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Am I being a grinch?

(45 Posts)
craftycrochet Mon 09-May-22 20:45:52

Hi all. I am not a Gran as such but I always linger on Gransnet and decided to join a few weeks back but not had a chance to post anything. I just want to ask if any of you think I am being unreasonable here because sometimes I feel like I am being nasty so please do be honest.

We have neighbours in front of us as well as next to us with children and I am thankful that they play with my child as well, who is 5. Absolutely fine with that. At first it was only 1 neighbour coming over to play, then they asked if it was OK if so and so come I said OK, and now all of them are coming into the garden without even asking. I know I told them it was fine but I did ask them not to stamp on my plants and veg, but unfortunately they did. I don't think it was intentional but, there you go.

Another issue is that they are constantly knocking on my back door, complaining about x, y and asking for ice cream, food, drinks. Every day I'm dishing out ice lollies, drinks, and I'm getting a bit tired of it now. They probably think, oh let's go there because she'll give us ice creams and let us play! But I had enough now. Every day after work I have to deal with it and I am sick of it. I can't sit down and have a cup of tea without them knocking on my bloody door. My husband is getting peed off because he's had a long day at work and travelling, he just wants to chill out.

When I call my child in because it is food time, bath and bed, they're all still outside in my garden playing despite me telling them to go home. We went away for a few days a while back and when I got home, my garden was such a mess it took ages to clean it. They also keep crossing over my garden to go into the neighbours next to mine, and then they knock on my door again saying can X come across? I'm like.. Well you're in my garden now so what difference does it make if I said no! They play in the garden even when my son is not playing outside because he wanted to stay in, and they knock on my door asking to use the toilet.

All I want to do, especially when it is sunny weather, is to sit out in my garden in peace but it never happens because they just help themselves over and if I tell them no, I worry the neighbours will think badly of me and think I'm a right cow.

We only bought our house just under 2 years ago and my husband is now getting fed up and stressed and saying if it carries on we need to put our house on the market and move elsewhere which I do not want because we spent so much money doing our house up.

How can I kindly tell them? Issue is they do not listen. I told one of them to stop climbing on top of my wooden fence, but she carried on and my hanging plant fell on the ground.

I just want peace and quiet! And I don't want to have to sell our house and move over this. I could talk to the parents, yes, but they might think I'm being horrid and say that I'm calling their children ferel sad

notgran Mon 09-May-22 20:54:33

It's simple. You just say they haven't to come over anymore. That's it. You are dealing with children and you are an adult.

Blossoming Mon 09-May-22 21:02:29

As notgran says, just lay it on the line and no, you’re not being a grinch at all.

mokryna Mon 09-May-22 21:17:18

The problem is you have made a rod for your own back and they are your son’s playmates, so you shouldn’t be too hard on them. However, I wouldn’t give out food or drinks, give your son a water bottle to show an example. Tell them nicely to use their toilet at their home, they only live a few steps away. If your son is indoors to get them leave, have them hold hands and follow you, taking them outside of your property onto the street. Tell the neighbours that their children mustn’t enter your garden when you aren’t there and you will not be held responsible if any accidents happen as there are tools and substances.
At the moment the other parents must be so happy you have been holding an open garden for all, while they are having a quiet drink.

Smileless2012 Tue 10-May-22 09:30:35

You need to say no, not necessarily every time as they're playmates for your child so perhaps every other time. Make your garden secure so it cannot be entered from the outside, then the children wont be able to get in unless you're there.

As mokryna has also suggested, don't give them food and drinks or allow them to use your toilet.

It may take a while for them to get the message but you'll get there eventually. Good luck

nanna8 Tue 10-May-22 09:38:22

Just tell them to go for heaven’s sake. You’re the adult. Do it when you call your child in and just say it is time to leave now.

annodomini Tue 10-May-22 09:41:25

Why are they not playing in the neighbours' gardens? It would be worthwhile to find out how they were deterred. You are much too soft a touch. Definitely no more sweet treats!

henetha Tue 10-May-22 09:59:19

You're not being a grinch. You are being taken advantage of because of your 'niceness' towards them at first. But it needs to stop, so perhaps you and your husband together can speak to them pleasantly but firmly. And stick to it regardless.

lixy Tue 10-May-22 10:05:05

Be strong here!
If they are playing in your garden while you are not there they are not safe. There may well be tools. toxic plants etc.
As Smileless suggested above, can you make your garden more secure?
I told my children's friends that I didn't have enough money for ice-creams and limited sweet treats to weekends or special occasions. They seemed to accept that and no-one though I was mean as far as I know.
Offer water if there's a request for a drink, send them home to use the toilet.
We also set a time - so when it was our tea-time everyone went home and didn't come back.

Your house, your rules - and you have a right to enjoy it. Please don't let 'what might the neighbours think' spoil your home for you.

midgey Tue 10-May-22 10:10:25

Remember that teacher that you all behaved for back in the day? Channel her/him, don’t shout just use a really firm voice and tell the children what is going to happen….. It’s time for you all to go home!

grannyrebel7 Tue 10-May-22 10:17:35

6ft fence?

