Mom Calls Police After Impatient Father Physically Removes Her Child From Swing And I Don’t Blame Her

A Sydney mother called the police over the weekend when an impatient father lifted her child out of a swing. Apparently the father thought he’d been waiting long enough, when the mother told him they would be just five more minutes. I hate moms who are swing hogs, but I’m pretty sure I hate dads who put their hands on someone else’s child more.

Elaine Stack, owner of a children’s boutique in Sydney, witnessed the altercation and posted a story about it on her Facebook page:

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The mom called the police. Some of the commenters thought she had gone overboard. I’m veering on the side that she was well within her rights. You don’t put your hands on someone else’s child and think that there are going to be no consequences, sorry. I seriously doubt he would have done that if a large, muscular father were there pushing the small girl, so I really think there is a gross element of bullying involved here, too. What kind of a man puts his hands on a small child that isn’t his, and clearly tries to intimidate a woman? Not okay.

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I’ve been annoyed with a parent at the park who acted like there was no one waiting in a swing line before. I generally hate all people who act oblivious to social “rules” like that. But reducing yourself to an even worse person than the one you have a problem with is just dumb.  It’s not great behavior to be modeling for kids - on either side.


“Police attended the scene, there was a dispute over one child staying on the swing longer than reasonable. The police spoke to both parties, and no offence was detected by the police. Neither party wanted to make a further complaint. From the information police had at the scene there was no incident.”

The bottom line is that it’s not okay to physically handle another person’s child – I don’t care if you’ve been waiting for an hour. Walk away. Take a deep breath. Realize you are at a park and get a grip. Not saying this swing hog woman was right, just saying I can’t see past this father’s physical actions to even consider his side.

(photo: RiceWithSugar/ Shutterstock)

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  • JJ

    Rule of life I follow: Don’t put your hands on someone else’s kid unless it was some kind of emergency like they were about to get hurt, walk into a street or hurt someone else etc. Beyond that no touching or grabbing someone else’s child especially if it’s to take them out of a swing you can’t wait a few more minutes to use. It’s a swing for goodness sakes. You want one that bad buy it and put it in your backyard if you own a house. I don’t necessarily agree with calling the cops but I don’t blame mom at all for being pissed though. I’m just picturing each parent grabbing the others kid in like a kid standoff and holding them awkwardly mid air going “no you put my kid down”, “NO you put my kid down first”. People calm the hell down over a stupid swing.

    • Jezebeelzebub

      I’m just picturing each parent grabbing the others kid in like a kid
      standoff and holding them awkwardly mid air going “no you put my kid
      down”, “NO you put my kid down first”.

      best mental image ever. i’ll be snickering about that all day.

    • Maria Guido

      OH my god -haha.

    • JJ

      It’s an old west stand off but with children instead of guns and it takes place on a playground. “I’ll drop your kid in the spot that dog just pee’d I swear to god I will”. “oh yeah while I will start swinging this swing with your son in it and I will be making him dizzy and want more so you put my kid down first”.

    • Jezebeelzebub

      The OK Corral Playground

      parents can really up the ante by threatening each other with feeding the other person’s kid shit with Red Dye #9 or gluten or refined sugar or GMO carrots. Or all of those things.


    • rockmonster

      Christ, y’all, I can’t laugh too hard while in class.

    • Bleu Cheese Bewbs

      YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE PAYING ATTENTION! I’m totally tattling on you. I just need you to provide me contact info for your professor.

    • Personal

      She might BE the professor.

    • Bleu Cheese Bewbs

      Well then she should provide me her own info so I can tattle on her, to her.

    • Melanie Black

      Noooooooooo…..what’s next, a Happy Meal??? Oh, the humanity!!

  • WildRumpusMom

    Wow what a great example these Parents set for all the kids around! They taught those kids 1. If you don’t like waiting, you don’t have to. Just do what you want anyway. 2. Don’t bother sorting things out yourself, just call the police. It is not like they have anything better to do. 3. Throwing a tantrum is the way to go.

    Now, was it right for this father to put his hands on the other kid? No, absolutely not, but to me it does not seem like am EMERGENCY, which is what the police are for. Granted, I am not familiar with the laws of Australia, but still it seems like over kill.

