POLITICS OF PARENTING
Now that my son is definitely a toddler and no longer a baby, I am learning about the fine politics of parenting. Nobody tells you about this oh-so-delicate part of being a parent when you are pregnant; you're too busy reading Fit Pregnancy and enamored with the little bean in your belly. When they are babies, you're so in love with this human being you've created and too busy trying to keep them alive. Then all of a sudden they are toddlers and BAM! What the...? Who IS this creature and how is he so unbelievably lovely and fun and yet crazy and uncontrollable at the same time? Now he is actually playing and not just parallel playing. Now you not only have to deal with your own kid, but the actions and words of the kids they now play with--and their parents.
I posted about my own parenting style on my From Maternity to Madness blog, but now everytime we go anywhere, I have to deal with the parenting styles of others, much like Monica did recently at Washington Park. This is along the same vein, because I'm not quite sure what to do, whether it's my kid or another. Ethan used to be fine with kids taking toys away from his hands in public play spaces, but now he gets mad and puts a death grip on the toys he's playing with. Sometimes he throws something when another kid has either taken away a toy he was playing with or pushes him out of the way to play in the space he was playing in. When it's obviously his fault, I will intervene. When it's another kid, sometimes the other parent intervenes and makes the kid apologize, talks about sharing, etc. Sometimes there is no other parent in sight.
How do you handle situations when another kid is biting, kicking, pushing, hoarding or taking toys away from your kid in a public play space? Do you say anything to the kid? Do you wait a bit to see if the parent will come and talk with his/her child? Sometimes it's the parent who (unbelievably to me) takes your kid off one toy to place his/her own kid on it. What do you do then?
I'm new to the whole politics of parenting thing, and I know that our kids are all still learning about how to deal with their wants and needs and how to react appropriately, which makes flare ups inevitable. Any advice on how to handle situations when it's your child acting up or another kid being the bully? What is appropriate playground behavior and what is not? What is appropriate parent reaction, and what is not?