How Do We Keep Neighbor Kids Away?

Updated on June 06, 2012
A.M. asks from Chicago, IL
20 answers

We're friendly with our neighbors. Our backyards are big, but narrow. We have a swingset for our 3 kids and it has 3 swings. We have an understanding with the 2 kids (separate families) and their parents that their children are NOT to play on it if we are not home and outside playing. My daughter is 8 and I have girl/boy twins that are 4. The other kids are a very big 7 yr old boy and a 9 yr old girl. The problem lately is that my 3 kids are playing happily outside with each other and then these 2 come over and essentially kick my kids off their own swing set. We haven't invited them over to play...they just come over whenever they see us out. I'm all for sharing and taking turns and so are my kids. However, these 2 are coming over, taking over the entire play area, and I'm the only parent seeing it. Lately, I've been asking them to leave becasue my 8 yr old's solution is just to come inside even though she wants to play with her brother & sister out there still. She is passive and shy. She's known these 2 for nearly her whole life, but she will not stand up to them. The boy can be bullyish and intimidates her, and now my son is picking up language and general brattiness from him so I do not let my 4 yr olds stay out to play with the "big kids." I feel like the parents of these 2 really rely on my kids to entertain their kids when the weather is good. The boy is an only child, and the girl is 1 of 3, but they're very spread out. My kids aren't enjoying playing outside as much when these 2 come over & take over. I have kept a closer watch lately. The boy's mom asked why I feel the need to sit out and watch them so closely only when her son is over. I told her generally what is going on and she said that she thinks I'm out there to intimidate her son. I think it's ridiculous. She's my friend, but with close neighbors I'm really not sure how to draw the line & still be friendly! Any suggestions?

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So What Happened?

Yes, we are friends. We do things away from the kids on a regular basis. I have several friends whose kids are bratty, spoiled, etc., but they aren't my neighbors :) A fence is not an option, financially. Our backyard is over 350 feet deep. It would be financially impractical and an eyesore. We live on a busy road, but our backyards are a "double block." Instead of a road running through it like it does a block in either direction, our backyards run into a patch of trees that separates us from the other backyards. It's like a giant field out there. I send the kids home every day that they are taking over the swing set. The girl listens and leaves immediately. The boy needs to be told a couple of times to leave, and I always tell his mother why I'm sending him home immediately because he will and does make up stories. Just some extra information. It's frustrating, but I'm not angry over it. Thanks for your suggestions.

More Answers



answers from Norfolk on

We had the same problem. I told the boys to leave my yard. They actually had broken the swingset. I had spent over $400 on it. The next week, someone removed all the bolts from the support for the tent over the playhouse. I "know" it was those boys. It had to be done by someone small enough to fit in the playhouse (or use a ladder) None of those children have come over since. One of the moms even lied and said my sons were mean to her children. Another mom said that I was just being racist. It had nothing to do with race, 3 boys were white, 1 black. It had everything to do with 10 and 12 year old boys kicking my 2 and 4 year old sons off their own swing in their own back yard. I was angry and I feel it is not only my right (my home, my yard, my expensive swingset, ...) but my responsibility to protect my children. One of their children in question pushed my young sons in the pool. They could have drowned! I banned him from my home. Went and personally explained to his guardians why he was banned. This caused some controversy among some moms in our neighborhood. But I am responsible for my children, their saftey is primary. Sure, I don't mind neighbor kids coming over. But I mind when my kids are bullied in their own yard. That is My kids haven, they should feel safe and free to do as they please.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If they are really your friends they will understand if you say you don't want uninvited guests. That's not very "friendly" that the woman accused you of trying to intimidate her child for sitting outside in your own backyard. How insane is she? Has she forgotten, just like her child has, this is your back yard??

I am a cave dweller and I totally hate that some parents think neighbors with kids means instant babysitter.

I would consider putting a fence up as well. Parents like you've described that accuse you of intimidating their child sitting outside - would probably also sue you if their child hurt themselves playing on your swingset. I think you need to establish some boundaries.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

It doesn't sound like your 8 year old is friends with the 7 or 9 year old and certainly your 4 year olds are too young to be playing with a 7 and 9 year old. I would just explain to your friend that your 8 year old prefers to play quietly outside with her siblings and doesn't think she has anything in common with the other 2. Just because the two of you are friends doesn't mean your kids have to be friends. I think asking her to tell her kids to allow your family to have some private family time once in a while is ok and she can call occasionally to ask if it would ok for her kids to come over before just letting them invite themselves.

I'm very close to my neighbor across the street and once in a while our 3 kids play together but it usually ends in a fight. She has a 9 yo girl, 7 yo boy and 3 yo boy. I have an 8 yo boy, 6 yo girl, and 2 yo boy. Our youngest get along great but the other 4 have problems getting along for longer than a few minutes here and there. We've acknowledged it with each other, we don't blame anyone or anything, it's just that their personalities don't mesh well.

