All parents have war stories from the playground. From one kid pushing another down the slide to another kid taking the good swing, things can get pretty heated at the park, OK? But unless your kid is in actual danger, fights between little kids — no matter how sad your kid is about it — should never entail a 911 call. One mom on Reddit apparently disagrees, because she called the cops on a 5-year-old boy after a “playground squabble,” and the 5-year-old’s mom was so genuinely confused.
In the Parenting subreddit, a mom addressed the preschoolers’ spat and subsequent cop call yesterday.
“I’ve tried writing this vent three times because honestly I’m still in disbelief,” she wrote. Here’s how it happened: a 2-year-old child touched her autistic 5-year-old son’s toy. “And my son retaliated by pulling their hair,” she explained. “I and the other parent got the kids apart and from start to finish the incident was over in ten seconds.”
In other words, a typical playground experience. One kid brings a toy, another kid is interested, tears ensue. That should be it right? It also sounds like the parents were watching closely (something that doesn’t always happen at the playground) and immediately pulled the kids apart to stop the fighting. It was a 10-second tussle — so, not a big deal.
Unfortunately, the parents of the toddler took it the wrong way. “The other parents starts screaming ‘What the f- is wrong with you?!’ at my son and I,” the mom wrote. First of all, that is a major overreaction, even for tired, stressed-out toddler parents (and I would know!). Secondly, why would you ever curse out a mother and her young child, much less in front of your own kid? That’s not exactly modeling stellar parenting.
The irate mom then “starts recording us without my permission, demands our names, and says she’s calling the cops.” Oh, and BTW, “During this time her own child had completely calmed down.” Maybe the 2-year-old should be teaching their mama some emotional self-regulation, because it sounds like the toddler has a better grasp on it than the adult does. Seriously, show some grace for another parent!
This mom was persistent, despite the OP’s actions. “I apologized profusely tried to deescalate the situation — no dice,” she wrote. So then, she just decides to go to another playground instead, but the other mom wasn’t finished with her angry tirade.
“I try to pack up my son, she starts screaming louder about getting my license plate,” she wrote. “At this point I’m honestly afraid she’s going to try to follow me home, so I agree to wait for the police.”
When the police come — 40 minutes later! — they are just as confused as the 5-year-old’s mom. “A very baffled cop shows up on the scene, wondering why he was even called,” she wrote. “He talked to her first and basically talked her down before coming to talk to me. He openly expressed that he didn’t understand what she was trying to accomplish. He made a note of the incident, but told me that was the end of it and I was free to go.”
Despite no legal action being taken against her (did the other mom honestly think there would be?!), the OP is still upset by the incident.
“I’m just … so tired. So hurt,” she wrote. “Parenting can be so rough sometimes, and parenting a neurodivergent child can feel so alienating as it is. I didn’t think I had to worry about another parent calling the COPS.”
She also addressed “how much worse” the situation could have been if she wasn’t white. “All parents and children are wonderbread levels of white in this situation. Can just imagine how much worse it would be if we weren’t.”
Reddit backed the mom wholeheartedly, offering the most hilarious and heartwarming responses.
“You should have told the police the 2-year-old was attempting burglary,” one person joked, adding, “Wtf is wrong with people. I’m sorry you and your son had to experience this.”
Another thought calling the cops on toddlers was a genius idea. “…. Hey so… Reckon I could call the cops on my 3-year-old? He’s been stealing my snacks since he could eat solids. I’d like some snacks in return as compensation but he wont pay up!” they wrote.
“Yeah my toddler pulls my hair from time to time and smacks me in the face!” someone else said. “That’s assault and battery! I’m going to press charges! … seriously, anyone who calls the cops for normal kid behavior must be seriously unhinged. I’m surprised a cop actually showed up. It must be so exhausting to deal with this.”
“My 3-year-old spent all of last year attempting breaking and entering into our home office,” another person commented. “He did succeed in the end and damaged one of his father’s servers. This child needs to be behind bars!”
One person demanded compensation for lost time. “I think I should call the cops on mine,” they wrote. “He’s been stealing my time for about 5 months. Can I get that back officer?”
The funny responses seemed to help OP. “It’s validating seeing people’s reactions,” she commented. “Really was starting to work myself up and second guess myself.”
When you can’t understand a situation, at least you can find other parents to rally around you and help you laugh about it instead. And — we shouldn’t have to say this — please don’t call the police over hurt feelings and hair pulling (or biting or hitting or any of the other things most kids do). It sounds like everyone in this story needs a nice long nap.
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