m not entirely sure I was.

    And, I didn’t get all I know about parenting from a book. Believe it or not, I used the internet quite a bit and many of my parenting skills I picked up from a Grace-based/gentle/positive discipline Christian mother’s message board. Trust me, I think my parenting is producing a lot better behaved children because I have discussed many of my own parenting ideas with other mothers who have the same ideals as I do.

    The thing is – I’m not about to kill off my intellect or my own personal intellectual needs to be a better mother. I’m not about to sacrifice a huge part of myself for them. I know me. If I do that, I will resent them and my husband for it. I don’t think God gave me my intellect in order for me to throw it away.

    I do believe now that I have kids, I need to take care of their needs, but not at the exclusion of my own. I don’t think God calls us to serve others with a resentful heart.

    I had my own innocence stolen from me as a child. While on the one hand I’m not about to steal theirs, I’m also not about to willingly give up everything I worked so hard for.
    There is a middle ground and I WILL FIND IT.

  5. sally says:

    Why were your children at the neighbors house(unattended by you) if their child is so bad? It seems to me if I were the mother of your children I would not want them at a house where they could get hurt. Or could it be that you like it when they are not your responsibility if even for a short amount of time? You seem to have a lot of time to read with having 3 young children. What are your children doing when you are on the internet and reading all your parenting books?

  6. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Sally – for the first time in 7 years, I’m starting to give my kids a little more freedom. I have felt that I spent plenty of time hovering over them, making sure they made good choices when I was around so that they could make good choices when I was not.

    This child was doing a lot better, so I thought I could relax the helicopter parenting I did. I have supervised all their play before. Any time I do not, they get hurt.

    It wasn’t too long ago when a child told my girls he was going to hypnotize my oldest daughter M into killing her sister K and sister E. You can read about it here:


    Any time my girls get around other kids, it’s likely my girls will get hurt. But what’s the alternative – keeping them locked up in my house or hovering over OTHER kids when they are around because they can’t be trusted not to throw rocks or say evil things? I’m sorry but THAT doesn’t even make sense. If I’m supposed to watch OTHER kids and my kids when they are in my yard, why can’t the mother’s watch over MY kids and their kids when they are at theirs, when THEY KNOW they have a child who hits and pinches and throws things?

    We (me, my girls and this child) all sat and had a tea party and they painted rocks together just earlier last week. When I gave my children snacks, I brought out snacks for her as well. I started to relax around this child, thinking she was going to be doing better.

    And for the record, I don’t read/go on the internet to learn about parenting during the day, but at night time when they are tucked in bed.

    Or could it be that you like it when they are not your responsibility if even for a short amount of time?
    What exactly do you mean? When who is not my responsibility? My own kids or someone else’s? I have enough to deal with than to teach other kids how not to hit my kid with a rock. Especially when those parents do not want me correcting their kid. Period.

    You seem to have a lot of time to read with having 3 young children. Again, what exactly are you implying here? You don’t even know me, so why are you criticizing how I spend my time?

    During the day, I do projects with them at home. We play math games, I make them toys to play with, and I do science projects with them. We spend a lot of time going to local parks to play at.

    In case you don’t believe me, you can check out our projects here:


    and here


    Don’t worry, though, I will be going back to finding other things for my kids to do instead of hanging around children who have no self-control because they don’t have parents that teach their kids right from wrong.

  7. raisingsmartgirls says:

    I’m beginning to wonder why this one post is beginning to get out of hand. If I continue to get negative commentary, I just might delete it, because obviously, people are missing the whole point.

    This is my blog, and I should feel free to vent about whatever I want to.

  8. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Beth – I need to address something else (if you ever come back).

    I think you are wrong about something.

    You said, ” I can assure you no one can learn how to teach, direct or nurture a child from a book.”

    How can you make that absolute of a statement? What about the Bible? Is that not a BOOK telling us how to treat each other? Hmmm…I sure thought it was.

    I completely disagree with your statement. Books about children’s development are not the end-all, be-all of it, but it sure is a START. I have learned how to teach, direct and nurture my children from books AND from studying my kids and seeing how they interact with the world AND by learning about how NOT to parent by watching other parents, AND by remembering what it was like to be parented by a control freak for a mother who didn’t give a CRAP about how I felt about being abused by her.

