How do you react when a kid hits or pushes your child or someone else’s? Modern Manners Guy's tips for properly approaching another parent on the playground.
I know it’s unmannerly to lose your cool, but I openly admit that I lost my cool recently. I’m not saying it was my proudest moment, nor do I recommend it. However, when I took my daughter to a playground and another kid hit her… well, let’s just say I was not a happy camper.
Granted, these were two toddlers on the playground, but the reality is that it could have led to something much worse. Allow me to set the stage for you:
The kids were about 5 feet in the air, playing on a “bridge” over the playground, when one particularly rambunctious child pushed my daughter. If this kid had continued, my daughter could have fallen off the structure. I ran over, held my daughter to make sure she was okay, and then asked – very loudly – who was the father of this kid? As it was, I already knew; I had watched this little monster torment other kids while the father sat on his butt doing nothing.
This is an example that goes far beyond the playground; it can happen in school, at a birthday party, or any number of public places. So how do you properly handle a kid who hits or pushes your child or someone else’s?
For starters, never ever aim your anger at the child. Always go to the parent. And when you approach the parent, let them know about the situation in as calm a manner as possible. In this case, I did raise my voice a bit too loudly, but it was a gut reaction to my daughter being hurt. I didn’t yell at the child, but I did get “properly” vocal with the parent. “Is this your child? Your child pushed my daughter and has been running wild all over this playground. I suggest you do something about this, now!”
This was me being calm and I hoped that this father felt bad. That was my intention and, frankly, I was proud of it. I wanted him to know that I had had enough. When a parent isn’t watching their child and doesn’t seem to care that their child has hurt another parent’s child, it irks me like nothing else. However, regardless of how annoyed you may be with the situation, you have to properly address the parent, putting them in their place with facts. Exaggerating the situation will only make matters worse. For example:
“Is this your child? (FACT it is)…
Your child pushed my daughter (FACT, he did)…
And has been running wild all over this playground (FACT, he was)…
I suggest you do something about this, now!” (A suggestion but one you should not argue with).
There’s no need for hand waving or cursing, ever. By keeping your confrontation cool and collected and sticking to the facts, you leave the other parent nothing to argue against.
Having good manners does not mean you allow people to push you, or your child, around because you think saying something will make you look rude. Having manners is a character trait that many do not quite grasp. If someone is out of line or offending you, you can still defend yourself in the proper, mannerly way.
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