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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.

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.

JemimaMuddledUp Sat 03-Aug-13 13:59:22

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.

Sparklingbrook Sat 03-Aug-13 14:02:29

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.

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