How would you deal with another mom who is a "helicopter parent" to *your* child? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-09-2013, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It happened the other day on the playground and I didn't really say anything directly to the mom. I just did my gentle reminders to my toddler, like I usually do and that was that. I wish I had said something so it doesn't happen again as we live in the same apartment community. I let my toddler be 'free-range' for the most part but obviously not everyone knows that I do that. What would you do or say?

 

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Old 03-09-2013, 02:20 PM
 
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I'd say "thanks but he's fine. I got him." and then start a conversation about her child. If she got pushy, I'd say "I can see and hear him just fine. I'll ask for help if I need any". I have a real problem with adults crossing boundaries with my child. A trusted friend who is near her child and happens to help mine is one thing. A stranger would really rub me the wrong way though.
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Old 03-09-2013, 02:37 PM
 
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I don't know, but I'd like to know too!

 

I almost never help my son with anything he can do or figure out himself... I don't really care if someone wants to run around after him to make sure he doesn't tip over, I just don't really like the implication that that is what I should be doing and I'm being a bad parent if I don't. 

 

I've also heard that I don't "interact" with him enough... I know kids are more than capable of letting their parents know they need attention, if they're occupied, why should they be interrupted?

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Old 03-09-2013, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd say "thanks but he's fine. I got him." and then start a conversation about her child. If she got pushy, I'd say "I can see and hear him just fine. I'll ask for help if I need any". I have a real problem with adults crossing boundaries with my child. A trusted friend who is near her child and happens to help mine is one thing. A stranger would really rub me the wrong way though.

Those are perfect! I never know how to assert myself while being polite haha. I know she meant well but it's not like I'd intervene so overtly by touching another person's child.

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Old 03-09-2013, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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!

I almost never help my son with anything he can do or figure out himself... I don't really care if someone wants to run around after him to make sure he doesn't tip over, I just don't really like the implication that that is what I should be doing and I'm being a bad parent if I don't. 

That's what rubbed me the wrong way-- the implication I am neglectful, which is what I perceived by her hovering over and picking up my son from something he was doing. I'm kinda glad I don't think I'm overreacting. I may be but it's comforting that other parents don't chase their children when they're *playing!*

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Old 03-10-2013, 03:26 AM
 
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You are certainly not overreacting - a stranger picked up your child without your permission! Well intentioned or not, she crossed a line big time. If it happens again, I'd politely but firmly say "pardon me but who gave you permission to touch my child? I'm very uncomfortable with that which you as a mother surely understand". Where was her child at the time and why wasn't she paying attention to her own offspring I'd like to know. I know you want to be polite and civil but it's also important for your son to understand that being picked up by a stranger is NOT safe or okay and I hope he screams bloody murder if she ever tries it again! My mamabear side is coming out a little now, can you tell? wink1.gif
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Old 03-10-2013, 03:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, good to know. I hope I get to clear things up next time then! Thank you for the great suggestions- I wouldn't know what to do or say if I hadn't sought others' thoughts on it because it rarely has ever happened and is really a bizarre situation to be in. O_o

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Old 03-10-2013, 06:12 AM
 
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IDK... This is odd bc I am super hands off myself, and my children do crazy circus style stuff at the playground. It's odd to me bc I wouldn't get mad or say anything admonishing to the other parent. She didn't imply at all that you were neglectful. She just expressed (via her actions) her fears. People express their fears to me all the time bc I know my actions (and those of my daredevil kids) trigger their fears about safety, etc.

In our society, we are afraid of the wrong things, in my opinion. If I guide my children to use their instincts, they won't be afraid of helpful strangers, and they'll tune into their intuition to know when to stay away from "harmful" strangers.

Yesterday, a father of a little boy said to his child, "be careful going through tunnel slide!" And then "oh, my! That other boy is climbing over the slide!!" He was flipping from what my kid was doing. I wanted to ease the dad's fear. I said to my child, "watch out for the friend down below!"

I think one of the best things we can do in life is remind ourselves, that most of the time, others' words and actions are not about us, but them. I know I am not neglectful, but concerned, and so I look at situations through the lens that people see me as I believe I am. As with my children, I attribute positive intent to what people say, bc people usually do mean well, they are just so often speaking from fear.

You are a sweet mama. And btw, GORGEOUS photos on your blog. You are very talented!

