If you’ve ever watched kids on the playground, you know things can get pretty intense. Squabbles can erupt over everything from a turn on the swings to who really is “Not It!”. But for the most part, the beef is squashed without incident, and the kids end up happily eating ice cream a few minutes later. At least that’s the way it should be.
But that was not the case for one mother who posted in a Reddit parenting subgroup about an incident between her five-year-old autistic son and a two-year-old child on the playground. The two-year-old tried to touch her son’s toy, and the five-year-old responded by pulling the kid’s hair. Although the parents successfully pulled the kids apart within a matter of seconds, the toddler’s parent went full-on Karen, screaming, “What the f- is wrong with you?!” at the woman and recording the incident on their phone. And if all of that drama wasn’t enough, the parent then decides to call the police. Although the police came and left without incident, the mom of the autistic child expressed her frustration with the situation in her post, writing:
“I’m just… So tired. So hurt. Parenting can be so rough sometimes, and parenting a neurodivergent child can feel so alienating as it is. I didn’t think I had to worry about another parent calling the COPS.”
We can look at the case of Cornerstore Caroline, who called the police on a nine-year-old Black child she claimed grabbed her butt in a Brooklyn bodega, to see how things can get way out of hand when the police are involved.
And in the case of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old Black boy who was fatally shot by police in 2014, we can see how stories like this can take a tragic turn. The police were responding to a call of someone pointing a gun at people in a Cleveland park. But the “gun” Rice had was actually a toy.
The race of the children and parents in this Reddit post is unclear. But as a mom of two Black children, I’m hyperaware that encounters with the police don’t always have happy endings when our people are involved. I’m not sure what the parent of that toddler was trying to accomplish, but I’m sure the kid forgot all about the toy and the hair pulling before the police arrived.