Police over baby crying


#1

My friend just told me she found herself at 6 o'clock this morning with the police on the door because her neighbors complained that her baby is crying and it's annoing them. The police told her simply that she must control her baby becuase she lives in a civilized world.

I would like to hear your opinion son this. I am a little surprised because i think as much you try as a parent to control you child babies will cry. They have growing teeth, colics and especially if it is your first child and you don't have your mother, mother in low etc to help you are learning on the way.


#2

How awful for your friend! Maybe she and her husband could go over with some brownies and talk with the neighbors? And there may be a place in her house where the neighbors can't hear so much? Then when the baby cries, they can take the baby in that room and not worry.

Such a shame.


#3

I would say that (hopefully, kind of), it's that the baby was clearly distressed for a long period of time and the neighbors called out of some kind of concern. Not good that the baby was distressed so much, but you're right that there are natural causes of that such as colic and teething when there's only so much you can do to console (not that you give up, of course!)

If the neighbors called just because they didn't want to hear a baby cry, well, then they can just get over it. If the neighbors complain in person, I think she can just say, "I'm sorry you feel that way. Isn't it so sad how much x/y/z (real or made-up reason) upsets him?" You could ask them for advice on how to fix it, but that could just be inviting more trouble.

Remember too that the police could have been irritated about having to respond to the call at all since it was rather silly for the neighbor to call in the first place, and that in all likelihood they did not hear the intensity of the crying. They could also have been checking up to make sure that there were no shenanigans involved and then at a loss for a reason to explain their presence in the absence of any.

Babies cry, some more than others, some more loudly than others, and sometimes for reasons that parents and caregivers can't understand. The important thing is to keep trying to console the baby. If people have a problem with that here...well, like I said before...they need to get over it.


#4

[quote="cristyd, post:1, topic:252638"]
My friend just told me she found herself at 6 o'clock this morning with the police on the door because her neighbors complained that her baby is crying and it's annoing them. The police told her simply that she must control her baby becuase she lives in a civilized world.

I would like to hear your opinion son this. I am a little surprised because i think as much you try as a parent to control you child babies will cry. They have growing teeth, colics and especially if it is your first child and you don't have your mother, mother in low etc to help you are learning on the way.

[/quote]

Not knowing anything else, I'd say the police had to respond to the phone call. Depending what the neighbors said, it could have been made to sound like a potential child abuse case. Understand please, I'm talking about the perception the police were given by the neighbor, not the facts.
It would have been nice if they had offered to place her in contact with help for her child, but if she could use help, would you be able to help her make contact? This would be to help her learn, not to come down on her for being a "bad mother", or anything like that.
The other thing is what is her relationship with her neighbors? They could be the real problem here.

They may lack the willingness to "Do unto others as you would have done to you".


#5

I'm glad my neighbors weren't like that when DD screamed for 3 hours straight every night because of colic. The rest of the time she was a happy, content baby.

So what kind of call did the neighbor make? Was it really a 'noise complaint' call, which police can get and must respond to anytime between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. in our town which has a noise by-law, or was it a 'baby sounds in serious distress and no one is doing anything' call by a concerned neighbor?

If the police officer really said what the OP reports it's obviously someone who's never dealt with a baby. Babies don't come with a volume button and we can't deal with inconsolable crying by turning down the volume the way we'd deal with a blaring stereo.


#6

I sympathise with your friend. A very similar thing happened to my wife and me years ago. In our case it was our toddler who wouldn't stop throwing a tantrum, he was keeping the baby awake and the other children as well as me who had to work in the morning. We put him in the (carpeted, warm and safe) back room to calm down which he eventually did after midnight. We got him to bed and we were finally drifting off to sleep ourselves about 2 am when there was a knock on the door. Two cops who looked like teenagers then proceeded to give us parenting advice.

If they were the exact words the police used to your friend, that was a terrible thing to say.

And in your friends' case as well as ours, I wondered why the neighbour (we still don't know who it was) didn't come around to ask if we were OK or if we needed help instead of immediately phoning the cops as if we were criminals.

Sometimes a baby or toddler just won't stop crying or screaming no matter what you do, and you just have to let him cry it out.

By the way our toddler has grown into a fine, responsible young man who loves and is close to his parents.


#7

[quote="cristyd, post:1, topic:252638"]
My friend just told me she found herself at 6 o'clock this morning with the police on the door because her neighbors complained that her baby is crying and it's annoing them. The police told her simply that she must control her baby becuase she lives in a civilized world.

