Originally Posted by not_telling
To piggy-back on what I posted earlier about my experience as a teacher of young kids and also on what some other posters have said (e.g. sapphire_chan), I guess I'm feeling somewhat dismayed that so many responses to OP seem to be about not always protecting your LO from the hard knocks of life so that s/he can learn to stand up for herself/himself. OP was frustrated by the lack of intervention/support/facilitation from the other caregivers.
It's not about appropriate play to me. It's about different expectations. I don't think it's my right to decide what should be okay for every other child at a playground. That's what the OP sounds like she's doing. It's also what I see lots of other parents do.
As an example, we have one of those things - don't know what they're called - like a firefighter's pole, but it had a twisted metal piece outside the pole you can climb up and down on. Since DC were young 2s, they've climbed up and down that thing. Their feet have slipped, but they've never fallen. At 3 and 5, they shimmy up it without a thought. I've had other parents spot them. Why? There's no need. I've had 2 or 3 parents who are hovering over their kids say, "your daughter is climbing this." I say, "I see her. She's fine." And then they still spot her. That's their problem, not mine. They have different comfort levels, and that's okay. It doesn't mean, however, that I'm "not watching my kids," but I'm sure that's how they feel.
For those of us who talk about independent play, that's the kind of thing we mean. It's not the job of the most cautious or fearful parent to force their concerns on everyone else.
Words are another example. I don't like words like "stupid" to be said. I would speak to my children if they said them, but if two other kids are talking and one says "stupid?" It's not my place to jump in and say anything. If I had an 18MO, and they called him/her stupid, I would say something. If they called my children now stupid, both of my children could make it clear - using words - that they don't like it. And they'd likely exclude that child from play if it continued, and I'd congratulate them later for sticking up for their personal boundaries. I have the feeling that many people here would still defend their 5YO rather than let the child do it, and that's just not the approach I take.
"We're raising adults, not children" really is my mantra. I think about my role as a parent as preparing my children in appropriate developmental ways for the rest of their lives, and I don't think I do that by stepping in on their behalf all of the time.