Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: Slartibartfast on January 05, 2013, 09:17:36 PM

Title: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: Slartibartfast on January 05, 2013, 09:17:36 PM
I've posted about my friend Andrea before here (http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=86034.msg2051736#msg2051736) and here (http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=114135.msg2658098#msg2658098) - long story short, we used to be in a playgroup together but the playgroup dissolved, in part because she let her baby scream and let her kids run around in stinky pull-ups and I didn't want to tell her to her face that the other moms didn't want her there.  Since then she and I have stayed friends through a hobby group.  We see each other once a month or so, but since it's not a kid-based thing I haven't seen her kids in quite a while.  The issue in the other thread with our larger group ended up being relatively moot because we hardly ever get together as a big group anymore so there's nothing to include/exclude her and her DH from.

It's cold out and Babybartfast was driving me nuts yesterday, though, so I called her up and we got together for a playdate.  She and her DH just moved into a new house last week, so the plan was for Babybartfast (4.5), her son (just turned 4), and her daughter (2.5) to play together and she and I could help get things unpacked in the kitchen.  Babybartfast doesn't remember the kids at all but she was excited all the same.

When we got there the kids seemed to be having fun, but I think I can safely say that Andrea is a more permissive parent than I am.  Most of the playing involved running, shrieking, and jumping on the sofa.  I don't usually encourage Babybartfast to do those things in my house (she still does, I just try to minimize it) but she was burning off energy and Andrea didn't seem to think anything odd about how the kids were playing so I didn't mind.  The problem, though, was that Andrea's kids seem to interact mostly through shoving each other.  Her son is showing all the classic signs of ADD (which isn't surprising, because Andrea and her DH both have it) plus he "plays like a boy," and Babybartfast just didn't know how to deal with it.  Andrea and I did both step in when the playing got too rough, and it did help some, but her kids went back to shoving a minute later.  Babybartfast was really confused and upset - "[Boy'sName] pushed me even after his mommy told him not to and he did it anyway!"

I asked if she was still having fun, and she said she was, so they went back to playing for a bit.  Then the shrieking got louder again and Babybartfast came to me and actually asked to go home so she could have her nap (which would normally be on the order of asking for a root canal at our house).  I asked if she was having fun and she said she didn't want to play with the other kids anymore because they're mean and kept shoving her.

At that point we had only been there about forty-five minutes, and I really wasn't sure what to do.  On the one hand I didn't want to force Babybartfast to play with kids who were being mean to her, but on the other hand I didn't want to tell Andrea "My kid wants to go home because your kids are too wild and misbehaved" - even if it's true and deserved, it would be hard not to take that kind of thing personally.

It worked out okay - we sent the kids to play outside for a bit and they all played together without shoving or yelling for a few minutes, then Bittybartfast started fussing and I used that as an excuse to need to get home.  As it was, we stayed for about an hour.

So that was a long post, I admit, but the question: should I be honest with Andrea about why we left?  I've already decided that if we ever do a playdate again, it will be at a busy playground or somewhere similar, so Babybartfast can choose to play with Andrea's kids or play with other kids instead.  She said something about her kids never getting to play with other children (they're not in preschool or daycare), which may be part of the problem, but I don't think that should be Babybartfast's responsibility to fix . . .
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: Lynn2000 on January 05, 2013, 09:33:25 PM
You made a reasonable excuse when you actually left--the baby fussing--and you've already decided not to have playdates solely with her kids anymore (thus hopefully avoiding the problems of this playdate), so I don't think any further explanation is necessary. If Andrea insists upon one, you could keep mentioning the baby. If she wants to know why you always suggest a public playground, you should be able to come up with something about your child needing some fresh air or liking the equipment; and if she doesn't want to bring her kids there, that's okay, you'll meet them some vague other time.

