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to get depressed every time I take dd to the local park

(39 Posts)
zulubump Wed 06-Aug-08 19:44:35

She is only 10 months so we just go now and again as she can only go on the swings really. It's quite a nice park down the road from where we live, so I expect she'll want to use it more as she gets older. But every time I go I get depressed!

If I go in term time during the day it is always completely deserted (where are all the other mums and pre-school kids?) and I put her on the swings, look at all the graffiti and then we go home again.

Or in school hols like to today there is always a group of teenage boys sitting on the big swings swearing and trying to throw the swings so they wrap around the bar at the top and no one can use them. All the adults around, me included, are too chicken to say anything!

I'm sure it was just the same when I was younger and these sort of things didn't bother me. But now I have my dd I just want the world to be a lovely friendly fluffy place for her. And it is most of the time, just not at the park. sad

noonki Wed 06-Aug-08 19:49:04

YANBU I think it is totally normal to reassess the world after having a baby and a park in particular should be lovely...

gone are the days I had spliffs on the swings!

how about seeing if their is a friends of the park group and seeing if you can do anything to improve the park - get some events going adn see if more people will come

worked at our local park

zulubump Wed 06-Aug-08 19:53:42

Hmm, not heard of a friends of the park group before. It would be nice to get a group of local mums going down at the same time so that there is someone to talk while I am there. Spliffs on the swings lol! As I said I would have thought nothing of that when younger! Now I'd be horrified to see someone having a spliff on the swings at our park. Would have to run off with dd and wrap her back up in cotton wool wink

greenlawn Wed 06-Aug-08 19:54:04

YANBU - but if no-one does anything it will sadly just get worse! Good idea from noonki. How about reclaiming the park for youngsters - can you get a group together, whether its an NCT group or friends or even a mumsnet group, so you don't feel so intimidated by the older kids. These things are circular, and if a park gets a name for being popular and friendly it will attract more people.

Sad really for the older kids - they probably don't have much provided for them either, but its no excuse for spoiling it for the little uns.

greenlawn Wed 06-Aug-08 19:54:42

Great minds think alike!

bohemianbint Wed 06-Aug-08 20:56:24

YANBU. Our park is full of broken glass, stray dogs and dog crap. It inspires me to want to move house.

PeaMcLean Wed 06-Aug-08 21:01:12

YANBU. I used to travel to use a nicer park cos our nearest one was pretty much like you desribe.

How would the teenagers react if you asked very nicely but firmly "could you get the swing down from the bar please so my daughter can use it?" i've found even the roughest of teenagers can be nice for small children.

ShyBaby Wed 06-Aug-08 21:08:11

Its a shame. We only have a little park where we live and two years ago it was set alight. sad

Noone has been to repair it, there's no point.

DoubleBluff Wed 06-Aug-08 21:10:20

complain to the council.
ASk the teenagers to stop swearing/ get off the swing.

TenaciousG Wed 06-Aug-08 21:52:13

YANBU. A friends of the park thing is great; in our park there is a 'buggy brigade' at set times each week, where mums meet up and have a walk together. Perhaps if you do similar, position yourselves by the swings and start talking episiotomies, you will scare the teenagers away grin

Seriously, I understand how you feel wrt to a) loneliness and b) wanting to protect your LO from the shittier aspects of the world, I have felt and still do sometimes feel exactly as you do.

emj23 Wed 06-Aug-08 21:58:26

I feel quite intimidated sometimes when I take my DC to the park. There are signs in both local parks stating very clearly that the equipment is intended for under 10's but there always seem to be gangs of teenagers around. The slide/climbing frame in the nearest park is covered in graffiti, the swings keep getting thrown over the top and someone has spray-painted 'Someone Something is a slag', except obviously using the poor girl's full name. Cue DS asking what a slag is sad

Wags Wed 06-Aug-08 21:58:56

Worth looking into getting a 'Friends Group' together. I am on the committee for the Friends group for our local park. The council is limited to how much money they can put into a park but Friends groups can get funding from different sources. We have had lottery funding and other grants. We have improved the swings area, planted a meadow, put a pond in, planted a hedge. We also try and have regular litter picks. Have had some fun days. Had activity days when the kids have painted bird, bat and insect boxes, then put them up round the park. The list goes on. There is still all the usual problems, graffiti etc, but as most of us on the Friends group are regular park users we ring the council straight away and get it removed. It doesn't stop it happening but maybe, just maybe if we do our bit the bad bits will begin to seem less obvious. Its a lot of hard work but between the group we all take a share of it. Worth every minute grin

Sidge Wed 06-Aug-08 22:06:34

Our park can be intimidating with mardy teenagers hanging around!

I am usually completely non-confrontational but I refuse to be driven away by kids less than half my age! So if they are loitering around on the swings etc I usually go up and with a cheery voice say "C'mon lads (or girls), hop off and let the little ones have a go now please". I find if you're cheerful and don't ask them to get off but tell them (nicely!) they do as they're told!

