Saturday, August 24, 2013

Playground bully

We were at the mall playground last night, and I had the biggest shock of my life.  Because p

arenting is so hard, I don't often criticize other parents; however, today I am.

My daughter was playing with a boy a little older than her.  They were chasing each other and climbing just as expected.  They stop running for a minute and the boy who she's playing with suddenly turns and hits her in the neck- apparently on purpose.  She's fine.  Just as she recovers the boy turns and shoves her over.  It wasn't a gentle shove either.  I wish it were.

So, I comfort my daughter and scold the boy.  I ask where his parent is.  He doesn't identify her.  Apparently, she isn't there.  Another mom comes over to tell me that I'm overreacting.  I shouldn't bring my daughter to a public playground unless I expect that she is going to be hit and pushed over.  This is normal and perfectly acceptable.  I beg to differ and tell her that it isn't okay.

The little boy walks away and then comes back to tell me that I'm mean.  I respond that I'm not and that it isn't okay for him to hit and push other kids.

The first mom leaves, and REAL mom returns.  She apologizes profusely, tells me he has ADHD and is on medication, tells me she's trying, and then proceeds to start crying.  Yes, she started crying because I had a problem with something her kid did.  WOW!  I wasn't even being that harsh.  I thanked her for the apology, and told her that I understood it was hard.  I also noted that she had 3 children age 5 and under and looked like she was barely in her mid 20's.  She is clearly overwhelmed by whatever is happening in her life.

As I left the play area I realized something.   I felt so much worse for the boy because his mom used the fact that he has ADHD as an excuse for him.  She didn't scold him.  She didn't even attempt to give him a time out.  There was literally no consequence for his behavior.

Today, I realize I feel just as bad for the kids whose mom told me that it was to be expected.  Should I really expect that my daughter is going to be hit and pushed when she goes to a public playground?  Are you teaching your children that it's okay?  Wow.  I'd like to see what happens when they go to elementary school.

Parents, don't make excuses for your children!  Don't teach your kids that it's okay to hit other kids!  Be parents and teach them what is and isn't right.

Lesson for my daughter?  If other children are not going to play nice, you do not have to play with them.  You can play with the others.  You don't have to play with the kid who's going to hit you.

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