View from the chair

To the kid who pushed my kid down….

The other day we were at our local indoor playhouse.  I saw a boy holding down Little Girl.  He saw me coming and let her go.  This boy had shoved Little Girl down and held her there.  Despite her cries to be free.  I had all I could do to not take this kid by the scruff of his neck and give him the what for.  Instead, I consoled Little Girl and watched this boy.   After Little Girl was better she went to play in another direction.  The boy was in the same jump house doing the same thing.  I was about to get up and say something when his mother looked up from her phone and came over.  The only thing she said was to “knock it off or we are leaving.”  That is it.  Not that I wanted her to tar and feather him but I wanted her to parent him.  She walked away and went back to her phone.  He went back to being the bully.  Clearly, her words had no impact on him.  Even if she did enforce leaving what would that teach him?   He has to be more sneaky as to his behavior?  He is fine to do it as long as he does not get caught?  I saw him ten years down the road doing the same thing.  Except for this time, it is not pushing a girl over on the trampoline, he is holding a girl down against her will.  Perhaps I am making a big leap here but it is boys like this that grow up to be that football star that becomes untouchable in his own eyes.  He becomes that TV executive who thinks he can get away with anything.  Or he just becomes that punk that uses his hands to get what he wants.  Moms and dads, please teach your sons (and daughters) that when the other party involved is no longer having fun then the activity needs to stop.  To the mom on her phone.  You are missing your son’s childhood.  Unless that phone is linked to some government agency where you need to be glued to it or its life and death PUT IT DOWN!!!  He needs you to explain to him what safe boundaries look like.  He needs you to watch HIM.  Watch me, mom….I hear this ALL DAY LONG with my little one.   She wants to show me this jump or that cartwheel or read that story AGAIN!  Know what, I do watch her.  If I take the time and watch the little things she knows I will be there for the hard things.  It is not always easy as this comes usually when I am trying to get work done or dinner on the table but she knows I try!  Dear mother on the phone please parent your son.  Teach him right from wrong.  When I grew up you can bet if I was out of line some neighbor would speak up to me or the story would get home to my mom.  I had consequences.  My mother had eyes everywhere and parents looked out for other kids.  We have lost that.  Parents are too afraid to stick their nose in someone else’s business.  I get it.  But you don’t have to stick your nose in.  You can just be present.  I have found as a teacher behavior improves greatly when I am nearby.  I don’t have to say anything.  I just need to be near.  The same goes for supervising children.  You don’t need to parent someone else’s child but you can be a pair of eyes that could keep other kids out of harm’s way.  The world we are handing our kids offers way too much freedom and not enough eyes.  Look up from your phones and parent your child.  I hope I am wrong about this boy.  I hope I am wrong about this mom.  Dear boy…No means NO!  Dear mom….please watch!

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19 Comments

  1. I HATE when other parents don’t deal with a situation that is clearly unacceptable. It’s so true that those kids probably will grow up and potentially become even more aggressive and dangerous. It’s so uncomfortable to say something to another parent but sometimes I think maybe I need to, just to show my girls that it’s ok to stand up for yourself.

  2. jodie filogomo

    Wow….
    I feel like it never really helps to parent another’s kid because it won’t stick. But I love the idea of being there and keeping your eyes on him. You have to wonder if the mom doesn’t think it’s bad because of what the home life is…
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

  3. I really try not to judge what is going on as you don’t know, but it is a bug bear of mine when children aren’t disciplined. That’s not to say you need to shout but to explain why what they’re doing is wrong. We need to be firmer with our children so that they learn right from wrong. #Blogstravaganza

  4. I find it incredibly frustrating when parents don’t actually parent. It’s often an impossible situation! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

  5. This is the kind of situation which I find the hardest to handle, because I’d normally really like to walk up to the mum and talk to her, but of course I don’t… well, at least not in the 90% of the cases… #thesatsesh

  6. Yes! This could be something and nothing. Little ones do push the boundaries and get a bit silly, but I agree that if this type of behavior isn’t checked and corrected… well…. who knows what it could lead on to. I’m so sorry that your little one had to deal with this. As a self confessed bit of a helicopter mum, it’s a real bug of mine seeing other parents pretend they can’t see when their child is over stepping the mark and getting rough. Thanks for sharing with the #Dreamteam

