Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What would YOU do?

Today, my friend Amy and I decided to have lunch at Chick-fil-a. They boys (B and Luke) were so excited to play on the slide. Rightly so, it's the perfect place for our toddlers to run and play. Except on days when there are five older and bigger kids running around.

I know most of this is my momma bear, you-hurt-my-baby talk, but seriously. If there are younger kids (who are the appropriate age) playing, shouldn't the older kiddos sit out, or at least be told to calm down? I only say this because Benjamin got hurt twice today. The first time a little girl pushed him and he got a gash on the corner of his eye. The second time a little boy (about his age) pushed B, backwards, down the steps. He tumbled, tumbled, tumbled all the way to the floor. And then he screamed. I'm so glad that children's bodies are so incredible durable and flexible!

So, momma's of the world with toddlers, what would you do? I didn't do anything. Amy and I decided that was enough and we packed up and left. But out of respect to parents of younger children, wouldn't the other parents have been more considerate of the little guys running around? Or, momma's of older kids, do you not typically check the play area and let your kiddos make the call? No judgement here - either way - I just want to know what you do.

Patrick said I should call the manager and let them know that the area is being abused, but I know that having a play area means that the rules are going to get broken and it's the parents responsibility to watch their kids. What I wanted to do was go over the the mom and dad of "little bully toddler" who pushed B and tell them what happened, but I lost my confidence and didn't think that was too appropriate :)

Anyways, give me your feedback. And I know this isn't the only time my boy is going to get pushed around or hurt in a public place (by another child). It's just the first time - help me work through this!


Lynnette said...

Oh girl let me tell you I have had this experience before and what really irks me is that the moms of said children who are being crazy just sit in the dining room oblivious!! I still have my teacher side in me and I will tell the kids to knock it off because there are small kids in there or I will go find their parents I have no shame!!! You should not have to leave and I would definitely say something to the other moms and the manager. It should be a fun place for kids to play!!! There you have it my two cents!!!

popsiclesontheporch said...

Ooh...this is a tough one and I've been there a time or two! I would say if all the kiddos were within the specified age limit and height then there is really nothing you can do. If the parents are not around or are simply just not rebuking their child for hitting or pushing I generally will step in and correct if I have to being very careful of course not to specifically single any kid out. For example, using language like "let's not push, or let's not hit. And I know this goes without saying but pray like crazy in the moment for good judgement and wisdom. I have seen two mothers get in an almost physical altercation at the library of all places because of this very thing, so I really try my hardest only to step in when absolutely necessary. In the end though, it is my duty to protect my child and no one is going to look out for them or care for them the way you would. To that end, I don't care if one chooses to see me as the overprotective mama bear. That is my duty.

However, if the kids were well past the age limit and rough housing I would have gone to management so that he could intervene and help parents get kids under control. I have actually had to this before.

jilldamm said...

I once had an experience as a momma of an older child. My son was very active and tended to hurt people without intending to. So, when a parent of a toddler came and yelled at us about our son, it initially made sense, even thought our son insisted that he hadn't done what he was accused of. Luckily, another younger child that we were with asked why our son was crying and when we told him he admitted that he had accidentally hurt the little toddler. That was the end of play areas for me because I didn't want to take the risk of my son hurting a smaller child or being accused of something he didn't do.

Courtney said...

I already have to tell Austin to watch out for littler kids sometimes. (Just like the endless reminders to "be gentle" with his sister at home.) Ideally all parents would do that but it's probably not realistic to expect it from fellow Chick-Fil-A eaters. If a bigger kid bumps into Austin and I'm close by, I just say "hey, watch out for the little kids." But otherwise playing in a place like that just carries some risks.

Luke's Mom said...

I also thought about contacting management and letting them know that the area was being abused. As the other mom present, I was quite shocked that parents were not respecting the rules and also not checking in on their children. I guess that is something we may have to accept unfortunately. As we discussed Sunday night, it's always hard to be around parents that don't have the same morales and values that you do. Next time we will stick together and say something!!!

Erin said...

When Evy was of the younger crowd in the play places, she was completely intimidated by the olders and so I never really had an issue. She wouldn't go in. Then when many of them were her age, she would play but I was determined not to be so lazy as to let her go in unsupervised. Now that she is among the olders, I still keep my same rule only even more diligently. I don't let her in there unless I'm in there and make sure she knows that it is intended for the younger ones and to give them the right of way, in a sense.
I don't think telling management will do you much good. I agree with Melanie's solution.

Alice said...

An older boy shoved Juliette down a 15 ft tall slide which caused her to tumble and roll down. It scared me and her to death. Of course, the mom of the boy was outside chatting on her cell phone. The boy had been picking on all the little kids the whole time he was there. When he slide down, I lectured him about how that behavior was unacceptable and unsafe. He had a really bad attitude. Then his mother came in and asked me why I was yelling at her son, quite rudely I might add. When I explained the situation, she made her son apologize and left. Several parents thanked me for putting an end to the bullying. Someone has to put an end to the bad behavior if the parents aren't doing anything. It's a matter of safety.