Parents’ bad behavior on the playground

These real-life examples prove grown-ups don’t necessarily lead by example.
Illustration: Nate Bear These real-life examples prove grown-ups don’t necessarily lead by example at the playground.
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These real-life examples prove grown-ups don’t necessarily lead by example at the playground.

Impersonal trainer
“I was trying to lose some baby weight last summer, so I’d take my three-month-old on walks on the lake path and then to the playground in Bixler Park, where I’d push him into a shady, spot and do exercises using a park bench. One evening, I noticed a dad across the park staring at us while I was doing triceps dips. He started yelling—for everyone to hear—that I was doing them wrong, that I wasn’t close enough to the bench and that I wasn’t going down far enough. I felt the eyes of a dozen kids and parents burning into me as he was shouting directions on my form. It was mortifying!”—Louise, Hyde Park, mom to William, 15 months

Play-acting
“My three-year-old stepped on a woman’s foot as he was coming down a slide. The woman—another mom—made a great display of her annoyance by screaming ‘Ouch!’ and shaking her head. When I went to apologize to her, she ignored me and walked away with her kid.”—Kate, Lincoln Park, mom to Benjamin, 3

It cliques
“When my daughter was in elementary school, another mom and I were at the park hanging out with our kids. The other mom said, ‘Isn’t it funny how you can already tell who the popular kids will be?’ My internal thought bubble: ‘I need to find the normal moms!’ ”—Betsy, Lakeview, mom to Eleanor, 12

Playing dress-up
“Last summer on the Fourth of July, I had my boy-girl twins dressed in red, white and blue. A woman reached out and grabbed my daughter’s leg, looked at me with surprise and said, ‘I thought they were dolls!’ I said, ‘That would make me crazy then, wouldn’t it?’ ”—Ilene, Wicker Park, mom to Lincoln and Delilah, 2

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