to think parents should supervise their children in the playground if they don't play nicely.

(78 Posts)
thedancingboro Fri 03-May-13 18:02:45

I was making sandcastles with my 2 year old DS. We had made three with a wall going between each. DS is patting the top of the bucket before lifing it, when a girl (about 3.5) comes and moves his hand and starts patting it. She then put her whole body between him and the bucket and lifts it off.

I bite my tongue.

She then lifts the bucket off, and throws it across the sandpit.

I say to her "if you would like to play, you are welcome to but you mustn't throw the bucket because it could hit another child"

I go and get the bucket, and sit back down. She breaks the sandcastle she has just hijacked DS making. I say:

"Oh dear. You have just broken it. We aren't breaking them - we are making a big sandcastle with walls and tunnels"

She then breaks two more castles (one with each hand).

I tell her that its not very nice, as DS has made those and he is only little so it takes him a long time. She says "so..... Im breaking them"

I ask her where her mummy is (both parents are the other end of the playground sunbathing), and say that maybe she should make some sandcastles with her mummy which she can break, rather than breaking other people's sandcastles.

She then throws sand in DSs face.

I tell her thats a really horrible thing to do and to go away to her mummy.

She goes off, and then returns with her father who tells me not to speak to her like that as she is only little. I ask like what exactly, she flattened DSs sandcastles, and then threw sand in his face. And I summed up what I had said to her (he could only be going on what the child said as he was way, way, way out of earshot).

He then asks if she said sorry, I said no, he told her to say sorry, she did, and then said to me "there you go" and walks away.. As he is walking away, he says to DP (who was sitting on the wall at the edge of the sandpit keeping out of it!) "if youve got something to say, say it". DP ignored him.

The mother then comes over with the child, and in a very loud voice keeps saying "no, we wont go near them, they dont know how to share". After the 4th time of her saying this, I tell her that her DD is welcome to come over if she plays nicely. Then I told her what she had done. She then says "did she say sorry" - I say yes when her father came over. The mother seemed satisfied with that.

DP said to me I am going to get into a lot of arguments if I expect children not to break sandcastles. Its not a problem if a 1 year old comes over and breaks them, but a 3.5 year old I think should know better. DS knows better. I make lovely sandcastles, with tunnels and bridges and walls, and he (and lots of other children that join in) love playing with his dinosaurs in the castles. I have always taught DS its nice to create things rather than destroy them, and he doesnt go around upsetting other children by breaking their sandcastles!!

So am I being unreasonable?!?!!!

thedancingboro Sat 04-May-13 19:35:04

And also, DS was quite upset (not crying) when she lobbed his bucket away, he got a little bit distressed saying "my bucket, my bucket". I told him not to worry & that mummy will get it back. When he got it back, he was very happy to have it back and was filling it when she was distroying what had already been made. Obviously he was upset about the sand in his face.

I dont think its okay for her to distroy things just because he wasnt upset. It sends the message to DS that it is okay for someone to come up and break what you have made.

A friend of mine has a DS a few days younger than my DS. He sometimes hits DS, but DS thinks its a game and laughs (but hasnt yet hit back). My friend tells her DS he should not hit, which I think is the right thing to do. If she said that she is not going to say anything to her DS because my DS wasnt upset - then we probably wouldnt be friends!!!

The other parents sound crap, and my DP would probably have done the same as yours - watch, wait, listen.

Here we get a lot of 'well was it an accident?' after child A whacks child B or similar and its just like the 'say sorry' crap, instantly absolves the DC of responsibility for whatever it is they did. But...I'm thinking of older children really and 3 is still quite little.

