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To think that parents in the park should make their DCs take turns on swings etc

(51 Posts)
Treeny Fri 12-Sep-08 22:21:14

Had a near-meltdown in our local park this afternoon when a couple of parents let their kids monopolise the baby-swings for ages, while others (especially me and DD2!) were waiting.

The park is OK - could be much better, frankly, but it's what we've got - there are a couple of baby-swings and no 'big' swings. But there's a slide, climbing frame, tyre-swing, see-saw, etc for bigger kids. DD1, who is 5, makes the most of what's there - she often meets friends there and they find something to do. DD2 is only a year old, so she's pretty limited to the baby-swings. It's always pretty grim on a Friday afternoon, in terms of being packed with kids and parents. We live in a very mixed inner-city bit of south-east London, but the park is located right beside a small private 'pre-prep' school - the parents of kids who go there do have a tendency to treat the park as an extension of the school and their own private space, and this seems to manifest itself particularly obnoxiously on a Friday, when they're all out in force. DD1 goes to a very good state school nearby, and many of her friends use the park too - but today, as often, we were outnumbered!

So the baby-swings were monopolised by older kids - maybe 5-6 years old - they'd been on for ages, and their parents were right beside them, chatting loudly to each other and disregarding DD2 and me hovering nearby. My usual experience is for parents to notice other children waiting and to limit the amount of time their kids spend on the swings; certainly if my own DD1 is on a baby-swing I make her get off if we see a baby or toddler waiting.

Eventually I get fed up of waiting and say 'are you going to share the swings?' Couldn't quite believe the hostile response I got. First I'm told they didn't see me, and the 'rule' is to wait somewhere other than where I was standing (it's my local park, FGS, I've been going there day in day out for 5 years, even if my DCs don't go to the local 'pre-prep'); then I'm told it's first-come-first-served and there's no reason why older kids shouldn't play on the baby-swings for as long as they like. Eventually one of the mothers said 'come on darlings, let's give the swing to the lady' (note - not 'the baby'!) I was furious, and felt like saying - but didn't, to my shame - 'you might pay for your kids' education, but don't you feel the need to teach them how to take turns and share'.

So AIB horribly U? I would have felt the same on the sharing issue regardless of who the parents were, but am I just being hideously chippy because it's the private-sector tendency? I've always found the cliquiness of that particular set of park-parents intolerable - it's not a one-off, although I've not had a run-in like that before. It drives me insane the way they treat a public park as an extension of their kids' private school and effectively exclude other families (we definitely won't be going there straight after school in future, unless as part of large group). I felt like smacking them!

ethanchristopher Fri 12-Sep-08 22:24:10

no, as soon as i see someone waiting my ds is off. unless he's only just got on.

they sound horribly U and rude!!

controlfreakinfreaky Fri 12-Sep-08 22:25:27

you are v v chippy indeed.

2shoes Fri 12-Sep-08 22:27:12

money can not by class

solidgoldbrass Fri 12-Sep-08 22:28:42

I have had at least one experience of other mums offering to get their DC off the swing because DS is yelling for a go - I generally say that it's OK he needs to learn to wait and take turns - and I always take him off the swing if there's a queue (well, once he's had a couple of minutes, anyway).
NO I think these parents were being wankers. Though I suppose one or more of the DC might have had SN and need a certain amount of swing time so as not to have a meltdown(before someone else says that).

FairLadyRantALot Fri 12-Sep-08 22:30:17

hm...once another child is waiting you DO limit the time mater what the age, where you are, or what the environment...common courtesy, surely

Kaybeeand2boys Fri 12-Sep-08 22:30:52

Yanbu, I always limit ds1's time on the swing if there are others waiting. Def sounds very rude, fancy telling you you were waiting inthe wrong place FGS!

more Fri 12-Sep-08 22:31:12

I do think yabu. Sorry. It is a public park. It sounds like you are just as possessive of this park as you make the other users out to be.

I would have found you very rude if you were just standing right next to us watching and making no attempt of hiding that you wanted the toy that we were playing with.

Treeny Fri 12-Sep-08 22:31:18

Controlfreakinfreaky - were you one of the parents this afternoon??!!

onepieceoflollipop Fri 12-Sep-08 22:31:40

We have more of a problem with older children (teenager) monopolising the baby swings. I always say loudly to the dcs that we will wait until the "other little girls" have finished. That normal embarrasses them and they get off sharpish!