    My “God-given natural mothering instinct” was damaged enough to know I couldn’t trust it. I grew up hating the idea of having a family and being tied down, because I saw and felt how unwanted I was as a child. It affects everything I feel about myself and what I choose to do.

  9. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Yes, in case anyone is wondering… I feel attacked, and a little pissed off about it.

  10. RSG,

    Don’t sweat other people’s responses to your posts. You take care of your children, and let the other posters worry about theirs.

    As far as letting your children go over to other people’s homes, I have done that, and visited with the parents [in sight of the children], to make certain that:

    a]my children didn’t hurt anyone,

    b]my children didn’t get hurt by anyone, and

    c]when my children or the hosts children started showing signs of tiredness [aggression, tears, etc.], I could scoop them up and take them home.

    Now, I have been taken to task for this, because many people feel that if you trust the parents, you just drop your children off and let the other parent deal with the children.

    I don’t agree. Especially if your child or the host child has issues [of any kind].

    Each parent has to do what they think is best for *their* child[ren]; each child is different and has different needs.

    I think that you have touched a nerve with this ‘difficult neighbor’ children post, because we have all had to deal with a child whose behavior we didn’t care for, and their parent wasn’t concerned about, even though it hurt others.

    I have more to say; if you want to hear it, email me privately 🙂

  11. raisingsmartgirls says:

    LaVeda –

    Thank you for your thoughts. I’ll send you my email in a bit.

    I do know what you mean. My own middle child had to be constantly supervised for a while. Not because she hurt other kids, but because she melted down a lot and other kids took stuff right out of her hands. And I felt if I kept her away, I had to keep all of them away. It was hard on all of us.

    I’ve had to take my middle child away from parks because of her sensitivity to tiredness and hunger issues. She was a lot less resilient during those times. Consequently there was more interventions needed and we left the parks early at times.

    I just was hoping, now that my kids are all older, I would be able to stand back a bit and not have to look over their shoulder all the time. I was hoping to give my kids a tiny bit more freedom. Now I see if they are going to play with other kids, I still might have to be more watchful.

  12. sally says:

    PITA and pissed off, do you always talk this way? I think you only like positive comments and for people to agree with you. I also noticed you have been blogging since your children have been home from school (info from previous blog) no projects today? You know I meant not having to watch your own children. I’m not criticizing what you do with your time, however after reading a lot of your blogs I do have to wonder, how do you have so much time to read,blog, search the internet and take care of a family, home and dog? I have 3 children and by the time I got home from taking them to all their activities, made meals, walked the dog, washed and dried clothes, I was lucky if I had an hour to myself.

  13. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Why yes, Sally, I swear like a sailor. It’s a gift I got from living with the mother I was given. You sound an awful lot like my sisters – they did the same thing – take underhanded punches when they didn’t have anything useful to say.

    We just got back from a 3 day vacation so I haven’t had a chance to do much blogging or activities.

    My kids don’t have activities I run them to during the school year. I didn’t quit my career to do housework, but to come home for my kids. I don’t let the schools teach my kids everything, nor do I outsource their activities. Why should I when I’m a former scientist and I know more than the teachers do about science.

    I actually did my chores for the day (I have a very small house and it doesn’t take long to get things right again), and I’m a SUPER FAST thinker and typer, so it hardly takes any time at all to blog. I have a huge yard so my dog takes care of herself. I washed and dried clothes, washed my 1 bathroom floor and my kitchen floor. And I changed and washed out the litter box. And most times I stay up late to blog about the days activities or my thoughts and then post them sometime during the day.

    Quite honestly, any intellectual person knows that if they NEED intellectual stimulation they WILL FIND IT, no matter what responsibilities they have.

    I make sure I have time for myself because I didn’t quit my job to be a housemaid. My husband KNOWS this when he married me. He knows I quit my job when my oldest was 2.5 not to be a house frau – it was to spend time with them and him, and to figure out where I wanted to go from there. I was supposed to be starting my master’s degree, but that goal got sidetracked when I got pregnant again.

    My mother kept a pristine house, yet treated me and my sisters like shit. I place an extremely LOW value on the appearance of my home. I place an extremely HIGH value on interpersonal relationships and individual development, my kids’ development, my husband’s and MY OWN.

