Outrage of the Week: No One Under 18 Allowed Outside Unsupervised in Florida Community

Hey Readers — This just in: A community in Florida is prohibiting anyone under age 18 from going outside unchaperoned by an adult. Yep, just like in Taliban-held Afghanistan, except for “women must be accompanied by a male relative” over there, substitute “minors must be accompanied by their caregiver” over here. In Florida, the rule means:

…no bike riding, no walking to the bus stop without an adult. Some parents say their kids are under house arrest.

Ten-year-old Yousif Mehyer and his friends have been skateboarding and biking around their neighborhood for years. But for the past few weeks the kids have been stuck indoors.

“They felt like they were on house arrest,” said Nadia Mihyar, Ole resident.

They were scared of security at Ole Village in Lely Resort after being reprimanded for walking outside alone.

This isn’t LIKE house arrest. It IS house arrest. How is this even legal? How is this America? How about a revolution? – L.

As if Florida didn't have enough bad press lately...

132 Responses to Outrage of the Week: No One Under 18 Allowed Outside Unsupervised in Florida Community

  1. Bob April 13, 2012 at 3:17 am #

    Complete and utter insanity.

  2. Linda April 13, 2012 at 3:23 am #

    Hold on a minute…can’t teens under the age of 18 drive cars? All by themselves? Do they need an escort to the vehicle if there isn’t an attached garage?

  3. Kelly April 13, 2012 at 3:23 am #

    ….. Don’t they let 16 year olds drive alone? How does that work? Maybe they can drive but then need an adult to get out of the car?

    I went to college across the country when I was 17 for a few months until I turned 18. Not sure if I could even do that if I went to florida then.

  4. Layne April 13, 2012 at 3:24 am #

    There is no way this could be legal. Federal law will always supersede home owner association rules.

  5. Andy April 13, 2012 at 3:54 am #

    I have two questions:
    1.) Why would someone want to live in a community?
    2.) It is legal? I through that one of benefits of living in civilized countries is, that you have laws that protect your freedom against such jerks.

  6. Stephanie April 13, 2012 at 3:55 am #

    I think it’s important to maintain some perspective. This isn’t just some neighborhood in a town, this is a private (probably) gated place that people *choose* to live in. I’m sure there was a contract that people had to sign before they were allowed to move in. This place probably has a host of rules and regulations which are probably equally ridiculous. If these parents don’t like it they should move (not as easy as thought) or they should have read what they were signing.

    All that said, I think this is a travesty and completely ridiculous,

  7. Havva April 13, 2012 at 4:02 am #

    I feel sick.

    When I was a kid in the 90’s the ‘news’ was always filled with stories of “youth violence” “teen pregnancy” “school shootings” etc. If a minor was responsible it was the lead story. If it were adults, it just showed up in the police blotter or the birth announcements, or was considered a private family matter. It really pissed me off because it seemed to me to drive fear and hatred of children. It was personal too. My grandma was neurotic, and this line of thought drove her to be senselessly cruel. While she thought the world of her grandkids and seemed to enjoy being with us, she refused to meet any of our friends. She was absolutely convinced that all other children were budding criminals. As though if our friends met her they would instantly decide to beat her up, steal her money and set fire to her car or something. In the late 90’s I saw this mania spread with fresh, new, gated senior only compounds, that had limited visiting hours for children. Then the phrase “Where where the parents?!” and it’s angry friend “the parents should be held responsible!” started popping up in response to the actions of nearly adult individuals.

    I’d roll my eyes and wonder “If people really think children/teens are that dangerous, do they plan to imprison every person until the age of 20?” I thought that was a rhetorical question, with an Orwellian chance of coming true. My friends thought it was plain crazy and over sensitive.

    I wish they had been right.

  8. Leppi April 13, 2012 at 4:05 am #

    quick quoute from unicef (capital letters from me):

    The Convention specifically refers to the family as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of its members, particularly children. Under the Convention, States are obliged to respect parents’ primary responsibility for providing care and GUIDANCE for their children and TO SUPPORT PARENTS IN THIS REGARD, providing material assistance and support programmes. States are also obliged to prevent children from being separated from their families unless the separation is necessary for the child’s best interests.

    read more under: http://www.unicef.org/crc/index_30168.html,

  9. Katie Aaberg April 13, 2012 at 4:14 am #

    @Stephanie,

    “Ten-year-old Yousif Mehyer and his friends have been skateboarding and biking around their neighborhood for years. But for the past few weeks the kids have been stuck indoors.”

    Sounds like the rule was implemented AFTER the people with kids had moved in….

  10. joe April 13, 2012 at 4:17 am #

    Well Kelly, For Driving… Depends on local law. (Afaik Florida has a graduated drivers program similar to if not an outright copy of Maryland and Delawares. Where a 16 year old CAN NOT drive by him or herself untill they are passed the age of 18 and they can not drive after 11 pm unless traveling to or from work till age 21 and they can not drive with other teenagers in the car unless a parent or guardian is with them till after the age of 18.)

    Your children are not angels when they are out of sight infact they probably are demons. Children unsupervised misbehave. and when they get hurt on property not your own the property owner gets sued. If your child trips over a bit of sidewalk that isnt perfectly level the HOA is liable and to many times will get sued for outrageous sums because Johny and janie are misbehaving or are incapable of negotiating a simple sidewalk. How often do schools get sued because someone got a broken arm on the play ground or a black eye in Gym class.

    Blame the litigiousness of society and yourselves NOT the HOA which is protecting itself.

  11. Stephanie April 13, 2012 at 4:17 am #

    @Katie-
    A quote from the original article:

    “The rule isn’t new, it has been around since the neighborhood was built, but security is just now starting to enforce it. “

  12. Lollipoplover April 13, 2012 at 4:22 am #

    So a 17 year-old in Florida (in a hoodie) is dangerous, but anyone under the age of 18 in this Florida neighborhood is in danger, and must be accompanied by a caregiver? I am sooo confused….

  13. Havva April 13, 2012 at 4:36 am #

    @Katie and @Stephanie…
    I distictly remember a college profesor summing up the American Revolution as: “The colonists having a fit when the British government finally deciding to enforce laws left unenforced for so long they were assumed to be recinded by defacto.” He suggested that the only thinge people find more onorous than the passage of an unjust law. Is the enforcement of an unjust law that people have been violating all their life. These parents moved into a location where they saw kids walking around with out adults. Even if they spotted the rule in the HOA bylaws, they assumed it was an artifact. I think the parents will rebell. What scares me is that if they move instead of overturning the rule, the rule will gain legitimacy it should never have.

    I wish the children themselves could sue for false imprisonment. Of course as I was informed by my tyranical middle school, children have no leagal standing to sue.

  14. Havva April 13, 2012 at 4:37 am #

    @ lollipoplover. What’s confusing. Without parental supervision they might wear a hoodie and get shot!

  15. pentamom April 13, 2012 at 4:46 am #

    Some things are beyond the pale even if they are written into by-laws and contracts, as well.

    If a community set up an arrangement whereby they were permitted to imprison, beat, or enslave members who committed infractions, that would clearly be impermissible. That it’s agreed-upon (consciously or implicitly) in the buy-in to the community does not necessary shield it from legal scrutiny on civil rights grounds.

    “Your children are not angels when they are out of sight infact they probably are demons. Children unsupervised misbehave…”

    Speak for yourself and your own children, please. Mine are not angels incapable of misbehavior, but children can be raised to have consciences of their own and behave appropriately without adults standing over them. Really. How else do they learn to do it when they’re adults?

  16. Debra Ross April 13, 2012 at 5:09 am #

    I wonder if Carl Hiaasen has seen this. Hiaasen writes wonderfully crazy novels, most for adults but some for kids, all set in Florida. I could so easily see Hiaasen writing a book about the rebellion of kids forced to stay indoors in the absurd way this community is requiring. The kids would win, of course.

  17. pentamom April 13, 2012 at 5:09 am #

    “Well Kelly, For Driving… Depends on local law. (Afaik Florida has a graduated drivers program similar to if not an outright copy of Maryland and Delawares. Where a 16 year old CAN NOT drive by him or herself untill they are passed the age of 18 and they can not drive after 11 pm unless traveling to or from work till age 21 and they can not drive with other teenagers in the car unless a parent or guardian is with them till after the age of 18.) ”

    Check that again. At ages 16 and 17 you can indeed drive between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. unaccompanied. Yes, the other restrictions apply after 11 p.m., but so what? The point still stands — a kid legally allowed to drive around in the daylight to his heart’s content is not allowed to walk to the car by himself. Unmitigated rubbish..

    http://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/teendriv.html

  18. Donna April 13, 2012 at 5:34 am #

    “If a community set up an arrangement whereby they were permitted to imprison, beat, or enslave members who committed infractions, that would clearly be impermissible. That it’s agreed-upon (consciously or implicitly) in the buy-in to the community does not necessary shield it from legal scrutiny on civil rights grounds.”

