Today is a great day! Last night I had a girls night/slumber party with some of my oldest friends (almost 20 years, dating back to middle school). For the first time in over twelve years we all live near each other and it was so great to catch up. I busted out some old yearbooks, we listened to cheesy 90's rock, we made pizza, we watched a so-bad-it's-hilarious Rom-Com, and we stayed up past 1am (not a big deal in my younger days, but kind of a huge deal lately). This morning, one of my friends and I walked to the local coffee shop, explored my new neighborhood, and did some thrift store shopping. Also, I got posting privileges!!!!!!
In the past months, as I have found myself becoming a frequenter of the GT community, there have been dozens of topics I wished I could bring to the metaphorical table. Now that I have the ability to do so, it's taking some restraint to not just post about a dozen things at once. While I will spare you guys what would probably be nothing short of a bizarre and strenuous textual triathlon of talking-point potpourri (and unnecessary alliteration, evidently) I am too excited to not take this opportunity to flex my newly feathered wings. So, since it's something I can't help but think about right now, lets talk about my neighbors:
My husband and I just bought a fabulous little house in a cool little part of the greater LA/LB metropolitan area. Its blue tile counters and coved ceilings made it a refreshing oasis in the desert of soulless flips. It also has a good sized back yard that is relatively private thanks to a multitude of trees and would be quite serene if it was not for my neighbors, who yell. A lot.
The problem is not so much the volume, which does have a tendency to pierce through an otherwise quite afternoon, but the fact that they are usually yelling at their kids. This is not just one set of neighbors by the way—my neighbors on BOTH SIDES scream at their kids on an almost daily basis. Now, as a childless person with a number of parent friends who frequently complain about other people "back seat" parenting, I am remiss to judge another's parenting style. However, there are moments (such as the woman who brought her two-year-old to a 9pm show of World War Z) when I can't help but worry for the child. Also, as a person who is still somewhat traumatized from a childhood with a personality disordered Father who would get irrationally angry at me at the drop of a hat, I often respond to yelling (even that not directed at me in any way) with panic and emotional shut-down. Yesterday in particular, I found myself wondering if there was something I should be doing, specifically because of an exchange which included the father (or other somehow related grown male) yelling at his (male) kid:
"Don't fucking cry. Do you know who cries? Girls. Are you a fucking little girl?"
I couldn't help but envision the trajectory that kind of comment was setting this kid up for, and feel helpless for all the children who are subject to this kind of abuse, which, unfortunately, does not fall into the category of what is considered "inappropriate" by child protective standards.
So guys, is there anything a bystander can do when they witness/overhear what feels to be "abusive" parenting?