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Hi everyone! Our family moved to a new neighborhood almost 5 months ago. We have a nice-sized yard with a low side fence and no fence in the back. When we moved it was winter (Northeast) so this issue just recently presented itself. Once the weather got warmer our neighbors expressed that "what everyone does around here" is use eachother's yard as a cut-through and/or play area. Most of the folks here have children ranging in ages 21 months to 6 years. DS (22 months) is drawn to the other children and wants to go in their yards as well. It would all seem ideal right? BUT I don't like how many of the parents discipline/talk to their children - and in turn how some of the children talk to me or DS. Recently, we visited and my neighbor with the 21 mo. sat in her chair in the yard and simply yelled reprimands across the yard to her child (I hear her doing this all the time). The mom of the 6-year old did the same. The same 6-year old recently told my DS "get out of the way!" when he was in her path (she was riding her bike) . Another parent threatened her child simply for not getting off a swing fast enough. Also, the parents of the *older* (4 and up) children just send their children out to play in the neighborhood with zero supervision.<br><br>
I wholeheartedly support gentle discipline and I strive to model the *right* way for DS - ie: respect for others and their property, gentleness, etc. And I am also very picky about who DS spends time with - he's never been away from either me or DH and my mom pals typically have AP leanings. My inclination is to put up a high fence so as to limit contact - not to be unfriendly/un-neighborly, but just to have a better handle on things so to speak. Also, I feel pretty resentful that we were just told "how things work here" (in our neighborhood) versus anyone asking if that "works" for us - kwim?<br><br>
Am I just an uptight control freak? Well, I am an admitted control-freak <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> but really, I'm not sure how to resolve this in a way that protects DS, respects our family's boundries, and yet doesn't come off as trying to isolate ourselves. Any ideas?<br><br>
Thanks in advance for any advice. Sorry this turned into a mini-novel.
 

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When we lived in a condo (for 5 years) we shared a huge yard with all the other residents. Now we have a fenced back yard. I like the freedom of sending the kids out to play in the yard. When we shared outdoor space, I felt it necessary to go out with my kids everytime we played outside. However, there were benefits as well that I miss. Yes, many of the other parents had different styles of discipline. But when I was out there with my kids constantly I could protect them somewhat from being influenced by it. And they felt a real sense of community that we don't have so much anymore. Having neighborhood friends and feeling a part of things is so important during childhoo. My concern is that if you put up a fence, your child would grow up feeling isolated from the rest of the community.
 

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Do you have pets? You could use them as an excuse for the fence.<br><br>
I understand where you are coming from, though I would not mind my neighbors cutting through my yard, I would if they acted that way around their children.<br><br>
A fenced in back yard seems really nice (I don't have one) but neighbors of mine do, and I envy it.<br><br>
If that is how you are feeling, do it. Everyone needs their personal space, and if you can't get it in your own yard...
 

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There's a saying: good fences make good neighbours.<br><br>
We live in a strata where there is no true backyard for anyone. The kid next door plays with DS because that also allows him a larger area to play. Kids are not supposed to be running up and down the backyard.<br><br>
There is this one mother who sends her (2? 3?) kids out to play all the time and it just pisses me off. They aren't supervised and they have tried stealing MY son's toys from our balcony, nevermind coming right up and using the toys like they were theirs. The little girl started to play with her dolly on my DS's Little Tykes play castle. Which would have been fine if DS had been outside as well or if she had asked permission. Nope. She walked right up to it and just started to play.<br><br>
The boys run around with various fake weapons - squirt guns (the uber type that you pump up) and more. I told them not to play with those around my son (he's not even 2!) and even the landlady has yelled at them to not be running up and down the backyard.<br><br>
What really pisses me off about them is the two boys come right up to the neighbour's balcony and pester him to let his son out when said son only lives there half the time. And if he isn't there, they then start causing problems. DS wants to play with them and will spend hours yelling "der u ar" to try to get them to come closer so he can go out and play. We've watched them take off with DS's toys occasionally, but they haven't gone far. Pissed off mom here. I don't mind if they play with said toys while DS is outside with them with an adult supervising (not necesarily us), but their parents NEVER supervise!<br><br>
I am extremely tempted to get a temporary fence put up out there so DS can at least play on our balcony (there is no fence) without worry that he'll take off after the kids. We have to keep our curtains close because they come right up to our door and put their hands on the glass to see inside. And since the driveway is just around the side of the play area, I don't want him outside without supervision. Next door's kid is real good at it - so good I'm thinking about paying him. But those other three kids? I can't stand them!<br><br>
I'm going to have to put our last name on the bottom of all the toys that I allow outside because of those brats. yes, I should have done it before, but now I have to and I don't like it.
 

