to let my children play with a tennis ball in the road

(157 Posts)
HopeClearwater Sat 03-Aug-13 11:15:27

Don't know what to do. We live in a small cul-de-sac of 3-bed semis. My dc are allowed to play with bat and ball outside at the widest part of the cul-de-sac. I can see them from my house. I don't let them play football there. An elderly neighbour is taking great exception to it, hates the ball rolling into his driveway (everything is open, tiny front gardens mainly converted to hard standing). He's just shouted at my younger child when the ball rolled into another neighbour's driveway.
He stands in his front room watching them when they play out and waiting for the ball to go somewhere he thinks it shouldn't.
I have a tiny back garden and my other neighbour complains when any balls land in his garden, so I feel that's out now as well.
I'm trying to be sympathetic to the old guy but I can't help thinking that he'd have spent his childhood in the streets of London and not stuck inside. He's shouted at me too, told me they shouldn't be playing out and it infringes his rights. I was very polite back but didn't actually agree or disagree with anything he said.

Flossie82 Sat 03-Aug-13 11:22:40

YABU - balls and roads don't mix.
Why can't you take them to the park and find something suitable to play in the garden when at home?

well he does have a point, irritating to him no doubt

can't you take the children to the park to play ball games? that would be a good compromise, both for old fellow and your ndn

they can still play out, but not with the balls

AnneNonimous Sat 03-Aug-13 11:23:18


If there's no room in your garden for ball games take them to the park to play them. Your neighbours have a right to not have balls flying into there property all the time.

Whothefuckfarted Sat 03-Aug-13 11:27:51

Oh for gods sake!

Is the ball causing any damage at all? No? YANBU!
Are your kids trampling flowers when retrieving it? No? YANBU!
Are they playing on a public communal piece of ground? Yes? YANBU!
Are your children shouting obscenities and being rude? No? YANBU

They are kids playing out, nothing wrong with that!

Old man needs to get over it and find something else to do rather than gripe at some kids getting a bit of fresh air! FFS!

HollyBerryBush Sat 03-Aug-13 11:27:52

Sponge or foam ball but not hard balls like a football or tennis ball, far too easy for them to damage things.

I'll run against the grain, we all managed to play in the street without pissing off he neighbours, people are just so intolerant these days.

I would be tempted with a bucket of sarcasm to say something like "no air raid shelters and bomb sites for them to play in like you did"

Whothefuckfarted Sat 03-Aug-13 11:29:58

Holly Agreed, people are just intolerant these days.

Eilidhbelle Sat 03-Aug-13 11:30:31

I don't think it's worth falling out with your neighbours over. Are there cars parked in the street? Only asking because it wouldn't bother me if a ball came into my garden but if it bounced off my car I'd be raging.

What Who said. He needs to stop watching for it and go and do something else. He shouldn't stand in his window gawping at the children playing.

What do you think is his main objection? Would a badminton set be better?

saintmerryweather Sat 03-Aug-13 11:34:26

id only think he had a point if cars or windows are at risk. id be pissed off if they were chucking tennis balls around near my car

tiggytape Sat 03-Aug-13 11:35:06

A bat and ball in the road is not very reasonable and if your immediate neighbour objects enough for you to avoid using your garden why is playing outside elderly man's driveway any better?

Perhaps your neighbour is a bit precious and OTT to stand guard and yell at them but he is probably worried it will cause damage to his garden or car - which is fair enough - a tennis ball being hit by a bat could do damage much more than even a soft football being kicked around.

Whothefuckfarted Sat 03-Aug-13 11:36:41

It's a bloody sad state of affairs when kids can't play outside their house in the street in the holidays because of some miserable old tyrant.

WilsonFrickett Sat 03-Aug-13 11:39:45

Get them a soft ball. Then they can't cause any damage at all. And ignore the neighbour, there's always one (it used to be my Nana blush)

Flossie82 Sat 03-Aug-13 11:40:31

But streets aren't there for laying on - they are for walking along to get to a suitable play area

Vivacia Sat 03-Aug-13 11:40:36

If he's stood in the window watching, the potential damage from ball games must be playing on his mind. If your children's play must include ball games, take them to the park. They can play with skipping ropes or chalk or whatever in the garden.

tiggytape Sat 03-Aug-13 11:40:37

Its a sad state of affairs when parents don't realise that there has to be some compromise between families who want their kids out having fun and households who want some peace and no possibility of tennis balls bouncing off their cars and windows.

If the kids had a foam ball or badminiton set, most neighbours would have no issue with it at all (although you always get the odd moaner) but it would make most people twitchy to have kids playing bat and ball right outside their house with a tennis ball.

Beach ball?

Every road has a miserable old git. Ours stand in his bay window with his hands on his hips banging the window when ours play opposite his house. They are not encroaching on his drive/garden or making a noise. But he can see them. He disappears when an adult goes down there.

Vivacia Sat 03-Aug-13 11:42:57

"He needs to stop watching for it and go and do something else. He shouldn't stand in his window gawping at the children playing."

That's not fair. He's worried. Perhaps for him the street isn't for ball games but for his car to be parked safely or his garden to be undamaged or to feel safe in his home? I know for children the street might be for being noisy and throwing balls, but you need to compromise.

But what is he worried about?

Eilidhbelle Sat 03-Aug-13 11:44:50

But they can still play outside - they could play with a skipping rope or chalk that they clean up afterwards. I don't think it's that unreasonable to not want balls coming into your garden - particularly if he's elderly, it might be a massive strain on him to get his garden in order.

But you do have my sympathies OP, it must be annoying if there are no parks or grass around you that they can play in safely.

mysteryfairy Sat 03-Aug-13 11:44:56

I would send them out with scooters, stilts, Diablo, pogo sticks etc so they can still have fun but be guaranteed to remain on the public highway. That way whilst the grumpy neighbour probably still won't be happy he'll have no actual grounds for complaint as they won't trespass on his land at all.

Eilidhbelle Sat 03-Aug-13 11:46:48

Aw, x-post with vivica - and I was so proud of my chalk/skipping rope solution too!

