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'I'm uncomfortable with a situation with my daughter, her friend and an adult neighbor.' UPDATED 2X

'I'm uncomfortable with a situation with my daughter, her friend and an adult neighbor.' UPDATED 2X


In general, it's best to trust your gut, but as a parent looking to protect your child, it's extra important.

"I'm uncomfortable with a situation with my daughter, her friend and an adult neighbor."

I’m married with two young children. We live in a very nice area in America. Private neighborhood, almost no crime, leave your door unlocked type of situation. My daughter is 7 almost 8 and has a few neighborhood friends. We live at the top of the hill and her friends are at the bottom.

I’ll often let my daughter walk to her friend's house alone, with me standing in our front yard watching until she either goes inside or starts back home if their not home. It’s five houses down, so not far far, but enough that she can’t hear me unless I scream. It was raining yesterday and she asked to go see if her friend was home. I said yes. I watched her slowly walk down, knock and then start heading back.

She’s three houses down at our neighbors driveway when she looks over and starts speaking. Then she walks down the driveway and out of sight. Honestly, in the moment I thought nothing of it. I know these neighbors, they have two adorable golden retrievers they walk often and that love the young girls in the neighborhood.

A little annoyed, I pop back in to check on my 3 year old inside before going back out and waiting. Well, 3 minutes turns into 5 and my mom instincts are starting to tingle. I go inside and wake up my husband to watch my son and race out into the rain. It’s been maybe 10 minutes since I had eyes on my kid and that’s not something I’m comfortable with.

I get down there, work boots, no umbrella and jacket and knock at the door. No one is outside. No dogs barking. It’s dark inside. I'm starting to panic. Then the husband comes to the door.

He’s so casual and then seems to sense I’m freaked out because he laughs it off and explains that one of the neighborhood girls was helping him give his dog a bath when my child happened by and they all went into the garage to dry him off. He said he was just about to send the girls home since they were finishing up. I follow him in and yep, there is a wet dog and two laughing little girls.

He seemed fine, but his wife wasn’t home and the house was quiet and I just got this feeling like dangerous was close and idk, I just sort of rushed the girls out of his house. I don’t even know if I said goodbye or was rude. I scolded daughter for running off without telling me but she was confused because her friend was there too.

This other little girl is only 6 and her parents often allow her to run around to neighbor's homes. I have no idea how long she was there or if her parents knew. We walked her home, where her older sister met us and brushed me off when I told her she was with the neighbor, alone. Saying “we wondered where she went.”

I was so shaken up that I was physically shaking, my teeth chattering. Idk why but I have this terrible feeling in my stomach that something nefarious is going on with this man. I want to text the neighbors whose daughter was there just to see but my husband thinks it’s overstepping. He wonders if I’m being judgmental. Grown men can babysit young girls. Still, the entire thing felt off to me.

His surprised and odd behavior when he saw me at his door was almost like I had interrupted him. It sent my hackles up in a way I cannot explain. My husband says my past is clouding things and making me see shadows in sunlight. I was groomed as a child by a family member so he thinks I’m hyper aware and over reacting.

So, am I wrong to raise the alarm about this behavior? Or is it innocent? Who washes a dog in the rain? And alone with little girls? It’s weird, right? Am I crazy here?

The internet had a lot of thoughts about the situation.

aitarip404 wrote:

We taught my kids "Tricky People" instead of Stranger Danger for EXACTLY this reason!

Rule #1 of Tricky People: they can be someone you know.

Rule #2: Adults do not ask KIDS for help with things! If any adult approaches a lone kid asking for help with something, they need to be wary.

ETA-Rule #3: A trusted adult isn't going to take you anywhere without informing your parent(s) first.

Chemical_ACt_7648 wrote:

Don't feel bad. I'm a man with a young daughter and I would never ever ever let a neighbor child be in my house behind a closed door with or without the parents permission. It's just not worth it for you as a parent to find out if the guy is an ab*ser or not.

This is also how groomers work, the guy now knows which neighborhood children can be convinced to go into his house. I'm glad your daughter is ok.

wvetrone wrote:

My “Dad”-dar was redlining!!!! I would speak to your daughter's friends parents and let them know how you feel but more importantly I would speak to the dog’s owner. I would tell them you are not comfortable with your daughter being in their yard/house without you.

Regardless of how he responds tell him this is your child and this is your boundaries. The best way to stop a future groomer is to let them know you are watching. They will move on to a different target.

Sw333tD33 wrote:

Creepy AF. Why wasn’t the garage open? You’re not wrong here. What kind of man invites 2 little girls into his home like that? I’m kind of at a loss here because it’s absurd that anyone would think that’s okay.

OP responded:

This was my reaction. It’s so inappropriate to me. The door was shut. It was eerily quiet and he was alone with two small children. Idk if this is cultural but in my culture adult men do not take in young girls.

