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to think parents should supervise their children in the playground if they don't play nicely.

(78 Posts)
thedancingboro Fri 03-May-13 18:02:45

I was making sandcastles with my 2 year old DS. We had made three with a wall going between each. DS is patting the top of the bucket before lifing it, when a girl (about 3.5) comes and moves his hand and starts patting it. She then put her whole body between him and the bucket and lifts it off.

I bite my tongue.

She then lifts the bucket off, and throws it across the sandpit.

I say to her "if you would like to play, you are welcome to but you mustn't throw the bucket because it could hit another child"

I go and get the bucket, and sit back down. She breaks the sandcastle she has just hijacked DS making. I say:

"Oh dear. You have just broken it. We aren't breaking them - we are making a big sandcastle with walls and tunnels"

She then breaks two more castles (one with each hand).

I tell her that its not very nice, as DS has made those and he is only little so it takes him a long time. She says "so..... Im breaking them"

I ask her where her mummy is (both parents are the other end of the playground sunbathing), and say that maybe she should make some sandcastles with her mummy which she can break, rather than breaking other people's sandcastles.

She then throws sand in DSs face.

I tell her thats a really horrible thing to do and to go away to her mummy.

She goes off, and then returns with her father who tells me not to speak to her like that as she is only little. I ask like what exactly, she flattened DSs sandcastles, and then threw sand in his face. And I summed up what I had said to her (he could only be going on what the child said as he was way, way, way out of earshot).

He then asks if she said sorry, I said no, he told her to say sorry, she did, and then said to me "there you go" and walks away.. As he is walking away, he says to DP (who was sitting on the wall at the edge of the sandpit keeping out of it!) "if youve got something to say, say it". DP ignored him.

The mother then comes over with the child, and in a very loud voice keeps saying "no, we wont go near them, they dont know how to share". After the 4th time of her saying this, I tell her that her DD is welcome to come over if she plays nicely. Then I told her what she had done. She then says "did she say sorry" - I say yes when her father came over. The mother seemed satisfied with that.

DP said to me I am going to get into a lot of arguments if I expect children not to break sandcastles. Its not a problem if a 1 year old comes over and breaks them, but a 3.5 year old I think should know better. DS knows better. I make lovely sandcastles, with tunnels and bridges and walls, and he (and lots of other children that join in) love playing with his dinosaurs in the castles. I have always taught DS its nice to create things rather than destroy them, and he doesnt go around upsetting other children by breaking their sandcastles!!

So am I being unreasonable?!?!!!

HollyBerryBush Fri 03-May-13 20:53:02

I'd LTB grin if my DH sat there with a face of disaffected CBA-ed-ness whilst I was clutching my mobile, scrabbling to ring the police, in the throes of torment over a sandcastle.

I feel like you'd judged that poor girl before she even got to you and to term her as horrid and tell her to go away. Didn't seem very kind to me. I try not to judge based on what their parents are up to either.

My kids are now 4 & 5 but I'd never have spoken to a young child like that but then again I'm not sure I ever made that sort of effort on sandcastle building. I'd have built some for her to squash and chatted to her. Especially if she seemed bored or at a loose end and her parents were ignoring her. Maybe that's just me though and my kids now love making a friend to play with at the playground for 30 mins.

Exhaustipated Fri 03-May-13 21:15:19

I'm afraid it dosent sound as though you handled it in the best way. I think you sound as though you didn't want her there from the beginning, and she probably picked up on that. Three year olds can be very very difficult if they feel like they're being pushed away- you will probably discover this yourself when your DS gets bigger.

It really isn't that your DS 'knows better' than to break a sandcastle. He just hasn't reached that rebellious stage yet. Pretty much all children go through it at some point.

But these things are very difficult, and it doesn't sound as though the parents handled it very well either. I agree with your overall point that they should have been supervising more closely.

nailslikeknives Fri 03-May-13 21:39:21

The criteria!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1.Callous unconcern for the feelings of others;
2.Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations;
3.Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them;
4.Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence;
5.Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment;
6.Marked readiness to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society.

There may be persistent irritability as an associated feature.

