Thursday, September 20, 2012
playground drama, take two
This afternoon, G and I headed out for a quick jaunt to our closest playground, the one at the library. It was the scene of G's first encounter with a bully. There were several other kids there, mostly older toddlers or pre-schoolers. One set was a mom with a baby in a carrier and her three year old son. Another set involved a grandfather with a 4-5 year old boy and a 3 year old girl.
I started talking with the mom after our boys collided accidentally. No one was hurt, and they both went back to playing pretty quickly. While G was playing, I noticed every once in a while the grandfather would try to instruct one of the two kids he was with. He would say things like, "Don't climb up the slide because that kid wants to come down" or "stop running into the road." For the most part, his two grandchildren ignored him. Most of the time, they laughed at his meager attempts at discipline and ran off.
At one point, I noticed the grandfather's little girl try to pick a fight with the mom's little boy. She shoved him, and the mom separated them. She shoved him again, and he went to shove back, so the mom separated them and herded the boy off to another area to get away from her.
G decided he wanted to go down the curly cue slide. He sat down and got himself all prepped to push off when the little girl came up behind him. She sat down behind G and started pushing, yelling at him to move out of the way. After a moment of that, he started getting upset and just wanted to abort the attempt to slide, but she kept on pushing and yelling. I was standing below them, on the ground, and she was watching me. I told her to stop pushing him. She looked at me, raised her hands, and pushed some more. I told her again, and she lifted her feet, and while watching me, kicked him hard in the back. I rushed to the nearest stairs and climbed up, but by the time I got there, G had run off, upset.
Soon after that, the little girl ran after the mom's son who she had shoved earlier. She pushed him hard, and the mom immediately stepped over, saying that was unacceptable. The girl continued, chasing the boy around the playground and pushing him repeatedly. The boy was crying and yelling, "No, stop!" over and over, but the girl ignored him. The mom called over to the grandfather to do something, saying the girl would not leave her son alone. He verbally reprimanded the girl without even going over to her.
I went onto the platforms to follow G around, and when he ran down one area, the little girl followed. I hurried after him, but I was too late. The girl shoved him hard in the chest and down he went. He sat up, looking at her like she was crazy, and started crying. At that point, I was pissed. I yelled at the girl, who was still putting hands on my son, to go away and leave him alone.
I picked G up as the grandfather walked over, and I just lost it. I said, "She is going around pushing other kids and being very mean. You need to do something other than just standing around. Our kids can't even play!" He didn't even reply. He just stood there looking bewildered.
It took a while to calm G down, and by then, his nerves were shot. He just wanted to go home. He signed for water and pointed at the car, so we headed out. In the parking lot, I met up with the other mom who had also been chased off by the crazy child. Neither of us could understand why the grandfather would just stand there and allow these children to terrorize others. It's not like he wasn't paying attention; he was constantly following them around, verbally trying to instruct them to get of the road and leave other children alone. At one point, he even said they were leaving, but of course he did nothing to make that happen.
I understand that, being a grandparent, this man really might not have known what to do with these kids. Maybe he doesn't watch them often. Maybe they're so out of control that he just doesn't have a clue what to do. But when your child is hurting other children on the playground, you need to physically step in and remove that child. He had two moms complain that the little girl was shoving others, but he just stood there and did nothing.
Frankly, it was just lazy parenting. He didn't want to have to go in and stop them from doing anything. And he was too lazy and ignorant about the whole situation to pack up the kids and leave. What will that three year old be like if you allow her to hurt other people now? It's really not that hard to follow up on your threats, people.
All I know is, as we pulled out of the parking lot, they were still playing there without a care in the world.