Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dear Neighborhood Mom,

I need to vent after an incident in our neighborhood, so I’m writing this letter to the mother who’s breaking my son’s heart.

* * *

Dear Neighborhood Mom,

You smile at me and give me sweet pleasantries. You talk about how we need to get our kids together and how much fun we’ll have taking them on a walk. You tell my son that you’re looking forward to our play date and tell me when to call you.

Then you ignored my calls. I know this because today your daughter told my son at school, “When you called at the time of our play date my Mom said we were not going to answer it, we were ignoring it because it was just Mama Bear calling for a play date”. 

Then your daughter tells my son, “Even though we’re friends at school, my Mom said that I can’t play with you because you’re making me someone that I’m not.”

This follows a previous incident where your daughter told my son, “My mom said that I can’t play with you or anyone else in your family.” When I asked you about this, you told me that this was a misunderstanding between you and your daughter that happened after my son shared he had an ‘anger problem’ and saw a psychiatrist. You denied that you had a problem with my son and encouraged me to get the kids together.

In case you didn’t know, you’re daughter tells my son everything you say about us and you’re breaking his heart with your judgmental words.

When you scheduled a play date with my son, then screened our calls to avoid us, you destroyed a piece of him. What you may not realize is that he was looking forward to this play date more than he was Easter, he talked about it for 3 days straight, even told his Grandpa about how excited he was to see your daughter.

My son has caused your child no harm, he’s been a true friend. 

Unfortunately, your daughter is my son’s best friend, maybe his only friend.

If you only knew how much your actions hurt. If you only knew that my son’s sense of value dropped after he heard about this botched play date. He believes that he’s “weird” and that you hate him. He believes that you think he’s worthless and not good enough to be your child’s friend. You’re actions make it hard to believe different.

I see you waving at me in the carpool, smiling as if you like me and it makes me sick because I know what you really think. 

I wish I could scream at you and tell you how much you’re hurting my son, how much your fake pleasantries are just leading him on, stepping all over his hopes. I wish I could tell you that your actions will cause damage for years to come, confirming that he isn’t good enough for a friend.  I wish I could tell you that as precious as your daughter is to you, my son is to me. My son deserves to have a friend, please, I beg you, stop breaking my boy’s heart.

— Mama Bear 

(exhaling slowly)


  1. I cried reading this because it is true what you said about feeling unworthy of friendship. That neighborhood mom is like soooo many other people that talk the good talk but do not back it up with actions. She is hateful and two-faced. You are best off to just keep it civil but never take anything she says seriously. It is all part of her front. Oh this makes me so mad. I feel for your son, poor little guy.

  2. Coming out of lurkdom (is that a word?) to ask you to print this out and send it to her! That is downright horrible behavior from an ADULT no less and she needs to read each and every word of your letter. I'm so sorry.

  3. I agree with the Queen of the House.... Its not fair and its not right. Your neighbor needs to know that she is destroying your sons self esteem. Easier said than done though, I know. Hang in there and keep fighting for your child. Good job mama bear

  4. I'm so sorry. We have had more than our share of experiences like this. Unfortunately, most likely you won't change that woman. You can tell her what she is doing but my guess is she already knows and could care less. I would stop playing nicey-nice with her though. Best to focus on your son and start teaching him that there are people like this in the world and he needs to focus on choosing people/friends that won't judge him so harshly (or whose parents won't). It's not easy. None of it is easy :(

    And the irony is what that woman is doing is 20x worse than anything your son might do. She is an adult and role model purposefully being ugly, deceitful and damaging to innocent children and teaching intolerance rather than tolerance.

  5. OMG... that is HORRIBLE! You NEED to print this out and send it to her. I'm sure it won't change her, but she needs to know what a BITCH she is and what a HORRENDOUS role model she's providing for her daughter. Stupid people SUCK.

    This post makes me SO angry!!!!!!!! I HATE people like her!!!!!!

  6. Oh, gosh, Mama Bear-this is so heart-breaking--and familiar. So sorry you and your son are experiencing this.

    On the first day of school last year, Bug's best friend's (and back then almost only friend) mom informed me she thought the girls should "take a break." But I knew we were being dumped for good. In our case, there were some reasons-Bug was much less stable then and would sometimes take her anger out on her friend. Yet the mom never told me any of this until she "broke up" with us. For months, she acted like everything was just great between them and never mentioned any problems even when, knowing Bug, I'd make a point of asking her.

    If I were in your shoes, I would have a hard time confronting this woman. But you certainly have every right to. Maybe you could send the letter to a local paper that might publish it? It's a great letter.

  7. I know it would feel so good to confront this mother, but I know that the end result would be bad. That's what makes this whole thing suck. If I confronted her on it, it will only lead to more drama that could hurt my son and possibly gossip that would spread, again hurting my son. So in the end, I need to suck it up and stand tall. I need to be an example to my son and show him that when stuff like this happens we need to move forward. (But I admit it doesn't feel so good in the moment-I would rather scream at her.)

