Interested to hear how others have dealt with this.
Today at the shops I took DD in to use the toddler toilet in the baby change rooms. They have a small gated play area and I let her play for a few minutes.
A mum walked in with her 3 kids, a little girl aged about 8, another girl around 3 and a baby in a pram. My DD (3) was sitting on a little chair in the playpen spinning a big circular activity toy thing attached to the wall. The mother was on her mobile phone the whole time they were in the room. While she waited for her 3 year old to use the toilet, the 8 year old walked into the playpen and went right up to my DD and pulled her hands away from spinning the thing so she could have a go. I immediately got up and opened the gate as DD was upset. I looked over at the mother who had her back turned and was still on her phone so I directed my DD to another toy. I was going to say something to the girl, but as DD was happy to play with something else, I left it. And I was irritated with myself because I'd normally have said something like " DD was playing with that first" or "don't smack please". But in this instance I let it go. It's so hard sometimes, I always feel so awkward and uncomfortable pulling up other people's kids. One time recently I saw a little boy smack DD on the head and told him off straight away (nothing inappropriate, just "hey, don't smack her" type of thing.) And the mother shot up from out of no where and wagged her finger at me, saying "your daughter hit him first". I replied "I didn't see that, she should not be hitting him" and left feeling crappy. I don't like confrontation. I'm not meek and can definitely stick up for myself and not about to let another child hurt my child, but I hate dealing with disciplining other kids.
Anyway, so the 8 year old roughly pushed her way in and pulled DD's hands away, but the mother didn't see it. Then her other child, the 3 year old, finished up in the bathroom and went into the play area and immediately went right for DD, pushing her off her little stool and smacking her about the face. DD was stunned and I started walking over to get her out but before I could the mother stormed in and pulled her kids out quickly, sternly telling the 3 yo off, for which I was grateful. She had her hands full and as soon as she saw what her daughter did she was onto it.
So, what do you do? Let it slide most times? I've worked in child care and know how to deal with conflict between kids, especially regarding sharing and smacking etc, but still hate being faced with these situations. It's happening all the time, everywhere we go. I know kids will be kids and they all snatch and push in and even smack eachother at times, but just wondering how others deal with strangers kids' hurting yours, especially if their own parent doesn't see/do anything.