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more a what would you do? children playing out..

(49 Posts)
pastapestofor6 Sun 26-Apr-09 14:02:28

We live in a very small quiet cul-de sac, on our side are houses with private driveways then a very wide road, across the road are flats, very nice flats, big greens with trees and bushes, there are no fences or anything just big open spaces.
we have 6 or 7 families with children ages from 4 to 11, the children play out mostly on our drives, pavement and in the middle of the very very quiet road, they have a great time and run jump skip and play, the parents take it in turns watching out for them, and sometmes we all have a big game of football in the middle of the road, recently the man across the road has been shouting at the children to shut up and f off and all sorts,so we now we keep them away from his window/flat...fast forward to yesterday all the families with children get a visit from the local police who hand delivered a letter to us stating that there have been complaints about the children playing out, that they make to much noise and that the families keep playing football where there are no ball games signs, there IS a no ball games sign on the flats which are housing association flats, we are privately owned houses , so my question is , do we take any notice of letter, are we unreasonable in playing football outside our houses?. The police also say that they wll be stepping up patrols to monitor the "situation" .They are all very very well behaved nice children and are all in the house by 7 pm at the very latest, sorry its a bit long and jumbled but am trying to cook lunch for 10 people and mumsnet at the same time

nametaken Sun 26-Apr-09 14:09:44

I'd ignore it myself, and carry on as usual.

deepinlaundry Sun 26-Apr-09 14:11:32

I think that children should be allowed to play out, you sound as if you are respectful regarding times etc. I have had problems like this with neighbours ( with grown up children) and people are demonising children doing what they did themselves 50 years ago. In London there is a move to reclaim some streets back for children to play in. I would ask for appointment with inspector at station and discuss this- also swearing by man at children.

justaboutspringtime Sun 26-Apr-09 14:12:36

Message withdrawn

shinyshoes Sun 26-Apr-09 14:13:40

If there ARE NOT any 'No Ball Games' signs around ignore it until some go up as you are not breaking any bylaw.

If there ARE 'No ball Games' signs up then unfortunately you are breaking a bylaw.

How about gettting one of those giant foamy looking balls. They won't damage anything

bellavita Sun 26-Apr-09 14:21:21

As long as the ball is going no where near the green of the housing association flats then I think I would ignore it but carry on taking it in turns of watching the children and maybe just stepping this up slightly so that no one on the other side of the road has a chance to say anything different - ie. children not behaving etc etc.

We live on a road that leads to no where and we are at the bottom. They are all family houses. But a couple of years ago, most of the houses received an anonymous letter (stamped and posted) but without it actually been addressed to anyone in particular saying that there are too many children playing out especially in the road. We all know where the letter came from and these idiots (have grown up children) all speed down our road with no thought to who may be playing out. When they moved here, we were already living here so they must have seen it was children orientated.

People like this make my blood boil.

alicet Sun 26-Apr-09 14:28:44

I would do what deepinlaundry or justaboutspringtime said

MrsMagooo Sun 26-Apr-09 14:29:14

He sounds like a miserable sod!

I'd carry on normal but perhaps broach the officer for your community (there maybe a PCSO you can contact) to double check where you stand.

If the ball isn't going anywhere near the No Ball Games area I can't personally see the problem.

I'd much rather had kiddies out the front playing nice games etc then the little so & so who who keeps digging up my front garden with a stick hmm

littleboyblue Sun 26-Apr-09 14:31:11

Oh yes, a letter from all the families sounds like a great idea. You are clearly being quite reasonable.
Do you have a community support officer that you could also speak to? Maybe they could arrange a meeting with this man and come to some middle ground? Like they don't play out/football before certain times on weekends and not after certain times although you saud they're in by 7, can't say fairer really............

edam Sun 26-Apr-09 14:32:05

Oh, I'd definitely write back to the police, asking exactly which law the children are supposedly breaking by playing out? And reporting horribly neighbour for swearing at the kids (it's actually illegal not that you'd usually bother).

And I'd complain to your councillor and the local paper.

littleboyblue Sun 26-Apr-09 14:33:11

Go edam! Why not. smile

alicet Sun 26-Apr-09 14:33:29

I would also say in the letter that you presume the 'no ball games' sign refers to the grassed area next to the flats and not the road so could they please clarify

Bonneville Sun 26-Apr-09 14:44:08

YANBU and seem like a very responsible set of parents. However I do think that is isnt the fact that the children are playing out; it seems to be the fact that it's ball games in particular. The constant thud thud thud of the ball, even if it is on the other side of the street, can actually upset some people. Is there a park nearby where the children can be taken for football, using the street for other play?

justaboutspringtime Sun 26-Apr-09 17:06:23

Message withdrawn

curlygal Sun 26-Apr-09 17:20:50

I don;t think that you are being unreasonable at all.

In my opinion younger children out playing till 7pm while being supervised sounds like heaven!

As others have said I would want to establish with the police exactly what the problem is - if the children are supervised and not playing football in a "no ball games" area I can;t see what the hassle is.

If the police so come and observe what is actually going on they will see there isn't a problem at all? Just one person complaining.

