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Thread: How would you deal with another mom who is a "helicopter parent" to *your* child? Reply to Thread
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04-11-2013 03:31 PM
scottishmommy Honestly, to me, being free range includes not freaking out if another mom picks up my kid at the playground. I really don't think that would even register on my radar nowadays. that other mom was probably in "mom mode". Annoying? Sure. Worth getting your feathers ruffled? Probably not.
04-01-2013 03:25 PM
Ablemec
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post


I just read about a grandmother who put a soon-to-be crawling baby on a kitchen counter, and the kitchen has a tile floor, and turned her back on him. Given the choice between a helicopter parent and a dangerous one, I'll take the helicopter parent.

 

Well, yes, but that's a silly choice.  Given the choice between a grandparent who leaves a kid on the kitchen counter and a grandparent who sexually abuses a kid, I'll take the countertop grandparent.  Just because there are always worse things in the world doesn't make less bad things ok.

04-01-2013 03:20 PM
pek64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ablemec View Post

Goodness gracious.  LaotianMama didn't say this woman was a horrible terrible person who did an evil evil thing.  She said she didn't like the way the other mother acted with her own child (and I think we can all agree that a mother has a right to feel protective of her child), and wondered how best to handle the situation in the future. A pretty reasonable request.

LaotianMama - I hope you find a way to politely bring up this topic if it happens again.  I have another helicopter parent in my life (my mother in law), but haven't been able to figure out how to communicate with her, but that's a whole other story.

I just read about a grandmother who put a soon-to-be crawling baby on a kitchen counter, and the kitchen has a tile floor, and turned her back on him. Given the choice between a helicopter parent and a dangerous one, I'll take the helicopter parent.
04-01-2013 02:57 PM
Ablemec

Goodness gracious.  LaotianMama didn't say this woman was a horrible terrible person who did an evil evil thing.  She said she didn't like the way the other mother acted with her own child (and I think we can all agree that a mother has a right to feel protective of her child), and wondered how best to handle the situation in the future. A pretty reasonable request.

 

LaotianMama - I hope you find a way to politely bring up this topic if it happens again.  I have another helicopter parent in my life (my mother in law), but haven't been able to figure out how to communicate with her, but that's a whole other story.

03-21-2013 02:34 AM
P.J.

I understand that it's not easy to hear other viewpoints to our own, but I feel that the feedback you've gotten here has been friendly and constructive. People have offered a different perspective. No, it was not what you were expecting or specifically asking for, but please remember we are on the world wide interwebs here and when you put yourself out there on a blog or a massive forum like this, it is reasonable to expect that differing views may be expressed. This thread has not turned into a debate or anything "hot" like I have seen around here. But yes you have gotten some feedback and differing views. I don't think anyone here is advocating helicopter parenting or unnecessarily touching others' kids. It's just that, to many, this specific incident looked nothing like helicopter parenting and we have simply tried to point that out. You were asking a question: "What do I say to helicopter parents all over my child?" and those of us who did not see this as a helicopter situation said so. It makes perfect sense. That doesn't mean it's easy to hear.

 

I once started a thread about how it hurts my heart when I see mamas pushing their newborns around in a baby carriage while the baby screams its head off and the mother more or less ignores it and goes on shopping. 90% of the responses were: "You have no idea what's going on in that mama's life. You are only seeing a 5 minute snippet of her day. Maybe you don't need to judge and feel so hurt". Boy was I surprised! And annoyed. But you know what? They all had a point. It still hurts me when I see that situation and I still believe that in most cases it's negligence, but I remember now that maybe just maybe there's more than meets the eye and it's not the tragedy I believe it to be.

 

We can really learn something and broaden our horizons and perhaps evolve our viewpoints if we are open to hear honest feedback. It's not easy though. I am not saying you should change your feelings but it doesn't hurt you to openly listen to what others are saying and at least consider it for a moment. You are free to dismiss and feel certain about your own views but really there's no need to get defensive.
 