Fuckity fuck fuck ... We're all doooooomed!!!

bbface Fri 03-May-13 21:41:34

I am with Holly. Quite ridiculous. My DS is 2.7, if he was in a sandpit I would be fairly relaxed about him knocking own sandcastles I.e. I would suggest he build them rather than knock down, and get down with him to build them, but if he knocked over a few purposefully, I would probably just shrug. That's the name of the game at sandcastles. I would however remove him if he threw sand in the face of others.

The parents sound a bit odd, preoccupied the their child with saying 'sorry'. I have seen this quite a bit actually, parents desperate to squeeze out a sorry from their child, as though this automatically and magically resolves anything and everything. Most of the time,the child has no grasp whatsoever of why they are actually saying sorry.

ll31 Fri 03-May-13 22:06:47

Yabu , breaking sandcastles is best bit!

<wonders whether she should say to OP that she may well be eating her words when her DC is 3.5>

Goldenbear Fri 03-May-13 22:15:13

I personally, would discourage my DC from stamping on someone else's sandcastles but if my youngest did it, she's just turned 2, I would expect someone to be quite forgiving. I think in a sandpit a huge detailed creation is hard to protect, I'd be miffed if I was on a sandy beach and it wasn't very busy.

VinegarDrinker Fri 03-May-13 22:15:18

Children are not divided into two groups "nice" and "horrid".

My 2y 2m old "plays nicely" most of the time through luck of the draw but catch him when he's tired and he can push and grab with the best of them.

YABU unless your child was crying or upset when did you have to say anything to the girl, if you had left them alone maybe he would have built the castle and she would have knocked them down, the perfect game. Also both my kids were massive at two they looked like 4/5year olds. the parents were a bit crap but I wouldn't stress over it

Fefifo Fri 03-May-13 22:30:35

I agree with you OP, the child does sound horrid. Even if you think that 3 years old isn't old enough to know not to go around trashing smaller kids' sand castles, I'm sure it's old enough to be familiar with pain and to know that's what the result of throwing sand in other kids' eyes is. As for the suggestion that you should have stopped building the sandcastles with your child who was enjoying doing so, so that you could build them with her for her to knock them down while her own parents sunned themselves undisturbed? Erm, no.

I didn't say she should do it. I said I would have. Not the same.

Fefifo Fri 03-May-13 22:53:36

Fair enough dontstep, but you did seem to make the correlation between you doing that and your kids now enjoying making friends at the park. I would of told the girl to sod off (and did in similar situations) and haven't found my 5 year old less willing or capable of making a friend at the park for it.

notnowbernard Fri 03-May-13 22:54:53

You'd have told a 3yr old to sod off? Really?

Why?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sat 04-May-13 00:07:12

You were using a public sandpit. Really..if you're going to expect to be able to make fancy sandcastles in a place like that then you're setting yourself up for trouble.

She doesn't sound very nice as 3.5 year old's go...BUT...some 3.5 year olds are more toddler-like than others. Some can empathise and some can't.

You could have made messy castles and let DS join in breaking them up too. 99% of all DC love smashing sandcastles. Fact.

ll31 Sat 04-May-13 09:00:02

Thinking about this I think you maybe need also to start standing back and let your ds play by himself too,ie without always showing him how to play . You come across as v directive in how to play 'properly '.

tangstar Sat 04-May-13 09:17:20

OP I think you were very restrained! What an annoying little girl.

If I had been you I would have told her loudly and firmly "You do NOT break things other people have made. That's not kind. If you want to break sandcastles, go and make some of your own."

Then I would watch her like a hawk and physically put myself between her and whatever she intended to destroy. It would have been different if she knocked into them by accident or something, but it clearly wasn't that.

lljkk Netherlands Sat 04-May-13 09:36:46

I am kind of on the fence.
They were pushy oblivious bastards but OP's style was combative too. Takes 2 to Tango, and all that.

loofet Sat 04-May-13 11:23:45

I wouldn't describe a three year old as 'horrid'. They all have their moments, bad days etc. I would, however, say her parents should have been supervising her and playing with her. Sounds to me like she was acting out for their attention sad

greenformica Sat 04-May-13 11:48:25

I think it's quite reasonable to expect a child not to destroy sandcastles or throw buckets/sand in faces. My kids wouldn't do that sort of thing and if they ever did they would stop when asked.

