4/29/2008

Day 13: Another dilemma and a totally unrelated photo















Let us speak in hypothetical terms, just for fun. Let's just imagine you had looked high and low for many weeks and found a home just right for your family. One of the biggest factors in your search for a home was the amount of privacy available. The home you finally decided upon had a lovely backyard which was relatively private. It was open on one side but well shielded on the other by some large, attractive hedges.

In any neighborhood of course, it's a gamble in terms of what kind of neighbors you get. I feel pretty strongly as a parent that it is my right and responsibility to oversee who my children play with and when. I don't like having that control taken away from me.

So, again, just imagine you move into your home and all is well and you meet the neighbors on one side and they seem like nice, reasonable people. On the other side is a family with five children, ages ranging from twelve to three years old and you are quickly introduced to them as well. This family, let us call them the T family, live on the hedge side of your yard.

The T family is very friendly as well and bring over baked goods and soup and soon are coming to your front door asking to play, with and without a parent. They come over and play in your backyard with your kids a couple times as you supervise. Next thing you know, your husband buys a swing and some other attractive yard toys for your children and suddenly your backyard is the place to be.

Now, it's not just a matter of these kids coming over to play whenever your children set foot out the door. Suddenly they come over at all times and stick around, climbing on your swing, playing in your sandbox and patio even after your own kids have gone to bed. Eventually you have to go out and ask them to leave, feeling like a big old jerk.

They come over when your own kids have gone to soccer practice and even though you go outside and tell them this (hint, hint), they continue to hang out and press their little faces up against your sliding glass doors over and over, banging a basketball around your patio, playing with and destroying anything they see. Um, maybe a slight exaggeration. They hang around during dinner, distracting your children who want to go out and play with them. Even after you finally ask them to leave, their three year old hangs out in the sandbox by herself. No sign of parents.

So, would you be incredibly irritated? Or should you resign yourself to this new way of life? Do you just hope that the novelty of the new toys will wear off and your yard won't be so appealing in a few days? If not, what to do? In the words of Rex from Toy Story, "I don't like confrontations!"

Oh, I should also mention that the T mother talked in passing about possibly cutting down the hedges which separate our yards. I was too amazed at the time to even respond.

I'm afraid human urine won't work for this one.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't know, the urine might be worth a shot.

-Shannon

Anonymous said...

good luck with this one ....that is one reason I don't make a good nieghbor. When I'm at home I like to not have to worry about other people in the same way. When we lived in GA none of the local children liked me very much.....can't say I was sad about that. GOd has a plan and you are much nicer than I am, so I'm sure you will work it out. Wish you were my nieghbor....Jen

wideyed said...

um, get a fence?

kw said...

get an electric fence with urine extract?

ljmax said...

Unfortunately, this subdivision doesn't allow fences.

Anonymous said...

Ask your nieghbor if you can dig up her hedges since she is just going to cut them down and then plant them on your property line. How about a few pittbulls? You are close enough to Detroit to get them fairly cheap huh? :> I love neighborhood children. Doesn't hubby know a few useful techniques? Maybe he could call in for help!

tmf

ljmax said...

Tara, you are on a roll! I love the hedges idea especially.

kw said...

Just BE SURE they don't ever see 'spiderman' or any such feats in back of your house...can you post some pics of the nuisance mongers?

Emma C said...

You mean the realtor didn't mention that the house came with an extra five kids? Heh, heh, heh.

In any case--this is a tough one. These kids sound a lot like some of the students at the snooty private school where I used to assistant teach--absent parent syndrome. A few weeks of tough love with some of the kids helped a lot.

Maybe some of that's in order here? Tell the neighbor kids, "Ok, these are the rules at OUR house. If you want to come over and play, you have to follow them." Meh?

Good luck!

Heidi said...

You can borrow my pitbull for a couple of days :)

Claire said...

Well, I see many peeps have beat me to the punch with all the clever comments about neighbor deterrents. Sigh. I was going to suggest booby traps of some kind. Smear all outdoor toys with hot pepper sauce...after warning your kids not to play with them for a while, of course. Maybe you should get Ethan to go over and do a monkey face on their sliding glass door...and stay there for several hours...but they'd probably just think it was funny.

Wendy said...

you could install an invisible fence like for dogs and require all the hedge neighbor children to wear "very special electronic collars" that may give off a minor and painless little shock if they cross during certain hours in the day... :) seriously though, that would be frustrating and because you can't put up a fence, I like Tara's hedge replanting idea and you might have to have a "boundaries" talk with the parents (easier said than done, so I'd probably send Ran to do that part) :) good luck!

Anonymous said...

I'd consider getting a flag. Just a small one of anything not necessarily American but have it situated so that they can see it from their land. Tell the mom and the kids that you love having them be friends with your children but for safety reasons you have to be there and that some days you are up to a playdate and some days you aren't. Thus, the flag. If the flag is up-come on over. The flag is down no come over. You are responsible for any injuries on your property-put it to them that way. So to protect everyone let's use the flag to announce whether we are home and up for a playdate. If the flag is not up-they can always call and ask "is the flag going up" but all you need to say is yes, or no, with no explanation needed. This could also be something their family could put up to let you know when they wanted your boys over. Just a thought. A Nana

Stephanie said...

Fences aren't allowed?? How about barbed wire? LOL. This is a toughie. If it were me I would go over and talk to the mom and just let her know that you aren't comfortable with her kids being there when your kids aren't or when they are in bed etc. I know that sounds rude but what they are doing is seriously rude.I would never EVER just send my kids on over to the neighbors house like that...even ones I know. Just for the purely"taking advantage" factor. So again....no to razor wire? Are you sure? :) Good luck!

kat said...

Oh my goodness, I can totally relate. That is exactly what happened when we moved. Exactly everything you are saying, they don't come over as much now, but as soon as they see someone come out the door, presto, they are there. I really do sympathize with you. Maybe I can use some of the suggestions you got. good luck, hope something works.

ljmax said...

Thanks so much for all the suggestions everybody! I realize that if it keeps up I'm just going to have to say something to the mother...I'm just dreading that day. She is around quite a bit but apparently unaware. Also, I think the oldest daughter is left in charge of them a lot.
The scary part is that they are still in school. I can't imagine what the summer could be like.

kat said...

It sounds like they are related to my neighbors.

the Joneses said...

That is chew-on-the-walls annoying! We've been very fortunate in our neighbors -- not just that we have kids nearby, but that their parents don't let them come play unless they get permission from us.

Since you're not so lucky... Definitely enforce the rules in your own yard. Don't just hint, outright tell them: "Glad you've come over, but I'm sorry, you have to go home now!" Give reasons: "Oops, Rebekah! My boys are all in bed now! Time for you to go home!" Some kids just don't take hints.

Tell the mother that you'd rather not have unsupervised children playing in your yard, so she can expect to see her kids returned to her property sometimes (don't say that part). That's not confrontational, just neighborly.

And I agree with the idea of having a "signal." If not a flag, then something to hang on the door or on the hedge: "We can't play right now. Please come over some other time!" Don't just leave it up to the kids -- tell the parents what it means, too. "Hey, just so your kids know when is a good time to come over, we'll put out this red cloth so they can see it."

And if all that doesn't work... well, you've got lots of blogging friends to chew on walls with you.

-- SJ

Shari said...

Wow, this is difficult, Liane. I like the flag idea. That way, you're clearly saying what your boundaries are, but not coming across in a rude way. I don't know. Confrontation is difficult.