“The kids continue to run until way after 11 at night. Since they moved in my daughter struggles to fall asleep and wakes up scared when the loud “bangs” sound so late.” ‘Sam’
Anti-social behaviour takes so many different forms. We all have different levels of tolerance to it – since it is defined as causing harassment, alarm or distress, we will all define different behaviour as anti-social.
This case study shows a situation where a 2 year old girl is experiencing alarm and distress which in turn is distressing to her parents. However, it strikes us that it is also a clear situation where mediation needs to be the way forward to solve the problem. Finding a way to talk through the issues is key.
The neighbour in the flat above has two children who run up and down the house “all day long”. Sam feels he is already making compromises by sacrificing his daughter’s nap, knowing he can’t expect them to be quiet in the middle of the day, but after 9pm the noise becomes a problem.
He says he has spoken to them repeatedly as well as leaving a polite note. His daughter “struggles to fall asleep and wakes up scared when the loud ‘bangs’ sound so late“.
Meanwhile, the neighbours accuse Sam of being intolerant, saying: “they complain too much and should move to a country house if they need their daughter to sleep“.
We recently looked at the value of considering mediation in situations of anti-social behaviour. Mediation brings the two parties that are in conflict together with an independent person present to hear both sides of the story.
Everyone will have a different take on the situation when reading this story. Many will empathise with Sam’s struggle to get his daughter to sleep and it is certainly concerning that she is waking alarmed with the noise. Others will feel it is too intolerant and that noise is a natural result of living in a ground floor flat.
The fact of the matter is that both Sam and his neighbours live there, and want to enjoy their homes. In situations like these the opportunity to talk together, with someone independent to help ensure both parties can fully explain their perspective, holds huge value. Tension and frustration is damaging to our health but in a situation involving noise like this, that is unlikely to be classified as a statutory nuisance, there is very little available to agencies to resolve the situation. This is a place for mediation to try and figure out how to live well together for the benefit of everyone.