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"Mama Bear" at the playground.... I know some of you have BTDT... - Page 3  

post #41 of 95

I think if you were standing there and he didn't respond to your first comment, but became more aggressive, showing more anger and using a louder voice is a natural progression.  If you are a parent who happens to be a yeller in general, your kids may not respond to a quieter command--although interestingly enough my own kids only seem to need *me* to yell and scream to finally react, they react to other people who are much quieter than I am.

 

I also think it's biologically normal to want to protect our own offspring when we perceive they are in danger, even from other children. I think we protect our own family then tribe then move out from there. But, of course, I also believe in non-violent communication, so I think it's always worth examining how we could handle a similar situation in the future.  I don't have a problem with physically coming between another child trying to hit or hurt my child, so a blocking hand with a firm, "No, that is dangerous" might be my first instinct before I move into the kinder speech.  But when you're not able to do that, screaming seems like a natural defensive reaction.

post #42 of 95

I think any responsible adult in range is responsible for keeping all the children in the immediate area safe. From that perspective, I would prob not reprimand the 5yo with the language "get your foot away from MY child" but perhaps rather, "no kicking!" or "no boots in the face". I try to make it general so that I remind myself that I would do the same for any child I saw being bullied at the playground - not just my own. 

post #43 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post

I say "What's wrong with you?" all the time.  My family has always said that.... that, and "Have you lost your mind??"  That phrase doesn't bother me at all... but, if I heard someone say "Shut up" I would be appalled.  I also think saying "butt" is an insult.  "Sit on your butt".  So, I think it depends on how we were raised.  I don't think the mom was actually questioning the child about her possible medical issues.  

 

 


  I've thought about it more, and realized that I interchangably use "What's wrong with you?", "What are you doing?!", and "WHY would you do that?!" -- Not only with strangers but with kids I know and love, just a verbal tic I guess.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by no5no5 View Post

 

And I agree that ADHD is not an excuse, and of course it is not a reason not to correct behavior.  But in the situation described, the mother seemed to think that the other child was mean-spirited, and I just meant to point out that there could be numerous reasons a good, kind child would make what seemed to be a very mean mistake.  Perhaps the older child was pushed around so much at home that she thought it was normal.  Perhaps she knew it was wrong but had trouble controlling herself.  Perhaps she was having the worst day of her life.  I myself once was accused of pushing a younger child down, and what actually happened was that I patted her gently on the back at the same time that she slipped and fell.  I'm sure to all concerned it looked like I pushed her, but I didn't.  But regardless of how accurate this mother's perceptions were, my main point is that if you want to teach a child to be compassionate, being mean to that child is not the way to do it. 



  I have no idea what her personal issues/troubles were, the plain fact is a 7 or 8 year old shouldn't be bullying 2 year olds, and there was no way I was going to just sit there and let her hurt my child or the other little guy that was playing in the toddler play boat.

post #44 of 95



I don't know if it's weird, but it is inappropriate. I don't scream at the top of my own children, and I most certainly don't scream at other children either. If something is happening that is dangerous, it may be necessary to speak loudly and firmly, but imo screaming at children is never appropriate.

 

I also think that it is good to remember that one day your 2 yo will be the 5 yo on the playground, and may well make the same mistakes that you see 5yos making now. And I would guess that you would be pretty upset if another mother screamed at your child.

 

Gentle discipline should apply to all children, not only to our own, or to ones that we consider to be worthy. If another parent screamed at my child, I would be very upset. You have no idea what this child is like. Maybe he is autistic, or disabled, or any number of things. Or maybe he is just a normal little 5 yo who made a mistake. Whatever the situation, you had no right to scream at him.

 

Maybe you can learn from this and accept that there will be many occasions when your child is in situations that require you to respond firmly. It is good to work consciously to develop a calm, clear, controlled manner that you can use in these situations, so that you don't react inappropriately and scare and upset other children, not to mention your own. You are modeling appropriate behavior to your own child, so surely you don't want him to learn that screaming at someone who upsets you is right? Wouldn't you prefer him to learn to assert himself clearly and firmly, but not emotionally and dramatically?

