Mom shares ‘hard truth’ about playground dynamics: ‘Such an important message’

This TikTok parent shared a “hard truth” about why parents need to allow kids to set their own boundaries at the playground!

Erica M. Burrell (@_theteacherlady) is a parent, educator, author, and illustrator who shares useful parenting advice on TikTok. In a recent video, Erica explained why it’s important to let kids set boundaries—even if it might hurt the feelings of other children. 


This is a HARD truth but will be so beneficial for them long term ❤️ #RufflesOwnYourRidges #parenting #selfesteem #gentleparenting #teachers

♬ Steven Universe – L.Dre

In the video, Erica tells the story of how she responded when her daughter, Addy, was excluded by a group of children at the playground

“So we’re at the park. There’s a group of girls playing that Addy wants to play with, and the girls don’t want to play with her,” Erica recalls. “This is common for children. Children will form groups, they’ll form little cliques.”

Addy comes to her mom and complains about being excluded. “She was like, ‘They don’t want to play with me,’” Erica explains. “I was like, ‘That’s okay, you can play with yourself.’”

Then, Erica presents her daughter with 3 alternatives to playing with the girls who excluded her. She tells Addy that she can play alone, with her mom, or find another group to play with. After thinking for a moment, Addy goes and happily plays by herself. 

“Teach your child how to be okay when somebody else sets a boundary,” Erica recommends. “If a child is saying they don’t want to play with your child, they do not have to. Just like your child doesn’t have to play with them.” 

According to Erica, it’s important to teach children to respect other children’s boundaries from a young age. “If you can teach your child the skill set of being okay with that, being okay with rejection, being okay with people not wanting to play with them, not liking them, not accepting them; the earlier you can teach them that skill, the better their life will be,” Erica explains. 

“Those little children will become teenagers, [and] will become adults,” Erica explains. “For some of them, that attitude never changes, and then you look at adults who have an issue because they want people to like them and they’re not being accepted, and now that’s hurting their self-esteem. No, start early.”

Viewers applauded the “hard truth” Erica shared.

“I wish my parents taught me this. Now everything feels like rejection,” lamented one viewer.

“Parenting done right!” another viewer wrote. 

“Yes ma’am. Everyone doesn’t have to be your ‘friend,’ but we do always have to be kind,” commented another TikToker. 

While learning to respect others’ boundaries might be a tough lesson for young kids to learn, it might just help them escape heartache in the long run!  

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