“Hey, kid! Watch where you’re going on that scooter! You’re not supposed to be riding it around here!”
That was me yesterday at the water play park. A boy was riding his scooter, fast, through the fountains, even though there were signs saying no scooters or bikes were allowed. After a couple of near collisions with my children, I’d had enough. When my angry glares didn’t work, I told him off.
Where was his mum? Off to the side of the park. Looking at her phone, of course.
I tell off other people’s kids all the time. Why? Because I hate seeing my children being knocked over or pushed around by other people’s badly brought-up kids.
Oh yeah, I know. I can’t follow my children around, protecting them, for the rest of their lives. But I can step in at playgrounds, and I do.
They have to fend for themselves at school. But at school they’ve got their friends, and there are teachers standing by if things get too rough. At playgrounds, it’s a free-for-all.
My daughter is a daydreamer who's been hit by kids on scooters before, just because she doesn't pay much attention to what's going on around her. My son is small for his age and a bit shy. I'm their mum. I'm just doing my job. I'm not going to stand by and watch them get hurt, if there's something I can do about it.
"Hey! You! Leave him alone! It's rude to hit other people."
"Hey! You just knocked him over. You should say sorry if you knock someone over."
"Hey! Don't push in. End of the line, please."
Yep, I've said all those things to other people's kids. The good thing is that most kids will actually stop their bad behaviour if an adult tells them off in a stern voice. My glares are usually pretty effective, too.
WATCH the video of some pandas playing on a slippery dip. Post continues after the video...
I don't think I'm overstepping the mark. I'm just saying what their parents should be saying. It's not okay to put other kids in danger, hit other kids or push in. There's normal kid boisterousness, and then there's bad behaviour. It becomes my business when it affects my kids.
You might say that maybe I should walk up to the mum or dad, have a quiet chat about what their child is doing and let them speak to their own child about it. Yeah, but I don't want to get into a big argument with another parent every time I go to the playground. It's easier to keep doing it this way.
Basically, if you're too obsessed with looking at your friend's cat on Facebook to notice that your kid is being badly behaved at the playground, then I'm going to do your job for you.
Have you ever told off someone else's kid at the playground?