Playground Bully

Children are running and laughing, entertaining themselves in such a serious world. Parents occasionally smile at one another acknowledging the love we possess for our own until little hands are no longer nice and tears take route with screams. Parents morph into weapons on the battlefield of the small human war.


December 20, 2015.

Whenever I take my son to the park I immediately greet the other adults with a friendly smile and chose a seat far enough for my son to be independent but close enough for me to see him at all times.

But today, the park experience that is usually exhilarating and stress-free warped into a miserable oversized sandbox for my newly 4-year-old toddler.

After 15 minutes of being at the park, I noticed a male child around the age of 6 or 7 approach my son belly swinging. My son stopped swinging, stood up, held onto the swing seat to prevent it from hitting the child and smiled at him. Without hesitation, the child grabbed the seat and began pulling it from my son who wouldn’t let go. His smile turned to whining intertwined with this bigger child yelling, “It’s mine and I want it so LET IT GO!!!”

I watched, as the tugging continued until my child was pushed down, sitting in the sand with the other child standing over him laughing in his face. I look over at the adult accompanying the child and realize she is not only smiling, but laughing as my son walked away upset.

I walked slowly towards my son and the other child.

I had no plan, no words…only the confusion of why the woman on the other side of the park thought what had just happened was funny.

What would I want my son to do?

  • Apologize
  • Sit out from playing

By the time I get to my son, I refrained from acknowledging the other child. I decide to release all of my expectations of this family and remind myself that my son is the only one in this park coming home with me.

My job is to raise MY child to be the best person he can be for himself and others. THIS laughing adult has already been raised and her child is not my responsibility.

I placed my hand under my son’s chin and picked his head up. I told him I understood why he was upset and he relaxed his shoulders. Then, I told him to never be like this child. To never think it’s cool or funny to be mean especially if people are around and one person decides to show their approval by laughing.

Today, he walked away from the incident. There have been days where he chooses to fight.

Today, I was there. There have been school days where I am completely out of his range.

In the past, he has been unkind to others, I just didn’t think it was the source of a great belly laugh. Or did I miss the joke?

At the end of the day, I am content with our decisions not to feed the negativity.


Tell me about your park experiences. How do you handle your child’s park confrontations?





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