Sticky Situation with Neighbors - WWY/JD?

I need some good help from a Catholic perspective for a sticky situation. We just moved into a new home. Every night, the weather cools down, and we sleep with the windows open. My fourth-grade son’s window is close to our next door neighbors’ home. The couple has two children, including a boy my son’s age, but they very much keep to themselves - they’ve never introduced themselves and avoid us when we see them outside.

Many times, late at night, they’ll be out in the garage with the door open or in their driveway and fighting loudly. I’ve even heard the mother say horrible, berating things to her young son like, “You’re so #$#%%ing annoying!!”

My son deserves a good night’s sleep and shouldn’t have to hear these horrible arguments.

I’m just not sure how to handle it. I don’t want to get off to a bad start with these neighbors. I’m not saying this just to be a people-pleaser; they really don’t seem like the kind of people that I want to make angry. So a direct conversation could be dicey. There’s no real way to tell them anonymously that I know of - leaving a note would out us, at least as suspects, and more and more people in my neighborhood have doorcams or cameras on their porches. Closing the windows to run the A/C all night seems just wasteful and expensive.

Apart from the obvious need for prayer, what is a firm, wise, and charitable way to handle this situation?

A note or any conversation with them will accomplish nothing. They will not in the middle of a fight or a berating of their son think about being polite to the neighbors.

So what I would do is close the window and take advantage of the miracle of AC. Then start a novena that your neighbors move. LOL

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Obviously you don’t want to be directly contacting these neighbors, as they seem hostile and in this day and age one has to worry about physical violence.

Your options are pretty much

  1. close the windows; or
  2. find another room where your son can sleep with the open windows and not have to be woken up by this stuff.

If they are really loud, like noise complaint level loud at 1 in the morning, you also have the option of calling the police, although that might also draw the neighbors’ ire towards you, so I wouldn’t do it unless they were so loud that lights were going on all over the neighborhood.

By the way, unless your son has complained to you about the arguments and noise, it’s possible that the arguments are bothering you much more than they’re bothering him. When I was a kid I used to sometimes hear the neighbors who rented next door having loud arguments as the houses where I grew up are close together. I think this is a rite of passage for most kids who grow up in population-dense areas. I didn’t think anything of it except to be glad I wasn’t living in that family, and I’m not a light sleeper so, while I noticed it was going on, I wouldn’t say it disturbed me.

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I’m sorry you are experiencing this. You have only just met this family, maybe they are just going through a very stressful patch. Would it be possible to extend the hand of friendship?

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option A
Get some Classical Music, when the berating (it can’t be arguing because there is an imbalance of power and a parent is berating the child) starts, open all the windows, place a speaker next to them and blast the music. It shouldn’t take more than a few goes to get the message through :slight_smile:

Option B
close all windows, lock the house up, and use the AC. And play music when this starts so your son can’t hear the events next door.

Option C,
take a plant or something to the neighbour and say is everything ok, I heard a lot of yelling last night.

Here in the United States there is a phone number, 911.

Close your windows.

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And when the season for A/C is over, may I suggest a ‘white noise’ machine or perhaps a radio set to classical music for you and your son?

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Whenever an argument starts, take an opportunity to loudly and demonstratively go out on your porch with a radio or talking on your phone or take out your trash and shout “Howdy, neighbor!” If they are anything more than completely oblivious they will take it inside. It sounds like they enjoy their privacy under most circumstances so when they notice they can hear you, they’ll realize you can also hear them. The one time in my memory where my father put his hands on me in anger, it was in the courtyard of his apartment complex. Right as things were getting out of hand, someone in the complex shouted “Stop!” To this day, I have no idea who it was or if they were even watching us or shouting at someone else entirely, but my dad regained his composure before he did anything he was going to regret. Sometimes all it takes is the knowledge that someone else is watching to encourage us to use better behavior.

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This.

It is also important to at least have met your neighbors. Go over some day and ring the bell “Hi! I am Susy, this is my husband Jim. We’d like to have you over for a BBQ on Saturday!!”

If they say no, then say “well, rain check!” If they come over and are boors, then, you never have to invite them again. Thing is, they will realize that they have real humans next door.

When the fighting starts up again, simply walk out on the porch as Allegra suggested.

If nothing else, get a fan or a noise maker for your son’s room, shut the windows ($5 bucks extra on the AC bill seems a small price for a good night’s sleep).

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Can you move your son to another room until the weather demands AC/Heat, instead of windows open?

It’s tempting, but another dynamic has reared its head. They’re apparently keeping my daughter awake, as well.

I crave fresh air like nothing else and don’t plan to use the AC (quite expensive here) on a cool evening. But building from some ideas in this thread, the next time this happens, my kids are going to start talking to each other through open windows, hopefully conveying the hint that if they can be heard, so can the neighbors.

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