prek park.jpgI am not overly protective of my kids, especially at the playground. I let them get scraped up. I do not follow them closely saying, “Oh, you’ll get hurt if you climb up the slide backward.” I let them figure it out. When a 10-year-old comes barreling down the slide, believe me, my kids figure it out.

I let the children try the equipment–even the monkey bars–when they’re comfortable trying it. I don’t push them, and I don’t hold them back. One of my daughters, Estelle, is athletic, confident and fearless. She was playing with 5-year-old boys in the park when she was 2. Some kids are like that.

But this weekend, a parent at the playground crossed the safety line. My husband took the kids to the Montclair Community Pre-K park on Sunday after church. There is a wonderful climbing tree there. But should our 3-year-old Estelle be climbing it?

My husband and I encourage this child to push herself and try new things. We don’t, however, let her do things that will get her killed.

Another mother at the playground that day, a woman we know from church, followed Estelle to that climbing tree. My husband didn’t think much of it because Estelle can’t reach the tree. Therefore, she cannot get into any tree-climbing conundrums. The woman was just talking to Estelle, and everything seemed fine.

But then, my husband saw the lady lifting Estelle into that climbing tree. He ran over to the woman and pulled Estelle down. He said to that mother, “When she can climb the tree herself, I’ll let her climb it. Until then, Estelle is grounded.” Daddy was angry, but the conversation didn’t go any further.

The woman gave my husband the stink eye and then a huff. Then she walked away. It sure will be fun running into her next Sunday.

What would you have done? I probably would’ve been all nice and polite about it. “Please don’t let my child climb that tree,” I can see myself saying. But inside, I would’ve felt like whooping that mom’s behind.

I definitely don’t think it’s appropriate for random parents to hoist any child–even a 12-year-old–up into a climbing tree. I know I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t touch any child on any playground, for that matter.

What do you think about this playground drama?

7 replies on “Playground Drama: What Would You Do?”

  1. Agreed, not appropriate. I don’t know the place and I don’t know how high the tree was so it’s hard to say how upset I would be myself, but even if she wasn’t a mother, which it says she was, she should have known better.

  2. If I was the woman putting someone’s young child in a tree, I would at least apologize profusely after the confrontation with her dad – not give the stink eye. Dad was not wrong for being upset!

  3. Not appropriate. At the very least the woman should have asked Dad if she could put Estelle in the tree before taking it upon herself to do so.
    On a side note, does anyone know of a good pediatrician in Baristaville? Wifey is due in a few months and we would like to check out some docs and facilities.

  4. I have been in similar situations many times. Nobody ever actually lifted my child without permission. I did let anyone who asked know that my policy was to let them climb what they can when they can alone; no help getting up, but help getting down. Also many times have had to refuse requests from stray children themselves asking repeatedly for me to please lift them up. I think I would have said the same as what “Daddy” said but would like to think I would not have done it angrily. It’s hard to say really because it would be a shock to witness someone physically being irresponsible with my child. So it’s understandable that he reacted the way he did. Getting the stinkeye from someone like Awomanweknow is really a badge of honor. Lets you know you must be doing something right.

  5. I am glad my daughter finds climbing trees to be wrong and hurtful to the tree but i have been in positions in brookdale park where i have had to set some kids straight about what is safe with the parents either not caring or not in view of what it going on. I one time i had a child throwing huge rocks at my daughter. I was in udder shock. I told my daughter to move away and she continued. I tried to reason with the girl that she could hit my daughter and seriously hurt her. She continued! I walked over to the child and said to her, if she dared picked up another rock and threw even if it was not towards my daughter she would find herself in serious trouble. I didn’t know what that trouble was but she ran out the park and told her father who could careless to be bothered.

  6. i would have freaked out on her. kind of like how i told a mom two weeks ago at Fire Island “I said: ‘Don’t let her touch the baby!!'” when her snotty toddler’s hand kept going for my 5 month old’s eye balls. And that was before the swine flu chaos erupted!
    And to emilic: “Just asking, why is this child’s hair pink?” Because if it was purple we’d never know who is who! 😉

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