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AIBU to feel awful about reporting neighbour to NSPCC?

(40 Posts)
redandblack Mon 01-Aug-11 00:18:08

Family moved into our road recently and have been a bit of a problem with two older kids (about 6 and 7) spitting, swearing like troopers, kicking and punching our kids - they all play out a lot as it is a dead end street and lots of families. They have terrible tempers and are really so violent that a nice road has turned into a battle zone! They often don't go to school and there is nothing wrong with them, they are out playing.

Trouble really is with the youngest though who I am guessing is about 18 mths and who is not supervised properly by mum. She is often left playing in back garden by herself and will regularly escape into neighbours garden through a hole in the fence then there is a bit of a panic when nobody can find her. She also sometimes opens front door and gets out into the street alone. Another neighbour has offered to fix the fence for them but the family did take them up on the offer and it has been mentioned to the mum how dangerous it is for the little one to be escaping like this and suggested putting a chain on the door or something but the mum has not done anything about it.

Today the girl must have got out through the front door again, the mum was having a BBQ in the back garden with her new boyfriend. The little girl ended walking down the end of the street and into the next one which is a very busy main road. Two men driving past spotted her, stopped and picked her up and started knocking on lots of doors to try and find her home. Eventually they got to our road where another neighbour recognised her and led them back to the house. When they knocked on the door the mum had still not even realised the little girl had gone.

I phoned the NSPCC as I am so worried this is going to happen again and the little girl is going to get hurt. I feel kind of awful for having reported this neighbour but I'm hoping it was the right thing to do...

Ripeberry Mon 01-Aug-11 00:22:31

You did the right thing. This mum needs to concentrate on her children NOT her new boyfriend. Maybe a visit from child protection will let her see what her priorities should be.

Poor kids, thank goodness they have a good group of adults keeping an eye out for them.

thursday Mon 01-Aug-11 00:22:43

YABU to feel bad about it. who are you feeling bad for? the useless mother who isn't taking adequate care of a baby? it's not about her, it's about making sure the children are ok, and i think you have genuine cause for concern there.

Feel good that you aren't just sitting by and watching neglect because it would be terribly inconvenient for the mother to be troubled with her responsibilities. far far too many people do that. i expect the school have already notified whoever about their poor attendance, you'll just be adding detail to what they already know. well done OP, it's horrible, but it was the right thing to do.

debivamp Mon 01-Aug-11 00:24:31

don't feel bad - sounds like neglect. Ring social services in the morning as well. i bet they are already aware of the family.
This type of thing makes me soooo mad. You need a licence to drive a car but any idiot can have a child. Good for you.

AandK Mon 01-Aug-11 00:25:18

It was. What a stupid bitch this mother is.

Clearly the sort of woman who cares more about the new bloke than the children she's been blessed with.

TakeMeDrunkImHome Mon 01-Aug-11 00:25:21

Exactly as thursday said. I have done similar thing this week and although at first I was wary of doing so, I had to think of the children (how lentil weaving does that sound). You will not be implicated and perhaps it will very hopefully be as simple as mum just needing some help and support. Either way, you have done the absolute right thing.

FreudianSlipper Mon 01-Aug-11 00:27:42

i wonder where the children father is, he is responsible for them too

hopefully she will get the support she needs and the children will get the care that they so need.

AgentZigzag Mon 01-Aug-11 00:29:35

I've got a 19 MO and to think of a toddler of the same age wandering about on the road is outrageous (although with it being AIBU I'll wait on the poster telling me it's fine and I'm stunting my DDs independence keeping her in).

You were totally in the right to tell someone, no need for any guilt.

greenbananas Mon 01-Aug-11 00:30:59

"When they knocked on the door the mum had still not even realised the little girl had gone."

Don't feel bad. Reporting this was almost certainly was the right thing to do. How would you feel if you had not reported this and she came to serious harm?

It's natural to feel awful about having done this, but you are simply playing your part in preventing this little girl from being at risk. She is highly unlikely to be taken away from her family - but hopefully her mum will get some support to keep her safe in the future.

redandblack Mon 01-Aug-11 00:31:04

I don't know why it felt horrible doing it as I am sure I did the right thing really - just felt awful when I put the phone down. Wondered if I should have gone to the woman first and said how I thought it needed sorting out and tried to help rather than running straight to NSPCC. The woman on the phone said she would contact local social services in the morning and they would deal with it.

AgentZigzag Mon 01-Aug-11 00:31:21

'i wonder where the children father is, he is responsible for them too'

When the mum's looking after her the dad's not responsible for her wandering about on the road.

FreudianSlipper Mon 01-Aug-11 00:33:34

no but their is obviously a problem in this family this is just one incident, she is not the only one to blame for the childrens neglect

greenbananas Mon 01-Aug-11 00:41:36

redandblack, it always feels horrible! (sadly I have needed to called social services myself in the past - and have also recently supported a friend to report one of her friends - very difficult situation!!) It always feels like betrayal to report a neighbour - as parents, how would we feel if someone reported us??