The lack of supervision would bother me more than anything else. Relax re the actual sandcastles.

thedancingboro Sat 04-May-13 19:42:05

Fefifo I actually have 2 buckets and 4 spades - we started with taking just one to the playground, but often children want to join in, some will ask DS "can I have that spade" (while taking it from him!) others will just take it.. So I got another bucket and spade so I could give additional children something instead of DS getting upset his has been taken. I dont like upsetting kids by getting the bucket back from them!!! With the second set, even if Ive already let someone use it, I find it easier to say "oh, we do have a spare one - but that child is playing with it - you are more than welcome to use it when they are finished". It kind of makes it easier.

Its difficult thought because not many people bring them. Though I went to a playground once (in quite a rich area) and there were sooo many buckets and spades there -- more than there were children. It was like everyone just left them there. Was lovely because everyone had lots of different things to play with. Dont think it would work in many areas though!!

thedancingboro Sat 04-May-13 19:46:27

DontstepontheMomeRaths I did say to the girl that she could borrow a bucket and make sandcastles with her mummy to break "over there" (pointing to a big empty space a couple of meters away from us), but I think it was at that point she threw sand at DS.

What would you have done if a child threw sand in your childs face?
I dont know what I should have done other than tell her to go away. My first concern was to get the sand out of my DSs eyes - I didnt want her throwing more sand while I was trying to deal with him!!! How would you have dealt with that situation?

thedancingboro Sat 04-May-13 19:52:30

LadyintheRadiator My concern wasnt really the sandcastles - but the lack of supervision that bothered me (like I said in the thread title). Things get destroyed all the time in the sandpit - Im actually relaxed about it, because most children either respond well to an invite to play, or have a parent near to discourage that sort of behavior.

Its been suggested I should have made sandcastles for her to break -- I have done that before, but with much younger children. When they wobble, or crawl over and destroy something and their parent is really apologetic, I actually make a game of it with my DS to make castles for the baby to play with.

I think by the time you suggested she went and built castles over there to squash away from you, she'd already sensed your dislike of her and was reacting. Badly of course.

I know my son who is 4 would have reacted emotionally to how it seems you handled things. He wouldn't have thrown sand though. But I literally only have what is written here and my perception.

The way you were speaking was too advanced for my DS and negative, he wouldn't have understood fully tbh either. He's still learning to share and about waiting a turn and about social interactions and the whys and wherefors. He is the size of a 5 year old but much younger.

His sister at the same age was entirely different. I'm not saying it was ok to throw sand and I can see the Protective Mum was in full force. But it makes me uncomfortable how you term her horrid.

Bored/ ignored children play up. They have swirling feelings within and exhibit it in different ways, especially if their home life is difficult. I always try and be positive with them. Probably as I was that child as a kid. Any rejection was taken badly.

That's why I said I'd have built her some to squash. But very early on. And not the approach you took from the beginning. That approach would work well with a 5 year old but not necessarily if they're younger imo.

Are you a School teacher per chance? wink Maybe you should retrain if you're not. My DD would have loved the sandcastles you built.

My way isn't the right way. It's just what I'd have done. As you asked.

I'm not that articulate so I hope what I'm saying makes sense. Anyway what's done is done now. You handled it well once the Dad confronted you. I'd have panicked.

I do feel you think all 3.5 year olds are really advanced and capable of a good moral compass. They're not.

My son is just turned 4 and struggles a lot. Although I supervise him!

thedancingboro Sat 04-May-13 20:15:33

The approach I took has worked well with most of the children I have come across. When I do play with my son (in a sand pit, or in a soft play place, or wherever) I always seem to end up with lots of kids wanting to play with us. These children dont seem to have a problem with the way I talk to them.

I am not a school teacher. I dont understand what you are saying about retraining though? If Im not a school teacher, I should retrain as what? A school teacher?!!! Very confused!!

thedancingboro Sat 04-May-13 20:20:20

I dont have a problem with kids being naughty - they are uncivilized! I know that!! I personally think if one feels their child is old enough to run around the playground unsupervised, then they should have a better moral compass than this child had! Also, for the sake of the childs safety.

I think its great you supervise your son, and that is all I would want from the parents of this child. As my thread title says, I am not having a go at the child, I am annoyed the parents werent supervising!!!

