Author Topic: How to deal with the neighbor children  (Read 4453 times)

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lynnetteleigh

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How to deal with the neighbor children
« on: August 18, 2013, 12:02:51 AM »
First off I'll admit I have limited experience in dealing with children. I babysat occasionally for younger neighbors and cousins in my teens and I've been a stepparent to my stepson(SS age 5) for about 2 years now. Also with my SS we haven't done many playdates with other children. So while I'm fine with stepparenting my SS I really have no idea how to deal with others children.

So onto my issue. We got a set of new neighbors about a year ago.  However with these neighbors came 3 children. 2 boys and a girl (approx ages 6, 5, and 3). Anytime these children are outside with either get surrounded and talked to nonstop while we are in the front yard. Or get talked us nonstop in the back yard.

Ex 1: I walk outside and start hanging laundry on the line. The second I step out the girl starts shouting "Hi" at me nonstop. I guess I didn't respond quickly enough for her because the tone got annoyed and louder very quickly. I say "Hello" back and she starts firing off question about why I let my dog out in the backyard. She doesn't like the dog being in our backyard(fenced) because sometimes the dog barks or comes to stand by the fence and this scares her. She asks me why I have to let the dog out. I explain all the reasons a dog has to be let out in the yard and say that as long as she doesn't climb over the fence or stick her arms through that the dog cannot hurt her. She starts repeating how she doesn't want me to let the dog out. This conversation went on for about 5 minutes and a parent/adult never appeared. She wasn't satisfied with anything that I was saying so I just stopped responding and walked back inside.

I'm not sure if at some point I should have asked her to go get her parent/adult? I probably should have ended the conversation sooner but I thought I could logically explain that she didn't need to be afraid of the dog and have her be satisfied.

I did make sure that from then on when I heard the kids outside after that I limited the dogs time outside(would let her back in within 2-3 minutes) and I never got approached by a parent saying this was an issue so I just let it drop.

Ex 2: My husband looks out the front window. The kids are crawling over the hood of my car. He runs out and yells at them to get off and then goes and finds who he believes is their mother sitting inside the house. Asks her to keep them off my car and out of our yard. She says she will but doesn't do anything to correct them. To my knowledge they haven't repeated this again.

Ex 3: My husband, SS and I get out of our car after a 6 hour drive. My husband gets out first and the kids are starting to swarm him. He says something to them about them needing to back up and going back in their yard. I get out and open the door for my SS and by the time I turn around the 3 kids have walked around the back of the car and surrounded me. My SS gets out of the car holding a bag of his toys and within seconds the oldest boy has his arm down in the bag asking if they are new. This is where I kind of question my reaction... I said in a very stern voice "get your hand out of the bag" and tapped his arm a few times. Even then it took him a few seconds to comply. Then my husband repeated sternly that they needed to go back into their yard so their parents could watch them.

In this example there were adults all outside the house. Not one of them tried to stop any of this. No one said anything to u

Honestly with the amount of people coming in and out of the house I'm not really sure who lives there or who is visiting. Which means I'm not sure if those kids live there or who their mother is. I have spoken to their grandfather in passing a few times though.

I feel like I need some methods of dealing with these types of children they aren't likely to come off as rude to their parents(or in these cases should I even worry about rudeness?). Should I just catch one of the adults outside one day and mention that they either need to stop their children from doing the shouting/surrounding? Then if the kids keep repeating the same behaviors am I fine to keep sternly correcting it?

I would like to stay on friendly terms with our neighbors. However another concern is that our neighbors on the other side have a daughter we are fine with our SS playing with. If these other children witness the girl playing with my SS how do we say they aren't invited to play without coming across as rude to the adult neighbors?

Shoo

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Re: How to deal with the neighbor children
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2013, 12:08:32 AM »
I know you want to stay friendly with these neighbors, but honestly?  I don't know why you'd really care to.  It doesn't sound as if you are going to be "friends" with these people any time soon.  And who could blame you?  Their children sound tedious and kind of awful. 

