Playground Bullies – What would you do?

Jax is currently napping off our morning adventures… His daddy worked the overnight shift and Jax had trouble sleeping. That lead to him being crazy and loud right when my husband was going to sleep in the morning, so I got him out of the house.

I drove out to one of Jax’s favorite playgrounds that has an airplane theme. He likes that there are objects of all sizes to climb and play on – like this blue plane – and I like the the rubber ground. After playing for a while, we sat in the breeze and shared a mango smoothie. We walked hand-in-hand to the pet store and he pulled my hand to his mouth and gave me a loud kiss: “Mwah!!” So sweet.

To read more about our morning (we rescued a lost dog from a busy road!) visit my personal blog.

So back to the playground… There was a little girl around 2-year-old who had woken up on the wrong side of the bed. He mom was outside of the playground enclosure reading a book. Jax was steering the plane and she came up and edged him out of the way. “Okay, let’s give her a turn now!” I said and helped him step down. She followed us, reached out and shoved him by his head!

What would you do?

Luckily, Jax had no clue he was being bullied. I decided to speak up, and in the same calm voice I’d use for Jax, I said to the little girl, “No pushing, please!” before we headed off to another section of the playground. I heard her mom look up from her book and tell her to stop pushing a few minutes later, so I guess she found another victim.

I’m not looking forward to run-ins with bigger bullies later on. Have you had to deal with this situation?

6 thoughts on “Playground Bullies – What would you do?

  1. Pingback: Our Morning Adventures | Stvlive :: Stephanie's Thoughts

  2. Julie K.

    Let the kids handle it. It’s the only way they’ll learn to stand up and defend themselves.

    If he comes out as the underdog, put him in karate lessons. It will give him confidence, discipline and sense of self.

  3. Brian

    The problem is the other mom who had her head in the book and was probably treating the trip to the playground like a “break” from parenting. That can not be the case. You need to be ever vigilant for a number of reasons: 1) Safety- to prevent falling and injuries 2) Safety- to prevent stranger danger 3) to make sure your kid plays nice with other kids. 4) and most importantly to bond with your kid!

    William is still a little young for playground encounters, but I have seen this at the dog park with our lab, Ellie. Other dog owners see the dog park as a break and don’t do anything to interact or watch their dog. I have had several occasions where another dog has messed with Ellie and I have had to handle it. In both examples it is so frustrating!

    I would probably handle it as Stephanie did until it happened multiple times over a few days, then I would have to say something to the parent.

  4. Alexandra

    Unfortunately I think stuff like this will continue to happen, because in some ways… it is what kids do. They pinch, they bite, they push and yell. Not all kids of course, but some kids and the kids that don’t will encounter them. A couple of months ago William started biting. Initially I think it was for teething, but then he just decided he liked doing it and we had to correct it pretty quickly. He could’ve easily bitten a kid in his range during that time and I don’t think I’d have labeled him a bully. I think bullying in this circumstance is a strong word, because the child was 2.

    I can’t imagine letting them handle it on their own, because they are toddlers. I don’t think they are developmentally ready for that. They can’t articulate themselves, or reason things out. On the positive side, it is a great teaching moment. You taught Jax what you believe to be the responsible way to handle that kind of situation. Someone is going to try to “push you down” in some way until the day you die and I think the examples set by parents early on show what they believe to be the appropriate way to respond, whether it be to push back, assert your own space, ignore it, whatever… can set the tone for how they’ll respond to all kinds of adversity.

    1. Stephanie Post author

      I agree that bully is too strong a word for a 2 year old, but I wasn’t sure how else to phrase it. I put no blame on her, as I’m sure Jax will have a cranky day at some point. But I plan to be by his side to teach him right from wrong until he is a little older and has the developmental capabilities of handling the situation on his own. I love that you call it a “teachable moment” – that is why I felt like I needed to be careful to be calm and polite.

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