    So…again…what is your point? I would never think to come on someone’s blog and tell them that they are out of touch or criticize them for blogging about whatever they want to blog about instead of housekeeping or whatever.

  14. raisingsmartgirls says:

    By the way, if you barely have time for yourself, why are you wasting it on my blogs looking to cut me down?

    No I’m not looking for agreement. Remarkably, it’s when people DON’T agree with me that I get more hits on my blog. Funny how being controversial makes people stand up and comment on my blog and makes for interesting reads. Otherwise, I could express myself and no one really cares.

    Your and Beth’s commentary afforded me 173 192 hits today. Interestingly enough, it’s usually around the 50-100 hit range. Apparently controversy sells (who knew?)

    I could care less if people agreed with me. BUT on the other hand, why would anyone in their right mind go to someone’s blog and tell them they are doing things wrong?

    Quite honestly NOT everything we do around here is blog worthy. I’m not going to blog every single thing we do. That’s just nuts.

  15. Mika says:

    I enjoy reading both your blogs. I appreciate the ideas and thoughts you put forward, even though sometimes I don’t agree. Everyone’s upbringing and experience influences the way they choose to or are able to parent. (I personally can’t handle attachment parenting, but clearly it’s the right choice for some). Keep writing! If it’s helping you process, it’s good – and it helps others too.

    And for what it’s worth I didn’t think there was anything wrong with what you wrote here. Hope you find a way of dealing with this lassie and her parents that works for you.

  16. Mika says:

    (And I also didn’t get married in order to be a full-time cleaner! We figure reasonable amounts of dirt are good for children’s immune systems).

  17. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Mika –

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    In all actuality, I don’t think some people realize that you attachment parent a child most as an infant and toddler/preschooler to establish a close bond, then you switch it up to other parenting styles. There are basically 4 major styles of parenting:

    Authoritative (giving choices), Authoritarian (giving orders), Indulgent (giving in) and Neglectful (giving up).

    Having been in an authoritarian (it’s my way or the highway) and abusive family showed me I didn’t want that. Seeing the results of indulgent parenting (whiny kids that walk all over their parents) and of neglectful parenting (producing very angry and distant children) has shown me I didn’t want that either.

    I’ve thought about how my family treated me since I was first introduced to these concepts in my college psychology classes. Not in the sense that I knew I was going to have kids, but the type of parenting I wish I had.

    I choose authoritative parenting style for my purposes.

    According to Wikipedia –


    Authoritative parenting, also called balanced parenting,[9] is characterized by a child-centered approach that holds high expectations of maturity, compliance to parental rules and directions, while allowing for an open dialogue about those rules and behaviors between the parent and child. “Authoritative parenting encourages children to be independent but still places limits and controls on their actions.”

    “Extensive verbal give-and-take is allowed, and parents are warm and nurturant toward the child.”[1] Authoritative parents are not usually as controlling, allowing the child to explore more freely, thus having them make their own decisions based upon their own reasoning.[10] Authoritative parents set limits, demand maturity, but when punishing a child, the parent will always explain his or her motive for their punishment. “Their punishments are measured and consistent in discipline, not harsh or arbitrary. Parents will set clear standards for their children, monitor limits that they set, and also allow children to develop autonomy. They also expect mature, independent, and age-appropriate behavior of children.”[1] They are attentive to their children’s needs and concerns, and will typically forgive instead of punishing if a child falls short.[11] This is supposed to result in children having a higher self esteem and independence because of the democratic give-take nature of the Authoritative parenting style. “Children whose parents are authoritative are often cheerful, self-controlled, self-reliant, and achievement –oriented; they maintain friendly relations with peers, cooperate with adults, and cope well with stress.”[1] These children also do well in school and have a high academic competence. These children are usually liked by teachers and peers, especially in cultures where individual initiative is valued. This is the most recommended style of parenting by child-rearing experts. ”

    As a consequence of our efforts, our children are well respected by their teachers and their friends (at school anyway).

    Actually, being reminded of to look at Wikipedia shows me that I was wrong – these parents aren’t being permissive, they are being neglectful:

    “Neglectful parenting is also called uninvolved, disengaged, detached, dismissive, nonconformist or hands-off.

