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Playground Drama -- Update - Page 2

post #21 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by laila2 View Post
Love that

My first thoughts are to be the advocate, but upon further reflection, teens need a safe place too. And if they are not in the park, where else will they go? In some boyfriends car?
Yes, excellent point, probably worth it's own thread. Where can our teens go on nice summer evenings instead of lounging in family rooms with t.v., video games and facebook or hanging out at the mall?

There was a thread a while back, about the beauty and benefits of multi-age socialization. Nice in theory, but in practice we keep chasing teens out of public spaces. It minimizes the opportunities for positive interaction and reinforces a social disconnect with an entire group. I'd go on, but I guess it's wandering a little OT.
post #22 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Hi all. Thanks for all the really good advice. That situation is much better now. Last night, this girl came on her own with her youngest sister, who is three. Maybe she was actually supervising this tiny girl before, but I'd only noticed her interacting with the other girls who looked to be about her age.

She actually came and sat on the other end of the bench where I was sitting, and we chatted a bit. It turns out she is only 12, not 14 or 15 as I'd originally assumed based on her size and physical development. She was also surprised to learn that my oldest is only 10; dd is very tall and is already developing, so I suppose maybe this girl was shocked to see her running around being so active and unconcerned about her "dusty" state, LOL.
I'm not surprised to find out that "the teen" is younger than you assumed. Parents of small children often misjudge ages of older children. It's also very easy to stereotype teens as potential troublemakers. I'm also not surprised to find out she is there because she is caretaking for younger siblings. You haven't noticed some of what's happening with your children in the park, I wouldn't expect that you would notice what's happening with others either. I'm glad it's worked out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
She and her friends had been on the other side of the playground, taking turns twisting one another up in the swings, and when it was dd's turn, the boy who twisted her up wouldn't stop when dd said stop.

He twisted her so high, she was scared to spin down, so she grabbed hold of the tops of the chains, to keep the swing from spinning down, while she tried to get my attention so I could help her down. But then one of the girls, who dd had previously thought was her good friend, started tickling her under her armpits, forcing dd to let go and spin down. The kids were teasing dd and saying "You're scared," and dd didn't really see their point since she was obviously telling them she was scared and to stop.

When dd ran over to me, her friend followed her over, laughing and continuing to try to tickle her. I told this girl to stop, and that dd was feeling like she couldn't trust her because she wasn't respecting her physical space.

This girl looked at me like I was speaking another language, and backed off for a moment, but then a moment later was chasing dd around the playground and trying to tickle her. I told her to stop again, and the other girl who I'd originally thought had it in for my dd was also yelling at her to leave dd alone.

By this point it was getting dark, and I told dd let's go. We got into the car, and this girl (the one who'd kept trying to tickle dd) and her siblings all gathered round and ran right up against the car as we drove off, and I was a little scared that someone's feet might get run over; the girl was yelling for dd and trying to get her attention, and dd naturally just ignored her.
What was the girl yelling as you left? Was she trying to apologize at the end?

When I was a kid, I didn't like being pushed to go higher or faster if I didn't want to do it. I don't like being tickled either. So I sympathize with your dd. It sounds like it wasn't a good night for her .

Playground dynamics tend to shift a fair amount from day to day. It's very likely the other kids will focus on someone else next time.

I'd be careful, though, that your dd doesn't place herself into the position of favourite target of the other kids. It's good to keep reinforcing with her that she's entitled to say no to any physical touching. If she runs though, it's likely that the other kids will chase her. That's what kids on a playground do. If she can't get her message across by standing and confronting them, and she can't manage another way to end things, e.g. by distracting them with another game, then she should return straight to you.

You are right about staying aware and being ready to intervene as necessary.
post #23 of 51
Thread Starter 
I'm realizing that some of what's at play here is that all of the different people involved in playground situations have different beliefs and values. Without some attempt to understand people with opposite viewpoints, conflicts can ensue that can make for an unpleasant time.

