Park Throwing Sand

What Would You Do? Sandbox Edition

My kids were playing nicely in the sand at the park the other day, when two young boys came over to join them. As children do, they all began to play some randomly made up game together and things were going well. That was until one of the boys, a four year old, began lightly shoveling sand onto his brother’s lap. The brother didn’t seem to mind at all but his mother asked him to stop doing it. The young boy decided to tempt fate and shoveled one more scoop into his brother’s lap, at which point the mother walked over, leaned down, grabbed a handful of sand and threw it in the four year old’s face and mouth.

I have to be honest, I was shocked at the choice of punishment for such a minor crime but I really had no idea what to do, so I continued to just stand there, stunned, pretending everything was cool. The tactic backfired as well, as the boy wiped the sand from his mouth and stated with glee, “Mmmm, I love sand in my mouth!” At this point, I gathered up my children and we started the walk home.

It’s easy to judge parenting methods, so I try to keep my nose out of other people’s business and don’t typically write about the things I see but this one struck me as odd and it didn’t end there. Nothing was said about the incident as we walked home but as soon as my four year old daughter got home, she went running to her mom and explained the whole sand throwing story. We then spent the next few minutes trying to explain why it was a bad idea for the mommy to do that and telling her that she shouldn’t ever throw sand in people’s faces. Like I said, I stay out of other people’s parenting business…until it affects my ability to parent my children.

That brings me to my question. What would you do if your child was the one throwing sand at the park?

8 replies
  1. Andrew
    Andrew says:

    1) Instant time-out for the kid throwing sand. Explain why it is inappropriate.
    2) If repeated, we’re leaving the park to go home. Once we get home, my kid will have another extended time-out. They would also experience a suspension of privileges for the rest of the day (i.e. no desert, or no tv).

    Good for you and your partner to explain to the kids why it was inappropriate. I think that is an important, to discuss why with your kids why the behaviour of other parents may or may not be appropriate in the circumstances.

  2. Momma Sunshine
    Momma Sunshine says:

    When my girls were of the sandbox age, if they were to throw sand, they would get one warning. The warning would be, “If you throw sand again, you won’t be allowed to play in the sandbox.” That’s it. If they did it again, they would be removed from the area, plain and simple. I’m annoyed by parenting methods that involve doing something to the kid to “teach them a lesson”….how can we possibly teach our toddlers to NOT do things, by actually doing it to them? Just doesn’t make sense to me.

  3. Michèle
    Michèle says:

    I could not have done what that mother did…but we don’t know the history here either. Who knows what kind of week she’d been having with her boy.
    Sad your kids had to see that though .

    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      That’s exactly why I hate judging other parents. I know what’s it’s like to be at the end of my rope. I only talked about it because it affected my kids too and I hope they can just forget about it.

  4. Christine
    Christine says:

    I personally would not do it. An eye for an eye makes for a blind world. That’s just my opinion though. I have friends who swear by this parenting method. Maybe it works for them? I don’t know. I just know that children learn by example. If reacting that way teaches the other parent’s child that his behaviour is not acceptable, then good. I just think that showing aggressive behaviour an aggressive response is not really effective. Again, just my opinion.

  5. Jay - Dude of the House
    Jay - Dude of the House says:

    The boy’s response to his mother’s action showed who wears the pants in that family. He knows how to get her goat and she seems clueless on how to deal with them.

    I’d like to think that I’d say something to the woman about her inappropriate behavior, but who knows. I probably would have removed my kids from the situation/area and if they mentioned what the mother did, I would have reiterated how it was not what WE do. I can’t speak for that family, only ours.


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