The one where I wanted to go all crazy momma bear, but didn't.

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Alternate title: How do I make her stand up for herself?

I recently paid for a month long "free play pass" for the girls at an indoor play place.  They have camps, classes, private sessions and more.

The summer is more laid back.  They have free wifi and the kids can hang out and play somewhere inside so it’s a) not hot, b) not my mess to clean up.

The first two times we’ve gone, it’s just been our kids playing.  It was casual.  They played on the slide, they played with the musical instruments, they colored and more.

Today was different. 

There was a camp going on with kids ages 6-10.  These kids were all playing in the bigger room with a slide, tree house, toy shopping carts, and pretty much any other toy you can imagine for kids from 3-10.

(The only reason I caught any of this, is #2 was going down the slide which was nearby and she was having a blast with me catching her at the bottom).

They started playing store and McDonald’s (side note: I am proud that #1 doesn’t even know what  a Happy Meal is!); being cashiers, drive through customers, and cooks.

#1 didn’t really understand the game and the pretending they were doing (again, no Happy Meals, and we almost never drive through), so she wasn’t really wanting to play.

However, she did want to play with some of the food toys they were using.  Now, she didn’t ask to have them, but she also didn’t take them away.  She was wanting to play with them in the same space.  #1 took them off of the bench they had them set up on and was playing with them right there.

One of the girls said "McDonald’s is closed."

#1 said "What does closed mean?"

The girl "It means we aren’t open" as she snatched the food out of #1’s hand.

#1 picked up another toy and the girl again told her "McDonald’s is closed."

#1 still didn’t understand, and the girl again snatched the food out of her hand.

Not wanting to pick sides or try to intervene too much I said, "Let’s all share the toys."

Yeah, that didn’t work.

It went a couple more times.  Finally, one of the came workers told the little girl to "just let her have it."

Then, a couple minutes later, I hear screaming.  #1 and the same girl are fighting over this chair/bowl thing.  A tug of war has ensued.

I looked at #1 and the girl and said "girls, if you can’t share, then I’m taking this away from both of you."

They looked at me puzzled.

"Who had the toy first?"

#1 said "I did."  The girl starred.

I asked her again and she said "she did" pointing to #1.

I suggested she let #1 have it back and when she’s done she can give it to the girl.

Disaster averted this time.

Seriously, though, I didn’t even realize it was time for these types of incidents (it’s one thing when they are a toddler and you just tell them to do something, but another when they really understand you).

Did I do the right thing?  Or, should I have left them alone? 

I think my biggest concern is that the girl was quite a bit older than #1 and they weren’t really on the same playing field.

Help this momma out, please!  Tell me how to handle this (or not handle this) if it happens again.

(How could you mess with this cutie?)

How to get her to stand up for herself.

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24 Comments

  1. I think you did the right thing.
    too many parents are letting TV and society raise their kids.

    We’ve had instances similar to this one. Always stay calm, try to be reasonable and give all kids the benefit of the doubt. 😉
    You did good 😉

    I wish we had a place like that. xoxoxo

  2. i think u did the right thing. seriously the “teacher” in me comes out when this kind of stuff happens and you want to be all rational and fair, but secretly you are like “this is my baby, bug off kid”

    a++ mama 🙂

  3. I would have done the exact same thing, sweetie. Seriously.

    There are times for us to let it play out itself, but when a) that was going nowhere and b) this girl was so much bigger/older, etc you did the right thing.

    Way to go momma!! And from reading this I felt myself getting protective–it’s the natural thing to do I think 😉

  4. I think you did the right thing, especially considering the other kid was older and sounding like a bit of a bully. Unfortunately, I’m sure there’ll be many of these kinds of instances for all of us in the future.

  5. I think you handled it just fine. I get kind of itchy myself when I take my boys to places where there are hoards of summer camp kids because you know the camp workers can’t watch that many kids closely enough — not like a parent might/should. And yes, they are all older and bigger and that’s a concern too.

