Most neighbourhoods have families with children living in them. Some estates are mainly populated by young families and this can be a really positive thing as families of a similar age can help support each other, however, sometimes it can be difficult to please everyone. Perhaps you live next door to very young children and have to endure lots of shrieking and shouting when all you want to do is sun bathe. These are your neighbours, however, so you do have to tolerate these episodes. Below are some tips as to how you can be supportive of other peoples’ children.
* Introduce yourself.
It is amazing how many people live in a neighbourhood without actually knowing more than what car their neighbours drive or what time they tend to arrive home in the evenings. If you do not already know your neighbours then introduce yourself, tell them who you are, where you live and be friendly. This will provide you with an open line of communication should you ever need it.
* Offer help.
Offer your help to your neighbour if you are aware that they need it. Perhaps it has snowed and because they have young children they are struggling to clear their driveway or get out to the shops to buy essentials. Perhaps they don’t even need any help but as a neighbour it would be supportive to acknowledge the situation and to enquire if they need a hand with anything. They may be grateful that you can watch their children whilst they clear the drive or may ask you to pick up various items from the shops.
Sometimes it can be hard to be supportive of someone if you don’t spend time with them. Have some time with your neighbours and their children being sociable. You could invite them around for a BBQ in the summer or you could ask if they would like to go on a walk. If you socialise then you will be able to develop a good relationship with them and it will help the children to form a bond with you.
* Set boundaries.
If there comes a time when you feel as though you are being disturbed and the children are causing you problems then it is important to communicate this. Perhaps you are struggling to tolerate the banging on your walls or the fact that their ball is constantly coming over your fence. Explain to the parents why you are finding this hard, that you don’t want to cause a conflict but perhaps they could have a quiet word with their children and find a way to compromise. Maybe if the ball goes over your fence they can hop round themselves to get it back or maybe you will return it twice and then after that they will have to wait until the following day. So long as you communicate these requests in a reasonable manner no conflict should occur.
* Do not preach.
Nobody likes to hear how they should be parenting or what they should be doing. Giving advice in a careful manner is okay but patronising or making the parent out to feel as though they are being told what to do can have nothing but negative consequences. Before you tell your neighbours what you think they should do, step back and remember what it was like to be a child and approach the situation in a tactful manner. Remember that everyone is an individual so what worked for you may not work for them.
* Be friends.
The best way to support anyone is to be their friend. Treat them well, be kind, let them trust you and know they can rely on you. This will enable you to be able to be supportive of your neighbours’ children. It may help you to understand why various things happen and so will take the stress and annoyance away from the situation.
Being supportive of your neighbours children can enable you to form good relationships and stop conflicts from occurring. Being supportive, understanding and tactful are very important.