DEAR ABBY: Suggesting that an older couple ("Upset in Washington," June 13) move to a community for people over age 55 because they're bothered by the neighbors' children playing outside early in the morning is just one more example of how we have ended up living in a world of intolerance and division.
I'm the mother of a lively 6-year-old boy, and I would suggest that what really needs to happen is a kind and thoughtful discussion about how the kids can be taught to respect their neighbors and play more quietly in the mornings. There's no reason why a compromise can't be reached.
Communities for older adults are, in my opinion, beneficial when they provide long-term care and are integrated into the larger community and society. Places that amount to self-contained towns populated only by people over 55 are the product of a society unwilling to be compassionate about different needs and priorities, and unaware of the benefits of shared intergenerational wisdom and enthusiasms. -- MASSACHUSETTS MOMMY
DEAR MOMMY: Like you, many readers were against the idea of the couple being forced to move because of the noise. They offered suggestions for coping, as well as opinions about the parenting of the neighbor children. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: When people move into a neighborhood, they need to try to fit in rather than demand the neighbors accommodate them. That young mom and her kids are the newbies. The older couple has lived there a long, long time.
I say yes to getting soundproof windows. And perhaps "Upset's" husband should have a talk with his doctor about his health-related sleep problems. However, ultimately, the parents must take responsibility for their young kids instead of shoving them outside for the neighbors and unlucky drivers to deal with. Let the kids play inside at 8 a.m.
P.S. Sometimes, being nice to the neighbor kids and getting to know them one-on-one can make a challenging situation better. It did for me. -- ALSO IN WASHINGTON
DEAR ABBY: In my neighborhood, the landscapers arrive at 7 a.m. to mow, blow and edge. The racket wakes everyone. The answer for us was the white noise machine our daughter got us. During a nap I use it because garbage trucks and delivery vans make more noise than kids playing or the school bus. -- ANN FROM SUN CITY
DEAR ABBY: I called the police because of screaming children. After they came, I never heard the screaming again. Years earlier in another neighborhood, cops came to make kids stop the noise. I'll repeat what the officer told me: "Everyone is entitled to peace." -- MICHIGAN READER
DEAR ABBY: There may be a local ordinance that there must be no noise before 9 a.m. "Upset" should check into this. -- CLAIRE IN NEW YORK
DEAR ABBY: Indulgent parents who fail to teach their children respect for others breed young adults who feel they're never wrong about anything. You should have suggested the children be confined to their backyard to burn off their energy.
I'm relatively certain other neighbors have been disturbed but are afraid to say anything. The retirees should ask around. Maybe if others share their annoyance, they can approach the mom as a group. -- DIFFERENT OPINION IN GEORGIA
DEAR ABBY: Children have a right to play outside before school, but playing unsupervised in the street is a tragedy waiting to happen. Also, why should people who have lived in their home for 31 years have to move? It doesn't appear they had problems with other neighbors until that young family moved in. That mother should comprehend that this is not just about noise, but also about her children's safety. -- CAREFUL IN CONNECTICUT