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'AITA for locking out a neighbor's kid from playing with my daughter?' UPDATED 2X

'AITA for locking out a neighbor's kid from playing with my daughter?' UPDATED 2X

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Kids are still learning to advocate for themselves, so as a parent, it's essential you lead by example.

"AITA for locking out a neighbor's kid from playing with my daughter?"

My daughter has been friends with the daughter of a coworker of mine since pre-nursery. They were in the same playgroup, same nursery and are now in the same primary school. This girl has developmental issues and can't interact with others her age. She clings to my daughter and won't let her play with other children.

She has bitten and thrown things at my daughter in the past when she doesn't get her full attention. The school is trying to set up a plan for her but in the meantime she has to attend regular school with no assistant to give her the help she needs, as the previous assistant left. My coworker lives on the same street as me and is in a senior role.

Which is why I have gently tried to make excuses for her daughter to not come to our place. I have outright lied on a few occasions saying my daughter is ill, and I found out yesterday she has kept a log of all the times I have refused to have her daughter over at my place.

She came by knocking on my letterbox to drop her off for a few hours as she had heard from her daughter that my daughter was having a get together with her friends. I tried to nicely deny that. Telling her my daughter was feeling poorly, but she actually pulled a log saying she knew which girls had entered my home and to let her daughter in.

I was mad at her so I locked her out and told her they wouldn't be playing anymore. She was talking through the letterbox demanding to know why I wouldn't let her play with her best friend. I told her I understood her desperation but that due to past incidents I thought it no longer to be safe for them to share the same space.

That I would let the school know that I was not okay with them always pairing them up on projects as my daughter has always been the "nice girl" and done what the teachers has told her and made their lives easier by doing their work for them. I understand she was angry and perhaps exhausted.

Carer exhaustion is a real thing, but I felt in that moment that watching her a few times a week for years and making my underage daughter her caretaker to be highly unfair. My coworker has two adult children that live close by, and she has children that are older than this girl from her second husband she lives with. Why can't she arrange between them or find her a support group.

To this, she made a masked threat that she is good friends with my senior manager. I told her to get out of my front garden and that my daughter wasn't her maid. I do regret it a little as this girl has no other friends.

The days my daughter is not in schools due to actual illness she has no one to play with and often after an illness or other absence her teachers have told her that they are glad she is back to play with this girl. It's a weird situation to be in. AITA?

The commenters jumped on with all of their thoughts.

Thestralbreeder wrote:

You should put it in writing to her explicitly exactly what happened - including that she wrote a log of comings and going’s and how often your daughter wasn’t able to spend time with hers etc - leave nothing out. Send that to her and tell her it is highly inappropriate and is making you extremely uncomfortable. I would send that exchange to HR.

Ironmike11b wrote:

"She actually pulled a log saying she knew which girls had entered my home and to let her daughter in."

That is seriously unhinged behavior.

The_Crown_And_Anchor wrote:

Is anyone other than me super concerned that this woman was apparently staking out OP's house...watching who comes and goes, and keeping a written log?

Is she stalking social media too? OP...you need to speak to the school and tell them that the parent has escalated things to almost a stalking stage and that they need to take this seriously or you will go over their heads to the superintendent if necessary.

Caspian4136 wrote:

NTA. Document everything that happened, how she's kept a log (WTF she is off the rails), her threat and send it to HR to cover your a*s. Make sure you include everything you can think of, keeping it black and white and professional (aka not emotional).

As for the school, call and tell them exactly what you told her. It's not fair to your daughter that she's been b*llied into this position at all. She must dread seeing this other girl at this point.

OP responded:

The two main teachers they have for her class praise my daughter and keep putting her in a position of carer. I intend to talk to someone higher up as I think it's about time she gets her own life and they find someone with the right skills to look after that girl.

