Would you please write something on the permissibility of parents letting their children run in the house? I have lived in a second-floor condominium for twenty-three and a half years, and in the last seven months I have had to deal with a new third-floor neighbor, a single mother with two boys, ages 3 and 1. She lets the 3-year-old run around, and the heavy pounding of his feet makes my unit shake, and I feel the vibrations through my body. My repeated requests to her have led to a lessening of the problem but not its elimination. The trustees and property manager say it is an issue between owners and will not tell her that such running is prohibited. I believe it is not part of the normal sounds of living, like walking; it is more like playing ball in the house, which should also be totally prohibited. I am also aware that her second child is not yet running, so in another six months to a year, I will probably have two pairs of pounding feet over my head! What do you think about parents who are lax in disciplining their children this way, especially when it affects other people? (If she lived in a first-floor unit or in a house it would be a different matter.) Thank you.
From: Judith, Brookline, MA
The "permissibility" of parents letting their children run in the house? Not only do I think it's permissible, I think it's unreasonable to expect it to stop, and I think you're out of touch to suggest that this mom is "lax" in discipline.
It's not that I'm insensitive to your sensitivity. It probably would bother me, too. I think you've been lucky in the 23 1/2 years not to have had a family with children above you. So let me suggest a different tactic: invite the family in for lemonade and cookies. Get to know the kids. (You might like them.) Ask them to show you how they run! Once they know you as a person rather than just "that lady downstairs," they're likely to be more responsive to, say, playing more quietly before a certain hour in the morning. In fact, they will -- over time -- learn the difference between indoor play and outdoor play.
I know that to you this is a 'why-can't -this-generation-of-parents-control-their-kids problem. To me, it's about common sense. As my grandmother used to say, you catch more flies with sugar.
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