    People actually can agree to such things. Otherwise S/M relationships would be illegal and they are not. The problem is that such contracts would not be enforceable against the wishes of the people. In other words, you can agree to be someone’s slave and live in the role for as long as you choose. However, your slavery would not be enforced against your wishes just because you signed a 2 year slave contract.

    As to whether THIS provision is legal, I don’t know. I’m not sure that kids have a constitutional right to play outside alone. You could probably argue that they have a constitutional right to play outside. I’m just not sure there is a right to do it unsupervised. And nothing is preventing the kids from playing, just from playing unsupervised. I don’t think it’s right and I wouldn’t live in this neighborhood, but I’m not sure it’s illegal.

  19. am213123yroscoe April 13, 2012 at 5:45 am #

    This is rediculous…

    http://qr.net/ipcg

  20. Michelle April 13, 2012 at 6:11 am #

    I posted this article on my Facebook page, and one of my friends immediately commented that it is illegal for kids under 12 to play outside alone in Texas. She knows this, because two of her friends work for CPS, and they told her so.

    I don’t mind if my friend doesn’t let her kids play outside, but it really scares me that two CPS workers in my city actually believe it’s illegal for an 11 year old to play outside alone.

    (And, just to be clear, there is absolutely no such law. In fact, there isn’t even a specific age for leaving kids home alone, or letting them babysit. I did find out that it’s illegal to leave a kid under 7 alone in a car for more than 5 minutes, unless they are accompanied by someone who is at least 14. That’s pretty appalling, too.)

  21. Andy April 13, 2012 at 6:31 am #

    Florida. Always Florida.

  22. Michelle April 13, 2012 at 6:38 am #

    “Your children are not angels when they are out of sight infact they probably are demons.”

    Wow, what an offensive and combative thing to say. First off, any children who behave like “demons” when their parents are not around have clearly not been taught that there is any reason to behave other than fear of the consequences.

    Secondly, I certainly don’t think my kids are angels, but they are actually BETTER behaved when they are out in public without me than at home with me. My kids recently asked permission to start attending a local church that is within walking distance, since we’re unable to drive to our usual church right now. At first, I didn’t go with them. (It’s a long story.) They attended church twice a week for the entire Lenten Season without me. When I showed up on Maundy Thursday, I got comment after comment about how well behaved the kids have been, and what a joy they are to have around. I was amused, because I’m around them all the time and I know they aren’t perfect, but I was not surprised, because I hear things like this all the time.

    Kids who are well taught about proper behavior (and WHY it is important) probably still won’t behave 100% of the time, but they CAN be trusted not to be “demons” just because the parents turn their backs.

    “Children unsupervised misbehave. and when they get hurt on property not your own the property owner gets sued. If your child trips over a bit of sidewalk that isnt perfectly level the HOA is liable and to many times will get sued for outrageous sums because Johny and janie are misbehaving or are incapable of negotiating a simple sidewalk. How often do schools get sued because someone got a broken arm on the play ground or a black eye in Gym class.”

    I don’t have statistics to back this up — and if anyone does, I’d love to see them — but IMO I think our “litigious society” is just another example of worst-first thinking, and has been blown way out of proportion. We hear a crazy lawsuit story on the morning talk radio, or we watch shows like Judge Judy, and we start thinking that every time anybody has the slightest misfortune, they go looking to sue someone. And I think it’s been used as an excuse to justify all kind of crazy and unnecessary rules in far too many areas of life.

    But, frankly, even if frivolous lawsuits were the big problem everybody seems to think they are, this would still be a crappy excuse. What if I was jogging, or walking my dog, and *I* fell and injured myself on an uneven sidewalk? Adults are just as capable of getting hurt as children are. (In fact, I have 7 kids, and my husband has been to the ER for injuries as many times as they have.) Elderly people are MORE likely to hurt themselves walking along the sidewalk than a teenager is, but no one is forcing them to stay inside unless chaperoned.

  23. Diane April 13, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    Sounds like this community is just trying to get rid of all families with children.

    You really have to read what you are signing before putting your name and money down.

    We chose to buy a house in a neighborhood with no HOA because of all of the problems they can cause. I hope the people with children can say their children having to go outside for whatever reason is a breach of the lease and can move asap.

    It would be really sad if this is low income housing.

  24. Jen Connelly April 13, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    Remind me never to move to Florida.

  25. Catheirne Scott April 13, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    My husband is working in the Emirates at present and there’s just been a giant leap forward into the 16th century: single men (but not women) can now go to the shopping centre unaccompanied.

    We can only hope the US also starts to make similar progress.

    It does appear that we do become what we hate. Things are more and more starting to resemble conditions in the backward fundamentalist controlled nations we claim to wish to modernise.

    For pity’s sake WAKE UP AND STAND UP!

  26. RMW April 13, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    From the article: “Gateway Management says they’ve received complaints about noisy kids in the neighborhood who have become a source of annoyance for other residents.”
    Expect more of these insane rules as our population gets older. Graying populations tend to become highly intolerant of children.

  27. Catheirne Scott April 13, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    @Michelle
    You and your kids are not alone. Psych research has shown that kids often/usually behave better when their paretns aren’t around because they – the kids – are the ones in charge/responsible. If mom is around they can play up because they know she’ll step in before things get unpleasant.

  28. Karen Green April 13, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    Not a place that I would want to live. My hearts go out to these families

  29. obiwandreas April 13, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    The very concept of allowing anyone else to have any sort of control over your property or activities has always seemed to me to be fundamentally un-American. I cannot comprehend the mindset that would cause someone who claims to love liberty to voluntarily sacrifice so much control over their own home and property to anyone else.

  30. CrazyCatLady April 13, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Exactly why I will never live in a place with a HOA or other covenants.

  31. CrazyCatLady April 13, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Oh, and what about the mom who just had surgery (had a baby, any other number of things,) and can’t walk Sonny to the bus stop? “Sorry Mr. Truent Officer. I can’t walk that far and he isn’t allowed to walk to or from the bus stop alone, so I can’t send him to school until I can get around.”

  32. Beth April 13, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    Having never lived in HOA-land, I have a question. Who enforces this and what are the consequences? I understand that private security has primary enforcement, but can they really call the police department if kids won’t comply and stay outside, and after that can the police really charge them with a crime? Does the DA really prosecute?

  33. Beth April 13, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    ***oops sorry, if the kids won’t stay *inside*….

  34. hineata April 13, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Agree with posters about the ageing population. What I always love about the kind of ‘oldies’ who complain about kids is tha they were sometimes among the worst offenders as kids. My dad was a classic for railing against boy racers, and kids getting loud and noisy and pulling occasional pranks during school holidays. This from a man who, at various times during his childhood and adolesence –

    blew up neighbourhood sinks using firecrackers (while women were at them washing the dishes),
    blew a hole in a policeman’s helmet, again using firecrackers,
    rollerskated backward down a very steep hill with his equally lunatic brother, almost causing an accident when they found they couldn’t stop, and taking the seats out of their own trousers in the process,
    earned himself a lifetime ban from cricket when he punched out the umpire,
    regularly got into furniture damaging fistfights with his brother
    and did illegal drag racing down Oriental Parade most Friday nights.

  35. hineata April 13, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    Sorry, even I was an angel in comparison, and my kids a level higher. Not, mind you, that they probably tell me everything :-)

    So, burn these agreements. Or at least send your kids out in defiance of them….

  36. Uly April 13, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    And, just to be clear, there is absolutely no such law. In fact, there isn’t even a specific age for leaving kids home alone, or letting them babysit.

    Which basically means that the authorities can make up an age to suit themselves. God, I hate that.

  37. Emily April 13, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    Dumb rule–not even for safety, but just because some people are intolerant of normal kid noise from outdoor play.

  38. maggie April 13, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    I have never in my life understood how anyone could ever live in a place where their look of their house, what they have in their yard and how they spend their free time was determined by someone else.

  39. Naturalmom April 13, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    I wonder if Carl Hiaasen has seen this. Hiaasen writes wonderfully crazy novels, most for adults but some for kids, all set in Florida. I could so easily see Hiaasen writing a book about the rebellion of kids forced to stay indoors in the absurd way this community is requiring. The kids would win, of course.

    Oh, this! I would read that book — probably as our daily read-aloud with my older kids.

    It’s hard to imagine how anyone with minor children over age 5 could stand to live in such a community. Truely appalling.

  40. Michelle April 13, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    True, Uly. It’s meant to allow parents to use their best judgment, but in practice you’re at the mercy of everyone else’s opinion. Better than being flat out illegal to let a responsible 11 year old stay home alone, though.