Yes, I was saying retrain. Even when you talk about soft play and other children wanting to join in with you, it sounds so positive. You sound like you would make a great teacher or teaching assistant or even a childminder.

The parents should have watched her and when they saw she was bored and causing problems around the playground, have either packed up and gone home or started to engage with her and push her on a swing or similar. But not all parents do. Rightly or wrongly. But it's not her fault. I think at age 3, parents should still watch carefully but I accept not all parents do. Certainly not where I live now. When I lived in Surrey, in a very lovely area, it was a completely different experience but where I live now, sadly lots of parents let the kids just get on with it.

Anyway my son is in bed now after a very late nap. And I'm going to watch a movie with my DD as a special treat, so I'm going to try and resist checking back in now, as she would call me on it grin

I never did say YABU or not. I'm sitting on the fence. But you could probably tell that.

MarmaladeTwatkins Tue 07-May-13 14:49:37

Oh God, here we are again.

On Mumsnet, you are NEVER allowed to think a child is naughty or horrible. They are ALL little angels who sometimes just have a bad day and you must sit and smile piously as they stomp about causing havoc and throwing sand in eyes, because it is what children do.

YANBU OP. Maybe a leeeeeeeetle bit OTT with the "ready to call the feds" antics but I would be cheesed off if some little Veruca Salt came and mangled up something my child was enjoying doing.

Also, to the posters saying twaddle like "it is a public sandpit, therefore it is fine for other children to behave poorly right in your face", really? Do you really believe that or are you just being argumentative? Because it is a crock of shit.

MarmaladeTwatkins Tue 07-May-13 14:51:50

Also the child psychologists saying "She sensed your dislike ergo she acted in the way that she did."

WTF?! Really?! Maybe she doesn't get told "no" often enough and doesn't like it much, more likely. I think that OP wanted the child to know that she wasn't welcome to play with her child, didn't she?! And rightly so.

FrenchJunebug Tue 07-May-13 15:29:28

YABU to say the little was horrible. She is still little (you don't know her age she could be a big 2.5!) and destruction is what kids do. In those circumstances I usually say "oh careful", make a joke and get the other kid to play with us.

FrenchJunebug Tue 07-May-13 15:34:53

^ I dont think its okay for her to distroy things just because he wasnt upset. It sends the message to DS that it is okay for someone to come up and break what you have made.^

what an advanced little girl she is! she probably thought, it's fun I do it again.

Also I am one of those parents who let their kids play on their own watching from a far.

WhatKindofFool Tue 07-May-13 15:38:53

grin at Veruca Salt

Oh for crying out loud.

Yes, if you are building elaborate sandcastle a in a playground with little children around you run the risk of them being knocked over.

But.....if your DC is playing and someone takes his toy, knocks down something he was enjoying and kicks sand in his eye, is it actually the "correct" response to say oh well that's ok. Kids like knocking down sandcastles. Never mind that my DC enjoys building them. And obviously it's my own fault that he got sand thrown in his face because I had the audacity to ask the other DC to stop. And what on earth was I thinking playing with my own small child and asking the other child to go away because my DC was upset.

Honestly, it doesn't matter if the DC was 2,3 or 4. A parent should have their eye on them. And I say that as one of the least helicoptery parents ever. But you can't ignore your DC taking toys and ruining a game and throwing sand.

Yes, a bit U to "reach for your phone to call the police"

But I agree with the rest of it.

It wasn't nice, what the other DC said. And it wasn't the ops fault because she somehow picked up on some negativity in her voice??

thedancingboro Wed 08-May-13 07:38:02

FrenchJunebug if she was a large 2.5 - then her parents certainly shouldnt have been out of site (and they were) of their child. A 2.5 year old doesnt have the awareness to keep themselves out of harm (particularly in the playground we were in) at that age. It wasnt a case of them watching from afar, they had no idea of anything that was going on until she went to them and told them. And their response was to come up aggressively attacking my behavior, not to find out what happened.