I guess my question is, do you want your child to have more opportunity to interact with Andrea's children? (Even at a public playground there will be the initial expectation that they play together, and they may be together if you guys have a snack/meal at the time, etc..) You certainly don't have to, of course; but if you do it a few times in quick succession, and then decide to never do it again, that's when Andrea may ask you more seriously what's wrong, and you would have to consider what to tell her. Right now, it seems unlikely to me she would ask, and if she does, you could probably give a vague answer that doesn't touch on the truth.
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: oopsie on January 05, 2013, 09:34:39 PM
If I were in your situation, I wouldn't bring it up. If she invites you and/or your children over again, I would probably gently say that Babybartfast gets a little overwhelmed with the rambunctious playing and then suggest an alternative (as you suggested at a neutral place like a playground).

On another note, good for you for being cognisant and respectful of your child's comfort level and boundaries.
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: NyaChan on January 05, 2013, 09:37:22 PM
I don't think there is any need to say something about it.  I would just avoid scheduling completely one-on-one (or I guess two-on-one in this case) playdates with Andrea's children from now on.  If you think taking them to a playground would solve the problem, then great.  Just avoid the home dates just like you would any other event you can't or don't want to go to.  Honestly though, I am wondering also - do you really want Babybartfast to play with them?  Does she actually enjoy their company?  Because when you did put them together, she came to you multiple times to try to get you to remove her from the situation.  Kids can get rough some times by accident, but if you can't trust them to listen to their mom when she tells them not to shove, it isn't really fair to subject her to that. 
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: Slartibartfast on January 05, 2013, 09:55:17 PM
I think my answer is "kind of" - I don't expect her to make best friends with these kids, but I do expect her to be able to entertain herself with my friends' children occasionally for short periods of time.  Thinking back to my own childhood, my siblings and I frequently were expected to play with the kids of my parents' friends (who may or may not have been our ages) - none of them were my closest friends, and some of them were mean, but I usually had the choice of either playing or bringing a book.  And I think the book was only for the one family my mom knew the boy teased us instead of playing with us.  I think if Andrea's son ever crosses over from "shoving because he's four and you're standing where he wants to be" to "hitting because he thinks it's funny," I would be okay with Babybartfast never having to play with him at all.
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: strawbabies on January 05, 2013, 10:12:52 PM
I think Babybartfast gave you a great excuse to leave when she asked to go home for a nap.  Whether it's because she actually wanted one or because she wanted to get away from your friend's wild children, I think that would have been a good time to leave. 
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: snowdragon on January 05, 2013, 10:17:21 PM
"She usually doesn't ask for a nap, she must becoming down with something, I am so sorry!" and make a hasty retreat.
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 05, 2013, 10:18:02 PM
No,I don't think you tell her why.  When your DD came to you the first time, it would have been ok to say that it looks like you'll need to cut the visit short since she was tired and then leave.
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: TootsNYC on January 05, 2013, 10:42:15 PM
Babybartfast gave you your solution--it's too bad you didn't follow her lead.

you don't say what you DON'T like, or what you DON'T want ("we don't want to play with your kid").

You say what you DO want. ("I want my nap now," is how your wise child put it.)



So you should have said, "i think we're going to go; Babybartfast is more tired than I realized, and we're going to go get her a naptime."

Poor kid!
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: kareng57 on January 05, 2013, 10:46:49 PM
When my kids were young, I had another neighbourhood mom who was very, very eager to trade babysittting.

Her son was a bully.  I know, that when kids are 3 or 4 it might seem like they couldn't be physical bullies - but this was a kid who would place himself in my own kids' bedrooms and tell them that they couldn't play with their own toys.  And my kids (understandably) would ask me "when is Stevie going home?"  I did my best to deal with Stevie, but it wasn't easy dealing with a kid who had pretty much carte-blanche in his own home.

