I'm Injured, and I Have To Discipline My Stepson, Because of My Neighbor's STUPID KID

At about 7:30 or so, I was sitting here on the computer IMing with a friend, when all of a sudden, I hear glass shattering, right in front of my house. I knew my stepson was outside playing with a friend of his, so I jumped up to make sure they were okay.

I look out the front window, and I see my stepson’s friend (from here on out referred to as Idiot Boy) smashing a glass bottle, with a stick, ON MY FRONT LAWN.

I stepped out on the porch at told him REAL firmly to quit doing that, and to get away from it immediately, so that I could clean it up. Idiot Boy replied that HE would clean it up. I said, “You will NOT. I OWN this house and this property, and I do NOT want you to get hurt on MY property. So get away from it, NOW.”

He did, and I went back into the house, slipped on a pair of sandals, grabbed a bag, and walked out on to the lawn. As soon as I got close enough to the glass, I bent down to start picking it up…and immediately stepped on to a very large piece, which gashed the bottom of my foot. I was wearing sandals, remember? The sides were open. My foot was slashed where people who have arches (I’m completely flat-footed) would have an arch.

Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt, and no glass was stuck in my foot. The cut isn’t long, but it’s a little on the deep side. And it bled. Oh my goodness, it bled a LOT. I swear, the only time I’ve bled more is while giving birth.

So I limped back toward the front steps. Idiot Boy was still here (I’d chastised him, but hadn’t sent him home…yet). I looked at him and said “Look at this! Do you see this? THIS is why I told you that YOU wouldn’t be cleaning up that mess! GO HOME, NOW!”

It bled pretty copiously. I stuck my foot into the bathtub, under some cold water to try and slow it down, and my drain started looking like the shower scene from Psycho. That was a little disconcerting, but I’m not one to panic in a crisis. So then I grabbed the roll of toilet paper off the hanger, and used that for some direct pressure. By then, the cold water had done a good job of slowing things down, and the pressure took care of what was still oozing out a little bit. I sat back down at the computer, with a roll of toilet paper under my foot to continue the pressure for a little while, and proceeded to tell my friend (oh yeah…it was Euty, BTW) all about it.

Right now, it’s all cleaned & bandaged, and it doesn’t hurt. Nothing’s numb, nothing feels weird, and I feel physically okay.

But I am PISSED. OH my GODDESS, I’m hot.

If I weren’t here alone with my kids (husband is out gigging, and left about half an hour before this happened), I’d have marched (okay…hobbled) right down to Idiot Boy’s house and ratted on him big time. But I can’t do that. Yet. Tomorrow, though…

And I will be calm and rational. I will inform Idiot Boy’s parent(s) of his actions. I will tell them that I got hurt, and hurt pretty badly. I’ll even show it to them, if they like. And I’ll tell them that Idiot Boy is no longer welcome ANYWHERE on my property.

Even if I COULD take legal action here, I wouldn’t. I just want this kid’s parents to know what he’s done. Hopefully they’ll administer whatever they consider to be proper discipline.

And I’m going to have a talk with my stepson, too. He’s not completely blameless, here. While he wasn’t actively breaking the glass, he was standing there, letting Idiot Boy do it. I was pretty busy trying to take care of my injury, so I asked Timi to keep an eye on my other two kids while I did so. And he was really good about that.

Truth is, Timi really IS a good boy, and in all my years of knowing him, all the time he’s spent in my home, not ONCE have I ever had to administer ANY form of discipline to him. Never. He lived with us for almost six months, and I think I may have had to use a sort of stern tone with him one time. That’s IT. And it breaks my heart to think that I’m actually going to have to do something here.

I probably won’t do much more than talk to him, though. Too much time has passed at this point, and he really did do a fine job of helping with the other kids–but he’s always been great with them anyway.

Well, crap. I started this thread really pissed off, and now I’m just bummed out.

The only thing I really hope now is that Idiot Boy’s parents understand why I’m there. Not to threaten or be a raging bitch, just to tell them that their son did this thing. That’s it.

And on that terribly weak note, I think I’ll go to bed.

Hon, kids do stupid things without thnking of the consequences. That is what adults are for, [sub]GOOD adults, anyway…[/sub] to inform the kids why what they did wasn’t a GOOD thing and why they shouldn’t do it again.

But I agree that the child’s parents need to know what happened. Maybe you will get lucky and they will have a serious talk with Idiot Boy.

But as far as Timi is concerned, he may not have known what IB was going to do, so he may not be culpable. Just a thought.