And neither parent played with the child after this incident. The mother came up to say her piece about me not knowing how to share -- but when I said her DD is welcome to play, if she plays nicely - she didnt take me up on that offer!!! She banned her child from the sandpit!!

And what did her child then do? When the mother had gone back to sunbathe on the grass? She stood outside of the sand pit, picking up sand and throwing it in.

We actually left not long after that because it wasnt pleasant sitting there. So she managed to clear every family out of the sandpit with her behavior!

icklemssunshine1 Wed 08-May-13 08:27:14

You are not being unreasonable! These situations make me so angry, bloody lazy parenting & what makes it worse is that I know I'll be teaching these little darlings when they're teenagers & they have no respect for authority & have never had discipline instilled in them at a young age.

A couple of weeks ago I was at a playbarn with DD (22 months) & a group I boys (around 4) circled her an shouted 'stinky baby'. Obviously she didn't understand by it was the "bullying" mentality I didn't like. After the second time it happened I told the boys off & their mother came over & asked what the problem was. When u explained she whispered something in one boy's ear & he ran off, no word of an apology or anything!

GreenLeafTea Wed 08-May-13 08:37:40

OP, do you think you are being unreasonable?

I'm just not sure why you asked.

Anyway it sounds like a crappy experience so I hope you have a better time next time you are at the park.

cory Wed 08-May-13 08:47:05

I think it is reasonable to expect parents to supervise their child in the sandpit and remove them if they throw sand. But thinking that your toddler has a moral compass if he doesn't break sandcastles is just ever so slightly OTT.

ll31 Wed 08-May-13 08:52:34

Op maybe it's the tone you used when speaking with parents that got the reaction you describe. I think the other child's behaviour in terms of throwing sand at your ds was wrOng. I also think you seem perhaps slightly over invested in your sandcastle making. I'm not sure you should be teacher, I think you may find it hard to remain objective, and also allow for children who do't behaves as you believe they should.
However, I'm sorry you had bad day in the sand pit and genuinely hope you've had nicer days out since.

EmmyFlavs Wed 08-May-13 09:05:06

Urghh what a vile thread, '' and I made a mountain with fifty thousand children'' ''and I made a sandcastle with my son and some brat broke it'' '' and I like to write rude things and put a line through it so its still visible because I am a bitter horrid nasty piece of work''

This is why it took FOUR children before finally deciding to join MumsNet!!!! Now that I have, it has confirmed ONE thing, this is a HUGE SCHOOL GATE environment, with the same nasty pecking order, please FLUSH!!! I think I must have become rather bored, desperate, and possibly disenfranchised , time to make more babies I think,and time to keep away from the beaches at all costs!!!!

sudaname Wed 08-May-13 09:23:29

The problem is sandpits are whatever they are to each individual child. As others have said that means anything goes (except for the throwing in the face which should rightfully be checked) including charging around it making footprints,building sandcastles and best fun of all jumping on them and squashing them.
You are trying to put adult rules of behaviour into the mix because you are in the sandpit.
Obviously if your neighbour had a pile of sand delivered and left in their front garden you wouldn't go jumping on it and kicking it about - because you are an adult and it is theres and on their property.
But this is a communal childrens sandpit

Growlithe Wed 08-May-13 09:40:32

I think your 2yo has amazing dexterity for his age if he can play with dinosaurs in a sandcastle without destroying it.

Machli Wed 08-May-13 10:06:57

I'd have done exactly what you did O.

I had an argument with a man in the park one day (from your description it could have been the same one I think!). He swore at my child. He was a gent though in that he told me he wouldn't "sort" me out himself, his wife would be there shortly and he would get her to do it grin. I told him I would be calling the police immediately she spoke to me but it was up to him. Obviously his wife had more sense than him though as she kept her distance on arrival.

I don't think you were nasty and I would have firmly told her to go away too.

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