I have 6-year-old twins, a boy and a girl. My son is being tormented by my roomate's 20-year-old son, with very vulgar name calling. This 20-year-old is over 300 lbs and acts out as a very intimidating person.

At first, after we had moved in, they used to play outside together, ball and wrestling, as I found it endearing... But as time passed, it got rough and the name calling started. I put my foot down and said that's not necessary and then it turned into abusive harassment behind my back.

I was told today by my son that this happens all the time and he didn't want to tell me, but only happens when I'm present. I talked to my roomate and he laughed at me, saying his son is only playing. But my son is really being affected in a negative way and it hurts me that he has to live in this environment. That 20-year-old now yells at me, telling me he hates my son and me.

We are moving in 3 weeks, so I'm glad it will be over. But in the meantime, how do I handle this, now that my roomate is leaving on a 2 week trip and will not be here to mediate?

  • 2
    Do you feel he might physically threaten you or your son, or is it currently limited to verbal abuse? Jun 25, 2017 at 9:11
  • The simple solution that works costs money: Stay in a hotel for 3 weeks. There are various ways to teach a 20 year who doesn't yet know how to behave in a civilized manner around people, but none of them are guaranteed to work, many require a different setting than you describe, and very few work within the timeframe you need.
    – Peter
    Jun 25, 2017 at 10:13
  • In this answer, it sounds like you moved out and things got better. Can you clarify the situation you're in now? It will help us give more appropriate answers. Do you have an answer to post to this question (that's allowed on SE sites.)? Thanks. Jun 25, 2017 at 17:35

3 Answers 3


This is child abuse by an adult, plain and simple. Assuming you can't get out immediately, you should make your point of view clear to your room mate and/or his son. Tell them that if the abuse continues then you will involve the police.


The roommate was likely traumatized himself when he was young. Empathizing with him might get you somewhere.

But, for credibility's sake, get your son out of there. He will remember your decision in this situation and others that are similar. If you protect him, your relationship will be a less strained in his teenage years. Your daughter will similarly see what you do in this situation.

If your son isn't telling you what has been happening, what else might happen that you won't be told, potentially having severely negative consequences for your son and family?


Legal Recourse

You were pretty vague with the details, but it sounds like what he is doing is illegal harassment and/or abuse. He is an adult. You warned him already. Call the police NOW. The police may or may not remove him, but at the very least it will send him the message that you are serious about him improving his behavior.

If the police do not remove him - or even if they do - you should apply for an injunction (restraining order) against him on behalf of your child(ren).

Social Engineering

Empathize with him. You most likely did something that upset him, or maybe your presence is what's upsetting him. Either way, if you can somehow make him like you your temporary situation will be easier to manage. Do something to show him you understand where he's coming from. Once he feels like you're on "his side" he will be more likely to do what you want.

Control what you can control

You wont always be able to protect your kids the way you can now, but you can teach them how to protect themselves. Teach them not to take offense when people are rude to them. Teach them to empathize. That covers emotional protection.

My daughter is 10 and approaching her black belt and knows how to handle a gun. If you're comfortable with it, it's not too early to start teaching self defense to 6 year olds. At the very least you should teach them protocol for speaking to a grown-up when someone crosses the line. You should also be clear about where that line is, lest your son become a taddle-tail.


Another answer implied that your children will remember if you don't respond appropriately. If you opt to stay for the remaining weeks, make sure what your children remembers is that you don't run from your problems, you deal with them.

Contrary to other answers I would suggest that if the situation is severe enough to justify moving before the 3 weeks is up, that it is severe enough to involve law enforcement.

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