OOPS…forgot to say, hope your foot heals quickly, my friend!

smashing. a. bottle. with. a. stick.
I’m sorry, but I don’t “get it”. Kids are supposed to experiment. I don’t think your neighbor’s son or your husband’s son did anything wrong.

Well yah. I mean, unless you count breaking glass all over the neighbours lawn so they injure themselves when trying to clean it up. :rolleyes:

Kids do stupid things. Adults get mad. Kids learn (hopefully) not to do that particular stupid thing again. Adults calm down (hopefully) and realize kids do stupid things.

Sometimes adults do not-too-bright things. Like trying to clean broken glass in open shoes. Adults learn along with the kids.

I’d have to say idiot boy wasn’t the only idiot in this situation.

I don’t think the OP was overreacting at all. Broken glass + lawn = VERY BAD THING.

Idiot Boy (and his parents) need to learn the quick, hard way that smashing bottles looks cool, but is NOT acceptable behavior – what if someone’s toddler had wandered onto the lawn and stepped on it? Someone’s dog? Someone’s mother (as actually happened)? What if broken shards had flown into the air and hit someone – maybe in the eye?

To sum up: Have a long, calm talk with Idiot Boy’s parents, and with your stepson, about why you were so angry, and why they shouldn’t do that kind of thing. And … umm … wear closed, thicker shoes next time you clean up glass. :wink:

I can easily relate to all of your anger and frustration and perhaps the above quote was a “heat of the moment” thing. If not though, it seems a little harsh. Kids use poor judgement all the time. Granted, I don’t know the kid, he could be a holy terror but I would assume that hopefully he feels bad about what he did and has learned something. Or at least is moving in that direction after some stern words. Complete banishment probably is an overreaction though.

Sorry about your bad day though. I hope your foot feels better.

I think Persephone was right in everything she did except for getting so worked up over it.

Really, it’s a minor little situation that kids inevitably end up doing sometimes. I’d done much worse than that as a kid, and I was a really well behaved boy usually.

So her only fault is getting so upset to the point of posting in the Pit over something so small. And also for not wearing protective enough footwear around broken glass.

I’m on Pers’ side on this one. I walk around the yard barefoot when the clover (aka Hide-A-Bee) isn’t in bloom, and it’d suck to step on broken glass. It’d also suck to get sued because a dumbass neighbor kid poked his eye out because he was being an idiot on your property.

I’d say that she should go easy on the stepson, but it seems that she was already planning to go easy by the end of the OP.

I hope your foot heals quickly, pho. Be sure to go to the doctor if it starts looking funky.

I do think the OP came off rather abrasive. The kid was obviously trying to help when he offered to clean up, but it comes across as if the OP thought he asked to help simply to be annoying.

Kids make stupid decisions sometimes. We all do.

Hope your foot gets better soon, Pers. I’m with you all the way, other than perhaps the permanent banning of Idiot Boy from your yard - unless he’s already developed a considerable track record of similar idiocies. But if this is a first time, then kicking him off your yard for the rest of the month ought to suffice; for a young child, the rest of July is a long time.

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t aware that breaking glass was a bad idea (and frowned on by the adult world as well); I’m sure I’d grasped that concept by age 4 or thereabouts. Idiot Boy should know that, and if he doesn’t, then this is the opportunity to drive the point home.

And if he has been an ongoing hazard, then the problem lies with the parents. In that case, do what you have to do to protect yourself and your kids from his bad behavior. But past that, don’t be too hard on Idiot Boy if the problem is that his parents aren’t teaching him how to behave. But in this case, make the point to his parents that your refusal to let the kid visit is because of their failure to teach him the limits of acceptable behavior.

As a parent myself, I think she reacted correctly. She was lucky in that she heard the whole thing happening and stopped it before it got out of hand. Imagine how worse her fury would have been in she had only found out about it when one of her younger kids came in dragging a bloody foot in with them. Broken glass is like having razor blades in your lawn. Sure, kids will be kids, but when they do something that might cause major physical harm to someone else, they need to know about it in no uncertain terms.

You’re all mostly correct, of course. That’s why, if you’ll notice, I did start out really angry, and ended up pretty damn sad about it all. And I did have enough presence of mind to not go racing to the boy’s house last night, precisely because I wanted to give myself time to cool off. I blew off my steam here, and now I can go deal with them on at least a reasonable level, if not downright nice one.

I have no intention of blowing up at the neighbors. I just want to let them know that their son was engaging in some activity that was, well, pretty dangerous. Him hearing ME just tell him to stop it may not be enough. There’s an awful lot of kids in this neighborhood, and I don’t want him doing this on someone else’s property. His parents need to stress to him that this is a bad thing.

