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I yelled at another person’s child in a play centre.

I yelled at another person’s child in a play centre.

Today I yelled at someone else’s child at a play centre.

This child, who would have been no older than five, was choking my four year old daughter at the top of the slippery slide.

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Choking her.

Before this incident occurred, my daughter had come up to me crying a total of four times with regards to this boy. She told me that this child was following her, had pushed her, had scratched her leaving a mark, and also pinched her in the neck, also leaving a mark. I initially brushed her off and told her to just stay away from him. I told her not to worry about it and to go and play with her brothers and sisters.

I advised her to ignore him and concentrate on having fun as we don’t visit play centre’s often, and that this was a special occasion. A treat that, with five children and the price of entry, doesn’t happen every day.

Even though I was trying to play it calm with her, I was growing more and more irritated as time went on because I could see this behaviour unfolding. I was watching the whole time, while this boy’s mother was nonchalantly sipping a cappuccino with her friends, showing them photos on her phone. Not paying attention.

I’m not proud of the fact that I yelled at another person’s child, I’m usually a pretty reasonable person. I understand that kids will be kids and I let a lot go. Although I do know that this time it was an instinctual reaction to my child being hurt. She was out of reach, she was in trouble, and I wanted the assault to stop.

Just because the violence was happening between a four and a five year old doesn’t make it any less serious, any less of an assault. I felt it was serious, my daughter was distressed and intimidated. She was being choked. Another child was acting violently toward her. My instincts kicked in.

My four year old daughter is not a trouble maker by any means, she’s a skinny little thing who was going about her play time in a normal fashion. She wasn’t asking to be choked, she wasn’t instigating a confrontation, she was merely trying to keep up with her brothers and sisters and have a good time. A good time that she was entitled to.

Once I had yelled, the mother decided to put her cappuccino down and finally take notice. She came up to me and began to scold me, telling me that I shouldn’t have yelled at her child as he was autistic, and didn’t know what he was doing.

This fired me up even more.

If her child was autistic and didn’t know what he was doing, yet she was aware of his violent tendencies, why was she not looking out for him? Where is the duty of care for my children, if not for her own child?

I don’t for one minute blame this child, whether he be autistic or not, as he is only a child and learning about life.

Although who is to blame when adults who should know better, fail to teach their children not to hurt others, or if that’s not reasonable request, fail in their duty of care to ensure other people’s children don’t get hurt as a result?

In this case, my four year old daughter did not retaliate, but what would have happened if her autistic son had choked the wrong child and this child retaliated. What would have happened if her neglect placed her own son at risk?

Who would have been at fault then?

What would have happened if I too was not taking notice, sipping a cappuccino with friends, and her child had choked mine until she was unconscious? Would my actions seem so unreasonable then?

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This lady further told me that rather than yell at her autistic child, I should have come up to her so that she could speak to him about his behaviour in a calm matter. Unfortunately, her child did not have a big sign attached to his t-shirt addressing the fact that he was autistic, so I reacted in the same way I would react with anybody who was choking my daughter.

I yelled.

I said STOP!

If I could see the signs leading up the event, if I was on high alert and therefore up from my seat and watching my children, where was she?

When did autism become a free pass for bad parenting?

I have a lot of friends who have children on the spectrum that are responsible with their duty of care. Their duty of care for their own child, and for those of others.

Play centre’s are not a babysitting venue. You can’t just dump your child and wipe your hands of them. You still need to be a parent even when there is play equipment around. Probably especially when there is play equipment and risk of harm involved.

Here’s an idea for everyone with kids, whether they be on the spectrum or not.

Look after your children in a play centre.

Don’t allow your children to hurt other children.

Look up from your cappuccino and phone every once in a while.

It’s simple really.

What would you have done in my situation? Have you ever had a confrontation in a play centre?




9 thoughts on “I yelled at another person’s child in a play centre.