Whothefuckfarted Sat 03-Aug-13 11:46:56


Good answer. I would put money on the guy still standing at his window watching and waiting for something to moan at them about.

mymatemax Sat 03-Aug-13 11:48:20

YANBU - Let the kids play, remain polite & calm & make sure your children are too, he will forever be the grumpy old man.
Try to encourage something that cannot go on his driveway, I bet he still finds something to moan about smile

pudcat Sat 03-Aug-13 11:54:52

If the widest part is outside your house then YANBU, but if you are sending them to play outside someone else's house then YABU.

Greydog Sat 03-Aug-13 11:59:42

YABU - there's nothing more annoying than ball games in the road when people have gardens. We suffered it for years in our road. There was never any peace from children playing with footballs, tennis balls etc. They all have gardens. they were out until it went dark. It got so bad in the summer that I would come home from work, pick yp son, and we would go and eat a picnic tea in a lay by, as you couldn'y get away from it. And the damage that balls, bats, cause to peoples cars, parked on their own drives just isn't funny. Sorry about the rant!

WorrySighWorrySigh Sat 03-Aug-13 12:05:15


There is a risk of bats and balls causing damage to other people's property.


The biggest risk is children concentrating on their game and not on the road. Perhaps you think that the road is safe because it is a cul-de-sac. My DD (then aged 11) was knocked over by a car in our cul-de-sac. DD wasnt paying attention and stepped in front of our neighbour's car which was going just a touch too fast but less than 20 mph.

I heard the bang and I heard my DD screaming in pain and shock. DD suffered a broken foot and damage too her knee. She was on crutches for 6 weeks.

All it takes is for a delivery person on a tight schedule or a neighbour in a hurry and one of your children watching the ball not the road.

In the event of a car colliding with a child even at slow speed the child will come of worse. There wasnt a scratch on neighbour's car.

Jackanory1978 Sat 03-Aug-13 12:08:26

YANBU, I spent hours as a child playing in the street; ball games, bikes, rollar skates etc. There was a group of 10 of us in our street & no one ever complained about us.

Much better for them to be outdoors doing physical activity than sat in front of the TV/playstation. That's why we have increased rates of childhood obesity.

Turniptwirl Sat 03-Aug-13 12:34:17

I don't get why you won't allow a football but a tennis ball is ok?

MiaowTheCat Sat 03-Aug-13 13:16:43

So you send them down to play in the widest part. Basically you send them away from your house to play outside everyone else's? So you get peace and quiet and they get the shouting and wondering if the ball is going to hit their windows or cars or whatever?

I'm in camp grumpy neighbour.

HopeClearwater Sat 03-Aug-13 13:18:04

Thanks everyone for your responses.
I don't let them play football as they can kick it really hard. I do take them out to the park etc but can't do it as much as they'd like. They are sporty outdoors kids and I'd like to keep it that way. But of course I don't want a neighbour dispute.
I am at the top of the close next to the widest part of the road, yes. There is not much to his front garden - grass, tree, bush under window - and another neighbour maintains it for him as a favour.
I grew up in a similar road; there were loads of us kids and we played out the whole time. Sad that I can't do it now with my children.
Some of the ideas upthread eg badminton, softer balls etc, are excellent. Thank you.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 03-Aug-13 13:19:25

tennis balls are really hard and a good whack could easily send one flying through someone's window or car windscreen.

I don't think it's sensible to let kids bash hard balls about on the street. the potential for damage is fairly high.

why not get them one of those ball on a string things? or have them play games that don't involve hitting a small hard ball all over the place?

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sat 03-Aug-13 13:19:44


ShellyBoobs Sat 03-Aug-13 13:28:06

So you send them down to play in the widest part. Basically you send them away from your house to play outside everyone else's? So you get peace and quiet and they get the shouting and wondering if the ball is going to hit their windows or cars or whatever?

^^ This.

YABVU to send your kids to play with a ball outside someone else's house instead of your own. Totally understandable that he would get pissed off with that.

Ours stand in his bay window with his hands on his hips banging the window when ours play opposite his house. They are not encroaching on his drive/garden or making a noise. But he can see them. He disappears when an adult goes down there.

I think you're probably the same, Sparkling. If it's a case of an adult 'going down there', then it sounds like that's not outside your house?

jamdonut Sat 03-Aug-13 13:39:25

I worry about my car when kids decide to start playing "kerby" in our street,right outside my house. I just don't think its fair,or to have children running over your front garden (they are mostly open plan) to retrieve the ball, either, not to mention dangerous, as cars go very fast down our road sometimes. Why don't they play outside their own house,anyway?

(I'm obviously very territorial, I ( and DH) have a real thing about people being on our property,front or back garden...I wouldn't do it ,or allow my children to do it to someone else,so I don't expect others to do it to me. I guess I am the grumpy git in our road.wink)

xylem8 Sat 03-Aug-13 13:47:21

You say everybody has tiny open plan front gardens.It is just begging for a window to be smashed or car dented

pudcat Sat 03-Aug-13 13:48:55

There is not much to his front garden - grass, tree, bush under window
So he is probably worried about his windows, and also the noise of the balls. Get a ball on elastic and let them play in the garden.

Mammagaga Sat 03-Aug-13 13:51:06

Yanbu you just have really grumpy neighbours!!!

Fairylea Sat 03-Aug-13 13:53:11

I think yabu.

Do they even need a ball to play with? Can't they play chase or have a go on a scooter or a bike? Much less noisy and anti social.

The bouncing of tennis balls and footballs outside my house would drive me absolutely insane. But I admit I am very sensitive to noise.

lljkk Sat 03-Aug-13 13:55:41

Foam ball would be fine.

maddening Sat 03-Aug-13 13:57:02

If his lounge is at the front it is probably irritating to have dc running up to by his window - it is possibly infringing on his privacy- he chose a house that has a front garden that affords him some privacy rather than a house with windows straight on to the street.

What about swingball? They could still have all the fun of hitting a ball back and forth, without annoying the neighbours when the ball goes into their garden. A compromise.

Swingball is a good idea. That should please Mr Grumpy. Unless he is the sort that always finds something to complain about.