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Old 03-10-2013, 06:59 AM
 
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I totally see your point velveeta but helpful and innocent or not, a stranger picking up my two year old makes my hair stand on end and my blood boil. A parent protecting her own child from my child's stunts is one thing (and I'd be stepping in at that point to help) but picking up my toddler? That is so over the line. I'd only ever do that in case of very real danger but OP described this woman as "picking up my son from something he was doing". There was no mention of the something involving a rattlesnake or a used syringe or anything.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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IDK... This is odd bc I am super hands off myself, and my children do crazy circus style stuff at the playground. It's odd to me bc I wouldn't get mad or say anything admonishing to the other parent. She didn't imply at all that you were neglectful. She just expressed (via her actions) her fears. People express their fears to me all the time bc I know my actions (and those of my daredevil kids) trigger their fears about safety, etc.

You are a sweet mama. And btw, GORGEOUS photos on your blog. You are very talented!

Definitely! I didn't say anything because she was super gentle with him. I just mainly wanted input about how to gently step in to let her know I'm aware of what my kid is doing. I totally get what you're saying, completely-- I always get spooked about other people all the time based on my own hold ups about safety.

Thanks for checking out my post and for the compliment! smile.gif

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Old 03-10-2013, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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TBH
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I'd only ever do that in case of very real danger but OP described this woman as "picking up my son from something he was doing". There was no mention of the something involving a rattlesnake or a used syringe or anything.
, I think his size has a lot to so with it. He's small and he's barely 2, so I get that. It's just that I know my child so well that he's completely physical to where he can climb like a monkey and I let him! I agree that touching others' kids is stepping the line when no real danger is present, IMO.

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Old 03-11-2013, 12:17 PM
 
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I could see her saying something to your child if he was at the bottom and her kid was ready to come down the slide, but to pick him up? That is odd to me personally, I don't touch kids I don't know on the playground unless they are in danger, and not just in danger of a little bump. Sometimes kids will ask me for help as I tend to hover around my DD as she is not good at knowing her limits yet (she's more on the fearless side of the spectrum, getting better now thank goodness!) and I will redirect them to their parent/guardian. I will say things to kids or intervene if they are putting my kid in danger (but if I need to touch a child, I'll try to grab mine if at all possible) or say something if they are being super rude (pushing past my kid, climbing up a slide when there are kids waiting to go down, etc.) as DD is not old enough just yet to really be able to say anything for herself, but if she's dawdling, I'll tell her to move aside so the faster kids can pass her.

Anyway, I haven't had anyone grab my child at the playground, I'm usually right there so it just isn't likely to happen anyway, but I'd probably just ask them to just talk to my child next time instead of picking them up unless there is immediate danger. I can definitely understand why you were frustrated!

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Old 03-11-2013, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I will say things to kids or intervene if they are putting my kid in danger (but if I need to touch a child, I'll try to grab mine if at all possible) or say something if they are being super rude (pushing past my kid, climbing up a slide when there are kids waiting to go down, etc.) as DD is not old enough just yet to really be able to say anything for herself, but if she's dawdling, I'll tell her to move aside so the faster kids can pass her.

Exactly! I just remove my own child from potential situation so I don't overstep other parents or even their kids. Plus, they should be watching them anyway but I would definitely step in mama-bear style to catch help if completely necessary to avoid an ER visit!

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Old 03-11-2013, 03:02 PM
 
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Hmmm, I've moved many children away from the bottom of a slide (if someone is coming down.) Most of the time, I've used words, but sometimes I've taken the child's hand or even picked him up.

I've never hovered over a capable child (my own, foster, or in my former work as an education specialist.) My kids can go up a slide. It's actually a great gross motor activity. But, I see no reason to let a small child get knocked down by a slider.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:24 PM
 
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We've experienced this, more so when Muffin was younger (she's 16 months now). She started walking a little on the early side and she was pretty wobbly for a while. We'd be out on a playground or in the park and I would be letting her negotiate a step and a well meaning person would grab her to keep her safe and would knock her off balance and make her fall. I appreciate the care and concern, but dude seriously, she's perfectly capable of falling on her own! I hovered pretty close since she has NO fear and likes to play on the big kid toys, but I generally let her do her thing unless she was going to really hurt herself. Now, I like to be close to intervene with other kids as she will either get knocked over or snatch something from someone else.

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Old 03-11-2013, 08:28 PM
 
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I am amazed when I see the little ones at the park on the equipment that is for 5 and up and they are just climbing away!! My son couldn't handle 5 and up equipment (the big slides, etc) without me helicoptering until he was at least 5. My daughter was a little younger. Both of my kids had developmental delays. One was preemie. The other did occupational therapy until about age 9.

