WIBU to have reacted this way to children at the park?

(44 Posts)

At the park this morning there were a group of 4, very boisterous boys aged about 8. This play area is specifically for under 8s by the way and the parents were in no way supervising their DC. They were sat on a bench surrounded by luggage which led me to believe they were just waiting for a train from a nearby v. big train station.

I was there will a 2 year old (I'm a nanny) and there were a few other toddlers/babies in the play area. He ran to go and play on the climbing, adventure frame thing and the other boys soon decided that was better than the see-saw they were trying to break. They started to hiss in his face and call him names- he was totally oblivious to what they were doing and was concentrating on walking across a step bridge.
I didn't want to intervene immediately because he was ignoring them, so I was watching at a distance of about 5m.
Within a few seconds they then progressed to pretending to kick his face (stopping their foot less than 10cm from his face) at which point I ran over.
I wanted to say "how would you feel if somebody bigger than you tried to kick you" and it came out in French as "do you want someone bigger than you to kick you in the face?" blush
I told them he was only little and they should be careful if they are going to play in a park for smaller children. I said I would tell their mums if they bothered him again. I went over to mention it to the mums anyway, and they just shrugged and said boys will be boys!

What would of been the best course of action in the situation? Fortunately my charge didn't seem at all fazed, and if they had kicked him I don't know what I would have done.

Sorry it's long, didn't want to drip feed.

I've never seen 8 year old behaving in a similar manner, but I assume it was a bit of pack mentality and they rounded on the smallest person there to assert themselves. They were very silly but I think it was more of a case of showing off to each other rather than being vicious and trying to hurt/upset the little one.
How on earth they thought they would get away with it is beyond me!
Thanks everyone for your thoughts, not sure why I was doubting myself, I'm not new to the nannying game grin

NannyAnna Tue 08-Jul-14 15:07:50

Op, you know your charge best, sounds like you handled the situation perfectly. As a nanny we have to daily make these snap decisions about how to react to children's behaviour. We try our best! But there is no right way, kids have to learn that not everything is sunshine and flowers and that sometimes as humans we have to ignore horrible people! It really makes my blood boil when I see people above commenting criticising! Being a nanny isn't easy and when people say " I would have dismissed my nanny immediately for this" I mean for heaven sake!!!

And for gods sake you can't hover over a 2 year old constantly. 5 metres is perfectly close enough and op was obviously watching her charge! If you are on their back every second you will end up with a very needy child and future adult!

DoJo Tue 08-Jul-14 14:24:10

DoJo Yes but in that scenario, your child may have thought it was fun, but the other children were being purposefully cruel, and that needs to be corrected quickly whether you think it's your duty to tell them off or not, they need to be told that they are wrong.

I disagree - they weren't being cruel, they were being silly. In fact, a while later they made a special effort to include him in a game they were playing, for which I thanked them and my son was chuffed to bits to be playing with the big boys. My praising them for being kind to him was more effective than I suspect any earlier intervention would have been and we now see them fairly regularly at the park and they are pleasant to him and polite to me. I'm not saying that wouldn't have been the case if I had 'told them off' but, as I said, I am happy with how it played out then, and now.

I can completely see where you are coming from, but I think each situation has to be judged on its own merits. I was glad to be proved right about these boys, but had they gone any further or upset my son I would have both intervened with them and spoken to their parents.

ScouseBird8364 Tue 08-Jul-14 10:49:04

Cheeky bastards, I'd have dragged the little twats over to their 'parents' angry

wonderingsoul Tue 08-Jul-14 10:30:17

Ynbu. Though I would have told them to back off soon as the hissing and name calling started.

I'm really saddened be.the fact 8 year olds would do this, it's actually quite Scarry.
I have an 8 boy and he wouldn't dream of doing anything like that, if anything he would try to help him across purely because he loves little ones. But even so iv never seen anolder child Benson cruel, it's almost sadistic on a child's level

And the parents... Wow...

Ynbu

TheIronGnome Tue 08-Jul-14 10:19:37

Well said nannyanna

Timetoask Tue 08-Jul-14 08:39:00

It is so sad that 8 year olds are capable of such antisocial behaviour. Boys will be boys is just not acceptable, I have a 7 year old what wouldn't dream of behaving like that and if he did he would be in big trouble.

I would have told off the mums for being so ignorant.

LittlePeaPod Tue 08-Jul-14 08:22:47

YANBU. DDs nanny really cares for her. I would hope she was as protective if a bunch of older kids were taunting DD. To be honest if I was there with DD and this occurred, I would have hit the roof. The boys parents should have been taking more responsibilty. If the were my boys they would have been removed from the play area as punishment for bullying a toddler.

NannyAnna Tue 08-Jul-14 08:12:14

Op, you know your charge best, sounds like you handled the situation perfectly. As a nanny we have to daily make these snap decisions about how to react to children's behaviour. We try our best! But there is no right way, kids have to learn that not everything is sunshine and flowers and that sometimes as humans we have to ignore horrible people! It really makes my blood boil when I see people above commenting criticising! Being a nanny isn't easy and when people say " I would have dismissed my nanny immediately for this" I mean for heaven sake!!!

And for gods sake you can't hover over a 2 year old constantly. 5 metres is perfectly close enough and op was obviously watching her charge! If you are on their back every second you will end up with a very needy child and future adult!

Floggingmolly Tue 08-Jul-14 07:43:13

Nobody would expect you to "punish" them... hmm. But neither should you have made a value judgement as to whether the kids behaviour was acceptable or not based on whether the 2 year old seemed bothered by it.