    They [the children of neglectful parents] frequently have low self-esteem, are immature, and may be alienated from the family. In adolescence, they may show patterns of truancy and delinquency.”[1] Children of neglectful parenting exhibit antisocial behavior as a teenager towards friends and family. They often experience depression and social withdrawal, and are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior and drugs than children of authoritative parents. Many times children will grow up feeling resentment against their parents for being neglectful and often might be estranged from them into adulthood. “

  18. Beth says:

    Please understand that what I responded to you was for YOU and based on several entries to your blog. I do feel the need to respond to certain points you brought up.

    1) I did not attack you personally. I do not know you personally, I only know you through what you have written about your life.

    2) I am sorrowful for your life experiences in that it has colored your outlook on life, marriage and children. Something no one should have to endure.

    3) If a response to what you wrote is not what you wanted, then posting your thoughts on life and children in a public forum is not a good idea.

    4) I appreciate you taking PITA out of the posting, as I am sure that no one, be it a child or adult would appreciate that reference.

    5) My God reference was intended to spark an instinct in you based on love. We should be praising our friends (those who you expressed in your response that are like-minded) and trusting our enemies to Him.

    6) Do not be so sure that the parents of this child are not helping her find other ways to cope with frustration.

    7) Sally hit on one very important point. If you have known this is a problem, why was your child at S’s house unsupervised? If you are not convinced that the parents of S are models of the behavior you want to see in your children why was your child there?

    8) LaVeda also hit on an important point. Stay away from children and parents you do not approve of. You worry about your children and let them worry about theirs.

    9) YES the Bible is a book…not sure why that was in question

    10) If you are convinced that your childhood has damaged your motherly instinct to the point of being beyond repair perhaps you should investigate reading ONE book, THE book. See point 5.

    11) I am sure you know more about science than most science teachers. There is a huge difference between being a scientist and a science teacher. I know more about the Bible than most people, I do not teach behind a pulpit. Identifying our gift is only half of our responsibility, the other half is knowing how to use that gift for the greater good.

    I hope that you do not remove this posting, as I am sure you will feel the need to respond again to what I have written. Not everyone (again, child or adult) has the intention of hurting you as you have said your mother has hurt you. Investigate what EVERYONE can teach you and what you can gain from going through any given experience.

  19. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Religion is a whole ‘nuther ball of wax that I don’t care to delve too deeply into at this point in my life and certainly not on this blog. That’s not what it’s designed for.

    While I am Christian, I have seen the hypocrisy of my Catholic mother and siblings, who STILL persist in the lies and mistreatment of me.

    Suppose I should send you some of my emails to that effect that they sent me not 2 years ago.

    I have read the Bible, unlike my “do as I say, not as I do” family. I have issues with my faith because of them.

    Unlike you, I do not feel the need to seek the advice of everyone I meet, AND particularly NOT simply because they have MORE kids than I do. Guess what, my own mother had 5 kids, three of whom are spaced exactly the same months apart as my three children. You’d think she’d be the best person I should turn to, but NO, she is the most toxic person I could pick.

    Having 7 kids doesn’t make you a parenting expert on ALL kids. Having your 7 kids makes you and EXPERT on your 7 kids, and that’s it.

    If that were the case, I should be barking up the Duggars tree and asking them how they do it. Quite honestly, I don’t care to know because I don’t agree with many of the things they do.

  20. Beth says:

    I can see clearly that you are sure you are right. I never claimed to be an expert on anything, just voicing my opinions on somethng that caught my attention. I hope and pray that you find peace with your family and with your faith.

  21. raisingsmartgirls says:

    And I’m just voicing MY opinions. I never asked for anyone to agree with them.

    The whole point of my post was to get my anger out so I wouldn’t go to my neighbor and give him a piece of my mind like I wanted to.

    Again, if you’d really read anything of what I said, you’d understand I blog to get my frustrations out so I could be in a better frame of mind for my family.

  22. lynn0906 says:

    My mother taught me something a long time ago that I think is applicable here…

    If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all.

    Please keep your head up. There are so many of us who are busy, quiet moms who don’t have time to write long, lengthy messages criticizing you, nor would we want to.