  41. Donna April 13, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    @ Beth – HOA covenants are contract provisions not criminal statutes. The police or DA doesn’t have anything to do with them. The HOA enforces them through fines, liens on your property and even eviction.

  42. Erin April 13, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    We actually live in a lovely community WITH an HOA (gasp). When we moved to this state (SC), we found out quickly, there is a reason for all of the HOAS here (darn near every neighborhood has them- we live in Myrtle Beach and most homes are in golf course communities). Ours has no rules and is wonderful at keeping an eye out for the safety of others (there is a great deal of property crime in MB). Our neighbors are our friends and speak to our children daily. My 15 year old walks to his friends home over a mile away daily-sometimes several times a day. They often choose to walk back and forth at night or early morning (on Sundays/ for church). I cannot even begin to imagine living with such restrictions-I would have thoroughly read those rules prior to agreeing to them but ultimately, I wonder how they can enforce such nonsense? Would the non-compliant residents be denied use of facilities (we have a pool and clubhouse-I cannot fathom having to constantly watch our children walk to the pool then sit there watching them play just b/c someone felt they shouldnt be outside alone). Does this also mean my 17 yr old could not water the flowers, my 7 yr old could not get the mail and my 15 yr old could not take out the trash w/out supervision.I think, if I lived there, I would be the “bad seed” and go about business as usual, much to the dismay of the HOA…..

  43. Erin April 13, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    That should have said no “silly” rules- we do have rules about keeping the property maintained and no street parking at night etc. But nothing prohibiting our children’s freedom to enjoy our neighborhood should they choose to do so.

  44. mocaba April 13, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    As someone who grew up in a real estate family that specialized in HOA, PUD, & condo property management all I have to say is one thing – this violates federal statutes and if the families took the HOA to court the HOA would lose easily. There are lots of cases as precedence to show that this is discrimination against a protected class of people (in this case families with children). This type of HOA regulation wouldn’t stand up in a court of law.

  45. KarenW April 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Don’t even think for a minute that this has to do with safety or protecting the kids. This community obviously HATES kids and finds their presence unbearable. They would probably ban kids if they could do so legally. Really, all families with kids should be moving out of there immediately.

  46. CrazyCatLady April 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    Since the article says noise was the problem, the older kids all need to learn sign language. Don’t talk, don’t yell, sign at each other. The security wouldn’t be able to say that noise was a problem! (Being sarcastic. But if I was a teen I would say it was worth a try. As well as maybe getting fake ids for all the kids ages 12-17. Not to make them 21, just 18, which yes, I know, means they could buy tobacco.)

    Hmm, if the kids have tracking chip on them, are they then unsupervised? Maybe some of those silly products we rail against could be used in this situation! Every kid take a baby monitor with them?

  47. Marie April 13, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Another reason to add to my mental file of why I won’t buy a home with a HOA. As if I needed more reasons.

  48. KLY April 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    See, things like this give FL a bad name.

    But I’m guessing it is the west coast. They’re a little weird over there. 😛

  49. FiSyd April 13, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Everyone always talks about how litigious the US is, but is it really true? Do people actually sue when their child gets a black eye in gym class or falls over an uneven pavement? It just seems unthinkable that such absurd claims could ever be taken seriously in a courtroom.

    If these claims truly are paid out as people describe then surely the legal system needs some MAJOR changes!

  50. linvo April 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    That is the other side of the over-regulated, uncaring community. Kids can get a bit noisy, but I would take the sound of playing kids over the sound of 4WD or the silence of kids stuck inside any day!

    Being a bit of a rebel – in theory anyway – I would love if the parents who live there would orchestrate a civil disobedience action to get their point across. I’m thinking they could escort their kids everywhere but instruct their kids to yell “MOM! MOM! MO-O-MMY-Y-Y!” (and DAD of course too) at the top of their voices the whole time they are out with them.

  51. linvo April 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    @FiSyd, according Tim Gill’s “No Fear” book there has not been a significant increase in public liability cases in recent decades. I am pretty sure that was in the UK as well as the US. I must admit that that really surprised me because the media definitely tries to give us the impression that you will get sued at the drop of a hat.

  52. scout April 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    Being Florida, my guess is this was probably intended to be an adult resort/retirement community of sorts, with the rules designed to discourage families. It’s not for the over protection of the children, it is to get rid of them.

  53. LRH April 13, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    Like others have said, things like this are why I would NEVER live in a home owner’s assocation.

    In fact, and probably posters like Donna with a legal background & an understanding of laws to a higher degree may disagree with me & that is fine, but I think home owner’s assocations themselves should be against the law. It makes no sense to me that you can OWN a house–not rent, but OWN–yet have some non-government authority telling you what you can and can’t do with your OWN land and your OWN house. It’s one thing if you rent, especially an apartment, but to me, if you OWN property & a house, you should be able to do pretty darn well whatever the heck you please. That you’re part of a “larger community”–frankly, I don’t care. You don’t like my junk cars or my green shingles or my high grass–it doesn’t affect you other than your precious “property values,” it’s none of your business.

    (And yes I know sometimes you may be subject to city rules about weeds etc, I think that also shouldn’t be enforceable–it’s YOUR LAND. That it’s part of the city at-large–again, frankly, I don’t care.)

    LRH

  54. Uly April 13, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    Do people actually sue when their child gets a black eye in gym class or falls over an uneven pavement? It just seems unthinkable that such absurd claims could ever be taken seriously in a courtroom.

    If you are injured to the point where you have to have medical treatment (which can happen when falling down – a kid at my nieces’ school tripped while walking in the hall and broke her leg, was in a cast for three months! A freak accident, but she’s not particularly fragile, it really CAN happen. Proof that you have to just live your life if you ask me) you’ll have to pay for that treatment.

    If you have insurance, your insurance will attempt to recoup the money spent by getting anybody else to pay for it. That might very well mean suing the homeowner of the unmaintained sidewalk.

    So even if you’re a great person who would never sue for a little thing like that, your injury might still cause the homeowner to be sued.

    I’m pretty sure that’s the explanation, anyway. If I’m mistaken, I’m sure somebody has the right information :)

  55. Uly April 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    Hey, LRH, quick question: What’s your opinion on crossing guards?

    (Family lore is that my father once humiliated me by getting into an argument with a crossing guard because “he didn’t want somebody telling him when he could cross the street”. Sometimes your comments make me think back on that!)

  56. enyawface April 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    Uly you are absolutely correct, I used to sell and underwrite insurance. Standard in the contract for the policy was: when insured, if injured, you release the right to sue to the insurance company and agree that they may pursue and/ or negotiate any related settlement on your behalf.

  57. Dave April 13, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    I remember a time when at 18 you were and adult. You can drive a car, join the army and fight for you country but you can’t ride a bike down the street where you live with out and adult present. I can’t even put this in my brain. How did we get to this place?

  58. Donna April 13, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    LRH – It is ironic that you want to take people’s freedom to contract away from them in the name of their own damn freedom. I’ve been out of the US for a few months now but I’m pretty sure that everyone is still free to pick and choose where they live there. So nobody is making anyone live in under a HOA if they don’t want to.

  59. Donna April 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    “Standard in the contract for the policy was: when insured, if injured, you release the right to sue to the insurance company and agree that they may pursue and/ or negotiate any related settlement on your behalf.”

    And they can pursue it in YOUR name. These lawsuits are not Blue Cross v. State Farm. It is Uly v. Donna. Makes it look like people like to sue (which is then translated into people are gold diggers) when it is really just two insurance companies battling it out.

  60. Andy April 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    Peoples freedom to limit other peoples freedom should be limited IMHO. If a group of jerks is able to bully other people into leaving their houses with arbitrary random demands, than the power of those jerks should be limited. If the concrete practical freedom of many people is limited in exchange of theoretical abstract freedom of few of them, then the result is less freedom, not more.

    Those people may not have much choice. From what I know, it is hard to find a place that costs reasonable money and does not have HOA in some places. Some voluntary HOAs turned themselves into mandatory HOAs later on.

    And of my personal experience was, that HOA did not showed us all rules they have before we signed rent contract (they had to approve us which was weird because we planned to stay only for short time), only afterwards. Even the house owner was surprised about the rule they suddenly took out of nowhere.

    Anybody else finds “hide the bottom of leave a reply field” javascript irritating?

  61. Silver Fang April 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    What a stupid rule. The kids should all rebel by going outside en masse and refuse to go back in until the rule is removed.

  62. pinkhairedloli April 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    It’s especially cruel they started enforcing this rule right before summer.

    Trouble is the only people getting involved in HOAs are busybodies. Need to get some “small government” folks into the HOA leadership.