    We don’t know how long the child was already on the swing, so it is hard to make a judgment call, but assuming the child had already been on the swing awhile , asking the father to wait 5 for minutes does seem like a lot. Perhaps 2 minutes would have been a more appropriate/polite amount of time.

    This whole article just goes to show where the children are getting their entitlement attitudes from. I refer to these types of people as Apple trees. The apple does not fall far from the tree, or in come cases the Apple never left the tree.

    • js argh

      Police aren’t just for emergencies; our local department has a nonemergency line for this very reason.

    • Wildrumpusmom

      You’re local non emergency line must be more effective than ours because if you use the non emergency line it takes the cops hours to show up. If you want the cops there right awayish, you have to cal 911.

    • Wildrumpusmom

      * Your

    • js argh

      I must be fortunate that that’s not the case in our town. The few times I’ve had to use it (non-injury fender bender, setting up a house patrol while we were away), their response has always been within several minutes.

    • wildrumpusmom

      I guess that is the difference between living in a town and a large city. I am kind of jealous. I have actually been put on hold for 911 before. It was fairly unsettling.

    • rockmonster

      Who decided that hold for emergency lines needed to be a thing and why?

    • js argh

      That would be unsettling. Sorry that happened to you. :/

    • wildrumpusmom

      Wait, what is house patrol?

    • js argh

      When you’re going to be away from your home for a time, so they check your property during that time to make sure there’s been no suspicious activity. Our city requires that the form be filled out at your home before you leave.

    • wildrumpusmom

      Really? Do you live in Mayberry? What state do you live in? I can’t even begin to imagine that being offered. Cops here barely have enough resources to do the bare necessities. I feel like a whole part of my idea of what cops do has changed. I need to move.

    • js argh

      Ironically enough, given the crazies who live here, Florida. ;)

    • wildrumpusmom

      Oy, I couldn’t do Florida. I guess i will just stick with heroin capitol of the country.

    • Aussiemum

      We have 000 for emergencies, but if you ring the non emergency line, generally the operator will decide if the police need to come sooner rather than later. I’ve rung the non emergency number for my car being broken into and they came with in about 15 minutes. I’m assuming it was a slow night, but lucky me, I could get onto my insurance straight away.

  • Jude’s Mom

    If someone put his/her hands on my son you best believe the police would be called because the police would need to pry me off the individual messing with my son.

  • Megan

    I don’t know that I would have called the cops without being in the moment, but I don’t blame her. If a stranger laid their hands on my child and was arguing with me, especially if it was some dude who’s just demonstrated he has no problems using his hands on other people, I might feel both angry and unsafe enough to call the cops. Plus both parents stuck around and continued fighting long enough for the cops to show up, so it seems like their involvement was necessary.

  • Spongeworthy

    I wouldn’t have called the cops, but I would have had some choice words for that dad. You do to put your hands on someone else’s kid–the exceptions being an emergency, like a kid is about to run into the street or if kids are having a physical fight.
    I think the point about the dad not necessarily doing this if it had been another dad pushing his kid on the swing is spot on. This guy is a bully.

    • Maria Guido

      Yes! Jerk.

    • Jen TheTit Whipper

      I don’t care if she was on that swing for 8 hours, you just don’t put your hands on anyone else like that. I guess if I felt intimidated I would have called the cops but I likely would have just lost my mind on this guy. What an asshole.

  • keelhaulrose

    Did anyone say how long woman and the daughter had been on the swing? For all we know they had been there two minutes when dad wanted the swing the moment he arrived at the park. There’s a lot missing from this story.
    I don’t like swing hogs, and I don’t like using police to solve problems, but I admit I might call police, too, if some guy comes onto the playground and immediately demands use of the swing by lifting my child from it because that’s not stable behavior and I’d be afraid confronting him might endanger me or my child.

    • js argh

      This exactly.

    • whiteroses

      I’ve been in several situations where I wanted to confront someone, but i also had my child with me. Your first priority is protecting your kid, and if you suspect someone is unstable and they have your child, you’re going to do whatever it takes to protect your kid. If someone threatened my child, there would be no question- I’d protect my son above myself. And if that meant calling the cops so my child didn’t get hurt, then so be it.

