Playground Parents Misbehave

Remember when playgrounds used to be fun? I came from a generation that had one simple rule to follow whenever we played outside: be home by dinner. The playground could keep us busy from sunrise to supper. Our friends would join us, neighbors would spontaneously bring snacks for all the kids, and it seemed the playground was perfect.

On Sunday, I let my son spend some time on a very crowded playground. There were lots of other families who had the same idea. My son was doing a good job being friendly to the others kids and patient as he waited for his turns. Although I kept a watchful eye on him, I couldn’t help but observe some of the other families at the playground.

Some of the parents misbehaved very badly.

There were bigger kids pushing little kids, stepping on little kids, and stealing from little kids and no parents to correct them or apologize to the parents who had to console their children. It was playground anarchy. One father even told his son it was ok to take sports equipment from the playground that did not belong to them (it was property of the elementary school).

I tolerated playground-hell for 40 minutes before I did my best to distract my son and get him away from there. Although not every parent on the playground is an enemy and you should always try to be friendly and polite, you should be aware of the different types of parents you may encounter who could care less and how exactly playground parents misbehave.

The “Everyone Else Is Invisible” Parent: No matter what you say or how you try to interact with them, they never, ever look at you or speak. It is also annoying to note that this parent also ignores other children who are waiting to use the playground equipment that they are blocking.

The “Judgmental” Parent: The one who is looking between you and your child as though someone has done something ridiculously wrong. I will shamefully admit I am sometimes guilty of this.

The “BFF” Parent: They are super-friendly, kind, and otherwise perfect. Often, this parent is leaving just as you arrive.

The “Tech” Parent: While their children play, this parent sits and enjoys some Kindle time, selfie time, and update FB status every two minutes time.

The “Dads”: Most men are blissfully unaware of why women just can’t get along with one another, thus making it very easy to have friendly conversation with other parents on the playground.

The “My Child Is Perfect” Parent: They either tell you directly how perfect their child is or highlight your own child’s shortcomings by asking questions about them. Beware that if their child and your child have a playground disagreement, your child will be wrong.

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