I’m one of those “bench moms” at the park. The one who are off to the side, chatting with a friend or looking at my phone. I try and do more of the former and less of the latter but I’m not perfect. And, as you know from all the “open letters” being passed around Facebook, it’s not because I’m lazy or don’t love my kids (though, to be fair, would I admit it if I was?) but because the park is a safe place for them to challenge themselves physically and mentally. And since in my opinion, one of my most important jobs as a parent is to build perseverance and a growth mindset, I choose to sit to the side.
If someone conquers a heretofore unconquered feat, I’m there to cheer! If someone needs help giving a pep talk to themself or a sibling, I encourage. And if someone falls, I kiss or bandage. But if someone asks for help up onto something, I say “no.” If you are too small to get up onto something, you are probably too small to be up there. And listen, we are in the suburbs. It’s not like my kids are in real, actual danger. They’re not playing here:
Also, I know my own kids and that they are on the more coordinated end of the spectrum. So I sit. And occasionally wander so I can capture the great moments, the silly moments, and the proud moments when they get to explore and succeed without me stopping them (except to make them say “cheese”)!