Playground police

If you have been to the indoor playground in Paragon, you will notice that it can get quite crowded and rowdy with kids on most days, especially the weekends. It is quite common to see children jostling over one another to get up the play structure, and then scrambling over one another in the tunnel to get to the slides. It was only barely about 8 months back that I allowed K to explore this playground, as I felt there was always too many children at one time. Besides, I wanted him to be able to manage by himself, as most kids tend to get a little rough when they get excited during play.

So yesterday afternoon when we went to Paragon for lunch, K spent time in the playground but unfortunately became a victim of the 'Playground Police'. The 'Playground Police' came in the form of two moms. Mom number 1 who was hovering around her daughter, who was about the same age as K. The little girl climb into the tunnel leading to the slides and parked herself inside in there, caused a small bottleneck and the rest of the children behind her could not get to the other side. K being smaller than some of the older children, figured that there might be some space for him to squeeze inside. So he squeezed in behind her and tried to crawl to the other side of the tunnel. Mom number 1 stared at him fiercely and say, "You, naughty!". And then continued hovering her daughter, who was oblivious to what has happened. 

Mom number 2 had a two year old son which she allowed the boy to walk up the slides, when other children were coming down from the top of the slide. When it came to K's turn, on his way down, the mom shouted loudly to K, "Don't push!" Then for the next 10 minutes, she was looking quite angry while hovering over her child at the same time.

The whole time, I was standing about 30 metres away from the playground, watching K from a distance. I got rather irate after K's encounter with the 'Playground Police,' but at the moment when it happened, I chose not to interfere, as I know that I will probably be quite sarcastic to both moms. I cannot fathom what goes through these mother's minds when they bring their kids to the playground.

For Mom number 1, it seems that she did not notice that her child caused a bottleneck in the playground and was quick to come too her child's aid, and assumed that another child cause physical hurt to her child. Why over-react when there wasn't even a slightest squeak from her child? As for Mom number 2, slides are good to climb up only when there are no other children sliding down from the top. Why start blaming on some other child, when you child is in fact causing an obstruction?

When I asked K during lunch if he was scolded by 'aunties' when he was in playground, his reply was 'No.' I made my point. Obviously coming to the aid of your child and scolding the 'perpetrator' has totally no impact on the latter. The latter does not even understand the consequence of what has happened, as there was no intention of causing harm in the first place.

K has got his fair share of being pushed and shoved when we were there a couple of months back. He got pushed by two kids at separate occasions, pick himself up after the first push, but he started to cry after the second push when he fell hard on his knees on the metal play structure. Did I go after the 2 children that pushed him? Obviously not. Children being children, it is in their nature to get a little rough when they play. Besides I want K to learn how to pick himself up after a fall, and not to be quick to blame others when things happen to him. Most importantly, learn to stand up for himself and tell the other child not to push.

Over-protectiveness is not a good thing. Children need to guided and learn to manage conflict and not expect their parents to be around to handle situations for them all the time.

What will you have done if you were in my shoes? Will you approach the parent for maligning your child or would have done the same thing as I did?

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  1. Kudos to you for keeping your distance and letting K fend for himself against big bullies (i.e. other moms!) I'm not sure if I can do the same. I guess if it's Kate, I probably would stay away. But with Jamie, he's very sensitive. And unfortunately I'm quite sure a harsh word from an auntie or 2 would be too harsh for him to take. And he does take it quite personally. Sigh. When it comes to Jamie, I feel a little protective, perhaps overly so sometimes. Just because he's highly sensitive. Thanks for sharing. It's definitely something every mom should ponder over. 

    I agree that we do need to adapt to situations depending on our child’s personality. I would probably be react the same way like u, if K is sensitive like Jamie. I checked if he was affected by what the adults said, and like what I expected, he was simply too engrossed in his play to even take note.

  2. *Thumbs up*  I agree with the over-protectiveness on the part of most local parents… I'd want my child to be able to stand up and hold her own even when confronted by scary and unreasonable characters…

    Nice to see you dropping by my blog, Karan :) Over-protectiveness is so common among asian parents, I guess it is very much in our culture to be like that. However, I have seen too much of how people behave, as a result of over-protective parents and I am reminded that I never want my child to like them; never be able to stand up for themselves or confront their fears.

  3. mumto2boys says:

    I totally agree with you. That's what I always do when I bring my boys to the playground. I am one of those very few "background" mummies in the playground. I am amused by mummies/grannies who constant stand behind/beside the kids and all ready to dish out "no no, cannot, too dangerous" and then the poor kid got carried away even though what he/she is trying to do is perfectly safe. Another type is those overly defensive parents who are all too ready to bark off other kids. A fair share of these parents have girls (based on my encounters). They behave as if their girls are so fragile (then why come to playgrounds??) and all other boys in the playground are here to bully their precious princess. I'm glad to know that there are other parents like you, so I am not the only 'strange' one out there :)

    Hi mumto2boys, thanks for dropping by. It’s nice to know that we are moms who think alike, when it comes to managing our child at the playground. Over-protectiveness is really not good for the child, as these parents are limiting the ability of the child. Children are able to do much more than we think, if only they are given the opportunity to learn and explore.

