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Thread: Would you call the police? Swing-gate

  1. #1

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    Default Would you call the police? Swing-gate

    from news.com.au

    Too far? Mother calls police on another father at Ryde park after swing set altercation

    A SYDNEY mother has opened a can of worms after witnessing an incident at a local park yesterday afternoon.

    Elaine Stack from children?s boutique Nell & Oll posted this story to her Facebook page, asking the question: What would you do?

    ?I was just at the park & the police arrived. Seemingly a Mother was pushing her little girl on a swing when a Father approached & said he was also waiting for the swing. The Mother replied that they would be another 5 minutes or so. The Father proceeded to stop the swing in motion & tried to lift the daughter out!

    ?The Mother was very upset & called the police. Another parent in the park thought this was a little over board.

    ?What would you do?!? Would you call the police??

    ?Yep I would! How dare he touch another persons child! And teaching his child disgusting manners and how to be impatient and RUDE!!? one person posted in response.

    ?I think they should both grow up and remember the example they?re setting for their own children. Having to call the police over a swing is ridiculous. They were both in the wrong. God forbid the police may be needed for something serious!? wrote another.
    One woman raised the issue of child safety, writing ?So some stranger touches your child and you let it go??! If she was to try sort it herself there?s no telling he wouldn?t turn on her yes it is ridiculous to call over a swing but that?s not the issue the issue is he got physical ... Get it now??

    ?I would definitely call the police. The heart stopping feeling of some stranger picking my child up would be enough to make me smash him in the face with the swing? another added.

    Mrs Stack told news.com.au that the response to her post has been ?crazy?.

    ?I love a good debate, and people have been so passionate about this one. One particular mum said that her husband was in a similar situation and didn?t call the police, and her daughter was quite upset because the incident had scared her, so you have that to consider as well.

    ?I was away from the situation so I was seeing it from afar. When we arrived at the park I didn?t notice any issues, there were only a small number of people around. But when you see police coming into a child?s playground, it?s alarming!

    ?The mum came over to a few of us after the police left, she was shaken. She said she felt very intimidated, and that she?d called the police because she goes to the park all the time and wanted to feel safe there.

    ?As a parent you do want to know what?s happened in case it?s a bigger issue. I put it up on Facebook because we at the park were thinking, would we call the police, how would I feel? But I think you have to be the mum standing at the swing to make that call. I wouldn?t say she did the wrong thing or the right thing, she just did what she thought was best for her daughter.?

    News.com.au spoke to Inspector Sharkey at Ryde Police, who confirmed that ?yes, police were called in regards to an incident at a park in Ryde yesterday.

    ?Police attended the scene, there was a dispute over one child staying on the swing longer than reasonable. The police spoke to both parties, and no offence was detected by the police. Neither party wanted to make a further complaint. From the information police had at the scene there was no incident.?
    The comments on some of the report of this have gone off the charts.

    What do you think?

    For me, this ha got nothing to do with playground etiquette and everything to do with someone getting physical with another person without their (or their parent's) consent.

    And if it's not ok, when is the appropriate time to call in the cavalry?

    I'm sitting here thinking about it - and if it was done to a baby, a toddler, a teen, a grownup - would my response be different?

    Would it depend on the presentation of the person doing the touching?

    Or is the very act in itself sufficiently inappropriate and intimidating that external intervention is immediately required?

    Would be interested in other peoples' thoughts.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Would you call the police? Swing-gate

    No I wouldn't have called the police, I would have said it's ok I will get child out and gone and played on something else. Also explained to child that sometimes grown ups can be rude and do the wrong thing, but that is life. Mountain out of molehill would be my thoughts. I would also be interested to know if gender of the adult came into play, was the level of intimidation felt because was a man.

    At the park, I can't be everywhere at once, I have no issues with the concept of another parent (a stranger in the context of this story) picking up my child and moving them in aid of playground harmony (e.g DS blocking the slide and refusing to move) - this notion that no person should touch your child without your consent is very dangerous to society in my opinion.

