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or was this father: softplay etiquette

(175 Posts)
quesadilla Fri 01-Feb-13 09:35:03

Really can't work out if I'm being precious or not but this really irritated me. Took my 2 year old DD to softplay to burn off a bit of energy. She normally loves it and has to be dragged away. There was an older boy in there (I think he was about five or six) with his dad. Dad was "supervising" but in practice was actually glued to his mobile phone and eating crisps. Didn't interact with his kid at all.
As soon as we arrived this kid was in my DD's face, wouldn't give her an inch to play on her own. To be fair he was being friendly and not aggressive, but v v boisterous and he had absolutely no concept that she might not want him bouncing in front of her, following her everywhere.
I kind of tolerated this for about 10 minutes thinking better for her to learn to cope, but my DD, who is quite reserved, was clearly feeling cornered and a bit scared: she tried to go over the little rope hammock/bridge thing which she normally loves. He kept repeatedly going to the end of the tunnel and blocking it so she couldn't get out the other end and it was starting to upset her.
I then started saying, kindly but firmly "can you just give her a bit of space to play on her own, she's only little." Kid would back down after being asked didn't seem to get bigger point about space at all and just kept following her and trying to engage with her. Meanwhile dad was still sitting there texting. Hadn't interacted with his son in any way since we'd been there.
After asking the kid four or five times to give her a bit of space I finally said "look can you just leave her alone for a bit, she wants to play on her own."
At which point dad suddenly storms into action, says to me: "don't talk to my son like that!."
I said to him sorry but my dd is trying to play on her own and your son isn't giving her any space.
"You do'nt own this place," dad responds. "This is for all kids. Don't talk to my son again."
We left at that point. I was quite upset that DD hadn't had a chance to enjoy it and annoyed at being spoken to by this excuse for a father

I really don't know if I over-reacted but surely parents have a responsibility to intervene if their kids are making it uncomfortable for others, even if its well-meant.

CabbageLooking Fri 01-Feb-13 09:36:45

YANBU. What an unhelpful arse.

MrsWolowitzerables Fri 01-Feb-13 09:37:55

I don't think YABU to have been annoyed.

Although I would have approached the Dad and asked him to speak to his son. If he refused then I would have done what you did.

EmmaBemma Fri 01-Feb-13 09:40:40

I don't think you were in the wrong. As the dad wasn't paying attention, he obviously wasn't aware of the lead-up to what you finally said. You shouldn't have left though.

Yfronts Fri 01-Feb-13 09:42:13

Couldn't you just have told son to play with someone else early on? He obviously didn't really get the space thing at all.

Don't think you should have lest and agrees the father didn't do the right thing.

Summerblaze Fri 01-Feb-13 09:43:00

YABU to be making a big deal about the Dad "not interacting" with his child. That is what soft play places are for. I interact with my DC at all other times but soft play is my space to let them have fun and me to have a few moments chatting with friends or reading, obviously not at the age of 2 but 5 or 6 year olds do not want mum or dad following them around.

YANBU to expect him however to intervene if he saw this happening and for him to sort his son out. He was very rude.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Fri 01-Feb-13 09:44:22

YWNBU. Dad was being a twat.

I do wonder if the boy is younger than he appeared - age 5/6 should have been at sch, home ed parents ime display masses of engagement with their dcs when out and about so am discounting that as an explanation. What I am clumsily trying to say is you may have had unreasonable expectations of the child.

Nevertheless the parent should have been watching their child, what an arse.

EmmaBemma Fri 01-Feb-13 09:48:31

I'm the same as you, Summerblaze - I don't play much with my children at soft play now they're bigger. I take the chance to have a welcome sit down. But I do feel the need to keep a regular eye on them, though.

Branleuse Fri 01-Feb-13 09:48:40

i would have told the boy to be gentle and asked him to play nicely, not told him to go away. i think you were a bit mean

WorraLiberty England Fri 01-Feb-13 09:49:05

Perhaps the Dad was MNetting? wink

Over zealous kids can be par for the course in places like that.

When it's happened to mine in the past I've just gone in and played with my child.

That normally puts a stop to it.