HopeClearwater Sat 03-Aug-13 14:17:03

MiaowTheCat and whoever quoted you - please read carefully - I do not send them down to the widest part. I live at the widest part. So does he. Whatever you think of playing outside, that's a pretty big assumption on your part. Yes I can see them from my house. No I don't have to try hard to do so. They are right outside my house.
The balls aren't noisy. Tis not Wimbledon.
I am trying to be considerate. The neighbour doesn't much like any of the children in the close on their bikes or scooters either, and I don't want the kids knocking anyone over.

candycoatedwaterdrops Sat 03-Aug-13 14:58:56

Hope Are they soft balls or proper tennis balls?

ForgetfulNameChanger Sat 03-Aug-13 15:08:18

If its proper tennis balls, YABU. We used to live on a cul-de-sac too at the widest bit where all the kids would play. We got a tennis ball through the front window of the house. They are quite hard balls. He's obviously on edge worrying about it so just get them a soft ball!

littlemisswise Sat 03-Aug-13 15:20:22

We had a lovely dent put in the back of one of our cars because some DC were playing with a tennis ball outside our house! It pissed DH off no end!
Tennis balls are hard and noisy and can and do cause damage! (Far too many ands there)!


Bowlersarm Sat 03-Aug-13 15:27:52

I'm a bit torn on this one.

One of the best things for us about moving from our last road was escaping from the kids playing ball games outside our house.

On the other hand I do feel for your chidren. I have three, and if they are active they need to be outside. But I wouldn't want to be your neighbour!

Would there be some sort of compromise like, if you are on good enough terms with neighbour, agree certain times when your children won't be playing outside his house? Don't know if that's workable but at least shows you're trying to be neighbourly.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sat 03-Aug-13 15:34:01

Children, ball, road, cars - what could possibly go wrong?

- A neighbour coming in a little too quickly
- A delivery driver on a tight schedule

All it takes is for one of your children to be paying more attention to the ball than the road for an accident to happen.

It happened to our DD, please dont be so naive as to think that it couldnt happen to your DCs.

UC Sat 03-Aug-13 15:38:03

I think YANBU.

I think your neighbour is being grumpy. If he hates children he should go and live somewhere without neighbours.

Emilythornesbff Sat 03-Aug-13 15:42:19

I agree with whothefuckfarted
I'd be worried about cars though. blush

Floralnomad Sat 03-Aug-13 15:52:16

I don't like children playing ball outside my house and I think if your children are old enough to be playing in the road unsupervised then they are old enough to go to the park .

Rhino71 Sat 03-Aug-13 15:58:40

This is similar to the ball over the garden thread.. Same response from me, stop being so fucking miserable and let the kids play.. Parks are great but you can't be at a park 24/7. Wish people would stop trying to defend these miserable sods. Kids play with balls, that's life.. Better playing out with balls than in watching telly or on the I-pads.

Foam ball or swingball in future maybe. Also give them alternatives to play with to mix it up a bit. Badminton, pavement chalks, bubbles, hula hoops, space hoppers, scooters, roller skates, skipping ropes, pogo sticks, etc.

A classmate of my DS's was very badly injured last summer holidays as she momentarily forgot her road rules and chased her ball out between two parked cars and was hit by a car coming down the quiet cul de sac. It was touch and go if she'd make it but thankfully she did.

We had neighbours who would send their dcs out to play tennis or football down our tiny terrace. I feel for your neighbour as I would feel so anxious about them breaking a window it would make me feel ill. It also really annoyed my to have them running in front of my front window to retrieve ball from front garden - felt like an invasion of privacy.

If you get a swingball ask Grumpy Git if he would like a game. grin

SelectAUserName Sat 03-Aug-13 16:10:48

Swingball in the back garden
Soft ball or non-ball games in the street
Tennis ball and football for trips to the park

Plenty of choice for sporty games for active children there, I would have thought.

You would have to hit a tennis ball incredibly hard for it to break a double glazed window hmm, my own kids have never managed it touch wood, not even with a leather football. There is a possible issue of damage to cars and a danger of children being hit by a car, but neither of these things seem to be what is bothering the neighbour. It sounds like he is being grumpy for being grumpys sake, but I do think the OP might need to look at alternative entertainments. Swingball might be a really good idea tbh.

holycowwhatnow Sat 03-Aug-13 16:21:13

You'd want to be in Ireland where the kids bash sliotars around- they're much much harder than tennis balls. I think there are much bigger things to be getting pissed off about than kids having harmless fun out on the road. Of course, if they're playing near parked cars and could damage either them or risk running out in front of a car, you'd need to rethink things. But otherwise, YANBU at all and the world's gone mad.

WilsonFrickett Sat 03-Aug-13 19:28:40

jamdonut 'your' bit of the road probably has the best stretch of kerb - no dropped bits, even height, no drains etc.

I may have played too much kirby in my youth...

WorrySighWorrySigh Sat 03-Aug-13 20:12:00

You dont feed your kids fruit shoots, pom bears,fizzy drinks and encourage them to eat lost of fruit and veg.

But for some reason on MN it is okay to let your kids play ball games on the road (albeit a quiet one) and risk getting knocked over by a car.

Because accidents happen to other people's children.

MrsGSR Sat 03-Aug-13 20:27:44

YABU if you're letting your kids play with a tennis ball and bat around cars.

mayoandchips Sat 03-Aug-13 21:01:51

I have an image of Meddlesome Ratbag from Viz in my head, standing there waiting to stir shit :D
Sorry, not helpful...

BarbarianMum Sat 03-Aug-13 21:09:00

It is fine for children to play out on quiet streets - OP yours sounds ideal.

There is always one grumpy neighbour - we had one and that was 30+ years ago. She had had her garden tarmaced and still got upset if a tennis ball rolled across the corner of it.

But foam balls are probably a good idea. Then no danger of damage.

5madthings Sat 03-Aug-13 21:15:46

Fuck me some of you lot would hate our cul de sac!

There are always kids playing out, we with balls, generally soft balls, or on scooters, bikes etc. Its very quiet, a dead end and you can't turn into it fast, the kids play from outside my house and down towards the dead end so away from the turn in anyway.

But they all have a lovely time, parents can see from front room/kitchen windows and there is often a parent outside as well.