Yammy Tue 10-May-22 10:22:17

Tell them no more playing in your garden unless your son is out as well. If they take no notice tell their parents. Don't provide the loo or drinks or snacks and if you want your son to have snacks bring him in.
As henetha says you are being too kind. Try finding out why you are the focus maybe they have been moved on by others.

aggie Tue 10-May-22 10:24:18

Everyone played in our yard , a farm yard that was full of hazards ! One day they came screaming to me , a child was hanging on for dear life poised over the lorry pit , I hauled her out , cleaned her shoes and gave O H a mouthful for leaving the cover open . It did frighten them for a while but they still came back but we’re more careful , as was OH
Years later those children have their own nearly grown children and the tale has passed into folk lore , but her parents stopped speaking to me when they found out 10 years later .
So get the children quietened down , make them listen , and draw up a few rules
No food , just water
Go home to the toilet
Not allowed in when you are not there
And and plants destroyed have to be replaced

AGAA4 Tue 10-May-22 10:43:13

My garden was used by lots of the neighbourhood children. I didn't mind as they would always ask if they could play and would go home when my children came in for meals. They certainly wouldn't have come into the garden when we were out.
I would tell them in no uncertain terms to go home. Also speak to their parents who are having a peaceful time while their children are elsewhere.

Witzend Tue 10-May-22 10:49:20

You’re far too nice, OP!
I’d be laying down very firm rules, and enforcing them with a ‘death stare’. I once had this down to a fine art - dds used to ask me to do my ‘scary face’ and then squeal and hide behind the sofa cushions!
Very useful now and then. 😈

crazyH Tue 10-May-22 10:56:23

I think it’s a bit cheeky to come into your garden when you and your family are away. That’s something that has to be addressed with the parents. I don’t think it’s much of a problem when you are around, but you have to set limits. Let your son know that they can cone over for an hour or so. You have to draw a line. Giving them the odd drink shouldn’t be a problem, but if it is, just ask them to to their own homes for that.

GagaJo Tue 10-May-22 10:59:14

You need a teacher voice. Say loudly (and try to deepen your voice). OK, time to go home. Everybody out! If they try to stay, just repeat. No! Out now.

And I think if they still don't go, you need to get their parents.

Children are like animals, they can sense uncertainty. If you are convinced you are in charge, they will accept it. It works with teenagers, I should know. 32 difficult ones in a classroom is no joke. It also works with my very rebellious grandson. He knows when I mean it and capitulates. Other times, he'll whine and nag, because he knows I might give way.

Granmarderby10 Tue 10-May-22 11:09:47

Just tell them calmly but firmly.
The kids most likely are just enjoying doing stuff they don’t dare do in their respective homes while mums and dads are sighing with relief that it’s you not them

Impress on your own child that you are glad he has friends but that you are not the local adventure playground/loo facility/snack bar/kiddy dispute tribunal.
So if he passes on the message that he respects his own garden and your wishes …this should work.

All the kids aren’t daft and you don’t need to be a doormat to keep everyone else happy.
They and their parents will get it.
Just ensure yours treat their friends gaff with the same respect 🫡 and there should be no grief

eazybee Tue 10-May-22 11:20:26

I found this used to happen when my children were small, at weekends. because: 'you are a teacher and are used to having children around' and 'my daddy says we can't play in the house because he wants to watch the television.'
You have to be firm, set up ground rules, and when your child comes in you may have to escort the other children home a few times to make the point. The other thing which used to horrify me was how many children were turned out to play unsupervised and would end up playing in the road.

craftycrochet Tue 10-May-22 11:21:52

Thank you all for your replies. I agree I am a doormat but as you all said, I am an adult and it is my garden and house. I am going to put my foot down from now on because I've woken up in quite a foul mood blush my husband also said that I need to tell them enough is enough. When he gets home he wants peace and quiet which I get. This cannot carry on and putting up a 6ft fence is an option, it will be the very last resort though. I have no idea why all of this is giving me a massive headache. I need to grow a pair grin

Allegretto Tue 10-May-22 11:23:37

You need to have a script - GagaJo’s lines are perfect.

Keep repeating the same line every time they appear.

Definitely no drinks and no use of your toilet. They can go home for both.

Send them home every time your son is going indoors.

Be the adult here, but keep it pleasant and do not waiver. They will learn your rules. Consistency is important so make no exceptions to your rules.

biglouis Tue 10-May-22 12:15:06

When you have been a teacher/lecturer you develop an "edge" to your voice whereby you are instructing (rather than requesting) people to do things. I use it sometimes when I think people are taking the pi** or trying to get a free lunch.

Unfortunately you have allowed things to slide.

Time to have a frank talk with the parents of these children about respecting your property and boundaries.

Seabear Tue 10-May-22 13:45:27

my husband also said that I need to tell them enough is enough. When he gets home he wants peace and quiet

This sounds like something from the 1950s. Why is your husband not dealing with it himself it if it bothers him so much?

jenpax Tue 10-May-22 14:00:27

I fell into this same trap when my own kids were small we lived in a village and our garden became a sort of hang out for half the kids in the village. My DD was not allowed to roam the village but other kids parents seemed more laissez faire! I too used to hand out snacks and drinks and 3 kids used to stay to dinner! In the end we went to see their parents and explained that while we were happy for play dates we didnt want open house! I think I had a romanticised view of country life!

BlueBelle Tue 10-May-22 14:10:50

I don’t think you should say no because then you are punishing your own child but you need to be firm that they go home when your child comes in and no one comes into your garden when you are not there or you will be speaking to their parents
You also need them To know you are disappointed that they are not looking after your garden and next time there’s a mess they can clear it up have a competition to see who can pick the most rubbish up
You have to set the rules ( in a kind way)
You don’t have to dish out lollies drinks etc explain to your child that you haven’t got enough money for everyone
One biscuit or one drink of water if asked

I used to be the ‘go to’ house that everyone went to and yes I did give them a biscuit or a drink but nothing more
I did like knowing where my kids were so didn’t mind and most of them were lovely kids I enjoyed having them in the garden or house (one or at most two) not a whole crowd at a time

Set rules but kind rules youre the adult