 

Sometimes our mama bear kicks in, but it doesn't mean that our response is right. Our intention may be right, but we can learn to be more in control with our manner of response.

 

HTH.

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Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post


 

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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post



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Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

While I understand that you were upset, I'm not sure I understand why - if you were within arm's reach, you had to scream at the kid. Why not just grab yours out of the way and tell the other kid he was out of line?

 

If you were further away, I could see your reaction. But... you were apparently right there.


Okay, that is weird.



DH and I were both right there, underneath DS. He is a good climber, and I don't worry about him falling much, but b/c there were other, bigger kids around I stayed close. I "had to" scream at the kid b/c as soon as I saw the foot in DS's face, I said, "Hey! Stop that!" and the kid pushed his foot DOWN, not away from DS's face. (His shoe was ON his face.) When I realized he wasn't going to respond right away, I freaked out, thinking he was just going to push all his weight down on DS and make him fall. When I freak out, I scream bloody murder. It's not something I like about myself and want to change, but in the moment I just couldn't keep my composure.

 

Is that weird?

post #45 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus8 View Post


  I have no idea what her personal issues/troubles were, the plain fact is a 7 or 8 year old shouldn't be bullying 2 year olds, and there was no way I was going to just sit there and let her hurt my child or the other little guy that was playing in the toddler play boat.



No one was suggesting that you should. 

post #46 of 95
no5no5 said:

No, I think that makes sense. And as I said, my usual reaction would be more general: "You do not hit."


The reaction to that would have been "Duh, yeah I do" (though probably not verbally!). Because the kid obviously does!
post #47 of 95

I think it goes without saying, that everyone here, including the OP, and especially frequenters of MDC, heck even the  man  at the playground, agree that shouting at a 5yo was far from ideal.  This was not a good thing to do.

However, like all of us here, the OP is human, and although some of us never ever shout at our children, and have constantly perfect interractions with all people at all times, even under very trying circumstances, others of us,  make mistakes.

 

Reflecting on how you would handle this situation if it ever comes up in the future, is the way to go.  But chastising yourself is not. Mistake made.

 

The way you described the situation would have really raised my ire, especially since you tried a couple of times to be understanding to this kid. 

post #48 of 95

This reminds me of the first attachment parenting playgroup that I attended.  It was with my first when he was about 10 months old.  Most of the other mom's only had one and most were babies and small toddlers.  One mother there had a baby and a little girl that was about 5 or so.  Looking back, the little girl was not overly aggressive, but also not calm and gentle.  Just your typical 5 year old. She was just so much bigger and faster than the little one's.  I thought to myself why is her mother not stopping her and my son will be raised AP and with GD and will be so kind, sweet and gentle when he is 5. My boy is now 5 and he is sweet, kind and gentle, but he is also energetic, sometimes makes bad judgements and still does not always have the best impulse control. He does plenty of things that I look at him and wonder why is he doing that, he know's better.  

 

I'm not saying that in the case of the OP and Octo that what the children did was okay, but it was not necessarily abnormal. Your reactions seem to be a little over the top to me, but I think it was coming from a good place of just wanting to protect your little one's.  I would try to work on treating other children the same way you would want other's to treat yours. I suspect that now that you have toddlers that are out playing in public play structures more often you will run into these types of behaviors more often.

 

 

Originally Posted by Britishmum View Post

 

 

I also think that it is good to remember that one day your 2 yo will be the 5 yo on the playground, and may well make the same mistakes that you see 5yos making now. And I would guess that you would be pretty upset if another mother screamed at your child.

 

 


Edited by alana1980 - 1/2/11 at 6:57am
post #49 of 95

My own mama bear overreaction came before I was a mother and did not involve protecting any children. Gulp.

