Author Topic: Village vs helicopter neighbours  (Read 1425 times)

Kepler

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Village vs helicopter neighbours
« on: January 03, 2019, 06:30:11 AM »
I'm not sure this is the right place to post this, or even what I'm asking exactly.  We just got a letter in our mailbox from "your neighbour", who has expressed their concern because they feel we are not supervising our young children adequately in the neighbourhood.  They have warned us that our neighbourhood only appears safe - that there was a rumour once about a paedophile somewhere - and that someone was murdered at a specific location a few blocks away once (I checked this one out: someone with a serious mental health issue had a psychotic break and killed their roommate... ten years ago...).  The note is  anonymous but, weirdly, done on the stationary of our local MP - maybe that's just the paper they had to hand, but we were wondering whether it was some kind of passive-aggressive signal that they might involve authorities, although they haven't said that they will.

Here's the deal: we have three kids, the older two of whom have sort of social anxiety issues, so it's very important to us to encourage social independence and a degree of "boldness" when cultivating social connections.  One of our kids is very young - not in school yet - one is in primary, and one is a teenager.

We live in a cul-de-sac you'd basically never find unless you were looking for it, and our house is right across the street from a small playground only used by other people in the cul-de-sac.  While we don't know who sent this note, we have introduced ourselves to everyone on the street.  There is a strong parenting culture divide, which at least superficially seems to relate to immigrant status: basically, we're the only white family who uses the little playground, and we're not originally from this country either...  Our kids have tonnes of people to play with - but all of them are very recent migrants who have almost no English (the little kids generally have the most). These are really nice people - very affectionate with their kids and very kind to ours.  Even though we have limited ability to communicate, we all sort of watch our for one another's children - which means, among other things, if one of our group of parents is across the street at the playground, everyone else will send their kids out, because we all sort of rely on whoever is the most proximate parent. 

Some of the parents hang out at the park the whole time they are "on duty", but two have very young infants, and tend to sort of walk a circuit around the park and the cul-de-sac while generally keeping an eye on things, while we often hang out in our own yard - sometimes working in the car port area, sometimes in the yard, sometimes sitting on the porch - rather than actually being across the street in the park.  Our kids have been taught to walk around the cul-de-sac to get to the park, rather than crossing the street, so the walk between our house and the park is very safe, but it might not be apparent to someone that we are actually watching our kids, because we don't walk with them.  If another parent is "on duty", we in fact might go back inside our house and get some things done: the custom - which emerged with anyone discussing it - is that the "on duty" parent will see everyone back home if they have to leave.

Over the past couple of weeks - and I suspect this is what has provoked the note - our house has emerged as a kind of hang out location for the littler kids in this group.  Kids drift in and out all day, and go back and forth between our house and the playground.  We had been thinking this was really lovely, and we had been particularly pleased at how much braver our middle child was becoming amongst this nice community situation.  All this back and forth movement between our place and the playground winds up naturally as it starts to get dark.  Last night, though, one of the little kids invited our daughter to come home with her once it got dark, so that they could light some sparklers together.  My daughter clearly had some trepidation, but wanted to do it, and we let her walk across with her friend, and then walk home by herself (we're talking four houses away - no crossed roads).  This morning, we got the note. 

Again, my daughter wasn't actually unsupervised - my husband was outside working in the car port - although we were also doing our best to make /her/ feel like she was doing this on her own, without parental "backup" (since one of her struggles is to want us to facilitate things for her).  I could easily see how it could look like a little girl was wandering around unsupervised after dark.  That said, people could come up and ask us, rather than leaving an anonymous note that gives us no clue who to explain the situation to.

But honestly, I suspect the concern is less "sincere" than this.  I'm trying to be charitable and assume that race/ethnicity isn't the major issue - so, in the spirit of generosity, let's say that there is at best a profound difference in parenting styles that happens also to align with a race/ethnicity divide on the street.  Most houses in the cul-de-sac have kids the same general age, but lots of houses usher the kids from the door, straight into the car when going outside, and then straight back through the door again when they get back home.  I'm cool with that - their families, their decisions.  But I'm not so cool with someone deciding that our decision /not/ to do that, constitutes negligent parenting.  Particularly not when it's anonymous and I don't even know how to address it head on. 

To address a couple possibly qualifiers: the kids are /not/ loud or disruptive.  We keep our windows open and are closer to the playground than any other house, and we can't hear them at all from inside.

