Wednesday, 5 December 2012

{Playgroup}

I had a bit of a disagreement with one of the mums at the playgroup I go to last week. It's not like me to not get on with someone, but she was a bit mean to me and I'm not sure that I did anything to deserve it. Anyway, here's the story and you can tell me what you would have done:

My son, daughter & I arrived at playgroup at 10.05am. It starts at 10am, and normally we're the first there, but it had been a bit of a stressful morning following a stressful evening the night before (discussing Christmas plans very briefly with the kids dad, which got me a bit upset) and as a result we were running late.

My son had been talking all morning about the red motorbike he wanted to play with, but when we arrived there was another boy on said bike. My son got upset straight away, but I told him to go and ask the other boy nicely if he could have a shot and for him to wait his turn.

The boy refused to let me son have a shot.

So we waited, and asked again.

Still the boy refused to share. My son was getting more and more upset.

Throughout this I stayed with my son, who was following the other boy around. I had thought that if I left him, that he would potentially push the boy off. So I kept saying to my son that he was doing the right thing, asking the boy nicely for a shot and waiting his turn. He said he was going to push the boy and I said no, that's not what you do, you have to wait.

We asked 6 or 7 times....

At one stage, his mum asked him to give the bike to my son. He refused, and his mum said, sorry he doesn't want to give it up.

So we waited... and waited.

By this point is was now 10.30am and my son had cried for 25 minutes and waited for his turn on the bike.

I had said to my son that the boy was being bad because he wasn't sharing and he also wasn't listening to his mummy, who had asked him to give my son the bike.

Anyway, I had enough and walked away.


2 minutes later, my son had the bike. I didn't see quite what happened, but I asked him if he said 'thank you' to the boy.

At which point the mum stepped up and said 'No, he didn't say thank you because he pushed my son off the bike'. She then informed me that my behaviour was inappropriate, that I shouldn't have told my son that her son was a bad boy and that we shouldn't have been following her son. (My son was going to follow him regardless, but at least by my being there I made sure my son continued to ask nicely and didn't push or hit the other child).

I turned round and told her that I thought her behaviour was inappropriate and that she should have enforced the need to share and take turns. She acknowledged that my son had been upset, but that if she had taken the bike from her son that he would have also been upset.

Anyway, my son got the bike (although he shouldn't have pushed the other boy off) and after 7 minutes I made my son give the bike back to the boy (which he wasn't happy about), but I thought it was the right thing to do and meant that we were seen to be sharing and taking turns.

In my mind, it's fine to have a toy for the full hour or so of playgroup, as long as there isn't another child that wants to have a turn. But when you have someone else that wants a shot, surely you need to enforce the sharing and teach by example? If it had been me and my son had been asked by another child to give them a shot of the toy he had, I would ensure that they took turns and if my son refused to be nice and share, then I'd have taken him home. Yes, he would have been really upset, but he would learn his lesson...right?

Her words really got to me, and I ended up crying a little bit because of it (mainly due to the discussions I had had the previous night, but she hadn't helped matters).

Am I being too sensitive, was I wrong in my actions? What would you have done?


13 comments:

  1. This sounds like a difficult situation and I have faced similar myself. To be honest I am unsure there is a right way of dealing with this without someone getting upset, but the other mum should really have done the decent thing and took the toy away from her son after a reasonable time and encouraged both him and your son to share, as you appeared to be doing. All in all I am sorry you got upset though.

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    1. What's deemed to be a reasonable time? Was I wrong in thinking 30 minutes was pushing it?

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  2. I would have done exactly the same thing, but I may have called the woman some nasty names too. When you go to a playgroup, you share all the toys, you do not hog one toy for the entire time. That is not the point of a playgroup.

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    1. In my head I called her some horrible names!! ;-)

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  3. I think you did the right thing. Playgroup is all about children learning to play together and share. Children will get upset sometimes but that is how they learn.

    Try not to take these things too personally, which is difficult I know, but people have different parenting styles that you won't agree with.

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    1. She had a younger baby with her and I'm sure her son will have to start sharing soon enough when his little brother or sister gets a bit bigger. My son is getting much better at sharing, swapping toys and taking turns, but he has a 1.5 yr old sister so he doesn't have much choice in the matter!

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  4. It is a difficult one, I agree that it's important for children to share and I'm glad you stayed with your son. However, I'm not sure I agree with you saying the other child was naughty for not sharing, we all have different views on parenting and I can imagine that mother felt upset at you making that comment about her child. Children do tend to get fixed on one toy they like, I probably would have taken my son off to play with something else, the other thing they need to learn is that they can't always play with the things they want because there are other children who want to ply with them, especially at a toddler group.

    Sorry to hear you're upset, try not to let it bother you, is a little thing but it sounds like one of those things on top of other stuff which makes it worse.

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    1. I tried suggesting that my son or her son played with one of the other ride-on toys, but my son was very keen on that particular motorbike and her son just wasn't budging. She didn't even attempt to encourage him to swap or change toys. I am yet to read any parenting manuals...maybe I should have a look online as I'm a bit clueless about all the different parenting styles.

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  5. Was told very early on by very good friend not to call children 'bad'! Apparently too strong for kids, 'naughty' is the buzz word! There's a big explanation to it that I can't recall! Other than that I think you were spot on! Get there at 9.30am this week and commandeer vehicle :-) x

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    1. I did not know this.... I'll be more careful with my choice of words in future. So naughty is ok, but not bad?

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    2. yep!!! Bad is for Bad man etc. Kids aren't bad, but naughty!!! I've met some borderline ones in my time!!! :-)

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  6. I think it's the right thing to do is to teach your children to share. If my child had a toy another wanted I would have made him share. x

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    1. Thanks Susan. Do some parents not encourage sharing? I would have thought that would have been a common 'rule' across parenting styles?

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