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So last night my son was at soccer practice at a local park. It's a pretty nice park - several teams were having soccer practices at the same time.  Soccer practice was an hour and a half.

During his practice I usually run - mainly because I have an hour and a half to myself to run. Sometimes I'll go run the streets around there or down to a lake close by. Last night I decided to just run loops around the fields - it's about 3/4 mile of a wide paved trail.

The park itself has some wide open fields, some nice decorative trees, some playground equipment, restroom, shelter house thingy - basically your typical suburban park.

So anyway, I'm on my first loop, and there are a couple of younger girls wearing soccer gear kicking some nice, decorative trees. Looked like some some larger flowering crabapples - something like that. They were youngish trees - maybe 4-5 years or so.

Anyone, one of these kids was kicking the tree with her cleats and knocking the bark off the lower part of the tree. Basically to the point where about a 12" strip of bark was gone off the bottom part of this tree all the way around.

So me, being the outdoorsman type and all, was watching this as I ran by thinking: "She shouldn't be doing that. That bark is a protective layer around the tree and the removal of such could cause some issues later on. I wonder if I should say something to her."

These two girls were probably about 10 years old or so - about the age of my daughter. I decided to not say something, mainly for the reason I didn't want someone coming and accusing me of talking to a couple of young girls. So I ran on.

The second loop I come around again, and she's moved on to another tree, basically doing the same thing.  Another tree roughed up pretty good. It looked like a couple of beavers have started the process of doing tree removal and were doing the prep-work.

So I start thinking again: should I say something. At this rate she was going to damage the whole decorative tree forest that was in the park. I decided not to say something but it was starting to bother me a bit.

I come around for the third loop, and they moved on to another tree. Thankfully they were not kicking this one, so I kept moving. And by the time I hit the 4th loop they were gone.

 

So, staying silent was probably the right move, but what would you guys have done?   I already tried suing @gianmarco's neighbor, but that has gotten me nowhere. 

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I agree with how you handled it. I would have never approached the girls. But, if I knew 100% who one of the girl's parents were then I might politely say something to the parent.

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Same as what you did. Being a parent of an 11 year old daughter, having coached soccer and seeing how other parents can react to things, I would never say anything to another kid. Next thing you know you will be dealing with some crazy mom, or worse. 

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1 minute ago, Grace Under Pressure said:

Same as what you did. Being a parent of an 11 year old daughter, having coached soccer and seeing how other parents can react to things, I would never say anything to another kid. Next thing you know you will be dealing with some crazy mom, or worse. 

I have 7 year old twins.  I would want an adult to ask my kids to stop damaging trees if they were doing that.   

If you're OK with leaving your kids unaccompanied, then you should be OK with an unknown adult asking them to stop damaging public property.

Don't want unknown adults to talk to your kids?  Don't leave them alone. 

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3 minutes ago, Dezbelief said:

Maybe a loud, "HEY!" as you were running by would have worked. I wouldn't have stopped and interacted either.

Yeah, I don't think I would have gotten close to them, maybe 30-40' max.   But that certainly warrants a raised voice to tell them to, "knock it off, you're hurting the tree!"

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I wouldn't have yelled at the kids.  But I probably stop after the 2nd lap when they've moved onto another tree and just say "you know, you're hurting those trees doing what you're doing.  You should stop kicking the trees".  And then I'd be on my way.  I wouldn't further engage or argue with them.  I would be polite about it.  They are 10 years old and likely have no concept of the harm they are doing to the tree.  It's unlikely it's being done maliciously. 

If a parent or another adult has a problem with that interaction, that's on them. 

But I also think it's fine to ignore it and not say anything.  And if it was bothering me, I'm probably changing my route so I don't have to see it each time I come around  :)

Edited by gianmarco
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This is a tough one. I've bitten my tongue when I see people litter even though it bothers me. Mainly because the damage is already done and me saying something probably wont change their behavior in the future anyway. This is different though. The damage was occurring in real time and could've been stopped. I think I would've yelled something and shaken my fist as a passed. 