And: the note isn't the first indication we've had that neighbours on the 'door-to-car' end of the parenting spectrum, disapprove of our sort of "it takes a village" thing - the dirty looks when we sat on our porch and handed out candy to trick-or-treaters at Halloween were... really something...  The open stares we got when a family with members in hijab came to our door were... infuriating to be honest... 

Unrelated to this, we are about to move - to another country as it happens.  This actually makes me a bit more anxious about what could happen if they call some authority.  It can take a while to resolve even the most nonsense of child protective service claims, and I don't know what would happen if some agency were to decide to check us out, and the date came when we were meant to fly out.  So I suppose my question is: in this circumstance, would you be worried?  Do we need to put on a hi-vis vest and hop up and down at the playground while our kids are there, to prove we are watching them?  Would you assume this is just a blowhard and not worry that they could escalate it?

sol

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2019, 07:08:38 AM »
Anonymous letters carry zero weight with me.  I assume they are trying to bring somethinhg to my attention, so if I'm already aware of the issue they bring, it goes in the trash.

I wouldn't sweat it.  I think you can safely ignore.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2019, 07:12:00 AM »
Yea to Sol's point you seemed to have a grip with whats going on around you and know your kids needs. If the person really had imo true good intentions they would of put there name and maybe said if you would like me to explain further call here....


Laura33

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2019, 07:32:28 AM »
Anonymous and on MP stationery?  Total dick move.  I'm with Sol.

More specifically, you have a very good story to tell should something come of it -- in particular, "my kids have social anxiety, we are methodically working with them to encourage more independence, while providing covert surveillance, so we can make sure they are safe without them realizing we are watching.  I was in the carport the whole time, and whoever it was who complained must not have seen me -- gee, I wish they had raised this with me directly at the time, as I was right there, and this whole thing could have been avoided."

trollwithamustache

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2019, 07:41:36 AM »
anonymous letter, so not from a HOA?  Ignore it, there is always some old biddy worrying and wanting to micromanage stuff.

If you aren't talking to your immediate neighbors, try to initiate some friendly chitter chatter.  You may learn something about your neighborhood and to be fair, they may have some small preferences about how you manage the hordes of children.  Getting along with the immediate neighbors is far more important than whoever down the block...

But, in my area  I am considered a free range parent because I thought a 9 year old with a cell phone could walk 3 blocks to a library. I have it on very confident authority, that I am not be a good source of parenting advice.

gaja

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2019, 08:11:46 AM »
It sounds like you have a very good village going. If it was in my part of the world, I can promise you the CPS would ignore a message about "children playing in the park next to their house with parent several hundred meters away". But different cultures have different rules, and sometimes small things turn into large misunderstandings.

If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't change how I do things, but I might become a bit louder about it, so the nosy neighbours see that you are present. When my kids were small, one of the neighbours worried when they climbed the highest trees in the garden. We wanted them to keep climbing, but didn't want the nice old lady next door to get too afraid. So every so often when the girls were in the top of the tree, we would yell up to them stuff like: "how is the view", "great job climbing so high - do you have a plan for getting back down today", etc. Fun for the kids, and the old lady saw and heard us having controll.

Kepler

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2019, 09:04:49 AM »
Thanks everyone - I absolutely agree that an anonymous note is just really obnoxious...  It carries no weight at all in terms of what I think about what we are doing - but sticking it on the MP stationery made me wonder whether they were trying to emphasise that they had "connections" and might do something further.  (Our MP is a total dropkick, so certainly I'm not worried about the MP's office escalating it or anything - and it's probably just this person trying to establish that they are "somebody", rather than an indication of what they would actually do).

We actually have made a point of making ourselves known to our immediate neighbours, which means I'm really puzzled who sent the note.  The neighbour to one side is an elderly gentleman in poor health, who has, however, been very friendly when well enough to come out.  The closest neighbour across the street has little kids our kids' ages, and are one of the car-to-door folks, but have spoken to us in passing a number of times, and allowed our daughter to give theirs some Christmas cookies she'd decorated: I would hope they'd just come and talk to us directly.  The next closest neighbour across the street actually came to us a few months ago because they had woken from a nap to find their child missing, and were hoping he'd followed the other kids into our place - we spent hours helping them look for him (he turned up at a relative's place, all safe): again, I would be really weirded out if they would send an anonymous note...  Actually, when that incident happened, I went around and knocked on everyone's doors in the cul-de-sac, so a lot of the neighbourhood met me again in that context...

We've gotten more obvious shade from people who live a bit further away on the street - but they couldn't possibly tell whether we were supervising our kids or not. 

