July 02, 2015

Q: We are having trouble with an adult neighbor spreading false rumors about our 6-year-old. Our daughters used to be friends. We have turned to police becuase it has affected my daughter at school and in the community. The police can't do anything because the neighbor has not physically harmed my daughter, but she is harming her mentally and emotionally. I need advice on where to turn.

A: The problem that you are describing is an unusual one. I assume that you and your husband have already tried approaching your neighbor on an informal basis and trying to work out a resolution with her in a friendly spirit. I gather that you have also spoken with your daughter's teacher, too.

Being emotionally abused and harassed can be very hurtful and damaging to a young child, and I encourage you to take action in support of your daughter. Your family, especially your daughter, could benefit from some outside help with this problem. Seek counseling from an experienced mental health professional, someone who has an understanding of conflict resolution and who can speak with your daughter in a sensitive way about these strange events. The family doctor or pediatrician can help with making a referral.

Answered by Dr. Elizabeth Berger


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