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A soft play one

(39 Posts)
Narnia72 Thu 07-May-15 18:05:24

At soft play DS, who is 3, and his friend got a bit lively. 2 girls who were older than them - looked 4 or 5 - didn't like how the boys were playing (they were chucking ball pool balls at each other, so not terribly heinous) and tried to stop them by holding them back. The boys whacked the girls, once, to let them go. They ran sobbing to their mums. Me and friend saw what happened, were mortified, grabbed boys and marched them over to girls - both of us adults apologised and made the boys apologise to each girl in turn. Here is the AIBU bit. Neither mother acknowledged our apologies or encouraged the girls to acknowledge them. In their position I would have said something along the lines of "it's not nice to hit, but thank you for saying sorry." They wouldn't make eye contact with us at all. Mum friend and I took the boys off, had another chat about hitting not being acceptable, and then they carried on playing. We were being much more vigilant and following them around. Every time either of us went past either of these mums they cringed away from us and shielded their daughters.

AIBU to think they should have played their part in the conversation? Yes, the boys were wrong to hit, totally acknowledge that. But surely as adults, when hurt is caused we should encourage apology and acknowledge it, then help them to move on.

It really hacked both of us off. We are both parents to older girls, and have had our fair share of boisterous behaviour from other boys. We rarely got apologies from other parents, hence our insistence on always making our boys apologise. i don't think they gave either their daughters or our sons a great message about dealing with conflict. And the cringing was totally OTT and quite embarrassing.

fiveacres Thu 07-May-15 18:09:04

It's not a sex thing. My DD would have been the one walloping the other child whilst DS would have been cringing grin

Quitelikely Thu 07-May-15 18:10:05

If they totally blanked you and refused to look at you at all then they were rude but tbh I don't understand why you're even bothered about it.

HighwayDragon Thu 07-May-15 18:11:34

Were they English? I had a similar experience in the park, the woman I later realised was polish and had no idea what I was saying so just avoided it completely grin

Narnia72 Thu 07-May-15 18:16:23

Quite likely - yes, completely blanked us. I'm bothered because it's a small soft play and we had to endure the next hour of feeling bloody uncomfortable - one of the mums would literally grab her daughter and turn away as we went past.

Highway - no, they were definitely English speakers as I heard one of them talking to her daughter before this happened.

VelvetRose Thu 07-May-15 18:17:29

You did absolutely the right thing to apologise. I guess maybe they were just a bit embarrassed and upset about it. If you don't have a rough and tumble DC it can be hard to understand that this is pretty normal for little ones.

redskybynight Thu 07-May-15 18:18:19

Well actually I think it's quite a valuable lesson to learn that "sorry" doesn't magically fix everything.
If the girls were phyiscally hurt (to the point they didn't want anything else to do with you), I don't think they are obliged to make a big deal of "oh that's lovely, look the little boy has apologised, everything is ok now".

hibbledibble Thu 07-May-15 18:20:40

Well done on you for monitoring and disciplining in soft play. So many parents don't do that.

From your post it does sound like they were rude, but I would just move on.

propelusagain Thu 07-May-15 18:22:14

I agree with redsky- an apology doesn't make things better. It was the girls parents perogative to blank the boys.
Hopefully they will learn it's not good to hit.

Aridane Thu 07-May-15 18:22:48

I agree with redsky

propelusagain Thu 07-May-15 18:24:25

Why were they rude? Their kids had just been thumped.

TheForger Thu 07-May-15 18:26:42

I think what you did was great and the right thing to do, they need to learn they shouldn't hit. How were the girls holding the boys back? They shouldn't be doing that either.

AuntyMag10 Thu 07-May-15 18:28:16

They were whacked by your son, i think they did nothing wrong by steering clear of those boys. I don't understand why you think they were rude.

Narnia72 Thu 07-May-15 18:32:31

Red sky - I am not suggesting it makes it better, but what else should we have done? Blanking them and having no interaction at all just slightly bemused them and actually made the apology pointless as far as a 3 year old understanding goes, they may as well have apologised to a brick wall.

The mums also clearly hadn't seen their girls bossing the boys and physically holding them back, they weren't blameless, and also weren't badly hurt. It was a whack, gerroff me, rather than sustained blows. I'm not saying this to mitigate their behaviour, just trying to explain the context. Thei mums'reaction was what I'd expect if a bigger child pinned a little one to the floor and kept punching them.

BarbarianMum Thu 07-May-15 18:35:28

I think their children were pretty rude to grab hold of two younger children and spoil their game tbh.

AGirlCalledBoB Thu 07-May-15 18:35:44

I am kind of on the fence on this one.

Recently ds was pushed off something by a older child and he howled. This boy had been quite lovely beforehand. He was very lucky that he was not hurt more seriously. His mum apologised and told me that her son does have a tendency to hurt other children hmm I acknowledged her apology but inside I was actually quite pissed that she was not watching her child in the first place if he had a habit.

Maybe if they saw the boys being quite boisterous beforehand, they thought the hit could have been avoided? And the boys told to calm down a little if the girls did not like balls thrown.

I think they was rude not to acknowledge you at all but trying to understand why they acted like that.

AGirlCalledBoB Thu 07-May-15 18:36:19

Lively not lovely!

propelusagain Thu 07-May-15 18:37:00

actually made the apology pointless as far as a 3 year old understanding goes, they may as well have apologised to a brick wall.

So the apology was only made for a positive reaction?

Narnia72 Thu 07-May-15 18:40:42

I don't think I'm explaining my point very well. Yes, the boys were wrong to hit. I am not excusing their behaviour. Yes, fine to avoid them. But for the mums to physically cringe as we, the adults, went past???

I've been on the other end of such behaviour many times. When an apology is proffered I say thank you for apologising, you hurt my child, please don't do it again. Thus reinforcing the parent's message that their behaviour isn't ok.

It was their contempt, blanking us, and total overreaction to the situation that was weird.

Thanks for the comments - interesting reading!

soapboxqueen Thu 07-May-15 18:41:11

Tbh if I'd seen the girls restrain my child first and he'd hit them to get them off, I wouldn't have taken my child over to apologise.

They were the aggressors.

I would have spoken to my child about using his big voice to say "get of me" before pushing them away not hitting .

ladymariner Thu 07-May-15 18:51:11

The mothers were bangmoutmofmorder, op, you did a really positive thing by apologising and making your boys apologise, and these drama llamas hav just carried it on and made a mountain out of a molehill.

And those of you saying that they didn't have to accept the apology, get a grip.....these kids are three, it was a bit of rough and tumble, and nobody was seriously hurt. If an apology doesn't make things right at that age then what is the world coming to?

ladymariner Thu 07-May-15 18:52:05

Fgs....'bang out of order'.....really should preview my post!!

jellyrolly Thu 07-May-15 18:55:43

You're doing that thing where you only apologise so the person says you are great for apologising. I don't think that's a real apology.

Waltermittythesequel Thu 07-May-15 19:02:25

I really think you should get over it!

They can cringe away from you if they want.

They're under no obligation to make their children accept or acknowledge your apology.

And, to be fair, I can't stand when kids fling balls like that and parents look on thinking their little snowflakes are just "boisterous" or "energetic".

maddening Thu 07-May-15 19:06:31

As the girls grabbed them I think they owed the boys an apology.

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