I hate our neighbors. H and I can't agree on how to handle them. - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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I hate our neighbors. H and I can't agree on how to handle them.

I'm venting but also looking for how others would handle this.

We live in a neighborhood of single family homes with no HOA. Our next door neighbors are a family of 6...4 kids. All in close age to our two kids. The kids are friends and play together outside every day.

H and I think the kids are poorly behaved and lack manners. The parents are the same. We both do not mind our kids playing together, but we struggle with enforcing boundaries with these kids and the parents while our kids maintain a friendship. Two of the four kids are in the same grades as my two and even in the same class this year. We struggle because we want them to maintain friends since they are together every day.

My H and I are both conflict avoidant. He more so than me. I am the type of person who gives a lot of chances but then I hit my limit and I snap. I am at my limit now. My current solutions would be to nuke the entire relationship with them, install an 8 foot privacy fence around the entire perimeter and tell them to GTFO my lawn. (Exxagerating a bit, but making a point that any solution I've come up with will likely start WWIII.) My H on the other hand is telling me to relax, they will eventually stop, don't say anything mean, "they are just kids" and so on. Since he isn't on board with the plan to nuke I have stopped in my tracks and let him lead on this. However....he has done nothing to solve the problem. This has been going on for two years. It is only getting worse with time.

The nuisance behavior:

- Constantly taking my children's items from our yard when we are not home and without our permission. I often come home to see the neighbors kids riding my kids bikes, scooters, drawing on my driveway with our sidewalk chalk, playing with my hose...and it goes on. The parents sit outside watching this happen and could care less. We have taken various steps to stop this. First by talking to the neighbors kids about the rules of our house/yard/things. At least 5x. Every time ends in a peaceful nod that they understand the rules. They are ages 5-8. Old enough to understand rules and follow them. Then next day same stuff is happening. Next I started putting things away differently like making sure our kids don't accidentally leave anything in plain sight, such as in the front yard. This means tucking everything away in deck boxes or up on our deck against the house. The kids actually come on our deck or dig through the boxes to get what they want. (!) The first time this happened I was inside and heard someone rattling around on the deck and thought someone was trying to break in. I have started locking the deck boxes and putting bike locks on the bikes to secure them to the deck railing. I've still caught the kids on my deck digging around trying to find anything unsecured. We are now putting out around 5k to get a shed installed that we can padlock. We are paying extra to have a special tamper-proof door installed on it. This is insane to me. All to keep the kids off our things.

- When we are home, and my kids are playing outside I leave the door unlocked so they can come in when they want to. These kids are walking into our house without knocking! When my kids are still outside. I'll be in another room, hear the door open and then have a neighborhood kid staring at me "whatcha doing?". Or when my kids are inside, knock on the door once, turn handle and walk in looking for our kids. I've talked, yelled, literally put my hands on their shoulders and led them back out the door. Now all doors remain locked at all times even when my kids are playing outside. Now they too need to knock to be let in. The worst is when it's time for my kids to come in, the others are trailing right behind on their heels and will usually shove their way in. Then I have to be forceful to get them back out. They also may ask if the kids can play, I'll say no. Five mins later they knock and ask again. Every five minutes for the entire night. Imagine a kid knocking on your door every five minutes while you are trying to eat dinner or do homework with your child. The first few times I've politely said you need to go home. The last time I take them by the hand and lead them back to their house and tell their parents to keep them occupied. The parents shrug and say ok sorry.

- They also have some nasty habits like tattling or making up faked slights to try to get my kids in trouble. My kids aren't innocent but for example, you can't come up to me saying my daughter punched you in the eye when there is not a mark on you at all. I have tried to get to know these kids a bit and have tried to be a mentor to them. Teaching them basic manners and not to lie and so on. I can't have any effect if the parents don't care to follow up on any of it themselves.

I am frustrated. My H is frustrated. Since I am so angry I have asked him if he could solve this. Talk to the parents and come up with some solution. He won't do it. He has asked me not to do it either. Because he knows I'm angry. The parents won't even make eye contact with me so they know I am unhappy. They chit chat with my H when he is outside.

I dunno. Am I crazy? Admittedly I am an introvert and if it was my choice, I'd live with a buffer of 20 acres between me and the closest neighbor. I want my home to be my safe place to be left alone. I do know it's not just me living here and I want my kids to be able to socialize and play with their friends. This is just pushing my boundaries and causing my home to be a stressful place that I sometimes avoid when I can't deal with it. There have been times when I've piled my kids in the car after school and taken them to the playground or out for ice cream just to be away from the neighbors.

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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 04:11 PM
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Re: I hate our neighbors. H and I can't agree on how to handle them.

The biggest problem with conflict avoidance is you let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go, then BAM you fvcking lose your mind and make the situation 1000X worse than it needed to be. I would calmly and politely explain the issues, don't use hyperbole or be passive aggressive. Just use the facts and ask them to help in with reining in their kids.

