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Recently we attended a play date at a park with some friends. I was keeping a loose eye on my son but he was doing well so I didn't have to hover over him, and I chit chatted with friends while glancing over once in a while. Then I heard screaming/crying that piqued my ears and sure enough it was my son... with a fat lip and bloody face. He had fallen face first into a rock. While it's not his first fat lip, and probably not his last, my sad little 3 year old muttered while I cuddled him, ice to his lip "so-and-so pushed me." I was dumbstruck. I didn't see it happen, so I couldn't be sure, but my son would have no reason to lie about these things. He was climbing on a rock and that's what the rocks are for, climbing on. He claimed that the other child pushed him off this rock and when he landed he hit the other nearby rock. It frustrated me and saddened me for two reasons: 1) This same thing happened between this kid and my son when my son was about 14 months old (except that time he landed on his head at the bottom of the stairs and passed out from crying so hard). 2) I didn't really see it so I can't take it to the child's mother. She didn't see it because she doesn't worry herself at all about what her 4 year old is doing. In fact, during the playdate he had hit HER when she didn't want him to take a ball away from an infant (and he took it anyway). I love this girl and think she's fabulous in so many ways but her son is so difficult to be around, I wonder if we should even attend play dates with them anymore. Add to that the fact that my husband held me responsible for not watching closely enough after our son and letting this happen. Tons and tons of mama guilt on my shoulders from this...

Jill Urbane, The Mentor Mom

My word! What a horrible situation! It sounds like your friend is having difficulty managing her son's behavior. That sure can be a sticky situation, ie, how do you discuss problematic behavior with other parents? How did you end up handling it?

And don't be so hard on yourself. It sounds to me like you are a diligent, loving and caring parent. I would like to hear from your husband how he would want you to respond if something like this happened on his dime. I'm guessing he would want understanding not blame...

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