It was pretty busy the play park yesterday, my children always opt to swing first, but since all swings were busy, we headed for the slides and tunnels, then the see-saw, then we moseyed over to wait our turn on a swing. Pretty soon a baby swing was made available for my littlest. Miss Nearly 4 wanted a ‘big kids swing’ so she waited. I’d already noticed that one child had been on the swing for ages. His parents seemed to have no sense that others were waiting.
Another baby swing came free and as a mother approached it with her small son, another adult rushed past, grabbed the swing, yelled across the park to her friend, who brought a little girl over and plonked her in it. UNBELEIVABLE! The usurped mother and I exchanged incredulous looks, but nothing was said. Aha! These were, it seemed the parents of the endlessly swinging boy…
As the father appeared I pointed out, politely, that two little girls (there was now a queue) had been waiting a long time for a swing and that it was perhaps time to move his son along. A minute or two later I reiterated, a little more directly, that it was time for his son to give up a swing. The child on the next swing nobly volunteered his – even though he’d been on for about half the time – sweet chap. One girl now swinging, one waiting. The father was talking to his son, who did not wish to leave his swing, gently trying to get him off the swing. It went on and on. My patience waned. ‘Just get the child off the swing man’, I thought. “Come on, time’s up,” I said. Clearly we were going to be kept waiting until the stubborn child chose to get off. So…. did I cross the line….?
I went up to the father and son, said “Come on dude, time’s up” and lifted the child off the swing. “Yes, but not forcing it,” said the father. ‘Actually,’ I wanted to say, ‘yes, sometimes forcing it. Who’s in charge here. You or your small son?’ Instead I said something about teaching children to share. And he walked away.
Was I right, or wrong? Did I cross the line?