These are minor annoyances and should be able to be fixed without starting WWIII or exploding on the kids oblivious parents. Some people are just clueless, my wife is clueless to our kids behavior, at a Diner I'm the one to tell the kids to quiet down, turn around and stop staring at the table behind them. If I don't do it the kids will be insane and my wife will just not even notice.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 04:16 PM
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Re: I hate our neighbors. H and I can't agree on how to handle them.

Hi, That sucks. Boundaries are important and anything that brings stress into the house is not cool.

That being said. Here's what's going on:

Your neighbor kids are most likely abused and/or neglected severely. They want to engage with you and your family because they are starving to get the affection and safety you provide your family.

They are willing to engage how ever possible, even if it results in you yelling, because yelling is better than their parents COMPLETE VOID of affection.

Tactic 1:
Give them affection. Say, "Hey, I like you, and I want you to play nice with my kids." Give the jerks some hugs. They will not know what hit them. Then, they are acting out, state your boundary, "Hey, please don't mess with our things. Please ask first." Say to the kids, "Would you like to play with the bike? Come here, ask me nicely, and give me a hug."

You are building a positive adult relationship. They've never had this and will eat it up.

Tactic 2:
As long as you don't enforce your boundaries and allow your kids to engage they will continue to want to hang around. One way to have them stop their bad behaviors to to calmly say, "Hey, (list unwanted behavior here) isn't ok for our family. We are asking you to stop. If you don't you will no longer be allowed to visit us. We like you and hope you'll stop (list behavior here). It's your choice. It's up to you."

Hopefully by now all the hugs you've given out will ring loud in their heads, but if they don't stop, and you'll need to follow through. Totally ignore unwanted behavior. Enforce the boundary. Lock the doors. The kids will see they can no longer have an effect on you and stop seeking to engage if you give them nothing to engage with.

Super sad for the kids, but you will be teaching them that if they want to have friends, they have to be respectful. Their parents clearly are sign off.
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 04:24 PM
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Re: I hate our neighbors. H and I can't agree on how to handle them.

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Come here, ask me nicely, and give me a hug.
Maybe I'm paranoid but I'd be real careful about hugging anyone else's kids too much.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 04:45 PM
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Re: I hate our neighbors. H and I can't agree on how to handle them.

This isn't the kids' fault, as you already know. So trying to go through the kids to fix it isn't going to work. They don't understand boundaries, rules, or discipline since clearly they have never experienced any of the above.

Conflict avoidance on your part isn't going to work here either. You are going to have to have a Come To Jesus talk with these parents. You don't have to be mean or angry - in fact you should not, and should maintain a neutral but firm demeanor in my opinion. You can say that you recognize that they probably don't realize everything that has been going on.

But you need to tell them that if their kids won't obey the household rules you have set for YOUR residence, then the kids won't be able to play together anymore. Then list the issues. End by telling them that you value the friendships and want to remain good neighbors, but your children are required to follow rules of respect to others and therefore, you require their friends do to so also - otherwise it sets a bad example for everyone.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: I hate our neighbors. H and I can't agree on how to handle them.

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Maybe I'm paranoid but I'd be real careful about hugging anyone else's kids too much.
I agree. But I did get a good laugh out of "Give the jerks some hugs."

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 09:24 PM
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Re: I hate our neighbors. H and I can't agree on how to handle them.

Sad part of it is the kids don't know any better but the parent's do and wont do anything to correct their kids. It's a shame that you have to lock your doors and lock up the kids toys but maybe it's time you tell your husband that he had his chance, blew it big time and now your handling it. Then you go over to the other families house and lay it on the line and if need be, tell them to keep their kids in their own yard until their taught manners and know how to behave.

Maybe the neighbors wont like what you say but the message is there and the ball is in their court now. If your husband gets pissed then tell him to get over it. his way isn't working so now you took the bull by the horns and your doing it your way now.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 10:05 PM
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Re: I hate our neighbors. H and I can't agree on how to handle them.

Having been there...and ya even the numbers match... for what it's worth, it's a phase.

I know this doesn't help *now* but it's all I got! lol

My two kids found friends out side the neighbors and so did the 4 neighbor kids. You will find the oldest one out of the group will fad away and it will trickle down from there.

Granted we lost a lot of toys and even our silverware and dishware...go figure.

What happens is what ever you can't lock up and keep track of walks away and soon your kids will figure it out when most of their stuff is missing. Soon even the kids will start stashing their own stuff.

My favorite quote was "go next door and find your stuff...I don't have it!"

It suck that may own kids had to knock on their own door to come in, but again my kid figured it out soon enough when they lost all their stuff.

Again as your kids get older and get more into after school stuff like sports and scouts the neighbor delinquents (unfortunately) will once again be left in the dust and start hanging with all the other delinquents....it's just a phase and they won't even care about each other anymore much less come over.

And ya this was 15-20 yrs ago and those neigbor kids are either in jail or living with their 4th or 5th bio dad/mom.

Do not...do not....do not become friendly with the mom and dad...it was the worst nighmare me and the Mrs. went through.