I think the best thing you can do, for yourselves and your stepson, is to direct these children BACK to their own property every single time they step foot on yours.  Every single time.  Make it absolutely clear they are not to come over, and if they do come over, they must leave.  Otherwise you are going to be overrun by them everytime you step outside your house.

These children are not parented very well.  Unsupervised, turned loose on the neighborhood.  It sounds like a nightmare to me, and I wouldn't give two hoots about staying on their parents' good side.

*inviteseller

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Re: How to deal with the neighbor children
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2013, 01:14:24 AM »
It is ok not to be friends with the neighbors.  Doesn't seem like they are trying to be friends with you so no loss.  Feral kids are the bane of my neighborhood too.  When the little girl starts, just say "hi" and go back to what you are doing.  Ignoring a child may seem cruel, but this is not a friendly interaction..it is her carping about your dog, which she has no business doing because it is the dogs yard, not hers.  I also would not be denying the dog time in it's own yard simply because a child doesn't like it.  She can stay away from the fence.  Every time the kids step on your property, tell them to go home in a parent voice.  No yelling or screaming, just the parent voice.  Do not answer their questions or acknowledge them other than telling them to go back to their own yard.  You can talk to the adults until your blue in the face, but they don't seem to care so you are wasting your time.  As far as seeing your SS and other neighbor playing, they aren't invited and as long as no one is rubbing their faces in it, it is ok not to invite them to play.  When our kids are young we sometimes have to make a choice of not allowing our kids to play with certain other kids due to undesirable behaviors..it isn't easy not being inclusive to all kids, but there are natural consequences to bad behaviors.  I had already banned a few kids from playing at my house by the first week of summer vacation due to their behavior.  It is not your job to socialize them and teach them good manners.

bopper

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Re: How to deal with the neighbor children
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2013, 09:44:11 AM »
1) Dogs
Clearly the dog bothers the kid.  But you want your dog to be outside.  WHat I would do is to ask the mom if you could introduce the dog to the child so they get to know each other.   Also I would tell the child "Your mom likes you to go outside and play and get exercise and we like our dog to also!   He doesn't know that you are supposed to stay in your yard and not go into other people's yards so we have a fence for him.  If he barks, he is saying hello!"

(note the reinforcement of the you stay in your yard idea)
2) For kids, be nice but firm.  Don't start with the "NO".
So instead of "Get your hands out of the bag"  say "Those are SSs.  They are not yours. He is going inside now. Why don't you go back to your yard."

3) Car:
"Hey guys, I don't want my car to get scratched up. Don't climb on it. Why don't you go back to your house now."


YummyMummy66

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Re: How to deal with the neighbor children
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2013, 10:03:20 AM »
I would not limit my dog's time outside, especially if you have a fenced in yard.   I would have just told the kid, "sorry, it is his yard and if he wants to play outside, he will do so." 

Next time kids are crawling all over your car, call the police.   Or first take a video.   Go over to the house.  Tell them nicely that you have asked them to keep the kids off of your property and they have not done so.  Now, you will be able to make sure that any damages done to your car, you will be seeking reimbursement from them, thru court if you have to. 

When kids come over uninvited, I would tell them they must go home.  They are not to come over unless you invite them to do so.  Send them home every single time. 

As for digging in the toy bag, I would have grabbed the bag or taken the bag from your stepson and not let the kids near it,
and again, told all kids to go home.  Now is not a good time. 

kherbert05

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Re: How to deal with the neighbor children
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2013, 11:00:07 AM »
1 - You should have cut the conversation shorter with my dog is allowed in our fenced back yard anytime we want him out. (I had a similar issue with my neighbor's grandson because Abby and Andi being Austrailan/Sheltie mix tend to want to herd that neighbor's dog and the one behind us. Neighbor backed me - especially because I make them come in if they are barking. I had not right then because I had just got home from work, let the dogs out, and was in the bathroom myself.)

2 & 3 You both did the right thing. You seem to expect the kids to react/obey quicker than most kids can process instructions and follow them. They were being grabby and had already disobeyed your husbands instructions to get off your property. So I get your annoyance.

