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Playground Drama -- Update - Page 3

post #41 of 51
I kind of feel like you expect the world to work around your girls but you don't expect your girls to work around the world.
post #42 of 51
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Learning_Mum View Post
I kind of feel like you expect the world to work around your girls but you don't expect your girls to work around the world.
Hmm. I'll have to think about that one.

It's true that I've been expressing a lot of my angst in this thread, since you guys are one of my online "families" and I so much value the input I get here.

So maybe it seems like I'm walking into every situation and whining about how things aren't the way I want them to be -- but I'm not. When these various situations came up, I stayed calm and I feel I was pretty polite to everyone involved. I didn't sit on the park bench "processing" all this with the other people at the park like I've been processing it here.

Now that I've been removed from the situation for a couple of days, I'm actually feeling excited about discussing all the different attitudes and beliefs, or personalities, as one other poster here prefers to think of it. We all have such unique perspectives re: how far individuals should be expected to bend in order to promote the greater good.

What kinds of experiences should individual kids be expected to give up to make allowances for small children who are running around without parental supervision? I agree that we should all make allowances for one another within reason -- it's just fascinating to hear different people's views as to which allowances are "within reason," and which ones aren't.

I'll have to figure out which allowances I'm expecting "the world" to make for me and my girls. So far, I think I'm mainly asking for people to read my humungo posts here, LOL. I sure appreciate those who have chosen to do so, but of course this is TOTALLY a choice, and not something anyone is being forced into. Thanks again all for participating.
post #43 of 51
OK the closest thing I can think of is if a dog or a toddler ran into the street while you were driving. No, they shouldn't be in the street; yes, it's the owner/parent who is responsible for them, but you as the driver should do everything in your power to avoid hitting them. You don't just keep driving because it's "not your responsibility & you're having fun," you know?

It's the same with the bike & the dog, or the swing & the toddler. If you are "operating a moving vehicle" (whether it's a bike or a swing or a toy car or whatever), you need to be aware of those around you. The parents should absolutely keep their toddlers away from the swing, just like they'd teach them not to run into oncoming traffic. But there is responsibilty on the swinger's side as well to avoid hitting stray children. Like I said upthread, your DD could still swing with her eyes closed, just go over & stand near the swing while she's doing it so you can shout "look out" to her if kids run in front or redirect the toddlers... particularly if this is a very busy playground. No, it's not your job to protect all the kids in the playground, but it's a nice gesture, especially since your DD is essentially losing one of her senses (her sight) and won't be aware the way the other swingers would be.

So I guess in answer to your question, I would not necessarily expect a kid to give up fun experiences to make allowances for smaller kids, but I would expect them to modify their experiences a bit &/or have you there instead. Climbing up the slide - not OK on a crowded playground when kids are coming down. Swinging with eyes closed - not OK on a crowded playground unless you're standing by 'on guard'... Knocking over little kids because they were in the way of a race/game/etc. - not OK. Continuing to bike when there is a small animal underfoot - not OK. Continuing to spin a merry-go-round when a little kid is trying to climb on/off - not OK.

Just my opinion of course... I guess technically I don't 'expect' the world to make ANY allowances for DS. I hope that they do, & I appreciate when they do, but I am always looking out for my toddler & I don't expect anyone else to. But I do expect my toddler to look out for others, and I do intervene when he's not doing so. And I make sure to understand the ways that my parenting differs from others & make appropriate accomodations.
post #44 of 51
Thread Starter 
I sure don't ever think it's acceptable to drive with my eyes closed, even if someone in the passenger-seat is "spot-checking" to tell me who's in my path. I think there's a reason why you need a license to drive a car but not to swing.

That said, I want to make it clear that I see nothing wrong with saying, "Oh, I'm sorry you got hurt!" to a hurt child, whether it's a situation the child walked into by being unaware or whatever. My own children normallly do say, "I'm sorry" or "Are you okay?" if they bump into someone; it's kind of silly to sit anylazing who's "at fault" -- it's much more human to show concern when someone gets hurt.

I think I let myself get too bent out-of-shape by the whole gawdmotherish feudlike quality of the girl's demand that my dd apologize so it could be "over." She's just a 12yo little kid, after all, trying to figure out how to protect her little sister; the other day I felt so sorry for her when she was yelling at her for wanting to play under the park bench. She honestly doesn't seem to know when it's safe to just let the child be and when a situation calls for more vigilance.

Dd, by the way, really likes the idea that someone here suggested (I can't find the post right now) about expressing sympathy with the person who got hurt without necessarily apologizing ... i.e. "I'm sorry you ran in front of the swings and got hurt." Thanks so much, whoever has suggested this. I'll try to find out who when I get a chance later, or if someone remembers please let me know.
post #45 of 51
Thread Starter 
Hi all. I meant to come back sooner to give an update, but we went through a bout of extremely hot weather which gave us an enforced break from the playground drama. Now that we're moving into that wonderful, gentle late-summer-heading-into-fall kind of weather which is my absolute favorite time of year, we've been back enjoying the playground quite a bit.

