Lord of the flies in preschool

I’m learning a bit more about the other preschool mums.  Lately my son’s social circle has expanded and on sunny days, the boys run around the playground while the mums chat a bit (often running after their second little ones).  We can’t talk that much of course, but I’m not the only one who has noticed the distinct gender separation of the kids at this age.  The boys are more physical, more aggressive in their play and swinging fists invariably play a part in that.  I don’t mean fighting, but wait, maybe I do.   Disagreements can easily turn into pushing and hitting. It’s not something I tolerate at all, but apparently I’m going to have to amend what I’ve been teaching my son if he is to have any sort of chance of negotiating his own “play”.  My son has an easygoing, gentle disposition and even when he was a 2 year old, he was more willing than not to share his toys and demonstrate compassionate behaviour towards his peers.  Now I have to teach him to defend himself if he finds that he’s the “target” at play on any particular day.   It’s a little weird for someone who did have her fair share of fights with her younger sister but such rough play was not tolerated.  I’m more from the HEY!  STOP IT, DEAR SON kind of school, not the giggle, giggle, shrug, shrug boys will be boys kind of school.  I’m really not into “shrug” parenting.  I stand back a fair distance from my kid so he can negotiate his own play, but if somebody’s kid smashes mine, I’m not going to put up with it.

Any advice on playground etiquette for parents?




6 thoughts on “Lord of the flies in preschool

  1. I’ve noticed some of this in playgrounds as Baby X gets older. Mostly I try to hang back and let the kids work it out. Then again, I haven’t witnessed super aggressive behavior and that would be a different case.

  2. Oh you’ve got a sweet boy there. When #2 came along it was clear they would both need to learn some sharing. Seriously some of #2’s first words were “no” and “mine.” #1 never learned “mine” until #2 came along.

    I see it in preschool, though with girls the hurt is more emotional — name calling, cliques, saying you won’t be someone’s friend or invite them to your birthday party — all stemming from the desire/need to be included, to fit in. Boys do tend to have that more aggressive style of play — my oldest plays like that too, but it’s the girls who upset her. I’d think you’d want to teach him to be strong and confident yet keep his kindness. Not an easy task!

  3. I have basically taught my daughter to defend herself with words rather than fists or pushing. My little four year old girl can often be heard telling other kids that what they just did wasn’t very nice, or that it hurt her feelings, etc. for the most part, it’s effective, and elicits an apology. But occasionally, I find myself having to step in and speak to the other child. The way I see it, if my child is getting hurt, and the other child’s parents are doing nothing in terms of discipline, I will defend my kid. Clearly, I am not in favour of “shrug” parenting either. There are consequences to our actions in life, and the sooner children learn that, the better.

  4. Well I am not a “let them work it out” parent. I will let it go on for a very very short time but I do intervene. I don’t want my kid to be a bully or be bullied so I will step in for sure. I am amazed at how hands off other parents can be. Some have really good intentions I believe but I also believe for many it’s laziness. Dh is very direct and does not give a rat’s behind who he might offend. When it comes to his child he doesn’t hesitate to put both kids and adults in their place. This amazes me because he has always been the quiet, non-confrontational type. But Sofie came along and he turned into a tiger with a major attitude. That being said, I really don’t have any advice but can only tell you what I would do. We have had to talk to Sofie about not letting kids push her around and once I actually told her to hit back (and dh had a stern talking to me about that later) and I did regret saying that but I was at my wits end with a kid in her class who is a hitter.

  5. I hear you. What if you told hubby that Sofie has a right to defend herself? I’m not suggesting we teach our kids violence, but I’m not teaching my son he’s a punching bag either just cause he’s more easygoing. Wouldn’t hubby want Sofie at age 16 to know how to defend herself? You know how hard it is to reason with a toddler? Imagine how hard it is for a toddler to reason with another toddler! 4 year olds respond better, but they get crabby after school cause they’re hungry or tired or whatever. So the other day I saw Boo telling his buddy NO in a loud and certain tone. I was so proud of him. And yeah, I said if he keeps hitting you hit him back. I know, I know, we’ve spent so much time telling him that hitting is a no-no, but now we’re saying use your words FIRST, and then defend yourself. He’s going to kindergarten in the fall and this mama bear won’t be around to keep an eye on him. Ohmigod, the thought occurs to me that I may even cry on his first day.

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