Yanbu my ds is 3 but will play with other children by making funny faces and roaring like a dinosaur at them. Sometimes this ends up with them all playing together or sometimes they will try to get away from him. If he continues to annoy the other children I will tell him to leave them alone. I let him get on with it to start off with as he's only practising his godawful social skills but will always keep an eye that he isn't annoying or hurting others. He is big for his age so some might think he's being deliberately annoying when he really only wants to play.

Locketjuice Fri 01-Feb-13 09:53:47

I can completely see where you are coming from my sons 1 and so many times at soft play I'm sure in good intention older children block him get in his face etc and I can see he is getting the arse and just wants to run without being blocked with generally results in falling over, I luckily have managed to escape most times and just move him on the to other side of the play area. Other times I just bring him down for a drink and they generally move on

YANBU to be pissed off with the dad for not stepping in soon and resolving the issue before it got to this

fuckadoodlepoopoo Fri 01-Feb-13 09:53:51

Haha! So here we have a dad being criticised for letting his child play alone at soft play, and very recently there was a post describing those who play with their kids at soft play as showing off!

fuckadoodlepoopoo Fri 01-Feb-13 09:59:00

I think telling the other kid to go away or whatever you said was a bit rude. Those places always have kids who've never met before and of different ages playing together. I think its nice for them to mix.

Would have been better to tell him not to block the tunnel or perhaps taken her to a different bit if he really was upsetting her (and it wasn't just you being a bit over protective).

The dad was over the top though, although it depends on what tone of voice you used.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Fri 01-Feb-13 09:59:15

I have a six year old ds. I can't think how I could interact with him at a soft play centre without looking like a over anxious twat.
The boy didn't actually hurt your dd so I don't know what the problem was. I think it's ok to ask the boy for some space if you really wanted it but given the reaction of the father I'm guessing you weren't exactly diplomatic. The boy is a child too, who's learning important social skills. Perhaps you came across as a bit neurotic and entititled?

Summerblaze Fri 01-Feb-13 09:59:26

Yes, I do make sure that every now and then I have a scout round to make sure they are all behaving although I have a 9 year old who loves to tell me when DS (5) is being naughty. Dad was being a twat. When he realised what was going on he should have apologised and told the boy to be gentler/quieter/go and play somewhere else. Thats what I would have done.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Fri 01-Feb-13 10:01:55

The OP says the boy was being friendly and not agressive. Poor little boy for being snapped at my an over-anxious mother hmm

fuckadoodlepoopoo Fri 01-Feb-13 10:06:37

I feel sorry for the boy too. He just wanted to play!

DeWe Fri 01-Feb-13 10:07:29

I'm not sure a 5yo would understand the term "a bit of space".

They'd think... "I'm giving them space, see, I can hold my arms out and not touch her... she's got space". Like when they're told to make sure they're in a space at school. (remembers sticking out arms and twirling round)

You'd have been better getting him along side. "Can you help her across here, she's a bit scared." "Can you let her go first along the tunnel and we'll wait for her." You never know they might have struck up a friendship with him helping her and you'd been able to relax a bit.

I doubt the dad saw what you saw. What he saw was his ds being friendly and wanting to play, and you telling him to go away.

When you have a 2yo, 5yo seem all-understanding huge lumps. When you have a 5yo they seem just as small and vunerable as you see your 2yo.

valiumredhead Fri 01-Feb-13 10:07:53

OP I would have moved my child, not told someone else's child to move especially as he was being friendly and not aggressive.

BupcakesAndCunting Fri 01-Feb-13 10:08:05

I think YABU

You say that the boy was friendly and not being aggressive. Maybe you would do better to teach your DD to mingle with other kids?

Makes me feel a bit sad reading this as my 5 year old DS is exactly the kind of kid who tries to make friends with smaller kids at these places, just because he is an only child and likes looking after little kids. And I don't think that the dad was all that rude tbh!

Trazzletoes Bosnia-Herzegovina Fri 01-Feb-13 10:08:34

I don't think you were BU. I'd have said the same, but I don't really understand why you left.

BupcakesAndCunting Fri 01-Feb-13 10:09:48

"
When you have a 2yo, 5yo seem all-understanding huge lumps. When you have a 5yo they seem just as small and vunerable as you see your 2yo"

That's very well put, DeWe.

JustGiveMeFiveMinutes Fri 01-Feb-13 10:10:18

It really gets on my nerves when normal behaviour such as friendliness and exuberance are viewed as 'naughty.'

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