Like most babies, Jessica and Karl Ronnevik's 1-year-old son cries. Unlike most parents, however, the Ronneviks have been taken to task for it by their next-door neighbor.
The couple told Fox 8 News that their neighbor in their North Carolina condominium complex — whose bedroom wall is adjacent to the boy's nursery room — has been vocal with his concerns over the "loud" and "disruptive" crying and went so far as to leave a note criticizing their abilities as parents:
Please consider buying a parenting book or consult with a child care expert. Your baby should not be crying that loudly and for that long. Try more calming techniques, music, turn on a vacuum, rocking chair, go for a walk . . . anything! Also, you might consider switching bedrooms. I have lived in The Mill for 15 years and never had neighbors as loud or disruptive. If you don't makes changes immediately, you risk being fined by the association.
For the family, who are expecting another child in a few months, this was the final straw. Late last year, because of this neighbor's continued complaints, they received a warning from their homeowner's association for a potential noise violation.
"I don't feel comfortable living here, knowing that our neighbor is so intolerant," Jessica said. "It makes me feel like we have been bullied in our own home. And I don't like to have to be the mother who is constantly shushing my baby from his happy toddler noises."
With the help of their church community, the family has gone so far as to move to a new home in a more child-friendly area, but not before their neighbor issued one final statement with Fox 8:
It is unfortunate when parents are unable to calm their children. The impact of a baby who continually cries or a toddler who continually screams can be stressful not just for the parents, but also for the community near them. This is true in restaurants, in churches, and even in neighboring homes with adjacent bedrooms.
After being awakened each morning and each night for the last several months (despite wearing earplugs), I was simply reminding the young couple of this and encouraging them to take the matter more seriously.
There are many different strategies that parents can use to minimize the negative effects of a child's meltdown.
The note was also a reminder that any excessively loud noise that interferes with the rights of neighbors is subject to possible fines, as indicated in section 4 of the HOA Rules & Regulations.
I stand by the note and it's contents. I rang the doorbell several times before leaving it. Since no one came to the door, I signed it in case the young couple wanted to discuss the matter in person.
They obviously made a different and less mature choice, as they have been doing for months now with their young child."
Do you think this was the best course of action? What would you have done if this were your neighbor?