Author Topic: Changing habits in others  (Read 1521 times)

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SPuck

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Changing habits in others
« on: October 21, 2012, 08:23:59 AM »
http://www.mercurynews.com/ask-amy/ci_21759273/ask-amy-man-wants-ban-sister-from-funeral

So I know generally you can't change others, and only yourself and your own habits unless it involves your personal property. In the last letter the writer is dealing with a situation where a habit has become ingrained within the neighborhood children going into a a yard to receive lost balls.  My question is what is the best route to change another person's habits when it involves your personal space?

MommyPenguin

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Re: Changing habits in others
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2012, 10:11:34 AM »
I think I mostly agree with Amy and think he just needs to go tell their family that he doesn't want them in his yard anymore.  When we were kids, we were expected to control our baseball hitting, and either intentionally hit grounders or popups that were under our control and stayed in our yard, or use a whiffle ball and bat.  Orientation is part of it as well.  I don't think it's being grumpy old man to not want kids in your yard constantly.

O'Dell

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Re: Changing habits in others
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2012, 11:47:47 AM »
Short answer: I agree with Amy. He should talk to the kids' parents. Personally, I'd talk to the kids first, but he might be better off with the parents sympathizing with him.

Long drawn-out "lecturing" answer: :P

I know generally you can't change others, and only yourself and your own habits unless it involves your personal property

It really doesn't have anything to do with personal property. I think in general what people are trying to convey with that sentiment is something like the longer "Serenity Prayer":

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.


In instances where you cannot change the behavior of another person, then accept the person/behavior and work on your own reaction to them. In this case, the behavior can be changed (the kids can stop hitting balls in the yard or forfeit them if they do), so the man should act to try to improve his situation.

The parents on the corner of my block that go out every evening and *yell* for their daughter to come home. But I can't change them or their daughter. They are on their own property. They are not violating any noise laws. So I work on my accepting that they will yell for their daughter to come home: eventually she'll age out of having to be called home in that manner. But another neighbor kid practices hockey after 11pm at night by hitting pucks against a sort of target tarp hanging over his garage door which makes quite a racket. If I were sufficiently bothered by this, I could do something to change his behavior. I could call the police because it's a violation of noise laws. In this case, the "you can't change others..." would not apply because I *can* indirectly, thru the police, change his behavior even though there is no issue of property rights.

In the LW's case it just happens to involve property rights. But Amy is advising him to try to use persuasion tactics first. That is what gives him a shot at changing the behavior. Get the parents to see his side of things and to agree with him that things should change, and then using their authority with the kids to get them to stop. He does have the option of falling back on trespassing laws. In this case what he can't change is his wife's opinion, but that doesn't mean he has to accept it and follow it. He can accept that her opinion is what it is, and change his reaction to it and speak to the neighbor anyway.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

sparksals

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Re: Changing habits in others
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2012, 02:57:26 PM »
Boy, can I relate to Grumpy Old Man!  I could have written that letter a few years ago before our fence went in. 

We had the exact same problem.  I posted the entire fence saga here.   We moved into a house that was not fully fenced.  It was known in the neighbourhood as a cut through point and just like GOM, kids were in and out, back and forth numerous times per day.   At first we didn't mind because it started out as the kids behind and the kids next door going to each other's house.  More and more, we noticed other kids going through, and parents as well.  We would find random people and kids in our driveway, they would dart out from our front yard into the driveway when I was backing out of the garage. We even had kids ride their bikes on our lawn.   With all this, we started to resent the intrusion and lack of respect for our privacy and property. 

When the fence started going up, the mother behind was storming through her yard, making it visually apparent she did not approve of the fence.  Another neighbour approached me and said she got phone calls expressing concern about our fence and 'did they overstay their welcome?', to which I replied, 'yes, it got to be too much and we want our yard to be our yard... besides, we have a dog!'.   Never mind that someone complained to the city about the height of it being 2 inches too high in spots b/c o the slope in the ground - dh built it to be even on top instead of the bottom.  He had to redo it.

She then laid the guilt trip that the previous owner gave her kids a 'safe haven' to cut through instead of going around the corner.  It was absolutely ridiculous. 

We never said anything to the neighbour kids who did that.  But the stranger who had the audacity to ride his bike through our yard and the kids we never saw before we told to get out and stay out.   The problem with the neighbours is they never asked.  They assumed.  They took advantage of our newness to the area.  Because we never said anything, the growing intrusion made us resent them and everyone else.  We wanted our property back.

The straw that broke the camel's back was when mother behind came through the yard, walked across our driveway, DH was working in the garage and she said a smug hiiiiiii... dh felt like a lawn boy on his own property.  The fence started going up the next weekend. 

We put "NO TRESPASSING" signs and pilons in the back and front when the post holes were dug.  We wanted to prevent any type of liability issues of someone cutting through getting hurt.  Mother behind took that as a notice to them and got on the blower to the other neighbours about it being directed at them.  I guess in a way, it could have been, but the ultimate purpose was to ensure no one got hurt. 

GOM has the right to institute any limitations he desires for his property, especially when they have taken so many liberties.  I would be ticked if every other ball went into my yard too. 

All he needs to do is talk to the kids and explain he is getting tired of the constant back and forth and to please stop hitting the balls into his yard.  If that doesn't work, then he needs to talk to the parents. 

I don't suggest he hold onto the balls.  That made it to the news and has been discussed here a few times.  That is a PA way to handle the situation, BUT if he talks to the kids and the parents and the problem still isn't resolved, then I see no problem with him keeping the balls, but only after he has tried all other solutions. 

ETA:  There was a thread recently on this very subject - balls in neighbour's yards.  Got very heated.  I am a horrible searcher, so probably can't find it.  I'd say it was about 6 months ago and maybe someone else who remembers the thread and has good search skills can find it.  It was less than a year ago I would say. 
« Last Edit: October 21, 2012, 03:02:23 PM by sparksals »

SPuck

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Re: Changing habits in others
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2012, 05:28:48 PM »
I know generally you can't change others, and only yourself and your own habits unless it involves your personal property

It really doesn't have anything to do with personal property. I think in general what people are trying to convey with that sentiment is something like the longer "Serenity Prayer":

When I meant personal property I was talking more about physical location. I agree you can do pretty much anything on the street next to a house (within local laws and ordinances anyway), but the second you step on someone grass, sit on there car, go into a business, the owner is aloud to react within reason to get you out if you do something they don't like.