So, you've got noisy neighbors with offspring you'd like to ship off to boot camp for kids if you had any say in the matter? If you are here for advice on dealing with your "bad neighbors", the issues you are facing are certainly annoying you enough to impact your quality of life and maybe even your mental health. You want it to stop. You want those disrespectful neighbor kids to be quiet, already.
I assume you are already sitting down. Now take a deep breath too, and try to be as open-minded as you possibly can. Let's acknowledge that this is not one issue, but several.
All of these things fit into the picture somewhere:
- Normal vs abnormal child behavior.
- Living in a community with people of various kinds, which includes families with noisy children.
- Your own very real and completely understandable need for peace and quiet.
- Laws and regulations concerning noise and related matters.
Since the peace and quiet you so yearn for is clearly lacking right now, let's address that first.
The Human Need For Stress Management, Rest, And Relaxation
In order to thrive and feel sane, humans need between seven and eight hours of restorative, uninterrupted, sleep every night. We also all need time to unwind and relax. Daily stress often creeps up on us at work and in other places outside of the home, and when we come home, we want to be able to count on that "me-time" that really allows us to recharge those mental batteries. That unwinding isn't just for stress relief, either.
When constant noise and other annoyances take your opportunity to relax and get a good night's sleep in your home — your supposed "safe place" — away, it can take a real toll. If your neighbors have noisy children with apparent behavioral issues and they don't seem to do any parenting, it actually creates a whole new source of potentially severe stress.
Noisy Neighbor Children: Normal Child Behavior Or Antisocial?
If you are living in an apartment in the city, you are quite likely to be exposed to other people's "living noises" on a regular basis — especially if you are living in an apartment building with poorly constructed, thin walls. In some apartments, you may literally be able to hear someone drop a pen, shower, or talk at a normal volume.
As long as they are not playing soccer in the apartment, doing loud dance routines at 11 pm, or screaming constantly (occasional screaming will happen in both younger children and older ones — it's normal child behavior, and babies with colic are a whole other story, of course), chances are that your neighbor's children are not being unusually noisy.
In this case, I'd suggest you try talking to your loud neighbors in a friendly manner. Noisy neighbors often have no idea that they are causing noise nuisance until someone points it out to them. Educate yourself about your legislation's nuisance noise laws so you will be aware if your neighbors are really being bad neighbors by breaking regulations. Even if they are not, you can point out that the noise is negatively impacting your life. The nicer you are when you do this, the more likely you are to be met with understanding rather than defensive attitudes.
Some possible solutions, depending on the exact nature of the problem, are:
- Suggest your loud neighbors install carpets to reduce the sound of walking and running, or ask them to not wear shoes indoors.
- Be as exact as possible about what bothers you most, so your neighbors can work on accommodating you. Specify the hours during which you like to take a nap for instance, or ask that your neighbor kids are quiet before 10 am on Saturday mornings so you can have a lie-in. The more specific you are, the more likely your neighbors will be to try and make things work.
- If you think your neighbors are breaking noise nuisance regulations, inform them of this.
If you are living in a free-standing house and the noise nuisance or other behavioral issues your neighbor children are causing mainly comes from outside play, again try to work it out among yourselves. Requests for your noisy neighbor children to refrain from playing soccer late at night or stop playing loud music is reasonable. Loitering outside is another thing you may be able to do something about, especially if the loitering involves teenage alcohol consumption or violent actions.
Put Yourself In Your Neighbors' Shoes
Have you complained about noise nuisance before, perhaps a lot? While your neighborhood kids might be causing you a lot of stress, you are likely a source of stress for them and for their parents. Children are (once again) naturally quite noisy and active, and they too exist on this planet alongside adults. They too have the right to have their needs met — just like you do.
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