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Parents of primary school-age children, would you intervene if your child screamed at a younger child to go away at the playground?

(12 Posts)
MissKubelik Wed 13-Aug-08 16:15:36

Just wondering... my 3 year old is my PFB and I have no clue about older children! Also I am 5 months pregnant, hormonal and feeling particularly protective at the moment...

My 3 year old loves nothing more than tearing around the playground, chasing other children. She is very tall for her age, the height of the average 5 year old, so often causes confusion in older children when they speak to her and she doesn't understand or reacts in a typically 3-year-old fashion.

I always find the school holidays quite stressful because I take her to the playground and she always seems to latch onto a group of older children, who often find her irritating. Today there was one particularly aggressive 7/8 year old boy who screamed at her to go away, and was punching his fist into his hand at one point. I tried to distract her by suggesting a go on the swings or the slide, but she kept chasing after them. She doesn't seem to understand when other children find her annoying - she just laughs at them, and when they run away, she thinks it's a game and chases after them.

The older children eventually formed a gang and started chasing after DD - when they caught her one of the boys crashed into her, grabbed the hood of her jumper and bashed her across the legs. At this point I had had enough, it was starting to rain anyway so we went home.

I don't really know what to do with myself when this sort of thing happens! Should I drag DD away and tell her to stop annoying the older children? Should I just leave them to it? DD doesn't seem particularly bothered by it, she just wants to play with her new "friends" - but it looks like bullying to me and makes me very uncomfortable. Am I being precious? At no point did the mum of the older children intervene and tell them to play nicely. I am used to this happening when there are altercations between pre-schoolers, but doesn't seem to happen with older children!

mollythetortoise Wed 13-Aug-08 16:22:55

difficult one. she was prob really annoying them but would not really understand this. If I was the mother of the older boy I would have told him off for shouting however I would not expect him to include her in his game, I would also have expected mother of the younger child to engage her child in pursuits other than following my son around. If she didn't I would prob not intervene again if my child shouted at hers to go away. I would of course intervene if he was to hit/ push her..

frogs Wed 13-Aug-08 16:22:56

Yes, I would tell my older dc not to (though tbh it doesn't sound like the kind of thing they'd do).

But I would also intervene to tell my 3yo not to follow/annoy older kids if they clearly didn't want her. I think knowing when you're not wanted is an essential skill to learn -- if you don't teach it to her, some bigger child will, and far less gently.

I'd probably say something along the lines of "I think the other children are playing their own game and don't want to be disturbed, why don't you go and play on xyz?'

lyrasilver Wed 13-Aug-08 16:23:27

Personally I would, (and have done, ) asked the older children to stop pushing the little one.. this is usually enough for the older kids parents to actually get up and see whats going on. I have 3 boys myself and would not stand back and watch them behave like that,so why would I tolerate other kids doing it to them.

Lazycow Wed 13-Aug-08 16:35:15

I would have spoken to the older children and told them not to be so rough if they had been physical but I would also have tried to get the 3 year old to do other things.

DS is just like this and I have quite high threshold for what I will let older children do when he is trying to join in. I keep a watchful eye but I don't intervene unless ds seems upset. What always amazes me is how persistent he is and how much he will take from older children before he gets upset. With children the same age he cries much more easily.

I actually find that very often ds seems to manage to join in and that the older children will sometimes allow him to sort of hang around and sometimes actively let him take part. Not always though and why should they?

slavemum Wed 13-Aug-08 16:52:16

If my 2ds had done this to a younger child (chasing/grabbing) they would have been dragged home and grounded!
Personally I think it's good for children of different ages to play together. I think its a shame on this occasion u had to leave because other parents allow their children to get away with this behaviour.

LIZS Wed 13-Aug-08 16:54:01

Probably, and ask them ot ignore the younger, but I'd also expect the parent or supervisor of younger child to distract her.

MissKubelik Wed 13-Aug-08 16:54:56

thanks for the replies. I was surprised that the boys mum didn't say anything to them.

I do agree that learning when you're not wanted is an essential life skill that my DD has to learn! I do see that she can be a pain in the arse, but very often she just wants to run around and tail behind the older ones.

I do tell her when I can see that the older children don't want to play, but she just tells me to go away - she thinks I am being a spoilsport. I think I need to be a bit more forceful about it in future.

It is so nice when she finds someone friendly to play with, such a relief!

pointydog Wed 13-Aug-08 17:05:03

tricky one. I think you just have to step in a bit earlier and try to distract her with a game or snack or whatever.

PoorOldEnid Wed 13-Aug-08 17:06:41

think boy was out of order but also think your dd was probably being really annoying.

MissKubelik Wed 13-Aug-08 17:12:08

snack is very good idea pointydog, she will always stop playing for a snack.

n5rje Wed 13-Aug-08 18:02:31

I agree this is a tricky one. I know that my DSs wouldn't want to play with a 3yo girl at a playground but as others have said I would hope they wouldn't shout at her. If they did I would certainly say something to them but would be hoping that the mother of the girl would see what was happening and take her somewhere else. IME boys of that age are very unlikely to appreciate any girls trying to play with them, especially younger ones unless they have sisters themselves and even then I suspect they might get pretty annoyed. Do you have any friends with similar age children that you could arrange to meet at the park ?

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