YANBU. However in your position I would just avoid that park at peak times.

hester Fri 12-Sep-08 22:32:19

YANBU. I don't get dd straight off - unless she's been on a fair while already - but i warn her (loudly, so other parents can hear) that we are getting off, say, by the time I count to 10. And then we're off.

fruitstick Fri 12-Sep-08 22:33:28

These people sound particularly annoying to be honest, especially if you were genuinely waiting a long time.

However, at the other extreme, I get incredibly pissed off by parents who think the definition of sharing is other children giving their precious ones whatever they like as soon as they want it.

Can your LO not go on the slide or the climbing frame?

CoolYourJets Fri 12-Sep-08 22:35:25

moer how else are you supposed to let people know you are waiting for a swing?


jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 12-Sep-08 22:35:46

Of course people should share, but you sound as if you have an enormous chip on your shoulder about private school parents. If they were gossiping they probably just didn't notice or thought that your baby didn't want a go and you were there for your older child.

How politely did you ask? 'are you going to share the swings' could come across as quite aggressive.

onebatmother Fri 12-Sep-08 22:35:50

I don't think you're being chippy at all. I'm astonished that anyone would argue back, it having been pointed out that they were hogging a public utility.

mabanana Fri 12-Sep-08 22:36:59

You do sound a bit chippy to be honest. You seem quite obsessed with the fact that some of these parents pay for their kids' education. That's completely irrelevant. You had to wait a while to put your baby on the swing, annoying, but not the greatest injustice in the world. You seem even more enraged with the parent who asked her kids to get off!

2shoes Fri 12-Sep-08 22:38:17

treeny was this you

mabanana Fri 12-Sep-08 22:39:14

And yes, they were happily chatting to friends, the kids were happy, and there's a woman holding a baby while her older child plays. Why is it impossible that they didn't realise you were waiting? And why are they so evil for chatting to friends? If it's a small park then of course there will be a wait for goes on the swings.

Hulababy Fri 12-Sep-08 22:40:04

Hmmmm, as a "pre prep" parent I do ask DD to share and take turns. Well, when I was younger I did. Now she is 6y I don;t tend to need too, and she wouldn;t head towards baby swings either.

How long did you have to wait before you child could go on the swing?

Treeny Fri 12-Sep-08 22:40:45

Fruitstick - not as soon as we wanted it - we had been there about 20 mins or so, and gradually moved closer to the swings.

DD2 has just turned one and doesn't walk or climb yet, so there's not much else she can do. She goes on the slide sometimes if it's not full of whizzing five-year-olds - I wouldn't have expected them to make way for her on the slide, but after 20 mins I think it's reasonable for others to get off the baby-swings. We were by no means the only people waiting.

With DD1 I always let her know if others are waiting that she'll have to come off soon - thereby indicating to other parents that I've registered that their kids are there.

more Fri 12-Sep-08 22:41:07

If one of my children would like to go on the swing but it was taken, I tell them to play with some of the other things until it becomes free, or I distract them by playing catch me if you can/hide and seek games.

Do you not find it extremely annoying when other people make it more than obvious that they are only interested in playing with the "toy" that your child is now playing with and is having great fun with?

mabanana Fri 12-Sep-08 22:41:10

pmsl that they are talking too 'loudly' in a tiny park OUTSIDE with loads of kids running around. It isn't a library!

onebatmother Fri 12-Sep-08 22:41:54

whereas you, mabanana, do sound quite chippy. The women were rude. They were chatting while their kids were hogging. Simple.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Fri 12-Sep-08 22:42:41

I'm sorry I think you're mistaking them for mind-readers. I would probably have assumed you were holding the baby and not wanting a swing. Especially if you 'gradually moved closer' to them.

I think a polite 'would you mind if my baby had a go, she's getting a bit heavy to hold' might have gone down better than 'are you going to share the swings'.'

mabanana Fri 12-Sep-08 22:43:35

You are completely convinced that all this is some kind of class war in which you are the victim, aren't you? That's really, really strange.
At the moment the park will be empty of 'whizzing five year olds' all day anyway. Was your baby desperate for a go? I doubt it.

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