But I'm sure you're right that this is in the blowhard category.  It was just such a downer - we had been really enjoying the community developing here, and it was the one thing we were thinking we would miss when we move.  Now it's like one more thing we'll be relieved to get away from...

Laura33

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2019, 09:44:28 AM »
You know, if you want to be evil,* you could forward the note to the MP's office, asking who from their office sent it, because of course you are very concerned about what is clearly a misunderstanding given your ongoing supervision of your children, and given the official nature of the complaint (as indicated by the use of his stationery), you would like to know which of his staff is involved so that you can resolve the misunderstanding directly and appropriately.

That is a massively inappropriate use of official letterhead, and if the MP's not a total doink, he will read the riot act to his staff for stuff like that, because that's the kind of thing that could really get him in trouble.

Of course, if your goal is to improve relations with the neighbors, that's probably not the best way to go about it.  ;-)  OTOH, someone who's a big enough dick to send an anonymous letter on official stationery is likely a lost cause anyway.

*I would totally do this.

Basenji

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2019, 10:02:25 AM »
You know, if you want to be evil,* you could forward the note to the MP's office, asking who from their office sent it, because of course you are very concerned about what is clearly a misunderstanding given your ongoing supervision of your children, and given the official nature of the complaint (as indicated by the use of his stationery), you would like to know which of his staff is involved so that you can resolve the misunderstanding directly and appropriately.

That is a massively inappropriate use of official letterhead, and if the MP's not a total doink, he will read the riot act to his staff for stuff like that, because that's the kind of thing that could really get him in trouble.

Of course, if your goal is to improve relations with the neighbors, that's probably not the best way to go about it.  ;-)  OTOH, someone who's a big enough dick to send an anonymous letter on official stationery is likely a lost cause anyway.

*I would totally do this.

Even MORE evil (and oh so sweet) would be to respond as if the letter came from the MP him/herself, enclose a copy (not the original), ignore the substance of the letter, and innocently inquire if it is the MP's "policy" to involve him/herself in these private matters, and if so, would the MP care to elaborate on this new policy.

Kepler

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2019, 10:13:56 AM »
You know, if you want to be evil,* you could forward the note to the MP's office, asking who from their office sent it, because of course you are very concerned about what is clearly a misunderstanding given your ongoing supervision of your children, and given the official nature of the complaint (as indicated by the use of his stationery), you would like to know which of his staff is involved so that you can resolve the misunderstanding directly and appropriately.

That is a massively inappropriate use of official letterhead, and if the MP's not a total doink, he will read the riot act to his staff for stuff like that, because that's the kind of thing that could really get him in trouble.

Of course, if your goal is to improve relations with the neighbors, that's probably not the best way to go about it.  ;-)  OTOH, someone who's a big enough dick to send an anonymous letter on official stationery is likely a lost cause anyway.

*I would totally do this.

Even MORE evil (and oh so sweet) would be to respond as if the letter came from the MP him/herself, enclose a copy (not the original), ignore the substance of the letter, and innocently inquire if it is the MP's "policy" to involve him/herself in these private matters, and if so, would the MP care to elaborate on this new policy.

Ha!  These are very funny...  Since we're about to leave the country, it wouldn't even necessarily cause any fallout at the neighbourhood level.  Now that the initial reaction is wearing off, I do keep suddenly thinking about sending this sort of thing on an MP's letterhead, and bursting out laughing: seriously, who does that?

ETA: actually, I just looked again, and the print actually says at the bottom that it's "Authorised by" the MP.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 10:17:10 AM by Kepler »

Laura33

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2019, 12:09:30 PM »
You know, if you want to be evil,* you could forward the note to the MP's office, asking who from their office sent it, because of course you are very concerned about what is clearly a misunderstanding given your ongoing supervision of your children, and given the official nature of the complaint (as indicated by the use of his stationery), you would like to know which of his staff is involved so that you can resolve the misunderstanding directly and appropriately.

That is a massively inappropriate use of official letterhead, and if the MP's not a total doink, he will read the riot act to his staff for stuff like that, because that's the kind of thing that could really get him in trouble.

Of course, if your goal is to improve relations with the neighbors, that's probably not the best way to go about it.  ;-)  OTOH, someone who's a big enough dick to send an anonymous letter on official stationery is likely a lost cause anyway.

*I would totally do this.

Even MORE evil (and oh so sweet) would be to respond as if the letter came from the MP him/herself, enclose a copy (not the original), ignore the substance of the letter, and innocently inquire if it is the MP's "policy" to involve him/herself in these private matters, and if so, would the MP care to elaborate on this new policy.

