Confessions of a Middleagedmom

surviving motherhood in the “middle ages”

Parents Need a Playgroup Rulebook September 10, 2009

I am sure that I’m not the only mother out there who has experienced “inappropriate” behavior of children and parents while in a playgroup or class.

Some might say I’m overprotective (that’s already confirmed), others may say that it’s because I’m a middleaged mother (not as laid back).

Whatever the reason, I still believe there should be a rulebook for parents and children at every playgroup and class. Maybe it should be given to every parent as soon as they give birth to their child. Then again, you would think that most things are common sense.

So why all the ranting?

Earlier this week, Baby and I were at her music and movement class. The class happened to be blowing bubbles to music. She was standing right in front of me and attempting to blow bubbles. A few seconds into it, a little boy comes right up to us and snatches her bubble wand right out of her hand. Baby was really good about it. She didn’t fuss or cry. I, on the other hand, was a little peeved about it since his mother was sitting on the side chatting with another mother while this happened. I gently removed the bubble wand out of his hand and said, “I’m sorry, she’s using that bubble wand.” Then his mother walks up and tells him, “Don’t take other people’s things. Use your own.” Nice try, mom, but a little too late!

I don’t really want to be the one to “correct” other people’s children. I think their own parents should do it.

In another class that Baby is attending there’s a little girl who constantly pushes other children. She’ll nudge her way in between a child and a toy then push the child away. Last week, Baby happened to be playing by a rocking toy. She was rocking it back and forth with her hands rather than sit on it. The little girl came up to Baby and pushed her hand off the toy. Baby just stared at her. At first I stood by and watched to see what would happen. Then the little girl did it again. This time she did it harder! So I went up to her and said, “Sorry, but she’s playing with it right now.” So, what was her mother doing? Nothing! She was standing right there watching the whole thing and letting her daughter push my daughter, TWICE! What’s wrong with that picture?

Okay, it’s not only the child’s behavior but the parent’s behavior (or lack of) that is so bewildering.  It even happens with grandparents.

At the same music and movement class, Baby was getting ready to put away her bubble blower when the teacher started collecting them. She went up to give it back but the teacher walked away in the opposite direction so Baby came back to me. I told her to wait patiently and go back up. Just then a grandmother comes right up to us and grabs the bubble blower out of Baby’s hand. She didn’t say a word…she just grabbed it. I quickly grabbed her arm and nicely said, “Oh, she can put it away by herself.” So she smiled and gave it back to Baby. OH MY GOSH! All the other children are putting the bubble blowers away by themselves. Why would she grab Baby’s and do it for her? She has her OWN grandchild to worry about, why does she need to worry about my child? I know that some of you are thinking that she was just trying to help. If that’s the case, why didn’t see ask first?

Another time in a class, the teacher happened to be reading a story to the children and using the flannel board. She gave all the children an animal to put up on the flannel board when their animal came up in the story. During the story, a little girl went up to a couple of the children and took the animals right out of their hands. They never had a turn to go up to the board because the little girl wanted to do it for them! Her mother didn’t stand up to stop her. She did tell her not to do it and even told her to give it back to the other children. Did she listen? NO! That’s it…nothing else from the mother.

 As a parent, I try very hard to be considerate of other children and parents. Usually, I don’t touch any child without asking first. Once when we were playing with the parachute a little boy was sitting in a dangerous place, so before I moved him I asked his mom is she wanted me to move him. She gave me permission to do so. Or if Baby happens to want to play with something that someone else is already using, I tell her that she needs to find something else to use until it’s her turn. She has been really good about not taking things away from other children, except her sister.

So, I’m proposing a universal rule book for every child and parent. Well, maybe it should just be for parents.

Let’s start with…

Rule #1 – Please oversee your child at all times! (Don’t sit on the side chatting with our friend while your child steals something from someone else!)

Rule #2 – Please discipline your child when he/she uses inappropriate physical behavior, like pushing and shoving!

Rule #3 – Assist another child (that’s not your own relative) if you’re asked to assist or given permission, unless safety is an issue.

How’s that for starters? I could go on and on with more examples and rules.

What about you? What would you add to the Rulebook?