The front gardens are big enough for a car or two and are mainly paved so no plants to squash. We have swing ball but they also play with foam balls etc.

We have a paddling pool in our front garden at the moment and a variety of kids have been playing in it.

All the kids play really nicely, they spent ages yesterday watching ants as there is an ants nest on the edge of our garden.

Op give them a soft foam ball, tho the average child cannot hit a tennis ball hard enough to break a double glazed window.

5madthings Sat 03-Aug-13 21:17:08

And I played Kirby with my ds2 today! Loved the game as a kid and the hours of playing it as a child meant I beat ds2! grin

MikeOxard Sat 03-Aug-13 21:27:12

YABU. Kids shouldn't be playing ball games in the road - obviously! It's not safe, and people will be worried about their cars and other property being damaged. If they keep getting shouted at because they frequently have to go into people's gardens to get the ball back, that's not acceptable. My dd is 3 and even she knows you're not allowed to go into other people's gardens! Let them play in your back garden - if they can't play carefully enough to keep the ball within their garden then buy them a ball on a string thing, or tell them they have to play something else, or let them go to the park, but don't let them play in the road and in other people's front gardens.

PresidentServalan Sun 04-Aug-13 13:01:04

The street isn't the place for ball games - if they can't play their games in your garden, take them to the park! Where my friend lives, there have nearly been accidents when balls have r

PresidentServalan Sun 04-Aug-13 13:01:37

Rolled into the road and forced cars to do an emergency stop.

goodasitgets Sun 04-Aug-13 13:22:47

My car was damaged by a football. Our road is a dead end but when you drive to the bottom and swing round you can't see before you turn. The kids sit in the road shock and I've had to do countless slams on brakes even at 10mph as they don't move
The associated noise/screaming/shouting means I have to keep the window shut. Irritating when they have back gardens, and there's a park 250m walk away

goodasitgets Sun 04-Aug-13 13:23:23

Forgot to add - if they had a sponge ball and weren't screaming, I couldn't care less!

JumpingJackSprat Sun 04-Aug-13 13:38:35

I cant believe so few posters are concerned about the risk of being hit by a car. you do know if your kid runs into the road and gets hit by a car, even if the car is only doing 20mph then the pedstrian could easily die or have catastrophic injuries? Not a risk id take with a child of mine, take them to the park.

RedHelenB Sun 04-Aug-13 14:10:07

How old are they - could they go to the park on their on?

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 04-Aug-13 15:00:17

I agree JumpingJackSprat - my own DD was hit by a car in our quiet cul-de-sac at less than 20mph. She was left with a broken foot and knee damage which troubles her to this day.

When I tell my neighbours they do this face --> shock then carry on letting their reception aged children play on the road unsupervised.

I dont know whether it is stupidity or naivety - accidents happen to other people.

Canidae Sun 04-Aug-13 19:55:19

Foam balls, badminton, hula hoops, bikes, scooters, chalk are all good. I think tennis balls and footballs are too hard and wouldn't like them thrown around my car tbh. As long as they stay off his property and don't scream and shout then he can't complain.

xylem8 Sun 04-Aug-13 20:01:11

Even with a foam ball this is not good.b
You really cannot allow your kids to be running in and out of your neighbours property retrieving balls all day.It doesn't matter that it is just a driveway etc.It is private.You have to teach your kids to respect private property

xylem8 Sun 04-Aug-13 20:02:17

..and I would just like to add the quietest roads are often where the accidents happen- the kids are not expecting cars.

atrcts Sun 04-Aug-13 20:09:14

I have lovely memories of playing tennis with my brother in the road.

I think it's lovely you have a nice quiet cul de sac and are a Mum who is pro-freedom (as much as is safe).

I would say though, that it's important no perceived harm can be done (just because it hasn't yet doesn't mean it can't) and so I'd use a reasonably soft ball so no dents in cars or broken windows!

Other than that, unfortunately some people think children shouldn't have fun and your neighbour sounds a bit of a sour grapes really.

If it bothers you, rater than roll over, i suppose you could call a truce and allow street tennis at certain hours of the day (would be hard to enforce because of weather though), or for a certain agreed length of time.

But if you all have a hard enough skin I don't think you're unreasonable to ignore!

xylem8 Sun 04-Aug-13 20:15:21

so atrcts do you think it's ok for kids to running in and out of their neighbours gardens retrieving the ball?

pudcat Sun 04-Aug-13 20:20:29

please not scooters. The children bump them up and down the kerbs and home made ramps outside my house and the noise goes all through the house. I have to shut all windows and have fans on to keep cool.

Rhino71 Sun 04-Aug-13 20:22:04

What is it with people getting so funny about a child retrieving a ball from a garden... They want their ball back, they don't want to spy on you in the bath.. Lighten up its a piece of grass.

rocketupbum Sun 04-Aug-13 20:36:28

Our street is like 5madthings, loads of kids out with a variety of equipment. We all have very very small back yards and the street is a cul de sac off a cul de sac. Also the nearest park is about 15 mins walk across about 3 busy roads! It is not really practical to spend all day there.
The kids are only allowed soft balls and mostly run around the block rather than across the road.
I think it would be incredibly sad if they weren't allowed to play out at all and cause lots more screen time arguments in our house!

xylem8 Sun 04-Aug-13 21:01:36

What is it with people getting so funny about a child retrieving a ball from a garden
jeez how entitled are you!! It's their garden why should brats use it as an extension of their playground? No wonder kids these days have no respect for other peoples property when parents are encouraging this.

PresidentServalan Sun 04-Aug-13 22:07:02

Xylem - I agree - and then the parents complain that people get pissed off about the kids going in their gardens!

DoingStuffForHarriet Sun 04-Aug-13 22:19:40

Sounds to me that they aren't playing outside your house, but down the road, outside the old neighbour's house, where the road is wider. Their ball is constantly being batted up his drive, and no doubt your dcs are running up and down over his property to retrieve it. YABU in my opinion. This would get on my nerves too.

Rhino71 Sun 04-Aug-13 22:29:28

They're children, it's a piece of grass, stop being do bleeding precious. The children around here are polite, do knock and treat other people's property with respect, what do you think is you g to happen if they walk on grass? Lighten up and get a life.

