What to do when your neighbours kids are constantly whining?
Do you ever get stressed by your neighbours lack of parenting skills? You can be sure you’re not alone.
So here’s Lynn’s question.
Thank you so much for creating this website for parents. You have so many wonderful articles on how to stay positive and happy. ( Thank you Lynn. )
Can you make suggestions for people with neighbors who do not spend quality time with their own children and instead talk on the cell phone a lot.
I have a neighbor who has several children, with the 3 and 1 year olds always crying for her attention. Sometimes she talks so loudly outside that the neighbors 5 doors down can hear her talk.
What can we as other Moms in the neighborhood do to encourage her to parent in a more positive manner? It is so sad to hear this going on in a home.
Thank you so much.
Thank you so much for your wonderful question.
You’re describing something that unfortunately so many of us are witnessing in our neighbourhoods: Other parents struggling.
So there are really two questions hidden in your question:
1. “What can other moms in the neighbourhood do to encourage parenting in a positive manner? “
2.“What can I do as a witness to positively cope with this kind of behaviour in my neighbourhood?
I’ll start with the second question as really this is the one that (unspokenly) came first. And it’s this question that needs to be answered first to create a positive change.
How does your neighbours behaviour affect you and your family specifically?
I'd like you to write everything down that comes to your mind - positive or not. This helps to clear the space and invite positive solutions.
There is a wonderful Lady called Byron Katie who developed an awesome way to tease all those conflicting and sometimes hidden or not so kind emotions apart. Honesty with yourself and others is a wonderful way to find solutions.
She's got a free “Judge your neighbour – worksheet” on her site. The questions will help you to systematically write down all the things you might find irritating.
Please, please, please take the time to do the "turn arounds" she has on the bottom of that worksheet.
I now make a point to allow myself to imagine those turned around scenarios as if they were real.
This helps me tremendously to understand the point of view of the people I'm struggling with (be it my neighbours or my kids).
So now to the question your actual question:
What can other moms in the neighbourhood do to encourage parenting in a positive manner?
Below are the steps that I would take.
1. Take care of my own feelings about it.
2. Be (or become) a friend,
because we all have an easier time to listen to, and accept help from a friend, someone we trust - rather than a stranger who just disapproves of how we do things. (Doing step one will greatly help with that)
3. Find out what’s the real struggle behind her behaviour.
Sure, she seems overwhelmed and with a 1 and a 3 year old that’s not all too unusual.
This step is about trying to walk in her shoes for one day.
Why is she talking on the phone instead of tending to her crying kids. Is she calling to get advice from a friend? Or is she so deprived of any good adult conversation that she’s mentally exhausted? (I had to learn that some people recharge by being around people as compared to seeking solitude as I usually do)
Are her parents or a good friend sick, or does she have relationship troubles?
Whatever you find, if you’re able to alleviate some of her pain by honestly caring – that can change a lot already. Sometimes just having someone who honestly listens can be a huge relief.
4. Let her know how you feel.
Sometimes being under a lot of stress let’s us overlook how our behaviour affects others.
This step is very much a question of timing and also of quality of the relationship between you and your neighbour.
What I might do?
Combining the 3 last steps with a little act of kindness I might make a double load of dinner one day and carry over half as a gesture that I do care (If she's easy with food and dinnertime is one of her challenges).
Who knows, maybe this can even start a conversation... ( best sometime in the morning when there’s less stress than during crazy hour before dinner).
I see it as building a bridge over which you might have an easier time to carry your concerns as well.
I’m sure your ideas will fit your situation much better than mine and you’ll come up with many many more solutions and baby steps towards a solution.
I’m curious what works for you. Please keep us posted.
And for anyone else reading this I’d love to hear from you:
Can any of this be helpful in your life? What is it and how can you adapt it to fit your circumstances?
Have you ever been in a similar situation? What are your experiences?
Please share your insights in the comments below. Who knows who your comment inspires to wonderful greatness and kindness too.