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'AITA for excluding my neighbors because I couldn't stand their demon three-year-old?'

'AITA for excluding my neighbors because I couldn't stand their demon three-year-old?'


"AITA for ignoring my neighbors after asking them to not allow their demon child to come to my house several times a day?"

Puzzleheaded_Bee2890 writes:

I have an only child who is 8 years old. To be fair, we moved into this new area in hopes that there would be lots of children his age to play with. We met one of the neighbor families, and things quickly began to go south.

Our first experience was at the community pool. My family of three (myself, my husband, and our child) were playing in the water. We heard the gate open, and this 3-year-old comes running and leaps into the pool.

He immediately starts acting as if he’s going to drown, so my husband and I rush over to get him, frantically looking around for a parent. There is no lifeguard on duty at this pool. His dad eventually makes it in (we will call the kid Zach to protect his identity). “Ohhhh Zach,” he says. He sits down in a chair and says, “Have fun.”

My husband and I both shared a glance. It was very odd, but we felt like Dad must be tired from chasing this kid around all day, and maybe we shouldn’t judge him so quickly. So we let Zach play with our son. We then go to dinner and happen to be at the same restaurant. They come over to chat.

My husband invites them to the table. (I’m frustrated because I’m already feeling bad vibes, but I go along with my husband’s kindness.) They sit down and start talking but totally ignore that their kid is going under the table, running around the table, and then almost trips a waiter carrying a huge tray of food in this busy restaurant.

My husband is getting obviously anxious, and the parents are just completely oblivious. My husband is too kind and takes the boy to go play some games that they have on the outdoor patio. The parents just keep talking, not noticing my husband has gotten up to take care of their kid.

Again, we give them the benefit of the doubt. We think, “Oh… they must be happy to have time to themselves. He must just have a lot of energy, and they need a break.” The next encounter is when the red flags begin to show. We are invited to their home with our other neighbors. We are playing a board game at the dining table, and the kids are playing in the family room area. Our other neighbor’s kid comes in crying.

“Zach bit me,” he says. Zach’s mom stands up, storms into the room, drags Zach back into the kitchen, and disciplines him in front of all of us. Her husband says, “That was way too much!” and they start fighting in front of us. We excuse ourselves, and our neighbors ended up calling CPS, but nothing ever came of it.

I started to feel even more obligated to help this kid after seeing his mother screaming at him several times and dragging him by the arm whenever he did something wrong. So I started inviting him over.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to help like I thought I could. He began bullying my child and pets, throwing our Xbox on the ground, climbing on the furniture, and hitting our 85-inch TV (which could have fallen and hurt him had I not gotten to him quick enough). I quickly realized I didn’t have the time to sit and watch this kid every second of the day.

We were popular on the block, we enjoyed having parties, and we tried to include everyone. But we had to stop because they never watched their son at the parties. A parent said they saw him push a kid to the ground and kick the child in the face. The kid came up to his mom sobbing with blood coming down his face. The children were terrified of Zach.

I know. It sounds ridiculous. Who would have known a 3-year-old could be this violent? At this point, he has already been “suspended” from preschool three times because of the violence he caused in class. Three other neighbors had called CPS for various things. I know one of the reasons was because of him being out in the snow in only a diaper.

His mom tells me she had caught him watching “awful” videos on YouTube. At this point, I know I have to protect my child and stop contact. I go through a surgery that doesn’t heal well. My sutures end up opening up and leaving me with a huge open wound.

They let this kid ring my doorbell several times a day while I’m trying to rest. My dogs lose their minds every time. I turn the doorbell off, and he starts knocking instead. I reach out to the dad and say, “I’m trying to heal from surgery. Could you please not allow Zach to come to my door?”

He says, “Oh, sorry, I’ll come get him.” Well, the next day he’s at it again. I counted 15 times. My kid is at school, so he can’t even play anyway. This goes on, and I continue to ask the dad to figure something out for several weeks.

My mom comes to pick me up for a doctor appointment a couple of weeks later. My ring doorbell goes off, and I see Zach chasing my neighbor’s cat on my porch. It then shows the cat jumping over my fence. Zach goes into the back alleyway behind my home, opens our gate, and goes into the dog door that leads into my garage!

I call his mother, and all she has to say is, “Oh, sorry about that. I’ve had the kid in therapy trying to figure out what’s wrong with him.” My husband and I have had it at this point. The next day, my husband catches him poking our dogs with a stick through our fence. He says, “You need to go home right now.”

My husband starts to come out the door to escort him home, so Zach turns and runs right out into the street and comes feet from being hit by a school bus. My neighbor who sees it happen calls to talk to the mom, but all she says is, “Yeah, the buses go too quick down our street.”

The next week, a huge fight breaks out at their house. We hear the parents fighting and Zach screaming to his dad for help. The neighbors call the cops, who take their sweet time getting there, and the issue has ended before the cops can figure out what happened.

The mom starts sending me nasty texts saying no one cares that she’s going through a divorce (she hadn’t mentioned it, so how would I know?). I had just found out she had been cheating on her husband the entire time they had been living there.

She then said I was horrible for excluding her child and that I shouldn’t be ignoring him. (I had told her husband that I’d just like to read a book and play ball with my son without being interrupted by kids all the time in our backyard because he asked me why we were distancing ourselves). I also mentioned to him that there was a large age gap between our kids, and I’m just not at that point in life anymore.

I was blown away, feeling I had been totally treated like their babysitter this entire time. I had only this little boy’s best interest at heart. The worst part is feeling gaslit by others like it “probably wasn’t THAT bad of an experience,” but this family truly made me feel like I was living in hell. I felt I was protecting my child and pets. AITAH?

OP added more context in the comments:

Shoddyounce says:

You've been incredibly patient and kind despite the challenges. It's important to prioritize your family's well-being. Setting boundaries is tough but necessary for everyone's safety and peace of mind.

OP responded:

Thank you for saying that. I’ve thought about it for a year now. I wonder all the time if there was anything I could have done differently. It made me physically ill to feel like I had no choice but to completely remove them from our lives. I’ve never wanted to make anyone feel excluded. The dad used to watch me from the window.

They lived directly in front of us. Going out in the front yard to mow was so uncomfortable. I used to love my porch swing but I felt I could not be in sight. This might sound dramatic but I still get what feels like PTSD looking at their house.

The mom took the kid and left out of state to live with the man she had cheated with and the husband sold the house. I have not gotten over it. It came up with one of my neighbors yesterday and it just reopened that wound.

Brostallion says:

That’s just way too much. Your NTA for protecting your child and home. The kid is going to grow up and have a hard life which sucks.

OP responded:

I’m truly broken hearted over it. I don’t know much about what happened after they moved. But I do know the mom somehow got custody and took him out of state and they are living with the man she was cheating with. Ugh.

What do you think?

Sources: Reddit
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