Thursday, June 17, 2010

An Observation from the Playground

Yesterday a friend and I decided that we weren't hot enough in our nice air conditioned homes. So we went to the park and watched our kiddos play on the playground for two hours. Other people had the same lapse in judgment so, while talking with my friend, I also engaged in one of my favorite outside activities: people watching.

There seemed to be several grandmas there with their grandchildren, which is not unusual. One set (a grandma, granddaughter and grandson) caught my attention. The grandma sat on the next bench over from us. Her grandkids were playing on a structure not far from us. The little girl (around 6 or 7 years old) starting acting mean with the other kids around her (including her own brother).

The grandma called the girl. No response. Called again. Still no response. Called again. The girl started drifting over our direction.

Now, I'd like to interject here that my own children are often prone to Playground Induced Deafness. Yesterday it was Sweet Pea. We hadn't been there ten minutes before I had occasion to call her over to me. I had to call several times before I had to insist she come and remind her that obedience is not optional. I did this quickly and unobtrusively and sent her back to playing.

I confess all that because I want you to know that I understand how playground discipline is often different from home. That's a fact. But discipline must still exist in some form.

This grandma called her granddaughter by name. Again. The granddaughter removed one of her ear buds.

Problem 1: This child is playing at a playground. Does she require constant background music as if her life is a movie and she's choosing the soundtrack? Take away the IPOD.

"What?" This child said in a belligerent tone. (You're shocked by that, I know.)

"Come over here." The girl cocked her head to the side.

"What do you want, Loser?" (I was shocked at this point. Note the child has still not complied and is now calling her own grandma a loser.)

Next the granddaughter went flying head over heels across the playground, courtesy of the back of her grandmother's hand.

OK, no, that didn't happen. That's what I wish would have happened.

"I just want to tell you something," the appropriately chastised grandma said. The girl sauntered over, one earbud still dangling. The grandma exhorted her to play nice and the child ran back to whatever she had been doing, inserting the earbud on the way.

Problem 2: I understand kids get to act different when out and about with grandparents but that does not excuse that kind of behavior or disrespect. Pack the kid up and leave. Pronto. Do not pass go. Do not collect ice cream on the way home.

Because you know what? Later, when it was time for this crew to leave (a bit before we did) the grandma asked each of her grandkids what kind of ice cream they wanted. Snotty Princess Ipod shouted, "Chocolate!"

If I ever, ever hear about one of my children acting that way toward one of their grandparents (or great grandparents or pretty much any authority figure ever), I can promise you they will not be worrying about what flavor of ice cream they get. Playgrounds, ice cream, mp3 players and just generally anything fun you can think of that a child might enjoy, are all privileges not rights.

You have my permission to act accordingly on this information. You're welcome.

3 comments:

Karin said...

Wow, am I blessed! My older grands are already at the point where they are solicitous of me and I don't have to discipline them any more! I feel sorry that the child in your post has been allowed to act this way - she's going to have a hard time as an adult!
Someone is not doing right by her!

Elisabeth said...

Amen, Sister! Preach it, girl! And people wonder what is wrong with the world today. That's the problem right there!

Vicky said...

I agree! Amen and Amen! And, Elisabeth, your AMEN to this just makes me a proud momma of you! :)

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