  23. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thanks Lynn

    My grandma taught us that too. Unfortunately, my mother and sisters didn’t get the message. Unfortunately, their constant criticism of me set me up to feel defensive at the drop of a hat.

    A friend and I have been in an ongoing discussion of how to stop rising to the bait when someone tries to be oppositional.

    We haven’t figured out quite how yet.

  24. lynn0906 says:

    Well, I think your blog is great and I am certain I am not the only one. Just ignore the ignorance, however hard. Why someone would attack you is beyond me. I mean, if I don’t like a blog, I don’t read it, right? I read another blog who actually moved her blog to private because she kept getting such horrible, personally attacking comments.

    You help so many of us. Keep it up!

  25. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Lynn – thank you for that sentiment. I’m really touched.

    You know, in the end, I do realize I could have saved a lot of headache for myself, Beth and Sally if I would have deleted comments that really had nothing to contribute to my situation.

    I should have listened to Beth the first time when she said,
    “I just don’t get it” and “I think you are out of touch”. It became clear she didn’t get it and therefore can’t possibly relate to my experiences and really should not have tried.

    I never would think to go to someone’s blog and be that directly rude to someone. It makes me wonder if Beth would go up to a new acquaintance her friend introduced her to and told them she thought they were out of touch if they had thought differently than her.

    That was the first time since I’ve started the blogs in 18 months that that had ever happened to me. First time for everything I guess.

  26. joanna says:

    Well, well, well… people can be judgmental! No one knows your life or history and so no one has a right to judge you on it. I admire you for being so honest and upfront about your life. The fact that you even reach out to this brat child is a credit to you!

    And about learning to parent from a book… we learn how to parent from our parents. Any instinct will suffer/grow accordingly. Parenting a “normal” child is hard enough if you don’t have the natural stuff for it (again, HUGE admiration for admitting that, I think that about myself all the time) but having a child with emotional, or any other issues, is a huge challenge! Why not let the experts who have done the research help you – there is nothing wrong with that. Might as well tell all the scientists, educators, and psychologists to go work at McDonalds if no one is going to listen/utilize to their research. And I may be wrong but I don’t believe the Bible mentions how to parent with a child with selective mutism… other than maybe… “And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.” Hmmm, seems a little harsh, I’ll stick to my parenting books, thanks.

  27. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thank you so much Joanna.

    When you said, “Why not let the experts who have done the research help you – there is nothing wrong with that. Might as well tell all the scientists, educators, and psychologists to go work at McDonalds if no one is going to listen/utilize to their research” I have to agree with you there.

    I think that there are MANY professionals who want things to be better for families, though there are some who simply want to sell books.

    I blog about our trials and tribulations because I want, no, I NEED to be honest and I want to help others along the way so they don’t have to be confused and hurt and uncertain and frustrated and at their rope’s end on how to help their children quite as much as I did.

    My daughter is worlds better than she was 2 years ago. It is very likely that without intervention, her condition would have persisted far into grade school, and if not met with empathy by teachers and friends, persisted into adulthood.

    I have read the painful stories of other SM individuals who are now adults and it’s because they never got the help they needed when they were young. They were met with either disdain or neglect and suffered for it. People who thought they were helping we only making things worse for them.

    I have often thought that Jesus would be very empathetic to my child’s plight, and would want me to be so as well. But, it took me a while to learn how to be empathetic.

    Never having empathy from my mother made it especially difficult to be empathetic to my own daughters. I learned the hard way how destructive that lack of empathy can be. Books have helped me see things in a new light and have compassion for my kids and other children (even if I do still get peeved at the parents for not helping their children).

    Thanks again.


  28. Jennaviere says:

    I’m not criticizing what you do with your time, however after reading a lot of your blogs I do have to wonder, how do you have so much time to read,blog, search the internet and take care of a family, home and dog?

    Say what? So, according to Sally, the only “Good Mom” is the mom who never gets spare time? Sheesh, Sally’s entire comment really underscores a major problem: that a woman/mother’s worst enemies are other women/mothers!

    What reward did you want exactly, Sally, for being such a busy person that you don ‘t get a minute to rest, because I know mothers of 5 or 6 children who also blog, knit, take long baths, whatever.