  63. Anonymous April 13, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Tell them how you feel http://www.lely-resort.net/register.aspx

  64. CrazyCatLady April 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    My guess is they are enforcing this now because the weather is reasonable and the kids are going out, especially since the daylight is longer. Once summer hits and it gets unbearable, they will not enforce this rule because they won’t have to. It will be too hot and humid to go outside. No one says they goes to Florida in the summer. There is a reason.

  65. Nicole April 13, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    My first thought was that this is a direct result of the Trayvon Martin case. They are afraid something like that will happen in their neighborhood, and are trying to prevent it in a ridiculous way.

    Was it meant to be a retirement community, where the only children they expected to ever be there were residents’ grandkids visiting for short periods?

    What I don’t understand is how on earth people can expect children to go from having the same supervision as a four-year-old, to BEING the supervision, with nothing in between. Kids do NOT magically grow up overnight on their eighteenth birthdays. There HAVE to be middle steps for it to work.

  66. Stephanie April 13, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    @CrazyCatLady- My sister and I know how to finger spell in ASL and it used to drive our mom nuts that she had no idea what we were talking about! (We’re 34 and 35 and still use it sometimes!)

  67. LRH April 13, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Donna I respectfully understand what you’re saying. My main thing is that, again, it makes no sense for you to OWN your house & yet be restricted by a non-government entity with things such as what color you can paint it, if you can hang flags, and yes if your kids can play outside alone in their OWN YARD. These things are far more understandable (if still petty at times) if you RENT the usage of someone else’s property, but when it is in fact YOUR property which you are not just the resident/user of but in fact the OWNER, this makes no sense.

    What Andy said resonates with me–the problem is in many areas it’s almost impossible to buy something that ISN’T a HOA. The only thing I can figure is people agreed to this because they’re so preoccupied with protecting their property values, even if it means restricting the freedoms of people around them whose behavior is none of their business, even with the property values aspect. Granted, what I have isn’t much, so maybe one could say “if you owned a house worth $150k and had a neighbor not keeping up his yard & it brought the value of your place down to $80k, you’d feel otherwise”–I don’t know that I would. I don’t agree with the idea of us meddling in other people’s affairs regarding THEIR OWN LAND because of being so concerned over property values.

    Regarding crossing guards Uly–especially with schools, I’m sure they’re necesary, at the same time, the ones I used to encounter when I lived in Tucson AZ does make me sometimes dislike them. They thought nothing of making a zillion cars stop on a dime for 2 kids to cross the street and I used to think–maybe you ought to make the kids WAIT until the traffic clears a little bit first. You really think 2 kids are important enough to make 30-40 cars on a busy 6-lane highway during rush hour come to a screeching halt? I say make ’em wait a few minutes like the adults in the same situation would have to do.

    In fact, though, (I’m referring to busy “commuter” roads, not the secluded “residential” roads not meant for heavy car usage), the adults themselves in the city would often-times press the crosswalk button & stroll right into a line of multiple cars going 45mph trying to get to work on time, and the pedestrian would then just stroll casually all day as if it didn’t matter that all of those people in all of those cars were having to wait for them. I always thought that was rude, when I lived there & was walking around I would wait for traffic to clear up and then zoom across quickly to stay out of their way as muc as possible. Obviously you don’t want a crash & someone killed, I’m just saying that as a commuter you get tired of stopping for so many things like that.

    LRH

  68. Leonard Ewy April 13, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    I wonder, if an under 18 year-old kid is confronted by an adult in the community for being unescorted and the kid gets defiant, can the adult shoot the kid under the Floriday “stand your ground law”?

  69. pentamom April 13, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    “People actually can agree to such things. Otherwise S/M relationships would be illegal and they are not. The problem is that such contracts would not be enforceable against the wishes of the people. ”

    That’s what I meant — people can do just about anything to one another, but they can’t obligate one another to certain things, right?

  70. pentamom April 13, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

    “I don’t think it’s right and I wouldn’t live in this neighborhood, but I’m not sure it’s illegal.”

    Yes, I’m not saying that it is, I just meant that the fact that it’s somehow written in a contract that people agrees to doesn’t mean it’s legally enforceable. It may be, it may not be.

  71. pentamom April 13, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    “My husband is working in the Emirates at present and there’s just been a giant leap forward into the 16th century: single men (but not women) can now go to the shopping centre unaccompanied.”

    Hey, let’s not diss the 16th (or 15th) century — I’m not sure of any time in western history when any class of people was enjoined from appearing in public unaccompanied, though there may have been times and places where it was considered improper or unsafe to do so. 😉

  72. Stephanie April 13, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

    @hineata – You are SO right about older folks having been some of the worst offenders themselves! My dad is 65, and he and my mom moved into a neighborhood with a bunch of young families about 10 years ago. I understand when he gets annoyed with kids running through his back yard since that is technically trespassing. But when I remind him the stories he told me about sneaking onto private property (which would later become the campus of the college I went to, oddly enough) to go fishing in a pond, so not only was he trespassing, if he kept any of the fish he caught, he was stealing too! 😛

    And like other commenters mentioned, this is exactly why one of the first things my husband and I had on our wish list when looking for a house was NO HOAs! Our town and neighborhood seem to have retained quite a bit of sanity, so far at least. We’re about a mile away from both the elementary school and the middle school, and the area is very walker-friendly. Crossing guards at the handful of busy intersections, and I see a LOT of kids who walk to school. So here’s hoping things stay pretty much the same when we have kids of our own. :-)

  73. Adam April 13, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

    I hope some bold young teens ignore this rule and charge the HOA with assault or attempted kidnapping or whatever, when the rent-a-cop tries to enforce it.

  74. Selby April 13, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    Dear Florida crabcakes: be nice to the kids. They’ll be choosing your nursing home someday.

  75. dh April 13, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    “If you have insurance, your insurance will attempt to recoup the money spent by getting anybody else to pay for it. That might very well mean suing the homeowner of the unmaintained sidewalk. ”

    This is why the people going around proclaiming “well, I would never sue under those circumstances” just kind of make me roll my eyes. No, you would never sue, but you can’t stop your insurance company from suing in your name without lying to them. Every time someone in my family has gotten a injury requiring emergency treatment in the past decade, our insurance company has eventually followed up with a phone interview intended to weasel out whether they could sue some other insurance company (someone else’s homeowner’s policy, someone else’s car insurance) in order to recoup the costs. My husband needed stitches after cutting his hand on a friend’s car trailer, our medical insurance demanded her auto insurance information. I twisted my ankle on someone else’s property, our medical insurance demanded their homeowner’s insurance information.

  76. BMS April 13, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    I have always thought that love of property values is the root of a lot of evil. It leads to ‘We don’t want (insert minority) moving in, it will lower the property values’ and ‘We’re going to harrass you because your lawn is two inches higher than ours, because it will lower the property values’ and ‘We don’t care if you are short on money, or have sickness in the family, or otherwise have other things to deal with. We’re going to give you a hard time about your (unpainted house, nonfunctional car, kids toys, etc. etc.) because it will lower the property values.

    And yes, I am a homeowner. But the day I start using the excuse of property values to start acting like an a$$hole is the day I hope someone smacks me upside the head. Besides, since I don’t intend to move any time soon, bring on the lower property values. My taxes suck!

  77. Gail Bernstein Paris April 13, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    As an educator of children 3 to 13 for over 30 years and the parent of 2 now in their 30’s, I am outraged at the attempt of this community to interfere with parents rights to raise their children as they see fit. Amazing that these Florida residents want to restrict a 17 year and 11month old person from leaving his or her house unaccompanied by an adult but are willing to let them serve in the armed forces in a foreign nation where they have to make life and death decisions.

    I’ll bet people were annoyed by skate boarders and other situations that lead to noise and decided to enforce a lock down instead of meeting as a community to find a solution that respects everyone’s rights.

    It has to be illegal and if it isn’t in Florida, I suggest parents gather all children 18 in a place most likely to annoy the board that came up with this crazy rule, and leave 1 parent in charge of all of them. Or maybe they should just take a walk around the community absolutely silent.

    Having just celebrated Passover, I say “Let our children go”.

  78. hmcnally April 13, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

    It’s a gated community aimed at retirees, though since it’s not an institution dedicated to this premise, and as such it may be illegal to block the general public from owning/residing there, they probably have some non-retirees. Residents no doubt walk around muttering “DAMN KIDS.” Still, it’s probably an unenforceable HOA rule meant to entice prospective buyers and to make non-retirees avoid the area.

    http://www.lely-resort.net/naples-neighborhoods/ole-homes/

  79. mollie April 14, 2012 at 12:02 am #

    I looked at the testimonials on their website… definitely no families with kids testifying there! It’s all second homes and retirees, there are planned activities but definitely aimed at the 55+ set. Sadly, in our society, we have come to expect this separation of old and young, which is disastrous for all. The young end up lacking input and nurturing from elders and eventually become adults who marginalize the rights of the elderly. The elders end up feeling isolated and forgotten by the very youth they have banished from their lives.