PresidentServalan Sun 04-Aug-13 22:36:34

So being disturbed by constant ringing of the doorbell and kids wandering in and out of the garden, esp when the person is child-free isn't going to annoy them?? hmm

Andro Sun 04-Aug-13 22:59:00

What is it with people getting so funny about a child retrieving a ball from a garden

Because they're in and out and in and out and in...repeat ad nauseum. Then there's the car alarms going off relentlessly because the ball has hit a car - again. Not to mention the howling when a child has decided that using the gate is too much of a trek, so they've tried to go over the wall and fallen - again. Then of course there is the damage done by the bat when they've gone running up the drive (bat in hand) and smacked said bat into a car (that was DH's company car last year...lovely).

xylem8 Sun 04-Aug-13 23:15:14

why does the OP not take the kids somewhere they can play on a sufficiently large public space that they are not encroaching on private land ?

MrsGSR Sun 04-Aug-13 23:36:00

Personally I wouldn't worry about kids going into my front garden (although constantly ringing the doorbell would be a problem for anyone with a napping child, anyone who is ill/disabled).

I would be annoyed if the kids were playing with a tennis ball and bat around cars. Even hit by a kid, a tennis ball could very easily dent a car, or set of an airbag which could cost hundreds to repair. Whilst it would be unlikely to break a double glazed windows, it could smash a greenhouse or shed window. If it was a soft ball I wouldn't have a problem with it.

kali110 Mon 05-Aug-13 02:48:05

Its unfair to say its just a mum loves gardening and takes great pride in it.not fair to have kids trampolling all over it.nobody would llike it if someone ruined something they had spent time and money in. My living room used to be front of the house so i woud be annoyed if peoole were constantly running up and batting balls near my windows. Maybe neighbour is wimorried about damage. If someone is looking after his garden then maybe he has limited mobility.
Id be more worried about your dc being run over though op. even though you live in a cul-se-sac doesnt mean its risk free. It only takes your child a sec to forget safety or for a driver to go too fast.not everyone is a considerate driver.

ChippingInHopHopHop Mon 05-Aug-13 03:38:12

A ball running onto a driveway is such a petty, pathetic thing to complain about.

The cul-de-sac is public space - he can 'think' all he likes, but he can't 'do' anything about it. However, if he shouts at your kids for playing in the street, you can do something about it - which is something I wouldn't hesitate to tell him.

If you are prepared to pay if they cause any damage to windows or cars then it is your lookout and only yours if they play in the public street.

ChippingInHopHopHop Mon 05-Aug-13 03:39:18

kali the OP has taken pains to describe his garden - there aren't any plants to ruin.

ChippingInHopHopHop Mon 05-Aug-13 03:41:54

I dont know whether it is stupidity or naivety

How about neither. How about assesing the risks and making a decision... just because it's different to your decision it does not make it stupid or naive hmm

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 05-Aug-13 07:31:08

I think my neighbours who allow their children to play unsupervised in the road are stupid or naive. Our DD was knocked over and injured on our quiet cul-de-sac. I have explained this to neighbours.

One set now directly supervise their children when they are playing out in the street. The other set 'supervise' by leaving the front door open and sitting in the back garden. IMO they have not assessed the risk, they are simply sticking their heads in the sand. That makes them stupid or naive.

RedHelenB Mon 05-Aug-13 07:50:50

Worry - I understand what you are saying BUT children do need a chance to play away from adults, it's part of growing up so i don't see either set of neighbours necessarily making the wrong decision.

Catmint Mon 05-Aug-13 08:03:47

There is far more traffic on the roads now than there was when any of us were children.

flossieflower Mon 05-Aug-13 08:06:21

I am currently visiting family in a very similar street admit the two boys next door have been playing tennis with a proper tennis ball. I have lost count of the number of times they've trampled across my family member's flower bed (and other neighbours) to retrieve their ball and as they are playing right next to my car (not their parents cars!!) I am getting very annoyed by it. They also play until 9pm which is an hour after my youngest goes to bed and the constant noise has been keeping her awake.

I think it is really selfish to let kids play with tennis balls near other people's cars or houses- use your own garden or go to the park!

StanleyLambchop Mon 05-Aug-13 08:18:22

How willing are you to accept responsibility for any damage though, OP? Our neighbours DC used to play tennis in the road, one day the ball got hit quite hard on a neighbours car, there was a large tennis ball dent in the car. The kids knew they had done wrong and ran into their house. The car-owning neighbour went to knock at the front door to report kids damage- row ensued as the parents denied it was their DC and said the neighbour could not prove it was so they would not pay for damage. So poor neighbour stuck with repair bill . Kids back in the road half an hour later, playing tennis again! Perhaps your neighbour has had a similar problem in the past?

Also, all those who said they played out when they were a child and did not come to any harm- there are many , many more cars on the road today. It is not really safe anymore. YABU on this one I think!

topknob Mon 05-Aug-13 08:31:58

Our cul de sac is quite like 5madthings as well, except the kids have the added bonus of fields and woodland at the end..this summer the kids in the road, 3 of mine, 4 of the other neighbours in the road, have all built a den in the woods ! They play out together either on bikes or just general running about, looking for frogs etc. IF any of them do something I don't like, such as taking a bike too close to my car, I tell them, the same goes if ANY of them went into another neighbours garden, I tell them no. As do the other parents. My kids are 8,9 and 11 and they love just going outside to play. I would not however allow them to go to the park alone, it is a 15 minute walk, road crossing involved and I can't see them. I do take them most days though.

WorrySighWorrySigh Mon 05-Aug-13 08:41:59

RedHelenB - I get what you are saying about the need to play away from constant parental supervision but is a road the place to do it?

My neighbours' children are all infant school age or younger and with the road sense normal for their age ie pretty much none. My DD was 11 when she was knocked over so the injuries were to her leg/foot. Even at the slow speed of the accident the injuries were significant. At a younger age the injuries would have been further up her body - pelvis, trunk, head. The potential for these injuries to be life changing or ending is far greater.