    ***Being constantly busy is not an indicator of the quality of your parenting.***

  29. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thanks Jennaviere.

    I quite agree.

    Quite honestly, my blogging about my daughters selective mutism and sensitivity issues has reached out to a number of hurting, stressed-out concerned parents of highly sensitive and/or selectively mute children. Since this posting, I’ve had two more mothers chime in their appreciation for keeping this blog up to date.

    I think, with the exception of this not being a paid position, I am providing a public service in the way of mother-to-mother support about a little known (in the general population) condition – the selective mutism and how sensory issues played into it and more importantly, how to manage it successfully.

    There are many, many stories out there of children who retain their mutism into adulthood. Some would rather take their own lives than continue to live in the prison of their mutism – THAT’S how life is for some SM individuals.

    It is very difficult to treat cases of selective mutism if not caught and worked on early in the child’s life.

    I donate my time and my knowledge and pass along the things I’ve learned when dealing with the issues that complicate things considerably for those children and parents dealing with it.

    I have had mothers write lovely comments on this blog that they appreciate me taking the time to talk candidly about my struggles – because it helps them feel less alone.
    I so appreciate the feedback from them, because it means good has come from our struggles.

    My other blogs (the science blog and the general education blog) has provided some really neat project ideas for other mothers who desire to take an active role in their children’s education (whether or not they homeschool or public school or private school).

    They are my projects that restore ME, that give me happiness and allow me to have more to give my children.

  30. Krissy says:

    I read your blog off and on, I think I found you through MDC. But now that I figured out that freakin Google Reader thing-a-ma-bob (I’m not so technical 🙂 I will probably be a more frequent commenter.

    The people who comment in order to criticize you are not really responding to you. They are responding to their own shit. And I’m not going to watch my fucking language because some PITA doesn’t like it. *cough* (No, I don’t have a problem being referred to as a PITA, I am one–thanks.) You are going about your life talking about things that are hard for people to hear. That’s going to set people off. I’m sorry for that. I have the same problem on my blog. I frequently, adamantly, state that I have no interest in receiving any advice from anyone and if anyone’s comment starts out with “I think you should…” save it. I don’t want to hear it. It is a policy that has saved me a lot of stress.

    It’s ok for you to vent on your blog. If people don’t like it they can bugger off. It’s ok for you to be frustrated with people and their behavior regardless of their age. It’s your god given right.

    As for “parenting by instinct” bullshit, well… my mom did that. She produced three drug addicts, one kid who ended up killing himself, two of her four kids were married and divorced by 21 and have kids outside of wedlock, her kids rarely can support themselves or have healthy relationships. Then there’s me. I’m not an addict. I went to college and graduate school. I’m the only one in my family with a high school diploma. Apparently ‘instincts’ produce a rather mixed bag and aren’t all that helpful. I’ll take my books.

    You’re doing just fine.

  31. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Krissy –

    First off – Welcome! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate your candid response. It’s “real” and honest. I like that.

    I don’t think anyone who hasn’t been in a dysfunctional family upbringing really knows how deeply it affects a person.

    Secondly – wow! Thank you for sharing your background with me. I feel so sad for you and your siblings. I know that you must have been a very, very strong person to find your path amongst all that pain.

    I think if my siblings had troubles like that, well…I think I would probably lose it. I tend to assume a lot of care-giving responsibility for my family (even when I could have walked away). There was a time when all I was doing was intervening in my mom’s and sibs issues because I didn’t want them to suffer needlessly. But if they were addicts (beyond alcoholism, I mean) and knowing that you can’t really “save” an addict unless they are willing to get help…well, I think that would just tear me up.



  32. Krissy says:

    I’m actually a much happier person than that comment indicates. 🙂 I just get a lot of righteous indignation when commenters slam bloggers for not being ‘nice’ enough as they work through issues. I think that the pressure to always be ‘nice’ and ‘polite’ prevent a lot of women from working through issues. Talking about hard things is messy. When you’ve had a hard life you have difficult, painful thoughts. Being shamed for having those thoughts doesn’t help anyone.

    And I apologize to you for my swearing because this is your sandbox and I don’t know how you feel about cursing. It was more directed at the person up-comment-stream who was complaining about your usage of PITA and who knows if she will even see it.

