Post # 1
FI and I live in a four-family apartment building. We’re the upper right unit. Not that it matters.
Anyway, our directly downstairs neighbor is a single guy who has some custody of his 5 or 6 year old son – he’s basically only here on weekends. Every once in a while, FI and I will wake up on a Saturday or Sunday morning to the guy (not the child) yelling. We can never make anything else out, and can’t tell if the guy is yelling at the kid, on the phone, at the tv, or whatever, and it usually stops quickly.
The guy has a very….volitile….relationship with the kid’s mom (they’re regularly screaming at each other in the parking lot for her being 5 minutes late picking up the kid, or him feeding the kid junk food. It’s lovely).
Anyway, I just got home from work early, and as I was coming up the stairs I heard the kid scream “OW, dad! No, I promise I won’t lie!” and then started crying. The dad then said “SHUT the fu*k up”. I haven’t heard anything else in the past 10 minutes or so (just low voices talking – our walls are pretty soundproof so unless someone is yelling we can’t hear).
I keep telling FI I should call the cops, but he has told me there’s no reason. I should call the police now, yes? I don’t want to be the reason this kid never had a voice…
I should call the cops, right? I’m not overreacting?
Post # 3
This is hard because you don’t know what was happening to make the kid say “ow” and spanking your kid isn’t illegal. BUT if there is something else and more serious going on, they want all the testimony they can to formulate a pattern of abuse. I guess I would call to be on the safe side and just explain to the dispatcher what you heard and let them decide what to do. They don’t HAVE to come investigate it just based on a call, do they? I don’t actually know how it works but I think if something happened to that kid (even way in the future, not just today) you’d toss and turn for a while. And it’s no skin off your back to call.
Post # 4
I would definitely document when you guys here the yelling going on. You may get a better sense of what is happening if you see it all out in front of you.
I’d probably call the non emergency number and explain to the person what is going on.
Post # 5
Okay, so I have been listening very carefully (um, standing at the bottom of the stairs with my ear pressed against the wall).
They have a disney movie on (Little Mermaid, from the sounds of it) and just ordered pizza (Medium half pepperoni, half cheese).
I THINK I’m not going to call because it sounds…okay. But if I hear anything else, I’m going to. I just hate to have that sweet boy yelled at – he’s so cute!
Post # 6
Personally, if i was unsure, I think I would call the cops, only because it involves children. Worse case, nothing is happening and the guy is annoyed
ETA – just read your update, glad it all sounds better now
Post # 7
Do you know the names of any of these people? I don’t know what the police will do but I suggest calling CPS in your area and making a report. Even if you don’t have the names of all parties involved, you have the guy’s address. Describe what you’ve overheard.
I feel terrible for that kid. His parents sound like selfish assholes (based on the small piece of information you’ve provided)
Post # 8
@MrsStayPuft: I do not. Our neighbors aren’t exactly friendly (or maybe we aren’t?). Our other downstairs neighbor told us when we moved in to “not worry about leaving the door open” because she “wouldn’t steal anything”. Oooookay. And that’s been about the extent of our interaction with anyone.
Post # 9
If nothing bad is really happening, it’ll become clear, they’ll have nothing to hide, and they’ll know their behavior is setting off alarm bells around them and can try and settle down a bit.
I know my family was a little over-yell-ish at times, and I could imagine from the way we would carry on someone might get the wrong idea, but the worst that would happen if someone had called the cops would have been that they’d talk to my parents, talk to me, I’d get a mild scolding for being loud (I don’t think my dad was even aware of how loud he got when he was mad, he didn’t mean any harm, he was just loud) I’d tell them everything was fine, they’d take a look around and see nothing unusual, and it’d all blow over.
So I feel like, is there really anything to lose? If there’s abuse happening, it should be uncovered. If there’s not, what’s the worst thing that could happen? The cops tell them to quiet down?
You don’t need to make direct accusations when you call, just tell them exactly what you hear, and that you’re worried.
Post # 10
- Wedding: September 2015 - Ketchum, ID
@StL.Ashley: I’m sorry, I know this is a serious thread, but this: just ordered pizza (Medium half pepperoni, half cheese) made me giggle.
Post # 11
@StL.Ashley: I say call them (if you havent already) its better safe than sorry right?
I just read your reply about how everything seems fine. So yes i would let it go for now, but the next time you hear somethign or even whenthey are screaming in the parking lot, i would call. I work in a mall and everytime a couple screams at eachother we have to call the cops for a domestic dispute. usually just tells them to calm down and let them know that is not ok. But other times it turned out to be more serious so you never know.
Post # 12
I wouldn’t unless I heard like a SLAP then “ow”, My 3.5 year old says “OW” all the time even though he’s not hurt, If he’s getting in trouble and we walk him over to time out he’ll yell “OW!” being dramatic.
I was at my uncles house once and the 7 year old was a terror, having a super fit, throwing things, breaking stuff, screaming, (She did this often when she didn’t get something she wanted) and my aunt took her and locked her in her room until she was done raging out. Well the neighborshood heard it and called the police and the girl was removed from their home that night. It took them 6 months of legal junk and CPS loops to get her back even though everyone told them the truth, even my little neice. It’s not always as simple as they’ll see nothing is wrong and just leave.
Post # 13
The cops honestly won’t be able to do anything accept a noise complaint 🙁
Post # 14
I think that if you have any concerns you should call. It may be nothing, but if its not you are in the best position of anyone to hear and help out this familiy. Even if it after the fact, just to let you know that you live in the building and are worried about the family. I am a mandated reporter for child abuse and I have never ever regretted calling even if it turned out nothing bad was happening.
In some cases the department of children and families will help connect families with resources (parenting classes, SNAP if they are eligible and money is an issue…). I once called because a 7 year old told me she was left home alone, what she didn’t say (but the investigation uncovered) that her father was sexually abusing her. In another case I called because a boy was acting funny and saying he was scared to go home. Turns out his back was covered in bruises and the caseworker said it was the worst case of abuse she’d seen in a decade. And plenty of other cases turned out to be nothing but if you have a chance to alert someone to a potentially dangerous situation I say do it. If they have nothing to hide its just a minor annoyance.
Post # 15
@PixelMePretty: OMG that’s insane!
Post # 16
I would hesitate. Getting CPS involved if nothing is going on can be a nightmare for the family, and even if things aren’t great, the little boy could be removed to the foster system, which has no promise of being better for him. Also, I don’t know about where you live, but where I am, cops and CPS are way, way harder on families of colour, and if these folks are minorities of any kind, that might be opening up a world of problems they don’t need and won’t be in the best interest of the little boy. It’s not always as simple as, “if they’re doing nothing wrong, then they have nothing to hide.” Unfortunately, you don’t really have any evidence, and it could be that the dude is doing his best but having a rough go with the kid’s mom. It’s hard to say from what you’ve posted here.
Personally, I wouldn’t. But if you feel like you have to, then do what you have to do.