Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

Bad Behavior and Disrespect Punishes Everyone

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We just got a note on our door today.  This is how the trailer park communicates with is when there’s a problem.  It would be nice if they’d come and talk to us, but I’ll take the communication I can get.  Of course, those notices always leave me with a sense of dread.  Our past rental experiences have gotten me dreading any kind of communication from management.  This time it really wasn’t that bad, but it was highly frustrating.

The first part of the note was related to a neighbor’s car being damaged because of the kids being out on the street unsupervised.  Our children aren’t allowed to be out unsupervised unless they are over 10 years old.  Also, we got a reminder of city curfew reminding us that kids need to be on our lot by 9pm and in the home by 10pm.  My guess is this means we’re no longer allowed to visit with the neighbors with our kids.  Honestly, I think it’s a ridiculous city ordinance and if a child is out with their parents it shouldn’t matter, but I can’t really do much about it but go to the city and try and figure that all out.  Trust me, I have every intention of doing so.

The second page had a listing for “amount owed” on the bottom of it, and I’ll admit, I kind of freaked out a bit.  I didn’t take the time to read it right away because a neighbor dropped by, so I have to admit, I only half-listened to him while I read over the bill.  I was worried they were making us pay for the damages.  Thankfully it was just a receipt saying our rent was paid and we still owed on our water bill.  We knew we still needed to pay the water bill and didn’t need the reminder, but it never hurts.  I’m just glad it wasn’t them expecting us to pay for the damages to his truck.

That being said, I don’t know for sure whose vehicle was damaged by the neighborhood kids, but I have a pretty good idea.  The really nice older man across the street parks his truck in the driveway for the empty lot next to us.  He asked us earlier who marked up his truck.  It turned out that someone got nail polish on the truck.  I know it wasn’t our kids because they haven’t had anything to do with nail polish since well before he moved his truck there.  Apparently Aubree and Maddy have been climbing up on top of the truck and dancing on it.  I’ve been on the neighborhood kids a number of times to stay off of his truck or any vehicle that doesn’t belong to their parents, but it’s done no good.  Now all the kids have to pay.

It’s frustrating that this has come down like this.  Corde and Beekee were really enjoying the time they spent outside.  Now I have to be out with them every time and that’s going to mean their outside play time gets severely cut.  We’ll be picking up the play tent from Oz’s dad’s house and then I’ll be able to be outside with them more.  He’ll have a place to play that’s safe and shaded and I won’t have to hold him.  It’s too hot and sunny for me to hold him outside.  I’ll move the computer chair out there so I can sit down because our camp chair broke before we moved here.  I’m not going to let this keep the kids inside, but it’s going to stop them from being able to go see their friends nearly as much.

In the end, I’m not going to be the neighborhood babysitter.  I hate to say it but I’m also not going to sit by and let the neighborhood kids run around unattended while mine are kept on a short leash.  If I see the kids out in the neighborhood where they’re out of view of their parents, I’m saying something from now on.  I’m not going to be held responsible for damages made to the neighbor’s truck because my kids are the only ones that play over there because the rest are supposedly by their home lots when they aren’t.  I’m not responsible for watching all the other kids in the neighborhood outside.  I have my own life to worry about.

Corde and Beekee are really upset about this one.  They’re angry because other kids have now imposed this limit to their freedom.  They’re upset because there have been so many problems caused.  I understand where the neighbor is coming from, and so do they.  He has a nice, antique Chevy and doesn’t want to see it trashed by kids that think it’s a piece of playground equipment.  It’s not respectful to him or anyone else in the community, especially when it means that kids are put under lock and key.

Now Corde’s counting down the days to her next birthday since that will mark the point at which she can go play in the neighborhood again, but she’s already decided she’s no longer going to hang around kids that do bad things.  She doesn’t want to be a part of the age limit being moved up.  She also doesn’t want to have to pay for damages for anything because she knows we don’t have the money.

It’s sad that once kids were allowed to run free in the neighborhood when they were younger than Beekee and it wasn’t a problem.  Kids had respect and the only thing you needed to worry about was a baseball through someone’s window.  Now kids can’t be trusted to do anything and parents need to watch them like hawks because a few bad kids have ruined it for everyone.  I had a funny feeling this was coming.  It’s just too bad it had to come to this.

So, for the time being, the kids will be on moderate lock-down.  Until I can get caught up on everything I’ve got to do around the house and can get that tent for the baby, we’ll be inside for the most part.  After that, I’m not going to be responsible for anyone else’s kids.  It’s not my fault this happened and I’m not going to let my kids take the blame.

What’s worse is I used to be able to watch the kids out the window.  In most areas that’s considered “supervised”.  As long as I could see them from where I’m at, they should be fine, but now that’s not even enough.  I used to poke my head out all the time to tell the kids they couldn’t be doing this or that.  Now I’m not even able to do that anymore.  It’s frustrating, but what can we do?

Corde wants to go down and talk to management to turn in the kids that caused all the problems.  She knows it’s not going to change anything, but if someone’s property is damaged, she thinks that it’s only right that they should have to pay for it.  Even if he doesn’t ask for the money for repairs, they should at least have to apologize and their parents should know who they are so hopefully their parents can teach them it’s not okay.  Corde knows I can’t be parent for the neighborhood, but these kids need to learn it somewhere.  The only way they well is if she stands up, is the bigger person, and tells the management everything she’s seen while out in the neighborhood, even if it means admitting to when she was in the wrong too.

Wish us luck on these changes.  The kids aren’t going to be happy about it, but they understand.  We’re starting to consider fencing our lot so the kids can go out in the yard unsupervised, as long as they stay there, since that’s allowed in the rules.  We’ll have to start doing all our own yard work, but it might just be worth it to give our children their freedom back.  Whatever it is we do, I at least feel confident in taking steps to make sure our children won’t be punished again by the actions of the neighborhood kids.  It’s really not their fault, but now all the neighborhood kids have to pay.

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Author: Fox

With four kids in the house, who has time for much? Well, we're trying to make it work, trying to get as close to our unschooling roots as we can while state restrictions and family pressures try to stand in our way. Every day is a new adventure.

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