However, your primary responsibility is to the children who are at risk, particularly that little girl. I know this is a cliche, but "child protection is everyone's business".

Well done for having the courage of your convictions!

plonker Mon 01-Aug-11 00:42:30

You're bound to feel bad about this - it's completely understandable.

You absolutely did the right thing though. If this is an on-going thing, rather than a one-off, then clearly there is a problem.

SS are usually very reluctant to move children from the care of their parents and are far more likely to offer support to the family instead. This can't be a bad thing.

You did the right thing, try not to worry.

thursday Mon 01-Aug-11 00:43:53

all you generally achieve by approaching someone first to tell them about their substandard parenting is to assure that they know who reported them after you get told to fuck the fuck off. you've observed many issues, you've reported it and SS will assess what needs to happen. i wouldnt dream of popping over and giving my opinion direct to someone like this so dont feel bad. also, sounds like people have attempted the softly softly approach with her about the baby escaping to no avail already.

greenbananas Mon 01-Aug-11 00:50:45

"Wondered if I should have gone to the woman first and said how I thought it needed sorting out ..."

Well, there's a place for that, but it seems that she had already rejected offers of help.

I live in an area where a lot of parenting would be seen as neglectful by lovely, middle-class mumsnet mums. I believe that most ordinary 'problems' can be sorted out with community support, and that social services are called in far too often (with the result that they don't always do very much to help). However, when a child is at serious risk of neglect, it's best to alert social services early. They will (hopefully) assess the risk and keep an eye on the family, offering support where they can and making sure that things don't escalate.

I have seen many toddlers roaming the streets around local parks, and it frightened me until I realised that older siblings / neighbours were keeping an eye on them. Sounds like nobody was keeping an eye on the little girl you are talking about sad

Again, well done for having the courage to report this.

redandblack Mon 01-Aug-11 00:52:15

Yeah I know thursday, think it probably would have fallen on deaf ears and would have got a right mouthful for my trouble! Felt bad - like I was telling tales - but I'm feeling a bit happier now that it was the only real option I had, thank you all xx

thursday Mon 01-Aug-11 00:55:56

i'm not lovely or middle class btw wink , and i don't think it's ever acceptable for toddlers to roam the streets alone, even if a neighbour does peep out the curtains occasionally picking up slack for someone who can't be arsed. who's responsible if they were run over or disappeared when siblings were distracted or neighbours thought another neighbour was looking? nope, still neglectful even if you've got nice neighbours.

Memeandme Mon 01-Aug-11 00:57:58

This child is repeatedly getting out the house and the mum isn't doing anything about it, if it was the first time it had happened then it wbu phoning the nspcc, you've said others have raised their concerns with her over this and she's ignored them, I bet you arnt the only one to report her behaviour

biddysmama Mon 01-Aug-11 07:53:28

my little bugger toddler has escaped a couple of times, i have a biiiig bolt and chain on the door but my 9 year old not everyone remembers to lock it, we have a heavy gate so she cant get onto the street tho

yanbu, if the baby wasnt being watched for that long anything could have happened, it was lucky the people who found her were nice!

Mitmoo Mon 01-Aug-11 08:10:30

If the baby was snatched or ran over in a week or two's time and you had done nothing, then you would really feel bad and there would be nothing you could do about it.

The people who found the baby should have called 999 for the police IMO. I have dialled 999 when I've seen babies locked in a car unattended. I waited for around 15 minutes no one was around so I dialled 999, I had to get back to work and someone had to make sure those babies were OK.

EightiesChick Mon 01-Aug-11 08:10:57

Talking to her after the previous times obviously didn't help so quite right to report it. You do also need to continue to keep an eye out for the little girl though. YANBU to put her first - she is the one who needs thinking of and looking after. Her mum is a grown up and should know better.

halcyondays Mon 01-Aug-11 09:06:16

You did the right thing. It's terrible to think of an 18 month old being left to wander the streets on to busy roads and her mum not even noticing she'd gone. She could have been knocked down and killed, very lucky the two men brought her back.

Andrewofgg Mon 01-Aug-11 09:10:55

Freudian she may have ordered father(s) out. In any event people split and whoever is left with the child has the first responsibility; that's how life is. OP was dead right; well done her, and well done the passers-by who did not walk by on the other side.

mumblecrumble Mon 01-Aug-11 09:12:38

Hiya,
I did this too and at the time felt weird and mixty feelings....

I am now aware that kids have been taken from parents and that much worse stuff was happening and that my report started off the investigation....

We did the right thing. Its not nice becauce the whole thing is horrible and nothing we do can fix it all... Hope this makes sense... on lots of painkillers after nasty tooth op...

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