Mum's common playground dispute sparks debate: 'Am I wrong?'

The mum has sparked discussion online after sharing a common playground conundrum - but what would you do?

Mikahla Humphris and her eight-month-old son Jake. Source: Supplied
Mikahla Humphris and her eight-month-old son Jake. Source: Supplied

A young Aussie mum has sparked an age-old debate after questioning whether she was wrong to correct another woman's child. Mikahla Humphris was frustrated when older children entered the baby area where her eight-month-old was playing and put him in danger so she felt that she had to act.

Humphris, who lives in regional Victoria with her son, said the other parents at the community playgroup were not supervising their children.

“The other parents were treating the playgroup like a childcare service, expecting others to be watching their children. It was a very disappointing," Humphris told Yahoo News Australia.

“There were eight parents and 11 children, including three babies under 12 months. The babies, including my son, were happily playing in their sectioned-off area when a three-year-old and two four-year-old came over and climbed into the baby section, and one of them stood on my son’s arm, making him cry,” she recalled.

The playgroup organiser asked the older children’s parents to have them return to the older children’s play area, which they did briefly. However, after five minutes, they returned.

Realising the parents weren’t watching, Humphris was forced to intervene after a second incident.

“My son began to climb a soft play slide, and the older kids decided to push him backwards onto the ground, where he again began to cry. I picked up my son and said to the children in a calm voice, “Please be careful. This area is actually for little babies to play in, and you hurt them by knocking them over. That's not a very nice thing to do”.

After still seeing no reaction from the other parents, Humphris decided to collect her son and leave. She later shared her experience online, asking whether she was wrong to confront the other child.

“These other parents were letting their three and four-year-olds climb all over the baby area, knocking them over and everything. Umm, excuse me! Yes, catch up with other mums — that’s great, but don't just expect someone else to watch your children,” she said in the video.

She continued: “And also, don’t get shitty with me if I tell your kid to be careful because he’s putting my child in danger.”

Humphris received overwhelming support from fellow mums, many of whom said she did the right thing.

“If a kid is touching your kid and putting them in danger, then 100 per cent say something. You are your child’s advocate,” one person commented.

“This is why I stopped going. So many parents just let the kids run riot with supervision. It’s a playgroup, not a daycare,” agreed another.

However, some said telling another child to behave is crossing the line.

“100 per cent wrong, it's not your place,” one person said, while another added that she should have approached the parents instead.

Parenting expert and registered psychologist Leanne Tran told Yahoo News that despite the differing opinions, Humphris handled the situation well.

“I think this mum did the right thing by explaining to the older children how they were impacting the babies," Tran said.

"Approaching the child (rather than the parent) is appropriate when the parents are not nearby. We all have a responsibility to nurture the children in our community.

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After the parents did nothing to stop their child from playing in the wrong area, the young mum said she had no choice but to protect her son. Source: Getty

"This mum has remained calm, explained what the problem was and given the older children a chance to play elsewhere or differently,” she said.

Tran emphasised that parenting can be isolating with some needing to socialise with other parents, however, they still need to supervise their young children when in social settings.

“A great way to prepare is to orient your children to the setting when they arrive - for example, telling them where they can play. When children are in this young age group, it will work better to remain near your children as they play,” she explains.

“This often means travelling as a gaggle of parents holding coffee - but our children need to be within earshot so we can watch over them and direct or discipline them if necessary.”

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