    Caveat emptor, I say. I can give myself the same advice, as I’m gunning to join a development (an interdependent community, or co-housing as it’s sometimes called) here in my town that was originally conceived as a 55+ village. It’s not built yet, and though they have “expanded” their concept, their website says, on the one hand, that “inclusiveness” is a foundational tenet of their community, and there is no discrimination based on age, then on the other hand, says something about “children are welcome to visit.”

    I have spoken to three people integral to the development of this village to try to get straight answers about being part of it: are they open to having a family with four young kids live among them? What they say is, “These units were not designed for families with young children. The common areas are not oriented toward children’s activities. There are currently no other members who have young children,” etc.

    That still doesn’t answer my question, because we’re happy to downsize to less square footage… they seem to be wanting to “save” us from a decision that “might not fit for us,” but what I am sensing is that it doesn’t fit for them, they don’t want children living in this village full time, and they won’t come right out and say it.

    I can imagine facing a situation similar to this one down the road if we keep getting the answer of “yes” when they really mean “no.”

    Sad.

  80. Heather G April 14, 2012 at 1:28 am #

    Not all HOAs are evil. The HOA for my neighborhoold was started by the developer and when the final house had been built they handed the HOA over to the residents. We had lengthy discussions as to whether we should keep it or ditch it, we decided to keep it and to use it to bring back a sense of community missing from many deed restricted neighborhoods. Instead of focusing on what residents *can’t* do (I’m pretty sure all the restrictions are things that are already illegal) they focus on fostering an atmosphere where kids play outside and neighbors act neighborly. We have a great mix of ages from college kids to families with kids to retirees. In our case, this community focus has set us apart from other deed restricted subdivisions and actually protected our property values because people *want* to live here even if they can get a similar home in another neighborhood cheaper..

  81. backroadsem April 14, 2012 at 1:42 am #

    So by the sounds of this rule, my kids can go outside and cause all sorts of noisy chaos and tom-foolery as long I am present? Done and done.

    If a community wants to be child-free, they should just arrange it that way. Make it clear that families with children cannot buy into the community. Don’t “allow” children in and then come up with stupid rules.

  82. Donna April 14, 2012 at 2:06 am #

    “Yes, I’m not saying that it is, I just meant that the fact that it’s somehow written in a contract that people agrees to doesn’t mean it’s legally enforceable. It may be, it may not be.”

    HOAs are only legally enforceable under the laws of contract. You can’t be arrested and prosecuted for violating them. You can fine and sue for breach of contract. I absolutely DO think this provision is legally enforceable. It doesn’t prevent families from moving into the neighborhood. It doesn’t prevent kids from going outside to play. It is not actually anything akin to house arrest. I know many people on house arrest and they are not allowed to leave their house even accompanied. It simply requires that a parent supervise their children outside. If children are not leaving their houses ever, that is a PARENT issue of not wanting to supervise their children while outside.

    Again, I’m not saying that this is a good rule or that it should be enforced or that I would live in this community. I do think it’s an enforceable rule.

  83. Donna April 14, 2012 at 2:07 am #

    @ LRH – It may make no sense to YOU that you can own your home and be told what to do in it but it does make sense to OTHER people. What you are are essentially saying is “this makes no sense to me therefore other people can’t do it either.” And these other people whose freedoms you want to protect CHOOSE to move into the neighborhood KNOWING that the HOA covenants existed.

  84. Marcy April 14, 2012 at 2:33 am #

    So what is the rule for an under-18 person who has a child? Parent can’t take baby outside? to the doctor?
    I looked at the website and this “community” appears to be geared towards families, including a photo of two youngsters at the neighbourhood ice cream shop.

  85. Donna April 14, 2012 at 2:41 am #

    mollie – Why the heck would you want to move into a village that is conceived as a 55+ neighborhood with young children even if allowed? There is not going to be anything for kids to do there. The 55+ set is not known for hanging off the monkey bars so I don’t see playgrounds being installed. Any organized activities, classes, pools, etc present are going to be geared toward seniors and not kids. There will be no neighbors with children. You are going to be excluded from many gatherings because the host is going to want them to be “adult-only.” Even if invited, yours will likely be the only kids there and the event will be geared towards adults.

    Many older people are happy to have kids around all the time. Others spent many years immersed in children and now prefer to live a more adult-centered lifestyle. The ones who live in 55+ villages probably prefer adult-centered lifestyles. One of my co-workers is like that. Perfectly nice 50+ year old woman who has spent the last 20 years involved in child/family centered activities and now wants to focus on her adult interests. She isn’t mean or grumpy towards kids; doesn’t think that they should be kicked off planes or restaurants and is tolerant of their antics when interacting with them. She would simply prefer to socialize without kids running about most of the time.

  86. backroadsem April 14, 2012 at 3:09 am #

    “It simply requires that a parent supervise their children outside. If children are not leaving their houses ever, that is a PARENT issue of not wanting to supervise their children while outside.”

    I see your point here, yet why would any reasonable parent feel the need to supervise their 17 3/4 year old children? By then, barring any issues, the kids are (hopefully) self-sufficient.

  87. E. Simms April 14, 2012 at 3:34 am #

    This happened in Colorado a couple of years ago. It turned out that the HOA rules were not legal.

    http://www.freerangekids.com/outrage-of-the-week-we-love-seeing-children-outside-but-not-under-age-16/

  88. K April 14, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    Don’t tell them, but my six and eight year old boys just got back from the park they went to on their own. They had fun and I got a few minutes of work done. My oldest didn’t want to go – he is outside, alone, fishing.

    The last few articles have actually frightened me about our society, liberties, health, and expectations of children.

  89. Uly April 14, 2012 at 3:53 am #

    E Simms, that was in Colorado. The laws in Florida regarding HOAs might be different, mightn’t they?

  90. Donna April 14, 2012 at 4:16 am #

    “I see your point here, yet why would any reasonable parent feel the need to supervise their 17 3/4 year old children? By then, barring any issues, the kids are (hopefully) self-sufficient.”

    I agree completely. I don’t feel the need to always supervise my 6 year old outside and have no desire whatsoever to supervise teenagers while they skateboard. I think the rule is idiotic and I would not live in the community.

    That said, contrary to the comments of the residents, the kids are not actually prisoners. They are welcome to play outside, skateboard, ride bikes and do everything they were doing before if an adult is with them. Not an ideal, or even close, situation but far from house arrest. If kids are not outside, it is either because of unwilling parents or grumpiness over the enforcement of the rule and not because of the rule itself.

  91. Donna April 14, 2012 at 4:29 am #

    E. Simms – From what I read, that wasn’t an HOA. It is an apartment complex and management simply set the rule and sent out a notice to it’s residents. Further, it is low-income housing which is treated differently. I also see nothing about the rule being declared illegal (although it could have been). Either way, that is a different situation than homeowners agreeing to HOA covenants prior purchasing a home.

  92. backroadsem April 14, 2012 at 5:14 am #

    I am now imagining fathers interrupting their daughters’
    post-date doorstep scenes. “I’m not invading your privacy, just following the HOA’s rules”. =D

  93. Stafir April 14, 2012 at 5:18 am #

    @Donna Just because your warden is someone who has your best interest in mind, it dosn’t change the fact one is still in a Prison.

  94. CrazyCatLady April 14, 2012 at 5:22 am #

    I still think if the kid is carrying a baby monitor, that counts as supervised. They should try it. When the “officer” brings the kid back to the parents, the parent can meet them at the door and tell them that the child IS supervised, via technology. If the parent can hear everything that the kid is doing, unless the kid is talking via sign language, then the parent knows what is going on and can take action as needed.

  95. Donna April 14, 2012 at 6:18 am #

    Stafir – I feel bad for kids who are not allowed/taken outside by their parents; that doesn’t mean that it is the same as being legally barred from exiting the home. Sadly the world is full of mediocre parents (parents who are not abusive but not great either) and you aren’t guaranteed a great one. I was just explaining why I think the rule may be legal and it is because kids are not actually banned from outside and are only being kept in based on parental or personal choices.

  96. pentamom April 14, 2012 at 6:45 am #

    Donna — all I’m saying is that the argument that some here made that “they signed something, therefore there’s no legal recourse” is not necessarily correct in principle. You know more about whether it may or may not be in this particular case, but we both agree that not all contracts are enforceable and that the existence of a contract does not always, in every situation, mean that the people have to put up with the terms of the contract. If the contract provides for something that no person is legally allowed to require of/do to another against their will, then it’s not binding. I guess that’s not the case here, but it’s not as simple as “anyone who signs a contract for anything has to put up with whatever the contract says.”

