Here’s What’s NOT OK


My son and I just got back from the park. And I am fuming.


[pinterest count=”horizontal”]

My son loves the park. Every chance we get, he wants to go. Now that he’s three, we have a few favorites. But there’s one thing that always makes me nervous when we go. Other kids and parents.

Well, it’s not always other kids and parents. But sometimes, there are those parents.

When my son was really small, we ran into the big kids that yelled at him that he couldn’t play. They were “big kids” and he was “too little.” It broke my mama heart.

As he got older, we started to run into clicky moms. The ones who are so busy talking they can’t bother to change their child’s stinky poopy diaper, much less make eye contact with you, even though they know you’re there.

But today took the cake.

We arrived to a park and the weather was beautiful. The day was perfect. I packed a blanket, soccer ball and picnic lunch. We headed out to play.

A grandmother was there with two other kids, and they got along well, even sharing their toys! Then a big kid came. And of course, started taking away toys from my son, who was two years younger. Then another big kid came, with a toy machine gun.

Let me stop there. A toy machine gun? At the park? Come on!

But it got better. The older kids decided to target my son. They pointed the gun at him, holding it steady and staring him down repeatedly. They wouldn’t stop. So, I asked them to stop. They kept at it, and I raised my voice. “Stop pointing your gun at my son!”

And then the other mom finally decided to step in. You can imagine our exchange went downhill quickly.

“Don’t raise your voice at my son!” she snarled.

“Don’t let your son point a gun at mine!”

“It’s not ok for you to discipline him!”

“Then you discipline him so I don’t have to!” I retorted.

“What you did isn’t ok.”

“With all the violence that’s happening, what he did isn’t ok. And you don’t get to make the rules.” My voice shook.

We left.

The thing is, I don’t like to speak up. I don’t want to tell people how to raise their kids. I’m a people pleaser. I want to get along. But a machine gun pointed repeatedly at my three-year-old son? NO. NOT OK.

I grew up with toy guns. There were water guns, BB guns, and pop guns. And when we shotguns of any kind, toy or not, we were always taught that you never point guns at people. Apparently, this is not a lesson all parents teach.

That said, I do not regret for a second that I stood up for my son. I don’t regret raising my voice. I would do it again in a heartbeat. But I’m also angry. And really concerned. I’m left wondering why toy companies even make toy machine guns. Why are parents allowing their kids to play with them? Why would a mom let her child pick on a younger one? Bullying him? Pointing a machine gun at him repeatedly? And the question that scares me most of all… How will I ever have the strength to let go of my child in a world where mass shootings and bombings are commonplace? A place where other kids are being taught that bullying and violence are ok?

I don’t have the answers. And I’m so very sad. So I’ll let my son nap next to me. And I’ll cry while he’s not looking. Because I want better. I want better for him. Our kids deserve so much better.



  1. I don’t understand for one minute a mom who says “don’t discipline my kid”. When we were kids it would never occur to us to talk back to any adult who wasn’t our parent.

    A man once reprimanded my son for cutting in line. I was mortified. Not at the man, at my son. I thanked the gentleman and made my son apologize.

    Its a bad place out there. Parents like her make it worse. But parents like you make it better. ((((Hugs))))

    • You have such a good point, Mary! When I was a kid, if an adult told me something, I listened and respected it. I didn’t even think much about that comment. More so the exchange. But it brings about so many important things… and makes me so sad for our culture and the world our kids are growing into. ?

      Right back at you, sister. Thank you for being an amazing mom!! ??

  2. You are so right on this! And there’s more: Speaking up in front of our children is an important example for them. I am, like you, a friendly people-pleaser. Very little gets me riled up, but sometimes it’s imperative to say something and our kids need to see that as they grow and learn. That’s how kids learn what’s worth arguing about and what’s not, and to stand up to bullies for themselves and their friends. Even a 3-year-old is starting to learn those things.

Comments are closed.