SmoochNo wrote:

I was your daughter that was forced to partner up and play with that kid for a year before I finally broke down to my mum about how miserable I was. The teachers didn’t tell my mum I was being used as an emotional support toy for that kid and pushed back while my mum put an end to it. It was hell for me. Please do advocate for your daughter with her school, you’re doing the right thing.

The mother being in a senior role at your work, I would contact HR if I were you too. NTA the teachers are harming your kid by allowing this and frankly taking a lazy option over getting support in place to help the other child and the other mother is stalking your kid that’s not okay.

OP responded:

I think I have let it go on for too long. Did you ever forgive your parents for not noticing?

Smoochno responded:

Oh absolutely!! Especially once they realized, they acted and you can act too!

OP responded:

Thank you. I have already had a conversation with her yesterday. I think I need to have a follow up conversation with her and apologize again for not noticing her discomfort earlier and putting a stop to this.

I still feel for my coworkers child but need to prioritize my own.

whitecatbluebasket wrote:

I’m sorry this is happening to your daughter. My daughter was in the same situation. She literally became a schoolmates unofficial “emotional support person” and it wore her down and alienated her from others because she always had to be by the other child’s side.

At first it was okay, the two kids were genuine friends and my daughter enjoyed helping her friend but then it just became a given that they were always in the same classes, paired up, etc.

It all came to a head when they were assigned different classrooms and the other mother went and claimed that she and I both wanted our kids together and the school started making plans to reassign my daughter into the other child’s classroom (after school had already been in session for two weeks).

Fortunately the principal was smart enough to realize that I had no idea about the change and asked me. When I refused and begged him to keep them separate he agreed and intervened.

The two kids had what started out as a genuine friendship and then it just devolved into a crushing burden and a pit of loneliness. My daughter misses her friend but not the responsibility and unfortunately it became all or nothing.

OP responded:

Thank you for sharing this. My daughter cried last night in my arms and told me how stressing it was for her to hang out with only this girl. She says she has had a lot of headaches and described them as what I know to be tension headaches. No child her age should have tension headaches.

She told me that on most days she doesn't look forward to going to school and now I understand why her performance has dipped lately.

She also told me which teacher always pairs her up with this girl. I am blessed to have a well behaved girl that cares about others, but she thought wrongly it was her responsibility to look after this girl and felt guilty for having other friends. I wish I had noticed it before and put a stop to it earlier.

The next day, OP shared an update.

I had a meeting today with the school because I had to stay behind for my sick child, and phoned the principal directly in the morning to get to talk to him for an urgent matter. The principal asked me to come in for an informal chat after school. I haven't had a lot to do with him in the past, but he seemed civil back when we first enrolled our daughter and he came to greet the class.

He had invited her class teachers too. After hearing out my side and what had happened he listened to the teachers. They said they understood that my daughter was overwhelmed, but thought it would be bullying if she refused to work with her.

Saying that they rather my daughter does her best to include her in activities at school and then gets free time from her when she goes home. In other words wanted to put the blame on me for allowing the other girl into our home, while wanting to continue to use my daughter as her assistance.

They tried to praise her for effort to include and guide this other girl. It got on my nerves and I told them in no uncertain terms that my daughter was not to be expected to do their jobs for them. Luckily the principal intervened and agreed with me that they needed another plan for this girl.

Before leaving I told them that my solicitor would send them a letter on what had been discussed and in the future to not pair her up with this girl. I much rather they move this girl out of the class than my daughter as she has made few friends in this class. I also told them that I was taking this issue to HR as it was a combined issue both in the public and private sphere.

I texted her mother and she texted me back. She stupidly confirmed the log and other things including wanting to encourage my daughter to hang out with hers. It should be smooth sailing with HR. Solicitor was contacted before I went to the school. Solicitor advised to write a letter to the school as someone else had advised in terms of my child being b*llied into being a carer.