So I was a wimp (not recommended, just that it worked for me) - whenever she eagerly phoned for the next playdate, I just said "unfortunately, they didn't get along very well last time".
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: Redsoil on January 06, 2013, 01:26:47 AM
Honestly?  I wouldn't keep exposing her to these kids, even in group settings.  Sounds like you're just setting her up for hurt.    Doesn't mean you have to shield her from learning how to deal with various other kids - that's not what I mean at all.  However, these kids have already proven troublesome, and I doubt any good will come of it for anyone.  How would you feel if she were truly hurt by "rough-housing" (ie: shoved off a set of steps/off the couch etc and broke an arm)?    Because these kids just don't mind when told to calm down at all from the sounds of things.
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: Lindee on January 06, 2013, 02:44:49 AM
I agree, your daughter has made it clear she doesn't want to play with these children. If you like this friend then I'd continue to just keep it to meeting her sans kids for now at least. Given her previous history she is not about to suddenly start setting boundaries on their behaviour. Your daughter needs to know you have her back, not "go and be pushed over by this rough child so I don't have to upset her mother's feelings."  You don't have to make a big production over it, just be too busy for a bit
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: cicero on January 06, 2013, 02:58:53 AM
I agree with some of the PPs- your DD was giving the out you needed.

(smart cookie that Babybartfast - she was actually use a "code word" (=nap) to let you know "mom i really want to go home now")

Don't make this about Andrea's parenting - make it about *your* child: "wow, she must be really tired. usually she'd rather schedule root canal and not take a nap!", "I see BabyBartfast is getting cranky; I'd better take home before she get really cranky", "well, this was fun but we have to get going now!", "I think all that running around really knocked her out! thanks for having us, buh bye"

and - i wouldn't schedule any more one-on-one playdates with this family. make a date at a public park or invite other kids.
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: BC12 on January 06, 2013, 05:00:59 AM
should I be honest with Andrea about why we left?

You could have been honest when you left. Why not? The truth was that your daughter wanted to go home because she was uncomfortable with what was happening (and she had a good reason to be.) I don't think it would be rude or uncalled-for for you to have said, "We better get going, Andrea. Daughter wants to go home." If asked why, then "I think the rough-housing got to be too much for her. See you later." Or, even, no reason at all, just "Daughter wants to go home. Thanks for having us. Bye."



Quote
I think if Andrea's son ever crosses over from "shoving because he's four and you're standing where he wants to be" to "hitting because he thinks it's funny," I would be okay with Babybartfast never having to play with him at all.

You're saying you would let it cross over to "hitting because he thinks it's funny" before you'd be okay with your daughter never having to play with him. Surely you didn't mean it that way?
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: lady_disdain on January 06, 2013, 07:23:24 AM
I think my answer is "kind of" - I don't expect her to make best friends with these kids, but I do expect her to be able to entertain herself with my friends' children occasionally for short periods of time.  Thinking back to my own childhood, my siblings and I frequently were expected to play with the kids of my parents' friends (who may or may not have been our ages) - none of them were my closest friends, and some of them were mean, but I usually had the choice of either playing or bringing a book.  And I think the book was only for the one family my mom knew the boy teased us instead of playing with us.  I think if Andrea's son ever crosses over from "shoving because he's four and you're standing where he wants to be" to "hitting because he thinks it's funny," I would be okay with Babybartfast never having to play with him at all.

I agree that it is good for children to learn how to entertain themselves with others, even if they aren't their favourite people. As the parent, you should also have your social life. However, I think there is a difference between playing with other children who aren't their age, who are annoying or their favourite playmates and exposing your child to bullies or physical pushing around. Sure, sometimes children push or accidently hit, but I would expect that to stop after a correction from the parent, which wasn't the case here.
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: LadyL on January 06, 2013, 10:34:43 AM
Maybe my perspective is off here as a non-parent but I am not sure what is so offensive about saying something like "Oh, it looks like your boys are playing a bit rough, DD isn't quite used to that." I guess parents can get defensive about their kids possibly being criticized, but if you don't want to have play dates again in the future, does it matter?

