littlechapAugust 3, 2006

Hi Everyone. Question. We have TERRIBLE neighbors, and the one has a little boy about 11. He keeps coming on our property even after asking him NOT to, and his mother knows we dont want him on our property, he's a destructive child!! Anyway, we just planted grass seed and are doing work on the lawn on the side of the house and front of the house, and this boy keeps coming over trampling it, digging at it with a little shovel, so the other day we saw him doing this and I told him that I didn't want him up there on my property, now the entire neighbor hood is mad as I wont let him plan on my property. First of all, I dont want him getting hurt on my land, and 2nd, I'm trying to grow grass and do improvements and don't want anyone on it. Next to us is being excavated as a new home is going up, this boy is over there while the crane is moving, and the men are working, his mother, in the house or whereever, no where to be seen, then he goes on that property and tries to get in the bull dozer when the contractors leave for the day, so this kids mother doesn't enforce staying off other peoples property, but has everyone up in arms because we told him to stay off of ours, help, what suggestions do you have? They all know we do not want him on our property, yet they act like we're being out of line. Hey, I pay taxes on my house, I own my house and land, I should have the right to do improvements without having this boy constantly come dig and mess up what I've done. Email me

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Pamela Church

Document each time (date, narrative of what the kid was doing, what you said, etc) each time you have to talk to him or his parents. If the mom doesn't control the kid, I'm sure you'll have more problems and if he's ever hurt on, or does damage to, your property, you may have to resort to calling the police and a lawyer. Realize that as the kid gets older, his behavior (with the upbringing he's NOT getting) will just get worse.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 7:01AM
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Have you tried making friends with the boy? When girlfriend of mine had trouble with an undisciplined neighbour child ruining her garden, she got him to help her plant and showed him how the seeds grew and gave him some plants of his own to watch over, water and protect. It has worked out well.

On dealing with the adults around you: Are you new in the neighbourhood? Sometimes it is best to just watch and keep quiet until you figure out how things work.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 2:10PM
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11 years old is too young to be unsupervised. Call your county Children and Youth agency and report this. No, you're not doing it to be mean-- if this kid is playing unsupervised on A CONSTRUCTION SITE of all places, then he could be killed.

Document dates and times when he is in your yard, or when you see him on the construction site. Take pictures if you can. If C&Y blows you off and he continues to do this, keep calling and go "up the chain" with the local and state child welfare agencies.

I will say it again, you will be doing this kid a favor. Please don't hesitate to pursue this.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 7:32PM
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On just the issue of the grass I'd be sure to take pictures, look at how much it would cost for someone to lay sod, and tell the parents that even though you would not want to have to make them cover the cost of replacing the grass you will have no choice if they cannot control their child.

As for the kid...unless the parents start acting like parents he really doesn't have many options in becoming something other than a drain on society.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 2:46PM
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I just caught this thread: we had a set of new neighbors move in next door with two unsupervised kids. My kids are grown, we run a hobby farm and no longer are careful about what we leave laying around: farm equipment, tractors, etc. I talked to my attorney about this: my fear that one of these kids would get hurt and I'd get sued.
He stated that now a days, juries are starting to come down a little harder on parents who don't supervise their kids: his suggestion: First talk to the parents. Looks like in your case, that won't work. Then send them a letter (I'd do it registered so they can't claim they didn't get it) outlining the issues and your concern, warning them you would hold them liable for any damages so your property.
Then the best part: warn them they and their family are NOT to trespass on your property. He claimed that if then the kid comes over,you can have the parents charged with trespassing, as long as they know ahead of time and are warned.
good luck.!!!
- Ellen

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 12:19PM
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I've had the same problem over and over again for years now. It's very frustrating when parents allow their children to disrespect other people's property. It is like they think it's *our* job to teach their kids right from wrong - not theirs. Then, when you tell the kids to stay out of your yard - you are the 'bad' guy - and the neighborhood turns on *you* (not the offending parents/kids). Something is wrong with this picture.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 5:04AM
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I would second the suggestion to call social services. This child is not being parented.

Had a similar situation with neighbors that moved in for about a year and left. It was miserable around here while they were here. The father was much more involved than the mother, but he worked during the day. Kids were allowed to run rampant while mom was inside watching TV or taking 'one of her naps' (and that came straight from the mouth of the 11 year old girl, who was ordered to take charge of her very destructive 3 year old brother and not quite 2 year old baby sister). The day we met the family, they came over, we started to have a nice chat, and next thing we know the boy starts kicking at our picket fence gate as hard as he can. It was shaking he was kicking it so hard. We anticipated the parents would tell him knock it off (the dogs were getting in an uproar over it), but instead they just ignored it and kept chatting. Finally DH stepped in and told the kid not to do it, one of the dogs might bite. While I was away from the house neighbors told me stories of the 3 year old coming over (crossing the street alone to get here) and pulling up tulips, trying to break tree branches, etc.). We immediately padlocked that gate, I was terrified he'd go back there and kick on it again, or worse open and go inside where the dogs are. (Dogs love kids, but this kid's behavior was agitating them with all that kicking and banging at them.) Caught him one day trying to see if he was 'strong enough' to break a lower branch on tree in new landscaping I had just finished. Told him in a gentle motherly tone that yes, he probably could, but we're having a contest to see how big it gets. So he left it alone and I then escorted him, by hand, across the street to his own home so he wouldn't get hit by a car.

