Am I the grumpy lady on the block?

Am I at all uncharitable that I am annoyed by this?

There is a family on my block with various children. A few times I’ve found them playing in our yard when my kids were not outside.

Sunday we had gone out. We came home to kids shooting hoops in our driveway, another sitting on my stoop watching.

The had also been congregating in my side yard.

DH told them to disperse.

Today, again basketball in the driveway.

Should I get a moat? :rolleyes:

You may be the grumpy lady on the block, but your situation sounds like ones I was in three times (and I’m not grumpy).

Neighbor kids would hang around even if we weren’t there. My kids didn’t even like them. Here’s what I found out.

In all three cases, the children were in neglectful or abusive homes. Our simple home seemed like paradise to them. Two situations were so bad I had to call the authorities. I called the cops and they put me through to child protective services who took it from there. I was so sorry for them but, except for prayer, the situations were beyond what our family could do to help. My own kids were in danger.

The third situation was actually harder to deal with because the dysfunction wasn’t serious enough for the state to intervene. I had to teach my own children to be compassionate and at the same time teach the little “orphan” about boundarys and privacy. It was tough and I still pray for little Julie.

One of our neighbors years ago had a couple of kids, and one ALWAYS was coming over. Always. She would come over and hang around while it was time for lunch. Sometimes, she would still be hanging around at dinner time. I fed her more meals than I can count. If I went into the back yard with my little boys, it was almost always guaranteed she would show up. At first, I was annoyed. However, as I got to know her situation, I soon realized her parents, although nice people, were not around much. Due to their work schedules and having to care for aging parents, they were extremely busy. They had her older sister, who was busy with high school stuff, watching her. The kids grew up and left home, and last year there was a New Year’s Party at their house, and I went. This kid who was always hanging out was there. She pulled me aside and thanked me for always letting me hang out. She said those memories are a highlight of her childhood.

How old are these children? Are the parents neglectful? Could there be things like drug deals going on in their house? Depending on the age of the kids, I would take them aside and tell them, “Listen, we don’t mind you playing basketball with our kids when they are out, but this is called trespassing unless you have permission to be on our property. Please don’t be here when we aren’t around. If something happened to you, no one would be there to call 911.”

You might have that liability issue if something did happen, so you do have to protect yourself. These days people sue for anything. If one of them fell and hit his head, I’d bet the farm that the parents would be calling your insurance company.

But do it in a very kind manner, not being a curmudgeon. If you can’t do it that way, send your hubby out to play horse with them and talk to them while they are taking a break.


Time to start putting up a fence!

Are you hearing anything from the Lord on how to handle it ?

Have you had your house blessed? Maybe they are just intuitively drawn to it.

It’s a sad fact of modern parenting. Those kids haven’t been raised to respect others’ property. They’ve never been told “no”. You are not grumpy; you are responsible. Kids also should not be playing in the middle of the street, regardless of age. Roads are for motorized vehicles.

I have had similar experiences; the last place I was at had a basketball net next door and twenty teenagers would block the street and my the driveway. Then they’d scoff and scowl if you said something or tried to drive through. Just tell them to get off your yard and try not to let it bug you. You aren’t their parents, and it is unlikely you can make difference regarding their parents.

When my children were younger my house seemed to be a magnet for many children in the neighborhood. Many times I would come home from work and find several kids “hanging out”. When I got to know them they all seemed to come from backgrounds and families that either ignored them or abused them. I tried to treat them with kindness and respect. One little boy was always willing to help me (more so than my own children). When we left Seattle to come home he wanted to come with us. One young girl was upset. When I asked her why she said she didn’t have shoes so she could play basketball with the other kids. Her shoes were so old and falling apart. I took her to Fred Myers and let her pick out a pair. She had tears in her eyes. No one had ever given her anything like this.

I don’t know how strong your faith is or the faith of your children. I don’t know the ages of the children involved. You have an opportunity to make a real impression on these kids. You can show them the love of Christ in a real tangible way. If your Parish has a youth group and these children are old enough maybe you can get them involved. Maybe you can invite them to go to church with you and your family. Do not fear. If you show respect to them they will respect you. I never had any child steal from me.

Remember what you do for these kids, you do for Christ.

Pray about this and trust the Holy Spirit for guidance .

There are also liability issues there. I would politely tell them to stay in their own yard. There was a time when this wouldn’t be an issue. There was an old man that let all the kids play all kinds of things in his huge field. Today that would be an invitation for a giant lawsuit.

I don’t think Christ would be trying to drive them off.

Mat 19:14 but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’

Gal 6:9 So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.

The whole thing is a boundary issue.

As other posters have pointed out, they are probably being neglected by their parents. I rephrase that. They are DEFINETELY being neglected because no good parent would allow their kids to be at the neighbours when the neighbour is gone.

However, I disagree that is it up to you to take all these losts souls in.

