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Neighbours have crashed their car and are blaming the kids!

(60 Posts)
smileyhappypeople Sun 24-Jul-16 01:34:16

Bit of background/relevant info

We live in a small t shaped cul de sac. There are 12 houses but they all sit along the top of the 'T'
It's a new build estate so 4 of the houses to the right are on a shared driveway and the 4 houses to the left are on a shared driveway with 4 houses in the middle.
It's a new build estate so our whole road is coloured red as a sort of 'pedestrian zone' or something (not entirely sure) but there are no paths around the road only driveways and gardens. As with most new build estates, the houses, gardens, driveways are on top of each other so very little space.
We live in the far right hand corner on the shared driveway.
There is only 2/3 spaces that you can really get away with parking on the actual road and they are at the end of our shared driveway.
Both of these spaces are usually taken up by huge work pick up trucks and there are sometimes various cars parked behind etc. Little bit of a pain for sight when reversing but not worth complaining about.
We have 2 children that play out on their bikes etc. There is another child that plays out from our side with our kids then there are a couple of children who stay in our road with their dad every other weekend that play out. All the other children that play in our street are from the street in front because theirs is the main road into the estate so not as quiet.

I am a childminder so I have parents that pick up and drop off at my house twice a day (3 of them max! Although last year it was sometimes upto 6 but that was a long time ago.)
We have the biggest piece of driveway as we are the end so we technically have 4 parking spaces.

Today my little boy (6) and his friend next door came in crying their eyes out because the lady down the road (one of the 4 middle houses) had crashed her car into another car whilst reversing off her drive and had shouted at them and said it was all their fault.
I went out to see what had happened to be faced with this ladies husband shouting that it was the kids fault she had crashed and we just let them run wild on the road etc etc. I will admit I got defensive and (not my finest moment) shouted back at him that it was not the kids fault that his wife wasn't looking where she was driving! (She hadn't swerved to miss them or anything, I can only assume that she was paying more attention to the kids so she didn't squish them and did not see the other car behind her.)
I spoke to the children afterwards and explained that they need to be careful and keep out of the way of cars but my little boy is adamant that he was not behind the car or in the way.
Anyway, he was screaming and shouting at us telling us that we speed round the corners and up the road (the road is literally about 6 metres long before you turn into drive!) and that we park all over the roads etc etc. I was gobsmacked as we certainly do not do any of these things and neither do any of my parents! If anything it's the trucks that block all the parking and other peoples kids that are always playing in the street that run wild. He then went on to ask if I even have permission to run a business with all these kids etc.
I told him I didn't want to speak to him anymore and went inside.
We were getting ready to go out for the day and so we were loading the car when the neighbour next door to him was pointing and mouthing off so when we reversed off the drive I stopped the car and apologised for shouting and that I was just annoyed. Que screaming and shouting from her that we speed all over the road and she would never let her kids on the road, I calmly told her that I would not let my 2 year old on the road either and wished her luck keeping her own daughter on her 6ft driveway when she is old enough to ride a bike and run around.
Now wwyd? Do I just leave it and let them all hate us? They clearly already did anyway did wonder why they never smile or wave back to me when I'm passing or do I go round or send a letter apologising for shouting and explaining that I'm hurt that they would attack us like that for no reason and that they would have the right to judge us when they haven't ever bothered to even say hello so actually don't know us at all....
If the latter how do I word it/say it???
I'm so gutted as I have always been respectful of the neighbours, especially when it comes to the childminding as I know it can be annoying. We are always the first ones out to tell the kids to quieten down or stay off people's driveways etc.
I should probably mention that we rent too... Although so do 2 other house on the road I think. But it is a private estate in a nice area so I do think some people can be judgy about renters which is annoying when we probably pay more in rent than they do in mortgage and spend more time looking after the house so we don't get kicked out!

Sorry that is super long!

smileyhappypeople Sun 24-Jul-16 01:43:27

Just to make things worse we have our windows open and I've just heard the 2 neighbours that live at the end of our driveway talking about it and about us... Clearly in favour of the lady who crashed not us.
Do you think I'm totally in the wrong??
I feel as though they have just took a dislike to us either because we only rent or most likely because of the childminding. Maybe I am being over sensitive or I was in the wrong in the first place??
I just can't understand why someone would live in a new build area where space is tight, parking is a nightmare and the houses are mostly owned by young families and then complain about the parking and the kids?!

2nds Sun 24-Jul-16 01:45:37

You went out to see what had happened so you didn't witness the accident and straight away you assume that she wasn't looking where she was going?

Boogers Sun 24-Jul-16 01:57:10

Just playing devil's advocate, it can be annoying when children are playing in a way that some people deem 'wild' in a public space, especially on bikes around cars. I don't think it has anything to do with you being a renter and is more to do with the children playing in the street and cars parking in what seems like a tight space several times a day.

