I am not overly protective of my kids, especially at the playground. I let them get scraped up. I do not follow them closely saying, “Oh, you’ll get hurt if you climb up the slide backward.” I let them figure it out. When a 10-year-old comes barreling down the slide, believe me, my kids figure it out.
I let the children try the equipment–even the monkey bars–when they’re comfortable trying it. I don’t push them, and I don’t hold them back. One of my daughters, Estelle, is athletic, confident and fearless. She was playing with 5-year-old boys in the park when she was 2. Some kids are like that.
But this weekend, a parent at the playground crossed the safety line. My husband took the kids to the Montclair Community Pre-K park on Sunday after church. There is a wonderful climbing tree there. But should our 3-year-old Estelle be climbing it?
My husband and I encourage this child to push herself and try new things. We don’t, however, let her do things that will get her killed.
Another mother at the playground that day, a woman we know from church, followed Estelle to that climbing tree. My husband didn’t think much of it because Estelle can’t reach the tree. Therefore, she cannot get into any tree-climbing conundrums. The woman was just talking to Estelle, and everything seemed fine.
But then, my husband saw the lady lifting Estelle into that climbing tree. He ran over to the woman and pulled Estelle down. He said to that mother, “When she can climb the tree herself, I’ll let her climb it. Until then, Estelle is grounded.” Daddy was angry, but the conversation didn’t go any further.
The woman gave my husband the stink eye and then a huff. Then she walked away. It sure will be fun running into her next Sunday.
What would you have done? I probably would’ve been all nice and polite about it. “Please don’t let my child climb that tree,” I can see myself saying. But inside, I would’ve felt like whooping that mom’s behind.
I definitely don’t think it’s appropriate for random parents to hoist any child–even a 12-year-old–up into a climbing tree. I know I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t touch any child on any playground, for that matter.
What do you think about this playground drama?