  1. AvatarHelen L

    Good work! The child does not know how to express his feelings or has trouble communicating, so the responsibility is on the parent to be vigilant and to ensure that something like this does not happen.
    As you said it’s not like the child had a sign describing his difficulties or identifying his mother so anyone could go and calmly discuss his behaviour. I regularly went to a playgroup with a young autistic boy who seemed to be obsessed with my son. Occasionally he would try and hit my son and the mother was very vigilant and always pulled him up. I explained to my then 4 year old that this boy has troubles communicating and after a few weeks they were able to play together without communicating verbally!
    I would have yelled at the child and then at the mother!! ?

    Reply
  2. AvatarTrinette Lee

    I would have done exactly the same thing. I have told off another person’s child in the supermarket (this child is a bully and is well known at my daughter’s school, and part of the reasons we left the school due to his physical abuse) because he was trying to get around the trolley I was pushing to get to my daughter, who was holding my hand at the time. She was 7 when this incident occurred and he kept trying to grab her, telling her he would ‘get her’. I told him in no uncertain terms to stop, to keep his hands to himself, and if he didn’t he would have my foot up his clacker (exact words). And if he didn’t keep his hands to himself , he would have to deal with me. Spectrum or not does not give your child the right to run around unsupervised tormenting and physically assaulting other kids.

    Reply
  3. AvatarLaura Kinsella

    My kids are on the spetrum and i agree with this whole heartedly. I always keep an eye on my children even my 16 yr old. Just because this kid is on the spectrum is no excuse to allow him to behave in such a manner.

    Reply
  4. AvatarRebecca

    I would have yelled stop (or something far worse) and then had a go at the mother
    I have 2 children with autism and whilst they dont get violent without ALOT of provocation it can still happen so yes I watch like a hawk. Heck I even follow them around playing with them sometimes.
    This was a lazy parent. I also would have spoken to the mother the first time the child layed a hand on my child.

    Reply
  5. Avatarsue

    Using autism as an excuse is really bad parenting. My friend whose child is on the spectrum never lets him out of her sight she has no choice but to be a helicopter parent to avoid situations such as the one you encountered.
    I yelled at a child in a ball pit once he was approximately 6 and throwing balls at my 2yo’s head.
    The worst part his mother had her head in the door of the ball pit talking to another of her children whilst this was going on.
    As soon as she moved her head i went full psycho mumma bear.
    She turns to me and says oh was that my child.
    Yes you stupid woman.
    Some people are totally clueless when it comes to their kids

    Reply
  6. AvatarAngela

    Hi. I would have done exactly the same thing you did, and I have a child on the spectrum so I can speak from both sides. Lazy parenting is to blame for many situations like this and unfortunately I don’t think this parent will change. Just remember, we are advocates for our children and we are their only voice and when there is a scary situation that they can’t handle, we must be there for them. Well done!!

    Reply
  7. AvatarDoctor

    I’m a paediatrician and a mother.

    Your response was entirely appropriate, given that one child was assaulting another. I would have intervened, even if neither child was mine.

    Children with and without autism in this scenario should be told firmly and calmly that we do not strangle other children. There is no reason why you should have treated the boy any different, even had you known he was autistic.

    The mother of the autistic child shouldn’t be made to watch her son every minute in a children’s play area, however she should be aware that the child could rightly be told what is right and wrong.

    Sounds like she is using his diagnosis of autism to allow her to avoid attempts at parenting him.

    Reply
  8. AvatarSamantha

    Yes, i would have done the same. I absolutely agree.
    My then 8 year old daughter was once yelled at by a big grown woman at a park because she didnt see this womans little boy trying to get off the spinning piece equipment. My daughter was the one spinning it because her little brothers and cousins were on it, i told her that it was my child that she was yelling at and she had best stop (my daughter was shaking in fear of this woman) she then proceeded to tell me that my daughter should have been watching properly (while she had to walk all the way across the playground past me and my family to get to her 4 year old boy)! When did the supervision of her child become the responsibility of my 8 year old daughter! I was furious, she left the park quite quickly after that with her child kicking and screaming tucked under her arm like a football.

    Reply
  9. AvatarAmanda

    Did better than I would have I’m afraid. I would have yelled at the child to stop , then torn the mother to shreds ( verbally ) and then reported the child and mother to management

    Reply

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