DisastrousDraft717 wrote:

Not wrong. I am in my late 50s and I can still picture my parents saying never go to a man that offers you candy or to come see his puppies. Why because they will throw you and a car and you will never be seen again.

Yes I was scared s**tless. Yes I probably had some nightmares but guess what I never did go to people with candy or dogs two of my still favorite things. Hell it was the 80s and we walked or rode our bikes from dusk till dawn. We went all over the place but I never was alone with an adult male who I didnt or my parents didn’t know.

I think your daughter needs to understand that when you say you are going to someone’s house if they are not home you come home and tell your mom if you want to go somewhere else. The fact that this adult male had two small young girls in his house without a parent there or even wondering why they are wandering around the neighborhood in the rain is extremely odd.

I can’t imagine my husband, my brothers and my dad or anybody not trying to find out why these two children are wandering around the neighborhood n the pouring rain. Instead, they are bathing the dog? I can only imagine the scenario and it is not good.

OP responded:

I may be leaving some stuff out. My husband is also upset that I explained to our young daughter why I don’t want her alone with strange adults. I didn’t go into detail but I told her that sometimes adults don’t treat children right and that she needs to learn to notice when she’s in a place and her father and I are not, whether we think it’s safe or not. She knows safe touch etc, so i explained it’s like that.

She said she felt safe and fine with our neighbor and I told her that it wasn’t him exactly, but just people in general. My husband is angry at me for I’m tainting her youth and exposing her to these ideas but as a child I knew this and more.

Lisa_Knows_Best wrote:

The way I see it is what adult male would be comfortable with two young girls alone in his house? Just for self preservation alone. Not implying your child but any kid could say anything happened and he's automatically guilty until proven innocent and even then everyone will still doubt him.

If he wasn't afraid of what might have been said or implied he's either very stupid, naive or should be suspect of something.

OP responded:

His reaction and nervous laughing and keeping saying that he was “just” sending them out told me he felt very very nervous. It’s another thing that raised my hackles. He was defensive.

Saly_Mander1 wrote:

"My husband says my past is clouding things and making me see shadows in sunlight. I was groomed as a child by a family member so he thinks I’m hyper aware and over reacting."

Perhaps your husband is not looking at this correctly. Why would having first hand experience with a potentially dangerous situation mean that your instincts about a similar situation should be ignored? If you had been in a car accident without wearing a seatbelt, wouldn't you then be the voice of experience when telling people that not wearing a seatbelt is dangerous?

When it comes to crimes of s*xual abuse, why is it that a survivor's knowledge of how predators operate is seen as overreacting or irrational? This neighbor must be very foolish indeed if he doesn't consider that his actions might set off alarm bells, and that is the best case scenario.

OP responded:

I received this message immediately after yours

If you were m*lested as a kid you probably can't accurately judge this situation.

Believe it or not, a lot of people including my husband believe survivors can impose their past trauma on innocent behaviors. I’m trying to navigate these competing ideas and find my own truth within this situation. I’m tending to believe my experience is giving me good insight and that I am not over reacting but I’m also not deaf enough to ignore my husband or others concerns. If that is makes sense.

OP also added another comment, clarifying she's not going to accuse her neighbor of anything at this point, she's just looking for next steps to protect her daughter.

I have no intention of ruining anyone’s life. I wouldn’t confront him. I want to reach out to our neighbors that have a young girl that was also in his house. She runs very free and is welcome in everyone’s homes best I can tell. My husband says this is the way they were raised and that I shouldn’t even bring it up to the mom.

I just want them to know what I saw but I am obviously not from here and already struggle with some issues of not fitting in. I also don’t want to make more people dislike me for misstepping and implying he did something wrong.

Two days later, OP shared an update.

Anyone interested in how I handled this can read below: My actions so far have not been extreme. I saw his wife walking the dogs later that afternoon after posting and approached her. I told her how nice it was that my child wanted to help her husband bathe the dogs. Then I asked his name (just to show her how little I know him).

She agreed with his nice it was and laughed. I asked about the picture and she said she got it and said “I know right. I told * how strange it was but there they were. They so sweet.” It got a little awkward and then I just made some small talk and left. The encounter was odd too me and I didn’t like it.

I feel like her husband knew he needed to save face and sent the picture he took after he realized he needed to in case I approached his wife about it. She said it was strange. Not me. She got awkward. I texted my neighbor who allows her daughter to go there often and just let her know that my child saw hers with this neighbor and then they went inside without my permission or knowledge.

I said while I am sure nothing nefarious is occurring (I most certainly am NOT sure) that I’m not comfortable with my child following hers into homes she isn’t welcome. I made it seem innocent while still informing her mother where and how I found her. I am not bringing this up overly with my daughter. She does not need to be worried but I intend on reinforcing our safety boundaries etc.

My husband put little fight up when I told him what I was doing. I took a lot of your words and reasoning to get my point across so thank you internet. You’ve been so kind and helped me navigate my fears.

