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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Peace and quiet few years away

Marcy Sugar and Kathy Mitchell Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: How do I tell my neighbors that it’s annoying and frustrating to listen to their teenaged daughters shrieking and screaming as they’re having fun outside?

Often, I want to go out and play with my dog, but I can’t because these girls are behaving like 5-year-olds, screaming their heads off. There are things I need to do outside, but the noise makes it impossible. And it’s horrible to have to listen to it inside as well.

The mother said she doesn’t like to interfere with the girls when they’re having a good time. Well, they may be enjoying themselves, but the rest of the neighborhood is not. People are just too polite to say anything.

I don’t want to be offensive, rude or hurt my neighbors’ feelings. These parents and their girls are sweet, good-hearted people, but it seems that the discipline and consideration for others is simply not there. I don’t want the girls to stop having fun. I’d just like them to keep other people in mind, too. But trying to tell someone else how to discipline their kids is a very delicate subject.

This has been going on since the weather has warmed up. I can’t even entertain outside because of the shrieking. Please help, Annie. – A Frustrated Neighbor

Dear Frustrated: You say your neighbors are sweet and good-hearted. Surely they would not want people to think their children are so annoying and disruptive. There is nothing rude or hurtful about saying to your neighbors, “We’re happy the girls are having such a great time outside, but we would deeply appreciate it if they could tone it down a bit. I’m sure they don’t realize how loud they are.”

Unless they are breaking some local noise ordinances, there isn’t much more you can do. But you can repeat to yourself that “this, too, shall pass.” Soon enough, those shrieking teenagers will be off to college (or adulthood) and this will no longer be a problem. Until then, you might want to invest in some noise-blocking headphones and a fan.

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