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Old 05-08-2009, 12:09 PM
 
408 posts, read 743,278 times
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I got into a fight with my next door neighboor the other day. They moved in about 6 months ago and they have 4 girls that I think range from 5 to 14.

Anyway, their girls like to play outside a lot (which I have no problem with) but they are screamers. For instance, if they are playing tag when one girl reaches for the other girl she'll scream at the top of her lungs as she's running away. The noise is so loud that my wife bought a white-noise machine (sounds like a fan) to allow her to read in peace when they are outside playing. (Keep in mind all the doors and windows are shut, too.) Even if we have the TV on I have to turn up the volume to help drown out the screams.

Needless to say this screaming has happened a LOT. There are 2 homes on each side of us that all have kids of similar ages, too, but this is not an issue with any of them - just this one house. These kids parents are hardly ever home so the kids are playing outside unsupervised.

Finally I went and spoke to the Dad the other day. (I've talked to him a couple times before and we got along fine.) I told him (nicely) that his kids screaming is disturbing us and if he could do something about that. Boy, I must have touched a nerve because he got very defensive and mean about it. He just said kids are kids and if they are outside they can do anything they want, blah, blah, blah.

Am I out of line to ask them to stop screaming? I honestly have no issues with kids. I just don't think screaming at the top of your lungs over and over is acceptable when we cannot have peace in our own house with all the doors & windows closed.

Thoughts?
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Durham, NC
1,092 posts, read 1,561,263 times
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As a parent, I can understand his point, but I see yours as well. I really don't know the answer, because my daughter isn't a screamer. I have had to speak to her about not disrupting others and being mindful of her actions, but it was usually with stuff like walking across a neighbor's yard to get somewhere, or something like that.

I'm the type of parent who wouldn't have been offended by your request, but my DD isn't allowed outside when I'm not there (she's 15, but I always run through the scenario of things that "could" happen), so I would have been at home to witness the screaming and probably would have said something if it were that loud. It's actually disconcerting on another level: they scream so much that if they were screaming because something was wrong you wouldn't respond because you would think they were playing.

You're in a tough spot. I would think with maturity the screaming would stop, but even if it does your neighbor will be angry at you for bringing it up in the first place.
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:08 PM
 
Location: under the beautiful Carolina blue
9,121 posts, read 10,669,064 times
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Girls are screamers. I'm one of 4 girls and my mom says the screaming used to drive her over the edge of her sanity some days. We had 3 girls next door growing up too and they used to scream all the time too.

It's tough because you want kids to be able to do that stuff when they are outside so that it can be minimized inside, KWIM? I don't really know what else you can do, sorry to say. But good luck.
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:16 PM
 
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There is a difference between being loud outside and being downright obnoxiously annoying. No different than a dog left outside constantly barking in the next door neighbor's yard. The dad should have taken the high road and spoken to his girls. At least you said something and maybe, just maybe they will pay more attention to the level of noise. Or they could just get even louder...good luck.
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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I can understand both sides of the issue.

I recently took my 15 year old daughter, along with a friend of hers to the beach. On the way home, late Sunday night, they were in the back seat, laughing and giggling and since I was tired, just the SHRILLNESS of their voices was driving me nuts! I had to ask them about 5 times to quiet down. No more caffeine for them before they get into the car!

Kids ARE kids and girls are louder than boys because their voices sometimes feel like chalk on a chalkboard. And while I can understand how annoying that is when you yearn for quiet, I'm not sure you can or should ask for the kids to be quiet while playing outdoors.

I'd turn up a radio in your house or go to a room that is farther away from the kids playing outside. After a while, they are bound to quiet down or go inside for dinner! Unfortunately, it will be staying lighter outside later and later.

EAR PLUGS can be helpful. The kind you buy at the drugstore that come in crazy colors work well!!!

Vicki
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
598 posts, read 1,108,915 times
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Maybe you can smooth things over by buying them a productive outdoor toy? Chalk for the sidewalks, jumprope, etc? Hopefully this will distract them from the screaming activities and at the same time mend relations with your neighbor. Like the previous posters have stated, it's a tough situation so I wouldn't blame either of you for standing your ground. Good luck.
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:41 PM
 
3,155 posts, read 7,033,954 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by douknownam View Post
Maybe you can smooth things over by buying them a productive outdoor toy? Chalk for the sidewalks, jumprope, etc? Hopefully this will distract them from the screaming activities and at the same time mend relations with your neighbor.
These are great ideas. But as a parent I have to say that if my children are so loud that the neighbors have to resort to a white noise machine I would want to know and have a respectful dialogue with the neighbor. I agree that children need space to make noise and outside is a good way to go. BUT they also need to learn to be part of a society. If it were my kids I would tell them they can yell and be loud. BUT the high pitched screeching has to stop. I have a daughter and a son so I know girls are louder than boys. But I'm also one of those people who is sensitive to the screeching. I tell my kids they can play and have a good time and be loud with out giving me a migraine.

Now when I take my kids to the park or on the ATT (part not near homes) I let them make as much noise as they want, as long as it's not bothering others or scaring little kids. We all have to get along on this big blue marble..... they may as well learn this now. They love screaming at the waves at the beach. They can be as loud as they want and no one hears them.
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:45 PM
 
1,628 posts, read 4,345,629 times
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I don't really see both sides. I think outside is for being loud when playing.

Sounds like the problem is in the quality of building of houses if it's actually that loud from inside with the windows/doors shut and tv on, and the proximity of houses to one another. Nothing much can be done about that, but that's not the kids' fault.

Sounds like they're doing just what kids do. So yes, I personally do think you're out of line for asking kids to quiet down when they are outside. If they are on your property, you could ask them to get off (so it's farther away from you) but otherwise, I'd say that sounds like a grumpy old man (or woman)--complaining about happy kids playing, even if they are really loud.
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:45 PM
 
426 posts, read 420,421 times
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It's interesting to me to see the difference in this thread and most others. In various other threads here, you can read this exact scenario, just replace "girls" with dog/waterfall/stereo/tv/power tool/etc. In those threads, people recommend first speaking with the neighbor, then getting the authorities or HOA involved. I don't really understand why screeching children should be any different. I never see anyone say "Well dogs ARE dogs, and dogs bark at things. You've got no right to ask the owner to keep a dog from barking while it's playing outside."
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
8,509 posts, read 12,655,100 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j7r6s View Post
It's interesting to me to see the difference in this thread and most others. In various other threads here, you can read this exact scenario, just replace "girls" with dog/waterfall/stereo/tv/power tool/etc. In those threads, people recommend first speaking with the neighbor, then getting the authorities or HOA involved. I don't really understand why screeching children should be any different. I never see anyone say "Well dogs ARE dogs, and dogs bark at things. You've got no right to ask the owner to keep a dog from barking while it's playing outside."
You're right; those dern kids should be hauled away and euthanized. That'll school 'em.

Sheesh, dontcha think maybe it's just a little different?
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