Big Kids Have No Place at City Playgrounds!

Unless it's raining, my children and I go to the park every day. We live in the city and we have no backyard, so my kids need a bit of outdoor time at any one of the 10 parks we can walk to from our house. And just as inevitable as our visits is the daily annoyance with older kids at the park.

My daughter is 4.5 and my son is 3. They're very little, but not even close to the smallest kids at the park. Most of these parks are probably appropriate to the age of about 11. But after that, it's time to move on. And yet, these kids always come unsupervised to our tot lots.

In the past few months, they have stolen my son's toddler scooter (I had to chase them down), confiscated all the toddler riding toys, and used very loud swear words while riding down the slide in front of my impressionable babies. And while my children haven't yet found a bag of marijuana at the park like this mom in Ohio, I have no doubt it could happen.

I really think city parks should be more divided by age.

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There is very little recourse for a mom of a younger child when the older child starts acting up. I can't call the police on an 11-year-old who is just horsing around or saying the F-word. On the other hand, they don't belong at the same park as my babies.

The parks we frequent are clearly for younger children. The equipment is small and is made for babies. Baby swings outnumber the big kid ones. So why do the big kids even come to these? Aren't there other parks?

Many parks are designated for children above certain ages, but those same parks don't often have age LIMITS. And they should. Kids are kids, it's true. But a 12-year-old has nothing in common with my 3-year-old and they shouldn't be hanging out at the same park.

Many times I (and my friends with younger kids) am forced to leave rather than confront the kids. And when we have confronted the kids, some ugly altercations have ensued. Even rules would help. For instance, all children should be accompanied by an adult.

I get that we all live in the city and we have to share the parks, but my children shouldn't be exposed to cigarettes and adult language and rowdy behavior when all they want to do is play innocently at the public park.

Do you have trouble with this at your parks?

 

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