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Mamid is right, Good fences do make for good neighbors.<br><br>
We have having problems in our new place as across the road there is a girl the same age as my oldest. When my girls go out to play this girl just comes over each and everytime. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"><br><br>
I feel like we have lost all privacy as my girls cant go out and play by themselves.<br><br>
I feel once a week playing together for an hour or so is fine but every stinking day they are home <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"> I am getting tired of it.<br><br>
This is one time I really am glad to see a mom work so that a few days a week the little girl is at day care.<br><br>
When the girl askes if my dd can come over and I say no then she comes over <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/angry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="angry"> I have no clue as how to nicley say no playing together today.<br><br>
I have no advice but just a <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br><br>
I friend of mine who has 11 kids said to be sure and set the rules down first thing because if you wait to see if things get better, its harder to enforce the new rules.
 

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Perhaps I am just a very assertive person but why haven't either of the parents with renegade kids bothering them confront either the parents or kids and preferrably both. If you don't want them coming in your yard or playing then you have to come out with it and state what you want in a polite way. You can't wait until they magically figure it out.<br><br>
Plus, if the neighbors ever said that to me about "how things work around here" , I do believe my comeback would be "yeah, when you pay my mortgage" and try and play it off as a joke but letting them know that I am actually serious.<br><br>
Just my two cents from a highly assertive mama...<br><br>
Peace,<br>
Shelbi<br><br>
(P.S. I don't want to sound uppity or anything. Being assertive has its drawbacks but in instances like this I have found it better to put my feelings right out there so that everyone is on the same page-why hide it? )
 

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One of the reasons why I think the balconies should have fences happenned to me when I was 12/13. The kids in the appartment block had the day off school - all except me who went to another district. Those kids usually all played together. Mostly soccer and other sports in the teeeny backyard area the appartment had. Two other boys from the neighbourhood would often join them too.<br><br>
My mother was off sick or something from work that day. She got a nasty visit from the landlord accusing me of a B&E because two of the boys were seen "breaking into" one of the boy's homes. Since I was the oldest - the other three/four girls in the building usually played dolls and I was a tomboy - and usually with those boys, I was deamed the instigator of all their activities. More often than not, I was the one tormented by them for being a tomboy. So because of my status as eldest, I was the one who was "naturally" the one responsible for the b&e.<br><br>
My school had gotten a call from the landlord to prove that I was in attendance too. Stupid idiot. I swear he had a hate on for my mother and was using me as a reason to get us kicked out. And a B&E would have been perfect excuse to evict us.<br><br>
No one had been supervising the boys. At all. They had free reign of the building. They knew how to keep the back door unlocked so they didn't need keys. They knew how to jimmy open the lock to the roof and when they weren't playing sports, they were causing all sorts of mischief.<br><br>
But, since I was at school, confirmed, that day when the local kids weren't, I didn't get into any trouble. At least not directly. The damn landlord threatened me several times saying that he _knew_ that I was the one who instigated the b&e.<br><br>
The stupid thing was - the kid had just forgot his keys inside and his father was working out of the home and didn't have a mother. So he _had_ to "break in" to get inside. Or he had been using the ground level balcony as an entrance/egress and someone took it for a b&e.<br><br>
But the point of the matter is no one was looking after these kids. There was at the peak, 10 kids in the building and all of them would congregate outside. I wasn't the "oldest" oldest, but I was definately one of them. We got blamed for vandalism, for broken windows, broken lock on the outside door (it was like that when we moved in!) and more. If we had been supervised, maybe the landlord wouldn't have been on our case as much.<br><br>
Nor was that the only time he accused me of doing something I didn't do.<br><br>
I'm worried that the kids that are rampaging around back here are going to get hurt. There's a hydro lock box and telco access that they could get into. Not Good. I don't see why the property owners don't just put a play area for the kids somewhere on the property, but that would make sense and cost money, ya know. At least then they wouldn't be trying to steal a toddler's toys.
 