Most excellent!!  [Rubbing hands and cackling gleefully]

Basenji

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2019, 12:28:20 PM »
You know, if you want to be evil,* you could forward the note to the MP's office, asking who from their office sent it, because of course you are very concerned about what is clearly a misunderstanding given your ongoing supervision of your children, and given the official nature of the complaint (as indicated by the use of his stationery), you would like to know which of his staff is involved so that you can resolve the misunderstanding directly and appropriately.

That is a massively inappropriate use of official letterhead, and if the MP's not a total doink, he will read the riot act to his staff for stuff like that, because that's the kind of thing that could really get him in trouble.

Of course, if your goal is to improve relations with the neighbors, that's probably not the best way to go about it.  ;-)  OTOH, someone who's a big enough dick to send an anonymous letter on official stationery is likely a lost cause anyway.

*I would totally do this.

Even MORE evil (and oh so sweet) would be to respond as if the letter came from the MP him/herself, enclose a copy (not the original), ignore the substance of the letter, and innocently inquire if it is the MP's "policy" to involve him/herself in these private matters, and if so, would the MP care to elaborate on this new policy.

Most excellent!!  [Rubbing hands and cackling gleefully]

I was walking the dogs and laughing about this. The office meeting to discuss proper use of MP's official letterhead, behind-the-scenes inquiry into who wrote letter, consternation about how to respond to the letter, pressure to avert media being alerted, discussion of appropriate disciplinary action for letter writer...oh, I just realized this could be an episode of "The Thick of It."
NSFW: "Right people, listen up, it's a fucking lockdown!"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz4bh9L172U&index=70&list=PL_jIDr2tZiuTze6wvWm2fbsy_7BJ-_tHd
« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 12:29:53 PM by Basenji »

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2019, 11:24:15 AM »
I'm considered a relatively free-range parent who operates the "hangout" base for younger kids as well.  It has caused a great deal of consternation with some of the neighbors who are like yours and escort their kids everywhere.  We live on a corner.  The family who lives directly behind us (also on a corner) would not allow their 9-year-old daughter to walk to my home unsupervised.  It's literally 30 yards and they could stand in their backyard and hear her the entire time.  But they told me the neighborhood was too scary, and she wasn't allowed to play at our house anymore when they asked me not to send her home unescorted and I sent MY 9 year-old with her as my proxy.

My neighborhood association has also declined to put up a playground on land that was gifted to us because 'those people' (meaning brown or Spanish-speaking individuals who live just within a few blocks) might walk to our neighborhood and use it too. 

You can't let it get to you.  You can't change the minds of people with so much fear that they cite a 10-year-old murder that wasn't committed by strangers.   You can't change the parenting philosophies of people who will never let their kids out of their sight.

You can change the minds of people who let prejudice blind them, by showing them differently.  Your kids are happy playing with children who don't look like them.  The kids who don't look like them feel welcome in your home.  The adults who don't look like you are helping to make sure all the kids - not just theirs - are safe.  It's a beautiful example of community, not just for your children and those they play with, but also for the kids who are being escorted.  They may not be allowed to participate, but they see it, and that will stay with them in some form as they grow up.  And it might just change their parents too.

Please don't change any of what you are doing.

Cassie

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2019, 03:42:41 PM »
I find this whole thing ridiculous. The kids that are being overprotected aren’t being done a favor. As a former social worker we wouldn’t have opened a investigation based on this. Probably would have had to visit, hear the story and leave. My kids are grown but we had this kind of relationship with our neighbors when the kids were little and it was great.

Goldielocks

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2019, 05:05:28 AM »
Two different inputs for your consideration.
1)  The parents that I knew that were the MOST uptight about kids safety / walking, were the friends from pakistan, and the ones from South Africa.  Where they lived you do NOT let you kids go anywhere unescorted, and hardly let them walk to the car if you are not behind a fence of some sort.   Fair enough.

2)  The second most uptight were the ones from our nice new neighborhood in California.... and generally the white folks.   We had to go in to see the Principal because he was told that our grade 3 daughter was walking to school alone (1-2 blocks, quiet neighborhood with 100 kids being walked through it with parents at the same time).  AND that  it was especially concerning -- the report was that there was a strange man following her sometimes.
Yep,   That was DH who was the SAHP at the time.  He was making certain she was using her road safety rules properly for the first couple of weeks, when she was insisting on doing it alone.

