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Thread: [advice] what do do with bullying at playgrounds

  1. #1

    Default [advice] what do do with bullying at playgrounds

    I went to the local indoor play centre this morning and DS was pushed twice times (over a period of 4 hours) by another little boy. The last time, he was pushed into a fence, and while I didn't see the incident, another mother came over and told me about it.

    I went to DS and told him that if the boy pushed him again, that he had my full permission to push him back. the mother of the bully was just sitting there, chatting to her friend. We had both seen one of the earlier incidents and she had slapped her son's hand, but I didn't hear her tell him off.

    So should I have talked to the mother or displined her child (by telling him that pushing is not acceptable).

  2. #2

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    It's not an easy circumstance and i've had my fair share of issues with kids & play centres, the worst was actually at a BB meet and a little boy pushed my youngest DD, at the time i grabbed her and walked her away not saying anything. The little boy then went on to grab another little girl by the throat so myself and the other ladies moved our kids back into the toddler area.
    This little boy then came into the toddler room with his mum & her friend standing outside basically not watching him (as with the earlier instances), he tripped my DD over so one of the BB girls bought her down from the play equipment for me, i told DD to stay away but allowed her to go back and play, this time he rocked her back & forth by the back of her top on the top of the slide, pulled her off and then started hitting and kicking her.. that was ENOUGH.. i pointed at the mum and yelled a few choice words while i ran up to get my screaming frightened child.
    By the time i got out the mum was STILL outside paying no attention so i pointed at her and yelled again.
    She promptly got her son and left.. i've never been so shaken in my life.

    Had this happened again i would play things a little different, i would go and ask the mum if that was her son and just mention he was doing xyz to my daughter and if he did it again and she wasn't watching i would be asking staff to have him removed.

  3. #3

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    Hmmmm. I personally have a problem with trying to stop my DS from pushing and retaliating, so I work really hard at getting him to come tell an adult if he's been pushed / bullied. Of course, the mischevious me would point out the other mother and tell your son to go tell her that her son hurt him!

    I think though that "hold on, hold on - we play nice at play centres" is acceptable to say to the other kid, and if it continues then tell the staff that there is a kid who is nasty etc.

    and good luck.

  4. #4

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    I'd probably hesitate at telling him he was welcome to shove the other kid back..things could end up nasty for him, the other kid, you..especially once he gets older as shoving may turn into hitting or something more serious.
    I would be saying to him, if it happens again come and tell me straight away and if you know who his parent is try and speak to them, or tell a staff member there that a child is bullying others. I'm sure they would have procedures in place for dealing with those sorts of situations.

    As awful as it is, it's a good learning experience for school and how to deal with bullies. I would tell my school age child the same thing, don't retaliate, ask them to please stop and if they don't, find a teacher and tell me about it so I can make sure the issue has been dealt with. I think 'fighting back' may only cause worse problems in the future.

  5. #5

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    We try and stay away from giving the message that pushing is ok in any circumstance. If something happens he's not happy with I encourage him to tell me.

    On the other side, my son is rough. He's stopped biting but he still pushes. He could have been the boy you describe. But I'm a very different mother. I know my son is rough and am all over him like a rash, especially out in public.

    I would probably have spoke to the child's mother rather than teaching your son to push him back.

  6. #6

    Default [advice] what do do with bullying at playgrounds

    I would have probably approached the child myself and told him not to push other ppl. I wouldn't encourage my child to push back as that can send mixes messages. We encourage the children where I work to use their words. If someone pushes them or does something they don't like they tell them to stop because they don't like it. I would also approach the parent if it happened more than once.

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    We tell our DD to tell the child who is doing the unacceptable behaviour to stop (with her hand in a stop motion facing the child) because that hurts me or I don't like it (something along those lines). If the behaviour continues she is to come to me. I have no issues telling a child to stop a behaviour that is anti social, will hurt a child or themselves, put a child in danger/themselves. I take Kazbah's approach. If the child wouldn't stop, I'd then seek out the parents.
    I wouldn't tell my DD to push back b/c that is the behaviour you are trying to avoid.

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    I wouldn't hesitate to say to the other kid to "play nice, mate, you don't push other kids around - it's not nice". I've done it before, I'd do it again. Not in a mean and narky voice - but certainly stern. Of course, it would depend if the little bully was still near my child - I probably wouldn't walk half way across the play centre to say it. I think it needs to be said almost as soon as the act is committed. I have also told my children to say "don't push me" etc if they're in that situation and then come to me. And if it continues, I'd probably steer my child away from playing near the kid.

    It's a hard one actually. I don't particularly like confrontation as you don't know what you're going to get with the other parent. I generally think parents know if their child is aggressive, so if the parent isn't bothering to watch their child's behaviour among other children, I think they generally don't give a rat's. Unfortunately, some parents are just completely ignorant human beings who are raising ignorant children ... who can become bullies. However, if the parent was receptive to being told their child was being a bully, then they could be approached.

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    It's a difficult situation to be in and i tend be overly defensive of my child. To the point of picking up a boy and taking him over to his mum and telling him to stay there unless he was going to play nice at playgroup cos she was too busy chatting to her friend (and is every week).
    I however dont recommend doing this! As pp have said get your child to tell them to stop or tell you, if that doesn't work talk to the parent, only then would i talk to the staff at the play centre asking them to take action.

