Ah, the joys of soft play!
For many a parent, these squishy palaces of fun can be a life-saver on a rainy day when you need your little one to get their energy out but the weather says no.
When your child’s small, you’ll usually find yourself following them around through the tunnels, ball pools, ropes and slides. Nice work out ?
Though, as they get older, you might well find you can sit and have a coffee while they run around in rapturous joy on their own.
Of course, you do the regular checks on them – but, by and large, you let them get on with it, right?
But what happens if your child finds herself in a scuffle or argument with another kid? Do you step in? Or leave them to it?
One mum’s taken to Facebook for a bit of a soft play rant after a recent incident. Take a look…
Laura Mazza’s (aka Mum On The Run) post in full
“I’m gonna be a real sanctimummy here, and possibly an unpopular opinion… but I need a get this off my chest.
“Kids will be kids. Kids are snotty, they’re possessive, they’re demanding, they’re cute mostly, but they can be little aggressive ninjas sometimes.
“There’s no other place to discover this then when you put a whole bunch of kids together at a play centre.
“When we are play centres I am a little hellicopterish. Not full helicopter, but one eye is on my mum friend and my latte and the other is on my child.
“I like to make sure they’re safe, that they play nice, that they don’t snatch, or sock a child in the face. Because that shit isn’t cool. I am definitely not overly helicopter.
“I let them go and learn, and I’m not a parent who will not let any other kid go in the vicinity of mine. I want them to socialise and have a good time and all play nice. I am responsible for my own child when it comes to this.
“If we are on public property, nothing is my child’s. It’s everyone’s… so just because my son wants a go and drive in a little toy car that little Tommy is in, it’s a case of too bad don, you are not entitled, you wait your turn.
“When little Tommy gets off, then you can play. This is the concept of share. It is amazing how many adults are yet to grasp this.
“However, if it’s my son’s car, it’s his, and if my son wants Tommy to play, then Tommy can play.
“I’ve never told another child off in my life. I don’t like it. It’s not my responsibility. My responsibility, like I said, is to my child.
“If my son snatches, I correct him, if my daughter smacks, I correct her, if my kids are assholes, I step in. This behaviour is not okay at any age.
“However, today I found myself saying the words “hey, that’s not nice… please stop” to two little kids. Kids that weren’t mine.
“Why? Because no one else was gonna do it. I watched two 5 year olds ram one of those mini driveable cars into my daughter and laugh while she fell over while I was helping my son into the ball pit. (This was at a 4 and under play centre).
“I watched a little boy climb on top of a jungle gym where his mum had no idea that he was about to come falling down, and I caught him.
“She came over when she saw a stranger carrying her kid and gave me a dirty look while she snatched him off me.
“I watched two kids push and smack my son while he was trying to go down a slide… and I actually found myself saying “that’s not nice, stop!”
“I’ve never liked to tell a strangers kid off, but if you’re gonna pretend you can’t see it because you wanna sit and chat, then I’m gonna tell your child off.
“I’m not perfect, not even in the slightest. But I’m polite and I’m not in the business of raising a**holes. I’ve been up all night too.
“I am desperate for social time too, I’m lonely, I’m tired, my neck hurts and everything else…but I also don’t believe that my kid is entitled to pull your kids hair because I want a hot coffee.
“And if you see my kid be a jerk, you tell him off too, or tell me and I’ll correct him asap. This is the sense of a community.
“Mothers if we don’t have each others backs like this, then how can it be a smooth experience for all? This is a village and it only works if we all do our part, that way we can all have a good time.
“Watch ya damn kid.”
Now, we have to say, looking at the comments on her post, most people definitely agree that Laura’s in the right having a word with other people’s kids in this instance.
“Completely acceptable,” said one fan. “I would never discipline another child, or yell, but I’ve never hesitated in mentioning to an unsupervised child that what they’ve done isn’t nice.
“It’s a public service, and half the time the parent of that child is busy with another sibling and hadn’t noticed, or took their eyes of their bubba to sip their already cold coffee.”
“Yes!!!” said another. “There was an incident where a bunch of 12/13 year olds knocked over my friends 3 year old and looked dumbfounded at her when she demanded they apologise!!
“Their parents proceeded to give my friend dirty looks instead of telling them not to run around a children’s play centre!!” said another.
And finally this: “Definitely agree! My son was in swimming lessons last year and this kid kept spitting water in his face.
“My son freaked out telling him to stop and he wouldn’t and the mom was right beside me watching and not caring so I went to her son and told him to stop.”
What do you think?
Is it OK to tell other people’s kids off? Do you think parents should watch their kids more at soft play and playgrounds? Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook