15 answers

Having Issues with Neighbor Kids Jumping Their Fence to Be in Our Yard,

I am sure this sounds petty but I need some advice on the best way to handle this. We moved into our home in september of 2007 and we have a huge back yard which is wonderfull for our two small boys to play in. However, the neighbor kids whose yard is fenced off near the back of our yard climb over their fence just about every day to play in our yard. I have heard them when they are in their yard fighting and kicking each other and not using very good language so I don't want them influencing my kids. I know that sounds terrible of me and maybe I need to change my thinking on that one. I know I can't pick my kids friends but I want to guide them a little. These kids are in our yard even when we aren't outside. We just put up a swingset and I know that has to be very inviting to them to play on but we are going to fench it in so I can let my three year old out to play on it and not worry that the stray dogs in the neighborhood won't bother him. How do I handle this? I have been outside with my three year old when the neighbor kids are outside in their yard and I have explained to my son that we play in our yard and don't wander into other peoples yards hoping that they would hear that and understand. I saw the little boy hanging on our satelite dish the other day, which I know we should have it up higher than we do but it is in our own yard so it should be fine. I told him to please stop doing that and he shrugged his shoulders and jumped back over his fence. Since we are fencing in our own play area I don't want my three year old to think that it is ok to climb over the fence like the neighbor boy does either. Help, and please show me how to handle this.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

L.,
One thing my neighbor does when the backyard IS available for the kids to come over and play, is put out a little flag indicating that they are welcome. If the flag isn't up, it's just family time in the yard.

More Answers

Wow, just to give you some perspective from another side, I live in a neighborhood where the yards are quite small and I am so appreciative that our neighbors welcome my children into their yards and their houses. They also know that when a neighbor says, not today, it means not today. Not never, but for awhile. I am also grateful to know that I can send my kids outside to play and other adults (parents and not) do keep an eye out to make sure that they're safe (Just as I do for any kids I see around.) I don't hide in my house and ignore my children, but I do see the benefit to allowing children to explore a little beyond their immediate boundaries. I think that people are so territorial these days and it makes for fear and misunderstanding. I like the flag idea and I like the idea of talking to the other parents. I also think that if you can give something to these kids (including respect for boundaries) than you may find out that you also get back something yourself. (I have no idea what, but I was taught that what you give in charity comes back to you in different ways.) I'll never forget the time when my children were little and I found them playing cards on my neighbor's deck. They are a couple older than us with one older mildly autistic son. I was aghast that my children would "trespass" on their property and it turned out that the neighbors felt complimented and got them each a glass of juice. My kids now feel like they have neighborhood godparents sort of watching out for them. I do believe the old saying that it takes a town to raise a child. Not to replace the parents but to add to it. Good luck and just do what your gut says is right. You never know, maybe someday these kids will be looking out for your children. Blessings to you and keep us posted on how it's going!

1 mom found this helpful

Growing up, we were taught not to walk through the neighbors yard, much less play in them. We have a fenced in yard and i couldn't imagen others climbing over the fence, playing with our stuff. Much less my children climbing the fence playing with other peoples properties. As one poster said, i wouldn't feel comfortable having someone over without you there, they could sue you if something happened.You are not being petty at all. This is YOUR property. I feel for you. If you say something to the parents, they might get their undies in a bunch. It depends on how well you know the neighbors i quess.

We have neighbors who haven't even taught their kids not to walk INTO ANOTHER PERSON'S HOUSE without being invited! These are pre-school aged kids who apparently have no supervision outdoors at all. In the past week, first the older, then the younger brother each walked into my house. I told them each not to come into my house without asking first, too early to say they've complied, but they do leave when I ask them to. If I ever actually meet their mother, I'll have to point out to her that it's not just manners, it's a matter of safety. What if I were a child molester???

In the mean time, I don't feel it's out of line to tell them about the social rules their parents are neglecting to teach them - sometimes that's all a kid needs. I would say just tell the kids point-blank that it is not okay for them to enter your yard without an invitation. IT ISN'T OKAY FOR THEM TO ENTER YOUR YARD WITHOUT YOUR EXPRESS PERMISSION. You can be held liable if they hurt themselves on your property, and they are trespassing. You have every right to call the police if they "cross the line."

L.,
One thing my neighbor does when the backyard IS available for the kids to come over and play, is put out a little flag indicating that they are welcome. If the flag isn't up, it's just family time in the yard.

These days I wouldn't allow kids to play in my yard without the parents signing a waiver of liability. If one of the kids gets hurt on the playset or even climbing the fence you might be held liable.
I would also let my neighbor know that I would be fine with the children playing in my yard as long as the parents are there also to supervise. Having to watch their kids is what will get them to keep their kids out of your yard. If the kids came into my yard unescorted, I would immediately call the parents and ask them to come over to watch their children. Want to bet they just yell out the door for the kids to come home?

First things first. Stop apologizing!

*If anything(like a satellite) is on your private property and not breaking any laws then there is nothing to apologize for.

*When your child is three, you have EVERY right to limit their exposure to the hitting, kicking, foul-mouthed jerks it sounds like your neighbor boys will become.

Secondly, it will NOT stop until you do something about it. Go directly to their home, RIGHT NOW, and talk to the parent(s). Tell them what is going on - my guess is that the parents know exactly what their kids are doing and just don't care.

Let them know that (i'm guessing - because they can jump a fence) their children are too old to be considered playmates for your sons. If they continue to jump the fence and trespass on your property you will have no choice but to call the police (even though it's likely that if they're anything like the Elk River police, they're worthless to begin with).

You can file a complaint so that if anything happens they at least know it's been a problem for awhile... also if you can, document everything. Take pictures with the date and time stamps on, write it all down.

The easiest solution would probably be to just put your fence up around your backyard for your sons - just make sure it is NOT chainlink (easy to climb) and is at least seven or eight feet tall. That way they can jump their fence but not yours.

First I think you need to decide whether or not you are okay with them coming over to play on your playset. If you are okay with them coming over you need to tell their parents...i'm okay with them coming over when we are home but it really makes me nervous seeing them climb the fence. plus, i don't want my little johnny to start doing it either. i think they should be asking you if they can play on it. people need to control their kids a bit more and not just assume. i really wouldn't let them play on it if you aren't home. if something happens to one of them, you are responsible. and when they do come over and you hear them talking badly or behaving badly just tell them that you don't do that at your house and if they don't stop they'll have to go home.
that stinks that you have to deal with that. they sound like ferrel children! :) he he. good luck!

get your buns over to their house to talk to their parents asap! :) the parents might not be aware, they might not care, etc., but you probably want to know what you're dealing with. plus, these sound like older kids - why do they want to play on a swingset appropriate for 3 year olds anyway?!

personally, i wouldn't be comfortable with neighbor kids in my yard if i didn't know them or their parents well - i'd "what if" myself crazy: what if they got hurt, what if the broke something, what if, what if, what if!

it sounds like you're doing a great job teaching your boys what kind of behavior & manners you expect from them.

good luck!

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