  97. mollie April 14, 2012 at 9:36 am #

    Hey Donna, the village I’m researching is VERY urban, and is planned to be set in an extremely high-density, inner-city neighbourhood that has many young families adjacent, plus parks, schools, etc. It’s actually in the big central high school’s back field, practically.

    What I’m curious about is people saying they don’t discriminate for any reason, including age, and then say they don’t want kids to live there. I’m sorry, they haven’t even met my kids! How can they claim that these particular kids won’t uphold the values of their planned community just like any adult would? Until my kids are interviewed just like any adult applicant, it really seems to me to be a flawed strategy to simply exclude children on principle.

    The “activities” in this eco-village (yes, that’s what it’s really planned to be, an urban eco-village, meaning sustainable living, energy efficiency, high-yield gardens, shared cars, etc) include shared meals that are prepared and enjoyed by all residents, and yoga and meditation. I know 3-year-olds probably aren’t going to be able to participate in a meditation session, but by the time the place is built, my youngest girl will be 7 or 8 (not toddler, uncontrollable movement and noise age) and my oldest will be 13 or 14 (probably doing most everything besides homework and sleeping off the premises).

    And since when are adults silent? I’ve had apartments where the neighbours below or above scream at each other at 2am, throw dishes, etc. Noise disturbance happens with adults too. It would seem that the members so far are “concerned” about having children around, and yet are willing to consider childless people of child-bearing age. Do they get run out on a rail if they have a baby? Lord knows babies can be a heck of a lot louder than late-grade-school age kids!

    Anyway, I’m going to their meeting, where I will expound on my values around unity, community, and how segregating people by age is not, in fact, really sustainable. The most important thing for me is to have some acknowledgement that if they claim inclusiveness and then exclude us because we have four kids they haven’t met, well, that’s not really inclusiveness after all.

    Sure, have a seniors-only complex. But then don’t have your front-person exclaiming, “We’ve always welcomed families and children!”

  98. Donna April 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    mollie – It is less about noise and more about a lifestyle choice. Some adults don’t like or are uncomfortable around kids and others have already raised their kids and want to focus on being non-child-raisers now. If they are sharing meals, cars and the like, there is even more reason for the community stay adult-only if that is what the residents want.

    It isn’t about YOUR kids and their ages and behavior at all. They could be the best kids in the world. It’s about not wanting to live closely, share meals, share cars, etc. with ANY children. It’s about being passed with the child-rearing phase of their life, or choosing never to enter that phase, and looking to live exclusively as an adult. It’s about not wanting to worry about being a role model, watching what they say and talking about kid-centered things. It’s about parents and non-parents really having different life focuses.

    Adult communities have always seemed a little odd to me. Kids in the streets is just normal life. It is not like you have to invite the neighborhood kids in or interact with them in any way if you don’t want to. However, I completely understand adult-only communal living if that is what the people want. That is too intimate of interaction with kids to force on people who don’t want to closely interact with children on a day-to-day basis.

    I agree that the people running the thing need to just be straight-forward and say that they don’t want any children as permanent residents, but I think they’ve done everything short of that to convince you not to come there. Unless you get a much different vibe at the meetings, they are not going to be happy you are there and you are probably not going to enjoy being there if you go forward.

    And, yes, adult-only communities do require people to move if a baby is born. My grandparents lived in one in Florida and that occurred. Many adult-only communities are actually senior communities so the baby-thing is no longer an issue.

  99. mollie April 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Yeah, Donna, you are wise and speak the truth, sister. I hear you. Anyone want to move to Victoria, BC and start an interdependent *family* oriented, free-range co-housing community? :-)

  100. E. Simms April 15, 2012 at 12:15 am #

    I wonder if these HOA board members have considered that they are shooting themselves in the foot with regard to home values. It’s not exactly a sellers market right now; this negative publicity can only hurt home sales.

    The child haters may be vocal, but I doubt they are in the majority. Elderly potential buyers are not going to want to stand out in the Florida summer heat to supervise their visiting grandchildren every second.

  101. Library Diva April 15, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    I have never understood why someone would voluntarily agree to such restrictions. I’ve heard of developments that actually ban yard sales and basketball hoops, and that have a “color pallette” governing what colors your house and trim can be. So ridiculous. I would never buy property in an area like that if the alternative was living in my car.

    Some code regulations are necessary, I think. I don’t think you should be allowed to endanger others with the state of your property, or create such a disgusting situation that they can’t enjoy their own property. The local government needs to step in when there are situations like the ones depicted on Hoarders. I saw one episode where the man liked to leave the burners of his stove on (“to take the chill out of the air,” he said) despite having the entire house stacked high with old newspapers and comic books. The fire inspector said that the vegetation canopy in the neighborhood was such that a fire at this man’s home could easily spread. In less extreme cases, people just shouldn’t have rat breeding grounds or lots of smelly garbage.

    But it’s ridiculous to think that I can’t paint my house pink just because someone else dislikes the color, or have my kids play outside if I so choose, as long as they behave themselves. And whatever happened to coming to talk with the parents if the neighbors have concerns or are being annoyed? Why are people so afraid to do that?

  102. Andy April 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    @Donna It’s about not wanting to worry about being a role model, watching what they say and talking about kid-centered things.

    Non-parents are perfectly free to do these things even if there are parents around. There is no need to make other people kids the center of your attention just because they are around. The only unwanted interaction with kids living in the same street is occasional noise. No other lifestyle change is required.

    I really dislike the idea that everyone should act in some artificial way around children all the time.

    On the unrelated note, is it only my impression that once paranoid people enclose themselves into closed gated “nobody allowed to enter” community, they get even more paranoid and afraid? And once grumpy people segregate themselves into “erase all kids out of the earth” kind of community, they becomes even more grumpy and intolerant? There must be some weird psychological process going on here.

  103. Donna April 15, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    Andy – Mollie and I were talking about moving her 4 children into an adults-only commune where the families prepare their meals together, eat their meals together, carpool together and otherwise live as a semi-unit. Sorry but that is HUGELY different than just having some kids on the street. There is no way to avoid interacting with the kids closely and on a daily basis if you want to enjoy all that commune life has to offer.

    The other commune residents also have a right to live a kid-free life if that is what they want (since they came first and planned this thing as adults-only). If I moved into a commune now, I’d like one full of kids because that is my phase of life right now. If I moved into one at 55+, I might prefer an adult-only one because I would then be in the non-child-rearing part of my life. After having shared approximately 6,570 dinners with children, I’d might be ready to try something new and enjoy a few thousand without them. I kinda feel that way about toddlers now. They are totally fun to play with for a little while but then I am ready for them to go. I don’t want to deal with one at the dinner table every night anymore now that I don’t have to.

    I understand why parents get such a bad rap and adults are looking for kid-free planes and the like. Parents today seem to want to force their kids down everyone’s throat. Kids have to have a place in society but they don’t have to have to be EVERY place in society. It is okay for adults to want to carve out nooks for themselves. Even as a parent who likes kids, I hate seeing kids in certain places that I go (bars, nice restaurants). I go there to get a break from my kids so I don’t really want others around no matter how well behaved they are.

    While I wasn’t talking about adult-only neighborhoods, I’m not sure why people have a problem with them. If someone dislikes kids, I’d rather they live in an adult community than next door to me. My kid doesn’t need to deal with a Grumpy Gus neighbor who will try to stop her from being a kid. And adults are allowed to not like children. Adults are allowed to be done with interacting with children now that their’s are grown. Better they go to an adults-only community than try to shut down the kids in a regular neighborhood.

  104. mollie April 16, 2012 at 12:46 am #

    “Not liking kids” = “Not liking others of your own species who happen to be at an earlier developmental stage” = “misanthropic”?

    In African villages (and let’s face it, villages like those do seem to be the closest thing on earth to an honestly sustainable human presence on the planet), the older people do not say, “I’ve shared meals with little people 5,427 times, and now I want to eat dinner without them, so I’m getting together with the other elders here, and we’re segregating ourselves into our own area.”

    It’s preposterous. Elder women, especially, knew that an enormous part of their purpose in the village is helping to care for little ones. It’s a whole different ballgame, caring for “grandkids” as opposed to your own little ones. It’s less pressure, less intense, usually. It’s FUN for a lot of folks, because they get sort of the best part of little ones, and then hand them back to mama.

    Anyway, ever hear of older people who resent the fact that society doesn’t respect them? Ever hear of older people who feel lonely and depressed? Ever hear them complain that their families never visit? Ever hear anyone reminisce about the days when families lived intergenerationally? Well, I go a step further: I want to live in a village, not just a big house with three generations. And I do think, at least for a majority of humans, that this is the natural state.

