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"Well at least they're not at home playing on their x box"

(56 Posts)
Vintagejazz Thu 07-Jul-22 09:12:55

I heard this line being trotted out again yesterday. A friend was being driven to distraction by kids playing a game that involved much screeching and screaming, directly outside her house at 9.30pm earlier this week. I was sympathising but our other friend just thought it was great they were playing a game and not glued to a gadget.

I've often heard people say this, as if there's no options apart from kids annoying their neighbours or staring at a screen for hours.

What happened to kids being called in at a reasonable time and playing in their own house, or reading a book, or even sitting down with their parents to play a board game or something?

These children were about 8 to 11 years old, apparently.

annsixty Thu 07-Jul-22 09:21:36

I have been accused on this forum of being a miserable old woman for complaining about children being so noisy.
Slightly different scenario as this was younger children playing in their own garden, screaming constantly for hours and banging a football on our shared fence.
I got the same, they are only children, they need to be outside etc.
To live with it is very different.
I had to buy noise reducing headphones to sit in my own garden.
No fun at all.

paddyann54 Thu 07-Jul-22 09:48:28

Its not dark until nearly midnight here ,all the children I know are allowed out until very late to enjoy it.Once winter comes its dark going to school and dark coming home.
My children used to play in the field behind our house ,I dont remember them screaming but I do remember a neighbour coming to the door about a golf ball that had been "practiced" over our roof and across the road .We bought him a net to aim at he's a very good golfer..
My daughter and her friends sat on the kerb until the last light was gone and chatted.
Now there are several families with hot tubs ,they are noisy when they get going BUT its only a few weeks every year .
I'm sorry but I. m one of those people that smile when a I hear them enjoying themselves .They'll be stuck inside all too soon,let them be happy

Jaxjacky Thu 07-Jul-22 09:55:01

I seem to recall my siblings and I playing in the garden with Dad squirting the hose at us on warm evenings, roller skating races and football or French cricket in the cul de sac, bet we made a noise too. So I’m ok with youngsters out playing while they can.

Vintagejazz Thu 07-Jul-22 09:57:06

I don't think my friend objects to children playing out, it's the non stop screaming and shrieking that was doing her head in.

LauraNorderr Thu 07-Jul-22 10:01:43

I’m sure we all take pleasure in listening to children having fun, shrieks of delight as they achieve a goal or a high jump. Those shrieks of joyful trepidation as they enter the cold sea from the beach. Laughter and sounds of happiness we can all enjoy.
What isn’t enjoyable is the constant excessive noise of a football kicked against a wall for hours, the sort of noise used by North American Indians to drive the opposing soldiers wild before battle, boom boom boom on drums.
Or the shouting and shrieking repetition of calling out to each other when a quieter conversation is possible if they just moved closer.
It doesn’t hurt for children to be taught consideration for others.

eazybee Thu 07-Jul-22 10:03:02

There are three very noisy children nearby who delight in screaming whilst playing, but I made a similar comment about them that it is good to hear children playing. Despite being a teacher I don't know why children have to scream so much; coming upon a school playground unexpectedly it sounded as though murder was taking place; but it is a fact of life, and the nights are already drawing in.
The only thing I wish is that parents would occasionally reprove their children for the noise they are making, but many are as noisy themselves, witness behaviour and loud music at evening BBQs.

Doodledog Thu 07-Jul-22 10:17:30

Of course there's a middle ground. I suppose it depends on the age of the children, but if they are of screaming age, which is usually very young, someone in the group's parents should be able to see them, or they should be in earshot. Mine played in the garden, and obviously weren't silent; but I did not allow screaming. I would warn them if it happened, then they had one more chance, and if they did it again they were brought indoors. Children are not going to play quietly, but if they are brought up from the start to recognise that there are other people to be considered, they can learn to keep the noise down to sensible levels, and by 8-11 they should definitely be able to do so without adults telling them.

I don't think it's being miserable to want a bit of peace in your own home, and whereas I also enjoy hearing children's laughter, screaming is really annoying. Also, in any residential area there will be people with different things going on in their lives. Shift workers, people with babies, people who are sick, insomniacs - all of these people have a right to use their homes as they need to, too.