  4. I think this story hits the spot with me although i don't have kids. Over protectiveness is definitely not good, me being raised up from extremely overprotective parents just because I am a girl had caused me to be quite scared of doing a lot of things in life later. When i compared myself to others who are more outgoing, risk takers, i always wonder, if my parents had given me more freedom in the past, allowed me to go out and experience life more, socialise more, would i be more street smart and able to confront my fears easily. Overprotectiveness happens more with girls and i guess there is no way to change that, esp in asia where parents are worried about perverts, people taking advantage of their girl, her getting pregnant, etc. There are a lot of things i was always shielded from, prohibited from doing which my brother was allowed to do. Years ago, i accepted a job in Johor, i lasted only 1 week, becoz i was so scared of the unfamiliar surroundings, the being alone in a house, not knowing how to drive from here to there, no mommy, daddy. Now i look back, i think, omg, why was i such a taufu? Yes, let ur child live a bit, step in front only when u absolutely need to, and he will turn out great.
    Although, if it was me, i would have clobbered the 2nd mummy. I have no patience for people who are wrong but don't know they are wrong. My personal satisfaction …lol  😉

    I understand why parents can get over-protective with girls. There are so many more concerns especially when it comes to raising girls. But seriously, nowadays with the ‘pink revolution’, boys r not spared either. But I really would rather that my child is more courageous and parents do play a huge part in encouraging that from a young age.
    As for that mom, I felt like telling her off. But the slightly more rational part of me reminded me that it will not solve anything even if I were to do that.

  5. I am a firm believer of non-interference (unless there is potential physical risk).  it always irk me how inconsiderate some parents can be, oblivious to others. wonder what values they are imparting to their kids. Ironically,  as my kiddo grow, I am more wary of letting her loose at  playground for fear that she will hurt the smaller ones unintentionally.

    Indeed, I hate to say this…but it seem quite typical of some S’porean parents. Our local culture has somehow sparked the growth of people whose only concern is themselves.

  6. You had shared 2 examples of the ugly side of parents. I had encountered a few too and like what you said, it's the parents that are badly affected by the little 'accidents' happening day in day out at playground, rather than the kids.
    I'm one of those non-interference parent, but always in alert mode should Dylan be causing any unintentional harm to other kids. For he's of bigger built as compare to other kids of the same age, hence a push or an action from him might be a little too much for others to take.
    I had stopped him countless time in the nick of time from clashing into another kid. Although he was reminded again and again, he always got carried away. Boys…
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..Grocery Shopping With the Boys =-.

    Yeah, boys have this tendency to get a bit rough once they get too involved in their play. I am also quite wary of the younger kids in the playground and always look out to make sure that Kyle doesn’t unintentionally hurt another child.

  7. hey thanks for sharing your thoughts and I enjoy reading many of your recent post.
    And I love the name your gave to these mummies :)
    keep writing

    Thanks Rachel.

  8. I'm a mom who (still) hovers over her babes @ the playground currently, not to be the fashion police but just 'cos they are only 18 months and need some guidance on how to operate the facilities 😛
    I think my little gal would be *under arrest* many times over by the playground police – she can be quite aggressive when it comes to playing, and I'm the one hovering over her to stop her arm just in time before she tries to push the bigger *kor kor* out of her way (yes i've witnessed that!). But seriously, I'm the kind of mum who really likes her kids to get dirty (i've seen parents who didn't want to dirty their kids' knees by crawling!), the daughter (especially) to experience a bit of everything (even like drinking and clubbing and hopefully bringing me along ha!) so she can be more street smart and not be 'conned' easily.
    Thanks for the enlightening article! Now I'll know what to expect next time 😛

    Hi Leslie, thanks for dropping by :) Good to hear that you are a mom that knows what’s best for your child.

  9. sorry not fashion police, but playground police…. >.< *embarassed!!!

    Haha….typo error. I tend to do that sometimes as well.

  10. Chrystal says:

    Very insightful! I think there's a growing number of "playground police" these days. Back in my days we would be happily playing in the playground with other kids while our parents/caregivers would sit under the shade and have their own conversations. Occasionally, someone would come crying and the adult will cast it aside saying, "Nvm lah, a bit only!" and minutes later the kid is back to the playground.
    I was wondering though, how would your method vary if you had a daughter instead? I'm not sure if at K's age, it would make any difference for a boy or girl. I would love to have DD learn how to protect herself against bullies and learn to stand up for herself in future, but just not sure if I could try to adopt the same method?
    Take good care of yourself!


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