Park Politics: How To Handle Children (And Parents) At The Park

jestcafe.com-parkpolitics4Taking your children to the park requires high social skills. Meaning that, as parents, we need to make wise decisions about our kids’ interactions with other kid, and, most importantly, with other parents.

My favorite method is to sit back, read a book, and let children do their thing. Interceding only when necessary, aka when a kid is crying or close to death.

95% of the time conflicts get resolved just fine when adults don’t get involved, but figuring out when the other 5% of the situations are happening, that is the art of parenting at the park.

My kids are not the worst behaved in public places, but they are not the best either. I wonder if this is a boy thing, but they are always at the verge of making trouble. Pushing others too hard, throwing random elements to the sky, or not taking turns at the swing. These troubles don’t fly well with some parents, so I get involved.

jestcafe.com-parkpolitics2I have come to realize that most of the time I reprimand my kids is not because they are doing something very bad, but because of how other parents are judging the situation.

For example, your child goes to another child and takes away a toy (this has happened to me around 197 times, but, who is counting). The other kid doesn’t seem to care. He/she moves on to the next thing, but you look at his/her parent and the story is different. That parent didn’t like your kid stealing something away from his/her kid, so you intervene and scold your child and return the toy. That, right there, is the perfect example of park politics, my friends. An unnecessary action to protect yourself from the hate of another adult. It has nothing to do with your kids or parenting, as you see, but everything to do with the desire to be liked by others in public spaces (or in life).

The difficulty for me is that I want my children to explore freely, but I also want them to be polite, and we all know that polite boundaries for children are widely different than those ones for adults, don’t you think?

How do you handle awkward situations that involve young kids, other kids, or adults in public spaces? Any special advice you can give? Do you care about other parents judging you? Or, do you think kids should do their thing? Just wondering.

Thanks for stopping by and, here is a post about criticizing how others do parenting, and how many kids are enough.

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6 replies
  1. Jeanne says:

    I understand the issues and I totally agree with the dilemma and sorrowfully, I don’t have an answer…but maybe I do…perhaps at the first sign of conflict with others or actions that would not be tolerated at home, it’s time to leave and then next time the kids will remember and their stay will be a bit longer…..maybe…playground politics…not for the faint of heart. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Ghislaine says:

    Such a spot-on reading! I had never thought about it but this is exactly how it goes.
    The fear of being judged as a bad mom haunts me at the playground, kid’s birthdays, the supermarket and almost anywhere. Still, I would like to resist it.
    It makes me think about the village that takes to raise a child, though. Parenting is never private, which isn’t easy for me at all.

    Reply
    • Mila says:

      Hola, Ghis. Well, if there is one person in the world that is an amazing mother, is you. And you are right, parenting is the least private thing I have ever done, aside from having this blog. he.

      Reply

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