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Hi! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wave.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wave"><br><br>
Maybe a low fence would send the message about your boundaries and the privacy of your yard without completely cutting you off from your community?<br><br>
It is completely reasonable for you to want a fence there. If it were my yard, I would put a fence up in a heartbeat.<br><br>
-Kate
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks so much for the feedback everyone! I really appreciate the responses as well as hearing the (oftentimes similar) personal experiences. I HAVE considered gently speaking to our neighbors about the "your yard is our yard" situation, but the other side of the dilema is that DS wants to go into other children's yards and I am trying to teach the concept of permission from neighbors/owners first and I fear it will get very confusing. Also, despite the fact that many children are not supervised, I fear an "episode" would arise if I - even gently - disciplined another child. I DID put my foot down when a 4.5 year old was throwing sand in my DS' face - in our sandbox no less!<br><br>
I think we might go with the fence and yet still make efforts to be sociable/reach out to neighbors in other ways. Now if only that fence weren't so blasted expensive!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!">
 

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I would talk to the other parents.<br><br>
I would state that you want to welcome people to use your backyard, but you need to have some ground rules to keep the kids safe.<br><br>
You can't shelter your DS from different types of parenting, but you can always use these as a way to teach him about your ways of parenting (ie- We don't do that in this house because....)<br><br>
I will stop any child in the playground from throwing sand at Goo and I stop her from throwing sand back....
 

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I would fence the yard to keep my own kids safe. I like the idea of being able to send them out back when they're older and I can watch from the window or whatever. We're stuck in an apartment now, but the fenced yard is my dream.
 

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The courtyard outside my door at the apartment complex where I live is a child congregating spot. There are something like 15 kids who live around it, and most of them play out there. They range in age from 12 or 13 down to 3. One family are always well behaved and often supervised, that's the family w/ the 3 year old, but they aren't always very kind to their kids despite being very religious. When the 3 yo cries they tell him to quit being a sissy, threaten to spank him, make him go inside alone, etc. Some of the older ones kick around a soccer ball out there, and sometimes it gets hazardous for the younger ones because they play competitively and kick that ball hard! The last time we tried to use the barbeque pit out there, some of the kids started burning leaves on it. The mother of the instigator came home from work, saw what they were doing, poured water over it, and went inside. When we went out to put our food on the grill, our coals were ruined and there was a wet, muddy pile of leaves on the grill!<br><br>
Overall they're good kids, and they all get along despite language barriers--there are some who are Brazilian and some who are Mexican who speak English as a 2nd language, but they're better behaved when there's an adult outside to interact w/ them. It doesn't seem to matter whether it's Holly Roller Lady (the one who doesn't know how to talk to her son kindly), Weekend Dad who's DD is only there part-time, Long Haired Blonde Guy who has no kids but will actually get off his arse and coach the older ones in soccer and baseball while they're out there practicing, or myself.
 

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I would wait & see how the summer goes - first impressions can be wrong. You can always put up a fence, but it's harder to take it down. I would want to give my kids a chance to have fun & get a sense of living in a community of neighbors before I shut them out. Just be the Mom who's present & watching.
 

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This kind of thing bugs me so much. I am often the only adult around with a crowd of neighborhood kids. The mom who lives next door will sometimes poke her head out and tell me if her kids are bothering me, to send them home. OK, lady - thanks for making me the bad guy who has to kick your kids out of my yard! Um, how about coming over and visiting with me while our kids play together?? I really resent being her free babysitter while she sits in the house and watches TV!<br><br>
(I have some pent up frustration about this issue, can you tell?? LOL)
 

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Our yard is fenced in by a four foot high wooden privacy fence. It's low enough that we can see over it and chat with the neighbors. I absolutely love it. Last summer we had an issue with the neighbor boys (ages 3 1/2 and 5 1/2) whose yard backs up to ours climbing over our fence and playing in our sandbox and on our play structure without our permission and often when we weren't home. Now, keep in mind that this has legal ramifications if they were to get hurt. The biggest thing was that often we would come home in time for our boys to take an afternoon nap only to find the neighbors in our yard playing with all of our kids toys (and I mean they would get all the bats, golfclubs, sand toys, balls, etc out and strew them all over the yard.) Try getting your boys to sleep when the neighbor boys are having a blast with all of their posessions in their own back yard. The parents knew they were doing this and didn't seem to think it was a problem.<br><br>
I love our neighborhood and all the people in it, but I love our fence too. I like having our privacy and not having people roaming in our backyard playing with our stuff uninvited. I like being able to say, "sorry, now is not a good time to come over and play because we are going to be leaving soon, but when we get back, feel free to come over." It just makes life easier. As the summer months come, we always seem to have the whole neighborhood in our back yard, but at least we can kick them out if we want to.<br><br>
Perhaps you could put a gate on the rear part of the fence with a lock. That way you could keep it locked, but when all you are all outside playing, you could unlock it for easy access for everyone. I wish our's had a rear gate.
 
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