    • momma425

      Yeah, there are a lot of variables in which given a particular situation, yeah, I might call the police.

      It really doesn’t matter how long the girl was on the swing. I’ve dealt with swing hogs before, and it sucks, but I would never grab another person’s kid and remove them from the swing- the kid could be there all day long. So inappropriate.

    • keelhaulrose

      No one should ever grab another person’s child in a non-emergency situation, however I think there’s a big difference between a guy who had spent twenty minutes side-eying our even asking for the swing getting fed up and doing something stupid and a guy who tromps onto the playground and immediately demands the swing and physically moves my child because I didn’t comply. The first didn’t really warrant a call to the police and I probably could walk away without worrying about him following me. The second guy would scare me enough I wouldn’t even feel comfortable leaving because that’s the type of guy who follows you when you cut him off in traffic.

      And the time is a big factor. If they had been on for a while and unwilling to share they’re a swing hog and mom sucks (though she doesn’t deserve what happened). But if she had only been on the swing for two minutes before the confrontation happened I don’t think that counts as being a swing hog and I wouldn’t think it unreasonable that she wants another five minutes.

    • sarge

      I appreciate that you agree that there is not reason to grab another person’s child but I strongly believe your point should end there. I don’t care if the mother and her kid had been hogging that swing for 5 hours or 5 minutes. Time is not a big factor. It doesn’t matter! Her possibly poor playground etiquette is not relevant. That’s another separate topic altogether and I don’t believe it should be used to justify or qualify this guy’s behavior. I don’t care if she looked him in the face, stuck out her tongue and said, “Na-na-na-na-boo-boo…go f-yourself, we’ll be on this swing all day!” That still doesn’t make what this guy did at all acceptable or understandable or excusable. Under NO circumstances (except for life/safety matters) is it okay for any adult to get physical with a child that isn’t his. I know that you didn’t mean it this way but excusing his behavior based on the mother’s hogging of the swing is akin to blaming the victim of domestic abuse i.e. “she asked for it.”

    • Tara

      Yes, exactly this. I’m a bit annoyed that everyone seems to automatically assume she was being a swing hog. And while calling the police does seem extreme, I honestly don’t know what else there was to do. I’m not saying that’s what I would have done, but I would be super pissed if it happened to me and would be annoyed that I couldn’t do anything about it.

  • rockmonster

    Oy. Apparently Timmy needs swing NOW.

    OT, but here’s a crowdfund for someone that needs oral surgery.

  • whiteroses

    The only time when it’s acceptable to put your hands on a child you don’t know is if they, or your child, is in immediate physical danger. We don’t know what this dad said, we don’t know how threatened this mom felt, and if someone touched my child? Yeah, I’d call the cops.

  • Awa Adams

    I think I might have reacted like the pop tart mom and punched him out.

  • Katherine Handcock

    I think what the dad did was absolutely appalling, no matter the circumstances (even if, say, the mom had been pushing on that swing for half an hour.) However, whether or not this area has an emergency and non-emergency police line, unless there was a lot more going on than one attempt to pick the child up, I think calling the police was unnecessary. Even if there’s a non-emergency line, “non-emergency” can cover everything from this kind of dispute to “we discovered our house has been robbed but the person who did it isn’t here any more” – you shouldn’t be bringing the police in unnecessarily.

    Now, that said, there’s very little information here about how the dad acted, and if he was being threatening, I think the call was justified, because situations like that can escalate quickly. But if the one and only thing that happened was the dad came over, said, “It’s my kid’s turn”, and tried to pick the kid up, that’s a stupid thing to do but it doesn’t require police intervention.

  • js argh

    I feel like it would largely depend on the circumstances. Is my child upset or frightened? Do I feel threatened or unsafe? I think it’s clear from the linked article that something beyond the guy lifting her child must have happened; the boutique owner described the mother as “shaken” and that she felt unsafe. If that’s the case, I think she made the right call.

    ETA: This isn’t to say I wouldn’t be boiling mad if someone picked up my kid without permission. But I don’t know that I’d escalate the situation if she didn’t seem upset/he wasn’t rough with her.

