This Family of Four Was Shamed by a Neighbor for Living in a 2-Bedroom Apartment

The Bruning Family.
The Bruning Family | Image Source: Kelly and Mike Bruning

Nothing ticks a parent off like some know-it-all telling them how to raise their kids.

But for Mike and Kelly Bruning of San Diego, California, the situation is WAY worse than that. See, the couple, who live in a small two-bedroom home right on Mission Beach, recently received an anonymous letter from a neighbor that will make your eyeballs fall out of your mom or dad face.

Can you handle this?

Are you sure?

Okay, here’s what the letter, which the family promptly shared on their Facebook page, said:


It’s important that you know that you guys are about the most selfish parents around. Because you like the beach, your boys are trapped in a tiny, one bedroom upstairs apartment. Kids need yard to play in. A swing set, or trike to ride when they want to, not just when it’s convenient for you. I don’t know this but I doubt that either of you had to grow up under these conditions.


Image Source: Kelly and Mike Bruning

Are you still there?!

Or are you now stuck to your ceiling, blown up there by the burst of rage firing out of your nostrils like dragon breath?!

I know, I know. Parenting is hard enough without the peanut gallery chiming in on things like what you feed your children or where they go to school. Sure, there are never any shortage of opinions when it comes to child-rearing, but where does it end? Who the HELL has the right, or even the gall, for that matter, to pass judgment on what sort of roof a couple puts over their own children’s heads?

In the Bruning’s case, they’re doing it right. They’ve been raising their two young sons, ages 2 and 4, in the same home that they’ve lived in for almost a decade. It isn’t a McMansion. It isn’t even one of those 4-bedroom cul-de-sac jobs that so many people ended up “buying” but not being able to pay for not so long ago. You remember that, right? Back when the entire nation’s economy dropped into the downstairs rec room bathroom (one of four in the house!) because people were moving into way more house than they probably needed, and then couldn’t pay for in the end.

I guess what’s most mystifying about the letter writer’s utter lack of grace and respect in this situation though is this one tiny overlooked fact: I bet you your entire inflated mortgage that the Bruning kids are having the best kind of childhood possible.


Because they have two parents who obviously don’t feel the need to burden themselves (and thus their children) under the crushing weight of modern greed.

And because they are more than likely being raised to appreciate that family and love and the ties that bind have NOTHING to do with a 3-acre playroom or 50,000-square foot open-plan kitchen.

And last but not least, THESE KIDS LIVE ON THE BEACH!!! Not an hour from the beach. Not a few miles from the beach. They live ON THE BEACH! Which, the last time I checked in my Book of American Dreams, was in the top 10 things most kids WISH they could say about their family.

This really bugged me, that someone watching this family live their lives could possibly miss the bigger picture here. So I reached out and asked the Brunings exactly what they think their sons will remember/cherish/laugh about most when they someday look back on their lives and recall the four of them living in the smaller home that they’re living in now?

And do you know what they told me?

On their kids sharing a room:

“The boys may someday complain about sharing a room, (they don’t know it is not an option to have their own room yet), but in the long run they will appreciate being that close for years.”

On their kids living on the beach:

“Again they don’t quite know to appreciate the proximity, but looking back, they will thank us.

On their kids having such close neighbors:

“There is a close knit of owners and renters of various age and profession ranges — there are actually 12 kids under the age of 6 within two bayside courts … 9 boys and 3 girls. They are making friends and will run with these kids. It’s a very healthy environment — getting outdoors and staying active is just a huge part of living down here. They will laugh about the bumps, scrapes, and collisions that have happened and will continue to happen. Between the beach, bay, ocean, jetty, parks, boardwalks (with bikes and runners), and boats — there are a lot of things to challenge yourself on out here.

Does that sound like a mom and dad who ought to be ashamed of where they’re bringing up two sons?

Heck no.

What that sounds like is the kind of loving, modern family we could all learn a thing or two from.

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