Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pet Peeve #6

So a big pet peeve of mine are mothers (or fathers) who use the park as "social" time and neglect to actually parent their child(ren).  

Today is one of those freaky warm days before it heads back into the chilly blustering winter cold, and like most people took advantage of it.  To the park we go. 

Mason always runs full steam ahead when arriving at the park.  He knows what he likes and he goes for it.  Up the ramp and down the slide.  Then he sees the fire truck, one of his favorites, and climbs aboard.  Well there are about 4 girls already on it, I am guessing kindergarten age. This does not concern me cause Mason has never run into a problem on the fire truck with other kids.  That is until these girls.  

It's obvious they don't like playing with boys.  They shout, "ew, there's a boy getting on." Mason ignores them, like he should, and goes to play.   Well the girls don't like this.  They don't let him get to anything.  Dissapointed and not understanding what he did wrong, Mason climbs off and heads to something else.  But he keeps eyeing the truck.  He turns to me and says, "Mommy, I want to go on fire truck."  As if he is looking for my permission.  I of course give it to him because is no reason he can't.  There is plenty of room for all of them share.  So he tries again. This time the girls get a bit nastier.  They tell him to "go away" and that he can't play on it.  They push him away saying, "stop, it's mine."  I see the hurt and confusion on his face.  He tries one more time to play but they keep pushing him and I am about to intervene when Mason decides to get off and once again play on something else.  

Now here I am thinking my son is only 2 years old and handled that situation like an adult.  Not pushing back, not saying nasty things, just walking away.  What disturbs me about it though are the girls moms, sitting only a few feet away, observing the whole thing and doing nothing.  They let their kindergardeners push my little toddler around as if it is acceptable.  Now maybe I am making a bigger deal out of it than it is but it's not he first time things like this have happen at the park.  

Other times Mason will have just gone down the slide, not yet off and an older kid comes barreling down it, not checking to see if anyone is still on it, and slams right into my son.  Does the kid apologize?  No, he just runs off.   Does the parent correct him?  No.  They aren't paying attention.  Their Starbucks and gossip are way more appealing.  Another time Mason was climbing the stairs to the slide, when two older girls come running up behind him and try pushing past him, telling him it is their turn and get out of the way.  Where are their parents telling them to wait their turn?  Backs to the playground, gabbing away.  It's frustrating.  

Maybe I am the only one who actually gives a crap and pays attention to my child as he is playing.  To make sure he is not only being safe and polite but hasn't wandered off and been kidnapped.   If I see him acting inappropriately I immediately correct his behavior and remind him that if he can't be polite or share we will have to leave the park.  I mean, honestly is this too much to ask of a parent?  Now I am not expecting kids to behave at all times, Mason surely doesn't.  It's just human nature.  But that doesn't give us the right to fall asleep at the parenting wheel.  Children (and some adults even) need constant reminders of what is and is not appropriate behavior. With consistent practice and acceptance of our own actions, as well as the consequences that result, only then can we become mature individuals.  This is the point of parents.  To teach our children this concept.  Duh!

I just worry about the effect it will have on Mason's self esteem, being constantly bullied by other kids.  I desperately want to jump in to scold and lecture these children when I see them acting so rude and mean to my son, but I have a hard time with disciplining other people's children.  There is a boundary; and I'm not one to temp crossing it, especially since some people are very particular about someone else disciplining their child, even if they don't.  So I try to teach him to not take crap from the other kids.   Such as, not letting them take toys out of his hands, etc.  But in teaching him to stand up for himself I struggle with the thought that he might bully others in the process not understanding that fine line.  *sigh*

My point;  basically wake the hell up and be a freaking parent.  There are no vacations or "lunch breaks" in the world of parenthood.  
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