I learned from another neighbor that these people were quite religious. That neighbor had a talk with the dad about the destructive 3 yr old, and the dad said he tries, but during the day his wife simply didn't care. Her theory was "they're in God's hands, whatever will be, will be". The 3 yr old has: taken swings at neighbor kids with hammers/bats/shovels/other harmful tools. Parents no where in sight (this caused a feud with aforementioned neighbors next door, as their kid was bonked on the head pretty badly with a baseball bat). Meanwhile, the little two year old was allowed to wander the neighborhood, sometimes just in tiny t-shirt and diaper in cold weather (upper 40's). It was UNreal. I glanced out my picture window one day to see the toddler had crawled under a neighbors fence and was climbing up the ladder to the covered pool. I freaked, I could just see her slipping under that cover and drowning. Just as I was racing out the front door, her dad came out of the house, called to her, saw her and climbed over the fence, retrieved her just in time. Another day I watched the almost 2 yr old wail, scream, bang on front door with her little fists for almost 30 minutes, begging to be let in the house, and no one would respond. I was getting so upset, because I knew they were home and had to hear her, the storm door was shut but the entry door was open. Was just getting ready to go across the street when finally someone let the poor kid in. Then there were at least two incidents where these parents knocked door to door, asking if anyone had seen their daughter. (Several times she was outside unattended and simply wandered off, and there is a highly traveled road two blocks away.) In once instance her sopping wet diaper was so heavy it had fallen off onto the sidewalk. She was found 1 1/2 blocks away, near the busy street, wandering around. Someone had found her and was trying to figure out who she belonged to, but she couldn't speak well enough to tell them. That was the icing on the cake that started other neighbors talking of calling social services. But they abruptly moved, and I still worry about those kids.

This unmonitored child is in danger. Imagine if owners of equipment he's climbing on knew of it, they'd be on it in a flash. Because when he gets hurt Mom will probably sue. Children do get seriously hurt and even killed on construction sites. Sounds like he has a negligent mother. Reporting what he's doing with construction equip to equipment owner, homebuilder and/or social services would be doing that kid a favor and possibly saving him from serious injury or death.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 10:40AM
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Call Social Services NOW! Don't wait! You will be doing that child a favor! He is a danger to himself and others.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 6:43PM
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I hope you called the Child Protective Services (or similar) in your area. ITA with gypsyrose....

Oh my, this sounds similar to my neighbors. Incompetent parents, children running wild (on other properties), etc. We're now in the process of finding security cameras/recorders ($!) and will use the video for legal prosecution (when they vandalize our property/cars yet again) and Child Protective Services if need be. Sending a letter wouldn't do any good in my case. When they trespass, vandalize, shoot my home with pellet guns, etc., I call the sheriff. Again and again and again.... This way, a record is established (on advice of the sheriff).

Best of luck to you! :-)

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 10:52AM
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Calling social services will probably result in no action. They are likely to get involved if the child is being abused, neglected (ie: no food) or in a home with rampant drug use. Otherwise they don't do much. The way to get social services child protection involved is to make a stink. Write your local County Commissioners or elected officials and document the neglect and lack of supervision. Write the appropriate State agencies. Do this more than once. This usually works. Child protection agencies usually have bigger fish to fry than a kid getting into things. Not making light of your situation, but they aren't able to do much about this sort of thing. They really only respond to publicity or elected officials.

Equally important, the advice given you to cover yourself legally is excellent. Send them a registered letter and
get an attorney to write them as well. Document everything, use video cameras, pictures with dates imbeded and witnesses if possible. You are going to be the neighborhood piriah but better that than being sued.
Make clear to the parents they are legally responsible for their children and they will be billed and/or taken to court for any damages.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2006 at 11:30AM
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That's true in my area, too. Calling Social Services will get you nowhere.

The case workers are specifically trained to respond basically just to those complaints coming from law enforcement or school officials, who know just what constitutes abuse and neglect (in the legal sense) and also know what language they need to use to initiate an investigation. Complaints from a neighbor, no matter how valid they might appear, are treated as heresay. They need to be backed up with more than "he won't stay off my lawn".

A registered letter to the parents along with calls to law enforcement (and giving them a copy of the registered letter) will raise the appropriate flags you need. You need a record of everything this kid is getting into, but more importantly, you need a record that is established with the people who can help you.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 10:13AM
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Any situation involving a child such as described above should be referred to local child welfare services. I am sure criteria varies from state to state but where I live any allegations of neglect such as you are describing are required to be investigated for children under the age of 3. It may not be investigated immediately but workers are required to make contact with the family within 3 days. I know because I work for that department. The vast majority of the people I work with take the job very seriously. I can also state that not all situations will be investigated on the first call as it depends on the risk factors involved and the immediate threat of harm to the child. However, if our department received more than 3 referrals on the same child then it has to be investigated no matter what the allegations are. IF this situation continues then please contact the authorities. These children are being placed at great risk due to lack of supervision on the parent. In addition, a small child left outside by a napping parent is grounds for neglect. If I saw a neighbor's child that young standing outside the home banging on the door for that length of time then I would immediately call the police. This is actually the fastest way to get a response from social services as another poster said anything reported by the police does get immediate involvement. Social services can't do anything to help if they don't know about it though. Sorry for long post!!! This is my area to rant!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 11:46AM
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I have learned the hard way to document, document, document, then complain to the proper authority.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2006 at 6:20PM
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You should also tell the contractors next door, what is going on with their equipment. I'm sure they will want to know and take precautions. They may even deal with the family for you

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 3:43PM
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casey_wa a fence with plantings of thorny shrubbery.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 6:16PM
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Original poster: put a chicken wire fence or string around the area where you are planting your grass. You must tell the construction company about the boy playing on their equipment. They would be interested to know this and I am sure they would not be happy. Maybe they can tell the people to get their kid off their property.
Also: tip, build a fence between your property and your neighbors. I will never again live in a house where I cannot have a fence delineating my property lines. As I have had numerous problems with a neighbor over our boundary property and their lack of respect for it.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 10:54AM
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