Set your boundary. Tell them not to come over when you are not home. And then, if you feel you have the resources, when you are home, try and show them some love. And definetely pray for them


We actually have. :smiley:

I don’t mind them playing in the yard when my kids are outside as well.

This afternoon, DD who is six opened the door and called, “Excuse me, you can’t play in our yard if we are inside, thank you, bye.”

One of the siblings has knocked on my door and asked for a PBJ various times.
Other times I’ll offer her something, she’ll say…“Nah…, do you have potato chips.”

There are two families living in the tiny house. Family 1 is parents 4 kids, family 2 is single mother, 3 kids. They range in age from 1 to about 12.

In the summer, these kids go out at dawn and are out until dusk. I get knocks for juice boxes, “can we use the bathroom” Once, “Can you be my mom?”

I think when we aren’t home is a terrible idea, something could happen, other children could come by. Other adults. I think it’s a bad idea.

:eek: Two families in one home? Don’t you have a homeowner’s association? That’s totally against the rules here, and most places have the same rules/laws.

Sounds like they are basically street urchins, begging for food and water from others. I call this neglect and I might be tempted to call CPS. Anything could happen to these children! There are child predators just looking for this sort of situation!

They seem not to understand basic social boundaries, too. You have to wonder at kids who will just ask anyone for food, juice, etc. instead of going home to get their own food. Probably little food on hand, if I had to guess. 3 adults? Are any of them working?

Thanks for sharing…I did a short term mission in Haiti where my sister and bil were missionaries…I intentionally bought a real good pair of work boots knowing I would give
them away…One guy had his eyes on them from the start and when I left I gave them to him, he was overwhelmed…We were in a village where the ministry drilled a water well…
They would start the generator and the villagers would line up with 5 gallon buckets…I wept as I filled water buckets thinking of giving water to the least of them…We also had a teen friend of my daughter stay with us for a bit because of family problems…I try to always remember that God is at work in all my situations and seek Him to see what He wants to show/teach me…

My town is not incorporated, so no home owners association.

They actually rent the house, and the two moms are sisters. One came after her divorce.

I don’t think it’s neglect per se, they go to school every day, mom walks them to school…I think its the girl having no bounderies, she’s about 7. Grandpa comes over to help during the day as well.

Pick a happy medium…

Contact the parents and tell them you are worried about potential injuries when you are not there supervising. Also tell them their kids ask for things to eat…and you are worried about food allergies.

But you can also say they are welcome when you are there.

When they damage your car and begin treating your property like they own it (tossing aside shirts and clothing in your yard as they get hot playing basketball), it is time to drive them off. As others have pointed out, if something happens you’ll be liable and blamed. They shouldn’t be driven off; they should be driven home.

Charity in action on this forum. Perhaps this is an opportunity to minister to these families and even the parents. Perhaps a BBQ or something to get to know them. I have lived in situations where the fueds happened on the street that I lived on, and all it did was polarize relationships. The kids untimately suffered. We were at the end of a street which was a dead end and regularly played soccer with the neighourhood kids “urchins I guess” The nasty neighbour would call the police on us to stop playing in the street. (what a waste of time and public money that was) and basically make it clear that her kids weren’t allowed to play with us.

As a result they grew up for 5 years in a road with no friends at all. I am sorry that we did not behave very christian like to them either, but we were kids and not being led very well by the adults, who encouraged us to have nothing to do with them.

All in all very sad. I think this lady has an opportunity to step out of the boat and lead by example. Imagine if you were living in that small house with 2 families, little income and no support system. They remind me a lot of the families left out when men end up in prison. I meet with them every week, and they pray that others will help take care of their families till they get out.

Sorry about the rant, but we should not just be grateful for what we have, but share it as well. Time and love are not expensive but will last the longest in someone’s heart.

Hey Bro. Don it did make it to DFW…Is the New York Post reliable ? BTW I live/lived 12 miles from TMI…That summer I had the best garden I ever had…

Tokyo Passengers Trigger U.S. Airport Detectors, N.Y. Post Says
Radiation detectors at Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago O’Hare airports were triggered when passengers from flights that started in Tokyo passed through customs, the New York Post reported.

Tests at Dallas-Fort Worth indicated low radiation levels in travelers’ luggage and in the aircraft’s cabin filtration system; no passengers were quarantined, the newspaper said.

Details of the incident at O’Hare weren’t immediately clear, the Post said.

I guess it depends on the atmosphere of your neighborhood. The kids in our neighborhood play with each other’s outside equipment without asking all the time, including my kids. In fact, our basketball hoop is kept at the neighbor’s house. His driveway is paved. None of these kids are abused, neglected, or anything like that.

It’s not like it is a complete free for all. There are boundaries. No one goes into a house when the family is not home or anything like that. I really don’t see that as any big deal, but if you do, you should set the ground rules where you like 'em, and leave it at that. I don’t think there is any need to analyze the family or get angry.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit