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Noisy children and irresponsible parents

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  • Noisy children and irresponsible parents

    When I first moved into my current house I got along really well with my neighbour, a widow who lived alone. Concerned that my stereo might disturb her I asked her whether there was a problem. She said she never heard me and could not tell if I was at home or not. Similarly I never heard a sound from her and we commented on the solid build quality of the property, (adjoining 1930's semis.)

    Three years ago however, she moved out and sold the house to a young couple with two small children, around primary and pre-school age. Their skills as parents were first shown when they held parties where the children were still running around their front garden at two thirty in the morning.

    Footballs then appeared regularly in my garden, sometimes several times a day. Fed up with throwing them back over the fence only to have them return soon afterwards, I left one football on my lawn, intending to return it at a more convenient time. After a couple of days there was a hammering on my front door and there stood the childrens' father. If I expected thanks for returning the ball on previous occasions, an apology for the inconvenience and an offer of compensation for damage caused, I was to be disappointed.

    "Is there any particular reason you aint thrown our kids' ball back?" was the aggressively delivered question. When I replied that I had better things to do and pointed out the inconvenience and damage caused by the footballs continually breaking my plants he accused me of being petty!

    The noise from the children playing indoors, (the houses have suspended timber floors), makes it impossible to enjoy my own living-room. I cannot read, watch TV, entertain friends or even use the telephone without disturbance. The father works shifts and often keeps the children up until he goes to work, at eleven or twelve at night. He thinks nothing of trundling his wheelie bin out onto the pavement at five thirty in the morning. The entire family also seems incapable of closing any door without slamming it. Car doors, front door, interior doors and cupboards are continually banging at all hours of the day and night.

    My local Environmental Health Department advised me to write to them complaining about the noise and damage, and things quietened down for a while, but soon returned to intolerable levels. A further complaint to the Environmental Health Department led to the less than helpful advice to "make a noise back."

    Apparently if they were playing hi-fi equipment loudly it could be confiscated, but taking their children and doors away isn't so easy to arrange.

    So far I estimate the cost of damage to my garden, plus the fees for an Open University course I had to abandon because their noise made it impossible to concentrate anywhere in my own house, at around £600.

    As the children grow older I can't help fearing that the situation is going to get worse, not better, especially when the selfish and irresponsible attitudes of the parents are taken into account.

    Sorry if this has seemed like a long-winded whinge but it is really just the tip of the iceberg as well as the end of my tether. I am now on anti-depressants and sleeping pills and there seems to be very little I can legally do that will make them sit up and take notice. I sympathise with other people in this group who are going through similar, or worse, situations and would welcome more official help in fighting this nuisance that blights so many lives.

  • #2
    Hi Enigma and Welcome to the Forum .

    I am very sorry that you had to find us though, but now you are here, I am sure you will feel relief that you are amongst others who know exactly what you are going through. Hopefully, we will be able to offer you support and advice to help you get through this .

    I am astonished that you got the advice to make noise back from Env Health, I can't belive it! I would certainly not encourage anyone to retaliate like that because it would seriously blow any case you have against your NFH.

    I wonder if another letter to them (the NFH) explaining your plight might help. It seems to have helped the first time you wrote - or is it all too far gone for that now? I would also suggest mediation - you don't even have to be in the same room as your NFH to do this.

    I am certain that others who are far more clued up about noise nuisance will be along very soon to offer you the best advice, so stick around and keep visiting .

    Good luck




    • #3
      Enigma, we know exactly what you are going through. This sounds distressingly similar to our case. We live in a 1930s semi with suspended timber floors. We had a delightful widow for a neighbour, then the NFH moved in. It sounds as if they are relatives of the barmpots who live next door to us! :banghead:


      • #4
        hi and welcome to the forum

        sorry to hear you are having to put up with crappy noise

        we were the same, one neighbour not a peep unless Leeds are on the telly, and the other side youcould hear every word...normally four lettered ones, a stone terrace with walls 16 inches thinck on the outside!

        the EHO willl tell you to make normal living noise, that means ont whisper or creep round your house, if you make extra noise back you rise retailation, and they would say well, you make noise etc!

        I think its time to go back to the EHO, the letter worked once, will it work again?

        you need to show these buffons you are playing hard ball now.

        you can not live like this, you say its already effecting you, dont let it go any further....I am talking from experiance and I know how poorly unwanted noise can make you, listen...if you need to go to the GP and get medical help then do it, dont be too proud to ask for medication if your heads going

        if your head is sorted then you will have a clearer mind when sorting NFH problems.

        you nfhs sound very anti socail and ignorant, rise above it and be strong

        please pop back often to let us know how you are, we are good listeners and never mind listening to a good rant

        take care of your selves :flowers:


        • #5
          Hi Enigma and welcome

          Sorry to hear about your current NFH It's ridiculous to have children up at those hours! They are obviously not caring parents.