I personally think you are in overkill supervision mode yourselves, already.   I would be "supervising" the park from my porch, in shouting distance, while working on a chore... and that would be because of the youngest one, not the primary school one.   Good luck.

Anonymous notes have no value.  As you are on speaking terms with everyone, I would ask each of them if they wrote it and then get clarification.

Kepler

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2019, 08:47:24 PM »
Thanks everyone - and to be clear: we aren't planning on changing anything - but, as gaja suggested (thank you!), we have been a bit "louder" about it - I've called across to my daughter from our yard when she's in the playground and such.  Now, frankly, if I were a neighbour, I'd find that more annoying :-P - but we're moving soon, and my immediate goal is just to demonstrate that we're not just turfing the kids out and lying in bed all day... :-)

Goldielocks - I take your point about whether we're already supervising too much - to be honest, the main reason we're outside when other adults aren't on deck, is that we have a not-quite-four-year-old in the mix.  He is also much bolder than his older siblings, and he /can/ get curious enough to wander quite a ways - we're glad that he's confident enough to do that, but he does need a bit of an eye.  His sister is six, and we trust her not to do anything stupid, but also want her to gain more confidence, so we're trying to leave her /feeling/ unsupervised as much as we can - but we're also very aware that this would strike many people as much too young.  Given our goals for our daughter, it's counterproductive if she gets hassled by other adults in the community when she's experimenting with greater social independence - our availability is meant to prevent /that/, more than it's meant to supervise her.  That said, there are lots of parents who take turns keeping an eye out, so we're not in the yard all day or anything. 

She was /so/ happy when she same back from her night-time trip to do sparklers with her friend - she keeps thanking me for letting her do it.  I absolutely don't want to change anything that takes away that kind of progress and self-confidence.  I just need to make sure the local busybody butts out.

Once offices wake up from the holiday, I do think I'll place a call about why our MP has "authorised" the contents of this hand-written note in my mailbox...

SnackDog

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2019, 09:05:43 PM »
If you are about to move and can manage the kids to the anonymous expectations until the move without much trouble, it might be worth it.  You don't want an investigation into your parenting and neighbors can be truly awful.  You are dealing with a nut job so be very careful how you deal with it. I suspect if you ignore it, the issue will not go away but will continue and possibly escalate.

cats

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2019, 09:21:31 PM »
You know, if you want to be evil,* you could forward the note to the MP's office, asking who from their office sent it, because of course you are very concerned about what is clearly a misunderstanding given your ongoing supervision of your children, and given the official nature of the complaint (as indicated by the use of his stationery), you would like to know which of his staff is involved so that you can resolve the misunderstanding directly and appropriately.

That is a massively inappropriate use of official letterhead, and if the MP's not a total doink, he will read the riot act to his staff for stuff like that, because that's the kind of thing that could really get him in trouble.

Of course, if your goal is to improve relations with the neighbors, that's probably not the best way to go about it.  ;-)  OTOH, someone who's a big enough dick to send an anonymous letter on official stationery is likely a lost cause anyway.

*I would totally do this.

Even MORE evil (and oh so sweet) would be to respond as if the letter came from the MP him/herself, enclose a copy (not the original), ignore the substance of the letter, and innocently inquire if it is the MP's "policy" to involve him/herself in these private matters, and if so, would the MP care to elaborate on this new policy.

Most excellent!!  [Rubbing hands and cackling gleefully]

I was walking the dogs and laughing about this. The office meeting to discuss proper use of MP's official letterhead, behind-the-scenes inquiry into who wrote letter, consternation about how to respond to the letter, pressure to avert media being alerted, discussion of appropriate disciplinary action for letter writer...oh, I just realized this could be an episode of "The Thick of It."
NSFW: "Right people, listen up, it's a fucking lockdown!"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz4bh9L172U&index=70&list=PL_jIDr2tZiuTze6wvWm2fbsy_7BJ-_tHd

This is so nutty to me!  I cannot imagine:

1) Being so annoyed about my neighbors that I would remember to write them a letter about while I was at the office (with ready access to company letterhead).
-or-
2) Bringing company letterhead home to have around.

I am so baffled as to how this letter came to be written on MP letterhead!

Kepler

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2019, 10:29:31 PM »
If you are about to move and can manage the kids to the anonymous expectations until the move without much trouble, it might be worth it.  You don't want an investigation into your parenting and neighbors can be truly awful.  You are dealing with a nut job so be very careful how you deal with it. I suspect if you ignore it, the issue will not go away but will continue and possibly escalate.

