Random Words Wednesday

NOT quite as random as it is a recurring theme… Bullies Strike II.

And this time, I’m not Nice Mummy. Well, for a moment.

Scenario: Son runs through scrubland with three other boys, all chasing an Ibis (which they’ll never catch, so it didn’t worry me) and waving sticks. It was all very Lord of the Flies, but since I’m a girl, thought this was probably a good thing for him to do and he certainly seemed happy, laughing maniacally as he pounded the ground with a stick.

Then I saw one boy throw his stick at Son and Son grabbed his eyes, when he took his hands away, there was the unmistakable, contorted face that pre-empts the scream “MUUUUUUMMMMMYYYY”. I charged through the scrub like a feral pig.

“Did you throw a stick at him?!” I demanded.

The boy crumpled into tears and I helped him find the group of Mums he was with. When a second Mum asked why he was crying, I explained the situation and she laughed, “Oh, I thought  my son had done something to him.”

I agreed and even said “I thought my son had”.

For shame.

Why couldn’t I have admitted that, unlike the other mums there, I was watching my kids – hovering, if you will – and knew exactly what happened? Why did I need to identify with her insecurity about her son’s behaviour so much so that I impugned my own son? Why couldn’t I have been brave enough to suggest that if someone’s child has the temperment to throw sticks at other children, perhaps they need slightly closer supervision particularly when they wonder off into bushland?

I can answer that in part… who hasn’t missed some playground action when in the throes of their first adult conversation for the day? Mums en masse can miss snotty noses or grazed knees while they talk out their frustrations/triumphs with fellow mums.

But I didn’t need to play down the incident. His mum undoubtedly took him in his arms and consoled him when really he needed a swift reprimand. I don’t know if Mum #2 told her what “went down”.

I hate being so judgemental – we all do the best we can – but the lack of parental supervision in local parks here just about drives me crazy.

 I often find myself pushing other people’s kids on swings, helping them before they fall off monkey bars, cajoling them into sharing, and even giving them a cuddle when they’ve hurt themselves – all the while wondering which of the people reading the paper/on their mobile/staring off into the distance are responsible for this little person.

If I heard my son had thrown a stick at another child’s face, I would have given him a time-out and made a beeline to the mum to apologise and make sure he was okay.

Am I in the minority here? What ought to be playground protocol?

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Playground politics and angry parents « PetaJo

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