I am a single mother of a very active 5-year-old boy. I love my neighborhood and have lived here happily without incident for 14 years—until this past week. Across the street live a couple who adore their 1 year old son. Recently, Mr. S has been gracious enough to kick around a soccer ball in the front yard or include my son with running through the sprink lers when they were outside with their own boy. So my son has gone over there, on occasion, with his ball to find someone to play with. Last Saturday, Mr. S and family were on their way out and explained to my son they had no time to play. Watching them drive away I told my son to come back home. Later that night, a very disturbed Mr. S knocked on my door and asked to speak with me about the condition to which their stroller (stored on their stoop) was found. In the cup holder were small sticks, pebbles and bits of poop. He felt my son was retaliating for not playing with him. I told them my son had never shown anger like that before, but that it could be something a 5-year-old boy might do. I assured him that I would get to the bottom of this and bring him for an apology. The next morning, Mrs. S phoned and asked me, having since gotten a confession, for my son to clean it up. “Absolutely. It will underscore that it was wrong and not to do such a thing again.” We went over and my son gave a half-heart ed apology, citing he didn’t know why he did it. Then I cleaned the stroller tray with disinfectant wipes. I said to Mrs. S that I can’t predict what he might do and that I’m very sorry to have upset them, so I will keep my son on our side of the street to minimize future problems.
But 2 days ago, my son walked over and peeked into their living room window. Once he saw the neighbors he ran back across the street. Mr. S immediately came bounding over and said angrily to my son, “Very funny. Now he’s taken to peeking in our window!” and promptly turned and walked away. I apologized again, but he was clearly SO angry that he might not have heard me. He then stood there on his sidewalk and stared at my home for 20-30 minutes. When his wife came out to speak to him, he yelled and stamped his feet and threw a few things, including the stroller, into the middle of his front yard.
I feel I have done all that I could do to make amends and contin ually teach my son what is good and bad behavior with appropriate consequences, but the antics of this grown man has me pretty upset. In my view, this man seems to have forgotten that this is a 5-year-old boy still learning social rules, NOT a grown person with ulterior, evil motives.
What more can I do?