So here's the deal... this is going to be a long post. Prepare yourself. :) We all know I'm wordy... but this may be a little extreme. So I'm just giving you a head's up. :)
As you all know, we recently moved to a duplex a few minutes away from our old home. I love the setting... gorgeous back yard, in our price range, great neighbors on the other side of the duplex. It's fantastic. Except that there are some really crappy neighbors. The first night we were there (just bringing some stuff over) a girl pushed Haley down the hill. The next day a boy told his dog to "get them" and gestured towards my children. The next day a mom came over to tell me that it is a rough crowd, and that she heard her boys using words she didn't approve of with my kids. This is the only house that has parents who pay attention. No, I'm really not joking. There are kids everywhere, but no parents save this one mother trying to raise her children to not do what every other kid in the neighborhood is doing. Sigh.
So to get to the point.. on Saturday my sister (she rocks!) was helping me finally get my stuff from the old house. We left our three children at my home while we ran there to load up the car. While we were there I got a phone call from Haley saying that there were some kids harassing them in our yard, and she had asked them to leave. They refused. So when I got home, I went back and told the kids that they needed to leave. None of them moved very quickly... instantly the husband of the mom mentioned before was there to retrieve his kids. The two girls were not moving. I told them that they were welcome to come and play in my yard when if they asked permission, or were playing with my kids, otherwise they needed to leave. Still not moving. I went to the front of the house to finish unpacking the car, and the girls took a few minutes to come out and leave. On their way out I told them that if they continued to be there without permission I would call the police. Okay... let me just say that I know that's extreme...but I had had 3 separate people (including my landlord) tell me that that was what I needed to do... since I had already told the children to not be in my back yard.
Yesterday the girls' father came over. He told me that I was rude for threatening his children... and that that was not the way to "make friends" in this neighborhood. I said, well, I asked them to leave and they did not, and this is my yard. He proceeded to tell me that they were not on my "side" of the yard. (Which is funny, because the ladies on the other side of the duplex have been very clear that the entire yard is for both sides). I had talked to the neighbor on Friday and she had expressed that she has told the neighborhood kids that they are NOT to be in our yard. I told him as much. He replied "Then she's lying to one of us, because she gave my kids permission to be there." He proceeded to tell me that if I was going to threaten his children, he would call the police every time I "speed down this street". I replied that I don't go about 25, and that I was yelled at one day while going 20 after I had just let 2 girls cross the street in front of me. He told me if I got yelled at that it was for good reason... "What if a kid darted out into the street?" So... he just told me that he would call the police if he felt I was going too fast... even if it was under the speed limit. He proceeded to tell me that my kids aren't allowed in their yards or anyone else's.
At this point I'm not sure what to do. I told the kids that they are to play in our yard... and if they would like to invite kids over to our yard anyone is welcome after an invitation or if they ask permission. But I don't feel comfortable with them in other people's yards anymore. I literally felt a little weird going to bed last night... and went and double checked our locks. He was agitated, loud and just plain not nice. :( So what is your advice? Do you let kids in your yard at all hours? I feel like my children should be able to ask someone to leave their own yard. I also feel like I have not done anything wrong by driving 20 down the road while stopping for kids when I see them. Be honest folks... I need it. Oh, and if you're still reading... you rock. :)