I used to be shy about telling children to behave on the playground. I'll never forget when a toddler boy kicked a barely crawling Fable IN THE FACE ON PURPOSE and his dad sat him down and was like, "please use your words next time!" as Fable screamed--and I said nothing. But at some point, after many of these sorts of incidents where parents clearly did not get involved when their children were out of line, I started to speak up, and have often gone right up to children on the playground and told them to KNOCK IT OFF. Because if you're a parent and you're not there to see your kid act out but I am, I'm going to say something. I just am. And I would expect, if roles were reversed, that you would say something, too. Because stealing someone's shovel or kicking someone in the face is not acceptable.
So... the other day, a group of kids were being jerks and I said something. And the kids went and told their mother who then got pissed at me.
And then I got pissed. And, well...
And then I thought, well, shit. Did I handle this situation poorly? Should I gave gone straight to the parent before telling the kids to knock it off? They were older kids, so I felt it was perfectly fine to be, like, "Uh, guys? Can you... not?"
It wasn't until later that I realized why this particular group of kids ignored all of us when we tried to tell them to "please stop." We were strangers.
I have written about “stranger danger” in the past on , about how detrimental I feel it is to raise children to be afraid of new people and experiences. And while I had never had an experience quite like the one on the beach, I started to think about how I could have handled the situation differently and with less confrontation.