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Parenting

sandpit sagas

15 replies

tigermoth · 18/03/2003 13:07

Sandpit time is nearly upon us, and I want to know how you all stand on this very important issue:

When do you decide that your child's sand castle or dug out hole is common property to be added to or destroyed by other children?

I ask this because a while ago I was at a sandpit and found myself in unspoken disagreement with another mother.

He son, (4 or 5 years) had dug a large hole. My sons and I arrived when the digging was in its final stages and the digger was sitting proudly in his large creation. Several other children, including my youngest son wanted to join him or help dig. The eager scuffling caused sand to cascade back into the hole undoing some of the digger's work. However, the digger got some playmates. He didn't seem too upset, but I couldn't judge this too well since I was not that near. His mother said in a loud voice to the children, looking appealingly at the parents 'please leave the hole alone, my son worked really hard to dig it, please don't destroy it' She then stood guard nearby.

The children ignored her somewhat, but the parents, me included, moved their children away once or twice. They ran straight back in, needless to say, so I resorted to keeping close watch and telling my son to be careful if he caused accidental damage and telling him off if he tried to throw the odd handful of sand back into the hole.

I was in agreement with the mother up to a point, because the digger was still in the hole, and so it was 'his'. Still, he didn't seem to object too much to his guests.

He then started playing somewhere else in the sandpit, and still the mother stood guard and said her piece every now and again if a child played in the hole. At this point I began to feel irritated with her and happened to catch the eye of another parent who seemed to feel the same. I know the mother realised we were not taking her admonishments as seriously as she wanted. I think she expected us to keep our children away from the hole as long as her son was still in the sandpit, nevermind that he had moved onto other things.

My view is that the sandpit is common property and as long as the children are not having an all out battle, you leave them to work things out for themselves. If that means a destroyed hole or sandcastle (once the digger has left it) well that's life - and sand - for you.

Over to the wise souls at mumsnet...

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WideWebWitch · 18/03/2003 13:18

I agree with you tigermoth. It's a sandpit, it's on a beach, it's common property and they should all learn to sort it out between themselves. I think I'd have done the same in your position i.e while boy who dug it was in the pit I'd have asked mine not to destroy it but after he moved, yes, I'd have said it was common property. But a bit of a double standard - if ds had been in the pit and it was his castle I think I'd have probably told him to share...

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sis · 18/03/2003 14:23

Agree with WWW, I think I am 'harder' on my ds in asking him to share but try and make him realise that not all children want to 'share' and that he has to respect this.

I have have to say that I find the idea of standing guard over a hole dug by my ds to stop other children from playing with it, totally over the top!

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Jimjams · 18/03/2003 16:14

The mother sounds mad!!! Sandpits are common property and creations will disappear in a strong breeze anyway. Definitely most bizarre behaviour.

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tigermoth · 19/03/2003 10:37

I was thinking about this again. I guess the sandpit thing made a big impact on me because I knew this mother was giving me a strong unspoken messages about keeping my children away from the sandpit and I deliberately chose to, well, ignore it in the end. And she knew it, too. I did think of talking to her but felt it might get conrfrontational.

Usually, I'd go along with what another mother wishes, and on the odd times this hasn't happened it's been because things have moved quickly and I havn't had time to react properly.

In this case I had at least 10 minutes to decide what to do and chose not to accept this woman's view of appropriate child control.

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deegward · 19/03/2003 14:16

God I'm glad we are too far away from the seaside to get involved in such things

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MandyD · 19/03/2003 21:35

I think if my son wanted to play there then I would have got my son to ask her son whether he minded anyone playing in the hole he made, then if her son had said no, he didn't mind - well!

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Lindy · 20/03/2003 00:39

I agree with Jimjams - what mother in her right mind would want to stand guard to a sand pit? I can hardly believe she was being serious; she needs to lighten up big time.

She does sound intriguing though - wonder if she's a mumsnetter & will recognise herself - can you tell us anymore about her tigermoth?

I live near a number of beaches & will have to watch out for characters like that - thanks for the warning!

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tigermoth · 21/03/2003 14:25

Lindy, oh yes, wouldn't it be strange if the mother did read mumsnet and recognised herself? I'm sure she had a strong reason to take her stance, it's just that I couldn't see it.

BTW, this happened in a sandpit, so limited sand area. Beaches are less of a problem, I'd imagine. You can just walk away.

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Clarinet60 · 24/03/2003 16:14

I've come to this late, but FWTW, I agree with you - the mother sounds bonkers.

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tigermoth · 25/03/2003 10:43

yes, I came to that conclusion, too, droile. But I am sure if she was here she would provide a justification. I'm torturimg myself wondering what it could be!

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CAM · 25/03/2003 18:10

Can't think of a good reason myself Tigermoth.

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bundle · 25/03/2003 18:17

this is all very weird. glad you've all warned me that this kind of thing lurks deep in the sandpit so I can be on my guard (figuratively, not literally, with my bucket & spade) if sandpit wars break out in norf London.

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SandpitMother · 25/03/2003 18:39

I would like to assure you that I am most definitely NOT mad! My son had spent a long time building his jolly big hole and you should all jolly well respect that. I shall not be posting here ever again!!!

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willow2 · 25/03/2003 23:12

Was this sandpit in the Gulf by any chance?

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tigermoth · 26/03/2003 13:49

No willow it wasn't - the sand comparison idea crossed my mind when I was naming this thread, because I didn't want people to read it thinking I was talking about the real war.

Sandpitmother - hope my sons didn't do any lasting damage. How is the hole looking nowadays? have you checked it recently?

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