Mom Sued by Neighbors Because Her Kids Make Too Much Noise

playhouseThe whole point of backyard playhouses is that they're supposed to be a place where kids can really let loose and be kids -- you know, use their "outside voices" and such. So it seems particularly unfair that one Texas mom is being sued by her neighbors because her kids were doing just that: using their outside voices, outside


Mother-of-four Kelly Counts says part of the reason she moved to her current home was because there was room for her kids to have a playhouse in the yard. Unfortunately, she didn't know that along with the yard came next-door neighbors who would be so offended by the sound of children playing that they would sue, claiming the kids' outdoor oasis is "creating noise issues as well as visibility issues for them and their pets."

The neighbors in question, Irving and Anita Ward, say that because Counts's children (ages 2, 4, 7, and 10) are homeschooled, they never get a break from the noise. But Counts says that she got the city's approval before putting in the playhouse, so she has no plans to move it; she also says that before the lawsuit, the Wards never even complained about it to her. And now, in addition to suing, they've also taken to blasting music with "explicit lyrics" while the kids are outside. (So they can't be TOO concerned about noise, I daresay.) This revenge tactic is at least giving Counts grounds to countersue.

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As a mom, I really feel for Counts. There are plenty of places where kids are required to be quiet (and every parent has experienced the struggle of desperately trying to shush their child in said places), but playhouses are generally not among those places -- particularly when they're in a family's very own backyard. And how much noise can four kids possibly make?? I actually grew up in a house next door to a nursery school, so I have a little experience with this -- and I can tell you that at no point did anyone in my family feel like the noise level was something to sue over. (Plus, the nursery school was run by nuns, so that would've been a REALLY messed-up thing to do.)

I'm sure the Wards won't win this lawsuit, but I hope they also learn to be a little more tolerant! Because living next door to those people must be tough.


Image via Eden, Janine and Jim/Flickr

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