Whereas I think it's perfectly okay for a child of any age to swing with her eyes shut, and it's up to parents of small children to help their children walk safely around the swing area, some parents prefer not to accompany their small children to the park, which places a heavy burden on older siblings.

In neighborhoods where it's the norm to delegate care of younger children to older children, a norm also tends to develop wherein older children are expected to be less carefree, and to be ever-watching in case a small child wanders into the path of their swing.

Since I live in a neighborhood where there's a lot of delegating of child care to older siblings, but I still want my chilren to be able to enjoy the sensation of flying while swinging if they so choose, if I want to get along at the park I'll probably just need to quit taking my book and start watching the swing area when dd's swinging, so I can prevent small children from wandering in front of her swing.

It's so interesting that some here seem critical that I wasn't totally aware of every interaction of my children at the park. For so long, I was the mom who stayed within arms reach, ever vigilant about my toddlers' safety and their courteous interactions with other children ... first with my oldest, then with my youngest. While other parents sat off to the side chatting or reading their books, I didn't have that luxury, especially with my very high-need younger child, whose "toddler" stage lasted until about age 4.

But now I'm getting labeled as the uninvolved parent, who went so far as to misjudge the age of a 12yo, and didn't even realize that said 12yo was supervising a 3yo sibling, since she had previously seemed to just mainly be sitting and talking with other kids her age.

At any rate, it is worth it to me to have our neighborhood park be an enjoyable place for us now and for many years to come. I'll just need to accept that when children are placed in charge of other children, and blamed for whatever happens, the natural tendency is for them to want to pass on the blame. So maybe I need to go the extra mile and help keep things safer for everyone.
post #24 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
What was the girl yelling as you left? Was she trying to apologize at the end?
No, I didn't hear any apologies. She just kept yelling dd's name over and over. I got the impression that she was belatedly feeling upset that dd was upset with her, and was really not wanting dd to leave while still mad at her, but she wasn't sure how to make it right. She seemed genuinely puzzled that chasing dd around the playground and continuing to try to tickle her after dd and I had both said "Stop!" hadn't made everything okay.

I think dd had just reached her limit in knowing how to deal with the situation, and sort of switched off. After all, she HAD tried to communicate with her friend earlier and those communications had been completely disregarded

I told dd as we went home that I really thought her friend wanted to make things right, but didn't know how. I said I thought maybe she wasn't used to having her own space respected, maybe she was used to people continuing to touch or tickle her after she said stop, and when this happens to kids, sometimes they grow up thinking that's the normal way to treat people.

Dd then surmised that the other girl was abused by her parents, and I said I really didn't know for sure how she was treated at home. Having had one of my own children go through an aggressive phase as a toddler, I know how it feels to have people look at your child's behavior and assume that you "taught" her to be aggressive.

So even though it felt really weird and disturbing to hear this girl say, "So, animals aren't important," when her brother threatened to tell on her for the killing she'd done, I still don't want to assume she comes from some wonky, sick home situation.

It's a fine line to walk, not wanting to assume out loud about someone's homelife, but at the same time trying to help dd understand that maybe this girl really does still want to be a friend, but just needs a little help learning to respect people when they say "no" and "stop."

This seems really connected to what I just said in my other post about different values and world views intersecting. We don't want to isolate ourselves, we want to be part of our community, and this means I'll need to stay involved. I'm so happy that my dd feels no shame about saying, "I'm scared. I don't want to do that." It puzzles her when other kids tease her about admitting her fear, and act like being honest is something shameful.

I'm so happy that she feels such freedom to be real and to be herself -- but it does make her stand out at times. Again, advice is welcome. I'll try not to react too strongly if more people want to comment about my previous unawareness of what was happening at the time that it was happening. Fire away!
post #25 of 51
I think the playground is like any other social situation -- it works best when everyone is aware of those around them & reacts accordingly, & all speak the same "language"...

