Parents demand apology after neighbour tells screaming kids to 'shut up'

Image: Living in a unit with kids can be tough. Getty
Image: Living in a unit with kids can be tough. Getty 

As any parent who has lived in a unit would know, having kids in a communal living space has its challenges. 

Keeping children quiet can be difficult, especially with younger kids, and striking a balance between keeping the noise down and letting kids be themselves in their home can be fraught with problems. 

For one irate resident, who took to Reddit to vent their frustration, hearing their neighbours' kids when in common areas was an unwelcome intrusion. 

Posting in the AITA thread (Am I the A—hole), the anonymous author explained that a family with two kids aged under five had recently moved into the unit above and instead of a once "chill and quiet" building, they were now hearing the kids screaming. 

Asking "AITA for telling neighbour (sic) child to shut up??", the poster shared that they scolded one of the kids after regularly hearing them in a common hallway.

The neighbour said the noise usually started at 7am until they left for school or daycare, and 'varied in frequency' between 5pm-8pm, describing it as "more of a constant irritation than being in inconvenient times." 

"Ever since then I've heard their morning ritual of child one shouting "Nooooo" or "don't wanna" or a combination of both on their way to daycare. Plus/minus child two screaming," they explained.

​"Most afternoons/evenings don't go by without child one shouting "Muuuuuum Muuuuuum Muuuuuum" constantly in the hallway."

Adding that it was an old building in which noise travelled easily, the couple who are 'in their thirties ands childless', said they'd had enough of the child calling up the stairs to his mum and decided to say something.

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"I just had enough today and while child one was doing its evening mom-shout on our floor up towards theirs, in what seemed like it lasted way longer than usual, I totally just opened the door, told the kid to shut up, and closed it again. I didn't swear or use any bad words, just so that's said."

In a later update she added, "I did not yell at the child, just sternly told them to shut up."

"Parents then later came to our door to get me to come and apologise to the child, I didn't want to, and we disagreed on it being normal to raise kids to understand not to shout like that in the common stairway area."

The original poster admitted to feeling guilty for having a harsh tone of voice, but argued that the kids should have been taught to respect common areas and to use an 'inside voice'.  

Photo: iStock

Image: The parents were insistent upon an apology from the disgruntled neighbour. iStock

Responses were divided about the neighbourly dispute, with some users were quick to defend the disgruntled neighbour. 

"You should do it again if the child persists. They aren't outside. They aren't in a play area. Screaming is disrespectful to people who live there. If they plan to be that way to you, then you have every right to do the same. I'm not sure when it became bad manners to talk sternly to children. No wonder they just get more and more disrespectful," one user said.

"Yes they need to be taught inside voices. It's frustrating as a daycare teacher when it becomes clear a child isn't being taught that at home. Because than you have a child who feels the need to scream constantly," added another. 

However, others argued that it was just part of living in a communal building

"Hearing other people is just part of living in an apartment building, especially older apartment buildings. There was no need to talk to the kid like that. You could and should have talked to the parents," one user said. 

"Ok man. I know it's irritating, but they're not violating any rules of decency. Their kids are not screaming during normal quiet hours (I think those are 10pm - 7am?). So what you're dealing with is normal apartment living." another said.

One user suggested they should have taken the issue up with the parents, rather than the child, given their young age. 

"You take it up with the adults who pay rent there. You don't tell a child to shut up lol. We do that in our heads to feel better, we cannot actually tell a child to shut up."

What do you think? Who is in the wrong here?