Posted in Parenting Culture, Big Kids, Toddlers

Park bullies

What do you do when you are at the part with your 1.5 year old and she approaches bigger kids very excitedly and eager to see what they are doing and the older kids tell her that she can’t play with them or they don’t want her around or to find other babies to play with? 💔 We has a very sad experience at the park today and my heart broke for my daughter. I tried talking to the little girl saying that my daughter was just very excited to see what and how she was playing and that my daughter thought she was cool so my daughter wanted to meet her. The little girl kept saying the things above and I ended up just telling my daughter “let’s go find someone kind to play with.” I’m just at a loss at how to deal with rude kids that also have every right to say no, be there, and play there. Thanks for the advice!

  • Kimothy
    May 26

    Great opportunity to discuss everyone doesn’t want to be played with and let’s find other kids who want to play

  • Anonymous
    May 26

    😭😓😪. I’m not sure I handle this correctly, but I usually say something to my 21 month old like, “oh these children aren’t being very nice and they only want to play together. That’s okay, we will go find other new friends to have fun with!” This happened to us just last weekend. My daughter (21 months) wanted to play with some older kids. They also had bubbles and I was a mom fail and didn’t have any. She was watching them blow bubbles and one of the girls yelled at her, “go away! These are MY BUBBLES!” My daughter just took it in stride and we walked away. Later she and I were playing with sidewalk chalk that I did manage to remember. The SAME girl comes over and just grabs a chalk from our box. So I said to her (very nicely), “remember earlier when you wouldn’t let her watch you blow bubbles? That was rude. You should ask before you take our chalk. We will say yes, but you cannot take things from others without asking, and you cannot expect to be treated nicely when you don’t treat others the same way.” The girl stood there kinda stunned, then walked away. She was maybe 4 or 5. Later I saw her mom glaring at me. I just decided if she wanted to discuss it we could but sorry, not sorry. We have to advocate for our kids. All my daughter was doing was literally standing there watching the big kids blow bubbles and this girl was out of line rude, then expected that I’d let her just take something of ours without even asking.

  • PK
    May 26

    This happens to my son all the time... I know it sucks and I wish kids were more inviting to other kids but at the same time I want my son to learn to respect people’s wishes and space. So when this does happen, I’ll tell my son that these kids don’t want to play with OTHER KIDS right now. But we can go find something to do together or find other friends to play with. So I say other kids because I don’t want him to think that there’s something wrong with him or that he’s being rejected because of his age, gender, size, etc. Also it’s good to start teaching them that we have to ask before just joining in. My son doesn’t quite know the words to ask but he will just go up to them and say hi and use physical gestures to ask. I also respect my son’s wishes and space when other kids approach him. If he has just one toy and another kid is trying to take it out of his hands, I step in and use it as a teaching moment and tell my son to use phrases like “no thank you” or “excuse me.” And when we have multiple toys... my rule is that as long as the kid or parent asks then we share. Haven’t had an issue with a kid not at least trying to ask or a parent not asking at all. And luckily my son is more than willing to share. He loves the company.

  • Jess
    May 26

    There is a Daniel Tiger episode about this that is worth checking out! Hugs!

  • PK
    May 26

    @jess - do you know what the episode is called or what season it’s on?

  • Kerry
    May 29

    I think the Daniel tiger episode is season 3 episode 22.

  • Emily
    Jun 20

    This used to happen to us all the time, but slightly differently. My daughter is 3.5 now, but when she was 2 we moved into a new neighborhood, and I took her to the park constantly to try to make new friends. She would approach kids her age (or slightly older) and say hi and ask to play, and it was always the kids her age that were mean and told her to "go away," "no, WE'RE playing here," etc. It hurts so bad. Strangely, the 7 and 8 year olds there were always happy to play with her. I always told her "Ok, these kids don't want to play, we'll go find some other friend." In one instance, a child was really rude and pushed her and I told my daughter that we don't play with kids who are going to be mean. And I'm also trying to keep in mind in those situations that while I'm trying to teach my daughter how to play and be around other kids, those other kids are learning how to be social as well. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. I also noticed that there was a difference in how well other kids played with her depending on which park we went to. The one in the town we lived in had more "well off" kids, but I also would drive sometimes to our favorite library in a more low income area that had a park. The kids at that park? LOVED to play with her. Not saying that's true everywhere, but you might try switching up your playspace and see if it makes a difference.

  • Anonymous
    Jul 12

    Yes it’s great for kids to share and invite other kids to play with them. However I don’t think it’s necessary ALL the time. Nor does it mean that they are ‘not being nice.’ Adults and also kids need their space and time, as well. It’s unfortunate they said it the way they did and it hurts your child’s feelings but these things will happen. It’s okay to teach your own child that ‘these kid want alone time, let’s do something else’ or ‘maybe we can play with them another time.’