Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Fed Up with Neighbor Kids

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: My husband and I recently moved into a new home with our son who is seven. Across the street live three kids. The neighbor kids and my son were friendly at first, but then my son would tell me about the mean things the kids do to him.

One day, we caught one of the neighbor kids vandalizing our property. Both my husband and I told them not to come onto our property anymore. My husband also told the father.

A few weeks later, I caught the neighbor kids playing in our front yard. Again, I told them they are not welcome in our yard and they need to leave.

A few weeks after that incident, I was home with my son and when I looked out our front window, there were the neighbor kids riding scooters in and out of my driveway!

I marched outside and I stood in the driveway and I said, “Stop it, now. Stay out of my yard!”

The oldest kid got very mouthy and lied and said nobody was in my yard. Well, I had had enough at that point. I yelled very loudly and pretty angrily, “You stay out of my yard and driveway!! Don’t you ever step foot in my yard again!!” turned around and went inside. The mother immediately comes and bangs on my door and tells me not to yell at her kids anymore.

What is happening here? Don’t I have the right to tell kids to get out of my yard and stay out?? --- FED UP WITH NEIGHBOR KIDS

DEAR FED UP WITH NEIGHBOR KIDS: This is the type of situation that can escalate into a full-out feud all too quickly. It sounds like these kids thrive on getting a rise out of you, and based on their mother’s reaction, it’s not likely anything you say will convince her her kids are in the wrong.

Since you mentioned you and your husband caught the kids vandalizing your property, their behavior crosses the line from annoying to criminal. You can’t prove any wrongdoing from that particular incident, but I’d begin chronicling what’s happening in front of your house, on your private property. Take pictures and videos, and I wouldn’t be too shy about letting them know you’re doing so.

If they continue to use your driveway and damage your property, consider contacting the police, using their non-emergency number. A little official mediation might help, and a squad car showing up may be enough to let the family across the street know you’re taking what’s happening seriously.

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