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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