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Perspective needed - I made another Mum cry yesterday.

(571 Posts)
widgetbeana Mon 24-Sep-18 11:28:00

I need some help to decide if what I did was ok, I felt right about it in the moment but then this poor woman cried and I feel worried I did wrong. Tell me what you think.

I was at a busy playpark yesterday with lots of children. There is a tall treehouse thing which has a slide out of it. There are steps around the back to get up to it, but doing this is out of eyeline of the slide.
There was a small boy, probably nearly 3ish, at the top of the slide he wasn't coming down but wasn't letting anyone past. His mum was at the bottom of the slide cajoling him 'come down x, come on darling, ok well let the other children come down etc'. He wasn't moving, this continued for 3 or 4 minutes. During which time the queue of children waiting snaked all the way back through the tree house and down the step sections.

Not sure why, but then he turned and started to hit the other children around him. Really hitting hard, one little girl next to him in particular was getting beaten around the head and face. His mum then walked off around the back to go up and get him. Lots of parents at the foot of the slide were shouting at the little boy to stop hitting, there were 4 children crying from being attacked and he wasn't stopping. So I ran up the slide to get to him and took his hands and said 'don't hit them, it's not kind'. The mother then appears behind him and sharply tells me 'I can handle this'. She lifts him down the steps. I go back down the slide.

A few minutes later she appears beside me telling me she doesn't think I needed to intervene, that my child wasn't in danger from him. I told her that none of those children up there were my children actually, mine had changed her mind and left the queue. I calmly told her that he was hurting and scaring the children and I couldn't let him do that. She said 'he is very tired and only little' so I replied ' I totally understand that, we all have days like this, but I had to step in, he was really hurting them'. Then she burst into tears. I told her it was ok, we all have days like this. But then her friend came over, gave me an evil look and took her away.

I feel bad now that she cried, but I also feel like there were 4 children crying and scared. Did I do the wrong thing?

widgetbeana Mon 24-Sep-18 11:29:49

P.s. if you've read all that well done!

themuttsnutts Mon 24-Sep-18 11:33:16

I think you wbu to touch him but you were right in that she let it go on too long. She was probably crying more because of her son's behaviour which was quite extreme

Singlenotsingle Mon 24-Sep-18 11:34:29

No you didn't do the wrong thing. She was obviously upset and emotional. We all are, especially when our DC is behaving badly, but you were just trying to protect the other children. I'm sure the other mums were grateful. Hopefully this mum will teach her DS how to behave better in future. Well done you.

Chocolatecoffeeaddict Mon 24-Sep-18 11:34:35

If your child wasn't there then no, you shouldn't have intervened. It was up to the mother to stop the child, and if she wasn't then the parents of the other children who were getting hit should have spoken to the mother. I would never go up to a small child and intervene or go to touch them. So I think you have had the right intentions but have handled it wrongly. But as your child wasn't affected you had no place to do this.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Mon 24-Sep-18 11:35:00

I would have done the same.

Janus Mon 24-Sep-18 11:36:28

I understand the telling him not to but touching some stranger’s child isn’t ok to me. I’m not sure how hard a 3 year old could hit and hurt someone but I wasn’t there either.
Don’t think I’ve been much help!

PoisonousSmurf Mon 24-Sep-18 11:36:30

You did exactly what I would have done. But she seems to be struggling with her child's behavior.
I think she would have cried at anything! Lucky for her you were nice enough.
The parent of the child being hit could have been built like a brick house and had a mouth like a gutter!

SuperLoudPoppingAction Mon 24-Sep-18 11:37:37

I don't think it's true that parents in a playground have no responsibility for harm being caused to children.
They were being assaulted.
Nobody was doing anything.

It's not the same as smacking somebody else's child. It's just stopping more harm from being done.

Children have the right to be in a playground and be safe and not harmed.

CantankerousCamel Mon 24-Sep-18 11:40:18

I would have picked him up and removed him from the slide.

Too many soft parents she should have gone and got her kid much quicker.

DorasBob Mon 24-Sep-18 11:40:49

I think any normal parent would be mortified that there child was behaving so badly and had attacked other children. He’s 3, not 13 months.

I think she was defensive as she knew it wasn’t on. Some people do get really artsy when you tell their children off, but they are usual the shit parent s in the group, and that’s why their children need telling off.