    The guy in the story was in the wrong, even if the people on the swing were hogging it, that is life, you do something else you don't physically remove them - but a police matter no way.

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    Default Re: Would you call the police? Swing-gate

    I'm not to sure I would go as far as call the police. But I am appalled at the actions of the father that is completely unacceptable

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    Default Re: Would you call the police? Swing-gate

    I agree with most of what you say, wysiwyg and Cat.

    One thing that really bothered me about this is that from the reports, the guy arrived with his child, asked to use the swing, was told by the mum that they would be done in 5 minutes (whether that meant a literal 5 minutes or "soonish" who knows) and the guy then stepped in, to physically stop the swing and remove the child, despite the fact that the mum was RIGHT THERE and had said "no, wait".

    In that instance, I suspect I would (unless actually fearful of harm) stand my ground and say no, back off, you can wait.

    There have been plenty of times (particularly with the swing!) (or standing obstructionistically in front of the slide, as per wysiwyg's note!) where I've seen other children hedging around, waiting patiently (or impatiently) and I've said to my child "dude - someone else's turn, time to play on something else".

    But I wouldn't want to be teaching my child that if you have said no, then if someone else gets in your face (or swing) about it, then you back off. I don't think that's necessarily what you were saying wysiwyg, and you're clearly not condoning the behaviour, I'm just still thinking this though.

    Completely at the other end of the scale from this guy though, I had a situation just the other day when someone came up wanting the swing, and (because we had been there for quite a while) I said to DS1 that we'd get off and let someone else have a go, and the dad said, "No, he needs to learn to wait his turn, please don't get off for us yet." and so we had a bit more of a swing first!

    So yeah ... But I keep on coming back to this question about whether the call to the police was an overreaction ... and wondering were there other people around?

    If that happened and I was there, would I have gone and stood up for her? If that had happened, would she have felt safe, and not needed to call the police?

    Because while I am not immediately in a "danger" mentality if someone went and touched my child, if I have expressly and reasonably said "five more minutes" it would be completely in the "not ok, possible danger" zone if the other adult then physically stopped my child, etc.

    In the same way as if I was on the train and someone asked me to move, I say no, and then they push me or move my bag, or something. That would immediately be a step away from "odd" and raising a red flag, whether it's "no boundaries, not appropriate - watch out" or "bully" or "intimidation and force - DANGER".

    And if there was no one there I could reach out to for help, would the police be the appropriate course of action?

    Some people seem to be dealing with this as if the call to the police was akin to calling in a SWAT team because the neighbours' music is a bit loud (overreaction, entitlement, precious, etc) or from a place of "take that - I'm telling the teacher" (juvenile, waste of resources, petty) but if it was because they were scared (whether that's reasonable or not) then was the police appropriate? Would it make a difference if they'd asked someone there to help first?

    And if there were people first who didn't come to intervene / help, is that because they didn't notice, or didn't think there was anything wrong about the behaviour, or they just didn't want to get involved?

    Questions ...

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    Default Re: Would you call the police? Swing-gate

    I think the response to this also depends on the level the particular woman feels threatened at.
    If she is a person who has suffered previous domestic violence perhaps this physical interference with her child was a huge trigger.
    I do wonder if the father had been waiting with a nagging toddler for some time and had less than adequate parenting skills to manage a tantrum with his waiting child so lost his temper with the woman forgetting the world at the park does not revolve around his toddler like it does in his home.

    Either way the father was waaaaaaay out of line. So would a woman be, behaving in the same way, only perhaps a woman would be marginally less threatening.
    I imagine if someone did something similar to me and my son I would be VERY assertive and hold the swing and model good anti-bullying behaviour for my child and the other child.
    I would become quite loud and tell the person they were very rude and they need to wait and I would tell my son that the person was rude and that big people need to wait turns too.
    I would also say that we all need to share so we would not be much longer.

    If I felt threatened I would call the police. The man behaved in a threatening manner.