          Grrr, footballs!!! The bane of modern life, if you ask me! How dare that ignorant man call you petty? :angry: I really as sick of these selfish morons who think they can do as they damn well please and everybody else has to put up with it!

          Your EHO is almost as bad! Telling you to 'make noise back' is pathetic! I think you should get onto them again. Do you know if other neighbours are disturbed by the car door slamming and wheelie bins at 5am? It would be a great help if you could gather a couple of allies.

          I really don't know what else to say If you feel you are being intimidated by the father perhaps you could approach your local neighbourhood police officer and ask for help on what to do about the intimidation and the damage to your garden. Unfortunately NFH will push and push and if nobody seems to be standing up to them their behaviour will just get worse

          Good luck with EH.

          "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi


          • #6
            Thanks for all your comments and support. Yes, I do think these people are the most selfish and anti-social I have ever met. I forgot to mention that Mr Yobbo, when he implied that his football in my garden was somehow my fault said, "Of course you get balls in your garden, I've got kids aint I?"

            Words failed me. How can you respond intelligently to people with that sort of mentality?

            Maybe we should all on this forum club together and buy an island somewhere!


            • #7
              Hey there!

              Sorry to hear about your NFH troulbes. I have a bit of a different perspective, although I am curious as to what you think. Please don't be offended by anything I say as I intend no offence. It's just that I am in the habit of looking at an issue from my perspective as well as anothers, even in the cases where I am in conflict with somebody. My basic goal in life is to remain thoughtful, try to see both sides and my fault in any part of a problem, and to remain reasonable and fair. We all have to live together, after all, and some things I can tolerate if I understand and sympathize with the reasons it is necessary or unavoidable. So, on that note, hopefully you read on with a thoughtful attitude, which is what I try to take in all circumstances. (perhaps it's my Canadian culture? LOL!)

              My NFH seems to hate children, and I have a daughter. She turns off all her lights and hides away whenever we do Halloween (trick-or-treating is done in North America, hopefully you've all heard of it as I understand you don't celebrate it the way we do, and even have a different name for it?). If Christmas carolers come to her door, she will not answer. If kids are walking by her front yard, she tells them to get away from her yard. If a dog comes up to say hello to her, she yells at it and shoo's it away. She just doesn't like anything, especially children.

              Well, since we were verbally abused by our NFH and attacked, we have not sent our daughter out to play anywhere near the NFH side of our home. Our daughter plays in the back garden. My daughter also doesn't throw any balls far enough to go into the NFH garden or yard. We also have a big back garden. However, if my child was causing damage, even through innocent play, to anybody's (even my NFH) property, I would make sure that the behaviour ended. That wouldn't mean that it wouldn't sometimes happen out of innocent playing, no harm ever intended.

              My point is, sometimes accidents happen, and at no fault of the parent, sometimes even the child doesn't 'mean to' throw the ball in another persons garden. If it happens infrequently, and the children are genuinely trying to keep the ball out of your garden, but it happens to end up there sometimes, would you still be as upset that the ball was in there? Perhaps if your NFH had apologized for the inconvenience you suffered to your garden you might have not been so angry?

              Sometimes problems arise with your neighbours that you never intend. The key is to work reasonably with the neighbour to alleviate any issues, if possible. I just think that if you hate kids, why buy in or choose an area where they might one day live? Children are a part of every neighbourhood, you're bound to end up living beside someone with children at one point or another in your life.

              As a parent, and of only 1 child, I understand how difficult it is to keep them quiet at times, although we try to keep them quiet as their loudness does drive us batty at times as well. It is a shame that you live in homes with such thin walls. When we lived in our last home before this one, we were renting and we realized that for the price we were getting on it (a real deal) we would have to sacrifice some luxuries, like sound proofed and well insulated walls. We understood what we were getting into before we got into it. We understood that if we were going to rent, we would more than likely have to put up with some noise. However, we were careful to talk to and keep after our daughter to keep her voice down, to not run up and down the stairs, and to be calm. We explained why, and although we were constantly after her to keep it up, we were pretty quiet considering. Also, we always checked with our neighbours to make sure we weren't bothering them in any way. We kept up communication constantly, and that was how we managed to keep sane and not end up being or getting NFH while living in those circumstances.