ChirpyGirl Wed 06-Aug-08 22:20:05

Sorry to hijack but I am in much the same position, so much so that I drive 10 minutes across town to go to a nice park with safe facilities (ie, no broken glass, no huge gaps in fences so dog crap everywhere etc)
So where would I start with a friends group?

Wags Wed 06-Aug-08 22:34:16

Ours started with a local guy who organised a meeting for any local residents. He put up notices in the park. Loads of people turned up and he talked about starting a Friends Group. At the end those of us interested in being on the committee gave him our names and addresses. The first meeting was organised and it went from there. He got a representative from the council to come along as well and talk about other Friends groups in the area and what they did. Probably worth contacting you local council and seeing if there are Friends groups for any other parks in your area. If there is its worth contacting them to have a chat. Our local council has a Friends Forum Group which is a meeting for reps from each Friends Group. Its good to swap ideas etc and get hints on funding and other things.

snotbuster Wed 06-Aug-08 22:38:01

I tend to go to our local park in the mornings only as I find that more parents and toddlers are there then. Avoid it like the plague mid afternoon when (during term time) it's full of teenagers from the local comp. I called the police once when a group of the teenagers were fighting (right next to my buggy so I couldn't leave!). Police didn't come, even though I'd told them that the kids involved were threatening each other with glass bottles. Was very angry and sad. I'm sure the police would have responded if we were in a 'better' area.

Overmydeadbody Wed 06-Aug-08 22:41:05

Don't be scared on the teenagers, they are just having some fun in their won way, it's sad that they don't have anywhere more suitable for their needs to hang out than a kiddies' park though.

I'd deal with it the same way as sidge.

Overmydeadbody Wed 06-Aug-08 22:42:57

you could contact your local nct or local paper or put an ad in gumtree? Flyers in the local supermarket, church halls and mother&toddler groups?

zulubump Thu 07-Aug-08 10:12:49

It's good to hear everyone's experiences and now feel that I'm not over-reacting, thank you. Next time I might be brave enough to ask the grumpy to teens to consider the little ones playing at the park. I think being non-confrontational might be the key. Yesterday I felt that if I asked them to stop trying to chuck the swings over the bar it would probably only inspire them to do worse? But perhaps they do have a better nature that I could appeal to. The stories of friends of the park groups are inspiring. I'm a bit shy and the idea of starting one seems a bit scary, but will find out if there are any others in the area that I can get ideas from.

greenlawn Thu 07-Aug-08 18:32:04

Bet the teens are OK really - hug a hoody!

I was really embarrassed a while ago when I saw what I thought was a gang of loitering yobs - who jumped up and politely helped me through a gate with my double pushchair, smiling and chatting to my boys the whole time.

Think you're right, its all about the way you ask them - so as someone suggested "do you think the little ones could have a turn on the swing?" rather than "oii - stop doing that!"

gagamama Fri 08-Aug-08 10:57:27

I'd probably go over to them and say something light-hearted but incredibly patronising, such as "come on now kiddie-widdies, I think you've had your turn on the swingy-wingys now!"

Maybe they'll stop thinking they look big and cool and will just feel stupid and skulk off.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Megglevache Fri 08-Aug-08 11:14:47

I know it's awful. I have been put off going to the park.

Three weeks ago dh's workmate's son was asked to go to the park to play football (day time) he was set upon by a mob of approx 50 kids 5 of which kicked his head repeatedly,with the others jeering and filming it on their phones shock

His boy was pronounced dead on the scene and paramedics managed to revive him, he was airlifted to a hospital in London (I forget which one) He is out of a coma but look like he will be paralysed on one side and need help eating etc. He is 13 FGS and very sporty.

The poor family are destroyed. The 5 boys are out on bail (being charged with GBH and intent) and they have been bragging around the town.

To makes matters worse (as if they could) His family have received death threats from the boys involved families. It's just awful and they don't know where to turn as the police say they are helpless.

Makes me so nervous about seeing lots of young kids at the park and I really shouldn't be. sad

noonki Fri 08-Aug-08 11:28:46

megglevache - that is truely awfulsad

luckily situations like that are not the norm.

I have had to talk to groups of teenagers and asked them to stop doing things and it has often worked.

I think a lot of it is in the delivery, asking politely and explaining why - ie - can you stop spitting as my toddler will fall over and get it on his hands

rather than what I want to say ... and they have stopped.

yesterday at the swimming pool it worked less well - group of lads in the shower (mix sex shower) where taking turns to 'jiggle' this poor girls boobs (who was only about 12/13 and was obviously really under confident) _ told her to never let anyone touch her like that and I shouted at the boys - to which they all swore at me angry

glad I did it though

I got loads of abuse, even though I

Megglevache Fri 08-Aug-08 11:34:51

Noonki, do you think? I barely watch the news now I just hate hearing similar stories. And it didn't make the news as there are too many similar stories shock

My dh is ultra protective now he freaks out if I tell him we're off anywhere like that.

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