I have finally sat down from a day of days. Trying to get O out of the house this morning to get to a car service appointment was like pulling teeth. It’s hot and muggy, so THAT doesn’t help matters. We get to the Kia dealership and for a second time, the playroom for use while you wait with your child, was filthy. Nasty filthy. Sorry Kia, not impressed! Anyway, O was being really good, so I figured while I was on the other side of hell’s creation, we would go to an indoor play area that he loves at the Mall. This is where my rant begins.
As a parent, when I take my child to a play area, playground, you name it, my first priority is to watch my child. On occasion, I have met a friend at a playground, and while we try to chat and catch up, we both have our eyes on our children. We are consistent with guiding our children in play. You know, the basic stuff. Wait your turn…no pushing…no grabbing. This is the mom I want to be friends with. You know why? Cause this Mom understands that a trip to the mall play area isn’t time off for her. It’s not “let’s check my Facebook on my phone and tune out for a few minutes.” Trust me, I know how much we all want some time to ourselves. I am the first one to say it. But this isn’t the time.
Taking your child to a group play area is an opportunity to teach your child how to interact socially with others, through play! I am not talking about helicoptering. I’m talking about guiding when it is clear your child does not know which road to take. If I saw my son push past another child to go first down the slide, I would take him aside and explain that we don’t do that. By WE I mean, a civil kind society, does not do that! If my child just grabbed a toy from another child on the playground, I would explain, yet again, that we don’t do that! We do not just take from others. We can ask if we may use the toy…or if we may take a turn. But we do not just take! What hope do our children have in this world without some guidance?
I have taught O to wait his turn. I have taught him not to go down the slide until it’s all clear. I have taught him that we don’t grab or push. I am under NO illusion that these “rules for play” won’t need to be reiterated time and time again with him. Of course they will. He is two. And he is a child. It is not any child’s fault for their behavior, lack of manners or lack of restraint. They are children. It is not their job to remember the things that will serve them as they grow up in this world. It is the job of the parent to remind them (again and again) until it becomes the child’s second nature.
I was so freaking annoyed at the play area today. Countless parents tuned out, letting their entitled children push past others. Some Moms were hovering, but more engaged in chatting with their mommy friends. I get it. We are starved for connection with another adult. Especially one going through the same trials and tribulations. But your child has decided to continuously walk up the slide and block it while other children are waiting to go down. He is completely disregarding other children; ones that are much younger and smaller than he is. He is now lying on the slide completely blocking its path. This is going on now for a bit of time. You do realize that you can say NO to your child, right? I’m not saying you have to go all Joan Crawford on your kid, but at least a gentle reminder that we don’t do that! Do you really think you are helping your children by not giving them guidance? Do you somehow think you are letting them find their way organically on their own? Or…are you just so unaware and ignorant that you think pushing and taking are good? I tell you, I am still shaking my head.
I have been alarmed at the behavior of parents of all ages, races and socioeconomic backgrounds. This epidemic of lack of respect is a wide spread problem. This sense of entitlement being embedded into children’s minds is happening right there on the playground. It’s plain as day to anyone tuned into it. And parents are just sitting back, checking their phones and letting it grow like the social cancer it is.
Yes, I’m pissed. Cause it’s right in front of me. The problem and the solution.
Until next time, keep fighting the good fight, and remember behind every great kid is a mom who is pretty sure she is screwing it up. Thanks for reading.