We took the dd's (3 and 18 months) to a softplay centre today. It was very busy, they had great fun. Dd2 still needed supervising, but dd1 had a great time running off to play. I checked on her occasionally, and came across two situations in which older bigger boys wouldn't let her climb up the ladders to a slide/prevented her from going down a slide (in quite a nasty kind of way). Both times I went up and said, in a nice way, that dd1 wanted to go on/down the slide and would they let her please, which they did straightaway.
I know some people feel that you should let your children learn to fight their own fights, but I always feel the need to help her when I see her in a situation like this. What about other MNers? Am I doing her no favours in hte long run?
I'm generally in the leave-them-to-it camp, but I think that only applies with children of similar ages. When you're talking about older children (who, it could be argued, should know better) then I am much more likely to intervene.
I would intervene too (and have done). You do want them to learn to stand up for themselves - and if it's my 3 year old and another 3 year old in a stand-off about a toy I usually hang back and see if they can resolve it themselves (ready to step in smartish if it looks like fisticuffs are about to start!) But I think with a 3 year old and older children you do need to help out the little one - in a nice way, as you did.
Definitely think you did the right thing. The old thing about 'fighting their own battles' is fine if the match is even. I think it is sometimes necassary to step in even when children become teenagers if there is bullying on a scale that one child alone can't cope with.
I agree with everyone else, emkana. It sounds like you handled it really nicely to me.
One proviso though- and this is clearly distinct from what happened to you- I do think that if younger kids are in an area designed for older kids and get buffeted a bit then their parents should accept that as an occupational hazard. I took my almost 6 year olds to an adventure playground yesterday- clearly aimed at over 5s and signposted as such- and was quite cross at the number of adults leading wobbly toddlers along high platforms at a snails pace and tutting as the older children whizzed past them using the equipment as it was designed to be used. There was an under 5's area just adjacent and I couldn't help wondering why on earth they didn't use it rather than get all antsy.
with a toddler i think i would intervene and used to when ds was small but now i try to let him work it out...i have to literally sit on my hands sometimes to stop myself wading in! sadly, around here if you dont learn to stick up for yourself youre done for.
Must admit I've always tried to leave ds to fight his own battles, unless there is a real danger that is... I've even thought (others will probably disagree) that a bit of nasty behaviour from older children will teach him to be more careful with them - because he's always so keen on playing with the older kids, and I know bad things can happen. So far (he's 4 and a half) no luck with that, he's even more determined now!
I've always been rather hesitant about telling other children off, but asking politely is fine. I try to keep cool and not get emotional or defencive... Really can't stand overprotective parents who shout at other children!
im from dudley bunny, theres lots of worse places admittedly but when i was younger i had a lot of trouble with kids around here because i didnt like fighting and didnt know how to! i was picked on terribly. i think its something that stays with you aswell. if you get picked on at primary school say, when you go to secondary kids know you have been picked on and they play on that. sometimes i dont know whats for the best..my son is very gentle and i dont like to encourage him to fight back but at the same time, theres only so much i can do to protect him as he gets older. strangely enough, ds's school is quite snobbish but i went to that same school and i was bullied by the two "poshest" girls there! i dont have any problems now being nearer to 30, but when i was a teenager there were certain places you wouldnt walk as if you did you would get beaten up for just glancing at someone..there were a lot of little gangs around here. if you lived in a certain street you couldnt go into someone elses territory!!