Unless your jurisdiction has great no tresspassing laws and you are willing to involve the police, I don't think you can do more than you are currently doing.
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camlan

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Re: How to deal with the neighbor children
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2013, 11:18:32 AM »
I would just tell these children, in absolutely crystal clear terms, what you want/need them to do.

"Get off the car. Now. It is time for you to go home. Now." This can be said sternly, but politely. The good news is that they haven't been on your car since, so maybe the parents *are* saying something to the kids in private.

When the little girl is calling to you, respond once, politely, but make it clear you aren't out in the yard for a conversation. "Hi, Little Girl. I'm busy right now, so I can't talk." Then ignore her.

Just let your dog out as usual. If Little Girl complains again, tell her, "You have your yard to play in. My dog has his yard to play in. There's a fence so that you and the dog can play by yourselves."

You might also start telling them they aren't invited on your property. "It is time to go home now. Please don't come over again unless we invite you."

If your SS is playing with the other neighbor child, "SS and Susie are playing now. It is time for you to go home. Please do not come back unless we invite you over."

No explanations, no excuses. Just the facts.

And if they don't go home, go over to their house, get an adult and tell the adult the children must be removed from your property now. "Hi. Your kids are in our yard again. Please get them and take them home."
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


gramma dishes

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Re: How to deal with the neighbor children
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2013, 11:29:02 AM »
I think you did just fine in each of the scenarios you mentioned.

I think a firm no is appropriate.  Not screaming, not yelling, just a firm solid "No".  I think you handled the hand-in-the-toy-bag incident just fine, although I'd hesitate recommending actually touching the child.

As far as the dog in the yard, ignore the child.  I'm sure she wasn't as much afraid of the dog as she was just trying to talk to the grown up lady in the house next door.  If she really is afraid of the dog, maybe you could put the dog on a leash and walk toward her when she's on your property or swarming you.   ;)

When you have other adult guests at your home, do you worry that the neighbors will be upset because they weren't invited also?  Of course not.  So why would you worry about your stepson playing with one of his friends?  Who he plays with at your house or in your yard is simply not any of their business!

shhh its me

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Re: How to deal with the neighbor children
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2013, 11:53:55 AM »
  I think you should treat them a bit like they were a elderly person with dementia.  Civilly with a pleasant tone but very very firmly. I would return greetings and on most days be willing to chat for a minute or 2 once.  "hello.  I let the dog outside because this is his yard .  He can play in his yard just like you can play in your yard . Bye , Im going back to my laundry I can't talk anymore" and just ignore anything else they say but use the same words to disengage every time after you say "bye" you're not going to talk to them anymore ever unless its to say "go home".   I wouldn't restrict the dog unless he/she barks/growls at them.

"children get off the car" 

"hello , we are busy an can't talk. please go home."  if they are swarming you.  "don't touch our things, its time for you to go home. bye" if they touch/reach for anything

IF they are being "normal"  and not super annoying I'd engage in short convos  "hi , oh that's a new toy. I like the lights.  It looks fun. We can't play/talk now. it's time for you to go home.  bye."      I'm suggesting if they act like well you give some positive reinforcement.  If an adult greeted you after a trip you'd say "hello , we're just unpacking after long car ride .  ummmhmmm well we're going to get settled in now"  or something like that.  If an adult neighbor drifted by while you were outside and wanted to chat about their garden for a few minutes you'd likely indulge them even if you had no interest in gardening and then politely disengage.  Treat kids the same way just with simpler words and you can skip some of the pretense.  An adult neighbor I may have to go inside if they didn't get the hint kids you can tell to go home.

lakey

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Re: How to deal with the neighbor children
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2013, 02:51:57 PM »
I would be very concerned about a 3 year old being outside without any real supervision. 5 and 6 year olds are not old enough to keep a 3 year old safe. That child could end up in the road or could be backed over by a neighbor's car. Also, as easily as these kids swarm you and your husband, how would they act if a stranger were wandering around. The safety issue would bother me as much as the annoyance issue.



lakey

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Re: How to deal with the neighbor children
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2013, 03:03:06 PM »
Also, I was just commenting about the safety of the 3 year old being outside without anyone old enough to watch him/her. It's not the OP's responsibility.