As for me and my sandals, well, I never blamed the boy for my choice of footwear. That one’s ALL mine. I grabbed the first pair of shoes I could find, because I knew that going out there barefoot was a REALLY bad idea. All I blame him for is breaking the glass on my lawn. This boy has been here to my house before. He knows that my stepson isn’t the only one that lives here. He knows there’s two smaller children here.

And as for overreacting…no I didn’t. I didn’t even send the kid home until AFTER I’d hurt myself. And the reason I don’t want him here for a while is because hey, what if he decides to actually start breaking MY stuff? This wasn’t an accident. I saw the boy deliberately smashing this bottle with a stick. It would be TOTALLY different if he’d accidentally dropped it on the sidewalk or something.

It’s not like I’m going to sue his parents or anything. Besides the fact that the entire incident took place here on MY property, I’ve got excellent health insurance, and it will cover the stitches that I’m now quite certain I’ll need.

And as for Timi, he’ll not be punished, really. Just spoken to, about the dangers of that sort of thing, and how it’s okay to try and stop someone if you see them about to do something that might cause physical harm. He’s a good, sweet, smart boy, and I know he’ll learn the right lesson. He DID see me bleeding all over the place, too. So I’m sure he’s already learned something.

Small boys are strange creatures, they have a tendency to do things that we consider stupid (and often dangerous) out of a sense of curiosity. It’s actually a wonder that a good percentage of us grow up to become men, who are still more than capable of doing really stupid shit.

I’d ban the neighbours boy from coming around for a month and make sure that I had a long talk with him and his parents. Make sure both the boys get to take a look at your foot so that they will know firsthand what their behaviour resulted in.

I think the consequences for engaging in such dangerous behaviour should be fairly harsh.

Some years ago now, our son and the neighbour’s son had an overwhelming desire to experiment with matches and paper, the site of this experiment was our bathroom. (They thought that no-one would be able to tell that they had been doing this if they dropped the paper in the toilet). After I resisted the urge to soundly beat them both I talked to our neighbours. Our neighbours were as upset as we were and after a lecture on how dangerous fire could be the boys got to sit down and do a little surfing to discover what the consequences of starting a fire could be.

We explained that a fire could kill everyone they love and that there were other consequences to consider. After five minutes of looking at photos of burn victims they were both reduced to tears.

Harsh? Yes.

Have they ever played with matches again? No.

I think your initial reaction is totally in line, Perseph. I won’t say I never did stupid things such as this when I was a kid, but you know what? The adults around me got torqued off about it. And they were right to do so. That’s how dopey little kids learn.

And for those who don’t think it’s that big a deal, consider this…what would the implications have been if the neighbor kid had cut himself on her property, even though it was his actions that broke the glass and caused the hazard in the first place? IANAL, but I do believe Pers would have been liable. Great world we live in, huh? Wanna get sued because of your neighbor’s kid’s irresponsible and dangerous behavior? I can see it happening.

Sorry you have to get stitches, hon. Heal quickly, so we can walk around New York and the RenFaire. And get yourself a better pair of shoes for cleaning up broken glass.

Hmmmm…my next door neighbor’s idiot kid, affectionately known as “Butterball” (because he’s 10 and his parents won’t stop feeding him, grrrr) keeps riding his bike through my backyard and around my property. I’ve been warning my mom to tell this kid to stay off our yard, as she shouldn’t take the chance of any liability problems should he get injured.

Hell, the neighbors have some HIGH shrubs in front of our driveway. One time, when I pulled up in front of the house, Butterball darted right out in front of me on his bike. 2 seconds earlier, and I’d have hit him with no way of knowing he was coming.

Persephone, you’ve inspired me to turn the hose on this kid next time I see him on my property. :smiley: (Or, more appropriately, to go bitch at his mom.)

That was my initial reaction. After all, the kid was on my property WITH my permission. Since I allowed him to be here, I’m responsible for his peronal safety while he’s on my property. Where he got the glass bottle, I do not know. It was a large juice bottle, and we don’t drink that brand of juice here.

Right. That’s how I learned as a kid, too. That’s how I learn now. Hell, I called my OWN mom this morning and told her about it, and after she was sure that I’m okay, she said “You know…wearing sandals out there was not the best idea, dear…”

So yeah, everybody learns from this.

I agree that you’re right to be P.O.ed at the kid, but I do think that permanent banning is a little strong. Banning for a month or two sounds about right.

Remember that the little twit is also your stepson’s friend. If they decide to hang around together not on your property, you’re not going to hear them and be able to stop it next time he does something stupid with your stepson around. And it doesn’t sound like you’d want to rely on the twit’s parents’ supervision, either.