 

The only thing I can think of, is that maybe she was just really annoyed, and handled the situation poorly. At bigger parks, I completely understand parents of older kids not wanting younger kids on the "age 5 and up" equipment. I know they put the age limits on the equipment mostly for liability purposes, but there is some logic to it. They probably take the average age at which a kid can safely use each part of the equipment...some parts are more difficult, like the sliding pole (where kids can fall right through...a good 7 foot drop). Another reason for the age limit, is the older kids can really move fast and they will play tag, etc. They shouldn't have to worry about knocking over babies and toddlers while they are playing in the older kids area. Usually the babies have their own smaller slides or swings at the bigger parks. 

 

In the case of a smaller community park with no age restrictions, I might be a bit annoyed and nervous that a baby is playing on equipment that is typically for older kids, making it more difficult for my older kids to play, but I would never pick up the child! I might strike up a conversation about how amazed I am about the agility of the child...etc. and comment about how nervous I would be due to my own kids lack of ability at that age, etc. If it annoyed me enough or made me nervous enough, I would just leave and come back when the babies were gone...again, I wouldn't parent a stranger's child! If it becomes enough of a problem for the parents of older kids, they could take it up with the leasing office.

 

I will see parents not paying attention and letting their little ones' climb on chairs or shopping carts in public. I can just picture them falling and their skulls are so small and thin at that age! Usually the parents aknowledge the climbing at some point and it becomes apparent that the kid is capable of climbing without much concern....still freaks me out though. Not going to lie!

 

I said something to a family at a restaurant recently because the baby kept pushing up out of the highchair and putting his bottom on the back ledge of the chair and it didn't look like anyone noticed or cared. The mom didn't look too thrilled when I told her. I think she was just embarrassed that she didn't catch it. I would have been too. How horrible would I have felt if I was debating whether to tell her and didn't get to tell her in time!?

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Old 03-12-2013, 01:26 AM
 
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Jmarroq, approaching another parent is such a reasonable thing to do. I would have absolutely no issues with that (perhaps a little embarrassment or dent in my pride but no biggie). Just so long as no one touches my child outside of really special circumstances like immediate grave danger.
I totally see that little ones on designated equipment for older kids is an issue but I've never seen any such setup. All parks we've been to have one or two play structures with no restrictions posted and I presume the kids are meant to share. What does really irritate me though is the couple times we've been to an indoor playground with a baby/toddler area presumably (no age restriction posted but baby activities built in and a slide that's maybe two feet high) and as my two year old is trying to get settled to use the slide, a 6 year old is pushing her down with his foot and racing up and down said slide with his older sister. There's a three story tall structure for them to climb, slide and explore and they need the baby slide where they are rude and pushy and not the least bit careful with the little ones who also paid admission to be there. Of course parents/guardians pay no heed and are nowhere to be found. I think being conscious of where your child is playing and how is crucial but most of the time I'm perfectly able to do that from a few feet away. I step in quickly when needed and wish more parents found a fine line between hovering and completely checking out.
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:22 PM
 
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Jmarroq, approaching another parent is such a reasonable thing to do. I would have absolutely no issues with that (perhaps a little embarrassment or dent in my pride but no biggie). Just so long as no one touches my child outside of really special circumstances like immediate grave danger.
I totally see that little ones on designated equipment for older kids is an issue but I've never seen any such setup. All parks we've been to have one or two play structures with no restrictions posted and I presume the kids are meant to share. What does really irritate me though is the couple times we've been to an indoor playground with a baby/toddler area presumably (no age restriction posted but baby activities built in and a slide that's maybe two feet high) and as my two year old is trying to get settled to use the slide, a 6 year old is pushing her down with his foot and racing up and down said slide with his older sister. There's a three story tall structure for them to climb, slide and explore and they need the baby slide where they are rude and pushy and not the least bit careful with the little ones who also paid admission to be there. Of course parents/guardians pay no heed and are nowhere to be found. I think being conscious of where your child is playing and how is crucial but most of the time I'm perfectly able to do that from a few feet away. I step in quickly when needed and wish more parents found a fine line between hovering and completely checking out.

