Neighbors get help with their troubled children

Anissa Ford's picture

The Oprah Winfrey Network's season premiere of "Trouble Next Door" found an otherwise loving and happily married couple shut in and frustrated because of their two unruly kids.

Melissa and Shawn are a couple approaching middle age with a 16-year-old son and an aggressive and temperamental six-year-old. The family hadn't been out to eat or outside of the house to enjoy life and the community in approximately six years. A primary factor in their decision to recluse was the behavior of both of their children.

Their six- year- old had dramatic outbursts and the couple called on their neighbors to help them out. Reaching out for help from neighbors is part of the television series' premise. When the neighbors came for a visit with Melissa and Shawn, they immediately noticed that the parents catered to and consequently caved in to their six-year-old's demands. And the boy's (Hunter) demands were simple. One minute he wanted his dad in the room and the next minute he was scared and frightened so he really needed a parent in the room.

The problem, however, was that the parents were meeting with their neighbors-people who were genuinely interested in reaching out to the couple in need. After Hunter refused to cooperate, his mom pacified him the best way she knew how, with chocolate or stimulants. Their son was prescribed ADHD and anti-anxiety medications. Doctors have often noted that in addition to the meds, more caffeine or/and sugar helps keep some attention deficit children still for a good length of time.

The mom, Melissa, gave her son chocolate eggs. The visiting neighbors disapproved and the mom's feelings were hurt. The neighbors felt that the family did whatever they needed to appease their son because they didn't know any other way. The neighbors also debated about whether Melissa and Shawn really wanted to change their lives. They were concerned that Melissa's defensiveness and unwillingness to take criticism and be judged by her neighbors indicated that she was resistant to change.

Change is uncomfortable, this is the mantra of life coaches and best friends everywhere. Leaving one's comfort zone is a phrase thrown around a lot and easily. It was a term thrown around to describe Shawn and Melissa, even though their situation was beyond uncomfortable. In response to the temperamental six-year-old, their 16-year-old retreated to his room and filled his life with music.

It's been long said that when siblings are more than five years apart, there is a disconnect that renders the siblings more like friends or cousins , than brother and sister, particularly while growing up. Siblings separated by five or more years do not share the same interests, friends or learning capabilities which makes getting along difficult, especially when the older child reaches puberty.

After observing Monica and Shawn's eldest, they encouraged him to learn music more and invited him to join the sons of other neighbors and play in their band. This was a welcome change to the teenager whose parents didn't and couldn't fully share his enthusiasm for music. The teen was receptive to all of the neighbors suggestions, he was mature enough to feel encouraged, not bullied. And in the end, he gelled really well with others and smiled for the first time on the show.

Monica was invited to a Tae Kwon Do Academy, a venture she initially sneered. But she enjoyed class and so did her six-year-old. Self defense classes are often recommended to women who have experienced a situation in their lives where they felt powerless. Melissa took Hunter to the classes also and the most important facet of them getting out and participating was that they were, for the first time, able to take Hunter out of the house and participate in a community activity.

The neighbors also challenged Melissa and Shawn to let them babysit Hunter. The couple sighed because they'd been through that before and they've been called to come pick up their unruly kid in the middle of an outing. But their neighbors asked what's the worst that could happen. Melissa said Hunter would throw a chair, the neighbors said if that's it, bring it.

Shawn and Melissa let go and the neighbors held a large dinner. After the dinner, they held a block party where the 16-year-old played with his new band and neighbors.

"Trouble Next Door" is a real life healing project and the process took three months. The neighbors in crisis were shown in the initial stages and then visited again by cameras three months later.

Although Melissa and Shawn were reluctant to trust their neighbors, the neighbors were far more determined to see Melissa and Shawn free from living their lives as slaves to the unhealthy routine they had known. The families and neighbors were determined because a few of them had been through the same situation and found a way out.

In the end, the premiere episode of "Trouble Next Door" featured a successful intervention. But it is a fair guess and assumption that not all of the episodes will end so tidily. In this particular episode, Shawn and Melissa's family are a really good fit with the families who are already there. They are all similar in race, age, sexual orientation and their cultural values (love God, love family) are all quite similar.

"Trouble Next Door" airs again next Monday at 10 EST.