Barnum Sun 26-Apr-09 17:35:59

No, I don't think your'e being unreasonable either. We have a similar problem with our next door neighbour who called the police because she thought our boys had been in her back garden to get a ball (they hadn't). They visited whilst my mum was at home alone with the kids and spoke to my 3 youngest boys scaring the youngest (aged 5) witless. She (the neighbour) is such a miserable old bag and always goes out of way to complain about our children and make us all v unhappy sad My husband was so cross about the police incident that he called them back and compained about their questioning our boys without a parent being present!
If there are no notices etc I would continue to let the kids do as they were but if poss as someone else said, have an adult to keep watch on the situation (difficult I know). Why is it that some adults (who of course were NEVER children themselves) feel it's their right to swear etc at children who are simply playing?? Our society has become sooooo anti children that it really makes you want to emigrate to escape it. I have 4 boys and they (boys) seem to be the target of most people's intolerances these days, no matter what they do it's wrong or upsets someone!angry
People like this man in your case don't seem to realise that us parents are trying to do our best to bring up decent human beings who will become valuable members of society - but what chance do they have when faced with such opposition?
Sorry! - bit of a rant but it's a subject very close to home for me!

BigBellasBeerBelly Sun 26-Apr-09 17:49:22

Are children not really allowed to play out any more then? And if they do the police become involved?

Bloody hell sad

curlygal Sun 26-Apr-09 17:54:49

Bloody hell indeed.

Can;t belive that the police would question a five year old in that situation? Surely total waste of police time? Did she claim there was damage to her garden?

If I called the police every time the kids round here were in my garden they would be here constantly.

The kids around here are out playing till all hours completely unsupervised from age three - on the roads, into your garden over high fences etc and I have never called the police - I just yell at them to please get out of my garden!

BigBellasBeerBelly Sun 26-Apr-09 17:59:47

I'm always amazed at what must be totally different policing around the country.

In some places the cops will apparently turn out in force to vigorously question 5 year olds over whether they dropped a tennis ball near someone the week before last.

Round here the 5 year old would have to commit an armed robbery before raising the interest of the rozzers...

Curiousmama Sun 26-Apr-09 18:04:08

angry at your sodding neighbour.

Agree with letter and getting maybe local councillor involved? Or wardens like has been said?

chegirl Sun 26-Apr-09 18:05:54

I live in east london. Luckily and unusually we live around a 'green'. The houses are set in an oval and all over look the green.

We are mixed set of families, older people, singles, childless couples etc. All the houses are excouncil or council. They all have fairly big gardens (for inner city houses)

The kids play outside from dawn till dusk all through the summer and after school every day if its not raining.

Its wonderful. The only time its annoying is when adults get involved. The kids are no problem. They have their games and spats and get on with it. They range from very young (bit too young) to young teens and they get on v.well most of the time.

Adults however feel the need to get pissed, smoke, fight and shout and generally spoil everything whenever we have nice weather.

The only real trouble I have seen is when adults do the above or insist on getting involved in the childrens' petty arguments.

There is a no ball games sign on one of the posts but what the hell is a large green area in the middle of family houses for then?

bruffin Sun 26-Apr-09 18:06:26

We live in a small cul de sac where all the children play out as well. One old lady hates children, but we just ignore her. She has even been known to call the police about children running riot and causing damage to the school next door on a Friday night when she knows very well that it's the scouts, who have been using the field for the last 25 years!
I would do as the others say and write back to the police saying that they are not playing on the grass but outside their own houses.

BigBellasBeerBelly Sun 26-Apr-09 18:08:43

Chegirl the last time I was in our local park i noticed a no ball games sign... WTF...

piscesmoon Sun 26-Apr-09 18:18:22

I would fight it every inch of the way!
We had a similar problem. I live on a cul de sac of 12 houses. When they were built one plot was left empty for recreational purposes. When the boys started playing football the man who lived next to it kept sending them off. Being nice boys they just meekly went but we were all seething because they weren't doing anything wrong and the neighbour knew when he bought his house that he was next to the land. It then came to a head when he contacted the council (I think they owned it)and he wanted it made a soft ball area for the under 8's-knowing perfectly well that the under 8's don't tend to play out and not with soft balls! I phoned them and put our side. The council then sent out a questionaire to all the houses, I filled it in and wrote a long letter about the health of our children and the benefits of football over computer games. I also said that if they were moved from the land they would have to play on the road which would be very unpopular. We won! It remained a play area.
I would go down to the police station and ask them to show you the law that is being broken. If I ever contact the police about anti social behaviour the first question is 'are they breaking the law?'. If they can't show you a law they can't stop them playing.

cheshirekitty Sun 26-Apr-09 18:25:05

Parents cannot win anymore. Keep your children in watching tv and getting obese, and you are a bad parent.

Let them outside to play footie etc, and you are a bad neighbour.

FFS. YANBU. Your neighbour sounds like he should win the plonker of the year award.

If there is no sign then let the kids continue playing. Report stupid neighbour to the police for swearing at the kids.

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