Children playing in the road with a ball will not be paying attention to the road. They will be watching the ball. All it takes is for a child to run out into the road after the ball and for the great misfortune for a car to be coming along at the same time. This car could be a neighbour, a delivery driver, someone lost.

The risk is there, ignoring it is not the same as assessing it.

siezethenight Mon 05-Aug-13 08:43:30

I miss hearing and seeing kids playing out in the street. All the kids are older here and don't do it.
I think most elderly people who are grumps are perhaps lonely deep down and any interaction with somebody is interaction.
I would get a soft ball like others have suggested though. If for no other reason then to save yourself a bill should a car be hit or a window smashed.

pudcat Mon 05-Aug-13 08:47:08

I really cannot believe how selfish some parents are regarding their children playing in the street. It seems to some that is ok to keep fetching balls from neighbours' gardens, or to hit noisy balls and bang scooters outside others' house. I do not want it. I do not want children continuously knocking on my door to retrieve balls. Let them play outside their own house, damage their own cars and gardens. I would like to be able to have my windows open on warm days. My grandchildren play in my back garden. They do not have hard balls. They play croquet, swing ball, quoits. They make tents with chairs and blankets. They have dolls picnics. They do not annoy the neighbours. It seems to me that some children and their parents need to respect others' property and privacy.

topknob Mon 05-Aug-13 08:51:10

Seems to me some of you have forgotten that you were once children !

RedHelenB Mon 05-Aug-13 08:52:13

Well you know your street - our cul de sac is small & cars have to slow down to come our end of it if you see what I mean & all the kids do play out. And neighbours will tell them or the parents if they are being pains!

I think it depends where you're from Pudcat - playing on the street with bikes & scooters is the norm here, unless the roads really are busy.

As to noise, adults are equally as capable of making it!! I certainly don't expect peace & quiet living in a detached house on a cul-de-sac!

MintyChops Mon 05-Aug-13 09:19:58

YABU for a number of reasons. It is dangerous, there is the potential for damage to other people's property and it is interfering with your neighbour's enjoyment of his property.

pudcat Mon 05-Aug-13 09:57:37

And neighbours will tell them or the parents if they are being pains. We have tried that. The children have been told to bring friends from neighbouring roads, and the neighbourhood watch lady has been told to f off, or have her face smashed in.

Seems to me some of you have forgotten that you were once children
No I haven't but I was taught to respect others and that it was not the god given right of children to do as they wished with no thought for others.

Andro Mon 05-Aug-13 10:02:10

Seems to me some of you have forgotten that you were once children !

I would imagine that some of us:

1. Were not allowed to play in the road (I certainly wasn't)

2. Were clearly taught that not being careful with whatever toy would result in being brought in (applied to balls going over fences/walls/etc)

topknob Mon 05-Aug-13 10:05:47

I have at no point said my kids or the others in the road don't respect others and I clearly pointed out that should they step out of line, they are told about it.

Kids should be able to play outside, who wants to be stuck indoors all the time or restricted to a back garden. They are growing up and need to learn. Part of playing out is learning what is acceptable and what isn't.

Thankfully we only have 16 houses down our road and only one miserable git !

pudcat Mon 05-Aug-13 10:19:57

Unfortunately topknob not all parents think like you do, and the further their children play away from their own home the better for them.

FranSanDisco Mon 05-Aug-13 10:34:36

I was never allowed to play on the street - twas common lol. My two have played out on bikes but tbh found it boring after a while. Plenty of complaints from neighbours who tended to mix up which child had done what so an innocent child would get shouted at the following day and so on.

We have some children who (a) never play outside their own homes and (b) cycle in front gardens using the cars as obstacle courses. I am tolerant but this is not on and one bike actually damaged my car door. They were shouted at and have not returned.

I tend to think if you have a garden that's where they should be really so yabu.

HelpMePleaseImConfused Mon 05-Aug-13 10:34:56

I have children and i played out myself as a child in our cul-de-sac, but we would never have been allowed to play with a bat and ball in the street. There are so many things they can play with - bubbles, skipping ropes, bikes, scooters etc. This is the very reason some streets have signs saying 'no ball games' can cause damage and annoy other residents...this objection isnt a new thing. I can totally understand why he would be on edge just waiting to hear a ball come crashing through his window or hit his car or flowers. He is probably worried that if it did happen when he wasnt looking, noone would own up.

Every child is entitled to have fun in childhood but it doesnt need to mean there are no limits. It is his road too and isnt he entitled to a relaxed retirement as much as the kids are entitled to their fun. I think it is just as precious to insist that they must be specifically allowed to play with a ball when it is clearly upsetting him. Most of the other residents are probably at work or too embarrassed to complain. For example we have a dog who is constantly barking nextdoor because it is left outside. I have never complained but it annoys the hell out of us.

CaterpillarCara Mon 05-Aug-13 10:41:01

Another idea for people needing active but non-neighbour annoying games in the garden is those large exercise balls (like you use when you are pregnant). Volleyball with those, lying on them and racing wheelbarrow style, lying on the ground and kicking them to each other, etc. Good exercise but not too noisy and not likely at all likely to head over a fence.

CaterpillarCara Mon 05-Aug-13 10:43:41

Oh, and my kids are not allowed really allowed to play out, especially not with balls. We have had a person (an adult too!) badly hurt when running for a ball into our street and we have had our front door smashed - scary! That is enough for me...

They are allowed to bike around the block. There are very wide pavements and almost no pedestrians, so I judge that to be OK and not annoying to others. Haven't been told by anyone that they disagree.

StanleyLambchop Mon 05-Aug-13 12:33:21

Kids should be able to play outside, who wants to be stuck indoors all the time or restricted to a back garden. They are growing up and need to learn. Part of playing out is learning what is acceptable and what isn't.

As long as that learning process does not inconvenience other residents. Otherwise they could get up to all sorts with the excuse 'oh they are just learning what's acceptable'. Fine as long as you are not the resident stuck with damage to his property. Maybe considering the feelings of the elderly resident should be part of that learning.

fedupofnamechanging Mon 05-Aug-13 12:43:44

I don't think you have a right to let your child do anything which means they could cause damage to someone else's property or have to go into their garden to retrieve balls.

Personally, I wouldn't let my dc play in the road for safety reasons.