    Now that it is morning and I’m a little calmer I see all the more brilliant and effective ways I could have responded instead of just getting angry. Que sera sera. (Insert accent marks where appropriate.)

    Have a good day!

    • raisingsmartgirls says:

      Hey…no problem on the language. I swear like a sailor sometimes. It doesn’t bother me and what I saw was an honest expression of your feelings.

      Actually, you should have seen some of my replies I ended up deleting, like the one where I said, “fuckity-fuck-fuck” just to be obnoxious. I decided I was being nasty and rude simply for the shock value of it and because I was reacting from a very hurt place. Most decidedly un-Christian, un-enlightened, un-Zen-like of me to keep it.

      I am working on my swearing habit though. Well, trying hard to work on it. Sometimes I think it’s just TOO satisfying to use those “taboo” words.

      I didn’t think you were not happy now, just that you’ve come through a tough family life.

      I agree – these things are tough to work through and being “nice” and “polite” undermines growth.

      In fact, I’m glad that you are happy. I have to work on my own happiness, because I’m naturally more uh…what’s the word…melancholic. I wish I weren’t but that’s me.

      Now that it is morning and I’m a little calmer I see all the more brilliant and effective ways I could have responded instead of just getting angry.

      Oh, geez – how many times have I thought THAT before ??? About a million!

  33. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Oh, and hey – I’m reading your High Maintenance, but Strangely Low Drama post from 3/4/08 and I’m lovin’ the commentary on work/family/feminism stuff!

  34. Krissy says:

    What’s kind of funny about that is… I failed out of the MA program in the 11th hour. I couldn’t pass the comprehensive examination. It’s… hard.

  35. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Aw man. That stinks. I bet it was harder than you expected it was going to be. Oddly enough, even though English was a strength of mine through high school, I didn’t test as well on English as I expected on the ACTs.

  36. Mom of Three says:

    Children who can’t follow my house rules are banned from my house. And my kids can’t go over to homes where there are children who are, for whatever reason, unfair or a bad influence. It’s that simple. Only by pulling your children away from this little girl will her parents start to get a glimmer of a clue–and your kids don’t deserve the abuse.

  37. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Mom of Three –

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    We went through a period of keeping the girls away from her, and 8 months and some amount of maturity later, they are playing together. The unfortunate thing for all of them is that the two youngest of mine and the girl are the ONLY children not in school after 11 am. So keeping them separated hurts ALL of them.

    What I HAVE noticed, over the past 8 months is that the parents are always supervising her play now. Either the mom or the dad is out while she is out. I think they have learned to be a little bit more cautious with her.

    So if they are over in our yard, I’m out, and if they are over in her yard, they are out. It’s working out much better that way for all of them.

    She can be a really sweet girl.
    I made a very interesting discovery last night as I’m reading a book I found at a garage sale. It’s called the Good Enough Child, How to Have an Imperfect Family and Be Perfectly Satisfied.

    Even though this other child is not my own, one of the vignettes is helping me understand a lot of things I otherwise didn’t realize about myself and the nature of bullies and victims. First of all, I realize that some of my expectations for children’s behavior is too high. Kids (my own and other kids) are usually going to fall short of my expectations. Blaming them or the parents aren’t going to help.

    I was reminded that aggression is also a sign of insecurity and vulnerability and that bullies and victims tend to seek each other out and that victims tend to be reinforced by not being taught how to deal with bullies. In my case, I was the victim to my older sisters frequent bullying and bullying by other kids. I never learned how to deal with them…and consequently, my way of handling my kids’ aggressors is by trying to overprotect them rather than “bully-proof” them – give them assertiveness skills to get other kids off their backs.

    Realistically, my girls do need to learn to negotiate themselves a little around bullies too (of course rock throwing kind of behavior is dangerous and in need of adult intervention). I’m reading some interesting stuff about the bully-victim dynamic and the best thing to do is to help the victim learn some assertiveness skills rather than try to rescue them and never give them the chance to apply any.

    My problem is that I was the victim in the dynamic between my older sister and I. She tormented me and I provided a lot of opportunities too, and I felt my mother never protected me enough. Consequently, I protect my girls a little too much.

    So yeah, this stuff is complicated.

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