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Am I over or under reacting? 10YO, friends, HOA (Update post #59, HOA calls me back) - Page 2

post #21 of 70
Wow. Another reason I would never move anywhere with a HOA. I would move. These kids can't even be *kids* and it does sound either creepy and pedophile-like or racially biased, IMO. What a creepy situation. Can you bring up your concerns to whoever is in charge?
post #22 of 70
I would express concern to the HOA about someone who thinks it's ok to take picture of my children, no matter what reasons they have.

I also agree with Phathiu5:

Quote:
Riding their bikes in the street? Where are they supposed to ride them then?
post #23 of 70
Well, I think kids should always stay off of other people's property. I'd be mad if kids were riding their bikes in my yard or driveway.

But, the rest isn't even annoying. If you don't want kids playing in the common area, shouldn't you NOT buy a house near a common area???

The metal box they were jumping off of, is THERE FOR THE KIDS TO PLAY ON... it's like the electric company's gift to the children. Kids have been playing on those for millions of years. Again, unless it's in someone's yard, who cares?

I think it's extremely Unibomber-ish of someone to take pictures of the kids. Much less turn them in to the HOA. The camera owner should look into buying a home in a retirement community.
post #24 of 70
BTW, I love HOA's. I'd never live in a neighborhood without one. I had a house in a non HOA neighborhood once, and the neighbors made it impossible to sell my home. It took five months in a sellers market, and I finally found a family that needed a big corner lot to park his tractor and backhoe, and since all the other neighbors had semi trucks and a ham radio station in their yards, he apparently felt right at home.

After that experience though, I am an HOA kinda girl.
post #25 of 70
Actually those metal boxes from the electrical company are not toys for the kids. They contain electrical equipment that allow easier access to the neighbourhood's power source. While they are generally safe, if they have been damaged in any way (and you may not see the damage) they pose a serious risk to people who get to close.

I would advise teaching your children to stay away from and off of them.

ETA: If you do notice any kind of damage, or the door appears to be open from warping or whatever, contact the power company immediately!
post #26 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by chiromamma View Post
I think discussing it would help emphasize the ludicrous nature of the complaints. It's ridiculous for this person to spend their time filing charges with an HOA against kids who are being kids.
It's doubly ridiculous/creepy for him/her to tape or photograph it. I'd be totally creeped out if a neighbor was taking pictures of my kids without their consent. It's not like this person said, "Say Cheese, boys!" It's a violation of privacy for him/her to do this.
When you are out in a public place, it is not a violation of privacy. That is the law.
post #27 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon, RN View Post
...

4) Mostly, I'm afraid of the "nuisance" & "loitering" issues. I've read the bylaws, and they are not clear. There are no guidelines that specify what loitering or a "nuisance" is. So, DS and his friend are riding bikes for a while, they sit on the sidewalk to take a break. Are they loitering? After how long? 5 minutes? An hour? Or they are playing a game and laughing/screaming, is that too loud and it's a "nuisance?" It's too vague, and I don't know how to fight that.

I'm still not sure what to do. We have a management company that sort of runs the HOA, but the board is made up of homeowners here. Should I complain to the person who took the pictures, the board, AND the management company?
Our HOA has faced similar complaints. Basically, the board is limited to enforcing its written bylaws (or amending them through the appropriate process). The management companies typically are limited to dues collection, vendor payment, etc, although of course they will forward on your correspondence to the board.

I would start with the person who sent the letter, who is probably someone on your HOA board. Seek clarification from them while referencing the relevant bylaws. Find out what their underlying interests are (a sidewalk clear for pedestrians, a quiet neighborhood, whatever) and then see if you can both agree to solutions. Good luck!
post #28 of 70
I would have flipped if this happened to us. I’d be totally creeped out by the pictures. I don't think you are over reacting at all!

Tossing bike tires could be very dangerous, (but you told your son to stop and he did). Leaving a skateboard out overnight in the common area could also be dangerous. The neighbours do have the right not to want anyone riding their bikes on, or stepping on their lawns.

However I think the neighbours could have just told the HOA or the parents about it. Taking pictures of the kids is totally out of line! The only way it might have been acceptable were if they had complained numerous times about it and no one believed them.

I think you are totally in your right to go to the neighbour in question and tell them that although you are sorry about the kids riding their bikes and stepping on their lawns, and you agree the kids should not have thrown a tire or left a skateboard out overnight, you will not accept someone taking pictures of your child or the other children and they should please never do it again and if anything ever comes up again they should go to you or the HOA directly.

I feel bad for you to have neighbours like that and I wish you the best of luck
post #29 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by jalilah View Post

I think you are totally in your right to go to the neighbour in question and tell them that although you are sorry about the kids riding their bikes and stepping on their lawns, and you agree the kids should not have thrown a tire or left a skateboard out overnight, you will not accept someone taking pictures of your child or the other children and they should please never do it again and if anything ever comes up again they should go to you or the HOA directly.

I feel bad for you to have neighbours like that and I wish you the best of luck
If your child is on my property, then I will photograph them. If you have a problem with that, teach your kid not to trespass.
post #30 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post
If your child is on my property, then I will photograph them. If you have a problem with that, teach your kid not to trespass.
This makes more sense to you than talking with the parents?
If someone was taking photos of my kids, I'd be extremely suspicious of them and their motives. If it continued after I told them to stop, I'd consider filing a harassment suit. If I didn't have a case, then I'd harass them right back - following them around and taking photos if necessary, just to irritate them.

I take photos of suspicious vehicles hanging out on my street - especially in front of abandoned homes. I don't take photos of people. I talk with people, and talk with the parents of children when necessary. I don't take photos of other peoples' kids unless those kids happen to be in the background of the photos I'm taking of my kids, or those kids are friends with my kids and I'm taking group shots. Otherwise, it's unacceptable. I don't care if it's technically legal. It's suspicious, and I wouldn't be afraid of insinuating anything whatsoever - or even outright accusing - in those circumstances. A lot of trouble could be averted with actual face-to-face communication with the supposed wrong-doers.

ETA: I'm another who would never choose to live in a HOA community. This is just one reason of many. I'd rather risk lowered property values and have the freedom to leave toys in my yard and let my kids play freely than have to deal with uptight control freaks.
post #31 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post
If your child is on my property, then I will photograph them. If you have a problem with that, teach your kid not to trespass.
Yeah. That kind of stuff pisses me off. It's MY property, stay the hell off it. Besides the fact that it's just plain rude and disrespectful, we live in an era where if your kid falls and scrapes his knee, I'll get sued for it.

It sounds great in theory to say "just come talk to me about it" but in reality most people are UAV when you tell them their precious child did something wrong (I have a neighbor like this, her grandson just can't do any wrong in her mind, it's utterly pointless to talk to her- I tried once and she threatened to call the cops on me even though I was standing in the street). And I can't blame the person for taking photos, because if he didn't, I can guarantee at least one of the parents would have flipped their lid and insisted their kid had nothing to do with it. Without photos it's a he said she said and while you and your kid might be honest, a lot of people aren't. And like choli said, it is NOT illegal to take pictures of people without their permission if they're on public property. Creepy? Maybe. But not illegal.

I agree it's probably better if you just ignore the complaining neighbor. Ask your HOA for clarification of the stuff you couldn't find explicitly stated in the HOA stuff (like loitering) and tell your kiddo to comply with the rest (like staying out of people's yards/driveways).

I live in a tiny little neighborhood (just 8 other families), but I still want to live in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors My good friend lives across the street and even they annoy me sometimes (and I'm sure we annoy them sometimes, too!)
post #32 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by lotusdebi View Post
This makes more sense to you than talking with the parents?
If someone was taking photos of my kids, I'd be extremely suspicious of them and their motives. If it continued after I told them to stop, I'd consider filing a harassment suit. If I didn't have a case, then I'd harass them right back - following them around and taking photos if necessary, just to irritate them.

I take photos of suspicious vehicles hanging out on my street - especially in front of abandoned homes. I don't take photos of people. I talk with people, and talk with the parents of children when necessary. I don't take photos of other peoples' kids unless those kids happen to be in the background of the photos I'm taking of my kids, or those kids are friends with my kids and I'm taking group shots. Otherwise, it's unacceptable. I don't care if it's technically legal. It's suspicious, and I wouldn't be afraid of insinuating anything whatsoever - or even outright accusing - in those circumstances. A lot of trouble could be averted with actual face-to-face communication with the supposed wrong-doers.