              Sometimes parents get so used to the noise that their children makes, they don't see that the children's noise might be affecting other people. When you're a parent with kids running around constantly, it does seem to get quite normal after a while. Also, when most people are inside their homes, they do not remember there is a whole world of neighbours out their front doors. They forget that they can be heard through walls, as it does seem quite private once you have walls, roof, and doors closed around you. Maybe you should write a reasonable letter, as speaking to the husband didn't seem to help at all. I do think that there should be some reasonable request on your part, some compromise, and some tolerance for children. You have to be extremely careful when approaching other people about their childrens actions. Most parents have a defensive reaction, as your NFH did in this circumstance. The best way to create your own NFH is to accuse them or their children of anything. You don't need to accuse, you just need to discuss how their behaviour is affecting you, and how you'd like to come to an ammicable solution. I say that because I'm a mother, and I know I bend over backwards to be sure that my child would never be a nuisance for another person, but if my daughter is attacked I will defend and attack back before I even rationalize.

              However, ultimately I'm the type of person to understand that other people have a right to enjoy their property if they want. If neighbours can't agree on what that enjoyment entails, and both are acting and reacting in manners that are driving the other person crazy, then maybe both need to compromise, ammicably, in order to live side by side. Why is it that it is an all or nothing solution? My NFH plays her television at unbelievably high levels -- I can hear it through my kitchen window, and whenever I'm outside in my own garden, my own drive, my own yard. However, although I dislike her very very much, she is almost deaf, so she must listen to the television at those levels. Although it is disturbing me and my peace and quiet, I understand her need to do so. If I were to go about getting the noise stopped, I would be taking away one of the few forms of entertainment the NFH has in her isolated and pathetic life. I can't do that to anybody, even my horrible NFH. You see how compromise works, even when the NFH is a terrible person? It's called being able to tolerate those around you in society because we all have to live together. Sometimes it becomes inconvenient.

              Maybe your NFH could compensate you for the flowers and plants his children damage? Maybe he'd offer to do some yardwork for you or something in return for his childrens toys being in your yard? I think maybe you got off on the wrong foot, and you need to try to talk reasonably to this NFH, if possible.

              I think that if you haven't tried a reasonable discussion yet, and you don't want to, try a reasonable letter to see if that helps. Tell the neighbour you are more than willing to have a reasonable discussion, that you don't mean to insult them, but that their behaviour is disrupting your life. If you approach it reasonably, and without a defensive attitude, maybe they will come and meet you in the middle? Maybe the NFH will just attack you further, but at least then you could say to yourself that you honestly tried to be amicable and make amends and be social neighbours. Right?

              Again, kids in neighbourhoods is a part of life. If the kids can keep the toys on their own yard, would it still bother you if they were outside playing?

              I'm just curious, as I know there are people out their who don't like kids (even though they were one once themselves!) and I have always wondered what people without kids think of me and my daughter playing outside.

              Again, no offence intended, just a thoughtful look at the problems that seem to plague us all with NFH. I know that sometimes no matter what nice thing you try to do,the NFH is always going to be an NFH (JUST LIKE MY NFH), and at that point you just have to keep your sanity in whatever way suits you -- be that getting them kicked out of their house and moved away, or moving yourself if you can. I'm moving in 8 months, as soon as the lease is up. Until then, the police have told her she's not to talk to me, and Sunglasses will be worn to keep the staring at a minimum. :-) Hopefully this letter is okay. I tried to be reasonable and thoughtful with my questions and thoughts.



              • #8
                Hi Enigma and a belated welcome from me

                Have you checked out all the rresources and articles on the main NFHiB Home Page? You can access loads of useful information and tools from there.

                I too have been called petty by my NFH, this was when I was not happy with them parking in our parking space... :blink:

                I would encourage you to consider mediation. Perhpas write another letter to them in the first instance explaining how their noise is affecting you and suggesting mediation if you can't make agreements between you.

                You must keep writing everything down - there are template documents you can access through the resources section.

                NFH can completely drain you, we do understand that here.

                Please keep strong and keep us posted with how you're getting on.


                • #9
                  Thanks again everyone for your support. The good news is that the Environmental Health Dept have offered to provide a mediation service to (hopefully) resolve the noise issue. It will be lovely not to be constantly woken at 5.30 a.m. I am quite looking forward to the new year now.


                  • #10
                    Good luck with that Enigma - hope it all works out for you in the New Year :thumbs: :clover:


                    • #11
                      Hi Enigma and thanks for the update

                      I hope that this works out for you and that you can look forward to some peace and quiet.

                      Blue Cow


                      • #12
                        Hi Enigma

                        That's good news

                        Have the EH department actually spoken to your neighbours about mediation yet? And, if so, have they agreed to it?

                        I hope it all goes well and that they can appreciate how you're suffering as a result of their noise.

                        Good luck and keep us posted :thumbs: .