I do think it is the responsibility of older kids to avoid hurting younger kids who are less aware of their surroundings (i.e. walking in front of swings, standing at the bottom of the slide). I don't think that means your DD can't swing with her eyes closed, but I would suggest that if there are young children around, she ask you to "stand guard" while she swings.

I think that your DD & her new friends don't seem to speak the same language -- i.e. usually around here, "stop tickling me" means tickle more, & running on the playground means "chase me" -- I would encourage you to talk to your daughter about ways of conveying her boundaries that others will understand, since (sadly) what I just mentioned is the norm as far as I'm aware, so she will likely often be the odd one out. Maybe she can give her friends a 'safe word' and when she uses that word (could be a really silly word), that means, "stop, for real, I'm serious." Or she could turn around & chase them & tickle them. I don't think anyone is criticizing you or your DD, but I do think she sounds like a particularly sensitive 10yo & she may need to learn some extra skills to stand up for herself & communicate among others who don't really understand her "language."
post #26 of 51
It is so hard to balance between being a helicopter mom (which I am!) and giving my kids space.

I hate the playground, but like your kids, my kids love it! I struggle with the non-existent parents who just assume their kids have the social skills to manage the setting. I have had a run in with one parent who's son kept asking my son to "lie down" in one of the tunnels with him! I almost lost it as neither my son or I knew this kid and he was very adamant about it. I told my ds to play somewhere else after I attempted to interact with the older child and asked why he wanted my ds to do that. He did not respond to me. The kid then would not leave the park because "I was mean to him" and his father FINALLY came over to check on him and was really angry with me.

As far as the teens, I think you did an excellent job with this girl. Teens are sullen in general, but once you find a way to engage them you really can have a positive impact on them. As I was reading the posts, my suggestion was to talk with her because that has worked for me in the past. We were a huge playground and at least 30% of it was covered with bored teens and they were smoking (*That makes me made because lil' ones can pick up the butts!). But they were pretty nice kids once I started to interact with them and my son, who was initially afraid of them went to that part of the playground and said "excuse I would like to walk/play here" and they made room. I stayed close and both my kids had a lot of fun.

Playgrounds are a great setting for kids to practice and explore and I believe they need guidance from an adult when things are confusing. We all raise our children differently which can lead to conflict which then can either lead to learning or misunderstanding. I believe being a supportive adult to any child or youth is a opportunity to both us and the potential child. We can not only teach our children tolerance and understanding, but also remind ourselves and maybe even positively impact another child.
post #27 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

It's so interesting that some here seem critical that I wasn't totally aware of every interaction of my children at the park. For so long, I was the mom who stayed within arms reach, ever vigilant about my toddlers' safety and their courteous interactions with other children ... first with my oldest, then with my youngest. While other parents sat off to the side chatting or reading their books, I didn't have that luxury, especially with my very high-need younger child, whose "toddler" stage lasted until about age 4.

But now I'm getting labeled as the uninvolved parent, who went so far as to misjudge the age of a 12yo, and didn't even realize that said 12yo was supervising a 3yo sibling, since she had previously seemed to just mainly be sitting and talking with other kids her age.

At any rate, it is worth it to me to have our neighborhood park be an enjoyable place for us now and for many years to come. I'll just need to accept that when children are placed in charge of other children, and blamed for whatever happens, the natural tendency is for them to want to pass on the blame. So maybe I need to go the extra mile and help keep things safer for everyone.
Earlier, I started to write something about free-range children, balancing between being aware and intervening when necessary, and the hypervigilantism of helicopter parenting. I deleted it though, since the post was getting long and becoming a side-track.

I haven't meant to be critical, just stating the fact it's easy to misjudge when you don't have all the information, and that being aware and ready to intervene is a good tactic for dealing with playground problems.