The parents must know what the child was like and should have been watching her. I think you have to lead by example and also show your child that you don't have to lie down and accept nasty behavior - but can deal with things fairly. Your child will in turn be more confident in sorting out issues in the future.

Fefifo Sat 04-May-13 11:50:10

No, I wouldn't really tell a 3 year old to 'sod off' but at the moment she barged my kid off their own bucket and spade I would of told her very firmly that it's not hers and to go and ask her mummy for her own. But then I really don't get this preoccupation with making toddlers share every single thing in their possesion. Coming to the park with a bucket and spade isn't the same thing as coming to the park with a ball. It's not a group activity. If the girl had stood up nicely and waited then yes I would of course share once my toddler had finished but as I think they are perfectly capable of basic manners at 3, pushing and shoving would of gotten her nowhere.
I also don't see how whether knocking down sandcastles is a pleasurable activity for this girl or every other child on the planet is relevant. The OP and her child were enjoying building them so to me it's the same as knocking down a bunch of building blocks another kid is building or ripping up a picture they're painting. However much fun it would be for the kid doing these things doesn't detract from the fact it's a mean and nasty thing to do. And most decent kids, and most kids are decent as opposed to horrid, are a bit more careful with smaller kids and what they're doing at the playground, not less. The fact the girl had already been annoying other toddlers, to me, underlines the fact that she was being horrid.

BigBlockSingsong Sat 04-May-13 14:26:16

The throwing sand was definitely cause to be firm, so you did right there.

my son went through a horrible agressive stage that seemed from nowhere, I am in no shape or form aggressive, so ya' know kids are unpredictable, but I am a bit helicopter though to avoid things like that.

But the bit about getting ready to call police makes you sound quite hysterical, why because a man came over with his child mildly upset?

thedancingboro Sat 04-May-13 19:19:17

I am very sorry if my sandcastle building (to my internal Mary Poppins soundtrack) upsets others, or makes them feel inadequate, but I actually think children NEED positive attention. If they dont get it - they go looking for attention and the type they get is negative.

I dont hover over my child all the time, he is very independant and plays by himself, or without me and with other children lots. However, I do think its important to play with your children, and I enjoy playing with him. Is that a crime?!! Its instantly assumed that I hover over my child because I get involved with him?!! I think its my duty as a parent to guide my child on how to conduct himself in life. I am not saying he is perfect by any means - but I keep an eye on him, so when he ISNT well behaved - it is me showing him its not okay - not someone else. Also, I think parents should be aware of where their children are in the playground, the climbing frames are high, with nets which children can fall from, the seasaws have a big gap that a hand could easily be put in when they go up, and I have seen more than once, a child run in front of swings while people are on them.

My point about making big, exciting sandcastles, wasnt to make myself sound great - but to show that other children (often who initially come over distructivly) can all join in and enjoy creating rather than distroying. Fair enough some children may like to break sandcastles - but then I think they should break their own.

Should the little girl be allowed to rip flowers up from the flower bed because she is small and doesnt know any different, and that its enjoyable!??

It is our job as parents to civilise the uncivilised. And if you choose to not guide your child - I think you have a bit of a cheek to be annoyed when other parents do. She was welcomed to play - she chose to be distructive and mean.

Interesting. I thought that girl needed positive attention. That was why I suggested building her a few sandcastles to squash. As opposed to your approach.

But I do think it's great that you play with your son to that extent.

I just didn't like you calling her horrid and telling her to go away. I do not even say that to my own kids.

thedancingboro Sat 04-May-13 19:25:43

And to the person that said my DP is wet for not getting involved - the father took his tshirt off as he walked up - exposing his muscles - and was instantly confrontational. I was very calm, and made points which he couldnt really have a go at me about. He couldnt tell me what I had said to his DD that he didnt like. And when he had nothing to say - he wanted to "start" on DP. I am not going to let my family be intimidated by aggressive people - and yes - I was prepared to call the police - but thats not to say I was scrambling for my phone while DP cowered in his boots. He was sensible not to say anything to someone that was looking for trouble. I stood my ground with him and didnt take him having a go at me. Why should I just move away from the sandpit like the other mothers?

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