Saturday, May 15, 2010

Parks and Playgrounds: Places where Parents need to Parent!

Parks and playgrounds can be a parent's salvation.  Of course, it's fun for the kids - but it also gives mom or dad a break from being the sole entertainer.  Kids don't just learn how to swing, slide and climb there, but they learn how to put into practice all sorts of lessons that we, as parents, have been trying to instill in them: Follow rules. Be friendly.  Be kind to others. Take turns.   Don't take what doesn't belong to you. Keep your hands to yourself. Don't throw things. Mind the adults....and the list goes on.

I am boggled by these parents who take children to the playground as an excuse to take a break from parenting. I am always surprised by children who come up to me to talk or want me to play with them - with their parents not far off texting, talking, phoning or reading.  How did I get nominated as community parent?  I love kids and I know I am good with them, but I try not to interact with kids unless their parents are right there.  And even though I'm a nice person, I am, after all, technically a stranger. Granted, most parents there are involved and responsible, but you can never be too careful when it comes to children. 

"Where is all this coming from?" you ask?  Well, last week Iain met me at the mall after work so we could grab some sushi in the food court (don't laugh - our mall's sushi place is really good!)  Gianna was a good sport during supper so we opted to swing by the play area on our way out.
She had a ball performing on the little stage.  And she's really so cute to watch when she sees other children and she played so nicely. 
There was another little girl there (maybe three) who was friendly and had an excess of energy.  She kept wanting me to talk to her and play with her when I was trying to keep an eye on Gianna.  I'd try to get a couple of pics of Gianna and this little girl kept getting in the way.
She wanted me to take pictures of her and then show her them to her on my phone.
I know that all sounds minor, but that actually wasn't the issue that blew us away.  A little 3 year old boy and his dad entered the play area and the busy little girl leached on to him.  She was actually fairly pesky toward him and at one point swatted at him and hit him.  He started crying and ran to his dad telling him what happened.  The dad was great and said, "Shake it off, and tell her to please leave you alone."

And let me say at this point that the girl's mother and father were both in the play area at opposite ends -- each on their phones.

The boy kept telling the girl to leave him alone and she kept trying to hit him. Finally the boy's dad told the little girl to leave his son alone. That little turkey rared back and HIT THE LITTLE BOY'S FATHER!  Can you believe that? A three year old girl hitting a grown man she didn't know!  And to top it off - the girl's mother saw everything and didn't do squat! Unbelievable. 

Iain and I looked at each other, collected Gianna and got the heck out of dodge.  As we were leaving I noticed a text on my phone.  It was from my clever and subtly sarcastic husband....
I've heard many stories of parents who bring their kids to the play area in the mall and then leave them there unsupervised in order to go shopping. That is so alarming to me.  But the parents we saw were really no better ~ they may have well been shopping.


  1. That must take place everywhere bec almost every time we go to the park there one of those "parents" (I guess I call them parents). It is such an honor to have children in the first place. I can't imagine being like that.
    OR another thing that gets my goat are rude parents! Like the kind that don't reply to you when you are right next to them pushing the kids on the swing. Maybe its bec I am from the south where people actually talk to each other. I could go on but bec I am attentive parent I need to go :-) It only happened once but those types of events one does not forget!

  2. I once had a playground run-in and just thinking about still makes me mad! Some people! Some people's kids!

  3. I can't believe you only have 2 comments about this blog...It's so true! You know what I get into....I am a talker. Yeah, me! I love to talk to any adult when I can! Sometimes when kids are playing I'm so interested in what the other adult is telling me I don't always notice what my kids are doing! So, if you see me in public play areas just remind me my kids are there too! Just sayin!


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