I would like to hear your opinion son this. I am a little surprised because i think as much you try as a parent to control you child babies will cry. They have growing teeth, colics and especially if it is your first child and you don't have your mother, mother in low etc to help you are learning on the way.

[/quote]

I am really shocked at the attitudes of both the police and your friend's neighbour and sympathise with your friend. Since the police did not do more than make that ridiculous comment, I assume her neighbour made a nuisance complaint and not a concern omplaint.

How on earth is your friend suppose to control her baby. Which parent wants her baby to cry? There should be a give and take with neighbours. A couple of hundred of years ago, people may have lived long distances apart, this is not the case in cities, towns and suburbs.

I can only suggest that she go and speak to her neighbour. Since she has to continur to have them as neighbours, she would probably have to be extremely nice to them to have peace and no more visits from the police.
.


#8

[quote="Phemie, post:5, topic:252638"]
I'm glad my neighbors weren't like that when DD screamed for 3 hours straight every night because of colic. The rest of the time she was a happy, content baby.

So what kind of call did the neighbor make? Was it really a 'noise complaint' call, which police can get and must respond to anytime between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. in our town which has a noise by-law, or was it a 'baby sounds in serious distress and no one is doing anything' call by a concerned neighbor?

If the police officer really said what the OP reports it's obviously someone who's never dealt with a baby. Babies don't come with a volume button and we can't deal with inconsolable crying by turning down the volume the way we'd deal with a blaring stereo.

[/quote]

I was thinking the same thing about one of my sons. He too cried for about 3 hours every evening for a few months. We held him, we rocked him, we walked and paced with him, carried him in different positions and tried to burp him and feed him and change him and used Mylicon, and rubbed his back, tummy, patted his bottom and back, tried infant massage, put him in his carseat to drive him around, we tried everything to try to settle and comfort him. If one of my neighbors had complained about it simply because they thought it was too much noise and bothersome, I think I may have lost it. Trying to comfort and soothe and deal with a baby with colic is hard enough without the idea of also having to deal with complaining neighbors. Yikes!


#9

I can certainly understand the neighbors' annoyance. After all, when they were babies, they never shed a tear or annoyed anyone. I'll bet they never dirtied a diaper or spilled their food, either. Perhaps I assume too much.

I would like a detailed diagram, drawn by the police officer, of exactly how one is to control a crying infant who does not respond to the usual assuagements. Seriously -- ask for it next time.:popcorn:


#10

[quote="Saburo, post:9, topic:252638"]
I can certainly understand the neighbors' annoyance. After all, when they were babies, they never shed a tear or annoyed anyone. I'll bet they never dirtied a diaper or spilled their food, either. Perhaps I assume too much.

I would like a detailed diagram, drawn by the police officer, of exactly how one is to control a crying infant who does not respond to the usual assuagements. Seriously -- ask for it next time.:popcorn:

[/quote]

yes, this is exactly what i had in mind also. I was suprised not at the fact that the police came to check a complain about a crying baby, but at the response of the policeman. And at the idea that somebody can complain about a neighbour because his baby is crying.


#11

I would call the police and ask to speak to a supervisor or a public relations officer (or whatever they have there). I would explain the situation and ask that their officers be better trained to handle these kind of complaints.

The neighbor calling to complain (if it was a noise complaint) I can kind of sympathize with. We (and they) are only human. If they were overly tired and didn't know what was going on (and had no control) it's understandable that they would complain in a fit of frustration.

But the police should have been the professional, neutral party and passed judgment on the parents. They could have easily said there was a complaint about a crying baby and they were just checking to make sure everything was okay without the unsolicited "parenting advice." It's their reaction that I find unacceptable.

I also like the idea of talking to the neighbors (if they know who it was). Maybe make sure they have the parent's phone number and let those neighbors know if there is a problem to just call them directly to see if they can't come up with a solution (like moving the baby to another room where the neighbors can't hear the baby, etc.)


#12

[quote="cristyd, post:10, topic:252638"]
yes, this is exactly what i had in mind also. I was suprised not at the fact that the police came to check a complain about a crying baby, but at the response of the policeman. And at the idea that somebody can complain about a neighbour because his baby is crying.

[/quote]

You'd be surprised what neighbors call the police over (or maybe not). I have an elderly dog, medium-sized, very slow moving since she has arthritis in her legs. She's friendly, but shy and she's a house dog (always inside, but I take her for walks and ALWAYS on a leash).