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    Default Re: Would you call the police? Swing-gate

    Quote Originally Posted by kateo View Post

    If I felt threatened I would call the police. The man behaved in a threatening manner.
    You see I don't see taking a child out of a swing even if have been told to wait as threatening - annoying, rude etc but threatening no (from what we have read in the report above anyway).

    From the quotes in the original article - there were other people about “The mum came over to a few of us after the police left, she was shaken. She said she felt very intimidated, and that she’d called the police because she goes to the park all the time and wanted to feel safe there."

    People would not have intervened because unless you were close enough to hear her say "no wait 5 mins" and then see him pick up her child, how would anyone know there was anything going on?

    We don't know what happened after the father tried to lift the child out - the police weren't their immediately so presumably there must have been some sort of conversation - maybe that is where the threatening part happened - although the police found no incident occurred so not sure on that.

    I do think that is fine to just back off in some situations due to inappropriate behavior by other people, in some cases it is sensible, and I personally don't believe that if a child sees you backing down in one context that they then apply that to others - I think children are very good at seeing that all situations are different (certainly my DD is very good at telling me why some situations don't equate to others :-)).

    I suspect Kateo is right the guy had been waiting ages, the kid was throwing a wobbler and he just went for the easier option after the lady said 5 mins or so (5 mins is a pretty long time in swing terms IMO - 10 more pushes is my rule).

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    Default Re: Would you call the police? Swing-gate

    Now my opinion on this now, differs from when I was the 'cavalry'. I certainly would have been less than accommodating if I had been called to a job over children on a swing, but an upset mother saying a strange man is assaulting her child certainly brings a different perspective. A huge amount of variables is at play.

    What he did to the child was technically assault (without the battery), but if the mum felt threatened then it is with battery, but I can't hall but wonder what she expected them to do if she didn't want to make a complaint.
    No way in hell would I have let that happen with out a fight. But, we only have one version of the story.

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    Default Would you call the police? Swing-gate

    Depends entirely on the level of physical aggression of the man. It is unacceptable for people to be acting in a physically aggressive or threatening nature in a family precinct like a playground. If it takes a visit from the police to get that point made, especially in your regular stomping ground, then that's what it takes.

    ETA - context: I have in the past made a statement to Police about verbal aggression/threats made by the (drunk) next door neighbour without laying charges. I felt that there was potential for the situation to escalate in the near future, and I wanted the history to be in the system if that should happen. I got the distinct impression at the time that said neighbour flagged in their records, which reinforced the soundness of my decision. Funnily enough he has been polite & nice as pie ever since.

    So, I don't think there is anything wrong in this woman asserting her & her child's right to do playgroundy things at the playground without being harassed or threatened by an aggressive adult male.

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    Default Re: Would you call the police? Swing-gate

    I would feel threatened if a stranger felt they could ignore my wishes as to where my child was allowed to sit in a public place. I would feel threatened if a stranger directly against my wishes physically moved my child. Actually even if I didn't express a wish as to what my child was allowed to do I would expect another adult to request my permission to move my child particularly if my child was in no immediate danger and I was in close proximity. If I then let them know I preferred they didn't touch my child and there was no danger to anyone I would expect them to follow my wishes.
    So yes the man was threatening. He directly ignored the wishes of a woman regarding her child. He made it clear by his actions that he would not follow her wishes.........threatening behaviour in my world........what other wishes would he ignore?

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    Default Re: Would you call the police? Swing-gate

    I think it all comes down to being there. None of us know the full story. Personally, in my gut, he was out of line. I may not have called the cops, but if that was her reaction I don't feel that I can judge having not been in her shoes.

    I would feel pretty threatened if someone had taken it upon themselves to act in that way. There are scenarios where putting your hands on another persons child may be acceptable, but I don't feel this was one of those times. We've seen kids hog swings etc (older kids) and I've just taken my kids home. Why cause a fuss over a swing? Really? Maybe she was being selfish. So what? Nothing will be learnt, or taught, by physically touching another person, or even speaking to another, in an intimidating way.

    He needs to grow up & realise that life isn't always fair & maybe a word from the police was enough for him to step back & try a different approach next time?


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