HHHHHEEEEYYYYYYYY!!!!!! :rant:

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As a parent of 3 kids under 10 I've learned its okay to fuss at other kids.  I'd have told them to knock it off and kept running, but nothing more.  

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32 minutes ago, The Z Machine said:

I have 7 year old twins.  I would want an adult to ask my kids to stop damaging trees if they were doing that.   

If you're OK with leaving your kids unaccompanied, then you should be OK with an unknown adult asking them to stop damaging public property.

Don't want unknown adults to talk to your kids?  Don't leave them alone. 

Agreed but then again your kids probably wouldn't be doing this sort of thing due to your parenting.  I have noticed the parents that get enraged by you correcting their kid's actions are the type of parents that let their kids do whatever they want.  Those two things usually go hand in hand.  That is the biggest problem for situations like this.  

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I'm not afraid to yell at someone else's kids if they're clearly in the wrong.  I'm sure it'll cause confrontation at some point, but some things I just can't let go. We were at the playground with a high climber up to a platform with 3 slides last weekend.  There were some older boys up there, and my son was watching out for my 3-year old who climbed up with him.  I was cautiously watching as the older boys had begun pushing some kids down the slides.  One of the boys grabbed my daughter's hoodie as she slid down and held her for a second and she got scared and started crying.  He made the mistake of coming down the covered slide shortly after that.  I was waiting at the bottom and basically blocked him in the tube so we could have a talk.  I didn't cuss, I didn't yell, I didn't touch him.  I simply blocked his way out of the slide, asked him to look me in the eyes, and I simply said, "That's my daughter in the pink sweatshirt.  I saw you grab her shirt.  Do not do it again.  Keep your hands to yourself.  Do you understand?"  He looked terrified - For a moment I felt bad, but then I realized that I got my point across without a scene or over-reacting.

In your situation, I would have yelled at them (from a distance) and told them to stop.  I'd bet that having an adult talk to you in a stern voice is all it would have taken if they know the shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

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1 hour ago, eoMMan said:

Maybe snap pics or video the girls?

Quite possibly the worse advice in the thread.

A simple - “hey girls, please don’t kick the trees” as I jogged by.  If one of their parents had an issue I would be happy to discuss with them.

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23 minutes ago, AAABatteries said:

Quite possibly the worse advice in the thread.

A simple - “hey girls, please don’t kick the trees” as I jogged by.  If one of their parents had an issue I would be happy to discuss with them.

Sadly, sometimes there is no "happy to discuss it."

About 20 years ago, my family was out to brunch, and my sister and I went outside to a little pond-type area the place had so my niece could see the ducks that were there. There were some other kids there (about my niece's age - maybe 10) throwing rocks at the ducks. My sister politely asked them to stop. I watched it - VERY polite and soft spoken. They stopped, we all went back inside, etc. Well, the kids went and told their mother, and she went ballistic - marched over to our table with the "how DARE you speak to my child..." thing. Her husband came over to join in, I intercepted him and told him to back off. Then more people from their table came over, the rest of the guys at our table got up, and it looked like it could get ugly - then the staff came over and threw everyone out. Lotta chirping on the way out, but thankfully, no punches thrown.

No, not worth it to say anything. Some moron parents are super-touchy about this.

Edited by jwb
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Our society sucks if adults are afraid to engage a child that's clearly doing something wrong.

I would've treated it as a fartlek session.  Slow down from my 6:15 pace to a smooth 7:00 and ask them nicely to stop killing the trees. 

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As a man in my mid 30's with no wife or kids, most people probably assume I'm a creep until I prove otherwise. So there is absolutely no chance I'm talking to a stranger's kid if they're not there. Nothing good can come of it.

All it takes is one kid saying "That guy yelled at me" (even if I didn't yell) or "that guy waived at me" and the wrong parent getting scared/nervous  and all of a sudden the cops are at my door asking why I'm approaching my neighbor's kids.  No thanks.  I like trees just fine, but a dead tree sure as hell isn't worth THAT potential aggravation.

Its 2021 man. Just where we are right now.