  6. You did the right thing, especially since the girl was older. You did not immediately jump in, but gave her time to settle it. Sometimes, they need our assistance.

  7. I think you did the right thing! I have had to do this with Connor & other kids before. My teacher voice comes out and they tend to listen rather well. I have only had one instance where another parent got upset with me but i just told them I was doing the right thing for everyone INCLUDING their child!!! The camp leader should have been more involved with her campers!

    I wish I could say it gets better as they get older!

    Good job Mama!!!

  8. I was in a similar situation at the children’s museum, except the coveted items were toy fruits and veggies. We sat at a table and this one bigger kid kept coming over, snatching food right out of my girls’ hands, and running away before I could say anything. His parents were sitting at the table next to us, watching. I wanted to throw a plastic bell pepper at them.

    I would have done the same as you, especially because Iz was the smaller one. I’m glad the worker said something too. Good for you, mama.

  9. Izzy was probably so taken aback that she didn’t know how to react!

  10. I think that you handled this very well or at least the same way that I would have handled it. Don’t worry, as Iz gets older she will stand up for herself more. At least that is what happened with my kids.

  11. Having seen this type of situation a million times I totally think you did the right thing. I mean, obviously the older girl still has not learned how to share. I mean, first of all Izzy is younger she totally took advantage of that (kids are smarter than we think). Then, she realized that you knew what she was up to when you intervened and gave up. Believe me I know what you are saying by the fact that kids DO need to learn to stick up for themselves, yet other times…they need a adult to guide them in the right direction.

  12. I definitely think an intervention was in order. It really irritates me when older kids act that way around younger kids. I always tell me kids that they need to let the little kids have the toys first. Some kids are just brats though and you have to step in.

  13. Sounds like you did just fine. It’s not like you can just let all out war break loose, or let your toddler be crapped on by an older kid.

  14. Atl Mom Guide says:

    I hate stuff like that but agree you did the right thing! It is even worse when the other parents are watching too and do nothing about it!

  15. yu did the right thing intervening, esp since the other girl is older and esp since your sweet daughter hasn’t been exposed to the mcd’s idea… better to be the calm one and try to diffuse the situation than let it escalate out of hand. at your daughter’s age, i believe it’s still okay for mommy to come to the rescue! (and even beyond in some instances!) it’s terrible that some parents nowadays are doing nothing about teaching their children about sharing and such. good for you stepping in!

  16. I think you did the right thing. We usually have issues like this in mall play areas, and I try to bite my tongue long enough for the parent of the toy-stealer to say something. But since the older kids were in a summer camp, you didn’t really have that option.

  17. #586,756,197 why I avoid older and/or bullying kids. But since its not always possible, I teach my kids to be the greater one and give the toy over. I try to remember the verse in the Bible (Matt. 5:29): “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” And I would have followed up with a statement like, “Punky, this little girl doesn’t know how to share, can you show her and be a good example?”

    With that said, I would have seriously wanted to smack that right cheek of the little girl who obviously needs some serious discipline! :o/

    1. Okay, the last part about smacking her in the cheek had me rolling on the ground. I will have to work this into my act. I think I tend to want to side with my kids….but I need to enforce the lesson and the Bible more.

  18. You are asking the wrong person for this kind of advice! LOL Maybe if you need to reroute your sewer lines I can help! haha

    1. Maybe I could have requested a sewer reroute for the girl….nah, that’s probably mean, isn’t it?

  19. Sounds like the best way to handle it……….Boy, though, it makes me realize that they are getting so big!……..Can’t believe that 4 is right around the corner……
    Those situations are just so not fun!

  20. I think you handled it really well, I would have wanted to smack the older girl for being so mean to your daughter, because the older girl should have know better. (God, I sound like my mother. TeeHee)
    Seriously, I really do think that until she can speak up for herself in a couple of years, you definitely did the right thing – well done mom.

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