    Unfortunately, with money and affluence comes isolation. We don’t need each other, because we can pay for everything. Nowhere is this more apparent than in developments where older people segregate themselves. They don’t need the younger generation, because they pay people to mow lawns, prepare meals, deliver groceries. They’re also not needed, because the younger folks hire daycares and psychologists and tutors for their kids.

    When we share resources and wisdom, two things happen: we are happier, and we are healthier.

    Oh well. That’s not the North American way, I guess. It may be the death of us, literally.

  105. BMS April 16, 2012 at 1:54 am #

    This is the problem in our community. The elders don’t want to support the schools. They don’t want to support new playgrounds. But when they want a new senior center, they’ve got their hands out. So you only want the families with children who pay lots of taxes (since generally they have larger houses than the older folks) when it benefits you, but otherwise, children are an annoying burden? Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

    We could eat the elderly, I suppose…

  106. mollie April 16, 2012 at 2:31 am #

    I also want to add that “people behaving in ways that other people find annoying” has nothing to do with age. Yes, there are certain behaviours, like running, shouting, and laughing, that occur more in the young of the species, but it’s not the running, shouting, and laughing that are “causing” anyone’s tension, it’s their expectations. If they expect they will never be startled by a sudden shout of exuberance, or anger, then when it happens, they are resentful.

    However, I can certainly imagine these folks in the co-housing development (this is different from a “commune,” BTW… everyone owns their own unit, strata title, and can choose to participate in shared meals or not, share a car or not, help to grow vegetables or not, etc) having plenty of opportunities to deal with their expectations even if a kid never set foot in the place. I’m imagining VitaMix blenders, for instance.

    Anyway, no, we won’t try to live where we’re not wanted, that’s for damned sure. If cooperative co-housing just hasn’t caught on enough here to give us viable options because the old-paradigm money is still flowing in such abundance that the idea of interdependence seems like a compromise still, well, I can’t hurry progress (or regression).

    I still think that people who decide to segregate themselves by age are doing themselves and society a disservice, and it’s not kids that are their problem, it’s the older folks’ expectations of what life is supposed to be at their age, and how they cope with what’s happening around them.

    If someone is disturbed, it’s not necessarily what’s happening outside causing it; in fact, the “disturbance” is all inside. One person hears a baby squeal and though initially surprised, they feel delighted. Another hears the same baby squeal and feels rage and resentment. One person sees children playing catch with a baseball in the street and thinks, “Ah, that’s so sweet, I remember doing that when I was young,” and another thinks, “Stupid kids! That’s dangerous and against the law, to play in the street like that!”

    Attitude really is everything. Which would you want to choose?

  107. Donna April 16, 2012 at 3:28 am #

    Well, your assumption is that African village tribal lifestyle is highly desirable and that everyone is happy with their lot in life. I actually live in a place where villages still exist and tribal culture and the aiga (family) underpins everything. It’s not all sunshine and roses. It is not the idealized world that you want it to be. Some older people enjoy their life very much. Others would love to drown the brats they’ve been tasked with and go enjoy their own life. Lack of money and the fa samoan (samoan way) won’t let them do it. They are home helping to raise children because it is expected of them, not because it makes them happy. Heck, some of these people never wanted children at all, but the fa samoan (and lack of birth control) demanded it of them. The human species has largely left tribal life behind for a reason and not because it was so wonderful and joyous that people could not stand all the happiness and needed some misery in their life.

    “Anyway, ever hear of older people who resent the fact that society doesn’t respect them?”

    And society doesn’t. That is very different here but also not what you want it to be. All elders are revered in their own families. Elders are only revered by the general population if they are matais (village chiefs) or people of high standing. A young son of a matai is going to get far more respect than an old person from a family with no standing in the village.

    “Ever hear of older people who feel lonely and depressed?”

    Sure. And I hear young people complain of that. And I hear children complain of that. And I hear it from old people who are taking care of their grandchildren. And I hear it from old people who are not.

    And yet many post-child rearing age people I know relish their freedom and are living life to the fullest – many in those senior communities you hate so much. Since her kids grew up, my mother has traveled the states (been to damn near all of them now) in her camper seeing whatever strange things she can see and is loving life. She enjoys spending time with my daughter when home but also likes to be out on the road with her boyfriend. One set of grandparents spent their time at home with their family – even raised one of their grandchildren – and were very happy for it. (Until they moved to Florida in their 70s into a senior community and enjoyed that too). The other set of grandparents spent their post-child years traveling the world, hosting dinner parties for their friends, taking senior bus trips, playing golf daily and otherwise being very happy and connected to people. When I moved to California near my grandmother in my late 20’s, I loved hanging out with her and her crazy friends. They were so into everything and vibrant. None of these people were sad, depressed and lonely.

    Life is what you make it. You want people to enjoy what YOU want them to enjoy in life with no interest in what THEY may actually want from life. Forcing older people to interact with your children because you want a “village” is not going to make anyone happy. Finding people, young and old, who also want to form a “village” is what you need to find. You are not going to find it by forcing all people into some mold that they don’t want to be in.

    “Ever hear them complain that their families never visit?”

    Yeah, and I hear others complain that their families are around to much. Kinda depends on the family.

    “Ever hear anyone reminisce about the days when families lived intergenerationally?”

    Almost only young people. It’s not something I hear from the older set very often.

    You simply have a very idealize view of villages and tribal lifestyles.

  108. Donna April 16, 2012 at 3:38 am #

    “One person hears a baby squeal and though initially surprised, they feel delighted. Another hears the same baby squeal and feels rage and resentment. One person sees children playing catch with a baseball in the street and thinks, “Ah, that’s so sweet, I remember doing that when I was young,” and another thinks, “Stupid kids! That’s dangerous and against the law, to play in the street like that!””

    And some hear a baby squeal, smile and reminisce for a minute about the days when their babies were young and then say “Glad that’s not me anymore,” as they run out to meet the other seniors at the senior center to catch the bus to Albuquerque to watch the balloon race and ride in a hot air balloon (something my grandmother did in her 70s). Not everyone finds child-rearing the end-all and be-all of life. Some people actually enjoy pursuits that don’t involve children. Enjoying life without day-to-day interaction with children doesn’t actually equal sadness, depression and loneliness for many people.

  109. Donna April 16, 2012 at 3:52 am #

    @ BMS – Hmmm. Seems to me that the majority of the US population doesn’t want to pay taxes for things that don’t impact them directly. Age has little to do with it from what I see in the news. We don’t want healthcare reform because WE have good insurance. We don’t want to support the public schools because WE use private schools, homeschool, don’t have children. We don’t want anyone getting welfare because WE don’t get anything from it. It seems like we have given up the “good for society” mentality (if we ever had it) in this country completely.

  110. Heather G April 16, 2012 at 4:29 am #

    BMS- you reminded me of a bumper sticker occasionally seen here in Florida- “If it’s called ‘Snowbird Season’ why can’t we shoot them?”.

  111. Amanda Matthews April 16, 2012 at 4:50 am #

    “f I moved into a commune now, I’d like one full of kids because that is my phase of life right now. If I moved into one at 55+, I might prefer an adult-only one because I would then be in the non-child-rearing part of my life. ”

    Personally, I don’t want to have to move when I am 55. I want to own a house I like now, be in the type of community I want to live in now, and still enjoy it when I am 55+.

  112. Denny April 16, 2012 at 5:05 am #

    I really don’t think this is legal – I think the Constitution protects us from rules like this, but maybe HOAs are different… It’d be one thing if they were talking about 6-year-olds, but teenagers should be certainly allowed outside without adults. What about on their own property?

  113. Donna April 16, 2012 at 5:10 am #

    Personally, I don’t want to live in a commune at all. I was making a point.

    That said, I don’t know what I’ll want in my senior years. I didn’t like or need the same things at 22 as I do know so I probably won’t like or need the same things at 62 as I do at 42. Life changes. A house that met my wants and needs at 22 would not at 42 and 62 may be the same. I like where I live now but I can see wanting to sell and move into a condo as a senior. Who needs all the repairs, extra rooms and yard work during retirement? I’d rather be out having fun than be tied down by a house.

  114. Amanda Matthews April 16, 2012 at 5:55 am #

    You’re going to have to do repairs no matter where you live. Hopefully, I will have raised my kids to help me out with them when I am too old to do them by myself. As for extra rooms and extra yard size, that is why I didn’t buy a huge house and a huge yard just for while my kids are young. We have a small house and a small yard, but several playgrounds nearby to make up for that.