Cravey Mon 05-Aug-13 12:50:29

Perhaps not give them a ball. Then they want have to go into his driveway to fetch it so he has nothing to moan about ?

HopeClearwater Mon 05-Aug-13 12:51:07

DoingStuffforHarriet I love the way you make up what my road looks like and then announce IABU. I've specifically stated where my house is. It is not 'down the road' from the grumpy neighbour.

Anyway the kids are inside playing on the Wii as whatever my views are, I don't want to get into a neighbour dispute. There are other neighbours in this road doing far more annoying things (IMO) - think loud music from at least two houses, sometimes very late - but because the guy is deaf / hasn't chosen to get obsessed with this, he isn't complaining about it.

MrsMelons Mon 05-Aug-13 12:56:02

I wouldn't let the DCs play ball games of any sort in the street, too much risk regarding traffic etc, even in a quiet cul de sac.

Sorry to hear about your DD Worry.

I would have no issues with DCs playing outside in the street at reasonable times of the day but we have trouble with 1 family whos DCs are out at all times of the evening (and are very loud) meaning my 5 YO is unable to sleep a lot of the time. I really dislike them playing ball games as they are always hitting the cars etc.

MrRected Mon 05-Aug-13 12:58:34

My Dd Was out blowing bubbles today. She had snuck out without telling me.

We live on a private lane servicing 4 houses. My neighbour ran into her with his car by accident. So IMO yabu.

HopeClearwater Mon 05-Aug-13 13:03:03

Glad to see she's recovered from a collision with a car quickly enough for you to get on here and tell me.

The thread was never about RTAs.

MintyChops Mon 05-Aug-13 13:09:23

Er, people are trying to help you make the link between letting your kids play on the road and a potential RTA!! No need for the snarky attitude......

HopeClearwater Mon 05-Aug-13 13:13:45

Plenty of advice on here already about that. Nothing about securing your doors...

MintyChops Mon 05-Aug-13 13:39:10

Playing on a road is still dangerous, even if your kids have your blessing to be there.....

Cravey Mon 05-Aug-13 13:44:42

The safety issue worries me also now I think about it. Kids and roads really don't make a good mix IMO. No matter how careful they are and how much sense they have, accidents can happen.

HopeClearwater Mon 05-Aug-13 13:54:19

Much as I would like the world to be risk-free for children, it can't be. And now they have cycled off away from our road to the park. Risk risk risk.

Cravey Mon 05-Aug-13 14:05:06

Well yes I'm sure. I don't think you being sarcastic is warranted to be honest. You asked for opinions and got them. Why the sarcasm ?

theodorakisses Mon 05-Aug-13 14:06:18

Maybe he is lonely sad and depressed and was brought up in a different time. He isn't an asshole and its sad that tolerance in the UK seems to be towards anyone except sad lonely old people. Why not visit him and speak to him? Maybe he has estranged family abroad, maybe he is a sad old person who would love some company. Haven't read the whole thread so sorry if he is in some way inappropriate to be around families

theodorakisses Mon 05-Aug-13 14:10:36

I only spent 2 years as a district nurse years ago but found the miserablist oldest gits responded to kindness and company. Imagine living alone with no family, friends or support with only the tv and newspapers for company.

kali110 Mon 05-Aug-13 22:10:39

Doesnt matter if someone thinks his garden is crap its his garden. I do remember what it was like to be a child. I wax allowed to go the park or cycle up my road. I wasn't allowed to play ball games incase of being hit or incase i annoyed people. I wasn't allowed to go in and out of peoples gardens because it was disrespectful. Now im an adult i can understand. If odd ball comes into the garden fair enough ill throw it back but i wouldn't like kids repeatedly coming into my garden to retrieve a ball and treading all over it.

whois Mon 05-Aug-13 22:17:55


Tennis ball in the street is not ok (they are hard!)
Sending them to the 'widest part' ie away from your house is not Ok.
Balls going into this guys front garden is not Ok.

Give your DCs a foam ball to play with.
Make them play outside your house.
Tell then on pain of no more playing out they are to stop balls going onto his property.

And then go round with a tin of biscuits or something and appogise in a nice neighbourly way and it might be the start of better relations which can only be a good thing.

MrRected Tue 06-Aug-13 05:02:48

Hope Clearwater - you did NOT take into account the time difference with your sarcastic post.

She was actually very shaken up and I was horrified. it was a terrible thing to go through. She has a 30cm laceration down her back. I just hope your kids never have to go through it.

Regardless of what you think, letting your kids play on the road is dangerous. Don't start a thread in AIBU if you aren't prepared for some dissenting voices!

Rhino71 Tue 06-Aug-13 06:51:47

Whois.. Read the bloody thread properly, the widest part of the road is outside the OP house..FFS

JenaiMorris Tue 06-Aug-13 09:14:39

OP, the question 'aibu to let my children play with a tennis ball in the road? ' rather invites responses mentioning RTAs, no?

Altinkum Tue 06-Aug-13 09:43:51

Threads like this piss me off, some idiots on this thread!!!

I live in a cul de sac, about 30 or more children here, they play football, rounders, baseball, etc... Play on their bikes, scooters, sliders etc....

not every road is dangerous, out certinetly isn't, our estate has been here since 1901, and not once has their been a RTA in our road.

I don't see a massive issue, with kids retrieving a ball, as long as no damage is made to property.

Kids have rights to play out, be that in their streets, back gardens etc.... It first matter where kids go nowadays they will always be seen as the lower scale in humans. It's evident from this thread "that kids should be seen and not heard"

Luckily my kids play ball games Nd have a normal childhood without some twat saying otherwise.

If you don't want noise, children being children, I suggest you move to the country side!!!

Oh but then, that might infringe on you're rights.... To live in a place where children are seen and not heard!!!

Read the ducking thread, instead of making you're own pathetic assumption on the OP!!!

theodorakisses Tue 06-Aug-13 09:50:35

Goodness, so wound up over an Internet story?

Altinkum Tue 06-Aug-13 10:01:08

I'm not wound up, however it does piss me off.

People not reading the thread, making assumptions, wanting their "rights" calling children brats...