 

A few years ago I was going down an alpine slide. In case you're not familiar with those, it is a concrete track going down a mountain, with sloped sides to contain your sled, which is on wheels. There is a brake lever that allows you to control your speed. So you can go pretty fast but you have to brake a bit on turns. It is possible to go so fast you fly off the track. One of the primary posted rules is that there is no contact between sleds, and an attendant is at the top to ensure there is enough time between riders that one rider won't come too close to another.

 

Anyway, I'm sliding down and having a grand old time when all of a sudden I get SLAMMED from behind. It was so unexpected and such a jolt it was like my heart skipped and my hands got all sweaty. I look behind me and there is a kid, laughing his ass off. Probably around 10 years old. While I had been going pretty fast, this kid probably was just pushing the pedal to the metal, which is normal for a 10 year old. I then went the maximum speed so he wouldn't bump me again, but still slowed a tiny bit on a curve and that's when he SLAMMED me again. I think the fact that he was lighter reduced friction, so there maybe was no way I could have gone as fast as he could. He was laughing like a manic and I was scared and I was mad. I had felt like I could have completely lost control on the track especially given the timing of when he slammed into me (right on the top of a big curve). Breaking bones was an easy possibility.

 

What I did next came with no thought at all. I pulled up my brake entirely to come to a complete stop. As expected, he slammed into me again, laughing, but I was at least prepared that time. Now that he was stopped (he couldn't go unless I did) I turned around and told him, in a heart-stopping mama bear voice (not yelling but a lot more than firm - like fireballs shooting from my eyes intensity) that he was NOT to slam into me one more time. Fireballs, I'm telling you. Then I turned forward and descended the rest of the way without looking back. I actually thought I might have just screwed myself, because I figured (I was not a mother, remember) that a kid that reckless and intent on hurting others would not listen to me and probably go on a rampage and then I'd have to walk down the damn mountain carrying a 20 pound sled (or hope someone would call an ambulance if I needed one). Sigh. But it didn't happen, I just went all the way down, then looked up and he was not in sight. I got off and put my sled in the pile, met my husband and then I saw him coming down, going like 2 miles an hour, with a long line of a dozen people behind him, and him crying his face off.

 

So, yeah, wow, I felt this weird mixture of regret and annoyance and maybe even a little amusement. (Sorry).

 

I really did feel like he was being unsafe and reckless, and in retrospect I'm sure I could have told him with less intensity to stop it. But the problem was that the stakes were fairly high (I really don't think it was that unlikely that I could have broken bones if he caused me to lose control) and I did not know this kid so I had no idea where his "line" was. I didn't feel I had the luxury of increasing my intensity several times to see which point he would listen, and he had not demonstrated himself to be a careful or obedient kid at that point. So I do feel bad but I think my actions were defensible.

 

For the OP, I too still don't really understand why her first reaction wasn't to pluck her kid off the ladder when the other kid started pushing his shoe in, if she was right there. That would have been my move, and it wouldn't be because I am so much clearer-headed or anything, but it just seems like it would more immediately remove the safety risk. All I can think of was maybe she was right there but the ladder was so tall that the kids were out of reach. But I do know that when the stakes are high, we might overshoot a bit, and that's just how the cookie crumbles. I'd rather yell at a kid than have broken bones any day, you know? Maybe screaming was excessive, and clearly my eyeballs shooting fire went over the line with this kid, but with those experiences we can fine-tune our reactions. If I could do the slide thing over again, I might have still stopped my sled to get his attention so I could talk to him and also gauge his reaction, but said (minus fireballs) that it's not ok to slam, that I was losing control, and did I have his agreement to stop? I would have known for sure by his face whether we were cool or if I had a problem still, and if the latter, I would have just gotten off the track and let him pass rather than risking anything further. When we know better, we do better. (And I'm sure that lessons were learned by that 10 year old, plus the 7 year old girl in the boat, and so on).

post #50 of 95
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rainbow_mandala View Post



Quote:

Originally Posted by chaoticzenmom View Post

 

On another note, I didn't see where you mentioned the other child's caretakers coming to see what was going on??? If someone were yelling at my child, I'd sure be coming over there to find out what was up.

