Advanced search

My daughter has become terrified of our neighbour.

(204 Posts)
Tillygetsit Fri 30-Oct-20 23:17:21

We have a very sweet old lady who has lived next door to us ever since we moved to this house 7 years ago. She often in the past has popped in for coffee, brought the dcs presents and us runner beans from her garden. She wouldn't hurt a fly.
Obviously we haven't seen as much of her with the Covid situation, just the odd wave and me phoning to see if she wants anything from the shops. She doesn't as she has nearby family but it's an excuse to chat and keep contact.
She often waves at dcs as we plod home from school or go for a walk. The last few times this has happened, dd1 who is 6 has screamed and run up the road. It is really embarrassing.
Ndn has phoned to see if she's done anything wrong (no) and I have had several chats with dd to get to the bottom of why she has suddenly decided she's afraid of ndn. All she says is that she hates her and her horrible witchy face blush
I've told her she's being very unkind, that ndn is a lovely person we've all known for a long time, that waving back and not being silly is the right thing to do but this is met with hands over ears screaming shut up.
My dd1 has always been a bit overdramatic but I honestly don't know how to handle this.
Am I being unreasonable to take a hard line about this?

OP’s posts: |
Bunnybigears Fri 30-Oct-20 23:24:15

I wouldn't push her to engage with your ndn if she doesn't want to but she also shouldn't be actively rude. I would tell her she doesnt have to smile and wave at the ndn but as she is with you and you do want to wave at the neighbour she is just to walk normally past her house not run and hide.

Ohalrightthen Fri 30-Oct-20 23:26:57

I'd be having a firm chat with her about manners and rudeness, and telling her in no uncertain terms that it is unacceptable to behave like that with anyone. She's 6 years old, not 9 months.

The hands over ears and screaming shut up would have serious consequences too. She's being incredibly rude, you need to nip this in the bud as it will only get worse as she gets older.

VashtaNerada Fri 30-Oct-20 23:29:20

I would definitely challenge the rudeness (with a calm ‘disappointed’ voice rather than angry). It’s not like you’re asking her to hug NDN or anything like that, she only has to wave. I know she’s only six but unless there’s a huge backstory to this it does sound a bit Sistine Chapel to me...

BlueThistles Fri 30-Oct-20 23:30:10

Stop this behaviour now. Poor woman flowers

DownThePlath Fri 30-Oct-20 23:31:49


Stop this behaviour now. Poor woman flowers

This. Absolutely rude. She needs to learn to not judge people on their appearances.

ReneeRol Fri 30-Oct-20 23:32:10

I would ask her what makes her think she looks like a witch and see if anything triggered her. She might look like a witch or scary person in a movie she watched or maybe an older child told her she was a witch and now she's frightened.

Tell her she's not a witch, she's a nice old lady and lonely so we have to be kind.

Icequeen01 Fri 30-Oct-20 23:32:36

My great niece did this with my very elderly MIL. She suddenly became petrified of her ( she was in a care home but had been ever since she had known her). She said MIL was like the witch in Sleeping Beauty.

Shizzlestix Fri 30-Oct-20 23:42:56

She’s being silly and incredibly rude. She’d have serious words from me about manners.

Kanaloa Fri 30-Oct-20 23:48:55

Are there any consequences when she is rude or screams at you to shut up? I would be looking to maybe use some consequences like losing ipad time/favourite game/trip to park for screaming at people.

As for the neighbour, I would encourage her to say hello politely but not pressure her to have a full conversation or anything.

FangsForTheMemory Fri 30-Oct-20 23:49:00

I suspect she’s enjoying the drama and the attention.

CovidAnni Sat 31-Oct-20 00:00:18

Is there any chance she could have good reason to be afraid of her? Has ndn ever babysat her or been alone with her. If you can be 100% certain it’s based on her looking like a witch then yes, down on her like a ton of hot bricks.

Joeydoesntshare Sat 31-Oct-20 00:06:34

Does she watch the worst with its on Netflix, has a lot of different types of witches, by the end of it she will probably want to be one lol. My kid used to scream at my neighbor no reason, I think it’s gets to the point of thriving on drama . My ds 3 is going through a screeching phase.