Generally, I think it's fine to let children play and negotiate social situations on their own. Inevitably, problems will arise though, since children have different social maturity and capabilities. When you recognize problems occurring, if children can't or won't manage conflict independently, parents will need to know what's happened so that they can help resolve the situation. Often, a child only has a limited perspective, so hearing one side of the story won't give you the full picture. And it's very easy to make false judgements based on stereotypes (bored teens) or on stray scraps of information.

So I don't think you need to "go the extra mile for everyone" if that means becoming the park police. If problems occur or you observe a pattern of behaviour that is going to lead to problems, by all means intervene. I'd start with coaching my own children on dealing with playground conflict. It sounds like you are doing that already.

As for children supervising other children and passing the blame - well, the fact is your 5 y.o. hit someone and your 10 y.o. wasn't watching and she kicked someone. It's good to remember that ultimately, we can't control what other people think, say or do, we can only control our own behaviour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

It's a fine line to walk, not wanting to assume out loud about someone's homelife, but at the same time trying to help dd understand that maybe this girl really does still want to be a friend, but just needs a little help learning to respect people when they say "no" and "stop."
I think this is wise.
post #28 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyoxenfree View Post
Nice in theory, but in practice we keep chasing teens out of public spaces.
Yes. I've been thinking about this a good bit in our area lately. Even our library isn't a particularly teen-friendly place, and it seems adults in a large setting chatting & drinking coffee is a social gathering. Teens on the other side of the street chatting and drinking soft drinks is somehow...dangerous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I'm realizing that some of what's at play here is that all of the different people involved in playground situations have different beliefs and values.
Sure, but that has never been an issue for us. Some people think differently. Okay, but we're here to swing, and we practice basic courtesy. If someone doesn't, then my children don't play with them. It's really not been an issue - and certainly it's not one about beliefs anyway. It's more about personalities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Whereas I think it's perfectly okay for a child of any age to swing with her eyes shut, and it's up to parents of small children to help their children walk safely around the swing area, some parents prefer not to accompany their small children to the park, which places a heavy burden on older siblings.

Since I live in a neighborhood where there's a lot of delegating of child care to older siblings, but I still want my chilren to be able to enjoy the sensation of flying while swinging if they so choose, if I want to get along at the park I'll probably just need to quit taking my book and start watching the swing area when dd's swinging, so I can prevent small children from wandering in front of her swing.
In general, I believe in the old idea that your right to privacy ends where someone else's nose begins. In this case, sure you can swing with your eyes closed, but doing so when there are small children near you isn't a good idea. It's not an either/or proposition. The little girl should've been farther away, and your daughter should've been paying more attention.

I think that by blaming the other playground goers only and making a dramatic declaration - I'll quit taking my book altogether - you're not putting any of the onus on your daughter, which isn't serving her well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
But now I'm getting labeled as the uninvolved parent, who went so far as to misjudge the age of a 12yo, and didn't even realize that said 12yo was supervising a 3yo sibling, since she had previously seemed to just mainly be sitting and talking with other kids her age.

I would suggest that perhaps having let your child negotiate on her own when she was younger would have prevented some of these issues (or at least taught her the skills to deal with them). Nevertheless, you made a lot of assumptions about this other girl because you were uninformed. That's not fair. You didn't know what was going on. You said your daughter called to you multiple times, but you were too engrossed in your book. What if she were hurt? I don't think you're the bad guy for not knowing who was at the park together, though that's something I do typically notice, but I think it's problematic not to pay attention and then blame everyone else for your children's issues there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
the natural tendency is for them to want to pass on the blame. So maybe I need to go the extra mile and help keep things safer for everyone.
No, you just need to worry about your own children.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I got the impression that she was belatedly feeling upset that dd was upset with her, and was really not wanting dd to leave while still mad at her, but she wasn't sure how to make it right.
This makes me sad for the little girl. She probably had no idea what to do or how to handle it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Dd then surmised that the other girl was abused by her parents, and I said I really didn't know for sure how she was treated at home. Having had one of my own children go through an aggressive phase as a toddler, I know how it feels to have people look at your child's behavior and assume that you "taught" her to be aggressive.