03-20-2013 11:12 PM
LaotianMama IdentityCrisisMama, I love everything you said. It covers both aspects of this 'incident' so I appreciate that. Great conversation lines too, thanks!
03-20-2013 11:10 PM
LaotianMama
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

I think the best we can do is try to assume best intentions when practical (not when someone is obviously being mean), and go from there. If a mom moved my toddler off a slide, unless there was a strong reason to think she was intending to be mean, I think I'd try to assume she was trying to save my toddler from getting hurt. I think it makes playground interactions go a lot smoother when we react in as positive a way as practical (again, so not when someone is obviously over the line.) I would have been annoyed by someone moving my child - I won't lie there - but I think I would have tried to assume good intentions, and I would have said in a cheerful voice, "Oh, he'll be ok! He's actually really good at getting off the slide on his own."
Most suggestions have been along this idea, which I like so it gets an idea across without being mean. Thanks for the input.
03-20-2013 11:28 AM
IdentityCrisisMama

I was just at a playgroup watching my nearly 2 year old walk out of the main room. It was important to me to watch, obviously because she was wandering around outside of the toddler space, but also because I wanted to see how far she would go. A parent (or I think it may have been a nanny) ran from WAY across the room to rescue my child. I was kind of in a daze watching her that I didn't realize what was going on. One one hand I thought it was a bit dramatic to run like that. On the other hand, if I hadn't been watching her attention would have been greatly appreciated. So, I explained to her that I didn't realize why she was running at first and that I had been watching. I told her that I was watching to see how far my toddler would go. And, I thaanked her for her help. 

 

I sometimes, probably like many of you, prefer to watch so I can get a better feel for what my young child will get into, how high and how far she will go. I think just watching is a great way to go for a lot of children. I also don't help on the playground the way some parents do. I'm a fan of the theory that if they can get up on something they can probably get down.  I also think that if a child can't get up on something by themselves they shouldn't really be up there without adult supervision. I usually just make my kids wait to play on something until they are ready to do it by themselves. 

 

I've been happily watching my child on the playground when a parent would help her get up on something, which is a tiny pet-peeve of mine because that's not what I would do and then I also have to parent differently once my child is on a structure they didn't climb themeselves. 

 

I ALSO think that kids tend to live up to expectations. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a kid fall, just as a parent is telling them to watch out. There's something weird about that...and I don't like to get all hippie, metaphysical but that's how I feel and what I've observed. But it's not just that, when I'm close to my DC there is a implied agreement that she can rely on me to help her. She is less cautious and only her dad, sister and I know her well enough to have that sort of dynamic. We know when she is going to jump into our arms, or when she's going to let go of something and fall on us. Other people don't know that and it's not safe, IMO, for someone who doesn't know my DC to hover. Not that you can say all of this on the playground...

 

All of that said...I think other important lessons are learned on the playground and some of them are accepting different parents, theories, values and etc.   What to say has a lot to do with what you're trying to accomplish. 

 

One tip I've learned is that you can sometimes talk to parents though your child, which feels really non-confrontational, IMO.  So, you could say something like, "Peter, would you mind playing over there for a while because you are making that mom and her young child nervous?"  Then you can look to the mom and explain that he plays here all the time and loves to climb up the side or whatever.  

 

In the case of a parent helping my child get up higher than she could go on her own, I may step in and teach her to get down but I may say something like, "Let me help you because it's hard to get down from something by yourself when you've had so much good help getting up here."  

03-20-2013 08:48 AM
Polliwog
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

It's tricky to negotiate playgrounds. On one hand, when you're there with a very small child, the older children can look big and scary and like bullies, even if they're being good. On the other hand, when you're there with a big kid, the very small children can look very delicate and more like babies than toddlers. I know I would not expect a child that young to know to get out of the way when big kids were coming down the slide, or to know not just to sit on the slide and get hurt.

I think the best we can do is try to assume best intentions when practical (not when someone is obviously being mean), and go from there. If a mom moved my toddler off a slide, unless there was a strong reason to think she was intending to be mean, I think I'd try to assume she was trying to save my toddler from getting hurt. I think it makes playground interactions go a lot smoother when we react in as positive a way as practical (again, so not when someone is obviously over the line.) I would have been annoyed by someone moving my child - I won't lie there - but I think I would have tried to assume good intentions, and I would have said in a cheerful voice, "Oh, he'll be ok! He's actually really good at getting off the slide on his own."

My thoughts exactly.
03-20-2013 06:01 AM
mamazee It's tricky to negotiate playgrounds. On one hand, when you're there with a very small child, the older children can look big and scary and like bullies, even if they're being good. On the other hand, when you're there with a big kid, the very small children can look very delicate and more like babies than toddlers. I know I would not expect a child that young to know to get out of the way when big kids were coming down the slide, or to know not just to sit on the slide and get hurt.