ETA: I'm another who would never choose to live in a HOA community. This is just one reason of many. I'd rather risk lowered property values and have the freedom to leave toys in my yard and let my kids play freely than have to deal with uptight control freaks.
If my kids were trespassing, I'd want to be aware of it, and would have no problem with being given proof of it. I have no problems with pictures being taken of wrongdoing. If there is nothing being done that is wrong, why would I have a problem with it? It's not like the camera is stealing my kids lives.
post #33 of 70
Do unto others, I say. By all means, complain to the HOA if you must, but the photographs are over the top. These are children. Why not just send out a general reminder instead of going all crazy with photographs and threats?
post #34 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post
If your child is on my property, then I will photograph them. If you have a problem with that, teach your kid not to trespass.
Just to clarify, in the 2 (out of 23 pictures sent to me) pictures of my ds, he was not on anyone's property. He was in a common area. We didn't leave any equipment out overnight. My DS knows not to wander onto people's property. Also, we live in cluster homes, which are basically townhomes that do not share a common wall. Instead, we all have outside storage units that share a common wall. So, we have small, closely-spaced yards. It's entirely possible, while distracted and playing, that my ds could have gone onto someone's property, especially one cojoining a common area. He says when he realizes it, he gets off right away. Additionally, my ds would get off someone's yard if he was instructed to. But, we're not talking homesteads here where you kind of have to go out of your way to go onto someone's property.

In the other 21 pictures, 2 children (not mine) were sitting on the sidewalk in front of someone's driveway. The sidewalk is not the homeowners. There was never any complaint of those kids not moving, and it appears they were never told to move. I guess I just wouldn't care if someone was sitting on the sidewalk in front of my driveway. I don't own the sidewalk. Now, if I needed them to move, and they didn't it's a different story, but otherwise, who were they bothering? And the child who looked like he tripped and landed 6 inches on the yard. I don't see that as tresspassing as much as, well, tripping.

I don't want my DS to be a nuisance to anyone, obviously. I know my ds is not perfect. And, while I still think the pictures are creepy, I could understand complaining to the HOA if they had come to me and I blew them off. But this neighbor never came to me. I want DS to be able to play. He can legally ride his bike in the street. Blocking traffic is bad, but they didn't do that. Putting cans in the bike tires is not a federal offense, and kids have been doing stuff like that for decades, like putting playing cards in the tires.

I'm worried about approaching the homeowner who did this. I'm worried that he'll keep taking videos of my ds. What if he's riding, in the street as he supposed to do, and he falls down? Well, take a still from the video (like these pictures appear to be) and then the HOA gets a complaint that my child is "laying in the street." YKWIM? I'm worried if I go to him, he'll make it worse. My poor kid practically on lockdown as it is.

What do you think?
post #35 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon, RN View Post
I'm worried about approaching the homeowner who did this. I'm worried that he'll keep taking videos of my ds. What if he's riding, in the street as he supposed to do, and he falls down? Well, take a still from the video (like these pictures appear to be) and then the HOA gets a complaint that my child is "laying in the street." YKWIM? I'm worried if I go to him, he'll make it worse. My poor kid practically on lockdown as it is. What do you think?
I thought about this again and although in my first post I suggested talking to the neighbour who took the pictures, I have reconsidered. Maybe it would be better to talk to the HOA first explaining just what you explained in your post. If you do talk to the neighbour, maybe go with your Dh or XDH.

Honestly I would find it disturbing to have a neighbour like that. We are fortunate to live in neighbourhood where our next door neighbours actually tell the kids that that if they are playing ball in the street and the ball accidentally goes in their yard, they can go in and get it out without asking! So I am shocked when read about things like this well as the reaction of some of the posters!

What about the parents of the other kids? Do you know them? If so how did they react?

I also reread your other post where you mention that race could play a role and that several of the kids were AA. It sounds that could definitely play a role.
post #36 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by CherryBomb View Post
Yeah. That kind of stuff pisses me off. It's MY property, stay the hell off it. Besides the fact that it's just plain rude and disrespectful, we live in an era where if your kid falls and scrapes his knee, I'll get sued for it.
This is exactly how I feel. It's not my job to keep your kid safe. So, your kid shouldn't be on my property.