So even though it felt really weird and disturbing to hear this girl say, "So, animals aren't important," when her brother threatened to tell on her for the killing she'd done, I still don't want to assume she comes from some wonky, sick home situation.
Wow. You guys are pretty judgmental. One child continuing to tickle after being told no turned into her being abused. Really? That's where your dd went? Perhaps it's because I actually have experience with abuse, but that's just ott. Even the animal comment doesn't suggest anything to me. Perhaps she just said that about animals because it was her brother. Perhaps you didn't hear the whole conversation. Perhaps she's a poser. Who knows? To debate whether she comes from "some wonky, sick" home is a bit harsh for what's amounted to a couple of hours at a park.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
-- i.e. usually around here, "stop tickling me" means tickle more, & running on the playground means "chase me" -- I would encourage you to talk to your daughter about ways of conveying her boundaries that others will understand, since (sadly) what I just mentioned is the norm as far as I'm aware, so she will likely often be the odd one out.
It is here, too. It has been pretty much everywhere I've ever been around children.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Igraine View Post
As far as the teens, I think you did an excellent job with this girl. Teens are sullen in general, but once you find a way to engage them you really can have a positive impact on them.
This girl wasn't a sullen, bored teen. She's a 12YO who was defending her 3YO from a 10YO who kicked her while on the swing. I think it's important to note that the OP's 5YO punched someone and 10YO kicked someone while on the swing. I'm not suggesting they're awful kids or anything, but they're certainly not innocent by-standers either.
post #29 of 51
I think you are doing just fine. Sure, probably need to keep a little bit closer eye/ear at least until your kids settle in more, but really, I think you are fine and I'm glad to hear that you bonded some with the teen in your first post.

Per your post about your 10yo getting harassed by her friend, it may not be the friend's intention to harass, she may think tickling when someone says no is totally fine. I personally don't think it is fine, but it is very common in some households, so she may just need more explanation to get it. It might also be a respect issue too, but its worth trying to explain more to her, especially since you said she looked clueless when you mentioned personal space.
post #30 of 51
In life, there are always going to be mean people that you have to "deal" with.

The best thing you can do for your daughter it to teach her how to handle these older girls. Honestly, "Mean girls" will get worse before it gets better.

Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World by Rosalind Wiseman
post #31 of 51
I think your kids are old enough to be given some space, but considering the recent events you may need to supervise a little more until you can figure out what's going on. It's hard to blame the other kids if you are only getting hearsay.. YKWIM?
post #32 of 51
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone who has taken time to respond!

My girls are very much aware of smaller children when they are running around at the playground and sharing equipment. I do agree that bigger kids need to be considerate of the little ones.

However, re: swinging with eyes closed, I honestly don't see how that endangers small children. Even when children's eyes are open, it's not like they can freeze in midair if a small child happens to move in front of their swing, yk? If dd's eyes had been open, chances are she still wouldn't have been able to stop in midair.

The only difference would have been that she would have automatically said something like "I'm so sorry. Are you all right?" Since the 12yo was all about the apology needing to happen before the incident could be "over," I guess that's where I come in. If I'm able to intervene before a small child wanders in front of a swing, all the better.

No, I don't have any interest in being park police. I probably will still read sometimes. I guess I'm still processing the different attitudes about responsibility. As I've already mentioned, there was also a child who accused dd of running over his tiny dog while she was riding her bike.

I DID see this dog running alongside dd's bike while she was riding around the track, and he was indeed running right up against the wheels. At the time, I didn't think it was such a great idea for the boy to bring this tiny dog (like some sort of chihuahua mix) to a park with lots of kids, and just turn him loose.

My 10yo has even noticed some kids kicking this little dog and being really rough with him before. It doesn't seem logical to me to put such a tiny dog in such a situation, and then get mad at my dd because one of his paws are hurt. I honestly don't know if the dog put one of his paws under dd's bike wheel. Dd doesn't know for sure either. She was wishing the dog wouldn't get so close, yk?