  • LPerniciaro

    Unless it’s self defense, do not put your hands on ANYONE!!!!!! period!

  • Foleygirl24

    I don’t know about Australia, but in the US what this dad did would actually constitute battery (and potentially assault as well, depending on the circumstances). I don’t know what I would have done in her shoes; like others have stated, I guess it would depend on the details that aren’t provided here. If she hadn’t been on the swing that long and the dad just came over and tried to take her kid off in a threatening manner, I think I probably would have called the police as well and possibly even pressed charges (someone has to teach assholes a lesson). But I don’t know if the circumstances went down that way in this story.

    • Aussiemum

      Nope, not assault over here. But putting hands on other peoples kids is a definate no no.
      I don’t think anyone should be touching another persons kid without permission. I’d be the mother that would be getting arrested for punching that dude right in the nose. That’s definately assault :)

  • Alicia

    So people have apparently forgotten what “sharing” means. It doesn’t mean the kid on the swing had to get off because there were others waiting, as long as said kid is actually swinging and not just sitting there. If mom was pushing, the kid was still using it. Sharing means allowing others to use something too. It doesn’t mean giving that up before you are done. You wouldn’t tell a kid to get off his bike so another kid could ride it. In a public park, or a daycare setting, everyone gets a turn, and in some cases, a pre-set time limit. But kids shouldn’t have to give up what they are playing with just because another kid or parent runs up and doesn’t want to wait.

    • Bic

      Absolutely. Is it a considerate thing to move on if someone is waiting, sure, but sharing entails waiting your turn. Not just expecting everyone to give you what you want when you want it.

    • nikki753

      And… as soon as someone expects me to just give them what they want when they want it that’s when I suddenly want to monopolize that swing for the rest of eternity.

    • M.

      Yes! Thank you! I feel like the whole concept of sharing has turned into “give up what you’re doing the moment someone else wants it.” Um, no. Part of sharing is waiting for the first person to be DONE. It’s not anyone’s job to police swing time and there aren’t any rules for how long is “too long” on a damn swing. My own kid happens not to like swings anyway, but if my kid is actively using something another kid doesn’t have any rights to it until he determines that he’s finished and I certainly wouldn’t demand that another child give something up that my kid wanted. Waiting and patience are also good skills to learn :)

    • K.

      Right–and if we have the facts straight from the article (which is like, a 50/50), she DID say she’d be done in 5 minutes. To me, that’s part of the “social contract” of public space and sharing–someone notifies you they’d like something you’re using; you give them information that helps them adjust their expectations. I do this all the time when people want my treadmill at the gym–”Sure, I’ve just got 5 more minutes and then I’ll skip the cool-down.” Never had anyone try to physically remove me from the machine, but maybe that’s because I don’t interact with crazy that much?

    • CC

      Yeah, some people get shitty about this and it’s weird. If I notice that someone is waiting for the swing, I tell my kid he has a couple of minutes left and then it’s someone else’s turn. What kind of weird message does it send to say, “Hey, someone JUST walked up and they want this swing right now, they are more important than you so they don’t have to wait patiently like you did!”?

      Obviously it’s rude to keep swinging for more than a few minutes when another child is clearly waiting for their turn…but it’s MUCH more rude to waltz up and expect everyone to stop what they’re doing because your kid wants something that someone else is using.

  • Henrysmama

    Oh for gods sake. The guy was a total jerk, yeah. But calling the police? Get a grip, mama. If she was truly scared for her safety or the safety of her child, there’s this crazy concept called “walking away.” I’d rather teach my child to remove themselves from potentially dangerous situations than to run and “tattle” every time someone does something you don’t like. The police are busy enough, they don’t need to be called in to settle playground disputes.

  • Jezebeelzebub

    I really try to be a rational, reasonable person. I hardly ever fly off the handle about anything- it’s more fun for me to bottle it up and then bitch later to my friends.

    But I lose my sense of humor pretty fast when it comes to people fucking with my kid. I don;t mean teasing her or whatever- I mean physically messing with her. And an adult I don;t know trying to pick her up? HELL NAW. I think there’s a real good chance I’d have tackled that asshole without even thnking about it first. I mean, taken him out at the knees. I am not advocating that, by the way- it;s a terrible idea. But… that could very well happen. I’m so glad LJ is well past the age where this could still be a possibility.

