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How do I explain this to my kids?

Okay, so here's the story. I have three little kids~7, 5, and 3. We moved in to our house almost two years ago and we know most of our neighbors. Everything is fine, some are friendly than others, but we don't have problems with any of them. BUT, our right-next-door neighbors are...hmmm, how do I explain it? They might just be private, or snobs, or shy, or I don't know what. But it's pretty clear they aren't interested in being friends. They've never been overly rude, but they don't go out of their way to talk to us, or aknowledge us, or anything. Which is fine, because I'd rather that than nosy, vicious, creepy, shady, noisy, you get the picture. We don't have much play room in the front yards, but our backyards run a ways together. There is a tall privacy fence put in by the previous owner so we don't see each other, but a couple of times my kids climbed up a woodpile and poked their heads over and started (more in comments)

 
crazywith4

Asked by crazywith4 at 2:45 PM on Apr. 3, 2010 in General Parenting

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Answers (18)
  • I would tell them "to not talk to them unless they talk to you". It's good that you are trying to explain these people are shy, because, like you said, you don't want to ostrasize them at school age. Otherwise I agree with anon. I think you are doing the best you can. You are not bring over cookies and lemonade or anything. I think it's great when kids are social and curious. I understand how it might to be hard to explain this without making them think scocializing could be a bad thing.
    sunshine58103

    Answer by sunshine58103 at 3:14 PM on Apr. 3, 2010

  • As someone who does not want to interact with neighbors, I would say it is pretty simple. Explain to your children that for some people their home is their sanctuary (special private place in little kid speak) & they are uncomfortable with people invading that space (even verbally by speaking to them). Tell them that it is very important to respect all of the people living near by who show you respect, even if they aren't actually friendly.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:56 PM on Apr. 3, 2010

  • talking to them, just being friendly. I don't even know how many family members there are, but it's a family unit and there is at least one little kid. They have a swingset and yard toys. So they talked to my kids before I realized they were up there and I made them get down. They weren't rude at all. But then the last time my kids did that, they went right back into the house. So clearly, they'd rather just be left alone. I just don't know how to explain it to my kids, because they just assume everyone wants to be their friend. (Good for them, I say!) I've said they're shy, I've said they're probably very busy, but I know they still don't get it. You know? How do I explain it in a way they can understand? Without making them out to be the bad guys or anything, because they aren't. Just not friendly, LOL. But I'm assuming someday all the kids will be in school together and probably know each other. Help!
    crazywith4

    Answer by crazywith4 at 3:00 PM on Apr. 3, 2010

  • People not wanting to know their neighbors is a major problem these days. Growing up, everyone on our street knew each other. And as a kid, I knew that if I needed help I could run to a neighbors and get it if need be. I personally think everyone should know their neighbors, it makes for a better life. JMO (posting anon so the unfriendly neighbors can't personally assault me)
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:07 PM on Apr. 3, 2010

  • Just tell your kids they are "SHY" and want "PRIVACY". not to go to the woodpile and bother the neighbors. Its clear they DON'T want to be bothered, if they went right in the house, you can just be civil-say hi-bye ,but leave it at that. Teach your kids to Respect others privacy. I know when I'm at home- I don't want ANYONE to bother me for any reason,if outside, just say hello-or goodby,I don't engage with my neighbors, don't want to know their business,or them in mine. Thats what FENCES are for. Maybe in years ago-everyone knew everyone, but not now,thats my quite time with me alone,or with MY family. I even screen phone calls.And its no one's business what I have in my back yard. You got all the signs of "leave us alone" your NOT welcomed. stick to your family and friends. A simple wave is just right.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:48 PM on Apr. 3, 2010

  • It is good to teach them that being friendly is great, but we must respect people who are made uncomfortable by strangers talking to them. After, live next door or not you are strangers.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:08 PM on Apr. 3, 2010

  • Thank you all for trying to help me out and for understanding. It just kinda gets to me sometimes, not knowing exactly what to say. I worry too, about when their kid (or kids) get older and may try talking to mine. Do I try to steer my kids away so as to avoid making the parents uncomfortable, or would that make it worse? And I certainly don't want to make my kids feel like they can't respond, like they are somehow "less than"...you know? Maybe I worry too much, LOL! Oh, and did I mention the grandmother or aunt or whatever she is just happens to work in the library at my daughter's school? So that muddies the water even more-talk to her at school, but not at the house (I don't even know if she lives there or not). We have spoken to her a couple of times and she was somewhat friendly, asking my daughter about school and stuff. So explaining the subtleties of talk to this one, but not that one, here but not there...ahhhh!
    crazywith4

    Answer by crazywith4 at 4:39 PM on Apr. 3, 2010

  • When it comes to your kids talking with theirs, you don't come between that-let them talk,you don't have to say to your kids,if the kids talk to you ignore them. Let them be kids,they might even play together,but the grown ones,clearly don't want you as friends-just a neighbor. If the grandmother talks with your kid at school-with a question or answer, then ok- but at home,if she don't say anything, don't bother her. Kids have their own way of doing things,but climbing up a woodpile to peek at them,is not repecting their privacy- that you have to teach them
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:37 PM on Apr. 3, 2010

  • Even if you live next door to me/or iI to you... we are both strangers to each other. your not my family or a friend,just a neighbor to me. You know nothing of me/or I you. that makes us STRANGERS. and these days I rather keep it that way. you have your own family &freinds and so do I. I never get mixed up with my neighbors,or them with me. *8- foot fence would go right up
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:44 PM on Apr. 3, 2010

  • Im like your neighbors..I pretty much stay home and I do smile or say hi if spoken too lol..BUT im also hard of hearing so people think im stuck up...No just deaf lol

    I dont really like making fiends with neighbors because I dont like when people come over unannounced.So my friends who live a few street over are some place else they call me and let me know they will be here.

    ryanlynn

    Answer by ryanlynn at 5:55 PM on Apr. 3, 2010

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