There is occasional "drama" still, but I'm just working on keeping it in perspective and helping my 10yo to process it and keep it in perspective.

The latest "development" was that when I went to refill our water jug the other day, the 12yo (the same one who'd demanded the apology from my 10yo) started questioning my 5yo over whether she washes her underwear (my 10yo came over to tell me about it)...

A little weird, but another child told me that this 12yo asked her the same question once, too. My 5yo wasn't too upset. As they were leaving she cheerfully called out to them, "Do you wash your underwear?!" My little one is so empathetic, she's really quick to try to "meet people where they are at" and talk with them about the things that interest them.

I guess if that's the worst thing that ever happens, we're doing pretty well.
post #46 of 51

Mammal Mama,

I know it is in the middle of the winter, but you had several warm months after this last update. I saw another playground post today and was wondering whatever happened with this situation? Do you have any new updates? How did the fall go?

post #47 of 51

I wish U.S. playgrounds had fences around swings.


http://koiwai.biz/eng/v1/ch01/01_20120x174_jpg.htm check out the bottom panel


Bike, you can stop or move, but with a swing, even when someone is trying it's nearly impossible to stop. About the best you can do (barring being athletic enough to jump off and move the kid) is to not kick your legs forward into the person.

post #48 of 51
Thread Starter 

Adaline'sMama, thank you so much for your interest! Things were okay for a while, then they escalated into a full-out bullying situation which I posted about here in another thread. I ended up deciding to switch to the other playground that's near us. It doesn't have swings, yet, but I've started going to neighborhood meetings and at least one other parent in the association (the leader) would like the swings back there, too, for his own kids. He said maybe we can get swings again soon.


Dd1 discovered that there's a tree she loves climbing at this other park, and a spinny-thing that she has a lot of fun on (Dd2, at age five, still enjoys playing anywhere, of course). We've also kept in close contact with one friend the girls made at the other playground, but for the time being we've decided that the other playground is safer because there is more parent involvement.

post #49 of 51

as in the first situation, i would simply try to give it a bit more time to better assess. see if the "tickling" recurs or if this girl does not respect your daughter's space. at this point it is too soon to tell because the playground scene is a tough one - changes a lot and kids act out.

the only thing that really disturbs me at this time is that you mentioned the girl had killed an animal?!?!? that seems a bit concerning.

but again, if you think there is a chance that you misheard or misunderstood, i would give it some time to better assess.

post #50 of 51
I'm sorry it turned into a bullying situation. I read through this thread (not the bullying one), and I don't think there's anything you could really have done differently. Standing guard at the swings, being vigilant about other children who are being mean--that is called parenting. It's not about helicoptering vs free range, but about adequate parenting.

It's the parents' job when their children are at the park to provide them with adequate supervision. Unsupervised kids, even good ones, run wild when there is no one to stop them or enforce rules. It's not fair to put the burden of keeping your kids safe on your neighbors, day after day.

I'm glad to hear this other park has more parent involvement, I think that's a huge factor.
post #51 of 51
Thread Starter 

We actually haven't had any more trouble with the "tickling" girl. She was apologetic later, once she realized that it had really upset dd. Then, as the group of bullies started getting worse and worse, I noticed that this girl and her siblings were hardly ever out there. Her five or six year old sister was really scared of one of the nine or ten year old bullies and his younger sister because of how they would follow her around and kick her when she didn't have anyone there to protect her.


Another girl who lived nearby said she hated it when we weren't there, or some other adults weren't there, because she often just had to stay inside; she was that scared of what might happen with no adults around, especially after one of the older boys in the bully-group forcefully molested her.


At any rate, I realized that the same factor that was a positive was also a negative. This playground is in a park that is smaller and is on level ground, in easy view of the surrounding houses. I think this makes parents feel more inclined to just let their kids go out and play there on their own. The one we started frequenting later (and will go to again once it warms up) is in the neighborhood, too, but is in a bigger park with hills and trees. It's not in easy view of many residences and is actually bordered by a busy street and not just a side street, so it's more a park where kids are accompanied by parents rather than just going on their own.


I do miss the daily interactions we had with a lot of the same kids at the other playground. We do sometimes run into the same folks at our new spot, but it's not so much of an everyday hangout, as it depends on Mom or Dad having time or making time to take the kids out. But because of the bullying that I now see is likely to grow out of the other kind of situation, I realize it's better to lose a little continuity and have the parental involvement. 

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