Should you parent other kids on the playground?
In a perfect world, children on every playground would play nice, take turns, and respect one another. But since we don’t live in an ideal world, children will misbehave or even bully other children on the playground. As a parent, what do you do when you see a child misbehaving? Should you parent other children in such a situation? This is a difficult question to answer!
Every parent has their own unique way of parenting their child. Most of the time, parents do not take too kindly to someone else parenting their child without consent. However, there are some common playground scenarios that may require your attention and parenting skills to resolve the issue.
Common Playground Scenarios
Scenario 1: You see a child cutting in front of other children in the line for the slide
This situation is one that’s all too common on the playground. Some children are able to take turns and share playground equipment, but others are not. One way to resolve this issue is to simply intervene in the situation by telling your child to pick another playground activity.
But if your child does not want to move on to another activity, instruct your child to play nice with the other child who’s cutting in front of the line by saying:
“Can you please stop cutting in front of me?”
“Please let me have my turn down the side.”
Another alternative to this same scenario is to practice a gentle parenting approach with the child who keeps cutting in line. You can try saying the following to the child:
“You are doing so good going down the slide, but we all need to remember to wait our turn.”
Scenario 2: You see a child throwing sand up in the air in the sandbox
If your child is playing in the same sandbox, it may be wise to move him or her away from the situation. It’s never fun to get sand in your eyes or inhale sand particles. For this particular situation, it may be proper playground etiquette to walk away.
Yes, the child throwing sand needs to be parented or disciplined for his/her actions. However, it is more of immediate concern to remove your child from the situation and move on with your day. Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing in situations like this.
Scenario 3: You see another child pushing, biting, or more (bullying) another child
This is a scenario you do not want to see on the playground between children. Bullying behaviors that harm someone emotionally or physically is never acceptable under any circumstances. For bullying, it’s important to live by the motto- See something, do something.
In this instance, your instincts as a parent kick in. And you need to intervene between the two children even if one of the children is not your child. When you see a child acting out toward another child, it’s best to separate the children from one another and ask the child where their mother or father is on the playground.
The chances are the mom or dad of the children did not see the bullying behavior occur. No parent would approve of their child bullying another child or seeing their child being hurt. Therefore, it’s best to talk to the children’s parents directly. This way, you are not parenting the children directly; instead, you are involving the parents to handle the issue.
You may also read – How the Emotional Needs of a child affect their behavior?
So the question still remains: Do you parent other children on the playground?
Yes and no. Through these three common playground scenarios, we see there are ways to handle and possibly solve issues without directly parenting a child. For some parents, they become extremely offended by someone else parenting their child.
You can avoid offending other parents on the playground by trying one of the following tactics:
- Use gentle parenting techniques to kindly ask a misbehaving child to take turns, share, etc.
- Remove your child from the situation without parenting another child.
- Don’t parent the misbehaving child directly, but contact the child’s parents on the playground to let them know about the issue.
While you can parent another child on the playground, other parents may frown upon it. There is an unspoken rule about parenting, commonly referred to as “not your child, not your business.” However, when a child is not acting appropriately with other children on the playground by causing harm physically and emotionally, no parent can stand idly by and only observe.
Sometimes immediate intervention is needed to resolve an issue that can lead to potential harm on the playground. Whether it is your child or someone else’s child, you need to parent and discipline.