Saturday, April 4, 2009


Last week I attended a large playgroup with C and A in a nearby town. I was surprised to see how rude and obnoxious some of the kids were. Now although I think it is important for my kids to be social with other children and to attend various activities and playgroups, I don't want them to pick up bad behavior at the same time.

C doesn't understand the whole "mine" aspect. When we arrived, C picked up a little plate and some plastic grapes out of the toy box and a little girl came up to her and snatched the grapes out of her hands. C in turn smiled, handed her the plate and went to look at the other toys. This happened a few times with different children and different toys. It wasn't only with C, they were behaving this way with each other. There was another little girl there (around three years old), playing with a toy car at one end of the room and at the other end, a little boy was riding around on a little tricycle. As soon as the three year old caught sight of the boy on the bike, she started to cry and scream at the top of her lungs. Her mother comforted her and asked the boy if she could play with the bike!

Another example: C wanted to climb up the ladder to go down one of the plastic slides they had set up. As we walked up towards the ladder, one of the children pushed C out of the way and went down the slide. C smiled and waved at her as she slid down. This happened 2 more times with the same child and another little boy. After the third time, C didn't want to try anymore and walked away. There were many more instances like this throughout the hour we were there. Now am I wrong for wanting to shield my daughter from these influences? I do understand that she will have to go through this at some point or another but isn't 2 1/2 years old a little young to be experiencing this behavior?

The mothers were too busy gossiping to tend to their children; bad mouthing teachers, parents and their husbands. One of my biggest pet peeves are couples who bad mouth each other in public. I can't stand it!

Now, I've been to a couple of playgroups before which were lovely. I don't expect children to be perfectly behaved at all times, how could anyone? Children will be children, but that kind of behavior is not something I wish my daughter to be subject to. My husband and I work hard enough at trying to teach her values and good behavior; I don't want our efforts to be undone within an hour!


Banteringblonde said...

I get really uncomfortable when people bad mouth their spouses as well. A little teasing or minor complaining to a close friend I can understand but I can't stand women who go on and on.

Beck said...

Yes! People who say awful things about their spouses - especially in public - horrify me. And I've been to playgroups where there were rows of babysitters complaining loudly about their charge's parents. Yeesh.

Some kids are pretty bratty. I do think that I'm always shocked by the behaviour of kids a bit older than my kids, though - I remember being at a La Leche League meeting with my first born and watching wild toddlers run around, with me thinking angrily that the mothers should DO something about those kids. Of course, in a year, my baby was running around wildly, too.... but I do think that there's bad behaviour that I'd like to shield my monkey from as long as I can, so who knows where the balance is?

Woman in a Window said...

I think perhaps just balancing your time at the group. There will be good times and bad. Maybe your behaviour and your daughter's will rub off. But it's learning all the time anyway. I was always the strange mom in the group, sitting on the floor playing with her child. You're doing the right thing. Just keep it up and keep it balanced. Not easy though, I know.

karenjane said...

ive had the same type of experiences at playgroups and at first i felt realy awkward about it, unsure of what to do. after a while i just thought bugger it, ill stand up for the little ones, and now deal with other children the same as i would children i look after, telling them that they need to wait their turn, taking back snatched toys etc. i havent had any parents object so far, their prob too buisy gossiping like you said lol:)i shouldnt have to discipline these peoples children but it makes our time more pleasant so to me its deffinately worth it. i hope you are able to enjoy the playgroup or find a gentler group:)

ConverseMomma said...

I agree with Erin. It is all about balance. My children do these things you speak of when they are home alone with each other. They fight over toys, the push, they pull, they scream. But, they must get it out of their system at home with each other because they are so good to other children out in the world. I'm going to knock on wood.

Mary G said...

There are some wee ones who never hear the word 'no'. It is really cruel to them, I think, not to teach them some manners. I just witnessed a girl of eight or so screamming like a toddler and her mother failing to deal with it at all, actually makin her worse. She was so obnoxious but I couldn't help but feel sorry for her too. The time to stop it is when they are two. I would either confront the organizers of the playgroup and ask for some structure or stay away from there.
Having said that, there is a certain amount of the same behaviour in schools and your little ones will have to learn to deal with it sometime. There's a good post about selfish behaviour in older children at
You've written a good, thoughtful post here. Thanks.