Playground Problems

I was in two minds about what to write about today.  The obvious post was in response to yesterday’s horrific murder in Woolwich, but Daft Mamma had already said pretty much all I wanted to say.  So, instead, I’m going to ask for some advice.

I took the girls to a park yesterday and being the middle of the afternoon and a school day, it wasn’t too busy.  But there was one little boy there who just didn’t seem to understand boundaries.  He was obviously desperate to play with Bunny, but she wasn’t interested.  If she went to the spinner, he ran over and jumped on it too.  So she’d get off and run over to the climbing frame and try to traverse the climbing net, only for him to run over and swing from it underneath her, scaring her.  She then tried the rocker and he ran over and jumped on it as she was still trying to climb up.  She was getting more and more distressed and frustrated at not being allowed to just get on and play and from what I could tell, he was getting upset that she wouldn’t play with him.  His language skills were very poor despite me guessing that he was at least the same age as Bunny (4). So I wondered if there was a developmental issue at play here and how I should have handled it.

I didn’t want to be a precious mother and encourage Bunny to keep away from him or take the girls out of the park, and instead suggested she share with him and take turns, but even I could see that this wasn’t the issue here.  This little boy just could not understand how upset my daughter was getting by his incessant running over towards her and jumping on whatever she was trying to play on.  Bunny is not overly shy, but at the same time, is naturally wary of strangers and other children and prefers to watch from a distance before joining in.  So this situation was obviously very disturbing for her.  I just didn’t know how to handle it without seeming ignorant of what might have been a difficult situation for the little boy and his mother.  But at the same time, I  also hated seeing someone apparently going out of their way to upset my little girl, as I’m her mum and want to protect her.

Have you ever been in this situation, or perhaps you have a child on the other side and understand better about how you wish the other child’s parents would react?  Can you give me some advice as I am still ruminating over this one and how I might have handled it differently for a better resolution all round.