I had a neighbor in my old neighborhood that called animal control (part of the police department) on my dog. She claimed I let my huge, vicious dog run loose in the neighborhood and it was terrorizing her (this was completely untrue by any stretch of the imagination). So animal control came to my house... when they were greeted by me (and my hobbling, gray-faced dog) the first thing the officer said was, "She's not big and certainly isn't vicious." They told me about the complaint, asked me if I ever let my dog run loose (to which I answered "no") and they left saying, "sometimes people call us about the oddest things."

I mentioned it to other dog owners in the neighborhood and it turned out she called the police about everyone's dogs at some point (all with the same complaint). What it was, she was convinced all the dogs in the neighborhood were conspiring and using the area under her pine tree as a bathroom and killing the grass (the problem was there was a thick layer of pine needles under the tree so the grass couldn't grow). She thought calling animal control would get all the dogs taken away and the grass under the tree could grow and her yard would be beautiful. Also, as far as I know, no one ever walked their dog in her yard and no one let their dog run loose.

So you see, some people can just be a little odd in the head.


#13

[quote="Saburo, post:9, topic:252638"]

I would like a detailed diagram, drawn by the police officer, of exactly how one is to control a crying infant who does not respond to the usual assuagements. Seriously -- ask for it next time.

[/quote]

That's a much better response to the police than the one I was thinking.

What would you like me to do (to quiet the kid), put a pillow over his/her head?

Of course my snarkeyness may be due to being up most of the night with a crying kid, a neighbor who apparently has never had any kids, the police at the door and me not having my coffee yet. :compcoff:


#14

[quote="tgauchsin, post:13, topic:252638"]
That's a much better response to the police than the one I was thinking.

What would you like me to do (to quiet the kid), put a pillow over his/her head?

Of course my snarkeyness may be due to being up most of the night with a crying kid, a neighbor who apparently has never had any kids, the police at the door and me not having my coffee yet. :compcoff:

[/quote]

Maybe I should disclaim this a bit more for people who don't get it. The comment about was something I was thinking, probably would never say to the police and definately would never do nor advocate doing.

Snarky - shorten form of snide and sarcastic; used out of irritation; often humorously.


#15

[quote="tgauchsin, post:13, topic:252638"]
That's a much better response to the police than the one I was thinking.

What would you like me to do (to quiet the kid), put a pillow over his/her head?

Of course my snarkeyness may be due to being up most of the night with a crying kid, a neighbor who apparently has never had any kids, the police at the door and me not having my coffee yet. :compcoff:

[/quote]

I would not say this to a policemen, as a matter a fact to anybody as it could be taken by some people not as a joke.


#16

[quote="cristyd, post:1, topic:252638"]
My friend just told me she found herself at 6 o'clock this morning with the police on the door because her neighbors complained that her baby is crying and it's annoing them. The police told her simply that she must control her baby becuase she lives in a civilized world.

I would like to hear your opinion son this. I am a little surprised because i think as much you try as a parent to control you child babies will cry. They have growing teeth, colics and especially if it is your first child and you don't have your mother, mother in low etc to help you are learning on the way.

[/quote]

You know, something similar happened to my husband and I, well more to the baby sitter. We had worked out a once in rare time evening out by getting a baby sister to watch our children while we went out for probably the first time together since our three-year-old had been born. We had just about finished our first drinks and appetizers and where waiting for dinner when we got a phone call from the baby sitter saying the police were at the apartment and wanted to talk to us. They told my husband that they had received a phone call from our neighbor saying the baby had been crying for at least an hour. So I drove right home while my husband stayed behind to cancel diner and settle the bill. By the time I got home it was just an hour since my husband and I had left. So when they had originaly gotten the call there was no way he had been crying for an hour.
When I got home if my son had not been in such distress I would have burst out laughing. It was quite comical to see the one officer holding my son, he was well built and you could tell he worked out, have no control over being able to calm down or keep my son from crying and flinging himself around. But as soon as I walked in and he was in my arms he calmed right down and was reduced to just sniffles. They just looked at each other and decided without saying a word to me about my parenting skills, that everything was ok and left. They seemed to be of the mentality that we have other things we have to be more concerned about. They did not even really scold when I mentioned about having forgotten to let the babysitter know that only one phone was working and because of that she had not been able to call us herself because in the distress of the moment she had chosen the phone that was not working and could not find the other one or did not even remember or know I had another one. So I guess maybe next time just offer to let them try if they think they can do better or just take into consideration that they just want to help? Anyway, I really felt awful for the officers and at first I was a little annoyed about the neighbor calling and clearly exaggerating the amount of time he had been crying for, but then I got to thinking, if something had really gone terrible wrong and because the police had been called they could have probably saved my baby, I found that I was actually very appreciative of the fact that the neighbor had called and made sure and, even though we never talked about it, I went to lengths to ensure she knew I had no animosity toward her about the fact that she had called.

