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To think that garden politics are really hard!

(42 Posts)
Fifyfomum Sun 09-Mar-14 13:33:01

We have a nice sized garden, separated by a chain link fence, I have two very young children - 20 months and 3 and they have been out playing today. The neighbours children are naturally inquisitive - as are mine and have been peering over the fence for most of the time that we have been out.

I just came in to put the youngest down for a nap, leaving my three year old outside on his own and watched him playing on the slide alone and looking wistfully over at the family in the next garden while I did the washing up. They didnt invite him over, the parents don't seem keen and the kids really wanted him there so invited him over themselves only to be shouted at by their parents. It is now really uncomfortable in the garden. I finished the washing up and covered the decking in toy cars, things to make tunnels with an a plastic garage and my boy is now really enjoying his own company playing and having fun so the roles are reversed but I dont think the other parents would want their kids in my garden and I'm not out there with them so wouldnt want to offer.

Would it be unreasonable to erect a big fence as soon as is possible and shield myself from child disappointment and all this worry?

LauraStora Sun 09-Mar-14 13:41:18

Nah, do it. Good fences make good neighbours.

Fifyfomum Sun 09-Mar-14 13:44:59

I am beginning to understand why. I really like the thought of just sitting in my garden without them knowing about it!

diddl Sun 09-Mar-14 13:52:18

Well I'd be annoyed my kids invited others over without asking me tbh.

I'm not really sure why you think he should have been asked over, either!

Seems a mountain out of a molehill!

All of that being said, have whatever type of fence you want!

BonaDea Sun 09-Mar-14 13:52:57

Agree. Just put up a fence. Far better that your garden be private!

Fifyfomum Sun 09-Mar-14 13:53:49

I just don't want to see rude

Fifyfomum Sun 09-Mar-14 13:55:48

I didn't expect him to be invited over, just not do easy to explain garden politics to a three year old!

diddl Sun 09-Mar-14 14:07:56

Ah OK, sorry, that's just the way it read to me.
Are yoiu sure he wasn't just watching them?
Either way some privacy is nice IMO.

Fifyfomum Sun 09-Mar-14 14:18:02

Watching them? Well I suppose yes he was watching them and they were watching him. But for example I'm learning a song on the guitar and (in between cleaning the house) have gone out, picked up my guitar, played the chord progression and then been interrupted or stopped or whatever. Their daughter has just demanded to know what the song is called and why I keep playing it, whether I had singing lessons at school and so on.

I really need a fence!

Ragwort Sun 09-Mar-14 14:23:35

What is wrong with chatting to the neighbour's child about your guitar playing confused. Surely being on good terms with your neighbours is important.

Although I would be pissed off if our next door neighbour was playing her guitar in the garden if I was trying to read grin.

Ubik1 Sun 09-Mar-14 14:25:24

we used to run out of each others gardens all the time as children...I thought that was normal

Fifyfomum Sun 09-Mar-14 14:25:47

Nothing is wrong with it, I just think that perhaps I am the sore of person who needs a bit more privacy. Hopefully they won't take it too personally when I put up a big fence!

Fifyfomum Sun 09-Mar-14 14:26:21

To be honest I thought it was normal too, but it clearly isn't normal for the neighbours and I don't quite know how to tell my kids that

Fifyfomum Sun 09-Mar-14 14:36:38

Anyway as if by magic a selling page on Facebook is selling some garden screening, 50ft for £50 so I'm going to buy it tomorrow

AramintaDeWinter Sun 09-Mar-14 14:47:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BackforGood Sun 09-Mar-14 14:51:15

Have you tried chatting to your neighbours?
Sounds fairly easily resolvable to me
It might be they were worried about 'being responsible' for someone else's little children without knowing they were there, and that's why they said to their dc not to invite yours in, rather than not actually wanting them there.

We don't have much fencing between us and our NDN - we discussed it with the neighbours who were there when we moved in, and everyone was happy, and we discussed it with the new ones, and again, each of us are quite happy to have the NDN's dc in our garden. My NDNs have even specifically said that my dc can use their trampoline even if they aren't in, and I've said the same about our swing. (Our dc r all older than yours)
It is SUCH a bonus to have children of a similar age you your own, next door, so they all go out and play with each other regularly rather than you having to arrange to have friends round.

I would be really loathe to stop the access unless you really don't like the neighbours.

TheReluctantCountess Sun 09-Mar-14 14:54:24

I couldn't live like that. We have a lovely wall.

Fifyfomum Sun 09-Mar-14 14:57:36

We have good relations with the neighbours, our kids have gone over to theirs to play before and its not been a problem, it just obviously was a problem today or they would have been cool with it and they clearly weren't. I was right there, they could have said 'he can come over' but they obviously didnt want him to. Which is absolutely fine, I have no issues with them doing whatever they want to do with their own garden. Obviously though my little boy spent some time outside all on his own while there were other children over the fence that he could clearly see and that were beckoning to him, but that he wasn't allowed to play with.

