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When Neighbors Demand Quiet From Your Kids

SS Member Image By drodriguez 09.15.11
When Neighbors Demand Quiet From Your Kids
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If you live in an apartment building or in close proximity to neighbors, keeping the kids from disturbing the peace can be quite a challenge. You can teach them all about “their inside voice”, but this doesn’t mean a baby won’t cry at 2 am or a toddler won’t throw a toy on the hardwood floor.

But when you go outside, all bets are off and your kids can run and be loud to their heart’s content, right? Maybe not.

Parenting magazine reports about a couple living in Britain who recently received notice that they may have to pay a fine (over $8,000) to the city after a neighbor complained that their 4 year old son, Alfie, plays too loudly in his garden.

Both parents were shocked to hear about the complaint and possible fine saying that all children make noise while playing outside. Alfie’s mom responds, “What am I supposed to do, gag him and put him in his bedroom?”

If more people complain about Alfie’s noise levels while playing in his yard, the couple will potentially have to pay more in fines and maybe even outfit their son with a digital recording device.

This may sound outrageous to those who feel neighbors should make some concessions that allow children to make noise in their own yards during reasonable hours.

There are others, including some members of a new movement (dubbed “Childfree”) who have chosen not to have kids of their own, that may feel otherwise.

One “childfree” blogger who calls herself Britgirl, shares her opinion about living in close proximity to kids and the responsibility of parents to keep their children quiet. She writes, “I just don’t understand people who seem to think everything should be relegated to the whim of kids’ noise. Having kids is not the benchmark for ‘tolerance’ and said ‘tolerance’ is often a thinly-veiled order to ‘suck it up, buttercup – not our fault you’re childfree.’”

What do you think of the report about the parents who may be fined for their son playing too loudly in his garden?

Do you think neighbors should tolerate some degree of noise when living near kids and babies or is it the parents’ job to maintain quiet from their kids at all times even outdoors?


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  • Bryelee By Bryelee

    I have an autistic child and my 3 get noisy so I am against the fine. I say let the kids play and be kids. Parents shouldn't allow them to be screaming but kids make noise. I think people forget what they were like as kids. The fine is ridiculous!!

  • momsvoicetoday By momsvoicetoday

    Let children be children, as long as the possibly can, if that means they are little loud outside smile and thank God that they are there. There are older people just as likely to make to much noisy as children, so why are we picking on someone that can't defend themselves? I don't think it right. Someone has to much time on their hands, and should or could probably put it to better use (or just use ear plugs). Let the KIDS PLAY!!

  • whodoneit By whodoneit

    I think that a child can be loud at playing but not to the point of screaming. I think if a child is just playing normal and not screaming or banging a drum or a blkow whistle i think they should have the right to play outside. Kids these days are inside watching tv or viedo games. I try to let my kids go out side and play and they know to play without yelling or sceaming but if the neighbor has a problem go and talk to them personally and say what is he doing that is making so much noise for u and i can try to comprimes to make it work for the both of us.

  • tonibegood By tonibegood

    I feel like families are being attacked by the childfree movement. If a child is not allowed to play in their own backyard, where and when is it considered tolerable? They can't do it in school, church, temple or indoors....not outdoors is a quiet zone as well??

  • PANicky By PANicky

    Look, I don't have kids, but as a former child, I know that kids make noise.... Now I am not saying I want it 24/7 but I am not going to ask a neighbor to be fined because her/his child is a little loud. As long as they are fairly quiet between 11p - 7a, I am usually fine with it. I of course do not have this expectation of babies, they cry, especially when they are hungry. Here is a really simple solution: if you are a single or a couple with no children, find out who your neighbors are before you buy or be really nice and ask your neighbor if their play/school age children could be quieter before 7 or 8 on the weekends.

  • mamalueh By mamalueh

    Is it okay for adults to laugh out loud at a back yard barbeque? What about people who mow the lawn on a Saturday morning? Surely that is louder than children playing. Kids should be quieter in the library, at the grocery store, at school, sure, but playing outside? Really? Do you go to a baseball game and sit quietly? Have you never seen a football game on t.v.? And these are adults. And what about construction of a deck, perhaps? There are noise ordinances for a reason: we need to be able to make reasonable noises during reasonable hours or we would be trapped in our houses sitting quietly with our hands in our laps.

  • aeryka310 By aeryka310

    why does everyone expect other people's kids to be perfect? i'm sure that complainer had kids too, who were also loud when they played outside. kids are kids, none are perfect and they need to get some of that energy and loudness out!!! is there a similar fine in that city for dogs barking and birds chirping, i wonder? as long as its at a reasonable time, i dont see any problems with kids running around yelling and personally, i find it refreshing to hear kids playing!

  • laboule By laboule

    If kids are not taught to be considerate of other people, they will grow up to be rude noisy teenagers and then rude noisy adults. Better to teach consideration of others and good manners while they are young.

  • Wanda78 By Wanda78

    In school our kids are told to sit down and be quiet. When they are in a restaraunt, they have to be quiet as not to disturb others that are eating. But when they are outside, they should be able to be as loud and as crazy and as playful as God made them to be! We as adults should allow kids to just be kids and enjoy their childhood because they are only kids once in their lifetime but adults for always.

  • GmommaD By GmommaD

    I agree that children need to be able to make noise SOMEWHERE! They have to be reasonably quiet inside their homes, they have to be quiet at school, in restaurants, at church, in stores... When these complainers were children, were they perfectly quiet at all times? I think not. Children have a right to be children while they can. They all grow up too fast anymore as it is...

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