A British Columbia family is being fined weekly by their condo board because of constant noise complaints from their neighbors. They have a two-year-old and a five-year-old who like to run around and play. I usually side with the “noisy children” in these situations, because I honestly feel like the general public has become very intolerant of kids. In this case, however, the mother seems to be throwing her hands up and saying, “whatever.” That’s not cool, either.
Kathryn Mackenzie lives with her husband and two young children in a second-floor “family friendly” condo that the couple purchased five years ago, before they had kids. For the last year, the family has been receiving complaints from fed-up neighbors who are sick of listening to their kids running around. The neighbors complain that the kids are “constantly running back and forth, jumping and stomping all day long.” Mackenzie says, “I have a two-year-old. He does scream — he has tantrums now. I know it’s very loud, but he’s supposed to be loud — he’s two-years-old. There’s really nothing I can do to stop that.” Um, no.
All kids are different. All tantrums are different. All neighbors are different. I’m not pretending to know what exactly this mother is going through, but her attitude is very telling: “He’s supposed to be loud… there’s really nothing I can do to stop that.” Feeling entitled to allow your child to create as much noise as his little heart desires is just as bad as being the neighbor feeling entitled to silence. With an attitude like that, I’m not surprised she hasn’t been able to come to some sort of happy place with her neighbors.
I have a four-year-old and an almost two-year-old so I totally understand the dynamic that exists between kids that age. If I let them, my children would jump on the couch all day and chase each other around the dining room table, screaming. I have to get them out of the house every day to run off some of their energy – and it’s not because I have neighbors that can hear us, it’s because I don’t want to be driven crazy by the sounds of screaming children all day. At a certain point, if the kids are not listening to my directive to “stop,” I put the four-year-old in his room – separating the children. There is always some kind of effort you can put in to reduce noise.
“It’s as if they have decided we don’t have the right to live in our home and they are going to drive us out one way or another,” Mackenzie told CBC News. “Every time the boys fell down or dropped a toy, every time I opened a closet, she would start banging on her walls or the ceiling.” She’s clearly not in an easy situation, but she needs to try a little to let her neighbors know that she respects their right to live happily in their home. One of the neighbors that lives two floors down even says he’s affected by the noise, “We do understand that [one of Mackenzie’s sons] is a young child, but the running and jumping is constant and doesn’t stop and it is affecting our lives now too.” That is extreme.
She’s reached out to her condo board and neighbors to ask what they would like her to do to “keep her kids quiet” and has received no response. Well, what are they supposed to tell her? She says she may end up moving because the family can’t afford to pay a weekly fine of $50 for noise complaints. I hope they look into a single-family home or maybe a first-floor apartment.