As an aside, I don't understand why some people demonise screens so much. Yes, children need exercise, but there is little difference between playing on an iPad and reading a book as far as that is concerned. A lot of gaming is interactive, and can teach interpersonal skills, as well as being educational in many cases.

lemsip Thu 07-Jul-22 10:19:59

I was annoyed by kids screeching and screaming in the public library ....wearing cycle helmets with bikes ouside an helmeted mother hovering and thinking it alright to let the 5 and 8 yr olds.. at a guess, run round and round the book shelves ..... The park is opposite!

Doodledog Thu 07-Jul-22 10:23:45

Yes, it does come down to whether they are brought up to think they are the centre of the world, or if they are taught to think of other people.

I hope someone had a word with the mother?

GagaJo Thu 07-Jul-22 10:50:04

I shouted at teenagers in the park this week. They were swearing and acting like idiots. Normally, I love teenagers. I love their sneery daftness and find them hilarious. But the park had a lot of small children in it (including my DGS) and the teenagers were doing that loud 'look at me, I'm such a rebel' swearing and posturing.

I was lucky they didn't retaliate, other than a girl sarcastically making a comment about being told off. They slowly moved away from me (crazy old lady) and eventually left.

Have fun by all means. Scream and shout (they're children, it's what they do). Let off steam. But I draw the line at vandalism or overt and deliberate swearing.

Witzend Thu 07-Jul-22 10:51:34


I was annoyed by kids screeching and screaming in the public library ....wearing cycle helmets with bikes ouside an helmeted mother hovering and thinking it alright to let the 5 and 8 yr olds.. at a guess, run round and round the book shelves ..... The park is opposite!

I used to work in our small local library. Most of the children were well behaved but we did get some who’d noisily charge around, crashing into adults quietly trying to choose books.

We were not allowed to say anything - for fear of putting people off. I did once remonstrate - mildly enough - with a child who was banging a plastic toy - hard! - on one of our computer keyboards, while the mother of course said nothing.

The mother later complained and of course I was the one who was reprimanded. Being ‘child friendly’ evidently included allowing children to damage expensive equipment.

I once heard a mother saying to her noisily charging about children, ‘Don’t do that or ‘the lady’ (me or colleague) will be cross.’

NB, not, ‘Don’t do that because we don’t run about shouting in the library.’
Glad to say there was only a minority of such parents, though.,

RichmondPark Thu 07-Jul-22 10:57:59

I really notice the screaming. I'm sure it didn't used to be like this.

My library is always full of mother and baby singalongs, people using the computers whilst speaking on phones, meetings, chattering people looking at exhibitions and this week a woman talking at the top of her voice to a cat who happened to be wandering through. It's busier and noisier than the street outside. Good to see people (and cats) using it though.

biglouis Thu 07-Jul-22 11:06:12

When we were kids (1950s) we all played in the street every evening after school and week ends too. They were little flat fronted terraces without gardens so it must have been very noisy for the neighbours to have kids a few feet away. I cant recall anyone complaining then except when we were playing with balls against the side of their house. In those days if an adult told you not to do something you obeyed - and found somewhere else to have your ball game.

GagaJo Thu 07-Jul-22 11:15:23

I remember walking home from school in the middle of the road (you'd get mown down by cars now) and screaming at the top of our lungs. Can't remember why. But it's a clear memory. I could look up the street name and tell you where it was, the memory is so vivid.

My grandad (who was a pillar of the community) used to relate stories to me of him being a young tearaway/rebel. Fathers were not happy when he was seen out with their daughters.

So none of this is new. Children are children in any time or place. My Chinese students who many would have judged as clones/indoctrinated by those who may now be absent from the site, were in actual fact no different to British kids. Lovely but loud and boisterous.

Doodledog Thu 07-Jul-22 11:25:43

I really don't remember screaming at all. That's not to say it didn't happen, as it's not something you would necessarily remember, but I don't.

I think that children shouting is to be expected (although again, 'children' covers a wide range of ages). Even if they 'know better' they will forget. But screaming is different, unless they have special needs of some sort.