Seniorschoolmum Mon 24-Sep-18 11:42:43

You acted with the best intentions, no-one was harmed by your actions and you didn’t try to make her cry. She just sounds tired & stressed.
I’d just chalk it up to experience and forget about it. She probably just felt a bit defensive, which, when her child is acting up in public, is all too easy to do. So don’t be too hard on her either.

Nicknacky Mon 24-Sep-18 11:43:59

The mum was already on her way to sort it out when you decided to run up the slide and take hold of him. You should have stayed out of it unless there was no parent around.

Even then I’m appaled that all these adults are shouting at a scared young child who appears to be lashing out when stressed out. How did that help the situation?

TokyoSushi Mon 24-Sep-18 11:44:15

YWNBU. I expect she probably cried because she was embarrassed about the behaviour and didn't manage the situation well rather than anything that you did.

JaniceBattersby Mon 24-Sep-18 11:44:52

I always intervene calmly but firmly in situations like this. If parents are not doing enough to stop other kids getting hurt then I’ll do it myself. I think it’s good for kids to get a bit of a bollocking off people other than their parents from time to time. We don’t live as solitary beings, we’re all a community.

I think you did the right thing OP. The mum didn’t act quickly enough.

Iamagreyhoundhearmeroar Mon 24-Sep-18 11:46:11

When did “touching” someone else’s child become so controversial? confused
I wouldn’t think twice about lifting a child out of a situation like that?
Actually clipping them round the ear might be a step too far, I agree...
But this “how dare you touch my child!!” business, when said child is laying into all around him is pure bollocks.

SpikyCactus Mon 24-Sep-18 11:46:55

The only reason to interfere would be to protect your child. Your child wasn’t there so you shouldn’t have interfered. And you shouldn’t have touched someone else’s child.

It sounds like the child may have ongoing problems and the mother is fed up with it and emotional. Which is probably why she got upset if her kid keeps doing this sort of thing.

Quartz2208 Mon 24-Sep-18 11:47:14

He sounds like he has some SEN and the children behind him were crowding him and he freaked out - if so touching him was completely out of order and you shouldn't (the mum may not even know this but given how he reacted it seems like that)

The poor mother is dealing with a 3 year old who is showing additional needs and you run up the slide and touch him which could have freaked him out even more

Lauren0rder Mon 24-Sep-18 11:47:37

I’m not sure how hard a 3 year old could hit and hurt someone.....


I was kicked hard in the shin by a very solid 3 year old yesterday and it bloody hurt a lot.....😡😡😡

rainingcatsanddog Mon 24-Sep-18 11:48:23


She cried because she made the wrong call and didn't get him sooner. You were more than fair saying that we all have days like that but he needed stopping. I bet the hurt kids (and their parents) are very grateful to you.

Stuckforthefourthtime Mon 24-Sep-18 11:48:25

Yanbu, I think it's important we have a group responsibility for children around us - when we lose that, then any child without a parent immediately next to them is at risk. Even a small 3 year old could easily (and accidentally) knock a child straight off the edge of playground equipment, it's dangerous.
Her tears were probably more a reflection of her own employer embarrassment - so long as you were kind to her than yanbu.

Stuckforthefourthtime Mon 24-Sep-18 11:48:56

*employer??! Autocorrect fail..

DorasBob Mon 24-Sep-18 11:49:52

Nicknacky - children should expect to be shouted at/told off if they hit other children. That’s just normal discipline.

I find it interesting that anecdotally, boy children get far more leeway for hitting and violence than girl children do. If my daughter hit one other child, even when provoked I’d be mortified, and tell her off. If a boy child attacks 4 other children after being ‘stressed out’ by his own selfish behaviour then it’s fine, is it?

Mymycherrypie Mon 24-Sep-18 11:50:39

I have said the same to children in absense of parents ie soft play when a child does this, but I have never touched them. Only removed my own child.

If a parent has been there and is not responding, I will still tell the child and remove my own, again with no touching.

But she was kind of there already and seemed to be dealing with it. And your own kids weren’t getting hurt. So while your intention was NU and in the right circumstances is the right thing to do (without touching) the way it played out kind of was U. Sorry.

Nicknacky Mon 24-Sep-18 11:50:58

doras I absolutely agree children should be disciplined. But not shouted at by a group of strangers.

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