I think the best we can do is try to assume best intentions when practical (not when someone is obviously being mean), and go from there. If a mom moved my toddler off a slide, unless there was a strong reason to think she was intending to be mean, I think I'd try to assume she was trying to save my toddler from getting hurt. I think it makes playground interactions go a lot smoother when we react in as positive a way as practical (again, so not when someone is obviously over the line.) I would have been annoyed by someone moving my child - I won't lie there - but I think I would have tried to assume good intentions, and I would have said in a cheerful voice, "Oh, he'll be ok! He's actually really good at getting off the slide on his own."
03-20-2013 05:12 AM
pek64 Look. At a playground, with random parents there supervising their children, it's not at all realistic to think you can make those there treat *your* child a specific way. As long as the parent is polite and respectful, be content. There are a few jerks out there among the well-meaning folks, so one day you may find out for yourself what I'm trying to get through to you. There are other things more important than this incident that you described.
03-20-2013 03:08 AM
LaotianMama
Quote:
Originally Posted by sk8boarder15 View Post

Personally I would be really peeved, but I have no idea what what I would say! My son is 2.5 and very capable on his little blaence bike and I get comments and looks all the time! Drives me crazy. My son is OVERLY cautious, so he rarely get hurt actually doing anything. But ramdom strangers feel the need to but in and say things like "Hes way too little for 2 wheels" and "Where are his knee pads?" 

Good luck mama! 
Thanks, I've gotten great ideas so that's helpful. I don't think it'll be an issue once I do communicate toward her beforehand instead of letting it get to me like that. wink1.gif Maybe this thread can help you out too!
03-20-2013 03:06 AM
LaotianMama
Quote:
Originally Posted by graciegal View Post


Why, because it's not what you wanted to hear?
No, because it's not what I asked help with. Thanks though. Bye.
03-20-2013 03:04 AM
LaotianMama
Quote:
Originally Posted by P.J. View Post

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.

*sigh* I feel as though this thread is clearly void of what my intention was: to get suggestions of what to say and maybe do next time to make it clear to other mom(s) that my kid can climb, play, run as he does without two adults on him like white on rice.

Not that I even need to justify this but this playground is enclosed and is the quarter of the size of a full-sized basketball court. I was literally trailing my son the entire time and actually went and grabbed him from an off-limits ledge. So, yes, I made it quite clear I was his caregiver. Again, I appreciate your input but if you're just going to criticize my blog post and my internal feelings about (wrong or right) then I think it's defeating the reason for interaction on this particular thread. Thank you.
03-19-2013 11:39 PM
sk8boarder15

Personally I would be really peeved, but I have no idea what what I would say! My son is 2.5 and very capable on his little blaence bike and I get comments and looks all the time! Drives me crazy. My son is OVERLY cautious, so he rarely get hurt actually doing anything. But ramdom strangers feel the need to but in and say things like "Hes way too little for 2 wheels" and "Where are his knee pads?" 

 

Good luck mama! 

03-19-2013 08:34 PM
graciegal
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaotianMama View Post


Not much help but thank you anyway.


Why, because it's not what you wanted to hear?

03-19-2013 08:34 PM
graciegal

I think I'm in the minority here but I don't see anything wrong with this situation. Why was it "wrong" for that mom to do what she thought was best for the situation.... might not have been how you handled it, but maybe you were wrong in her eyes not stepping in. And, if so, then who is "right?" Neither or both, but not one or the other.
 

03-19-2013 01:17 PM
P.J.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaotianMama View Post

 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.

03-18-2013 12:45 PM
LaotianMama
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarafi View Post

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.
03-18-2013 12:39 PM
LaotianMama
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

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.
03-18-2013 12:38 PM
LaotianMama
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

That really doesn't make a lot of sense.
Which part are you referring to?
03-18-2013 10:18 AM
sarafi

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

03-18-2013 07:43 AM
pek64 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.
03-18-2013 07:24 AM
Polliwog That really doesn't make a lot of sense.
03-18-2013 02:55 AM
LaotianMama
Quote:
Originally Posted by P.J. View Post


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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by P.J. View Post

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.
03-17-2013 03:13 AM
P.J.
Quote:
Originally Posted by velveeta View Post

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.

03-14-2013 07:15 AM
Escaping

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

03-14-2013 01:30 AM
LaotianMama
Quote:
Originally Posted by A2JC4life View Post

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
03-12-2013 03:00 PM
A2JC4life

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.
 

03-12-2013 01:22 PM
sassyfirechick
Quote:
Originally Posted by skycheattraffic View Post

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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