Running Amok

Daniel is a work from home dad of two boys, ages 8 and 16 months. Before finding his true love he was a single dad for nearly 6 years. He often writes in his blog about his dating experiences from the past, his single parenting trials and tribulations and now his newfound love, relationships and making things work in a blended family.


My two sons (still feels a little weird to say it in the plural) and I were at the park again this afternoon for an hour and a half or so. My Big Boy was off sliding down slides, sending static currents through everything he touched when he reached the bottom as if he were Emperor Palpatine. I was off chasing his toddler brother around the park from one “woah, hey!” spot to the next. The last time we were here we had another very interesting encounter with a mommy and her young son. I was so proud of my son and the way he handled himself that day. This time around there was a new set of parents with their children laughing, playing and having fun. With all the energy flowing through a park filled with twenty-five 3 – 12 year olds there’s bound to be a few squabbles, a little pushing and shoving and some conflict. It’s just going to happen.

My sons and I were having a good time on the swings – my big boy insists on pushing his little brother on the swing. I sit back and watch as they entertain each other for a good 30 minutes. A little boy comes blazing through the swings, screaming like a banshee as he zig-zags through the moving swings. Another boy is chasing him; undoubtedly a very competitive game of tag was on. A few seconds later I hear, “Johnny, come here!” His mom must have caught up to him. You could tell she was unhappy that her mommy mini-vacation was interrupted. She clenched her Starbucks cup tightly as she spoke.

I could over-hear what mommy was saying to her son and I was a bit perplexed by it, to be honest. I realize we all have our own style of parenting and I’ve learned to accept and even embrace those differences, however, she didn’t call him aside to explain the dangers of running between the moving swings. The behavior that she disapproved of was because he was “acting like a wild man.” That message to her son got the old brain gears-a-grinding just a bit. I would think the park is the perfect place to run amok. Isn’t that the whole purpose of going – so they run amok and go to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal? Shouldn’t they be allowed to run amok, blow off some steam and act like children while they still can? I’m curious what other parents think.

Do you let your children run amok from time to time?