  115. Donna April 16, 2012 at 6:28 am #

    I want my daughter to enjoy her life on her terms, not mine. If she wants to live near me, great … and she better help me. If she wants to make her life elsewhere, I’ll give her my blessings. We are not the same person. A place that makes me happy may not make her happy. My goal as a parent is to give her roots and WINGS. And accept that those wings ultimately may take her too far away to repair my house and mow my lawn.

    Or I may move from her. Staying in one place for 25 years sounds horribly boring to me. I just threw all my stuff into storage and moved 5,000 miles away from home to the South Pacific for a year or so. And I have no idea where we’ll end up next. Maybe back in the house I still own in Georgia. Maybe someplace else. I’ve always wanted to live in NYC. Heck, Hineata says New Zealand is great. There’s a whole world out there. I’d like our next stop to last until high school grad but after 11 or 12 years in one place, I’ll likely be looking for a change as soon as that diploma is dry.

  116. mollie April 16, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Donna, I totally agree that depression, anxiety, disenfranchisement and loneliness are affecting everyone, not just elders. I guess this is sort of my point.

    We have a lot of expectations in our culture these days around choice, freedom, independence. We build our lives as individuals, and have little sense of interdependence or community with others. What I’m seeing is that this breakdown of interdependence and community is affecting everyone’s well-being.

    Part of the Free Range Kids movement seems to be directly rooted in this breakdown of community, in fact when I see the rebuttals of people on websites where these issues of supervision are coming up and they say, “These are your kids, you watch them, I shouldn’t have to help them if they get hurt in the park and you’re not there,” I think, “Well, there it is, the breakdown of community.” Or this story that Lenore originally posted— it seems to me that there is not only a sense of outrage that kids should be housed but not seen, there is also a sense of outrage that one generation would forbid the other to live life fully.

    There’s a much larger philosophical issue going on with me about not only our relationships with each other as human beings but how our insistence on individualism is affecting the very planet we live on. We’re not willing to give up our lifestyle of wealth and independence, but it is very much affecting everything, every organism, every waterway, every area of the world, even those areas where people don’t live with such an emphasis on wealth and independence.

    Even small movements toward rebuilding interdependence and community can improve our sense of connection, which then allays those ills of isolation like depression and anxiety. Small movements toward sharing, giving and receiving— we feel better, and we use less stuff, too. I don’t mean that everyone must decide to pool their resources and sleep 8 to a room intergenerationally, I just notice that in places where there is less wealth and more interdependence, people seem far happier.

    I don’t have first-hand experience of Africa, but I do of Vietnam, and it was indeed interesting for me to hear first-hand how the new upward mobility there is affecting the younger generation. Recently, drug use, depression, and alienation are all surging upward — with the money, the shopping malls, the decisions to move away from family, and the consumerism, they are becoming more like us, and losing some very vital, beautiful well-being in the process.

    While I don’t expect older people to spend all day minding babies, I also wonder how many people would thrive if they were offered another choice in living arrangement that up until now doesn’t seem to have existed in North America — not an old folks’ home, but an All Folks Home. You’d have your own unit, your privacy, but shared meals and activities available. I imagine there are some young families who would love that kind of experience, and some older people who would love it as well… it just doesn’t seem to be on the menu. You either live in your own home and age in place, or you move into a community that is older folks only. There isn’t an option to have the sense of community and support of an interdependent, intergenerational development, for anyone of any age.

    What I’m saying is that I would like to see more of it, and I talk to a lot of people of all ages who say they would like it too. They tell me that humans were meant to function that way, that we evolved that way over thousands of years, and only so recently have we gone to this place of “every man for himself.” Call it progress, but I’m wondering if there isn’t something that’s been lost. Support. Trust. Caring. Community. Connection. Family. Celebration. Mourning. Meaning. Purpose. Contribution. Participation.

    Sure, it’s fun to be with people your own age. And I hear that you want to be able to keep that choice viable. I want there to be choices for us as a culture that support our own, and the world’s, thriving.

  117. Donna April 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    I agree that for people who WANT to live in an intergenerational place where people share meals and the like, it is a great idea. That doesn’t mean that it is right for everyone or wrong for people to not want that. I know many people who don’t want that at all. And they are thriving in their chosen lifestyle. I know some others who would think it grand.

    Nor do you need to go to those extremes. The comments of “those are your children and I shouldn’t have to lift a finger to help” are ridiculous. I can never see letting a child (or anyone else) suffer nor would I ever feel put out be helping a child (or other person) in need. As a society, we need to be willing to help our neighbors and have a “we’re all in this together” attitude towards others. I love being able to help people. It’s why i gave up a 200k job to work for peanuts as a public defender. That doesn’t mean that we need to break bread with our neighbors every day. That doesn’t mean that we can’t live our own different lives in a way that makes us each happy. Nor does it mean that adults can’t carve out places just for themselves in life. Walking by a kid who needs help on the street because it isn’t your kid makes you a reprehensible human being. Wanting to spend most of your time with other adults instead of kids does not.

    I’m also not sure how “adult -only community” has come to mean “hates kids” on this blog. My grandparents lived in one and loved kids. They also liked the amenities of the senior community they chose. It is very much what you described, only with just older people. And it made both their brief transitions to nursing homes incredibly easy (my father lived nearby but they both hit a point where their health required more care than he could provide) since the nursing home was on the same property. For my other grandmother, who is suffering from dementia and will eventually need to be in a nursing home, the move will be devastating. She will have to leave her comfort zone – and for someone already suffering with dementia-induced paranoia, that is terrifying. Hopefully, we can keep her in her home until she is too far gone to realize she’s moved – something that would definitely be possible ina senior living community but may not be possible in an independent home. Just depends on how she deteriorates.

  118. Amanda Matthews April 17, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    If my kids want to make their life elsewhere, there are airplanes to get them back here to visit. I’m not going to buy a house based on what my kids want; they can buy their own houses that are what they want. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to mow my own lawn when I’m 55. If nothing else, I’ll get a ride on mower. If my husband and I are in such bad health that we can’t do that, we wouldn’t be able to live alone anyway.

  119. Michelle April 17, 2012 at 1:36 am #

    Mollie, is it possible that where you live it is illegal to have an “adults only” neighborhood? When I was a young teenager, we moved into an apartment complex that had previously been segregated into an “adults” area, and a “families” area. Apparently it had been decided that this was discriminating against families, and was illegal, so the side we moved into had been opened to families within a few years before we moved in.

    If that’s the case with the community you are considering, it’s possible that they are trying to dissuade you from moving in without getting themselves into legal trouble. And while that sucks (and I totally agree with you that it’s kind of nonsense for adults to want to segregate themselves from kids), I doubt it would be an enjoyable place for you to live.

  120. Nicole K April 17, 2012 at 2:53 am #

    I bet it could be challenged in court. I mean, they couldn’t have rules that said “No black people can stand outside unescorted by an asian”. At some point, things go too far when targeting a specific group.

  121. Camryn Toman April 17, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    Im grateful for the article post. Really Cool.

  122. mollie April 18, 2012 at 4:10 am #

    Sounds like there is a real debate going on within the founding members group of this development, sparked by my application and some of the correspondence I’ve had with the member they “buddied” me with.

    The developer himself called me up last night to tell me that he personally was approving my application for membership and would like to see it proceed. He agrees that each person applying for membership, regardless of age, should be interviewed on the basis of how they fit into the vision of the community experience… and that there are certain kids that would fit, and certain parents that would fit, and we might be them. Hence, dialogue!

    The “out of hand” dismissal of anyone, based on any superficial criteria, is what I wonder about, and so does he. “Peace” “relaxation” and “living in close proximity to children” do not have to be mutually exclusive!

    It will be very interesting to see how this all goes down. I maintain that it’s not in anyone’s interest for this village to invite us to be members and residents based on principles like “non-discrimination,” all the while with teeth gritted. Unless the whole group is saying, “Hey! We welcome you six people we’ve gotten to know, we think you’ll be an asset to this experience, we expect the unexpected, and we’re open to the gifts and the challenges that lie ahead!” well, then, we’ll find something else.

  123. Brenda Greer April 22, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    The writer didn’t indicate if this was and age restricted community for adults only over the age of 55. If this is the type of community she is talking about kids are allowed for up to a month at a time only per year. We live is such a community and love it but it is not for everyone I know, but if this is the type of community you buy into obey the rules or don’t live there. Yes the one month rule is enforceable. We have a rule about kids driving golf carts as well. An adult has to be with them and also at the pool. Personally I like these rules and am looking for another community that has the same rules. My grand kids visit but mom and dad are responsible for them while here.

  124. 20sd April 24, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    how in the name of Barney the Dinosaur are 18 year olds expected to get along by themselves in the world if they have to be constantly supervised until that point?

  125. Shawn. E. April 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    I can’t find this story on any other news site. Why?
    What is the name of this community?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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