Submitted by Ross Coe (not verified) on
Another story about a vaccine injured child and family.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I fully believe people who who say autism and vaccines are linked in this day and age is fricken crazy. the thermosil has been removed from the tdap and it is no longee in use for vaccines. Im tired of babied dying of whooping cough, kids subjecting my immuno compermised yet fully vaccinated child to outdated diseases like mumps, german measles, chicken pox and other deadly diseases. my child has full right to attend public school but herd imunization does not work and kids like my child are spending days and weeks hospitalized because of these outdated diseases and people lose their infants and elderly to them to.. suck it up and immunize your child and yourself before you inadvertantly kill someones loved one.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
There has been no actual studies about multi-vaccine exposure, or of super-sensitive children who are those damaged. U nfortunately the only ones who could fund and do studies are government and pharma. They can also fund studies, but you can bet the outcome will be what they paid for. Rants about parents not vaccinating show an inability by some to understand the issue and the facts. Given that in the 1990's autism was still 1 in 10,000 and today its 1 in 88 an intelligent parent will pay attention and do whats necessary to protect their child. Parents have complained for decades that after a series of vaccines their child was never the same and regressed into autism. Those who push vaccines call that a coincidence, hardly a scientific gold standard finding. Then we have those unable to grasp that if vaccines work, their child is safe from non-vaccinated children. Odd though how vaccinated children have more illness and disease than non-vaccinated. Some people would rather rant than learn.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I dont blame the sudden 1-88 children on vaccines because autism is a spectrum aka an unbrella syndrome. my ds falls into the outskirts of the umberlla because hes socially immature. they dont account for the fact hes 7 and the size of a 4 yr old and people treat him like hes 4. My son is also severely adhd becuase of undiagnosed hypoglycemia as an infant that caused brain damage and that makes him learning disabled as well. it was not caused by a vaccine it was cause by inattentive doctors. i also think that some of these kids who like my son have minimal autism signs and are fully classified autistic need dicsipline and not to be sheltered by a label that will ladt them their lifetime because its an easy way out and doctors get tired of the parents dont fully comp complianing to them about their kids who dont listen and are distructive. of course some kids dont comply to "oh honey please dont do that." and need their nosed stuck in a corner and need to be held accountable for their reactions. we are raising a future of kids who dont know right from wrong. that is why our world is crumbling. now im not saying beat your kid but i am saying stand up to your kid be a parent not a friend. But if a child is truely autistic and can not read human emotion cant verbally communicate and cant make a connection then its from a genetic mutation not a vaccine.. babies learn their cues from the parents some babies are born able to some babies are born unable to. people also need to realize smoking pot while pregnant isnt good and that genetics isnt fully mapped out yet. Just because the answer isnt here today doesnt mean it wont be here tomorrow. people are having kids later in life and egg quality starts declining in your mid 20s. Things are changing and there can be 100s of reason the numbers of autistic kids are becoming more is because people are more worried doctors are faster to diagnos kids with it and people may just be evoloving as technology advances.. who knows but blaming vaccones is like blaming toilet paper for a yeast infection. has nothing to do with it. please research more before you follow the lemmings of the ledge.

Submitted by Ross Coe (not verified) on
Yeah blaming toilet paper for yeast infection, how silly. When injectible vaccines not only contain toxic substances, contaminants of numerous types, animal and viral genetic components all bypassing the immune system through injection. What could possibly happen. Then we have vaccine injury compensation programs that concede vaccines cause seizures, gene mutation, retardation and death. Geez lets overlook this frightening evidence and say they can't cause autism, a form of retardation often with seizures. Some people are simply out of touch with reality.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Wow...not sure WHERE to even start on this one. First off...Blake has 4 guitars and we have paid for lessons since he was 6...I actually WORKED in the music industry and encouraged Blake daily. Including having his band have our garaged converted last year. Several of thousand of dollars spent taking him to concerts. Also the little one was getting his way because it was 9:30 at night....and they didn't want him in the scene while filming. He has/had ONE chocolate egg a day..with his there was no liquid and the pill was large. I wasn't reluctant to go to tae....I had to shuttle my other son to class at the same time as their class. We had previously discussed this...but all you saw was me saying no...not why I was saying no. If you live in Los Angeles you would know that it takes quite a bit of time to get from one end to the other. We also werent followed up 3 months later....we were locked into filming for 14 days straight..there was no follow up. Also the first meltdown you see of Hunter is because filming started at 5 AM....and they wanted to reshoot the scene of him coming home over and over...he wasn't having it after a full day of school. If you want to blog about a show..make sure you aren't judging the parents of a child with several dx by a team of doctors of special needs. A child that has severe anxiety that makes him sweat...break out in hives..over elevators. Or an older child that is behind in school because he had a surgery that he had 2 steel rods and 43 screws in his back... be a responsible media outlet..not a judgemental one.

Sorry I couldn't remember your son's name. I am a critical writer and thinker and am so sorry my judgment doesn't weigh heavily or particularly in your favor this time. I have no criticism or judgment of the way you raise your children, Heck, You are doing a Way Better Job than I am. My son is 14 and severely autistic, on the farthest end of intellectual disabilities present on the current spectrum. So, you're defense of Motherhood while Raising A Child with Disabilities resonated well enough with me on film. I feel no sense of criticism of your parenting in this piece. I did however, question your level of faith in the project, but your writing and your words summed it up for me.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Hi, What did you mean by this statement I did however, question your level of faith in the project, but your writing and your words summed it up for me.

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