Part of the difficulty here, is that it's unclear what the anonymous expectations actually mean.  Our kids are in fact already not unsupervised - they might be being supervised by another parent, or by us from across the street (which is no further away than if they were at the back of a large back yard).  So we don't know whether the objection is:

- never have your kids farther than arms reach of yourself, personally - in which case the expectation is that we walk them everywhere and stay with them personally when they are in the park;

- make sure your kids aren't outside unattended - in which case they either aren't seeing us in the yard already, or they aren't understanding that other people's parents might be watching over our kids, and we're cool with that; or

- make sure no kids are outside unattended - in which case they might be confused which kids belong to our house, since kids are in and out of here all day, and there are families who are more laid-back than we are and do let their kids wander around unsupervised - and we're certainly not going to tell someone else not to allow their kid to roam the cul-de-sac...

So the strategy of "hunker down until you move to avoid trouble" might not work, no matter what we do.  I do worry they will escalate it, but it's difficult to work out how to de-escalate a situation where we aren't in fact doing anything wrong - you can't necessarily satisfy a nutter...  I did try to be very conspicuously "in the yard" when the kids were out the past couple of days - this doesn't change anything for our kids, because they are used to our sometimes being in the yard while they're in the playground, but maybe it will make clearer to the neighbourhood that they aren't unattended.  I got some pleasant nods from some people, and some disapproving glowers from others - just like always... 

Laura33

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2019, 06:56:46 AM »
I am so baffled as to how this letter came to be written on MP letterhead!

My guess:  Nosy Neighbor Dad works at the MP's office and keeps stationery at home in case he needs to work from home.  Nosy Neighbor Mom knows this and decided to give her anonymous complaint the air of authority without his knowledge or approval (because he has to know he'd be in deep shit if he used official stationery for something like that).

@Kepler:  Do it in writing, not via a phone call.  Seriously.  If this were to get escalated, you want written documentation that you responded immediately (preferably nicely and with self-serving statements about how it must be a mistake because your children are always properly supervised, etc.).

Goldielocks

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2019, 11:42:55 AM »

So the strategy of "hunker down until you move to avoid trouble" might not work, no matter what we do.  I do worry they will escalate it, but it's difficult to work out how to de-escalate a situation where we aren't in fact doing anything wrong - you can't necessarily satisfy a nutter...  I did try to be very conspicuously "in the yard" when the kids were out the past couple of days - this doesn't change anything for our kids, because they are used to our sometimes being in the yard while they're in the playground, but maybe it will make clearer to the neighbourhood that they aren't unattended.  I got some pleasant nods from some people, and some disapproving glowers from others - just like always...

The only way to stop over worrying about the note is to take it around and ask people about it.   Anonymous notes are always vaguely threatening to the one receiving it, although the person putting it out there was just trying to maintain social niceness in person to soften their message (and failed).

Tell them you received an anonymous note from a neighbor, but needed to understand what it was about to resolve it, and if they wrote it.    If they don't know, ask if anyone in their home could have access to MP stationary.

Kepler

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2019, 03:11:11 AM »
I have found the culprit!  It took a while, because no one was admitting to it - it turns out because it's someone who doesn't actually live on the street.  The (herself elderly) relative of our lovely elderly next-door neighbour, who comes by his place and helps out from time to time, decided to take on this grave duty during one of her visits.  I took a guess when I saw her on the street and she looked terrified and tried to avoid eye contact, so I walked over and asked whether she had left a note in our box...  She did at least fess up.

She claims that our house was all dark and closed up, and no one answered when she tried twice to knock on our door.  This either means that she was seeing two kids who weren't ours, at some point when we weren't home, or that she's just lying to avoid embarrassment about not having bothered to check whether we were in the yard.  My bet is on the latter, since we have mainly been home for the past several weeks - I can only think of one day when everyone would have been out at the same time, and that wasn't when she left the note.

I didn't mention the MP stationery - it seemed needlessly escalating.  But I am hoping that a bit of face to face interaction will calm things down.  She seemed unconvinced that we actually watch our kids - and reiterated that there was some category of "those people" to worry about, somewhere out there, but hopefully it will mean she will at least come and really knock on our door before doing anything stupid.

Cassie

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2019, 03:51:46 PM »
Hopefully she will just mind her own business!

SnackDog

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2019, 04:37:12 PM »
Well done and well handled.  Hang in there!

Goldielocks

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Re: Village vs helicopter neighbours
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2019, 10:01:36 PM »
Good for you!