A letter was drafted for HR too and the conversation I had over text with her mother for evidence. I'll be giving it to HR Monday morning. I also sent my senior manager a heads up about what was happening in case she tried to shield for her friend. Mentioned solicitor and how the case was going to progress with school admin. She seemed to come across as supportive.

I have told my daughter to let the teacher know loud and clear that she own't work with this girl if they pair her up and to report back to me everytime they try to do it. We'll see what comes of it now and if the school will keep up their end of the bargain.

Commenters were deeply invested in the update.

Caspian4136 wrote:

Thanks for the update, I was actually wondering how things were going. Unbelievable that the teachers were trying to guilt you into letting your daughter continue being this other girl's carer and I love your response to them!

Glad the principal stepped in and put a stop to it. Really so far you've done everything right and now it's just sit and wait on the outcome, which sounds like it'll be in your favor. Update us again please!

HappyWeekend69 wrote:

I had a teacher do this to me, once paired me up with a girl for a exam where I basically already done all the work, the girl literally just needed to show up and having read what I written cause she knew the girl couldn’t do Jack shit herself and would fail. Not only did she try and rewrite shit of mine, she didn’t even show up to the exam.

Was pissed as h*ll, next year they tried to pull the same s**t and I lost my marbles and told them I wouldn’t be this girl pacifier and she could fail for all I care. She did, I got the highest score in my class. Idk why some teachers do this, it’s hella annoying. Good for you for sticking up for your kid.

Jazzlike_Adeptness_1 wrote:

I had a somewhat similar situation with my daughter in first grade.

There was a boy who was clearly troubled. He spent most days with his desk moved up next to the teacher’s desk. The teacher also switched up his seating weekly because the other students didn’t want to put up with his behavior.

After a few months of this my daughter told me she was being put next to him more than anyone else. I went to see the teacher and she told me that my daughter was the only one who didn’t complain about him and seemed to have empathy for him.

Oh and she had older brothers so she knew how to handle him. I thought my head was going to explode. I calmly told the teacher that my daughter filled her quota and that I didn’t want her put next to him again. The fact that she was kind was being used against her.

The teacher seemed surprised but did as I asked. I’d have your lawyer wrote a letter outlining what was said in the principal’s meeting and reiterating that in light of the fact that the other girl got violent with your daughter, she is to be kept away from her. Nothing gets results like a whiff of a potential lawsuit.

(At least in the US). As for your job, get ahead of this. I’m sure you’ll tell HR about the not-so-veiled thr*at. I can understand a parent being distraught because they think their kid is being ostracized but she has no right to put this on you and your kid. This is not your responsibility.

OP responded:

That is exactly what they said. They said she is kind and praised her for being understanding and putting up with her. They also praised her for helping her to learn to read. I know that girl has made progress with reading and math because her mother mentioned it too.

Yet, the teachers, the people who are qualified and paid to teach her are avoiding this girl. She has been violent on more than one occasion and even though we are living in the Greater London area my solicitor said we can move on that issue as she is being put in danger.

LopsidedAd7549 wrote:

Why on earth isn't the school SENCO providing adequate support and interventions for the girl and relying on another child to do the work that adults need to be doing? Does she have an EHCP yet? (IEP/504 for the US) As well as raising hell via a solicitor, you can raise a MASH concern.

OP responded:

They had an assistant for her, but she left the job. That is why it affected my daughter more. I mentioned this in the original OP. The principal did mention that they would look for other avenues, but their budget is bursting. I know because in the past few years this school has suffered a bit. The teaching asst. was paid less than what a qualified SEN would have been but she left.

A few days later, OP shared another update.

Yesterday I had a meeting with HR and the mother of the child was called in. We both had the option to have someone else sit in on the meeting for support or a rep, but we both declined. My manager on the other hand was made to sit in. I don't think she was very happy about it due to her workload. HR tried to make it comfortable for all, but getting a solicitor was the best thing I could have done.

