It’s a story about a few kids who have crossed the line both figuratively and literally.

A now-deleted Reddit user posted a story about the time she met her new neighbors. At first, they seemed fine, so she even let their two teenage boys and 11-year-old girl come over and use her pool as long as the trio didn’t abuse their privilege.

But they did. In fact, the unannounced visits got so frequent and so gross that the woman decided to build a fence around her property.

However, after her neighbor’s protest and discussions with other people, she began having second thoughts. So the Reddit user told her story online, asking if she was the jerk in the conflict.

Continue scrolling to read what she wrote and the conversation I had about disciplining children with a former Editor-in-Chief turned parenting blogger, the woman behind Motherhood: The Real Deal and 40 Now What, Talya Stone.

Image credits: Travis Rigel Lukas Hornung (not the actual photo)

Image credits: Rob Adams (not the actual photo)

Bold, authentic, and straight-talking Talya told  that appropriate discipline is necessary as children need and thrive on boundaries and will continuously push to find out where these lines are. “If we don’t put boundaries in place… well, they are going to have a tough time in life later on … Personally, I am in favor of using positive discipline which is focusing on teaching children which behaviors are appropriate/inappropriate and puts an onus on consequences. Needless to say, I am surprised the parents of the said teens didn’t intervene and let the children know that this was no appropriate behavior!”

The mom also highlighted that there’s a difference between discipline and punishment. Since the latter encourages children to lie and avoid punishment rather than avoiding the behavior you are trying to stop, Talya thinks it can be a good idea to look at how you are handling the situation and perhaps sit down with the teens to work out clear limits and rules, and clarify what behavior is expected of them as well as the consequences should they not live up to those expectations. “The children need to be involved in this process so they absolutely understand what the rules are, and what will happen if they don’t stick to them,” she explained.

An important thing to remember in these situations is that discipline should be about educating children on the appropriate way to carry themselves. “These are important life skills that will help them deal with the outside world in future, so they can gel nicely with the big wide world when they get out there as young adults,” Talya added. “Kids making mistakes and taking risks is absolutely normal behavior. As parents, it’s our duty to always teach them what is right and wrong but that should always be done in a warm and loving family environment.”

As the story went viral, OP provided more information

A 2018 Pew Research Center survey discovered that a majority of Americans (57%) say they know only some of their neighbors; far fewer (26%) say they know most of them. Americans ages 65 and older are more likely than those ages 18 to 29 to say they know most of their neighbors (34% vs. 20%). In contrast, about a quarter (23%) of adults under 30 don’t know any of their neighbors, compared with just 4% among those 65 and older.

There are also slight differences based on marital status. Roughly three-in-ten married adults (31%) say they know most of their neighbors, compared with about a quarter or fewer of those who are unmarried (22%); living with a partner (20%); divorced, separated, or widowed (26%); or have never been married (19%).

According to the survey, having children isn’t related to stronger ties with neighbors: parents are just as likely as non-parents to say they know most of their neighbors (26% for each group).

After the word gets out on the street about this story, Mark and Kaylie’s family should become quite popular in the neighborhood. Although I doubt it will bring them any good. At least temporarily. Until their kids go off to college.

Here’s what people thought about the whole ordeal

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