    That's what makes this whole disorder so isolating, you have very few people you can talk about it with. I'm so thankful for everyone's feedback, it gave me the chance to vent and find support among women that can understand without judging me. It helps me to move on to the next day-thank you!

  8. Mama Bear, I feel so sorry for you and your son. And I know how it feels. My son dove into his first real depression after his best friend "broke up" with him. The other parents wouldn't even let the two boys play on the same part of the playground during school. The principal had to divide the playground into zones and each boys had to stay in certain zones. It was ridiculous. (and one among many reasons that I started homeschooling.) This was after the boys had been through a mediation with the district behaviorist. The boys were both willing to work things out--it was the other parents who weren't adult enough to allow what the boys had worked out to happen. It often seems to be the adults who are the problem.

    On the other hand, I've been very honest with the mom of his new best friend. And her older son has some issues--so she has been very understanding.

  9. Hi Heather,
    There seems to be a trend of families "breaking up" with our kids. I worry most about the depression that follows. My sons seems most happy when he talked about this girl, I just don't know how this is going to all play out.
    Just yesterday the girl walked up to him, can you imagine how excited he was, then she grabbed his shirt at the collar and pulled hard. Then she said "My mom said that this is what you're going to do to me.” then walked away.

    What can I say other than this all makes me sick. I feel trapped in the fact that if I respond, I will destroy any chance of my son getting to talk with her at school or sit next to her during lunch after this girl forgets her mother's bad mouthing. I agree with you that the problem lies with the parents. I can't rob him of this possible joy, when it seems to be his greatest joy in life. Being this girl's friend.

    I'm hoping to help him find a new friend, thankfully summer is almost here. I can see now why so many kids become home schooled.

  10. Hi Mama bear,

    Has this girl often been like this? (Of course I can't tell if the incident you described is an isolated thing--but it sounds like she isn't being a very good friend to him.) But I understand your being hesitant to make things any worse.

    It is so hard to find true friendship for our kids. We have a program through our YMCA that has a social skills class. My son loves going to it--and I'm hoping that at least one of the friendships will stick.

    And we're trying to get some virtual friendships going with kids of friends my husband and I have in other states. My son has a pen pal and we are trying to get technology (Xbox messenging with the Kinect) to work out with timing so they can meet. This isn't as good as someone he can hang out with--but it is better than nothing.

    So that's what we are trying in the friend department.

  11. Good Question. This girl has been a sweetheart to my son, that is until he told her had a “anger problem” and saw a psychiatrist. Once her mom found out about this it was an immediate change. The mom told the girl he couldn't play with my son anymore. The sad thing is that my son never let her see his illness, he held it all in around her, he was kind and his face would light up every time he talked about her.

    I think her Mom has been saying a lot of negative stuff to scare her into staying away from him at school when she can't control it. So yes, she is now not being such a good friend, thanks to the training mom has provided.

    You have some good ideas for your child. I like the idea of a social skills class, hopefully your child will get some real connections there. As our therapist said, we don't need a lot of friends, just a few good ones.

  12. What a sad thing! My son, while not having an anger problem, is am exuberant and clumsy little six year old. His best friend is a little girl across the street. Apparently she told her mom that my son hit her (according to both my son and the teacher who saw it he was swinging his arms like kids do while walking down the hall and bumped her). Crazy mom came over yelling and threatening my son (literally kicked at his face). The whole scene upset me terribly, but I learned something of great value which I hope can help you. Her child will be the one to end up w/o friends, not mine. No one is ever going to be good enough or perfect enough to maintain a friendship with her precious daughter. My son will have to learn about loss of friendship much earlier than I wanted, but he will grow from this because he is in a family that loves him and supports him, challenges and all. Parents who teach intolerance create lonely sad children. Your son will grow to be an amazing man, better able to understand and love others for his struggles. Hang in there Mama Bear; there are a lot of us rooting for you!

  13. CTG- You bring up a very good point. As some are teaching their children tolerance, others are teaching the opposite. You struck a cord with your comment, “No one is ever going to be good enough or perfect enough to maintain a friendship with her precious daughter.”

    Recently, I’ve tried to coach my son, telling him that it’s the little girl that will miss out on something special, because of her mom, she won't get to spend time with him, who is a pretty cool kid..

  14. I think that with such people, the best thing is : ignore. Ignore her when she talks to you. You pretend you haven't seen anything, you haven't heard anything, you haven't touched anything, you haven't smelled anything, you haven't tasted anything.
    She greets you ? Continue your way like if she hadn't said anything to you. She asks you if you need help ? You don't answer. She sends you a letter ? No reply.
    I think that like that, you protect your son and you make her understand that you saw clearly in her game.