Nasty Neighbor Leaves Parents Rude Letter About Their Kids' Playing Style

parents get letter about kids being too loud

When my kids get too loud, I often send them outside. But even their outdoor voices can be too noisy, and I've been known to come barreling out the back door to add to the cacophony: "DYLAN! RILEY! TAKE IT DOWN ABOUT FIVE NOTCHES!"

I can't imagine how I would feel if one of my neighbors sent me a nasty letter telling me the entire neighborhood was "exasperated" by the sounds of my kids playing, but that's exactly what happened to Sarah Cloutier and Guy Doré. Someone left them an anonymous note complaining about the noise level created by their three children, two of which have special needs. Cloutier said the letter was so upsetting, she cried when she first read it.

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Sarah Cloutier's daughter Laurence, 7, has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and they believe her 4-year-old son Olivier also has the disorder. Her oldest son, 9-year-old Antoine, does not have ADHD. She says an anonymous letter was left in the family's mailbox last Friday, which read,

Many of us are exasperated by the screams of your children. We even think your children can only express themselves by yelling and don’t know how to talk.

The note went on to say the situation was becoming "unlivable." Cloutier admits her kids do scream occasionally when they play outside (what kids don't?), but mostly interact like normal children -- and that she was devastated the neighbor hadn't come to her personally about the issue.

I thought, 'Everybody hates us. They hate our kids.' It was sad. (...) For someone who doesn’t know us to judge us like that and the quality of our parenting? As a society, we need to respect each other and be able to talk with each other without sending a hurtful letter like that to someone you don’t really know.

Obviously I can't say how "unlivable" their neighborhood situation is because I don't know what the kids really sound like, but I do know that kids who scream a lot when they're playing are annoying to be around. It's annoying to ME when my own children scream, and that's when they get into trouble -- for one thing, I can't tell when someone's hurt, for another thing, UGH JUST STOP IT.

So I sympathize with the neighbor who is fed up with the noise. I really do, because it sucks when you want to relax in your backyard and you're being assaulted with the earsplitting shrieks of what sounds like a pack of deranged howler monkeys. I shut my kids down when I feel like they're getting too loud, but it's possible I have a different breaking point, noise-wise, than my neighbors do.

Which is why I really hope they'd come talk to me if it was becoming a problem, or at least send me an email. Not leave a shitty anonymous note that insults my parenting. It's like if I had a neighbor whose dog was barking all the time, the first step is to talk to them about it, not call the police.

I don't know if the children's ADHD contributes to the yelling or not, but since it was mentioned in the story, I'd guess it's a factor. It shouldn't excuse the parents from teaching their kids to be quieter if they're too loud, but it might have helped the angry neighbor be more understanding -- if only he or she had talked to them instead of taking the poison pen letter route.

Cloutier and Doré say they've gone around and talked with at least 10 neighbors within earshot of their house and no one confessed to writing the note. In fact, most people reacted with kindness, and some even cried when they read the letter.

It was heartwarming to see how nice they were with us. We mostly feel really lucky to have such good neighbors.

What's crazy is they probably talked with the exact person who left the note, and they acted completely differently when they had to interact with actual human beings who have feelings. And that's why they should have talked to these parents in the first place, because the whole thing might have been resolved without making two people -- who may be doing their best in a challenging situation -- feel so badly.

Do you think it's ever okay to leave a note like this?


Image via katerha/Flickr

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