Conflict Resolution

What can I do about the unsupervised kids running around my neighborhood?

There are some little kids who run all over our neighborhood without supervision. I don’t think 7-year-olds should be up and down the street without an adult watching them. What can I do? Should I report this to Child Protective Services?

First of all, it’s great to hear that kids are playing outside, instead of sitting in front of a video game! I commend you for caring about the neighborhood children, but before you rush for the phone to call Child Protective Services (CPS), stop a moment and take stock:

Should I intervene when I witness bullying?

While waiting for a bus recently, I encountered a group of kids, no older than 12 or 13. Three of them were ganging up on the fourth one and bullying her terribly – calling her names and teasing her until she was clearly fighting back tears. I ended up not saying anything to them, but later felt that I should have. When is it right as an adult to intervene with kids you don’t know when there is clearly a problem?

My neighbor took my dog to the pound

My dog got loose and my neighbor took it to the pound without calling me. Is there a way I can address this with him without escalating the conflict?

It’s easy to become overly emotional when we’re talking about our beloved pets. It’s natural that you’re upset – but let’s take a step back and do a few things before you talk to your neighbor.

My neighbor neglects his dog

Q: My neighbor leaves his dog tied up outside all day — in the hot sun and the freezing cold. Is there something I can do? At what point do I call the authorities?

A: St. Francis of Assisi is well-known for his advocacy for animals. He taught us to see them as God’s creatures who offer us support, friendship and companionship, and are loyal friends for life. 

We think our nephew stole from us

Q: At our last family gathering, some of our silver went missing. We are pretty sure our nephew pocketed it, but we don’t have hard proof. Should we say something to him or his parents? What about the next holiday get-together? 

If you have a strong suspicion regarding your nephew, you must include his parents if you decide to address the situation. Keep in mind that this will be a difficult conversation and may cause resentment. 

I think my neighbor is dealing drugs

My next-door neighbor appears to be running a drug operation out of his home. I’m afraid of the repercussions if I call the police, but I’m scared. What should I do?

First, it’s very important that you try to back up your “gut feeling.” “My neighbor appears” is very different from “I have witnessed/heard/found this … or this …” 

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