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being the nature brohan that i am would have gone up to them and said my name is the swcax and i speak for the trees mfers and then there would not have been any survivors look all i am saying is that i like my ornamentals a lot and take flowering crabapples possibly more seriously than anyone on the planet take that to the bank brohans 

Edited by SWC
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It would bother me for sure..I might have said as I was running by something like "Hey girls that might kill the trees, or you are hurting the trees"  and kept running by.   In this day in age no way I stop and scold them.

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1 hour ago, jwb said:

Sadly, sometimes there is no "happy to discuss it."

About 20 years ago, my family was out to brunch, and my sister and I went outside to a little pond-type area the place had so my niece could see the ducks that were there. There were some other kids there (about my niece's age - maybe 10) throwing rocks at the ducks. My sister politely asked them to stop. I watched it - VERY polite and soft spoken. They stopped, we all went back inside, etc. Well, the kids went and told their mother, and she went ballistic - marched over to our table with the "how DARE you speak to my child..." thing. Her husband came over to join in, I intercepted him and told him to back off. Then more people from their table came over, the rest of the guys at our table got up, and it looked like it could get ugly - then the staff came over and threw everyone out. Lotta chirping on the way out, but thankfully, no punches thrown.

No, not worth it to say anything. Some moron parents are super-touchy about this.

I’m sure that could happen but I don’t really care TBH - I would explain myself and if they decide to go nuts let them.  I’m genuinely not concerned about a physical altercation in that situation and I don’t care if I piss off the parents.

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39 minutes ago, AAABatteries said:

I’m sure that could happen but I don’t really care TBH - I would explain myself and if they decide to go nuts let them.  I’m genuinely not concerned about a physical altercation in that situation and I don’t care if I piss off the parents.

 

:heart:

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Knowing that removing the bark all around, known as girdling, will surely kill the tree, I would've sweetly explained to them why they shouldn't be doing that.   Who the hell am I kidding, I wouldn't have said a damn thing.

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5 hours ago, gianmarco said:

I wouldn't have yelled at the kids.  But I probably stop after the 2nd lap when they've moved onto another tree and just say "you know, you're hurting those trees doing what you're doing.  You should stop kicking the trees".  And then I'd be on my way.  I wouldn't further engage or argue with them.  I would be polite about it.  They are 10 years old and likely have no concept of the harm they are doing to the tree.  It's unlikely it's being done maliciously. 

Yeah, I agree with this.  Not anger ...just lay some guilt on them.

--

When my son was very little, we had an older woman who came and watched him every day while we both worked.  Marilyn was from Cicero, IL, and that's one of those blue-collar, thick-skinned communities ...fair amount of mafia presence back in the day (and probably still), as in, it was literally Al Capone's old haunts.  Marilyn was Cicero-tough, but she adored our son.  One day, she had taken him over to a local school playground.  It was actually two playgrounds - one for older kids; one for younger.  She and our son were at the latter, but some older boys were playing there too and getting in the way of the little kids.  Marilyn told them they should go play on the other playground.  One of the boys looked at Marilyn and said, "fxxx you."  As Marilyn explained it to us, she calmly grabbed the boy by his collar and explained to him that when he said his prayers that night, he should thank God that he wasn't her son ...because if he was, she would have knocked every tooth out of his mouth.  The boys left.  

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I probably would have walked towards them and asked WTF they thought they were doing. Regardless of their response, I would have continued on my run.

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2 hours ago, -fish- said:

Kick them in the shin and yell “how do you like it?”

They were wearing shin guards, chachi.

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50 minutes ago, Ned said:

They were wearing shin guards, chachi.

I played club soccer for 10 years.   Shin guards just spread out the pain.   

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This is what happens when you pull Dr. Seuss books out of schools.  Nobody speaks for the trees.

Edited by -fish-
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7 hours ago, Grace Under Pressure said:

Same as what you did. Being a parent of an 11 year old daughter, having coached soccer and seeing how other parents can react to things, I would never say anything to another kid. Next thing you know you will be dealing with some crazy mom, or worse. 

Agreed here. Zero percent chance I'd say something. 

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