If there is one thing I cannot stand it is parents who abdicate any and all responsibility of their children at a playcentre and are happy to use unwilling strangers as their babysitters.
You know, those parents who let their feral kids loose in the playground and then sit on the other side of the centre drinking coffee and shooting the breeze. Not once ever glancing over to check if their turd burger spawn is terrorising smaller children for fun or who knows even fallen from a great height and broken every bone in their body – someone else can worry about that!
Now I wouldn’t say that I am a full blown helicopter parent, but when I do take Annabelle to a playcentre I take her in myself, make sure she can climb around, doesn’t hurt herself and sadly make sure she hasn’t become victim of a rouge child’s – really i’m just there to ‘supervise’ my child like the sign says you have to!
The fee for a playcente is for entry to the facility and use of their equipment, it does not include staff supervision so you can piss off and have a goss sesh! However, if you chose to leave your child to fend for themselves, then you shouldn’t have no issue with another parent having to discipline your kid when they get ruff with my child and act like a brat!
Today at a centre my girlfriend had to reprimand a child for repeatedly pushing and shoving our kids. This kid, twice Annabelle’s size, who has already left a trail of crying kids behind him, got her in a tackle around the neck and throw her back as she ran past him for absolutely NO reason, he then hit her!
Both me and my girlfriend saw this and quickly picked up Annabelle as my friend firmly told the boy “you don’t hit“. In response, he simply stuck out his tongue and kept running to find his next victim. Furious as you can imagine (that’s an understatement but for legal reasons I won’t tell you my real thoughts), we both looked around for the parents and of course there was no one in sight. We asked a few people standing around if they knew who the boys parents were and everyone just shrugged.
While I know it isn’t really the boy’s fault, I as a parent I should not be expected to just tolerate that kind of behaviour and become a babysitter for other peoples kids when their own parents clearly have no concern for them or anyone else in the centre!
So where to draw the line? What is your suggestions? Have you ever faced this awkward situation when at a kids play centre? What do you think the etiquette should be for supervision and discipline at kids play centres?