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MANN: The politics of the playground

Image Credit: SUBMITTED
October 05, 2017 - 12:00 PM

 


OPINION


For the most part I want to teach my children about politeness, empathy and putting others first. I want to inspire them to live selflessly…to a point of course.  

My daughter is mastering waiting her turn, sharing and using please and thank you consistently. Of course she is two so it is a work in progress.

It’s also a challenge because children really seem to learn from experience and mirror the actions of those around them, and there are some really bad examples out there.

With two kids in tow, we usually spend six out of seven days outside at a park.

I am THAT mom, trailing behind, trying to let my daughter discover different things on her own, but always available if she needs a hand or a cheese stick.

I like to make sure she is following the unwritten rules of the playground, letting those faster go first and making sure not to spend too much time on the swing when there are other kids waiting.

I let her know that climbing up the slide is fine by me, but when there are kids coming down, she has to follow the status quo. Plus, she’ll be wiped off the end if she stays — lesson learned.

But what are the rules for parenting other people’s children at the park?

Kids will be kids, I get it, but I think MOST people would like to think they are bringing up decent human beings.

Still, I am baffled by those moments at the park when my daughter and I run into a not-so-pleasant child, acting out as children do, and there is not an adult in sight.

I’m not a violent person, but when someone is treating my daughter unfairly, I feel like ripping my shirt off and exposing my green side.

I don’t miss a beat, searching the crowd for a concerned face that I KNOW will run over at the perfect time and take responsibility for their child’s actions. But sometimes no one comes and I am left wondering if I am supposed to yell at a four-year-old, or calmly explain to my daughter why she isn’t wrong, but she is still going to have to move away from whatever it was she was happily playing on.

It’s frustrating.

I get it, we (parents) all need a break and sometimes while your child is roaming free you just want to hold your coffee and gap out on life. Or maybe you are finally getting in some adult conversation, staying away from the usual topics of boogies and Peppa Pig.

But when my little pint-sized explorer is being shoved to the side, I can’t keep making excuses for bad behaviour.

So where do I go from here? Are situations involving other people’s children off limits or can I intervene if no one else is going to?

— Becky Mann is a 30-something, red haired, mother of two, trying to navigate this life as best she can. She enjoys talking to people and discovering their stories. Still trying to balance her personal and professional life, she juggles work and play. In her spare time Becky can be found visiting with friends, spending time with her family and saving time by reading while walking. She knows there is so much more to come and is looking forward to the continued adventure.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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