Auburn and the surrounding communities are blessed to have several wonderful playgrounds, which can be a wonderful place to take toddlers and small children to help them burn off some energy and have fun. We've certainly spent plenty of time at local playgrounds, and it's almost always a great experience. Every once in a while, though, you encounter unpleasantness. This can come in a few forms:
1. Unattentative parents: One of my biggest pet peeves is when parents bring their children to the playground, turn them loose and then pretty much ignore them. With all of the Droids, Iphones and Blackberries, it seems like the problem is getting worse. This can be especially frustrating when the child of one of these parents is misbehaving. I guess those of us who do keep an eye on our kids can pretty much ignore the misbehavior -- until it directly affects our kids. Then it's really annoying because we're forced into a decision about how to deal with another person's misbehaving child. Ideally, two attentative parents can use the unavoidable moments of playground conflict among children as chances to teach a lesson to their child about getting along with others.
2. Rude, aggressive, obnoxious teenagers -- I know I sound like a cranky old man, but it's a real problem at some playgrounds. Teenagers, with their hormones raging, come to playgrounds with no intention to play on the equipment but to simply "hang out." The language you hear is unbelievable -- it's as if they don't even realize there are other people there.
3. Graffiti -- I've seen some disturbing stuff on playground equipment -- offensive language, lewd drawings, etc.
I just put these out there as observations -- I'm not really sure what we as parents can do about them but would love to hear some ideas. I'm interested if others have noticed the same things or other problems at local playgrounds.