So, I don't know if my different perspective is a value difference or a personality difference. VisionaryMom, that's great that you've never encountered any problems like this at the park, and also that you judge yourself as so non-judgmental.

I really haven't had a problem with the personality-or-whatever differences that lead some people to send small children to the park in the care of older siblings, or that lead some folks to think it's okay to let tiny dogs run loose at a park with lots of kids. I tend to think, "To each his own; it's not what I'd do but it's not really my business."

I mean, I was happy to read my book and watch my own kids (yes, I realize I had my lapse where dd called my name and I didn't hear her, but I am generally watching my kids, helping them if they need help, and enjoying their achievements with them; I think I kind of zoned out because I just had my 10yo that night and she normally has so much fun with these friends).

But then these other personalities are getting upset with my dd because of a child wandering in front of her swing, and a dog getting his paw hurt, and I am thinking that "to each his own" isn't totally working here. No, I don't feel it's my role to police small dogs or small children. They are the responsibility of their own families. I just want to get along and have fun at the park.

And, no, I don't think my own children are perfect. I believed my 5yo when she said that she'd tried to sit with the big girls on the equipment, and when the older girl told her to "Get out of here!" she got mad and tried to stick her hand in her mouth. I was less inclined to believe that she'd just walk up to someone out of the blue and try to stick her hand in their mouth -- not because I think she's perfect, but because this isn't how she normally behaves.

Now, I don't agree that trying to stick your hand in someone's mouth (ew!) is the same as punching someone in the face -- but I do still think dd's behavior was unacceptable. True, she has as much right to sit on playground equipment as anyone else does. Being older doesn't give someone the right to say, "Get out of here!"

Nevertheless, older kids will sometimes tell younger kids to get out; it's better for my little one to learn to just move on and play with some of the many kids who actually want to play with her. This is what she did the next time we were there; she had a great time playing with her friends and steered clear of those big girls.

I realize my own family has a lot to learn from this situation, too, and I'm all about the learning. So advice is still very welcome, now and always!
post #33 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post
In life, there are always going to be mean people that you have to "deal" with.

The best thing you can do for your daughter it to teach her how to handle these older girls. Honestly, "Mean girls" will get worse before it gets better.

Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World by Rosalind Wiseman
I've heard good things about this book, and it looks like it's time for me to get a copy and read it. Thanks for the reminder!
post #34 of 51
It seems to me that you need to teach your DD to be responsible for her own actions.

If a dog is running by her wheels she needs to call out to the other boy to get his dog before he gets hurt. Not just keep riding.

Swinging with your eyes closed when there are alot of other kids on the playground is not a great idea. She may not have been able to stop mid air but she could have yelled 'Look out!' to the 3yo or at the least tucked her feet under the swing so she didn't kick her. My 4yo does this. He figured it out on his own so he didn't kick his brother. Seems to me a 10yo should be able to.

Yes, you do need to be more aware but you need to teach your daughter to be more aware and think about her actions and the consquences they might have.
post #35 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Learning_Mum View Post
It seems to me that you need to teach your DD to be responsible for her own actions.
I feel like that's what I HAVE been doing all these years.

I taught my own daughters to give the swings a wide berth, and when they were too little to consistently remember this, I stayed close to them and took my parental responsibility very seriously. I did NOT push this responsibility onto the children on the swings, who may have been older than my child, but were nevertheless still children themselves and NOT my child's parents.

Quote:
If a dog is running by her wheels she needs to call out to the other boy to get his dog before he gets hurt. Not just keep riding.
I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree here. And if I were posting here about how upset I was with some 10yo who had THE NERVE to keep riding her bike at the park while my dog was chasing her bike, I have a feeling that you'd be admonishing me that I should have been keeping better watch over my dog, NOT holding a 10yo responsible for because she should have "called out to me."