If I were you I would leave well alone. If your neighbours want to talk about you, let them. But there is clearly some feeling regarding children playing in the road and cars parking, and the best thing would be to rectify that.

The woman blaming your son for her crashing her car - how exactly is it his fault? What does she say he did?

bloodyteenagers Sun 24-Jul-16 01:57:30

So exactly where was the children playing?
In your drive the road, where?
To them they might think they weren't in the way. But in reality was.

AdjustableWench Sun 24-Jul-16 02:18:01

Kids play in my street. Haven't crashed my car yet.

No one can be held responsible for your neighbour's accident except your neighbour, but some people like to blame others for their own mistakes.

If I were you I'd ignore the neighbour and refuse to discuss it with anyone else - except your family, and especially your kids, because it sounds like your neighbour's driving is quite unsafe, so they need to know to keep well away!

ThumbWitchesAbroad Sun 24-Jul-16 02:24:30

I have some sympathy with the woman who crashed her car. The last thing she would want to happen is to hit one of the children in the road, and they're unpredictable, so she would probably have been watching them far more closely than the other stationary objects, in case they ran in behind her.

You should possibly have been more sympathetic to her situation too and this might have blown over - but it sounds like you went off, guns blazing, and caused more drama. I don't suppose the man was correct to say you speed all the time - but look at it dispassionately, do you? Do your mindees' parents ever? Honestly? I can't imagine why he'd throw that at you without some justification, especially if another neighbour also said the same thing (unless she's just a lick-arse trying to be "in" with him)

What would I do - keep my head down and an eye out for some sort of inspector knocking on the door asking to see my childminder's "licence" or whatever it is!

Maybe try and keep your children nearer to your house. Loose children on a small road are a serious hazard, especially for nervous/under-competent drivers.

Should you apologise - don't know. Maybe for having a public row and for anything you may have said that was heat-of-the-moment unfair; and for having no sympathy with the lady who crashed - but only apologise to the couple at the start of this, no one else.

Completely different scenario but I did once receive an apology card from a neighbour across the road, as did several other houses around us - because in the middle of the night, her door had been attacked by someone who appeared quite deranged and looked like she had an axe. Turns out that it was the ex of the lady-across-the-road's new boyfriend, and she was very drunk, shouting the odds and breaking the door. Wasn't an axe, but a steering lock (!) but of course we couldn't tell that. Several of us called the police (naturally!) and so the neighbour wrote to apologise that we'd all been subjected to that. Wasn't even her fault, really!

So, up to you on the apology front but I would take steps about the children playing out so widely.

e1y1 Sun 24-Jul-16 02:30:27

Yes not a battle worth fighting.

In the end, the dozy cow woman had and accident and that's it. They should not have been shouting at anyone.

As a driver, you do everything you can to avoid an accident, even when there are kids running round. She'd would only have to take one drive round our supermarkets carpark to know it's like dodgem kids.

IF she had have swerved to avoid the kids, this still would have been the right thing to do, better to bump another car than hit any person.

She had an accident and needs to get on with it.

Leave alone, if you have any opportunity or are pulled up on it (unlikely, but I fear the talking amongst neighbours may continue). I'd say you're sorry she had a bump, but it can't be changed now.

VioletBam Sun 24-Jul-16 02:37:51

Where were they playing? In your drive or in the road? I assume in the road or you wouldn't have mentioned the road being coloured red as a "pedestrian zone" which it isn''s a road.

6 is WAY too young to be out in the road playing. It's a road...not a playground...even in a cul de sac the same rules apply as on a main road. Don't play in it....

I lived in a very similar street but ours was L shaped. I NEVER let my DC play in the road. They could ride on our drive and that was that.

Stop them playing in the road. It is not safe.

Atenco Sun 24-Jul-16 02:38:53

I honestly don't understand the ins and outs of this situation, but there are always people who think children through their very existence are a nuisance.

trafalgargal Sun 24-Jul-16 02:49:36

Do ypu childminding charges also play out ?
If there is a neighbour perception that your business is impacting on the road it may not be doing you any favours. Presumably your rental agreement doesn't say you cant run a business at the property.

VioletBam Sun 24-Jul-16 05:38:40

Trafalga most childminders I am sure will have had that all ticked off when registering.

Out2pasture Sun 24-Jul-16 05:53:43

it is always the drivers fault. if the children were distracting her it was her responsibility to stop what she was doing and regroup.
which might include, stopping the car getting out walking around the back asking the kids to stay on the grass until she has finish parking etc.
I can understand the frustration but the driver is being unreasonable.

CatNip2 Sun 24-Jul-16 05:56:50

It wasn't yours or your children's fault, whatever the neighbours say.

Although I would say that parking, playing out and driving on new housing estates is horrendous and for that reason alone I have always refused to house hunt on a new estate.

