Yesterday, a parent came to me and said “you please monitor your kid- she is trying to climb the tubular slide in a wrong way. Soon, all other kids will start doing the same.” I looked up and very calmly said “Let her do it, if she gets hurt she will get the lesson and if she climbs successfully she will become more confident in her motor skills. In either way she will learn something which I can’t make her learn by restricting.”
Chia loves to play in her school playground after her school hours and this is one of the reasons that I have not opted for school bus facility. My husband drops her in the morning and I pick her up in the afternoon. I always take some light snacks with me for Chia and a book for me to read. Earlier it was only Chia who stayed back in the school for an hour or so to play but soon few other, on footer kids, also got attracted to this activity and they insisted their parents or guardian to stay back and play. Now, Chia has a group of 5 kids who stay back in school and play.
The playground has three colorful plastic slides, one of these slides is tubular and other two are wavy and two swings. And there are stairs for parents to stand or sit and view the play. I usually sit on these stairs and read while Chia is playing in the ground. Sometimes, I get distracted by the comments and involvement of other parents in kid’s play. Parents think it’s guidance but seeing the faces of annoyed kids I prefer to say it is interference. 🙂
Kids want to play and take risks and do things differently. For example, typically a child, climbs to the top of the slide via a ladder or stairs and sits down on the top of the slide and “slides” down the slide. But sometimes, a kid gets an idea to do it other way round; climbs the slide and comes back via ladder. One kid does this and all other kids get excited about it and they also want to try the same. This is new challenge to them and they feel they also have capability to do it and if not, they want to try it at least. The playground has not so high, big and risky slides and it has natural surfacing i.e.; sand. So, potentially there is no big threat in kids trying to do things other way round. The only plight of the kids is their parents.
Rather than letting young children play on slides by themselves, some parents step into the ground and start dictating the methods of “sliding” and then they go on telling kids about the possible injuries and then frightening kids about registering the complain to their teacher. What a scene -kids playing silently (in their own way 🙂 ) and parents screaming. Sometimes, parents even go to gate guard personnel for getting their child scolded and threatened. This is really a sad situation. What kind of parenting is this! Safeguarding your kids from physical injuries even when there is no big potential threat and wounding them by scolding them in public, degrading their self respect, pulling down their courage.
Yesterday, one of such parents wanted me to help her in doing so and I straight forwardly refused. She looked quite puzzled and was evaluating if I were really a parent, Chia’s mother! Her long held disappointed glance conveyed “How cruel that you would let her hurt herself and sit here immersed in your book. Oh! you can do this but I will not sit here and look. I don’t want her to do this because then my kid will also insist to do the same. I am a mother and I will stop this from happening. So, I will take charge now.” 🙂
She stepped into the ground and asked (in a strict manner) Chia to stop doing this as she may get injured and also other kids will do the same (and eventually they will also get hurt) and moreover, this is not the way to use a slide. Chia listened to her and said “I will not get hurt. I am strong. I can do this. I am not your child and so I will not obey you.” Sounds quite rude but it was a clear message to the parent don’t try to bug me with your nonsense or else I will bug you with my innocence. That parent was speechless and frustrated after hearing this from Chia. I was listening this conversation and my eyes were into the book. I was happy with the way Chia handled the situation. She was not afraid and not submissive to big size and big threats of the lady. She frankly made her point clear.
I think parents must let their kids to be autonomous sometimes. Allow them to think and look differently. Allow them to explore new possibilities. World can still be beautiful and safe without our rules in place.
See you again. 🙂