Last edited by the guy; 11-30-2015 at 10:12 PM.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 10:21 PM
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Re: I hate our neighbors. H and I can't agree on how to handle them.

Put your kids stuff away when you aren't there. Get a storage shed. It won't be attractive for the neighbours kids to come over anymore.
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 10:22 PM
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Re: I hate our neighbors. H and I can't agree on how to handle them.

It might be time to get a big ol' junkyard dog!

Just don't forget to adjust you homeowner insurance....

Another sure bet in getting rid of the neighbor kids is wait for the next time one of your kids gets hurt next door, take them to urgent care and hand the bill to the mom and dad.

At the end of the day...unless you want your husband and the neighbor shooting at each other, you'll need to keep locking your shyt up and wait for the kids to out grow each other.

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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 10:22 PM
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Re: I hate our neighbors. H and I can't agree on how to handle them.

Sometimes you have to do sort of a harsh/nice sandwich.

As in, be happy to play with the kids outside. Sometimes you have to sacrifice an hour to play soccer in the summer. or host a tea party for the little girls outside. Whatever floats their boat.

And then make it clear that you will not tolerate kids on your porch, in your space, in your house. That that's family time. Put on a mean face and glare at kids who aren't listening.

Teach them all a new game. the kids in my neighborhood love to play sharks and minnows, but running back and forth in the grass. the dc metro kids taught it to us, called it jungle monsters go. I taught it here in PA and they left me alone to read my book on the porch for longer than i anticipated (i always stay outside with our 3 yo, the 7 yo has a little more freedom if she stays with her friends.

disconnect your doorbell and lock your screen door during dinner. Put up a do not disturb sign.

keep reiterating non verbally that you are nice outside, but not to be bothered while in.

I used this with good success at our last place in DC Metro, and that was with a huge spanish/farsi language barrier. The kids loved to play ataque la mujer in the community pool and i would play soccer too, but they all knew my house was off limits. But i didn't have much choice, they were all left with an elderly aunt to supervise in the summer, and she didn't speak english. I didn't have anyone to tattle to if they behaved badly.

Forget enough to get over it, remember enough so it doesn't happen again.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 10:33 PM
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Re: I hate our neighbors. H and I can't agree on how to handle them.

I just triggered.
I can remember my kids squeeze in between my leg and the door frame as I let them in while blocking the neighbor kids from entering the house.

I can really relate when you mentioned the other kids coming in right on your kids heels. That shyt got old real fast.
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Re: I hate our neighbors. H and I can't agree on how to handle them.

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I just triggered.
I can remember my kids squeeze in between my leg and the door frame as I let them in while blocking the neighbor kids from entering the house.

I can really relate when you mentioned the other kids coming in right on your kids heels. That shyt got old real fast.
OMG I can't believe someone else went through this...and survived!

I'm afraid to ask, but what happened when you became friends with the parents?

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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 07:54 PM
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Re: I hate our neighbors. H and I can't agree on how to handle them.

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OMG I can't believe someone else went through this...and survived!

I'm afraid to ask, but what happened when you became friends with the parents?

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Lots of drama and neighbor chick would tell my wife how hot she was and make shyt up about how I was after her....how all the guys were after her. Couldn't bring any one over without this chick telling by wife lies about every guy was after her.

She fed on my wife's insecurity and nothing could be further then the truth....this chick looked like the witch from The Wizard of Oz....mole and all! Even her skin color was close...not green but close from all the crack.

The dad was actually cool enough but you could tell he only cared about the youngest [his bio kid] the other 3 kid had dad's, yes dad's that were not in the picture. But I also think the mom wouldn't allow the dad to discipline the other 3.

The deal was just unhealthy...lots of fighting, drinking, and cops and not enough family time on both sides of the fence.

Lets just say they were toxic friends all the way around.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 07:56 PM
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Re: I hate our neighbors. H and I can't agree on how to handle them.

Ugh, I don't really have any advice but I have a ton of sympathy. I live in a development with a HOA and really strict rules and regulations that pretty much rule children out without saying it. BUT, a family with 3 demon children moved in next door to me and started breaking all the restrictions one by one, they are a nightmare! It has caused considerable conflict within our formerly peaceful development not to mention the legal fees spent trying to get them to comply with rules they knew about when they bought their home.

The behavior of the children that the parents are ignoring is pretty disturbing and could be a huge legal liability for you. If they were to get hurt on your property unsupervised the parents probably wouldn't hesitate to sue. I ended up calling DCYS on my neighbors because they let their very young children play in the middle of our street unsupervised (the youngest was 2 at the time and the oldest was 6) and that is considered neglect in our state. They also allowed their children to wander on to my property and play in destructive and dangerous ways (my yard is not child friendly since I don't have them). Once of their children came into my home and I found her playing in my closet! She was 3 at the time and I have loaded guns in my house! Her parents were not even aware she was gone! That was the last straw. I did try speaking to the parents several times before resorting to calling the authorities, talking to them didn't do a thing but having to contend with a DCYS investigation sure did.
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