Love thy neighbor

About 3-4 months ago, new neighbors moved in to the house next to us. This house is for renters only, so, for the past almost 9 years that we have lived in our house, we have seen many types of families come and go.

This particular family is from Pennsylvania. The mom homeschools thier 3 children, 6,2 and 16 months and another on the way, due sometime late summer. Their first and second kids are boys, so, we like that, since I have boys almost the same age. When they moved in, it was around Christmas time, so I welcomed them with a Christmas card and a nice, jar of homemade Cranberry Apple Butter. With this past winter being kind of out of the “norm” for us Tennessee folks, we hibernated and just kept to ourselves, and did not have any communication with the new neighbors.

Fast forward to March

With the weather now warmer, and kids are enjoying playing outside longer, we have begun our play time with the two neighbor boys. First day they played, they got along great. I was outside with them and actually played with the 2 year old, while thier mom was inside making dinner.

The dad comes home, says “Hi, this is great to have the kids playing, where we used to live we never really talked to our neighbors, so, this is new and exciting for us.”

Me.“We are happy to have somebody to play with that is around the same age. They all have been playing really well together.”

A few days go by, and the boys are playing outside again. My boys start climbing a tree in their yard. Dad YELLS at my boys,“That is not our tree! Get down from there now!”

Ummmmm…..ok. No need to yell at my kids. But, I asked my boys nicely to get out of the tree.

So, here we are, today, March 26. A nice, yet, chilly Friday. All five boys are playing outside again. My boys know to stay in the front so I can see them. They are all in the front yard of the neighbors’. I am inside making dinner, but, I will peek outside, to make sure everyone is still in the front. Then, my boys come inside the house. They had told me that the other boys had to go inside, so, they were done playing.

BANG! BANG! BANG! The dad was very loudly and forcefully pounding at our front door.

He wasn’t yelling,but, I could tell that he was pretty ticked off.

“We have a little problem here. Your boys were “mooning” my boys. This is not acceptable behavior, especially when I have little ones around.We cannot have unsupervised play time. So, from now on, we need to set up boundaries,  your kids do not cross into our yard, and my kids will not cross into your yard. Is that ok with you? Does that work for you? There will be no more playing with my kids.”

So, I said, “You’re right, it is not acceptable behavior and I am sorry that they did that. And that is fine, you do what you feel is right.”

My boys got punished.

I am very upset with what they did. And now, I feel like I need to explain myself to the dad. Meaning, telling him, my boys are good boys, they are very caring, helpful, sweet boys. But, they are typical boys, they are active, they are silly at times.

I don’t know what to do. I am not at peace about this.

What would you do?



Filed under Parenting

5 responses to “Love thy neighbor

  1. planejaner

    you might not want to know what I would say…
    you are the parent of your beautiful children. NO ONE else has the right to shame you into the behaviour they believe is correct.
    hug your babies, and continue to teach them what is right for them and your family’s values.
    And be on the lookout for good friends–drive them in if you must.

  2. Lee Ann Maloney

    Kristina, I think parents can sometimes overreact in a situation. Your neighbor will probably wake up tomorrow morning wishing he hadn’t gone off on you like that. I know from experience, that little boys test the waters and do things like that. His boys aren’t any different. Some day he will realize that. Parker did something similar – exposing himself in front of a girl, no doubt – when he was about 4. I made him go straight to his room until my friends left and then I went in to discuss what he did and why it was wrong.

    So, don’t loose sleep over some neighbor who seems a bit naive to think that children never do wrong. Because I am sure he will understand soon enough what awaits him in child rearing!

  3. That guy has no right to yell at your children nor judge them. Let’s say your kids did something wrong but maybe your kids did those because his son also did something wrong.

  4. Kristina,
    You are a great mom and I feel bad for you that you had to endure the wrath of your neighbor.

  5. Mike Butcher


    I think the question for your neighbor is “Are your kids perfect?”. Of course we know the answer to that is NO. I’ll agree that what your boys did was inappropriate, but it is not your neighbor’s place to dole out judgment on them or you. You are a great mom, and I wouldn’t worry too much about what this guy thinks.

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