Updated: Jul 3, 2019
I'm sure that the below scenario is how we have all felt when going into automatic mode. This happens for me when I see my child upset: whether it’s a child that made your child cry or another MoM, it's an uncontrolled response to fight for your child.
Imagine this: You find yourself at a public playground enjoying the break of not having kids hanging on you and maybe just 5 minutes to catch your breath. Then from the corner of your eye, you spot your child being yelled at by another MoM!
You jump out of your chair and storm over to the other mother muttering to yourself about how you are going to “wring her neck” when you get to her. She has no clue who she is about to deal with!!
I have realised that the impulsive reaction of “let me wring your neck” is something which we cannot help, it has taken me a long time to get this right.
There are a few questions you need to process: Were you there? Did you watch this going down? And if not, then you cannot take one child's side over another child's.
Every scenario when looking at this needs to be within reason.
When I say “within reason”, my example is: If your child is walking up the slide while her child is trying to come down, I personally think that the Other MoM can negotiate her way out of the situation and include your child in sliding down the slide properly with her child or ask your child to step aside while her child takes her turn to go down the slide.
IN MY ABSENCE:
If my child causes malicious or causing unwarranted harm to your child during the split second I was not watching them on the playground, I have no problem with you reprimanding them in my absence. I wouldn't appreciate you sending them to time out ( as every child gets disciplined in different ways) but a correction in behaviour is ok with me, and I would most likely do the same thing to your child if the roles were reversed.
I wouldn't expect the MoM to be able to locate me out of the 20 other mothers on the playground so that they could call me to do the discipline myself.
In fact, you would be correct in controlling the misbehavior from my child in my absence because the point is, he was in the wrong.
YOU ARE THE MOTHER:
If you are at a public playground with your child/ren it is your duty to watch them, you brought them there and they are your child/ren, make sure you know where they are and what they are doing and vice versa. Should you need 100% time out from them (absolutely no harm in wanting this) make sure that you have assigned a childminder to watch them.
Do not assume that because your children are older that they are able to look after themselves and your road is free sailing. Bigger children can be bullies too and need attention as well.
DON'T GO OVERBOARD:
Stop and process the various situations before you react, now this is not easy when you’re in the heat of the moment and especially in “protective mode”. A two-year-old cannot understand why they cannot have the bike that your child just put down and then decided they wanted it back again. Your reaction to disciplining a child that is not yours needs to be relevant.
DO NOT JUDGE
It is not your place to just assume that the mother is reckless with her actions or just an outright b**ch, and it is not her place to assume that you are an un-attentive mother that lets your child run a mock.
If you did not see the situation happening with your own eyes you have no room to assume and lash out, rather calm the situation down with the power of distraction, send both kids on their separate ways by distracting them with another activity and you will probably find them being best friends by the time your ready to go home and “a new play date for you”! Strange things happen on a playground :-) After all we are all just MoM's trying to be the best we can.