Good luck,

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Fresno on

Call me crazy, but build a fence! You know how they say that good fences make good neighbors? It's true! If the neighbor kids can't get into your yard, then it becomes a non-issue. Right?

If building a fence is not an option, then I would tell the other mom that her son needs to come over to the front door and ask you if your kids can come out and play. That way you can decide if it's a good time for them to play together or not.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I can't believe she said that she thinks you are only there to intimidate her son? That is a pretty aggressive thing to say to a person who is providing entertainment and safety for him.

Obviously, she is not appreciative and I would tell her next time that you would rather not have her son over unless she is there to also supervise, and tell the girls mother the same thing. Also, let them know that they have to ask first if it is okay to come and play. Really, that is just comon courtesy, but so many people these days don't have that.

Honestly, if their kids broke their leg on your swing set, you can be assured they will come and blame you and have you pay Dr bills.

Don't feel bad about it, just be gentle and respectful in what you say, and if the moms have a problem with that, then they have deeper issues then what you can do or say will fix.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Wow, A.. I don't know how it is that she is your friend, telling you that you are sitting out there to intimidate her son. That's a strange friendship.

Do your neighbors have anything in their yard to play with? If the neighbor kids are taking over and your own kids can't even play, I'd tell the kids that they have to share and not mince words about it. If your neighbor friend doesn't like it, too bad. And if her son uses words you don't like, tell him that he isn't allowed to talk like that at your house, and send him home. If you are consistent with expectation of rules, he will fall in line because he wants to come into your yard.

I would remove the swing set seats and bring them outside when your kids play. That way the neighbor kids aren't on the swing when you aren't at home.

All my best,

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Talk honestly, and directly to their mother about what is going on. It is your property and your kids. She will understand.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

1. If she was really a friend she would understand and make sure her child used better manners when playing at someone elses house. It is not the park.
2. Your children should not be made to feel uncomfortable in their own back yard and if she doesn't understand that, then she is not a friend.
3. Suggest that she come and sit outside with you and you guys can chat, drink coffee/tea and watch the children together.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't think there's anything wrong with YOU saying..."If you want to use the swing set, you need to share and take turns."
No mother on earth would disagree with that statement!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Your neighbor is a disrespectful bully who is raising a disrespectful bully. If it were me, I'd definately put up a fence (finances allowing) and make sure that kids are only allowed to come over if your daughter invites them. She has to go over, call, whatever. Or if she feels pressure, you make the rule that YOU have to invite the other kids over to play. Stick to your guns. They'll sue if the kids get hurt in your yard.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

It takes a village! We've had this problem,and I was straight up with those kids. We don't mind you coming over and playing, but I do mind you taking over my daughter's play equipment. If you can't play nicely, I'm going to have to ask you to not come over. and sometimes you have to monitor their play. My youngest runs with a small pack of neighborhood 7 year olds and often runs home because something happened....example...our neighbors have a cat, two other children chased him with a stick, upsetting my 7 year old, who was afraid he would be hurt. I came outside and simply asked, Did you chase the cat with a stick? Did you know he could get scared and run into the street and maybe get hit by a car? How would that make you feel? and they found their own conclusions by being made to think of things they wouldn't normally think of. But once the other kids know your house has rules that must be followed, they usually toe the line. And their parents? Just be as honest with them as you can. I am monitoring their play, because I don't like what is happening with my kids. That their 8 year old boy is intimidating to your youngest daughter and you want to be sure that your kids can play in their own back yard without feeling bad.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Okay this is unacceptable.
I would take photos of it.
I would document this problem.
I would talk to the parents.
I would charge them $ to babysit their kids.
I would tell the kids to leave.
They are bullying your own kids, right on your own property! AND on your own swing sets.
Next, if THEIR kids are hurt on your property/swings, they can fault you.... and be not so nice about it. AND their Mom is bullying you too... when her kids are on YOUR property and how you parent. If they don't like it, they should NOT be on your property and be there.

THUS, tell them that it is YOUR yard...and you have rules and this is how you parent... and these are your kids. Her kids.... are bullies.

I would not allow it... sure maybe she is your friend by default of being your neighbor... but if they are intimidating you this way... and taking over your own yard/property... you have to draw the line. AND I would make certain hours/times, where her kids are NOT allowed in. Period. Do you have a fence?
What does your Husband say about all this???

I would also, put up a sign... NO KIDS without direct parental supervision... NO trespassing etc.

I would be so irked if my neighbors were controlling my own kids/my own swing-sets/yard/property etc.
The nerve! They are bullies.... and remember, if her kids get hurt or complain about your kids while on YOUR property... I am sure they would not hesitate to blame you and/or be litigious.