 


Yeah, I'm wondering about that myself.  Maybe the mother hid after realizing that it was her child that got screamed at? rolleyes.gif

 

OP--I feel that your reaction was warranted, no doubt about it.  You tried telling him to stop in a respectful manner and he didn't listen, your little guy had a foot on his face while holding onto a ladder 6 feet above the ground, it's instinctual to react in a way that will ensure your child doesn't get seriously injured.  I think that while a good portion of anger expressed in this society is over-the-top or unwarranted, there are times when it is DEFINITELY needed.  We were given strong voices for a reason...we don't need to use them much, but if we don't use them when situations demand for it then we might as well not have them at all.


The child's caretakers didn't come over. I asked him where his mother was, intending to bring him over and explain what happened. But I was so shaken up and realized I'd rather get my son down and comfort him, so after he pointed vaguely in the direction of where his mom was, I just said, "Go over to her right now!" I glanced in the direction he was pointing, but didn't see anyone approaching. By the time I got DS to come down the slide and calmed him (and myself) down, the kid was either gone or blended into the crowd. (This was a very large playground, and as I mentioned before, the little kids' area where he had pointed was a total mob scene of parents with babies and some older siblings running amok like wild monkeys. The bigger equipment was practically empty, which is why we thought it was a better choice for DS.)

 

DS didn't want to leave, and DH absolutely did (he was pissed at me), so we stood there for several minutes, convincing DS it was time to go. A few older kids who had been playing nearby came over to see if DS was okay, and I think I mentioned another mom had come over to say she would have yelled too, but no one claiming to be with the kid who kicked DS came by.

 

I was yelling pretty loudly, so I'm not sure why no one came to the kid's defense (since, as some of you pointed out, he may have needed it) other than the parents were too busy with a younger sibling and either didn't want to bother, didn't realize it was their son being yelled at, or didn't want to get involved with a crazy lady screaming at the playground.

 

As for why my first reaction wasn't to grab DS, I don't know. It certainly should have been. DH didn't, either. This is part of why I asked the question. I know I didn't react logically or rationally, and I don't like that. But I also felt that my instinct to protect my son and scare off the predator (so to speak) wasn't completely wrong, either. I just don't know how to be calm in situations like this, and I wish I could.

post #51 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post

no5no5 said:

No, I think that makes sense. And as I said, my usual reaction would be more general: "You do not hit."


The reaction to that would have been "Duh, yeah I do" (though probably not verbally!). Because the kid obviously does!


 

lol.gif  If I said it in a normal, friendly voice, I'm sure it would sound like a (false) statement of fact.  But I can assure you that the voice I use makes it very clearly imperative (i.e., a command, not a statement).  thumb.gif

post #52 of 95

Not a great thing but you panicked. It's done and now you know how you want to react next time. Mistake made, forgive yourself, and move on :) 

post #53 of 95

I debated adding my two cents, but, there is something about this that bothers me.  My own opinion, of course.

 

I wouldn't lose another minute feeling badly about what happened.  You didn't hurt that other child.  You kept him from hurting your toddler. 

 

A child, that is around 5 years old, knows better.  And, yes, even if there are developmental issues, medical issues, etc., if a child goes up a ladder 2 times, without getting to the top, turning around, and shoving their foot in anyone's face that is behind them, they know that on the third time around, it is still also not what you do when you reach the top of a ladder.  Even an accidental foot in the face would look more like the kid slipped on the top step of the ladder with them still having forward momentum to go on their way, facing in the opposite direction.... it isn't stopping, turning around, and sticking a foot out.... that is purposeful, with what I would consider ill intent.

 

To me, what also stuck out was that there wasn't a parent, babysitter, or anyone, that bothered to come over who was there in connnection with that child.  Someone should have been close enough to them to see what they were doing, to monitor them, and to be there if something happened to them even.  A 5 year old is still young too.... and what if they were the ones with a ten year old shoving a foot in their face? 

