Don't want someone's kids to come to my house - what would you say?(23 Posts)
A bit of background. We live in a rural French village but there a few English around. One of these is a woman who married a French guy and has 3 dcs with him. She is one of those people who corner you and then proceed to give you their life story when she's only known you for 5 minutes. For example, she has a teenage ds from a previous abusive relationship who has now been adopted by her parents. She is never interested in anything you might have to say and never asks how we are. It is always about her and her health. As a result neither me or my dh can stand the woman and do not wish to be friends with her. Our dcs do not play with her children at school (their choice, nothing to do with us). We have subtly made our feelings known to her by never visiting her home despite her repeated invitations. She is quite possibly mentally ill but this is pure speculation.
So yesterday, 5 mins before school picking up time, she comes round and tells my dh that she and her husband have split up and as a result she has moved out with the dcs. She then goes on to tell him that she has viewed one of the council flats (literally across the road from us) and will be moving in. Dh, whilst not entirely happy with having her so close, is sympathetic with her situation UNTIL she mentions that it will be great for her dcs to have a garden to play in as the flat doesn't have one!! Yep, you've guessed it, she wants her dcs to be able to use our garden as their own. Apparently dh's face was like thunder at this point as the last thing we want or need are her 3 dcs running around in our garden as a)dh is currently renovating our house, whilst looking after our dcs, b)I am working in the UK for the next couple of months and c) we don't like them. They are what you call "challenging" and are easily the naughtiest children in the school. They have no boundaries and she is less than useless at controlling them. WE DO NOT WANT THEM IN OUR HOUSE/GARDEN.
I am returning to France on Friday and will likely see her at the school gates. I want to tell her that she, and her children, won't be able to use our garden and that only friends invited by our dcs are welcome to play.
So, what would you say/do?
I think you're just going to have to be really blunt, as she sounds pretty thick skinned. In fact, I think you're going to have to say exactly what you said in your penultimate sentence.
Well its fine to say they cant use the garden- uust say that as youa re renovating it isn't massively safe
However, on a more general note a little more empathy wouldn't go amiss- if we can't stand her had been replaced with we find her challnging then I might have read it with less of a cat's bum face, but it wasn't so.
Assuming Mum does have some issues then 'we don't like them. They are what you call "challenging" and are easily the naughtiest children in the school. They have no boundaries and she is less than useless at controlling them' is easily the most unkind thing I have heard so far today.
To be perfectly honest, I'd slink off to the UK for a couple of months in cowardly fashion and let my DH handle it...
Tell her you don't want her children in your house/garden. It is YOUR property and she can't dictate who can/can't use it.
I think you're being a bit harsh - she may be a bit nuts and not very likeable, but that's not her kids' fault. And if they're challenging and naughty, it's probably because the mother is a bit nuts and not very likeable. Could you really let them be stuck inside a gardenless flat while your DCs are happily playing outside?
I'm not saying there should be an open invitation - but maybe a yes, her DCs would be welcome to come round and play on a Tuesday and/or Thursday afternoon or whatever, but that the rest of the time your DH has other commitments and you are busy.
Then, if it turns into some scene from Lord of the Flies and the kids all hate each other, you can stop it on the basis that they're not getting on.
I just don't think there's a way round this. By leaving it a grey area it's only going to get more painful with time. You need to spell it out. I wouldn't even go into massive details but keep it very simple.
"Can I have a word? My husband and I have had a talk and we feel uncomfortable about something you said recently - that you implied you would have free use of our garden as you didn't have a garden in your new flat. I'm sorry we might have given you a false impression but I'm afraid that isn't something we are happy with. I'm sorry if that seems harsh but I think it's best to be honest up front."
If necessary add a, "We are having renovation work done as you know and the garden could be used to store equipment or tools and we feel its important for your children's safety that they understand it is out of bounds."
Don't say or do anything unless or until the children come round uninvited to use your garden.
If and when they do, just send them home again. I don;t think you even need to get into a dialogue about it unless ithappens, and then just not let them in to play in the garden if you dont want them to.
