men on playgrounds?

k, I took my sons (3yrs), and an (11mth) old to an outdoor playground.... there was only one other adult there; a male....

but many unattended kids.....

so the unattended kids asked the other male and I to: tie their shoes, help them up on monkey bars, push them on swings etc..

this other guy and I looked at each other.... and he kinda spoke for both of us:

"we're not certified to help other children"...he said it nicer than it sounds...

the point being, we are strangers... and male...we can't help you (because of social stigmas?)..

so my question is:

1. were we being too cautious?

2. what would you think if you returned to the playground and you found two dads (with their own children there) interacting with your kids?


it's kinda come out with the current respondents... but let me add the twist:

is this a moot issue with mom/female playground helpers? are you only concerned about dad helpers?

23 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    1. I don't think you were too cautious. You played it safe. Some of the parents may not have appreciated the fact that two strangers were helping and touching their children.

    Although I would never leave my children on a playground unattended, if for some reason I had to, I wouldn't mind strangers helping my children if they were there with their children. If they weren't there with any child and were threatening my child, I would pepper spray them and call the police since you can never be too careful these days.

    2. I would think it was nice of them to watch my children in my absence. I would think that they are wonderful for keeping an eye on children they don't know. It would touch me that there are people out there who care about my children other than their family and friends.

    3. I don't think it's a moot point with female playground helpers. I am concerned about both male and female playground helpers. Both men and women kidnap children and do sinister things to them. It's just more common for men to do it. I would worry about anyone-- male and female-- who is on a playground with children and isn't there with a child, sibling, relative or friend's child.

    Sorry for those who get offended.

  • 1 decade ago

    If the two men there were both dads with their own kids there, then I wouldn't be nervous or worried at all to see them playing/helping the other children there.

    If they did not have their own kids and were just "hanging around" then I would be worried.

    I think it is sad that there are so many social stigmas that prevent a "neighborhood" from really thriving.

    I understand why you two felt like you shouldn't help, and if you were not comfortable playing, I understand completely.

    Personally, I would like to see whichever parents are present in a playground-- male or female-- help the other children there.

    I think that you should help, but remember to be careful: tying shoes is good, pushing on swings is good, but anything that requires too much touching (ie lifting them for monkey bars) is where I think you could draw the line. Just say you can't lift them, for whatever reason.

  • 1 decade ago

    I'm a stay at home dad, and I've felt the same way sometimes when I'm at playgrounds with my sons (8 months & 10 years)

    My outlook would be that I wouldn't feel safe with ANY stranger helping, whether it be male or female. It's not our place to replace a parent. It's their bad parenting that puts the children by themselves. If I saw that happen, it would infuriate me. I would always ask permission before doing anything with a strange child.

    And to answer the second part of the question.... I would feel bad about myself for letting my children go unattended. If they had their own children there, I wouldn't be as suspicious about their intent, and regard it as "good faith" interactions.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think you did the right thing by not interacting with the other children. I do not think you were being too cautious at all, better safe than sorry. If I saw anyone doing anything with my kids, whether or not my child asked for the help, But my son would not be unattended. With that said, I think the real question should be Where were all these children's parents??

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I must say that I would be MORE concerned seeing my children interacting with male strangers than with female strangers. But strangers in general interacting with children at the playground would bother me.

    However, if these children's parents aren't worried enough about it to accompany their children to the playground, it probably wouldn't make them change their opinion based on the male/female factor.

    This world is much different than it was when we grew up and no child should be at the playground without an adult or older (old enough) sibling or friend.

    Source(s): mom of 5 maybe over protective, but my children are safe
  • 1 decade ago

    I think society should chill out. The chances of a child being victimized by a guy he does not even know at the playground are nil. If your child does not have enough common sense to stay far enough away from the guy he cannot be grabbed (in the highly unlikely event a guy hanging around a playground in plain sight not running a scam like looking for a puppy is even a criminal!) and not fall for such scams then parents should not let their child go to the playground unattended.

    Dads are getting more involved in their kids` lives in this century and the hysterical parents out there should deal with it. If parents are that worried they need to watch their kids and not let them go out unattended. I said true sex offenders who prey on children are very rare and much more likely to be a friend or relative the child thinks is safe than the random stranger at the playground.

    Calm down and realize if you have taught your child well he is most likely safe. The danger out there is either closer to home than you think or something you cannot prevent (like the case of Johnny Gosch and a lot of other children kidnapped by sophisticated child exploitation syndicates in the 1980s.)

    Source(s): I have three children and we choose to avoid the rat race and live in a safe rather remote and rural area. Maybe we will never make a lot of money but at least we know our children are safe and happy.
  • 1 decade ago

    1. Probably. You're talking about the kind of people who leave their children unattended on a playground. I'm not thinking that they are all that concerned about who's talking to their kids there.

    2. I would think "What happened? Did I pass out? Why was I not with my kids when they were on the playground?"

    I would not be any more concerned about strange men talking to my children than I would be about strange women talking to them.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think that you guys did the right thing. Parents have to be so careful these days. I would get nervous I saw some man with my children. Then again, I wouldnt leave my kids unattended at the park either!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    As long as you are there with your own kids you have the same rights as a female that is there. I see males at the playground with children all the time, and I wouldn't think anything of them tying one of my children's (I'm a full-time nanny) shoes etc. Just don't touch their butt or other personal areas and I think you are fine!

    Make it clear however that you are there with your own kids though. Any adult without kids at a playground full of children would make me very suspicious, male or female!

  • 1 decade ago

    Tough call- On the one hand society has painted men who associate with children as perverts... On the other, how are little boys going to learn how to be non-perverts (or even good dads) unless they see men associating appropriately with children?

    Where you two were not the dads of these kids, I think you erred on the side of caution- probably the best move.... I personally wouldn't be too worried unless there were other things going on- candy/food changing hands, touching, etc. But if pushing swings, monkey bars, tieing shoes was all I saw, I wouldn't be too worried.

    I'm wondering where their own parents were, though, if they weren't old enough to even tie their own shoes...

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