I do speak to my neighbours frequently, if they had of wanted to invite him then that would have been fine but they obviously didnt want to, I am not going to invite my child into their garden. I have no issue with their kids coming over here but there is absolutely no way that they would let them, they are very very nervous about their children, they have a small three foot drop in their garden that they constantly shout at the kids about, just in case one of them falls over it i suppose, they don't let their 12 year old out in the garden at all. I dread to think what they think of me, letting my three year old out while I do the dishes but it is what it is.

I think that putting up a big fence is a big step from 'denying access' but it also means that when I want to go and sit out in the garden with my kids, they wont get beckoned over the fence when they aren't allowed to go and there wont be this weird need for conversation that happened today.

I've bought the screening, so it is done. I think it will be a big improvement to our garden.

Hoolit Sun 09-Mar-14 14:58:24

Ha ha I know what you mean garden politics! But don't think a fence will help...we had a big 6 ft fence just for privacy i didn't want to be in my garden when next doors teen boys had their pals round! But the 3yr old next door would stand on the back of a garden chair and hang over the top talking to me in my living room! Through the open patio door grin finemost of the time but when you are trying to talk and you have to fend off 50 questions it gets a bit waring!

Fifyfomum Sun 09-Mar-14 15:03:57

You're right about the 50 questions. I think the people in dismay about not wanting to converse with a child all day perhaps don't have the same problem with their neighbours!

I just didnt really feel like it was my garden today, which is a bit uncomfortable for me.

Hoolit Sun 09-Mar-14 15:30:54

Hopefully your screen will work, it just sets boundaries Ithink and Is no bad thing you can still have conversations and be neighbourly but gives you that bit of privacy where you are conscious of being listened too or watched. No-one is probably listening I get that but it used to make me self conscious.

Fifyfomum Sun 09-Mar-14 15:32:52

Oh we were definitely being listened to and watched! Hence the constant questions about what we were doing and so on.

bochead Sun 09-Mar-14 16:33:00

Just cos they live next door doesn't change normal playdate rules for children this age.

There's a world of difference between your own toddler pottering in the garden while you do a bit of washing up, while watching them out of the kitchen window, and being responsible for other people's kids iyswim.

If other people's children are around then you are obliged to actively supervise (lest they munch on the foxgloves your own child knows not to touch or have an accident etc). The thought of NOT hovering over someone else's 3 year old lest they have a boo boo fills me with sheer dread in relation to explaining it to the parents.

Your neighbours may not mean to be unfriendly at all, it's just they were trying to get a few jobs done and it wasn't a convenient time to become immediately responsible for your toddlers safety. (Loads of people will be using this fine weekend to fix storm damage, even if they are outside).

I also don't see why you can't start to set simple boundaries for your child around this (no playing next door without Mum's invite). The neighbours have done the right thing in tackling this head on, by setting the boundaries with their own kids.(e.g noone plays here without our explicit permission).

I think you are being a bit silly tbh. No need to create Fort Knox, or to take such offence. Just teach your kid some simple rules & invite next doors children over next time you have a chore free spell and can supervise them all properly.

Fifyfomum Sun 09-Mar-14 16:39:09

Jesus, have I honestly come across as if I am angry with the neighbours? I am not angry with the neighbours at all. I have told my three year old he cannot play without an invite, he is only just three and his speech is not great, he was confused by the children inviting him when he wasn't allowed to go.

I don't think putting up a fence is making my garden 'fort knox' I just want a bit of privacy to be in my own garden without being asked a question every five minutes, or practise a song without being questioned about it. I particularly want those things if my son is not allowed to play with their children. As I think I've already covered, they wouldn't let their children play here, no way, they are very very cautious with their children, I have a far more 'if you fall over it will hurt' approach to parenting.

I am not angry with the neighbours, I dont feel that they 'must' invite my children over to play, just like I dont feel like I 'must' have conversations with their children about every single aspect of my day.

I think they will probably breathe a sigh of relief if I put a fence up to be honest, they were, I am sure, aware of the tension as much as I was. I felt like I was in someone elses garden for goodness sake. Every time I moved I was questioned and their children kept trying to engage with mine even though they weren't allowed to play together.

I suppose I wanted some people who had experienced similar to sympathise with me, but really, even if it IS unreasonable for me to put up a big fence, I am going to anyway because a little but of them feeling put out will be worth it for the privacy we will get.

Anonymai Sun 09-Mar-14 17:17:39

Guitar playing and singing in the garden? My neighbour a few doors down does this. With the same song. Repeatedly.

If you don't want people to hear and perhaps comment/ask questions as a result, don't make your neighbours be an audience with no option.

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