I can't see how your neighbours would know you rent, but they are probably peeved by the extra traffic and parking issues causes by the childminding. My parents live next door to a CM, and as lovely as she is, several of the drop off and pick up parents are selfish inconsiderate twits.

Peppatina Sun 24-Jul-16 06:03:30

I tend to go by the rule that if one person is saying I'm being unreasonable when I think I'm not then they could be wrong/ a nutter.

If a whole street are saying it then I think you have to try to look at yourself through others eyes.

I know I'd be a bit hmm about someone who let a six year old play on a road, cul de sac/ red zone or not.

Scarydinosaurs Sun 24-Jul-16 06:10:04

Your children and mindees need to play I the garden, not the road.

MidniteScribbler Sun 24-Jul-16 06:20:19

Whilst the accident is only the drivers fault, I can see why it would be annoying if there are constantly children on the street. I'd be furious if I was paying a childminder and found out they were letting my child play out on a road. They need to be in your yard or driveway only.

Also, do the parents of your mindees speed? If it's anything like the carpark at my son's daycare, it's like dodgem cars.

I doubt it is anything to do with the fact that you are renting. It's most likely to do with the fact that you're bad neighbours.

Mrscog Sun 24-Jul-16 06:25:21

If she found the children distracting she should have asked them to stay still whilst she reversed. Have you educated them about reversing cars? I don't think I would let mine out until they were old enough to spot when a car is going to move and then stop and stay out the way until the manoeuvre was complete.

SilverDragonfly1 Sun 24-Jul-16 06:54:57

Before this derail really gets going, OP didn't suggest she lets children that she minds play in the street/ road.

Atlas15 Sun 24-Jul-16 07:02:04

I would tell her she needs to refresh her hazard test.

SwearySwearyQuiteContrary Sun 24-Jul-16 07:02:51

OK, I'm going to go against the grain slightly and suggest that, even in a quiet cul-de-sac, kids as young as 6 should have adult supervision if they are on going to be on a public road to remind them of appropriate and safe behaviour. Children make mistakes (so do drivers), and focusing on avoiding a collision with a child while being mindful of their vulnerability does make it more likely that a driver might miss other potential obstacles. I do feel a modicum of sympathy for your neighbour. It sounds as though she was being very careful in a situation where there are a number of visibility and access issues.
Renting doesn't come into this; the issue is one of neighbourly consideration and respect. She didn't run over your children or their friends because she was paying attention to them. She hit another car and probably got a huge shock. It's horrible to be in an accident and she was understandably upset. Perhaps she has been concerned about the safety of children on the street for a while and the accident just triggered an explosive reaction to an ongoing issue. In any case, shouting the odds (you or your neighbour, OP) doesn't really help anyone. If I were you, OP, I'd drop a bottle of wine on the doorstep with a note saying you understand that your neighbours were upset about the accident, you're glad that no one was hurt, and perhaps it might be a good idea to get all the neighbours on the street together to talk about access, parking and safety. It's always better to foster positive relationships with the people that live in such close proximity.

Ifailed Sun 24-Jul-16 07:05:15

sorry if I missed it, but what do the parents of you son's friend say? You said they were both playing outside, why is it just your son, and hence you, who is getting all the blame?

Lemonwords Sun 24-Jul-16 07:10:45

She crashed. Her fault. She is trying to absolve herself from any responsibility and at the same time tell others her, likely biased, version of events to get others to back her view up.

Kids play out. She needs to get over it. You've apologised once. Leave it at that.

Gizlotsmum Sun 24-Jul-16 07:14:37

I suspect it's less the children playing out than the childminding that is annoying your neighbours. You say none of your parents speed/park inconsiderately. Do they park on your drive? I would say the neighbours have been raising concerns and although you are sure it isn't them could they please be extra considerate? I know I have sped off from my childminders ( when late or angry, still within speed limit but a bit too quick)

TrappedNerve Sun 24-Jul-16 07:15:42

I have a 5 yr old dd and live in a quiet cul de sac, super quiet actually as nobody has their dc playing out, the little ones play in their own back gardens or driveways, my ds is the only teenager and he goes off to play football or meet his friends.

We're at the bottom but there are idiots who drive so fast to the top part that I just wouldn't take that chance, dd is well aware of road dangers and I won't be letting her play out for a good few years, she cannot control the actions of drivers.

Back to op, I would just try and keep your head down and get on with life unless the subject is brought up again and if so remain calm, would hate to have bad feelings with neighbours, I doubt it's because you rent anyway, you're probably just feeling a bit attacked and I understand that.
As you didn't actually see what happened it's best to do nothing and let the dust settle.
Woman has probably had her pride dented as well as her car and the first thing she has done is used the blame someone else tactic, unfortunately that was your ds.

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