A few of you seem to have missed the point that I did step in & tell the boys to stop. Punishing them is beyond my remit and clearly the parents weren't interested.
I hope they will remember the mad lady at the park who told them off, but it's doubtful.

musicalendorphins2 Mon 07-Jul-14 23:00:10

If they were my kids, I would march them home right after they apologized. But you said their parents were waiting for a train, so I guess I would have made them all have a time out. What kind of 8 year old would bully a 2 year old anyways, or hiss... they sound like wild animals.

maddening Mon 07-Jul-14 22:35:25

Telling a child to stop an antisocial behaviour is not disciplining - you are not punishing them - you are exerting your rights as a human not to be mistreated by others or doing so on behalf of a more vulnerable person - not to do so normalises such behaviour and almost encourages by not being corrected. They need to learn that it is not acceptable.

PixieofCatan Mon 07-Jul-14 22:19:18

DoJo Yes but in that scenario, your child may have thought it was fun, but the other children were being purposefully cruel, and that needs to be corrected quickly whether you think it's your duty to tell them off or not, they need to be told that they are wrong.

Peachy I'd say the same if it were your child, but tbh, it is made worse by the fact that you are a nanny, we have to be so much more careful with our charges as they aren't ours.

If I were a parent I'd be mortified that my child thought it okay to pick on a toddler tbh and they'd get a bollocking from me. My older charges would too.

randomAXEofkindness Mon 07-Jul-14 20:59:56

YWNBU. I agree that you could have stepped in earlier though. They would have gotten a strong sharp "EY - NO!" off me (with the strict piercing mum-eyes grin) the second they started the hissing/name calling. I would have followed that up with something similar to what you said, using a soft and kind tone (exactly the way I do with my own).

IamRechargingthankYou Mon 07-Jul-14 20:38:26

You did exactly the right thing - and firstly telling them off in French is perfect - they can't go running to Mummy telling fibs about that 'nasty lady'. Next time, tell the mothers off in French too (very quickly in case they know a bit!). Also sounds like you and the child's parents work well together because the child you all look after behaved excellently.

Answer - if I had been one of the older boy's parents I would have thanked you and made my child apologize before we left. If it was your child (which he is when you are in charge anyway) I would say the same thing. Merci.

Iggly Mon 07-Jul-14 20:34:54

It isn't about disciplining other kids, it is about demonstrating that your child is worthy enough of being respected, not being the butt of a joke.

And yes, I did mean 5 foot. I was wondering why everyone took such issue with my distance!

I'd be interested to see how the responses would differ if I had said it was my child though.
How would you all react if you had been the parents of the older boys had I chastised them further?

DearTeddyRobinson Mon 07-Jul-14 20:16:24

YWBVU to be standing so far away from your charge and to let the situation go that far. I would be furious if my nanny did this. You should have been beside the climbing frame, and warned the older boys the moment they started bothering a 2 year old.
YWNBU to tell them off but far too late IMO.

Pixie, he definitely picks up on things like this usually and won't stop going on about them. E.g. He still talks about his sister pulling his TShirt over a month ago but he made no mention of this morning.

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

DoJo Mon 07-Jul-14 19:35:12

As I said - he was thrilled as he thought they were including him in their game, so I didn't step in until they had tried to involve him in something more dubious. He's my priority, and although they were not being particularly pleasant to him, it wasn't exactly damaging and he definitely wasn't upset underneath it all as he thought it was a great game. If I had stepped in, that would have upset him, so I didn't. I'm happy with how it played out, but I wouldn't judge someone else for choosing to intervene in the same situation.

PixieofCatan Mon 07-Jul-14 19:10:09

OP, as a nanny you should know that he would have understood tone and body language surely? Even if he didn't seem phased it may be something that he brings up later on. My old charge was notorious for that, she'd come out with all sorts of things that had bothered her a week or two ago that we assumed that she either hadn't seen/heard or been bothered about at the time.

YANBU for saying what you did, but you should have approached much sooner, even if it was just to hover and ensure that things didn't get out of hand (which it almost did!)

DoJo If kids were taking the mickey out of my charges I'd step right in and tell them to back off, you can't allow kids to be rude to younger children even if the younger child doesn't get it.

In a similar scenario, I've had kids taking the piss out of my old charge who has autism and copying him and his flapping, my charge thought it was hilarious, they still got told off by me because it's inappropriate.

DoJo Mon 07-Jul-14 18:56:02

But it's not her place to discipline the other children. I have done the same in a similar situation - bigger boys were taking the mickey out of my toddler by copying his mispronunciation and getting in his face a bit when he was trying to talk to them, but he thought they were all having a conversation and was thrilled to be included. I let them carry on until they tried to get him to go into the bushes with them at which point I just said 'he's a bit little for that game' and led him off. He was fine, they were just being silly (and probably acting in the same way their older siblings do to them) and I wasn't about to get involved with disciplining them when my son wasn't unhappy about their behaviour.

Iggly Mon 07-Jul-14 18:17:21

It doesn't matter that he seemed fine. It does matter that these kids were being unacceptable towards a toddler.

NynaevesSister Mon 07-Jul-14 17:59:09

You did the right thing. I wouldn't have made a big deal of it if he wasn't bothered by this - clearly he wasn't even registering this and your stepping in would have made him anxious where he wasn't before. I am sure you would have stepped on if he had been upset.

You sound like a lovely nanny and I would be happy with you.

The other mothers are appalling though.

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