It’s basic decency to teach kids to seek permission before using someone else’s space. Unfortunately, not everyone understands that.
An internet user asked, “Am I a jerk for not allowing my neighbor’s kids to play in my backyard after an incident?”. Here’s the whole story for your context:
The Original Poster (OP) (35M) has a spacious, well-maintained backyard that he and his family enjoy. Their neighbors, Mark (37M) and Jane (34F) have three children, and they used to be friendly with OP’s family.
“However, our relationship took a hit due to an incident,” says OP.
WHAT HAPPENED ONE DAY?
One day, the neighbor’s kids played in OP’s yard without permission. They accidentally broke a cherished garden gnome, and OP’s flower bed was trampled.
“I politely discussed the issue with Mark and Jane, explaining that while we don’t mind their kids playing in our yard occasionally, they should ask for permission and be careful,” says OP.
WHAT DID MARK AND JANE DO?
Instead of apologizing, Mark and Jane became defensive, saying kids will be kids, and they shouldn’t have to ask for permission every time.
“They even insinuated that I was being overly uptight about my garden gnome,” says OP.
Then, OP decided to set boundaries and informed them that their kids were no longer allowed in OP’s backyard.
“They were visibly upset and argued that I was being unreasonable, punishing their kids for an accident,” says OP.
THE FINAL FUSS
Now, Mark and Jane are telling their mutual friends and other neighbors about the situation, painting OP as the bad guy. Some of their friends think OP is harsh, while others agree with OP’s decision.
IS OP THE JERK?
“So, am I a jerk for not allowing my neighbor’s kids to play in my backyard after the incident with the garden gnome?” asks OP.
WHAT IF A KID GETS HURT?
“Not the jerk. Your neighbors act like this when it would cost them nothing to be polite. How do these entitled jerks act if a kid gets hurt on your property? These people will 100% sue you for anything that happens in your yard. Tell the whole family to pound sand.”
THEIR RESPONSE SPEAKS VOLUMES
“Not the jerk. Your neighbors’ response to you speaks volumes about how they would react if one of their kids was hurt or something happened.”
IT’S NOT A PLAYGROUND
“I agree with your decision. You are liable for any injuries these unsupervised children might suffer on your property. Anyway, it is your backyard. It’s not a playground. Too bad, but those neighbors should have taken responsibility and replaced the gnome and repaired the flower bed.”
KEEP THEM OFF YOUR PROPERTY
“Not the jerk. This is a big-time liability, and your neighbors will not hesitate to sue you. Keep them off your property.”
THEY SOUND LIKE ENTITLED IDIOTS
“Your neighbors sound like entitled idiots. They should have apologized for the damage and discussed it with their kids and used it as a teachable moment for their kids to learn responsibility and respect for other people’s belongings.”
THIS IS YOUR SPACE
“Not the jerk. Your neighbors aren’t entitled to your space, and they actively disrespected it and told you to your face that they don’t care.”
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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.