Newmarket mom shocked by letter saying her children make too much noise outside
Anonymous letter from neighbour tells mother to 'correct' her kids, maybe take them to the park
A Newmarket, Ont. mother says she was shocked by an anonymous letter in the mail saying her children make too much noise playing in her backyard, but maintains the unfriendly missive allegedly from her neighbours won't change her parenting style.
Morgan DeCairos DeBoer, 32, a mother of four young boys, told CBC's Here and Now on Wednesday children need to play independently.
That means running around outside, problem solving without constant adult interference, being away from TV and computer screens and devising games of their own. DeBoer has lived in her neighbourhood for the past three years.
The letter, dated March 2018 and delivered by Canada Post, was signed by "your neighbors." It says several neighbours are frustrated with the "frequent screaming and shrieking" made by her children.
"This is very disruptive, whether we are outside or inside and interrupts whatever we are doing, be it TV, reading or napping," the letter reads. "Having the windows closed does not keep out the sound."
DeBoer says the fact that the letter was sent anonymously is disturbing.
'Kind of disheartening'
"All the neighbours I know around here are really lovely. They like my kids, they know my kids, my kids like them. To find out that, after three years, that there's someone in the neighbourhood that is not keen on my kids is kind of hurtful," she said.
The letter concludes with some unsolicited parenting advice, saying DeBoer should correct her children, tell them to stop yelling, supervise them more often, and maybe even take them to the park.
"We encourage you to correct your child when he screams by saying 'Please stop that yelling' or something like that."
At the very least, DeBoer said the letter writer should have approached her directly, face-to-face.
Since DeBoer posted the letter on Facebook on Monday, it has been shared 101 times and generated several comments. Many people have also expressed support that DeBoer stood her ground.
DeBoer said she understands that the letter writer feels she is not being considerate. But when she canvassed her next door neighbours and friends after receiving it, she was told that her boys, 6, 4, 2, and 9 months, are "perfectly normal" children.
'Why can't you come and knock on my door?'
"They run, they jump, they scream, they yell, they laugh, they giggle, they bang on things. It's anything that you would hear in a school yard, but instead of 200 kids, it's only four — well, three — because one of them is a baby," she said.
"They certainly aren't shrieking for two hours like they insinuated in the letter."
DeBoer said if the neighbour had explained his or her circumstances, such as an ailing parent at home who needs to sleep in the afternoon, she would have understood and could have come to a compromise.
"It's 2018. Why can't you come and knock on my door?" DeBoer asked.
She said her boys play outside after school for an hour or two, but going to the park is not always an option when she is getting dinner ready.
Mostly, though, she says, according to early childhood education, it's highly recommended that children spend time outside in a safe space "under a watchful eye" to exercise their imaginations, explore and grow, and learn to regulate themselves.
"They need to be able to come up with things on their own," she said. "I feel like we're doing it right."
With files from CBC's Here and Now