Quote:
Swinging with your eyes closed when there are alot of other kids on the playground is not a great idea. She may not have been able to stop mid air but she could have yelled 'Look out!' to the 3yo or at the least tucked her feet under the swing so she didn't kick her. My 4yo does this. He figured it out on his own so he didn't kick his brother. Seems to me a 10yo should be able to.
Have you ever experienced the thrill of swinging with your eyes closed? I have! I used to do this all the time as a child, and there is NOTHING in the world to compare with the sensation. I guess we could demand that all the other kids leave, to avoid having alot of other kids around while dd swings with her eyes closed, but that seems rather unfair since everyone is enjoying the park in the cool of the evening, just as we are.

I'd rather share the park with everyone else who wants to be there (after all, it's a public park and not our personal playspace), and still let my child enjoy flying. I think there's room for both. I just need to learn how to better navigate these situations where little kids are there without parental supervision.

Quote:
Yes, you do need to be more aware but you need to teach your daughter to be more aware and think about her actions and the consquences they might have.
The funny thing is, I feel like I've been doing this all throughout my children's lives, but you seem to think I'm encouraging an irresponsible attitude in my children. It's interesting how we all have different values, or personalities, or whatever.

Conversing with you is probably good practice for dealing with the varied attitudes at the park.
post #36 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree here. And if I were posting here about how upset I was with some 10yo who had THE NERVE to keep riding her bike at the park while my dog was chasing her bike, I have a feeling that you'd be admonishing me that I should have been keeping better watch over my dog, NOT holding a 10yo responsible for because she should have "called out to me."
You're right, that's probably exactly what most people would say if someone were to post complaining that a child swiped her dog's paw with a bike tire at the park. However, even though your DD had the "right of way" and the dog shouldn't have been there, since the dog WAS there, then if your DD saw it the conscientious thing to do would be to stop riding until it was out of harm's way. Your DD may not have seen the dog, and an accident is understandable, and it's too bad that the boy wasn't doing a better job of keeping his pet safe, but ... might as well try our best to keep the dog safe whether it's where it's supposed to be or not, right?

Quote:
Have you ever experienced the thrill of swinging with your eyes closed? I have! I used to do this all the time as a child, and there is NOTHING in the world to compare with the sensation. I guess we could demand that all the other kids leave, to avoid having alot of other kids around while dd swings with her eyes closed, but that seems rather unfair since everyone is enjoying the park in the cool of the evening, just as we are.
We have different rules for when we're at empty parks and when we're at full parks; for example, DS likes to climb up slides, and he knows that he's welcome to do so if no one else is using it, but once there are other kids using it he needs to use the stairs instead. The same would go for closed-eyes swinging for us -- once enough other kids were at the park, DS would get a "Hey buddy, there are little ones nearby so keep an eye out while you're swinging" from me.
post #37 of 51
Thread Starter 
I have been learning a lot by seeing what differing opinions even we Mamas at Mothering have regarding playground etiquette. I guess when you consider how differently grown women see things, it stands to reason that when many of the people supervising the children at my local playground are mere children themselves, there are bound to be a lot of areas where I can't just assume that everyone will see a situation like I do.

When I think of older children's responsibility to be mindful of younger children, I think of examples like:

1) When you are clambering around on the equipment, you need to be patient with a slower-moving child in front of you; you don't go around her unless there's enough space to safely do so without knocking her off-balance.

2) When playing tag, if you suddenly see a small child in your path, go around her. Do everything you can to avoid crashing into her.

3) If you're sliding down the slide and notice a child playing at the bottom, stop yourself rather than landing on her.

4) Before climbing up the slide, look up to make sure no one else is trying to slide down (not that I've ever seen anyone get hurt from someone coming down while someone else was coming up, honestly, but some folks seem to see this as the ultimate in dangerous situations).