HR made notes and put it on official record that despite this taking place outside of work, they could and would deal with her at work if she tried to leverage her friendship over my job security. My manager said she isn't very friendly with her outside work, but that she would like to keep a good professional relationship with her going forward if she remains.

She backtracked on the masked thr*at and tried to emotionally manipulate the room by bringing up her daughter's struggles. HR stated that that part of it had nothing to do with me or the company, and that they expected her to stay professional at work. They advised her to put pressure on the school to provide her with the right tools to make it through.

They offered her one week unpaid to spend time with her daughter if she needed it, and encouraged her to use that week to take her daughter to various clubs for children with special needs so she could form bonds with children similar to her. I was not given and apology by HR, but they made her give me a written apology and a verbal one.

My manager said she was happy with my work and would continue to support me in her capacity as a manager. I had a phone call from the school this morning. There was a small incident between this girl and my daughter, but they dealt with it and didn't want me to pick up my daughter so the other girl could see changes happening.

For now that girl won't be in class for the rest of the day, and at break time the dinner ladies were making sure they were not playing together. My heart hurts for this girl because she is basically alone now, but I have to think of my daughter first. The school has scheduled my husband and I and her parents for a meeting together with the principal, my solicitor, their teachers and a school rep.

We will see how quickly things change as they are technically still in the same class.

Thank you to all that shared your own similar experiences and helping me navigate this. I am hopeful that things will be better going forward.

The internet was happy to hear the update.

donttouchmeah wrote:

The school needed to be put on blast or else they were going to use your daughter as that girl’s para permanently. The nerve to call it b*llying when she was tired of being an emotional support pet.

magiemaddie wrote:

Good job sticking up for your daughter!! I'm glad HR did something too. Smart mom you are!! Hopefully the other lady can put her daughter first like you did with yours instead of pawning her off on your child. Sad, but at least her child is more likely to get the help she needs now that you've made the appropriate reports at school/work.

sn34kypete wrote:

I would say I'm shocked the admins tried to foist the duty of caregiving onto your child but honestly I'm not surprised. The sheer audacity to imply your daughter doesn't have a choice in who she plays with and choosing not to care for the other girl constituted b*llying...just incredible incompetence.

Also big shout out to the other mom, completely incompetent and inept at making sure her daughter received proper care and instead using other children as a crutch. She cares to keep a log spying on you but can't be bothered to seek proper care?! They were relying on you being too busy to care, you are an excellent and caring parent to have your bases covered like this, good for you.

Capable_Strategy6974 wrote:

I was used as an EA as a child for the one special needs girl at school because I was a nice, good, pushover girl with good marks. My parents tried their best to get her away from me - she bit me, drooled on me, slapped me, pinched me, etc. - and nobody else would hang out with me because she’d be in a bl*nd rage if they talked to me.

I had to eventually switch schools because the b*llying was out of hand. They didn’t b*lly her - they b*llied me because I was “safe” and they wouldn’t get punished for it. I finally made friends when I was 12. Advocate for your daughter. This girl needs an EA, which the school should provide. And freeze out that coworker.

OP responded:

I am sorry to hear you went through that. My daughter mentioned a lot of the stuff you did. For yeas she kept quiet because she is a well behaved nice girl. I am happy she brought it to my attention. I wish she had it done earlier. This girl did the same things by being possessive and not letting her talk to others.

MelodicPolicy765 wrote:

I am glad you are standing up for your daughter. I was a "nice" kid and got paired up with a child who had social problems all through elementary school. Ultimately it ended up impacting my other friendships because they didn't want to be around her. I hated it. I found out it was on purpose when my mother told me years later.

OP responded:

That is how she felt too. She was forced to sit with this girl at lunch in addition to lessons. She had very few friends. In the last few months some of the other girls reached out to her and she is in approaching the preteen years fast so it's important for her to socialize with peers. I am sorry to hear you had to go through that.

OP did the right thing as a parent, there's no doubt about that.

Sources: Reddit
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