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Does Neighbor’s Anonymous Note Criticizing Kid Cross the Line?

by Jennifer O’Neill via
Does Neighbor’s Anonymous Note Criticizing Kid Cross the Line?

After a neighbor threatened to call the police over one man’s “giggling” son in his backyard, the note went viral online, with commenters rallying in support of the frustrated family. (Photo: Twin Cities News Talk/Facebook).

An Arizona dad was recently blasted by his neighbor for being “inconsiderate.” The behavior so offensive that a person living near his family threatened to call the police? Letting his son run around in the backyard and — wait for it — laugh a lot.

“Every day this week, when weather has been nice and windows are open, you proceed to let your small child run free in your backyard and laugh and giggle and carry on without end,” gripes the anonymous neighbor in a note that he or she reportedly dropped off last week. “This is very disruptive for my two dogs and my bird who sits next to the window. … Perhaps you could ask him to tone it down a bit, or at least limit his outside time to 15-20 minutes a day…”

Redditor MisterNeilHamburger posted the photo of the letter, captioned, “My friend found this stuffed into his mailbox this morning. Apparently kids having fun is a crime in Arizona,” on imagur Saturday, where it’s been viewed more than 480,000 times.

Since Minnesota radio station Twin Cities News Talk KTLK put it up on its Facebook page on April 16, it’s got nearly 21,000 shares and hundreds of comments — with most people expressing outrage over the author’s audacity.

“I’d respond by recording the sounds of my child & then looping it 24 hours a day,” wrote one commenter, raking in 900 likes for the remark. Another commenter scored more than 8,500 likes for his retort: “Daily birthday parties with a bounce house and 15-20 kids. That’s how I would respond.”

Etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach, calls the whole situation “ludicrous.” As long as the child is not “destructive or taunting or teasing the animals, I don’t understand the issue,” Whitmore tells Yahoo Parenting. “This note crosses the line.”

Any grievance should have been addressed in person, she adds. “I’m sure the child’s father can figure out who wrote the note based on the clues about the dogs and the bird. But he should not stoop to the neighbor’s level in his reaction. He should take the high road and try to be as polite as possible.”

A reply back in his or her mailbox is perfectly appropriate, she advises. “I might respond, ‘Dear Neighbor: Life is hard, and there will be a time when my child will grow up and become an adult, and his laughter will eventually become less and less,’” she says. “‘Please allow him to live, laugh, and enjoy life to the fullest while he can. Thank you for understanding.’”

Communication and general courtesy between neighbors is important, Rachel Isgar of Please Pass the Manners tells Yahoo Parenting. “But the idea that parents will limit their children’s time in the backyard is not realistic. If the neighbor is over 55, the only successful way to avoid kids is to move to a 55-plus community.”

Moving forward, the parents shouldn’t feel obligated to do anything different, according to Amy Morin, psychotherapist and author of the bestselling 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, no matter how shamed they may (perhaps secretly) feel. “The sound and sight of children playing in their own yard isn’t something that normally offends people,” she says. “The father doesn’t need to please his neighbor. He needs to do what’s best for his child.”

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