Today I want to share with so some events that took place while I was meeting a friend and her children at a soft play area. When we arrived it was not really busy, the children were all excited to see each other and abandoned their shoes and coats to go and play. It was nice to see my friend again; we were ready for a catch up.
We settled at a table and before we got started we heard my boy crying. He came to me and he and his older sister explained that another boy was ‘getting’ him. Once he calmed down they went to play again under instruction to stay away from him. I moved tables to get a better view of them. I could see them playing together with a ball in one area.
Sure enough as soon as me and my friend began chatting the little boy in red appeared and went up to my son pushing him. I told the child to stop and went reassure little one. He wasn’t hurt, he just has a gentle, friendly nature so was upset by the child’s actions. I went to play in the area with them and the little boy stayed away. Soon the children’s meals arrived.
Our kids ate on a table together and we were able to have a natter. My friend told me that the little boy in red had also made her two boys cry. When the children were finished they went off again and played happily. After a while the parents of the boy in red ran to the play area. Then they took him to the table with them.
Shortly after my daughter came to me and told me that he had taken a ball off her, pulled her by the neck of her clothing backwards off her feet and threw the ball back at her. She had a cuddle and soon wanted to play again. The parents were obviously not allowing him to play anymore. The rest of the time they all played and had lots of fun.
Just before they left they must have allowed the boy to play again because sure enough we all heard the cries of a different child he had pushed. They left soon after. It sounds like terrible things happened to the children but looking back it was an opportunity for us all.
When we discussed the events the children were eager to describe what the boy had done. We talked about the world having loads of different people in it. Some are happy like them and some are unhappy and do things to try to make themselves feel better. Some just haven’t learnt how to talk to others or make friends. This event helped them to try not to judge others.
It gave them both an opportunity to be there for each other and I am so proud of how they did that. This was a gift to me, because it reminded me that even in the places I do take my children I still cannot control what may happen. It allowed me to see my children’s strength and resilience, they stayed together, but they went back in to play, they had fun, they made friends with a different boy.
After I asked them did they have a nice time, they told me the things they had enjoyed. They chose positive reactions and that is huge for me because as a child I would have been crushed by the same events and would have wanted to go home. I got to see the wonder of my children in a new situation; I am so grateful for them and so proud of them.
I also got to practise being non-judgmental. The mother of the boy in red didn’t make eye contact the whole time, she didn’t bring him over to say sorry or say sorry herself. She didn’t constantly monitor the child even though she must know what he is like. In this situation it would be easy to judge but I doubt it would be as much as she judged herself. She was at a play area, taking him out, she gave him a consequence of not playing. These are not to be judged negatively. She was obviously doing what all us mothers do, her best.
Were all parents doing what we think is right, doing what we can with our children. There will always be people around to point out things they would do different or better. We all have days where our children act in ways we don’t want and that’s because they are their own people making their own choices.
Have you ever felt judged as a parent when out in public? Do you find yourself judging others for how their children act? I’d love to hear your views, feel free to leave a comment.