Then more assumption, added to that further assumption, etc...

kali110 Tue 06-Aug-13 12:57:15

I read thread and dont think calling them brats is needed. Dont mind kids playing out but think tennis ball in road is bu. you could have safest road and still have an accident. Def get foam ball so no risk of damage. I do think though that the bloke has right to be pissed by people continuously going in his garden especially if thats his living room.

5madthings Tue 06-Aug-13 13:00:17

We have lived here eight years, there has always been kids playing out, no accidents and no damage caused to any cars or property etc. Children can play out and not damage things and some areas are safe to do so. It depends where you live, the layout of the area, traffic levels etc.

MintyChops Tue 06-Aug-13 13:49:54

Calling kids brats is not helpful and I think only one poster has done so. The Op has responded with lashings of sarcasm to others who have tried to say "Yes, I think YABU" and who have a concern for the safety of her kids.

DidoTheDodo Tue 06-Aug-13 13:54:01

Theodora, you've said roughly what I was thinking.
I'm sorry to see so many people calling the old gentleman "Grumpy Old Git". Maybe he is lonely (which is why he is looking out of his window such a lot) and frightened and nervous about damage to property and things out of his control.
Perhaps the OP could pop round and ask him for a cup of tea - and discuss the children playing out issue over tea and cake. Well, it might work.

Cravey Tue 06-Aug-13 13:54:57

Lets face facts the op has responded with nastiness and sarcasm, the old boy across the street has every right to be annoyed if children are up in his driveway. It's private property. And re the thing about roads and kids etc, roads aren't safe. We all know that. Op was so so nasty to the poster whose child was hit by a car. It was uncalled for.

MintyChops Tue 06-Aug-13 14:14:31

If she is as sarcastic and unpleasant to him then I'm not surprised if he is grumpy......

xylem8 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:23:04

'brats' is just a colloquial slightly disparaging term for kids.It doesn't neceassarily mean spoiled and badly behaved

Altinkum Tue 06-Aug-13 19:55:11

I don't blame the OP for being scarastic, after all loads of assumptions were made on her behalf and none even remotely correct, OP hast even said he's a elderly lonely old man, just a grumpy git, which might be quite fitting, after all the children are agin outside their own front window!!!

Altinkum Tue 06-Aug-13 19:58:10

Xylem8, please don't insult our intellect by staing a meanie of the word, it's quite evident what you were meaning, by the wording on you're post!!!

Cravey Tue 06-Aug-13 20:42:36

It doesn't matter how old the man is. They are on his property. That must be annoying. Op was rude, dismissive and sarcastic. No need for it.

Altinkum Tue 06-Aug-13 20:56:04

Correct, what also must be annoying his having a elderly man, watching the children playing out their own front house, incase the ball might go into his garden.

I don't see the issue, that the children might occasionally go into his garden to retreive a ball, just as log as minimal disturbance is done, and no damage at all is done.

However this man is waiting for them to put a foot wrong, hence why him standing at the front of his window.

It also isn't acceptable that he's shouting at these children. The OP is taking steps to prevent this.

My sister lives next to a elderly woman, who does this, even when my nieces are in their own front garden/back garden, children can't do nowt, nowadays, yet the elderly are the first to complain, about rudeness, telly watching kids etc...

Working front of house in a restaurant that caters for the elderly generation, it's unbelievably shocking how self entitled some elders are.

xylem8 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:15:23

No, I call kids brats all the time


Cravey Tue 06-Aug-13 21:52:50

But altinkum it's also shocking how rude and sarcastic some people are also. Such as the op.

Altinkum Tue 06-Aug-13 22:03:54

**Thanks everyone for your responses.
I don't let them play football as they can kick it really hard. I do take them out to the park etc but can't do it as much as they'd like. They are sporty outdoors kids and I'd like to keep it that way. But of course I don't want a neighbour dispute.
I am at the top of the close next to the widest part of the road, yes. There is not much to his front garden - grass, tree, bush under window - and another neighbour maintains it for him as a favour.
I grew up in a similar road; there were loads of us kids and we played out the whole time. Sad that I can't do it now with my children.
Some of the ideas upthread eg badminton, softer balls etc, are excellent. Thank you.**

This was the OP 2nd post, she took everyone's points of view on board, and liked the suggestions such as softer ball games etc...

She was then indicated with assumptions, more assumptions and blatant rudeness, I think I'd be sarcastic also, but then I've read all OP's posts and everyone else's, she's no more sarcastic than the next poster, or the posters making the assumptions/not reading ops posts.

It's really is six of one and half a dozen to the other.

HopeClearwater Wed 07-Aug-13 14:03:14

Ah Altinkum thank you for your kind words. I did slightly lose it further down the thread with the number of assumptions and the amount of speculation.

I put it on AIBU because I genuinely wanted to see what the range of responses would be. My children are no longer allowed to play out in the road now. I still harbour unfriendly feelings towards the old man who shouted at me and (separately) my kids rather than coming round and asking me about it calmly. But I will be polite.

HopeClearwater Wed 07-Aug-13 14:06:55

And he is a grumpy old git, although I did not use those words, so he won't be getting any tea or cake from me. His (very pleasant) wife can give him tea. I don't like blokes shouting at me, or my children. I bet he'd never have shouted at my DH.

Cravey Wed 07-Aug-13 15:14:25

Altinkum your response is all very well, but I certainly wasnt rude or sarcastic, merely stated what I thought. Op replied in a way that came across as sarcastic. No need for it IMO. Op I totally think you have done the right thing in not allowing them on the rude.

Cravey Wed 07-Aug-13 15:14:35

Road even.

ilovesooty Wed 07-Aug-13 15:21:21

Op I totally think you have done the right thing in not allowing them on the rude

That's a different thread grin

Altinkum Wed 07-Aug-13 22:33:11

Cravey you've took her comments personally, if you weren't making assumptions and speculating, the theirs no need to take offence to the OP, comments. They clearly weren't directed at you, and I disagree, their was no need for half of the assumption/people basing it on their own road situation etc....

I would be rude too if have of these comments were aimed at me, simply because 1/2 of them are fabricated or assumption based!!! Even when the OP has answered most of the assumptions based at her!!!

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