This is how our newest park is set up - two areas one for smaller kids, I think it says 2-5, and then 5+.  I took my 16mo the other day and she was the only one under at least 5 or 6.  So we stuck to the little side wich is perfectly suited to her size for climbing and exploring.  Numerous times she was pushed aside by bigger kids who wanted to "hang out" in the tree house on the little side.  They knocked her down once when two very large boys (I'm 5'2 and they were almost my height) ran through - I mean come one how rude an oblivious can you be?  And as much as I wanted to tear into a parent there were none in sight!  I saw a few far off by the big playscape but I also saw their kids checking in with them.  The other parents?  Either sitting in cars, or worse, inside the library an not even close to supervising their kids.  I don't helicopter but DD is only 16mos and still needs help maneuvering some of her climbs.  I really wish parents would find a happy medium and not be so hands off that their kids trample mine!  I did have one little girl fall off the swing next to the one I was pushing DD in, and I asked if she was ok, but I didn't pick her up.  Her mother was fairly close by and didn't jump up either so I assumed all was fine and continued to do my thing.  There was one point when all the swings were occupied bc a group of adults was using them - all of them, handicap included - for themselves.  It's a big turnoff yet not completely surprising for the area and episodes like that make me contemplate finding a park elsewhere to take DD to play where people aren't so rude.

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Old 03-12-2013, 04:00 PM
 
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I think there is a big difference between removing a child from danger because you happen to be closer than the actual parent (someone's about to kicked over by someone on the swing and you're in arm's reach but mom's not, etc.) and offering "help" that may or may not be warranted.  I mean, if someone's kid falls in the swimming pool and doesn't appear able to swim, I'm not going to just watch him drown because he's not mine, y'know?  But I'm not going to be micromanaging someone else's child, either.  Unless he's bothering *my* child or there seems to be notable imminent danger, it's just not my business.

That said, I would personally probably ignore it if it were a one-time thing with someone we're not likely to bump into again, but if it's someone we're going to be interacting with regularly, I like these other options.
 

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Old 03-14-2013, 02:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That said, I would personally probably ignore it if it were a one-time thing with someone we're not likely to bump into again, but if it's someone we're going to be interacting with regularly, I like these other options.

 

I've only seen them once and haven't since and we go to out community playground quite a bit. I think I'll just play it by ear and keep these suggestions in the back of my mind if anything pops up. smile.gif

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Old 03-14-2013, 08:15 AM
 
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I just had a friend update her facebook status which made me think of this thread. She complained that some mom just "let" her kid fall off the slide while she was standing right there... I guess random park-goers just can't win ROTFLMAO.gif

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Old 03-17-2013, 04:13 AM
 
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IDK... This is odd bc I am super hands off myself, and my children do crazy circus style stuff at the playground. It's odd to me bc I wouldn't get mad or say anything admonishing to the other parent. She didn't imply at all that you were neglectful. She just expressed (via her actions) her fears. People express their fears to me all the time bc I know my actions (and those of my daredevil kids) trigger their fears about safety, etc.

In our society, we are afraid of the wrong things, in my opinion. If I guide my children to use their instincts, they won't be afraid of helpful strangers, and they'll tune into their intuition to know when to stay away from "harmful" strangers.

Yesterday, a father of a little boy said to his child, "be careful going through tunnel slide!" And then "oh, my! That other boy is climbing over the slide!!" He was flipping from what my kid was doing. I wanted to ease the dad's fear. I said to my child, "watch out for the friend down below!"

I think one of the best things we can do in life is remind ourselves, that most of the time, others' words and actions are not about us, but them. I know I am not neglectful, but concerned, and so I look at situations through the lens that people see me as I believe I am. As with my children, I attribute positive intent to what people say, bc people usually do mean well, they are just so often speaking from fear.

You are a sweet mama. And btw, GORGEOUS photos on your blog. You are very talented!


 I think this is a very insightful viewpoint.

 

OP: I totally get what you are saying and I mostly share your perspective.

 

However I found the overall tone of your blog post to be unnecessarily defensive and angry. Like the above poster said, most likely the mama who removed your son from the bottom of the slide wasn't thinking about you and your parenting at all. She saw a potential situation where a child could get hurt (the fact is, most children under 2 would not move) and she took action to prevent it. I know it's a fine line between truly preventing accidents and letting kids get a few scrapes and bruises and learn their own boundaries. And I don't think anyone wants strangers getting all touchy-feely with their child. But the attitude I've seen in this thread of woe-to-anyone-who-lays-a-finger-on-my-child-for-any-reason-whatsoever is exaggerated IMO. I personally would've said something to the child at the bottom of the slide (and indeed I have done) and if they then didn't move would've tried to lead them away by the hand. But to expect that all parents know that your child can manage to jump out of the way of the sliding child right before getting kicked in the face is unrealistic.


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Old 03-18-2013, 03:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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However I found the overall tone of your blog post to be unnecessarily defensive and angry.
To be completely honest, it is because I was defensive and I was angry.
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But to expect that all parents know that your child can manage to jump out of the way of the sliding child right before getting kicked in the face is unrealistic.
I never expected that of her at all. I understand you advocating for this other mom's intentions but I really want my son to just play. I sought input to how to best manage a conversation the next time it happens. I at least expect all parents to let kids be kids first and I would have appreciated her letting me know she was going to be intervening in such a way. It made me uncomfortable and annoyed because my son could barely do *anything* and before her presence that day, he did everything.

