The Rules of the Playground



The other day, while Olive and I were at the playground, an older toddler (is a 5 year old still considered a toddler?) came up to her and deliberately threw a ball in her face. Olive, of course, started crying. The other kid’s parent was nowhere to be seen. I picked Olive up, comforted her, and watched the other kid run away, laughing.

More and more often, we are running into the situation where Olive gets ‘bullied’ at the playground. I use this term loosely, of course – a lot of kids play rough with no ill intent; this is normal, and expected. They are kids, after all! But once in a while, you will meet another child who is deliberately trying to be mean, and to hurt others.

I find myself leaving these situations concerned, and stumped. Am I supposed to let Olive learn how to stand up for herself? Because my instinct is to protect her, and tell the other child to behave. However, as a parent myself, I know that if someone decided to discipline Olive on my behalf, I wouldn’t take to it kindly.

Have you ever told another child to play nicely? How do you teach your own children to defend themselves against bullies? What are your rules of the playground?

Have a great Wednesday, you guys.

6 thoughts on “The Rules of the Playground

  1. Starr

    I ‘liked’ this post on FB but then I unliked because it made me mad. I haven’t come across that situation yet but I think I would yell at the kid, or at least use a really stern tone. Who messes with a sweet toddler? I feel like a 5yo should know better, but then again I’m completely lost on ages other than O’s, haha. Sorry Olive (and you) had to go through that :(

    1. Jody

      I totally think a 5 year old should know better too! The kid was huge compared to Olive! I wonder why some children turn out to be bullies though, you know? I hope Olive isn’t one!

  2. Rachel

    I don’t really have much experience in playgrounds, but I’ve told off a fair number of children for bad manners (rushing into lifts and banging into people exiting, and most recently a maybe 5yo for repeatedly and deliberately ramming his kid sisters stroller into me in a mall!!). In general I look around to find the parent and if the parent isn’t around I tell the kid off sternly (no yelling and no touching the kid, and I say things like “next time please let others out of the lift first” and “don’t run without looking or you might hurt someone!” ie an explain-y scolding instead of just “STOP ITTTTT!!!” etc), but if the parent is nearby I tell the kid to call his/her parent over and tell the parent what the kid was doing so they can do the disciplining on their own.

    I don’t imagine I would like another adult telling my (non existent) kid off, but I’d like to think if my kid was THAT badly behaved and if the stranger was firm but there was no use of force/no yelling etc, I’d be more okay with it since my kid shouldn’t have been doing that in the first place.

    I’m sorry you and Olive went through that, in any case! As much as I often think kids should “know better”, I guess if no adult teaches them how would they know – which..hopefully that means Olive won’t grow up to be a bully since she’s got loving parents who are teaching her well. :)

  3. ~ M ~

    I was at Descanso and Olivia, who wasn’t able to walk yet, was standing up against the little hay maze they had. A 9 year old boy came up and shoved her out of the way. The mom was there…chatting with friends. It was so infuriating.


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