One thing I had always done if any of my children had those moments of throwing a fit I had always taken them to the room that was farthest away from any neighbor. But when my son threw his fit that night, he was right at the front door throwing himself against the neighbors wall and door so I can imagine how she must have been concerned because she had probable never heard any of my children ever really throw a fit before. So I guess I could see where she was coming from without even having to talk to her directly about it and in taking all of that into consideration it helped a lot to look past the nosy neighbor syndrome and we were still good neighbors to the day we moved.


#17

It depends on the how much sound travels between one dwelling and the next, too. I've heard a defense attorney say that poor people are disproportionately cited for domestic disturbances compared to rich people because they live in closer quarters and have housing with thinner walls.

It's worth it to contact the neighbor and, if they seem reasonable people, giving them your phone number and encouraging direct calls in the future. Many times, people are much more tolerant if they know the "noise-makers" and feel they have some way to directly lodge a complaint and find out what's going on. Provided that no one has mental issues that make them a threat, I'm sure the police would prefer this way of dealing with any issues between neighbors.


#18

[quote="mellowcalico, post:12, topic:252638"]
You'd be surprised what neighbors call the police over (or maybe not). I have an elderly dog, medium-sized, very slow moving since she has arthritis in her legs. She's friendly, but shy and she's a house dog (always inside, but I take her for walks and ALWAYS on a leash).

I had a neighbor in my old neighborhood that called animal control (part of the police department) on my dog. She claimed I let my huge, vicious dog run loose in the neighborhood and it was terrorizing her (this was completely untrue by any stretch of the imagination). So animal control came to my house... when they were greeted by me (and my hobbling, gray-faced dog) the first thing the officer said was, "She's not big and certainly isn't vicious." They told me about the complaint, asked me if I ever let my dog run loose (to which I answered "no") and they left saying, "sometimes people call us about the oddest things."

I mentioned it to other dog owners in the neighborhood and it turned out she called the police about everyone's dogs at some point (all with the same complaint). What it was, she was convinced all the dogs in the neighborhood were conspiring and using the area under her pine tree as a bathroom and killing the grass (the problem was there was a thick layer of pine needles under the tree so the grass couldn't grow). She thought calling animal control would get all the dogs taken away and the grass under the tree could grow and her yard would be beautiful. Also, as far as I know, no one ever walked their dog in her yard and no one let their dog run loose.

So you see, some people can just be a little odd in the head.

[/quote]

SO TRUE. My husband works in local government. The things people call about make him go :banghead: all day. For some reason, he loves his job. :shrug: But he could do without the complaint phone calls, 90% being totally ridiculous.


#19

I guess I'm the odd man out in that I'd rather have more crying babies/toddlers looked into by concerned neighbors and law enforcement since it might prevent more child abuse. :shrug: Now if the neighbors were just calling because they were annoyed...that's dumb. :shrug:

KG


#20

Without more details I can't really say much about the OP's friend's situation. However, I do know that some neighbors like to call the police just to be nuisances. We used to have a neighbor who liked to call the police on us for our dog barking. It wasn't that he barked incessantly or uncontrollably (he was an indoor dog and seldom outdoors unattended)--they just liked being pests. Our local laws define problematic barking as 2 minutes nonstop (if I remember right--it's been years so I may be off). The first time the neighbor called they didn't document the amount of time our dog had been barking so we just received a phone call as a warning. A few days later, I saw the neighbor sitting outside with a stopwatch. We only got a warning that time since they only timed the amount of time the dog had been outside and not how long he'd been barking (which was one or two barks at most on that occasion). I took to keeping my watch and a sheet of paper handy so that I could track the exact amount of time he barked. It ended after about 6 months, during which time he was only outside unattended 2-3 times per week at most, although we generally got at least one call or visit per week from the police (never any charges because I had my well-documented notes). To this day, I don't know if the neighbors just got tired of timing him, or if the cops finally said something to them.


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