It's extremely rude and disrespectful to ride their bikes in my yard or driveway. My husband is very anal about our yard. He works in our yard at least twice a week. He rakes the gravel next to the driveway. SO, we really don't want other people's kids on our gravel.... even though it technically isn't hurting it... it is leaving tire marks all over that my husband will have to go rake.

My uncle would actually go chase kids out of his yard with a rifle. As kids, we weren't EVER allowed to walk on his living room rug. If we accidentally did, he'd get the vaccum out and fix the footprints in his perfect carpet. He was that anal....... somehow, I married the same kind of man. (didn't know it until it was too late)
post #37 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post
If your child is on my property, then I will photograph them. If you have a problem with that, teach your kid not to trespass.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CherryBomb View Post
Yeah. That kind of stuff pisses me off. It's MY property, stay the hell off it. Besides the fact that it's just plain rude and disrespectful, we live in an era where if your kid falls and scrapes his knee, I'll get sued for it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post
This is exactly how I feel. It's not my job to keep your kid safe. So, your kid shouldn't be on my property.
I think that y'all need to read, or re-read, the OP's posts. Her kid was not trespassing, and the photos were not of any specific wrongdoing on her DS's part. Geez.

The picture-taking creeps me waaaay out. I am not a shrinking violet, though, and I likely would stand outside his house on a pubic sidewalk with a camera and take pictures of his house, and take pictures of him when he takes out the trash, checks the mail, mows his lawn, etc. (I know we don't know it's a "him", just didn't want to say him/her, she/he, his/her a million times).

Yes, the OP's DS was in a public place, but people can have a reasonable expectation of privacy even in public places. There is a fine line between photography and surveillance, and since the HOA said that they were "watching" him and that video was taken too, I think this borders on surveillance especially since this monitoring appears to be endorsed by the HOA rather than the rogue actions of an individual. I think it's completely reasonable for people to want to exist in public without having their actions recorded covertly.
post #38 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post
This is exactly how I feel. It's not my job to keep your kid safe. So, your kid shouldn't be on my property.

It's extremely rude and disrespectful to ride their bikes in my yard or driveway. My husband is very anal about our yard. He works in our yard at least twice a week. He rakes the gravel next to the driveway. SO, we really don't want other people's kids on our gravel.... even though it technically isn't hurting it... it is leaving tire marks all over that my husband will have to go rake.

My uncle would actually go chase kids out of his yard with a rifle. As kids, we weren't EVER allowed to walk on his living room rug. If we accidentally did, he'd get the vaccum out and fix the footprints in his perfect carpet. He was that anal....... somehow, I married the same kind of man. (didn't know it until it was too late)
LOL We all find out when it's too late!

I think everyone pretty much agrees that the children should stay off of people's property. Certainly no argument there.

I guess what I'm trying to wrap my mind around, is with the exception of:

Going onto people's property (on purpose, or on accident),
Tossing that (stupid!) bike tire back and forth (in which they meant no harm, they were just being kids, but they def needed to stop)
His friend leaving his skateboard/bike in the common area, and
Playing near the electrical box

I don't understand the rest of the complaints. They were sitting on the sidewalk? Riding their bikes? Using cans as toys? Where's the line between playing and my neighbor's annoyance (if no one is on his property and no one is threatening his body or property)? He has no children. How come he gets to decide how my DS can play? Or am I reading too much into this? Should I do out and just monitor my ds every time he plays? I'm not sure that's going to work, either, because I would allow him to do things I construe as play, but my neighbor construes as a nusiance. Who decides? And, my ds would be mortified if I had to "play" with him and his friends!

It just seems so over the top. And I really wish the neighbor had just come to me, about the things that were actually a problem, and I would have disciplined my own son. Creepy, threatening letters in the mail with pictures of my ds doing, well, nothing wrong just piss me off. If your going to "prove" your case with "evidence", then at least have some!

I know his friend's mother got a letter, too, but I haven't had a chance to talk to her about it. The 3 other children that my ds doesn't usually play with live in another area of the neighborhood and I don't know them. Although the pictures show these 3 kids riding their bikes in someone's lawn, touching someone's lawn with his foot, and throwing the bike tire, I have a feeling that they may not have gotten a letter. At the bottom of my threat- ahem, I mean letter, it asks me to help identify the children if they are not mine.

Yeah, um, ok. Not sure how I feel about that.

I agree w/ the pp who said some people just don't think children should ever be around.

(And, this is totally ot and a side note and me being bitchy, but this "neighbor" had some kind of water leakage thing coming out of his house, down his yard, onto the sidewalk and street, for a couple of MONTHS before he did anything about it. The water was green and gross, and I'm sure not safe. I remember having to walk INTO the street everyday to get around it. Yuck! But, of course, these kids are the downfall of the neighborhood! ARGGHHHHH! I should've complained about the sewage thing! And, yes, I realize that this may have been a water company thing and not his fault, but I'm just in a bad mood!)
post #39 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharon, RN View Post
I think everyone pretty much agrees that the children should stay off of people's property. Certainly no argument there.

I guess what I'm trying to wrap my mind around, is with the exception of:

Going onto people's property (on purpose, or on accident),
Tossing that (stupid!) bike tire back and forth (in which they meant no harm, they were just being kids, but they def needed to stop)
His friend leaving his skateboard/bike in the common area, and
Playing near the electrical box
Except for being on someone's property... None of it should have been a problem. Even the skateboard in the common area. If you leave an expensive toy out in the park, it's someone elses new expensive toy. The only person who suffers is the original owner of the skateboard. Plus... have you ever left a wooden skateboard out overnight? The sprinklers run, and the skateboard gets damaged.

The fact that you have a neighbor who is so uptight that just the kids BEING outside bothers this person is weird.

The only reason they should be upset is possibly if they have something serious going on at home. Maybe they have a spouse that is very sick, or they themselves have been sick. Maybe the noise is really a huge deal to them. There could be something happening that has nothing to do with your kids.... it's just that it's the kids that are annoying them.

Try to understand that they might actually be having a very hard year. (Or they are just jerks) Maybe the kids would be better off hanging out at the end of the street for a little while??? I'd be really uncomfortable with a random neighbor taking pictures of my kids, and being all angry at them.

Sometimes, these people are REALLLLY stressed out for some reason. They are occasionally the ones who go too far. You always hear about them on the news after they've done something horrible. They always get to plead "by reasons of insanity" afterwards. It's just the kind of place the kids should avoid.
post #40 of 70
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post
Except for being on someone's property... None of it should have been a problem.

The fact that you have a neighbor who is so uptight that just the kids BEING outside bothers this person is weird.

The only reason they should be upset is possibly if they have something serious going on at home. Maybe they have a spouse that is very sick, or they themselves have been sick. Maybe the noise is really a huge deal to them. There could be something happening that has nothing to do with your kids.... it's just that it's the kids that are annoying them.

Try to understand that they might actually be having a very hard year. (Or they are just jerks) Maybe the kids would be better off hanging out at the end of the street for a little while??? I'd be really uncomfortable with a random neighbor taking pictures of my kids, and being all angry at them.

Sometimes, these people are REALLLLY stressed out for some reason. They are occasionally the ones who go too far. You always hear about them on the news after they've done something horrible. They always get to plead "by reasons of insanity" afterwards. It's just the kind of place the kids should avoid.
I don't really know anything about this neighbor. My ds says it's a man, and that no children live there. I have never seen a car in his driveway (maybe he just keeps it in the garage), and frankly thought the house was empty for a long time.

I told DS he would have to stay by our house. It's a small sub-division (of a very large neighborhood), and unfortunately his friend's backyard is directly across the street from this guy's house. So, if his friend can't come over here to play, then he won't really have anyone to play with, since I can't have him going over there now.

Well, I think I'm going to leave the neighbor alone. (Really would like to have angry, intimidating ex-husband come and talk to him, but... sigh... that won't help. ) I'm hearing impaired, and it's hard for me to use the phone, but I'll have dh call the HOA rep (the one who sent the letter, who works for the management company and does NOT live here) again and hopefully she'll call back. She's going to get to explain to us how my ds is supposed to play. That should go well. Then I'll take it from there.
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