I think the rest of the playground area differs from the swing area in that the kids playing on the general playground are bound to periodically intersect with other kids' space. It's a shared playspace, whereas I think the child on the swing "has" the space that she is swinging in.

If others get hurt by a child on a swing, it's because they went into the swinging child's space. Sure, it's great if the child on the swing happens to notice that a collision is about to happen and is able to quickly do something to prevent it; I just don't think it's reasonable to hold a child immersed in the throes of "flying" to be on the alert for other children who might walk into her space.

I agree with laila2, ollyoxenfree and VisionaryMom who talked about the importance of teens being welcome in public spaces. I think this welcome should include older kids who still want to enjoy carefree pleasures like swinging with their eyes closed, even though they're past the "tiny" stage.

As far as only swinging with eyes closed if there's no one there, my kids actually enjoyed playing on a deserted playground when they were tiny. My 5yo would probably still enjoy this, but my 10yo only finds it interesting now at the "higher traffic" times.

So maybe the people who think they shouldn't have to supervise their little ones too closely around the swing area should choose the lower traffic times, since most 2 or 3yo children will be just as happy being the only child on the playground as they will be a in a crowd.

Of course, this doesn't work for little kids who have to wait for their older siblings to take them. Even though school is out for the summer so the older sibs could technically take them at 10 AM, I imagine the sibs also prefer going at the higher-traffic times. So it's just a case where we all have to live and learn.
post #38 of 51
I don't necessarily disagree with anything you've said, there are just some nuances about it that I'm having trouble putting into words. I keep noticing that you use lots of "should" statements: the dog shouldn't be there, the 3yo shouldn't be by the swings, parents of small kids shouldn't allow them near swings unsupervised, and if they're going to they should come when the park is emptier, etc. And all that is true.

But it happens nonetheless, and IMO it's no big deal for other parkgoers to acknowledge that those things might happen even though they wouldn't in an ideal world, and do their best to keep everyone safe even though they "should" have certain spaces to themselves. In a public space like that, especially at peak times, it's unreasonable to expect to be able to be completely unobservant of what others are doing, because they may very well enter your space unexpectedly and require you to adjust your motion (even if you have "right of way") to avoid hurting them unintentionally. I realize that this is an extreme example, but while driving, you'd do everything to avoid hitting a jaywalker even though they shouldn't be in the road, right?
post #39 of 51
Thread Starter 
limabean, I totally agree with you that sometimes stuff just happens. Even though I closely supervised my children when they were toddlers, there were some occasinal falls and head-bangings and the like.

One of the beautiful, and sometimes distressing, things about life is its messy unpredicatability.

I seriously do think it's great if one of my children notices that another child's about to get hurt, and is able to do something to prevent the accident. I just don't believe in blaming them if they don't notice.

I'm really not into BLAMING as a way of life, anyhoo. If one of my children as a toddler got into some scrape, I said Gosh, I "should" have been more alert, but I dropped the ball on that one. And I resolved to do better next time. I didn't waste time beating myself up.

You're right that not everything that should happen does happen, and some things that shouldn't happen do happen. Why blame? Why not just learn from our mistakes? Of course, I don't expect children charged with the care of other children to have this wisdom, especially if they're just worrying about how to explain to Mom about how the baby got a bump on her head.

That's another one of those situations that maybe "shouldn't" be but just is. For me, one key to serenity is going to be learning to navigate those situations that "shouln't" be in the way that I "should," LOL.
post #40 of 51
I don't want you to think that I'm blaming your DD, because you're right the 3yo and the dog *shouldn't* have been there.

I guess what I'm trying to say is there is a certain amount of common sense involved. Sometimes things happen that shouldn't and it's up to us to do what needs to be done sometimes. It isn't fair and it isn't necessarily right but it's the way life is.

I have swung with my eyes closed and it is a great feeling but sometimes we can't do what we want to do, when we want to do it because there are other people in the world. It's like limabean said, rules are different when the playground is full than when it is empty.
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