A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my dislike of the summer holidays and how the bigger, boisterous kids have me breaking out in a cold sweat, and keep me from wanting to take my daughter out. Well, today I braved it nonetheless, and I’m sorry (not sorry) to say I TOLD YOU SO.

However, I concede that the unsavory experience was not, in fact, for the reason/s I anticipated: it was actually fairly quiet; relatively sedate, even.

So no, I have no issue with any of the littlies we encountered.

What follows is an open letter to the young woman who attempted to instigate an altercation with me yesterday…

“If you’ve ever read my blog you’ll probably be aware of my public declarations of disliking other people’s children. So, just to be absolutely crystal clear, in almost every circumstance I am writing with tongue firmly in cheek: I actually love children, as a rule. Though admittedly I’m not very tolerant of nastiness in anyone, ever.

What took place yesterday was unforgiveable. And no, I do not mean the fact that your six year old nearly careered down a slide into my toddler. That was unfortunate (but somewhat expected) behaviour in an environment such as soft play…particularly since I’d allowed my little girl to play on the equipment intended for the older kids. Yes – I can see that and hold my hands up to it. (Hence the quiet mutterings to my friend which you took such offence to. Which, by the way, were me suggesting perhaps it had been an error of judgement on our part to take our children into said area, and not me slating your son under my breath. Ever heard the expression ‘we expect from others how we’d behave ourselves’?)

That said, if I see a potential – and avoidable – hazard, I’m going to point it out. It’s not my job to parent your child, but I didn’t notice you there. And actually, I wasn’t attempting to discipline him as I suspect you believed – my intention was to gently draw his attention to the possible consequences of his impatience. Guess what? I’d do it again. I dare say I will do it again. And you’re welcome to return the favour with my daughter – in a reasonable manner.

The trouble is, I doubt your ability to use reason in any circumstance. 

I said what took place was unforgiveable, and here’s why:

Not because you were so aggressive towards me; not because you rejected my insistence that I wasn’t, in fact, giving your son a filthy look; not because you raised your voice and did your best to humiliate and intimidate me.

It’s because you did all of those things in plain view of our children. THAT is unforgiveable. 

If I came off as being meek, or cowed, or daunted by your obnoxious attitude – then you are sorely mistaken. It took every ounce of strength for me to allow myself to appear cowardly to you and your friends. My friend knew better. She knew I was quietly furious, but refusing to display that to my daughter – or your son.

She knew that I was weighing up my options at lightening speed and making the snap judgement that my sense of pride was of less importance than my daughter’s welfare. 

I refuse to allow my child to see her mother embroiled in hostility – even if it’s not of my making. I will do everything in my power to avoid her feeling threatened in any way – even if the inevitable concession is your certainty that you’ve ‘won’. I do not want my daughter to grow up believing that attack is the best form of defence – even if it sometimes feels that way.

Coward

I understand, sort of, why you behaved so irrationally. And I hope for your child’s sake that you’ll have the same epiphany I once did, and come to realise you can work on that immature reaction to a situation you’re not comfortable with and learn to deal with it in a more adult and appropriate way.

Only through modelling desirable behaviours can we teach our children how to handle conflict and manage difficult feelings. They learn through imitation, and I’m so mindful of that fact, always.

My daughter will comprehend little from today because I ensured it mostly went over her head. But if she took on board anything from my response to your confrontation, it will be about conflict resolution, integrity, respect and generosity of spirit.

Your son will learn an altogether different lesson. And in the future you may just come to regret the part you played in teaching it to him.”

6 Comments

  1. Rebecca Taylor Reply

    Sorry to hear about this incident lovely. But well done you for being the bigger person. You speak so many wise words and I hope I can do the same by Ernie in a similar situation if it happens. Great post. X

  2. Kate Tunstall Reply

    Thank you sweetie. I’m by no means perfect but for personal reasons this is one thing I’m very conscious of. xx

  3. Laura: AdventureswithJ Reply

    Oh no this is awful! So sorry to hear that you found someone who thinks that it isn’t okay to quietly chat to a child about their care on play equipment when littler ones are around. If my son had done the same when older to a toddler, I would have been cross with him and quite happy for you to point this out, although of course hopefully he will know better. I hate going to the park or soft play with my son because I find this exact situation intimidating and the number of parents who use soft play as a baby sitting service is really sad. Well done for sharing this experience to hopefully make people think twice.

    • Kate Tunstall Reply

      It’s dreadful, isn’t it! I won’t pretend I ‘quietly chatted’, because the truth is I called out a little sharply to try to prevent the accident about to happen. But it was preemptive rather than disciplinary, if that makes sense. But either way, I wasn’t cruel and I didn’t shout. The child was being silly. And the mother’s behaviour was despicable.

      It seems I have made some people think going by some comments on other platforms, which is fab.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. Random Musings Reply

    I can fully understand why you kept your cool, and if the other mum thinks she “won” that’s because she didn’t understand the situation. She missed an opportunity to show her son how to handle conflict in a reasonable manner.
    Well done for not letting pride get in the way!
    Debbie

    • Kate Tunstall Reply

      Thank you Debbie, such a shame when you see parents behaving that way in front of impressionable young children.

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