Commenters had a lot to say in response.

Agitated_Pilot_3055 wrote:

You are not wrong!!! No safe man lets a little girl into his house without explicit permission from her parents. I’d suspect this guy uses his dog to lure little girls. He’d have to be beyond naive to be unaware of how suspicious his behavior is. Better to be cautious, than lose your child to a predator.

fourbigkids wrote:

You are not wrong. I was panicking just reading this. Always listen to your gut. Your spouse lacks the “Spidey Sense”. As others have said, educate your daughter on what is appropriate.

Motor_Thought_1399 wrote:

No, you aren’t crazy. That man should know better. The fact that he doesn’t is a red flag in itself.

kaityypooh wrote:

Also, your husband must not realize HOW COMMON this s##t is. I'm sure some degree is him not wanting you to worry. Or accuse a neighbor of something that blows up in yalls face...but f#$k that. Mothers have every right to be wary of a grown man letting two little girls in his house. 1000% every time.

Three weeks later, OP shared an update.

This is my update to say TRUST YOUR GUT!!! After the interaction with our neighbor I decided to tell the parents of the little girl that apparently wanders there often that I found them in the garage alone with him. I’m from India while my neighbors are all white. My husband is white and my daughter is mixed.

This isn’t too important I think, but for how sometimes the neighbors don’t seem as close to me. I’m a little like the odd duck in the neighborhood but I still decided to make a little noise. I told them how l found her and my daughter alone in the house and that I am going to start being more careful and not allowing mine to go anywhere without first asking, which included following around their daughter.

She responded nicely and said she would talk with her daughter. I also talked with the neighbor's wife and she knew about the picture and mentioned it being odd but waved it off. Things were fine until this week when our neighbor with the little girl called my husband to tell him that she self reported ab*se from the neighbor. It’s all very early in the process but it appears my instincts were spot on.

I haven’t seen or heard anything else and I doubt I’ll update except for this one to say… sometimes it’s right to trust our instincts. I had a bad feeling and I’m glad I spoke up. I’ll never know if that is what saved this baby or if she had that courage all along and saved herself. Maybe both. Poor angel. I am disgusted and heartbroken.

We plan on calling a counselor and making it a fun trip with lunch at my daughter's favorite place in the city. We will talk with a therapist to see if she’s been victimized but luckily this appears to be the only time she’s been alone with him and it was minutes before I arrived. I still can’t believe I have to do this. Who would touch a beautiful child this way???

This man is a monster if it’s true. He appeared so normal and kind. I’m so heartbroken that this deviance exists in this world and can only ask God for answers when I meet him.

That’s the sad update. Sorry everyone.

The internet was proud of OP for protecting her daughter, and by extension - helping protect her neighbor's daughter.

snafe_ wrote:

This is the picture OP made reference to in the original post:

"I did not want to make her feel my worry. I waited until bedtime when we discuss our day. She said he opened the garage for them and they went inside and dried the dog while he got the blow dryer."

"She said he took a picture of them to send to his wife and then they kept towel drying her until the doorbell rang and I got her. I asked about the blow dryer and she said she didn’t see it. I asked about the picture and she said it was the two girls with the dog smiling."

OP then spoke to the man's wife and she brought up the picture and said it was weird he took it. I hate to think what the police will find when they go through his electronics.

l3ex_g wrote:

That’s how monsters tend to be, nice normal guys no one would ever think could do something so bad.

OP responded:

He was so quiet with the parents. Stuck to his dogs and the kids when we would be at gatherings. His wife is so nice. I worry for her.

Badgerhooker wrote:

I'm glad you trusted your instincts and ignored your husband, OP! In your last post, I was very unimpressed with your husband's reaction to your concerns. Please tell me he apologized for being completely wrong and possibly putting your daughter at risk! (Seriously, I was actually pretty angry on your behalf reading that.)

OP responded:

He told me “you were right. Guess we should trust you from now on”. He’s distraught too. It’s so worrying to know how close we were to our daughter being harmed.

Ladyughsalot1 wrote:

Really hope all the commenters from last time insisting “people are just too scared nowadays” see this update. If it looks bad it’s usually because it is. Adults don’t ask children for help. Adults don’t welcome children into their home without the parents being aware.

DefWick wrote:

Sounds like dude needs a take a bath with a toaster.

WoodenTemperance430 wrote:

"I’m a little like the odd duck in the neighborhood but I still decided to make a little noise." If you are a duck (and I hate that that is the way you're made to feel), I want a whole neighborhood of ducks!!! I think you are a swan though. Ever seen a swan protect her babies? Bless you for speaking up even when its uncomfortable. You did good Mama.

OP is an amazing mother, it's so good she listened to her gut and didn't allow gaslighting from her husband and neighbors to endanger her daughter.

Sources: Reddit
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