So, all parents have different ways of teaching their children values and behaviour, but I have to say that my recent experience when we went to the playground in Stratford-upon-Avon the other week really proved that some have a warped idea of behaving well in front of their children.
Our group had three 3 year old boys in, although N and his best friend L tended to follow each other around. There’s a great sandpit area with equipment in, and the boys had noticed this brilliant digger seat. There were actually two of them, but one was broken.
I was stood some way back, but could see where the two of them were when they were playing. There was one older boy playing with the digger, so off their own back, N and his friend stood nearby and waited patiently for their turn. No hassling, just waiting together in silence.
They’d been waiting a while and I was really impressed that they’d stood for that long without giving up and going off to play on something else so wandered over to check they were ok. N turned to me and asked
‘it’s our turn next mummy?’
‘Yes. That’s nice waiting in the queue, you’ll be next when the other boy’s finished’.
I reckoned it might have been a long wait given he was showing no signs of budging, but N seemed fine to wait.
Next thing, the mum of the boy turns up with Grandma and a younger sibling in tow. N again asked me if they were next to go, and I said yes.
She waited a while, then told the son on the digger, ‘couple more minutes, then let your brother have a go’. I just knew when she turned up, that’s what she’d been expecting to happen, but after N and his friend had been waiting patiently for so long, I wasn’t having any of that.
‘I think these 2 boys are next in the queue. They’ve been waiting patiently for a while now’. Seemed to me like a reasonable reminder that there were actually people waiting. But obviously not as she and the Grandma immediately launched into me.
‘He’s not been on it for long, he was waiting ages too, his brother’s here, they’ve been hassling him’
Errr. Well, I’m not one to give in, and I didn’t see why, if the brother wanted a go, they didn’t wait there so we knew there was a longer wait. Or at least left the grandmother there to tell people while the mum took the younger child off to play. As for hassling? Standing nearby so they could jump on when he got off. Not once did they try and get on it, and I didn’t suggest that the child let others have a go.
‘They don’t mind the wait, I’m saying that they have been waiting in line, and there was no one else ahead of us or here waiting. It’s about them learning to take their turn, and was something they chose to do on their own’.
Thankfully they didn’t swear, but they turned round and slated me with various comments like ‘we’re all teaching our children to share’. Hmmph, possibly not if you’re not teaching them to wait in line. A tirade of various other remarks about sharing and pushing in front of people (pot and kettle anyone?!). And then as they marched off with both children, firing at me as they walked away, ‘If that’s the worst thing you’ve got to worry about then you’re lucky’.
At least the boys got to have their turn in order. I was just mortified that this mum had launched into me (along with the grandmother) in front of her children. If they’d been stood waiting when the boys went over to the digger, I’d have suggested that N and his friend might have to wait too long, and encouraged them to find something else to play on before coming back later.
Thankfully the boys didn’t turn round and ask why I was being shouted at, and didn’t seem phased by it at all. They just wanted to go on the digger.
What made me chuckle was that N and his friend definitely aren’t toy hoggers as they get bored quickly. So after waiting almost 10 minutes to have a go, they probably only had about a minute each. I’m sure the other child could have waited that long for his go!
Have you ever had situations like that? How do you encourage waiting in line?