The cheek! However I'd make a distinction between her kids and her. It's not the kids' fault. I have a situation with a neighbour's kid that behaves badly/no discipline, but anyone round at my house obeys my rules, end of.
Just say you can't accept the responsibility esp. while renovations are going on, and leave it at that. If she pushes it, ask her straight out how she'd feel if you told her your kids would be going round to hers (garden or no garden, same diffs) uninvited whenever they liked.
I think it is a bit delicate. I do understand that you do not want them in your garden all the time, we all need our peace and quiet but the chances are, if they really move across the road from you it is inevitable that at some point yours and her DcS might play together. It will be difficult in that case to make your garden an absolute no go area without potentially ruinning the moment (whatever game they play together).
The risk if you go for a straight "not in my garden rule" your own Dcs could be losing in the long term.
I would just say it like it is - your last sentence above seemed clear enough. Might sound harsh, but if you don't nip it in the bud then what will happen in a couple of months/years? Not only will you end up absolutely hating your home (and I can imagine this sort of thing could end up with you wanting to move) but will they have progressed to using your house as well? Just quickly using your loo (silly to go all the way home)....then making a drink and helping themselves to your food (you wouldn't mind, would you?).....watching your telly (after all it might rain and they're there already, right?).....playing with your DC's toys......Where do you see this ending?
I agree with above post that it does sound like they need some empathy and support, but why does it have to be you that gives it? And your DC's that suffer, having their stuff and their space taken over by kids they don't like? Lots of people could do with some understanding and more help, but it really isn't fair to say the OP needs to provide this just because she lives over the road. The woman needs to take some responsibility for her own life. If she can sort out accommodation after splitting with her DH then she can get help for herself if she feels she needs it - but then why would she if she can do what she likes and other people (ie OP) take the hassle for her?
Thanks for the replies. I suppose I'm looking for reassurance that it's ok to say these things sometimes.
Possibly I am unkind DNPTRB but why can't I say "I can't stand them?". As KirstyJC says if she does need support why should we be the ones who give it just because we live opposite? What would you do? Would you just let her do what she wants because she doesn't have the social skills to know when she's not welcome? She's not alone, her parents and uncle all live nearby. We are not the most sociable of people anyway and usually prefer our own company. One of the attractions in moving to France was the ability to live life the way we wanted. I don't want our life to be turned upside down by someone who is not a friend. Had it been someone who we, or our dcs, are friends with then this would have been a different situation. In fact there used to be a family who lived across the road who we didn't have much to do with but their dd came over and played with our dd nearly every day. We didn't have a problem with this as it was nice for our dd.
You can say it- but I can say I don't like it as well!
You don't have to give masses of support: we're in a similar postion with someone but a smile is easy and can make a difference if someone is struggling
Waht's that old saying- it takes a community to raise a child?
You are perfectly within your rights to loathe someone.
Some people are just awful. It's not your job to rehabilitate them. You don't have to like everyone. Right off the top of my head I could give you the names of 20 people I'd rather blow a cactus than ever see again.
I agree it sounds like you're going to have to be blunt, and tell her you're sorry but her children can't use your garden freely.
It's a village, and she's in one so it's technically accurate as well. Act like you fancy her a bit - that might see her off.
LOL hullygully. Unfortunately I think that would encourage her even more!
Right, just going to have to be assertive. Probably something on the lines of what Tambajam wrote.
I would say nothing. but I would get a padlock for the gate. That way when they come round to play in the garden they won't be able to get in, and if they ask you can simply say that "no, we're busy at the moment."
See what she says to you - if she mentions her kids using your garden then you could say that your garden is just for your family and you like it like that. Tell her that it would be better for her kids to play at their own friends houses not just at yours as you happen to live near by. Be to the point - take no nonsense from her & make it clear.
Unfortunately because of the building work we don't have a gate, it's just open on to the street.
Thanks for all the replies. Definitely feel better about having to say something now. I just hope she doesn't move in before I get there on Friday!
Agree with what KirstyJC said. And definitely best to say all this upfront to the mother rather than send the children home when they turn up in the ungated garden. That keeps them out of it best.
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