  • Véronique the Attachment Shark

    Sometimes I think that people use the police the same way kids call in their parents to settle their conflicts. I think this woman felt that the dad was trying to physically intimidate her and she needed someone his own size to come in and bring the tension down a notch. I don’t blame her for feeling threatened and needing someone to come in and advocate for her. But… i don’t know.

    I mean, the other day I was at a concert and this huge douchebag that had at least a head over me kept jumping ONTO me (in front of my boyfriend), when no one else was using the space as a mosh pit. I did eventually knee him in the groin myself as I am not physically intimidated by bigger people than me. I just don’t know what the solution would have been for this woman.

  • brebay

    I teach my kids to share, but really, it’s first come, first served. You don’t have to stop using something just because someone else wants it. It would be one of those things where I’d really want to be a jerk back, but probably wouldn’t in front of my kid. But, yeah, you just don’t grab other people’s kids in that situation. I’ve seen strangers lift my kid to his feet after he fell down and they were closer than I was, or offer a balancing arm to a kid who looks precariously balanced on something, but no, not to move a kid away from a place they have every right to be. I’d probably take my kid and scat out of fear he was a nut, but probably get pissed later that I didn’t tell him off.

  • Awesomus

    I can’t say what I would’ve done in this situation. Do I think Mom was out of line? No, I do not. Is this type of behavior common in parks? Most of the time when my daughter was small, we were at a park that wasn’t that busy.

  • M.

    I had a sorta kinda similar thing go down at a park recently. My son wasn’t in a swing (he doesn’t really like swings) but he was pushing the swing and had made up some little plot that he was narrating. So he wasn’t IN the swing but he was clearly playing with it. I was sitting about 4 feet away on a bench watching him. This couple came over with what was probably a 3-ish month old baby and without even saying anything to my kid they just TOOK the swing and put their baby in it. My son is pretty easy going (and he needs to learn about jerks anyway) so he just ran off to do something else, so I didn’t do or say anything, but I was really appalled that two grown ups would take something from a child like that. They ended up pushing the baby, who didn’t even FIT in the damn swing and clearly didn’t give a shit about swing time, for like a minute and a half and then they wandered off. So they chased my kid off for no real reason (I would’ve been more understanding if it was an older child that WANTED to be in the swing). I just thought it was really shitty and I’m still annoyed by it weeks later.

    • wispy

      That is SO weird and rude.

  • KaeTay

    I didn’t know there was a social situation for swings. I see them as first come first serve and if you don’t get one; it’s not the end of the world. I also know of 4 parks by my house and which ones are less crowded and with the exception of 2 it’s because there are beyond ample amounts of swings. One has 10-12 along with this HUGE castle playground area. All the kids seems to naturally get some time on the swings before moving onto something else.

    That being said, no one touches my kid. The police call seems a little hasty. Maybe she was scared of the guy. I don’t know how much bigger he is then her or if he exudes that alpha dick male personality I see while I’m working. Some women find that shockingly intimidating. If it were me, I wouldn’t care how alpha he felt he was and yelled at him while trying my best to refrain from using curse words. If he got close to physical with me (say a shove) then I would call the cops.

    I also feel the dad should have entertained his kid while they waited for a swing, 5 minutes is not a long time. I take that time to talk to the other parents if the swings are taken (while my daughter fully enjoyed sliding and climbing). Even if they decided to stay on the swings the entire time I was there.. I wouldn’t throw a fit. It’s their free time as well and you can’t always get what you want; a lesson all of us have to learn.

  • Courtney Lynn

    Yeah…get pissed at me all you want and say whatever you want to me. Don’t touch my kids! I would have called, too. Not that he would have needed a reason because I’m a considerate person who knows other people use playground equipment, too.

    • Spiderpigmom

      So you think it was worth using precious police resources that might have been needed by people who were, you know, in actual danger or victims of an actual crime? really? really???
      (And no, it was not OK for the guy to physically remove the kid himself, but calling the cops over it? Pshah).

