Dear Barb—The State of the Neighbourhood.

Dear Barb:

I moved into a new home about four months ago, just before the coronavirus and I really cannot stand my neighbors!  They have five kids, who are all at home, running the streets yelling and fighting with each other.  At times they knock on my door and I know it is them so I don’t answer the door, but they continue knocking and eventually stop when I don’t answer.  I can hear their parents fighting all the time.  They have a huge dog, it’s friendly enough, but he likes to poop in our yard probably because their yard looks like a junk yard.  For some reason I didn’t notice this before we moved in.  Now with isolating I can’t talk to them about their dog unless I happen to see them outside. 

This is so stressful, my husband and I have considered moving, but we just purchased the house and would end up losing money, if we could even sell it at this time.  I didn’t notice the kids and dogs running the streets, and didn’t hear the fighting until the self isolation.  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t want to cause problems, because we do have to live next door to them.  Do you have any suggestions on how we could handle this situation?  Thanks, Sarah.

Hi Sarah:

These are difficult times for everyone and I’m not trying to make excuses, but it’s got to be hard to be stuck at home 24/7 with five kids!  There has been documentation in the media stating that couples being stuck at home together with their children leads to an increase in stress and arguing.  When you add financial difficulties and lack of family support, the situation can quickly escalate.

Communication is the best way to deal with these situations, but it’s not so easy to do while self isolating.  The parents may be so consumed with their own problems that they are neglecting to see what is going on with their out of control children.  Would it be a possibility that you could obtain their phone number and have a conversation about the children and the dogs?  That may be a place to start.  As well, you could write a note to let them know what’s going on.  Make sure you approach the subject in a friendly manner.  How they react, will indicate what your next move will be.  Unfortunately, there is not a lot you can do right now.  There are online sites that provide a place to vent, which may ease a bit of the stress you are feeling.

When the isolation is lifted there are more aggressive things you can do such as file a complaint with your local police department, but before doing that, you might want to speak with other neighbors to see if this is a common thread for this family, or maybe just a result of the stress of COVID-19.  Good luck Sarah, sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

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