Dads on the Playground Aren't Pervs


dads on playgroundsIf you're a dad or married to an involved dad (and if so, lucky you!), chances are your baby and his father will be spending some time on the playground, at the indoor play space, or even at a nonjudgmental mommy-and-me group. Yes, I realize those can be hard to find.

If your local tot spot is like ours, dad will be welcomed and the assumption will be that he is the father of the child he brought, and as a father, must be at least partially interested in the health and welfare of children. Maybe even worth chatting up a bit about day cares, snacks, the weather. But apparently not all playgrounds are as equal opportunity, as some dads have been getting the stink-eye when they bring junior out to play. And some dads have been insulted, ignored, and had assumptions made about their sexual proclivities that are not in the least bit flattering.

Some moms think dads on the playgrounds are perverts.

When Motherlode opened up the can of worms that is dads on the playground, bloggers and regular old dads alike chimed in with their own horror stories about being treated like a criminal when they were trying to give their baby a push in the swing. Daddy Dialect blogger Jeremy Adam Smith even told how a grandmother asked him to leave a playground.

What followed Smith's Twitter confession were more tales of dads being treated poorly including: being asked to leave a playground, being excluded because they were a dad and not a mom, and being criticized for their parenting. Dads also report the phenomenon of never being asked over for a play-date, but as soon as their wife takes the kids out, the invites flow.

With the exception of the play-date scenario (my husband doesn't get as many play-date offers as I do, it's true), my husband claims he's never experienced any of the discrimination described above. Whether it's because we're in a urban area and he's not the only dad on the playground, or he's just oblivious to the suspicious looks and whispers, I don't know.

But it does seem really strange that this kind of thing goes on in today's equal parenting society, and with regularity. Why are so many women suspicious of men on the playground, who are there with their own kids? Do we really think men who are interested in children must have something wrong with them to the point of making nasty assumptions about their motives? If so, we all need to get a grip. Dads love their kids too, and have the same rights to entertain them on the teeter-totter as the mom next door.

Have you or your husband ever experienced dad discrimination?

baby activities, childcare, play


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Natalie Marie Lynn Dickson

this is riduclous, my boyfriend was a single dad before we met, he goes to the park with our kids all the time, even this morning he went to our weekly play group, the director at the family center thinks its awesome when the dad's take part and the other moms talk to him no different then they would me, some people just piss me off my ex is a totally uninvolved father. i would invite dad's to bring their kids to things for kids if i was planning them myself, especially if mom was working why should the kids miss out because only dad can take them

nonmember avatar mimi

My husband is laid off and i work full time which leaves him to take care of our 9month old and 4yr old. He takes the girls to all their appointments!!!!! Our pediatrician even made comments about how he wishes more dads would show up! My hubby does everything with our girls, swimming, dancing, bike riding, bathing, you name it & he does it!

Its sad to see that men who are trying to be good fathers are being put down & shut out when so many children wish they had active dads in their lives! (Myself being one of them!)

This article did make me realize that i myself should be more encouraging to men i see in the park with their kids, all they want is to be good dads & spend time with their kids & its awful that ppl are making them feel like theyre doing something wrong!

nonmember avatar kld

I only get suspicious when I see an older male hanging out at a playground with a dog and no children. Ok its more no children than dog. This happened once and as soon as my husband went up to talk to him (small talk), he left. It was strange, so my husband wanted to make it known that we noticed him. He wasn't doing anything inappropriate, but he wasn't acting innocent either.

nonmember avatar kate

dad discrimination is the dumbest thing ive ever heard! I try to go out of my way to say hi, and be nice to those guys, as I have a super independent 5yo boy, who likes to go to the men's room "by himself". nice to have an extra "dad" set of eyes in there where I can't go

Logan... LoganTroyMom

thats weird. my son has a blast going to the playground with dad.

Trick... Trickychic

Good grief, I have seen lots of dads at the playground and that thought never crossed my mind. The only thought that crossed my mind is that I wish my husband would take my kids to the park every now and then and give me a break. Lucky wives.

nonmember avatar alex

To be honest, ANY dad that takes an interest and is actually enjoying time w their kid is freaking AWESOME and should be supported and applauded. If someone is finding issues with that there is something seriously wrong with them.

nonmember avatar barb

Descrimination of dads may be a rich people problem. Dad's and Granddads on the playground has been a very common sight in middle class neighborhoods for many many years. Families with two working parents, often with different shifts and not a lot of money for professional child care, realized a long time ago that "all hands on deck" is the only way to flourish.

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