    • Benwhoski

      I feel like it was enough that having something on record about his behavior is probably a good idea. This was threatening behavior, and threatening behavior should be taken seriously.

    • Courtney Lynn

      How about actually asking me rather than being snarky?

  • sarge

    I don’t even have kids but I’m livid at this story. If the child had been my niece, nephew, or a friend’s child that I was watching, I would have called the police too. Any guy who thinks the solution to that “problem” includes putting his hands on a child that isn’t his, is potentially a violent guy. He gave a woman and order and she didn’t obey so he got physical. The extent of his physical actions doesn’t matter. He got physical, period. Imagine what happens when his wife doesn’t do as he commands. Controlling asshole this guy. Now I’m super angry and need to go get a latte.

  • Guest

    Touching someone else’s child is a no-no, unless it’s to remove them from imminent danger. What he apparently did sounds a little unhinged on top of it. I have no idea what was said, what his demeanor was, or anything else. But yeah, this seems like it was creepy enough and possibly threatening enough to warrant calling the cops.

  • Rachel Sea

    On what planet is it acceptable to enforce politeness by manhandling stranger’s kid? Yeah, I’d have called the cops, that is not sane behavior.

  • K.

    Well, there’s only so much you can do with limited information and we can all play Monday morning quarterback on this, but I am somewhat sympathetic to the mother because let’s face it—a strange man attempting to physically remove your child from a swing is really, really weird behavior. As in, mentally ill behavior. Not saying he WAS mentally ill, but honestly, if some strange guy did this to me, I would be freaked out beyond belief.

    And the other thing that people forget is that the police ARE there to settle disputes among the public—or at least ours do, and I live in a large urban area. You can call them to diffuse a situation rather than handling it yourselves, and there are plenty of cops who would prefer that to having a crime to deal with after the fact.

    • PAJane

      It’s definitely aggressive. This situation could have easily been escalated, if it wasn’t already.

  • Benwhoski

    I’m pretty sure that if the man had opted to physically remove the _woman_, most people would agree that it was threatening behavior that should be taken seriously. I don’t see why it should be different if he physically moved the child. Whether I would have called the police on the spot myself would probably depend on details of the confrontation we don’t have (also, I can see myself hitting the “call 911 immediately” button on my phone if someone suddenly grabbed my (completely hypothetical) kid.

    It _may_ have been an overreaction, but I have more sympathy for the woman’s overreaction than the man’s in this situation.

  • Shelly Lloyd

    If this happened to me, someone better call the police, cause I’m going to go mamma bear ape shit on his ass. He’ll need the police and an ambulance.

  • wispy

    I mean it’s kind of like the treadmill rule at the gym, if there’s someone waiting you have only a certain amount of time to use it. Common courtesy. Who knows how long this woman was using the swing, but does it matter? If someone is being a swing hog you go somewhere else or ask politely for your turn. If they still don’t give up the swing then go find something else to entertain your kids and teach them that that’s how NOT to act. I probably would have just gotten off the swing when I saw someone walk up. If they had touched my child though, I don’t know what I’d have done. I think I’d be too flustered and just go to my car. I always think of what I should have done WAY after the fact, so I doubt I would have stayed around to fight.

  • Melanie Black

    I think a strange, irritated man grabbing at my kid to pull them out of a swing wouldn’t set too well with me. I’m not an aggressive person, but there would definitely be hard words. You don’t touch someone else’s child unless they’re in imminent danger and there’s no one around to pull them away from it.
    I would find a strange person doing that very frightening as well. Might end up deploying some pepper spray just out of a fear reaction, as long as the kids weren’t in the way.

  • Liz

    I’ve never been to a park that had a swing line. Is this really a thing? I mean, if no swings are free, then you just find something else to do…

  • GPMeg

    I would have called the police because I know that if I’d handled it myself, I would have ended up being charged with assault. That’s my two cents!

  • AP

    Touching another person’s kid is out of line. But that mom should be thanking God she lives in an area where crime is so low and police are so well-staffed that police will respond to calls like that.

    In plenty of cities, the cops would laugh in your face for making that call, and be like, “Sorry lady, we have real crime to solve, you just have to deal.”