Next, I am SURE that her kids DO go into your yard and play there and on the swing-set when you are not home.

When she asks you WHY you have to be out there and watch the so closely when her son is over... just TELL her "Your son/kids bully my kids...and push them off of their own swing-set and my kids and you do NOT condone that.... This is MY yard and MY property, I will not have my kids bullied in their own home and yard. If you don't like it, get a swing-set of your own.

Why would you want to be friends with her? She is a bully herself and obviously has completely opposite values/parenting than you.

All the best,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

How about this... next time the kids come over and cause an issue, walk them back to their parent and explain what happened. Then say, "Since this seems to be a continuing issue, in the future I'd like you to please come over and help supervise when your child comes to play." I'm guessing mom won't want to do that since she's obviously already not taking the time to supervise her child. But if she does, then it might help to solve the problem.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Maybe ask their parents, to come out and watch when their children come to play. If they are not able to come with them, then they can not come over. That way, they can see exactly what and how their children play and act with yours. I would also explain that you are trying to raise your children to share and play with others, not to accept being bullied by their own neighbors.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

hm i have a 7 year old girl who is outside the entire time without supervision. we're pretty new to the neighborhood and i didn't want to be rude. the kid was constantly in my yard when my 5 year olds were out, but she didn't want to play she just wanted to be invited inside the house. i am not a babysitter so i do not allow that. but then she really started going on my nerves trying to talk to me while i am playing with my girls. so i finally said: go home. every day she'd show up from then on i'd say go home. then when i saw her mother next (i sought her out) i told her i cannot handle nor watch her girl. she just made a face and shook her shoulders. i couldn't translate it into words but i could care less. be upfront.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

If you can afford it put up a fence if there is not one up already... I have found it really helps. Our previous next door neighbor had a 10 year old and as soon as we put up a play house with slide she was over and my daughter was only 2 years old at the time. We patched the fence where she came through and then the only way into our backyard was in between our house and garage. I also made the rule that if she was only allowed in our yard when we were outside BUT she had to ask to come her mom if it was ok to come over AND then ask us. I told her this the first time she came over after the fence was repaired and said when her mom was present.

Half of the time we said she could come over, because they really only had a driveway to play in (very small yard) so I was fine if she wanted to run around in our backyard. The other half of the time I said that we just wanted to play alone, maybe some other time.

I had told her to leave our yard numerous times because of the way she was trearting us/my daughter, our property and had a potty mouth. The mom kind of complained but I plainly stated well this is my private property and make the rules on this side of the fence, your daughter either has to follow our house/yard rules or she is not allowed to come over. I hate being the "bad guy" but it is the truth on honestly when it comes to the atmosphere my daughter grows up in and it is on our private property that I can control I will :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

She thinks you are there to intimidate her son? Tell her that her son is bullying your kids and is no longer welcome until he learns to play nice and share. This is YOUR yard and YOUR playset, you have every right to sit out and watch the kids play, and to decide who will play on it. I had a set in my back yard, and let my sons friends know they were welcome to play, but the second they started not letting my kids play I told them they were no longer allowed in my yard, end of story. Is a fence an option? You know what they say, strong fences make good neighbors.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

If you want to keep it friendly, smile, say hello to the nuisance children, and nicely tell them your kids aren't having guests right now, you are just having "family time" so they need to find another place to play. The next time, "sorry, we aren't up for company in our yard today" The next time, "sorry, my kids are happy just playing with each other right now, you'll have to play in your own yard" The next time, "gee, I'm sorry, there isn't enough room for so many kids on our swingset, you'll have to go ride your bikes or go a playground instead or playing here" Hopefully, they'll get the hint, and get into the habit of doing something else outside. If they are very persistant, you may have to talk to their parents. And if the other mom doesn't like it, too bad. I would just say you've noticed in the mix of kids, they don't all enjoy playing together in the large group, and you've decided your kids need a little space, more time with just each other, time to decide in advance if and when they have friends over, and you prefer them to play with each other or with friends of their own ages and genders. And gosh, if little Jonny or Suzi enjoys the swingset so much, I'm sure they would love (your local public playground). There is much more space, etc, etc. She'll probably get mad, because taking them out will be a chore for her, but so what, I'd sent a neighbor kid home in a heartbeat if they bullied mine, and you'd bet I'd be out in my yard watching, too. Put up your boundaries, good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Gainesville on

tell the neighbors if they cant share they need go home


answers from Detroit on

I agree with the mom who told the girl to go home. That is your yard and your kids swing. because he her kids break that qwing set the first thing out her mouth is going to be "well why didn't you tell them to come home or tell them to get off". If she can't understand your point then is she really your friend. The truth hurts sometimes because its the TRUTH! Keep it real with her. and stick to your guns! Good luck

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