 

And as for the yelling, I yell at my kids.  I'd like to say that I never had to, or that talking to them worked all the time.  It doesn't.  If I were the one at the playground, I'd probably first have shot the 5 year old a sort of stern look and said "cut it out... that is not okay".... or something like that..... but, I know if I was a bit further away, I might have also yelled out a "HEY!... cut that out" as I was running toward the situation.  I know I would have probably had a few choice words for the 5 year old had they been mine also, including leaving the area.

 

It is always easy to figure out the perfect thing to have said after the event has happened, when you can sit back and analyze things step by step.  In the moment though, your reaction was to protect your child.... who is a toddler... from a "big kid"..... on a ladder.  I think yelling at the child happened, don't beat yourself up over it. 

post #54 of 95

I think you reacted appropriately. I would have responded the same way. But I question where was this child’s mother while all of this was occurring? Or does she condone her son bullying? A child about 5 should be being monitored not allowed to run wild at a playground. They could hurt themselves and others.

post #55 of 95

When my dd turns 5, if she's putting her feet ON the face of a two year old climbing a ladder, I will be screaming at her and I certainly wouldn't object to the two year old's mother doing so.

 

I would also expect to have to comfort dd and explain that the adults were worried that the two year old would fall to the ground and be very hurt.

 

But really, being screamed at is going to do a kid far less harm than falling off playground equipment.

 

 

Heck, when I've been away from dd on the playground and she's started pushing an OLDER kid, I've bellowed at her to be gentle.  (And immediately moved to be able to monitor more closely for awhile.

post #56 of 95

Your dh was right there, didn't act, and he's getting on your case about how you reacted? Maybe he's feeling guilty that he did nothing to protect his kid from maybe being knocked to the ground.

post #57 of 95



 

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Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by rainbow_mandala View Post



Quote:

Originally Posted by chaoticzenmom View Post

 

On another note, I didn't see where you mentioned the other child's caretakers coming to see what was going on??? If someone were yelling at my child, I'd sure be coming over there to find out what was up.

 


Yeah, I'm wondering about that myself.  Maybe the mother hid after realizing that it was her child that got screamed at? rolleyes.gif

 

OP--I feel that your reaction was warranted, no doubt about it.  You tried telling him to stop in a respectful manner and he didn't listen, your little guy had a foot on his face while holding onto a ladder 6 feet above the ground, it's instinctual to react in a way that will ensure your child doesn't get seriously injured.  I think that while a good portion of anger expressed in this society is over-the-top or unwarranted, there are times when it is DEFINITELY needed.  We were given strong voices for a reason...we don't need to use them much, but if we don't use them when situations demand for it then we might as well not have them at all.


The child's caretakers didn't come over. I asked him where his mother was, intending to bring him over and explain what happened. But I was so shaken up and realized I'd rather get my son down and comfort him, so after he pointed vaguely in the direction of where his mom was, I just said, "Go over to her right now!" I glanced in the direction he was pointing, but didn't see anyone approaching. By the time I got DS to come down the slide and calmed him (and myself) down, the kid was either gone or blended into the crowd. (This was a very large playground, and as I mentioned before, the little kids' area where he had pointed was a total mob scene of parents with babies and some older siblings running amok like wild monkeys. The bigger equipment was practically empty, which is why we thought it was a better choice for DS.)

 

DS didn't want to leave, and DH absolutely did (he was pissed at me), so we stood there for several minutes, convincing DS it was time to go. A few older kids who had been playing nearby came over to see if DS was okay, and I think I mentioned another mom had come over to say she would have yelled too, but no one claiming to be with the kid who kicked DS came by.

 

I was yelling pretty loudly, so I'm not sure why no one came to the kid's defense (since, as some of you pointed out, he may have needed it) other than the parents were too busy with a younger sibling and either didn't want to bother, didn't realize it was their son being yelled at, or didn't want to get involved with a crazy lady screaming at the playground.

 

As for why my first reaction wasn't to grab DS, I don't know. It certainly should have been. DH didn't, either. This is part of why I asked the question. I know I didn't react logically or rationally, and I don't like that. But I also felt that my instinct to protect my son and scare off the predator (so to speak) wasn't completely wrong, either. I just don't know how to be calm in situations like this, and I wish I could.


. It is good to read that you wish you hadn't screamed and that you are looking for better ways to handle stress. I think that is a good idea, because ime this is not likely to be the most stressful situation that you will encounter with your child in public places. We want our children to model their behavior on our own good behavior at all times, so we need to develop good strategies ourselves for dealing with stress.

 

I also don't agree with posters who tell you not to beat yourself up, it was understandable, etc etc. I'm not saying that you need to beat yourself up, but sometimes when we do something that we are not proud of we need to reflect on it honestly, and yes, beat ourselves a little, as we process the experience and re-live it, with the aim of donig better in the future. Maybe reminding yourself that you would hate it if someone screamed at your ds would help. Maybe making a conscious effort to have deliberate and frequent interactions with other children in public where you practice and hone your gentle discipline skills would help. Maybe reading more books about non-violent communication would help, or taking a class, with a conscious aim of improving your ability to deal with difficult situations (and children) out in the world.

 

In your situation, I"d be making a plan so that situations like this wouldn't cause you, or your child, so much angst in the future. These things have happened to me in playgrounds and public places many times in the 10 years that I"ve been a parent, and I have never felt cause to scream at another child, nor have I ever had to beat myself up over a response. That is because I had practice working with children for years before I had them, where I learned the skills of communicating calmly with children even in the midst of a crisis. Sometimes we need to learn skills, unlearn habits, and consciously seek situations to practice them.

 

Screaming under stress may be a habit, but habits can be changed. You don't want your child to learn that the most appropriate response to stress is to scream, so it's best to start role modeling calm, assertive behavior now. How about seeking good books about dealing with emotions and stress? Or classes, online courses, articles?

 

HTH

post #58 of 95

My 2 cents is that is was an over the top reaction and you were out of line.  Yes, the other parent should have been there. Yes the child was in the wrong attempting to hurt your child.  Yes are a mama bear and have the duty to protect your child.  BUT you are an adult, and the child was a CHILD.  You have control over your emotions and reactions and a 5 year old (I think the OP said the other child was about 5), is still just 5 years old.  That is still young.  Kids make mistakes and sometimes they are just brats.  But it's not your job to parent another person's child.  I think the appropriate reaction would be to grab your child way, protect them from the situation (not "removing" them from the situatoin like pps have suggested), reassess from a distance after cooling off, and talking to the parent if possible.You could calmly tell the other child to behave and not attempt to hurt other children, but ultimately you can't control what another person does.    You illustrated to that child and to your child how "not" to control your emotions and fly off the handle.  Not saying your're evil or anything, just human.  We can learn from our mistakes.  That's how we grow as human beings. I agree with Britishmum.


Edited by marimara - 1/4/11 at 9:37am
post #59 of 95

I don't blame you a bit.. YES you could have handled it a bit better, but you were scared. Sometimes it's a natural tendency to yell if we feel someone is not listening and there is danger involved.

post #60 of 95

 

"These make me very sad, for some reason.  Like its only ok to protect our own kids, but not every kid.  Why on earth wasn't the message to the "offending" kids that they shouldn't touch ANYONE in an unkind way???"

 

As I've racked up more years in playground experience, I have definitely shifted to talking about Rules In General rather than interceding only for my own kid. It's more effective with the kids, and better reflects my feelings about social rules, and it works equally well whether my kid is the offender or the victim! 

 

OP, honestly, the thing that bothers me most about what happened is that you didn't have the bigger kid's parent standing at your elbow about two seconds after you starting hollering. Clearly, they were paying zero attention, and that's really dangerous at a busy playground where kids can "fade into the crowd." 

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