27 answers

How to Deal with Neighbor's Kids Who Disrespect Our Things?

We have lived in our current home for almost 4 years now. Our immediate neighbors have sons that are close in age to my boys. We constantly have a problem with them running off with our toys and household items and either breaking them or losing them completely. The boys are all very good friends, and everytime mine get a new toy, they can't wait to show the neighbors...but twice the new toy never even made it into our house, but disappeared into theirs, never to be seen again. Yesterday I found out that they have taken several small items of mine and thrown them out into the yard. They helped me to find one after I put up a huge fuss. Their mother was going to send them out to find the rest, but never did - now, as usual, they will all act as if nothing happened. Talking to their Mom does no good, as they all just blow me off as if I'm overreacting, but I'm sick and tired of our home and possessions being disrespected! I've tried banning them from the house, but then they retaliate by being angry with my oldest son (the Mom has even done this).

How on earth do I handle this situation? It has been going on for way too long now, and I'm sick of it!

What can I do next?

More Answers

These boys should be permanantly banned from your house. They are not good companions for your sons, and their disrespectful behavior will only get worse as they approach the teen years. If they are on a course for being in trouble with the law, you don't want them around your boys. These are not friends, they are parasites on your sons. Friends don't steal (which is what they are doing) from their friends.

Lock your doors, and tell them that they are no longer allowed on your property. If they get angry with your sons, maybe it is better for them in the long run. These are kids who will be getting into trouble down the road, you don't want them associating with your sons.

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe tell your boys the rules and tell them they have to help you enforce them by telling their friends what "mom" says is ok and what is not. Also tell the neighbor boys the same...like have them in your home and sit down and tell them and tell them the consequences if it continues. Like they can not play together anymore. OR atleast not inside your house or with any toys in your yard. And let your boys decide if they want their friends to play in your yard with no toys in it or have friends stay home and toys can stay out. And be sure to watch your two do not take any to their house...just explain they are NOT ALLOWED to take them off of your property.
Good Luck
K. :)

1 mom found this helpful


This really isn't advice, and I'm no anthropologist. Just some things I have observed watching my daughter develop and interact with other people.

I think we often forget that we are primates, and have primate impulses, especially in children. As parents we have to "tame or civilize the primate" in our children.

In your situation, the kids next door sound exactly like a troup of chimpanzees or baboons, taking whatever they want, breaking or just dropping when they tire of it. They don't care about the item at all, just that they got it from someone less dominate than they (hmm, maybe the neighbor boys are trying to show their dominance over your kids).

I'd only let the kids play outside in your yard with a few old toys. Don't let them into your house, and don't feel bad about telling them that you don't trust them in your house. They need to learn that trust has to be earned, and they have proven they don't deserve it. If they need to use the bathroom or get a drink, their house is just as close, as another poster stated. Would you let a troup of chimpanzees in you house?

Where is their dad? Can you talk to him? Obviously, their mother doesn't care and is probably following the mantra of "Boys will be boys." (to their detriment) because she doesn't want to deal with it or is trying to shift the blame and their problems to you. Don't let her get away with it! She has to raise and discipline them, not you, and their behavior reflects on her good or bad.

Talk to your boys about their toys. Try to explain that the toys cost money and you are not buying gifts for the neighbors. Do your boys get an allowance? Maybe it's time for one and all toys are bought with allowance money. Perhaps then they will be less likely to let the chimpanzees get ahold of their toys. I was also thinking that your boys like to show off their toys as a bid for dominance, and then the chimps have to reassert their dominance by taking the toys from the boys.

Try to expose your boys to other kids, but don't totally cut off they neighbor chimpanzees, or they may become the forbidden fruit. Just keep them outside where chimps belong.

I'll probably get a lot of heat for this comparison, but it is an interesting way to look at the situation.

I came up with this idea of the untamed primate when I had to deal with an incident in which my daughter's preschool teacher threw away her snack. Would you take food from a wild primate? Well, her teacher got what she deserved in my opinion, but of course my daughter had to learn that civilized people don't act the way she did.

1 mom found this helpful

Very simply, they may not play at your house or in your yard. It may be an awkward situation for you, I understand, but you must stand up for your kids. Even if you could tolerate the disrespect to you, you have to send your kids a message that they should not allow themselves to be treated like this. It sends a very bad message to them that they are not worth you defnding them.

You oldest son should learn wha true friendhsip is and not let himself be bullied - his attitude should be "I don't care if you are mad, you caused the problem." I know it is tough when friends get mad at you, but to "retaliate" is not friendship - do you want him to think it is?

The neighbor kids are doing this because there are no consequences. It is up to their mom and dad to discipline. But that doesn't mean you don't get to make the rules for your own kids. Look at it this way - Right now, the neighbor parents are having the most influence on YOUR kids and not YOU. You are letting them set the tone for your household.

My guess is that if you AND your children tell them "I don't want you to play here because you aren't respectful of me and my stuff" they will change their behavior. And each and every time there is a problem, send them home and tell their parent. You can't punish them, but there are consequences to their actions when it is your stuff and your kids.

I suggest you have a sit-down with your kids and discuss the problem ahead of time and tell them what is going to be the new set of rules and consequences. If you do that, it is likely the next time they see a problem developing they will say - "Hey, you can't do that or my Mom will send you home." That might be all it takes. But it has to be consistent. I say, ban them and find some new activities for your kids. Tell them to be civil, but keep them very busy making new real friends.

1 mom found this helpful

Wow! This is a toughy!

First sit with your boys and come up with a list of rules for your household. For example: I do not take things that do not belong to me without asking. The outside toys stay outside. The inside toys stay inside. Lending toys is unacceptable. etc..

Print the rules out in an easy to read font, frame them in a large frame, and hang it in a prominent place in your house.

Bring the neighbor boys over. Show them the rules. Ask them if they understand. If they don't follow the rules, they consequence is that they go home and aren't allowed back for x number of days.

I think they need structure. If their mom gets angry... too bad! I honestly think you won't have to send them home too often...


1 mom found this helpful

Ouch! That is something horrible. I just suggest having your boys play with other kids and not these boys. If they are this way now, no telling what may happen in the future. If the neighbor throws a fit with you, ignore it and move on. In some cases you just got to lay firm and move on. Life is way to short and something like this shouldn't be something that makes your day miserable. Best of luck!

J. Z.
Shaklee Independent Distributor
Now offering Paraben-Free Cosmetics

1 mom found this helpful

Dont call the police. You could start a huge issue in your neighborhood...and end up having to move. That will just esclate things.
It is your house and your rules. You could try sitting down with yoru kids explaining these other kids are doing something that is hurting them and your family. You could explain that is the reason the boys will not be allowed in your home as they cannot be trusted to be respectful of your things. I would nicely explain that to the boys as well.
If your kids want to take thier toys out of the house they should be responsible to bring them back. If they dont, then THEY lost them. They should not get replaced. Then your kids will have to learn to be responsible to get their stuff back. If they dont get it back they should do chores to pay for a new one. Then they will on thier own not want to bring thier toys over there, nor will they let the kids break them. It worked for our son.

urk to the passive aggressive mom who takes out her ire on your kid (and teaches her kids to do likewise.)
it's not mean to have rules in your own house. make them simple, and stick to them no matter what, eg YOU MAY NOT TOUCH OUR THINGS WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION and NONE OF OUR STUFF LEAVES THIS HOUSE. if they break the rules, tell them kindly but firmly that playtime for today is over and you hope next time they'll be able to remember better. do this every single time.
i'd also actively seek out better friends.

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