Children At Play

photo courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

My playdate went all wrong.  I returned home from an outing at the local indoor preschool playground with the most prominent feeling of embarrassment. 

It started out perfect, we were there the moment the playground opened.  Everyone was smiling, playing and enjoying an early morning out.  An hour into our outting, my two year old son was playing with four other toddling, two year old boys in the tight quarters where you sit and steer in a submarine.  One thing about this age, is they are continuously copying one another.  My guy tends to be a little on the quiet side when interacting with other children so he stood there analyzing the situation and in awe as a two of the little boys took a swing at him in the face with their finger, copying one another and the other two just swung their pointed finger into the air.   I try to let kids be kids and let them play because my son needs to know that these things will happen and he needs to deal with it rather than mommy fly in to save him.  The other children have their parent’s to step in and teach them as need be but I’ll just watch and monitor that my son doesn’t get hurt but let things play out.  The play continued on as kids were maneuvering around each other, sitting, standing, reaching for the wheel, in and around each other. 

The situation went out of control for me when another little two year old girl went to climb in and my son pushed her out.  She fell to the ground crying.  I was devastated; mostly embarrassed that my son would cause another child to cry.  The sweet little girl was almost hysterical (or so it seemed) as her mom grabbed her and told my son not to push.  Perhaps it was my embarrassment that was magnifying the situation in my mind.  I have doing my best to teach him not to hit or hurt his little brother, I couldn’t believe he had pushed her.

I apologized to mommy and I took my son away as I sought out my friend to let her know that we would have to leave now because of my son pushing.  She said, “They are kids, these things happen.”  Almost at the exact time her child was being pushed where she was playing.  Her daughter doesn’t cry readily, she is resilient and will fall and get right back up and continue on with her adventure.

It is a tough call for me.  I want to teach my son not to push or hit and I don’t think he is too young to understand because he explained to me the entire way home that he had pushed the girl and she was crying and it was not nice so he could not have another cookie.  My friend had been sharing her crackers with him while we were there so once he had pushed her I said he could not have another one after pushing her.  From my perspective he knows that he shouldn’t do it. 

Did he just get caught up in all of the excitement?

Will he turn into the playground bully?

Am I making excuses for him?

My friend and I chatted once we returned home for nap time.  She assured me, that this is only the beginning, a push in the playground happens.  Next time it may be my son to be pushed.  This is true, a sad reality that I must now embrace.  Eventually he will be playing and pushing or being pushed and I won’t be there to protect or discipline.

I shall lift my chin and remember to let him know next time before we begin to play that hitting, pushing and all other mean behaviour is not allowed or we will not be returning to the play place.  Aaaah, I sure hope it works!

What types of child conflict have you had to deal with?

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5 thoughts on “Children At Play

  1. I remember when my tiny guy (around age 2 and slightly built) was pushed down by his cousin who was a few months old and bigger. I rushed in and rescued my sweet little baby boy, and comforted him til he stopped crying and then, he went back to playing. 🙂

  2. Reinforce consequences immediately so that he understands which behaviors you do not approve of. If you wait until you get home, he will be confused.

    The pushing incident can be handled with an immediate mini-time out along with an explanation of why we don’t do these things, point out how the littel girl was crying. Have him thing about how he feels when he is pushed. The key is immediate.

    No, you are not in danger of raising a bully. You are teaching him good values and he will carry them with him throughout life. Remember, he’s only two and trying to make sense of everything. Good thing he has a mommy like you to help him.

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