When I was a child we lived on a street where the houses faced each other across a pavement, which was ideal for children playing. Less ideal for our NDN, who was old (I think - I remember her as being ancient, but you know how perspective changes as we age ourselves). She was always telling us to play outside our own house, which we were doing, of course. Between her complaints and my mother insisting we stayed where she could see us from the sitting room window, it's a miracle we managed to play at all😀.

biglouis Thu 07-Jul-22 11:41:11

When I was a child we lived on a street where the houses faced each other across a pavement, which was ideal for children playing

Yes this was how it was where I grew up - little back to back terraces without gardens. So the kids were playing just under your window. Having said that most of us kept the front room for "best" when you had visitors in. It was called the front room or parlour. So the noise in the middle room was not so bad. Kids also played a lot in the yard, which would have a wall around it. Obviously safer than playing in the street. Im sure we were a noisy lot. Seldom less than eight or ten of us.

Mine Thu 07-Jul-22 11:52:56

Vintagejazz....I'm sure your friend screamed when she was a child and excited to be playing and running bout with her friends... We all did its a part of growing up...I love to hear the kids out with their pals enjoying themselves...Let them be children for as long as possible and enjoy their free time....

nexus63 Thu 07-Jul-22 11:53:36

i live in a small block of flats that was all elderly/middle aged when i moved in, now it is mostly families, there is nowhere for the children to play other than the front of the building, they do scream and make a noise and most of the time i can either zone out or shut my balcony door, it is something you have to accept or you can move, with housing so short most 1 & 2 bedroom houses will have children, the only way to avoid this is to move to a more sheltered area that has one bedroom houses or as my dad does....wear earphones to watch tv or listen to music.

Vintagejazz Thu 07-Jul-22 12:24:01

I'm sure we made plenty of noise outside as children. However, at aged 9 or 10 we were at home by 9.30. It was generally understood that however accommodating or patient neighbours were during the day and early evening, there came a time when it was only fair and considerate to call children in.

Doodledog Thu 07-Jul-22 12:36:20

Yes this was how it was where I grew up - little back to back terraces without gardens. So the kids were playing just under your window.
No, we had gardens and there was plenty of space inside for Mrs NDN to get away from the noise grin. I think she'd just forgotten what it was like to have children, as her own had grown and I don't remember there being grandchildren there.

There is a danger of that, and of just misremembering what it was like when our own were small, but I still think that consideration works both ways, and that parents should teach children that they need to think of other people.

GagaJo Thu 07-Jul-22 12:49:01

Children have to let off steam somewhere. Which is why I don't really care about raucous teenagers at the park. Let rip! And if my DGS and a lot of littles hadn't been there, I wouldn't have cared about the blue language either.

We have to remember that the wide open spaces that were available when we were children have often gone, been built on. Neither are children allowed to roam at will, as I did. My DD wasn't as a child, and my DGS won't be allowed to either.

Doodledog Thu 07-Jul-22 13:01:56

I think the park is different. That's what parks are for - not swearing and being a nuisance, but to let rip and be raucous.

Playing outside of someone's window, as in the OP, is not the same at all.

I grew up in a city, where parks and so on were the only wide open spaces, but I know what you mean about children not roaming. Mine didn't go far either, and we live in a small town. We were lucky that there was a nearby playing field, but that has houses on now.

ExDancer Thu 07-Jul-22 13:13:39

I do understand its the screaming that's the problem. My son's children are screamers, because they've never been told to keep the noise down. My other grandchildren do make a noise and they do scream, but they don't indulge in the mindless running round and round screeching at the tops of their voices.

But when they're not your own children there's nothing you can do. How well do you know the parents?

Vintagejazz Thu 07-Jul-22 14:21:35

I don't think she knows the parents at all. She had a rather unpleasant incident a few weeks ago where she asked a group of kids, 3 times, to stop swinging out of a fragile tree directly outside her house and screaming and shouting at 10 to 10.30pm and to go and play on the green, a few yards away, instead. The third time she went out and told them off.
One girl reported to her parents that she had told them they couldn't play on the green. The father started having a go and saying his children had a perfect right to play on the green. My friend explained exactly what she'd said. The father harrumph a bit then said well anyway they were playing a game where they needed to swing out of a tree etc etc

No apology for the late night noise or anything. She feels uncomfortable saying anything after that.