  7. If my child is in danger I have no qualms in telling another child to get off mine.

    #thesatsesh

  8. I think this post will really resonate with so many of us parents: regarding both the need to supervise your own child in such a place and for parents to discipline their children when they are out of line. I am constantly amazed at parents who are so quick to defend their children when anybody else says anything to them, even when they are being really horrid, and treat everyone else’s kids as mere extras in their little darlings’ life movie. I don’t think it is too fanciful a jump to see that unchecked little playground bully becoming an adult Weinstein. #DreamTeam

  9. I think some parents sometimes don’t understand it isn’t ‘one fits all’. They think things are always OK, or always not, without looking at their child. Coming into parenting from working in various pastoral roles it’s something I’ve noticed – you wouldn’t get a teacher or child therapist using the same session for every child the same, but you get this mind set that if something’s “OK” then it’s all or nothing with some parents. Thus you get the two extremes: checked out parent with a child running wild, or helicopter parent who (dare I say as a trained professional who lives and works child development) isn’t always doing it for their child but is doing it so no one will shame them/think they are bad. Both end up with kids who struggle with boundaries and routines, because they haven’t scaled their parenting to what their child needs.
    The tough fact is that some children are luckily highly social/polite out and about and don’t need mummy watching/following (I am a parent and trained in child development – in spite of what memes and guilt tell us, with many kids and many situations it is OK to look away – at a phone, another child etc) and others ARE NOT OK need constant supervision. My daughter for example has a poor idea of risk, I have to watch her in physical play. Noticing what the child needs and responding is not about never daring looking away at the odd text message or about following your child around the play area but it is about being available to respond based on what you see: if you see your child repeatedly interacting in a problematic/violent way, you get in there and supervise. If you see your child is not risk taking and looks at you for reassurance/won’t talk to peers, you back off.

    1. beachchairtracy

      You bring out some good points! It is not a one size fits all. There needs to be a balance. I see it in my classroom as well. Helicopter parents who bring in their kid’s stuff (I teach 4th)and unpack it for them. At some point, you need to let them try and fail if need be. I have also seen parents boot their PreK kid off at drop off to manage the door by themselves. There are some days I boot my daughter down the hall to put her stuff away. She is in 1st. There are other days I will help as she just needs a mom at that moment. Regardless I encourage her to grow. I always hug her and tell her I love her. Some days she is more fragile and as a mom I can understand that. Other days she is spreading her wings and that is fine too. On the other hand, though I would not want to waste her childhood by looking at my phone the whole time! Thanks for your comments. Best of luck to you!

  10. Soft play does seem to be the place where many parents just forget they have kids for a while. I can remember having to tell kids off because they pushed or hit my daughter at soft play and their parents weren’t anywhere to be seen! Thanks for linking up to #Blogstravaganza

  11. It’s a real risk that phones are making us emotionally unavailable as parents and sometimes not even capable (as your story illustrates). We really all have to be very disciplined with our phone usage. Without a doubt the most important thing we can give our children is our attention. #thesatsesh xx

  12. Mother of 3

    I do hate when parents are absent at the park or playground (or just not paying attention) but as a former teacher I have no problem speaking up and parenting other people’s kids. Sure I get looks sometimes; either by said parent who suddenly pays attention or by the child themselves who seem mystified that a stranger would dare talk to them in anyway… it’s kind of sad that we’ve completely lost that village mentality of rearing children. #explorerkids

  13. I could not stand to watch any sort of physical or verbal bullying… I am not sure how anyone could think thats ok. If either of my children pushed or held down another person there is not way I would be just saying “knock it off or we are leaving” #explorerkids

  14. I hate when other parents don’t watch their kids. A similar thing happened to us at a park the other week, but luckily it wasn’t physical, the kids were just allowing other kids to go down the slide. I didn’t get involved because I thought my kids should learn to tell them to move, but if they were hurting my kids I would have yelled, and then I’m sure the mom would have been right there telling me to leave her precious ones alone! So frustrating! #ExplorerKids

    1. (I meant to say they were NOT allowing other kids down the slide)

  15. This happens way too often for my liking! I wish parents would watch their kids and teach them right from wrong. #ExplorerKids

  16. I have told other kids off at soft play before. One little girl bit my son on the head in the ball pit. He was only small and the girls mum was nowhere to be seen. #ExplorerKids

  17. I hate soft play areas with a passion – they seem to bring out the worst in both kids and parents! But wherever that kind of incident happens, it is always so hard to deal with someone else’s parenting, isn’t it?
    #ExplorerKids

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