TruckinRight Sat 31-Oct-20 00:09:06

Do none of you remember being a child?

There was an old woman at my junior school I was abjectly terrified of. She worked in the canteen and I would forgo food rather than go near her if she was serving. I couldn't bear to look at her. I was genuinely terrified.

AcrossthePond55 Sat 31-Oct-20 00:13:57

I'd try to gently question her. Did DD watch a show/read a book that had either an older woman as a 'scary' or mean character or could there have been something on TV/a video with an older woman yelling or angry?

Could one of her friends have told her that NDN is a witch? When I was around 7 one of our little group convinced us that a very nice lady in our neighborhood was 'a commie spy' (this was during the early '60s 'commie scare' in the US). She was very patient with a group of us 'surveilling' her through the bushes. Biscuits, KoolAid, and letting us play in her barn and keep old horseshoes soon won us over, bless her.

Lastly, if your DD has recently begun to question, understand, or experience death they can often equate it with 'old people' and somehow death and 'being old' become threatening in their minds.

But whether you find a reason or no, she does need to learn that rude behaviour will not be tolerated. And that being a drama llama is not acceptable.

BrieAndChilli Sat 31-Oct-20 00:20:59

The new Witches film has just come out. It’s supposed to be quite scary. Has she watched it or could one of her friends have and is now telling them all about scary witches and old ladies etc??

Joditaylorfan Sat 31-Oct-20 00:24:19

I would think your DD needs to be believed by you; before you tackle behaviour. She needs to know you are on her side! Then talk to her about how to behave - what is or isn't acceptable.

MadameMeursault Sat 31-Oct-20 00:30:05

Your DD is being really rude and cruel to your neighbour. This smacks of attention-seeking. You really need to sort it out OP, she needs to be educated that it’s not acceptable to treat someone like this.

Aridane Sat 31-Oct-20 00:32:14


Do none of you remember being a child?

There was an old woman at my junior school I was abjectly terrified of. She worked in the canteen and I would forgo food rather than go near her if she was serving. I couldn't bear to look at her. I was genuinely terrified.

Yes - and fuck me, no way would that brutish ride behaviour be tolerated

ViciousJackdaw Sat 31-Oct-20 00:35:18

this is met with hands over ears screaming shut up

You let your DD scream at you to 'shut up'? Christ almighty...

Peakypolly Sat 31-Oct-20 00:41:18

I can also remember being genuinely worried by the appearance of an elderly relative. There may be a connection to a story (Sleeping Beauty?) but I can't remember one.
Thankfully my parents made sure I knew how I would much I would upset dear great aunt and pointed out what silliness it was to judge on appearance.
As the odd grey curly hair springs out of my chin (at 50!) I hope all parents will continue to advise their DC to be kind.

DownThePlath Sat 31-Oct-20 00:44:08

I do, but I never would have been allowed to treat people so bloody rudely hmm

AintPageantMaterial Sat 31-Oct-20 00:44:27

At about the same age, it helped to take the line with my daughter that we cannot be in charge of our feelings but we ARE in charge of our behaviour. She is allowed to not like people but she still has to behave well around them.
It worked well around bedtime too “you cannot make yourself feel sleepy but you can make yourself stay in your bed”.

Rockpapershoot Sat 31-Oct-20 00:44:46

Your kid is reflecting back the misogynistic fear of old women that's fed to kids via countless movies. Explore it with her gently but also firmly come down on the manners.

DougRossIsTheBoss Sat 31-Oct-20 00:45:10

Whilst I don't doubt she could be scared (maybe someone at school has said something, lots of Halloween talk at present I guess) I would agree that to behave like that is very rude and I would punish repeat episodes now that she has been told. I don't think it's OK to upset someone else like that aged 6.
It's a chance to learn that sometimes you have to put others feelings above your own and that older people are not scary or 'other'
Even if she is genuinely scared it is clearly an irrational fear and the best way to handle that is not to avoid the neighbour or pander to this as it will only reinforce it and make it worse.
I think I would make my DD write an apology or just draw a friendly picture or card and take it round together and say Hi on the doorstep. You could arrange with neighbour for DD to get some sweets for doing that and then she will see that neighbour is a good thing and nothing to be scared of.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in