10 October 2011

Can Boys Just Be Boys?

I'm sitting here rehashing something that went on today. Wondering if I'm letting things slide or if another mother was really so uptight that her kid couldn't play for 3 minutes at a time without her running to his rescue. A rescue that he didn't really seem to need.

Here's the story.

Today I took the boys to Chick-fil-a. Aedyn loves the playplace there and it looked like rain (and who can turn down CFA?). Aedyn had been playing for a few minutes, I was in the dining room watching through the glass, but had a bit of a blind spot from a pillar. I still felt like I had a good feel of what was going on.

I noticed that a couple of moms started following what was going on pretty closely and overheard, Mom A say "I think he just hit him." I couldn't see what they were talking about and tried to see Aedyn, their boys were on the ground and I saw Aedyn come down the slide. So I figured they must not have been talking about him.

Then I saw Boy B kick Boy A. Mom B knocks on the glass and shakes a finger. No biggie, it was handled. Then Boy A takes of running and giggling as Aedyn ran after him. Both were screaming and having a good time. Mom A jumps up and runs to the door and opens it and lunges in. She didn't do anything and I wasn't really sure what it was all about.

Boy B climbs into the bottom of the slide and is just sitting there. Boy A climbs over him and heads up the slide with Aedyn behind him. Boy A kind of lays down or maybe slips and Aedyn goes to crawl over him.

Mom A jumps up and says something to the effect of "He's pulling his hair!" Note: she just said it to the air I guess, but I know it wasn't directed to me. Maybe Aedyn did, but it just looked like little boys all climbing over each other to me. If he did pull his hair then I highly doubt it was intentional and more of a "I'm falling and need something to hold on to" reflex. (But I could be wrong, my child is no angel.)

Mom A then grabs Boy A and brings him out. "I'm sorry, but I can't let you play in there if that little boy is in there." Boy A was not upset, crying, or seemingly anyway affected by the "hair pulling." He was just upset that she'd brought him out.

**NOTE: Aedyn was the youngest and the smallest of all three boys and Mom A refused to allowed Boy A to take of his shoes, which is a RULE for the safety of all of them.**

Of course Boy A was back in there in a matter of seconds. The boys continued to chase each other and play. It was about equal with which ones were running and which ones were chasing. If they weren't playing like that then Boy A was following Aedyn and they were driving together, smiling, and laughing the whole time.

But anytime they came down to the floor level Mom A would jump up and run into the play area. I was and am confused. Her child was obviously not in any distress that he saw, he was definitely not afraid of being around Aedyn, in fact he seemed to like him a lot. They were just being boys. Mom B kept an eye on things, but never made a move to enter the play area or seemed worried.

We do have an issue with Aedyn hugging everyone whether they want to be hugged or not and it's normal that I'll have to go in and remind he a few times to ask people if they want hugs before he gives one. He can get pretty rough when people try to get away instead of hugging them back, but that's why I watch him closely.

In my opinion, if you choose to let your kid play in an area like that then you have to be able to accept the consequences of that choice and know that kids are going to be kids. That doesn't mean let your kid get beat up, but if he doesn't seem to be bothered by it, let them work it out between them.

I have pulled Aedyn out when there are bigger kids playing roughly and pushing him down, he is young and little. But if the kids are close to his age and size I try to let him handle it. For the most part he does a great job and will ignore whatever he doesn't like or go play somewhere else, but occasionally I do have to intervene.

Boys will be boys is an excuse for a lot of bullying these days, but it didn't used to be. Boys are contact driven, they're high energy. They're boys...and they will be boys.

What are your thoughts? Was Mom A just a helicopter parent to my more free-range style? Am I missing something? Feel free to let me know if you disagree with how I handle things. I'd really like hear what everyone thinks about this!


  1. I, unfortunately, have seen many "helicopter moms" around the playground.  I guess I'm more like Mom B, I keep a close eye on things but I don't or at least try not to suffocate my daughter who is 6.  Kids have to learn to problem solve on their own and not be spoonfed every decision in life.  IMO unless a kid is being really pushy or violent or out of control then just let them be and they will usually work things out on their own.

  2. I felt a lot better when we back a few days later and 2 different little boys were in there, all doing the same sorts of things and their parents didn't bat an eyelash, but also weren't oblivious.


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