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Old 03-18-2013, 08:24 AM
 
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That really doesn't make a lot of sense.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:43 AM
 
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Loatianmamma, I only read the first post and blog, but seriously, you're being too self-centered about this. Perhaps her child had bumped another child by coming down the slide before the child moved, and that parent over-reacted in some way. She, not knowing your child or you, may simply have been trying to prevent another upsetting incident for her son. Or she may have been concerned about your son's well-being. That's a good thing! That means that someday, when the baby is out and about, and your son is ready to do something dangerous, she is the kind to stop him. If she was polite and gentle, and it sounds like she must have been, since there was no mention of rough handling or yelling in the blog, then thank your lucky stars! I don't know why you took it as attacking your parenting, but I'm glad I won't be around when another parent actually criticizes your parenting.
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Old 03-18-2013, 11:18 AM
 
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I think the difference comes from the fact that OP has two issues: moving her child from perceived danger, and the continued interest in keeping him in "bounds".

 

The first is perfectly valid, even if the boy was not in fact in danger, better safe than sorry IMO. Maybe her kid was a tub, or wearing super slidey pants and hard shoes. The second could seem like she was judging and feeling like she had to keep track of a random stranger because his mama wasn't making good choices. Or she could have just been trying to reach out and help a stranger, or maybe make a friend? No way to know unless you talked to her.

 

I am a total playground wussy. shy.gif I've had two back injuries from playground equipment that give me great pain almost thirty years later. So I would probably be "that mom" who stepped in too soon, and I've done it--but I try not to. I've also "caught" a few two year olds after they were trying to do the six-foot-drop fire-pole when their parents were distracted--and we all look away for a few seconds and sometimes that's all it takes. But I've always taken the kid over to the parent and apologized and explained.

 

When my own kids climb our trees at home, I have to shut the blinds and leave the windows open so that I can hear when they get hurt. My BFF's kids (over 5) would do insane things on playground equipment and I literally couldn't be in the park with them. I finally asked her how she could be so calm, and she said "Oh, I am freaking the F out but I want them to find their own limits". It takes a lot of strength to let kids do their things, and it's a good thing to be able to share your reasoning rationally instead of defensively. Maybe next time you could apologize for the confusion and let her know why you weren't worried about your son moving?

 

If your kid is that physical now, you'll have a whole other set of playground issues in a few years!ROTFLMAO.gifI've had the super physical and yet also small for his age child already. And we're gearing up to do it again! Get readyeyesroll.gif

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Old 03-18-2013, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That really doesn't make a lot of sense.
Which part are you referring to?

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Old 03-18-2013, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Loatianmamma, I only read the first post and blog, but seriously, you're being too self-centered about this. Perhaps her child had bumped another child by coming down the slide before the child moved, and that parent over-reacted in some way. She, not knowing your child or you, may simply have been trying to prevent another upsetting incident for her son. Or she may have been concerned about your son's well-being. That's a good thing! That means that someday, when the baby is out and about, and your son is ready to do something dangerous, she is the kind to stop him. If she was polite and gentle, and it sounds like she must have been, since there was no mention of rough handling or yelling in the blog, then thank your lucky stars! I don't know why you took it as attacking your parenting, but I'm glad I won't be around when another parent actually criticizes your parenting.
Not much help but thank you anyway.

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Old 03-18-2013, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If your kid is that physical now, you'll have a whole other set of playground issues in a few years!ROTFLMAO.gif
I've had the super physical and yet also small for his age child already. And we're gearing up to do it again! Get readyeyesroll.gif

Oh man, he walked when he was 7.5 months and I thought I would never be able to sit down, which is actually still true. I appreciate your input. It makes sense that the other mom's intention could be trying to connect with us and I can probably use that to strike up a conversation next time we run into them. Definitely will at least make it clear that I can handle my crazy 2-year-old so she can take a break haha. Again, thanks for being both helpful and kind in your response.

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Old 03-19-2013, 02:17 PM
 
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 I would have appreciated her letting me know she was going to be intervening in such a way.

 

Fair enough but of course how could she have let you know in the few milliseconds before her child was going to slide down and she had to help yours out of the way? If she had taken the time to locate you (and how would she even have known you were that child's mama? Sometimes at the playground it's unclear) and ask you about your son's abilities or your preferences, her child would have already been down the slide and possibly kicked your child in the face.


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