  10. #10

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    In the playcentre/playground i tend to remove my child from the situation. I'm a bit like AndiE and am a little hesitant about approaching another parent not knowing what i may get in return. If someone was to follow my child around such as what Zarava Flutterby expereinced i just may have though. There is a push and a shove amoungst kids and then there is continual bullying.

    I had a situation where a little girl was pushing my DS2 (who was just 2 at the time) and it was repeated until i finally reached him to stop it. The poor thing stood there stunned until i got there then he cried. I almost cried myself i was so upset for him. The little girl just stood there, i have no idea where her parent was so i said to her that it wasn't a very nice thing to do and would she like to say sorry to my son. She shook her head and said NO and i decided that was all i was prepared to do and removed my son.

    Another instance was when my DS1 was bitten on the arm by a little girl, they were both trying to play with one thing and that was what happened. She left a big circle of teeth marks on him. Again i could have said something but i choose not to.

    Malyna i think the best thing you can do is handle the situation in a way that works with your own parenting methods. Keeping in mind that the parent of the 'other child' could have very different views. You can't control how the other parent discplines their child but you can control what you want your child to learn out of the situation.

    For me i have liked to encourage my children to use their words to say 'hey that wasn't nice and i don't like you doing that' then walk away. We all learn from each situation

  11. #11

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    I usually talk to the iffending child and tell them "No. Do not hit/kick/punch/whatever" or even "leave (my child's name) alone." If they continue, I will go over again and say "No." or "don't you dare." and if they still look like they are going to do something to my child, I will find the parent and tell them exactly what their child is doing and that they have continued doing it even after being told not too. It usually doesn't get that far though.

    And before then I will try and let my kids work it out or tell them to stay away from the problem kid.

  12. #12

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    I think if it happens again, I'm just going to report the child to the management and let them deal with the child.


    Yes, I know telling my kid to push the bullies back isn't setting very good example, but then we all have our bad decision moments as parent.

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    I would usually say something like "no, we don't push people". Generally once an adult says it they will stop. But if they didn't I would have to put my big girl pants on (I hate conflict) and talk to the parent. Alternatively you can complain to the play centre management as they pretty much all have rules that kids need to be supervised. BTW I do get why you said it was ok to push. To be honest, although I try to teach DS how to solve conflicts without physical threats etc sometimes I wonder if I am teaching him how to live in some kind of ideal, pie in the sky society that doesn't actually exist.
    Sorry you had a bad experience. Hope next time it is better!

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    Malyna you did what you felt was right at the time. It's a terrible feeling to see your little one being pushed around. You've now asked around and may have a few different ideas to try if there is ever a next time. Hopefully not. In a place such as a playcentre management have their rules and can take control of those situations then us as parents can feel secure in that our children are safe. Decisions made on the spur of the moment that you may have changed given the chance aren't necessarily 'bad', they're learning curves more so.

    Hope you and/or your son don't have any more expereinces like that

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    Quote Originally Posted by krysalyss View Post
    . BTW I do get why you said it was ok to push. To be honest, although I try to teach DS how to solve conflicts without physical threats etc sometimes I wonder if I am teaching him how to live in some kind of ideal, pie in the sky society that doesn't actually exist.
    Sorry you had a bad experience. Hope next time it is better!
    I wonder the same thing too.
    Look at that poor 14 year kid who picked up the agressor and body slammed him. That poor bloody kid was harrassed mercilessly for months before it ended this way. Him telling an adult about this wouldnt have made one iota of difference to the way he was being treated at school.
    While his reaction was far from ideal, I would be willing to bet his agressors paid him a little more respect after that incident.
    I also dont believe that this kid would have gone on to become a bully as a result of him defending himself, anymore that the bullies would have stopped being bullies, they will just go and find another victim.
    Maybe it doesnt hurt to understand that if you hit someone, you may have to expect to get hit back?

  16. #16

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    I have on many occasions told other kids not to push/shove/hit whatever. I never just dump and ignore my kids in parks/play centres and will also tell them to wait their turn. TBH one of my biggest gripes is mothers who use playcentres as catch ups for them with what they think is built in babysitting.

    I've had one occasion a bit like ZF's where there were two little boys, each one really hassling my DDs. I told the kids off nicely a couple of times but when one of them spat at and then tried to kick my then 2yr old DD down off a platform I completely lost it, screamed at the kid, picked up my child and then screamed at his mother. She got extremely aggressive and abusive. I stayed pretty calm until she then stood between me and my other DD and wouldn't let her get to me. We were in a play area in a shopping centre and fortunately a man had been watching everything and called security. They arrived while I was doing my nut at the other mother but luckily there were about 10 people that all stepped forward and said how bad the boys were, and how offensive the other mother had been so they all got thrown out of the centre. I don't think there has ever been a time in my life when I have wanted to physically attack someone more than that day.



    That was a pretty extreme example though and most parents I've found are perfectly happy with you gently telling their child they're doing something wrong. If I missed my kids doing something I wouldn't have a problem with them being told off by someone else, even a complete stranger, so long as it was in a calm way and with absolutely no touching. Kids that are continually behaving inappropriately should be taken away - not fair that other kids doing the right thing suffer for their bad behaviour.

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