White Lotus

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Re: How to deal with the neighbor children
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2013, 09:10:57 PM »
I think Camlan nailed it. 

"Rover plays in his yard; you play in yours.  I don't have time to talk now.  Goodbye."  Then, ignore.

#2. Your husband was right spot on.  It is OK to be angry, blunt and direct.

# 3.  Sounds pretty good to me, but I would have been a little more, "No.  Don't touch those.  They aren't yours.  We are busy.  Go home. Now. When you can come back, we will invite you.  (Shooing motions) Off you go."

Blunt and forthright, with good humor unless you have reason to be rightfully ballistic (#2), and you are good to go, IMO.   Children like limits, children like rules, and these need to be clearly and consistently defined IME.  Don't explain too much -- they tune out.  Tell them directly what you want/what is appropriate in your "strict parent" voice, and they will actually like you for it.

lowspark

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Re: How to deal with the neighbor children
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2013, 04:02:56 PM »
I've known kids like this. In my experience, they do not receive enough attention from the adults in their life and are seeking that attention from other adults. The parents are more than likely shooing them out the door to go play, which there's nothing wrong with except that they seldom or never take the time to interact with them at other times either.

What works for me is short answers and then my attention goes elsewhere. If the child continues to ask questions or keeps trying to get my attention, I just tell them I'm busy and ignore them. I know it sounds cruel, but it's not my responsibility nor do I have the time or inclination to keep these kids entertained when this happens.

And trust me on this, regardless of what your answers are, logical or not, sensible or not, understandable by the child or not, a kid who wants to keep chatting will carry on the conversation ad infinitum if allowed to.


oogyda

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Re: How to deal with the neighbor children
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2013, 05:47:45 PM »
1) Dogs
Clearly the dog bothers the kid.  But you want your dog to be outside.  WHat I would do is to ask the mom if you could introduce the dog to the child so they get to know each other.   Also I would tell the child "Your mom likes you to go outside and play and get exercise and we like our dog to also!   He doesn't know that you are supposed to stay in your yard and not go into other people's yards so we have a fence for him.  If he barks, he is saying hello!"

(note the reinforcement of the you stay in your yard idea)
2) For kids, be nice but firm.  Don't start with the "NO".
So instead of "Get your hands out of the bag"  say "Those are SSs.  They are not yours. He is going inside now. Why don't you go back to your yard."
3) Car:
"Hey guys, I don't want my car to get scratched up. Don't climb on it. Why don't you go back to your house now."

Regarding the bolded:

"Why don't you go back to your yard/house now."  is asking a question that they may very well have several answers for why they don't.
A more firm, direct "Go back to  your yard/house now." it's what's required, here. 
It's not what we gather along the way that matters.  It's what we scatter.

Virg

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Re: How to deal with the neighbor children
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2013, 01:27:58 PM »
The best way I've found to deal with small children is to remember that there's a balance in the middle of how you'd deal with the same behavior with an adult.  There's no need to be mean or shout or scold, but at the same time little kids do not understand the subtle cues that adults do.  So, my suggestion is to be calm, kind in your wording and very direct and explicit in your wishes.  For scenario 1, you can tell the girl that your dog needs to be out (but don't bother with an in-depth explanation since she's young enough that it's pointless) but assure her that you'll keep an eye on the dog.  In dealing with incessant greetings, simply respond once that you can't talk at the moment, and then you'll be fine ignoring her.  For scenario 2, just calmly tell the kids not to climb on the car.  I do note that you said they didn't do it again, so it seems they listen when directly instructed about this.  For scenario 3, remember this, and plainly state what you want them to do rather than not do.  "Please stay out of our yard unless you're invited" will work better with little kids than "Don't come in our yard" for reasons I have never been able to discern.

Overall, you've done fine so far with your interactions, but hopefully my advice will give you some other tools to try if they continue bugging you.

Virg