My nephew is starting to have behavioral issues with stuff like shoving other kids (he's 3). Seeing him interact with groups of kids and how he is always one of the roughest kids in the bunch, and makes other kids upset, has helped his parents realize that his issues may go beyond normal development. They are aware he has issues and would be disappointed but not surprised if it were the reason to call a playdate short.
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: Amara on January 06, 2013, 12:06:55 PM
OP, I am not a parent and so won't offer advice on your situation (not that I have any), but I wonder if you really want Babybartfast to begin to learn from her children that shoving is a "normal" part of playing. Do you want her to begin to assimilate that?
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: LeveeWoman on January 06, 2013, 12:09:33 PM
Shoving is not unheard of in toddlers but it's not acceptable.

Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: NyaChan on January 06, 2013, 12:14:21 PM
I'm assuming that as Slarti was there, she was able to see the nature of the physical interaction - if she isn't worried that Babybartfast is in danger, I think this isn't a safety issue so much other than the possibility of an unexpected accident.  Still, I think OP would be well served to teach Babybartfast how to stand her ground with regards to her physical integrity - or in other words, to make sure when she says that they can't touch/push her, that she knows she is allowed to do it and that her mom will back her up and help if needed.
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: Slartibartfast on January 06, 2013, 01:22:08 PM
Yeah, I don't want to teach Babybartfast that shoving is good but a) she's four, and b) she's normally pretty quiet and introverted so I don't think there's much danger in her pick up this particular bad habit  :P  I'm also not used to seeing little boys play, since almost all my friends have girls and the one boy Babybartfast plays with has severe autism so his play patterns are a bit different.  Andrea's son seemed to be on the extreme end of "boy" playing - not saying that boys should be allowed to be rougher, but many young boys do seem to be a lot more physical.  The shoving I saw (from both Andrea's kids) was the "you're in my way" kind rather than trying to hurt the other child or trying to retaliate for some previous action.

I do know that Babybartfast was learning some lessons, too - she told me on the way home that "he was pushing me so I pushed him back and then he pushed me again!"  She was really bewildered at why returning the shove didn't stop anything.  Hopefully this (and her time at preschool) will teach her more about how escalating the violence rarely stops it.  She is in a very good preschool with at least one "problem" kid, so I know she does shove and push and whatnot as part of being a four-year-old in a room full of other four-year-olds, but she doesn't usually resort to it unless other avenues of toddler frustration (whining, fussing, going to an adult, etc.) don't work.
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: SPuck on January 06, 2013, 01:46:53 PM
She is in a very good preschool with at least one "problem" kid, so I know she does shove and push and whatnot as part of being a four-year-old in a room full of other four-year-olds, but she doesn't usually resort to it unless other avenues of toddler frustration (whining, fussing, going to an adult, etc.) don't work.

I think your sending your daughter mixed signals. She came to you saying that she wanted to leave, but you still threw her to the wolves. In most cases I draw the tolerance line at physical contact and certain noise levels. At that point it doesn't matter what your friend thinks, just to get out of the situation as politely through quickly as possible.

I wouldn't mention anything now because the time has passed, but if you keep declining play dates and your friend asks why, you might want to try being honest.
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: Onyx_TKD on January 06, 2013, 01:54:20 PM
Yeah, I don't want to teach Babybartfast that shoving is good but a) she's four, and b) she's normally pretty quiet and introverted so I don't think there's much danger in her pick up this particular bad habit  :P  I'm also not used to seeing little boys play, since almost all my friends have girls and the one boy Babybartfast plays with has severe autism so his play patterns are a bit different.  Andrea's son seemed to be on the extreme end of "boy" playing - not saying that boys should be allowed to be rougher, but many young boys do seem to be a lot more physical.  The shoving I saw (from both Andrea's kids) was the "you're in my way" kind rather than trying to hurt the other child or trying to retaliate for some previous action.

I do know that Babybartfast was learning some lessons, too - she told me on the way home that "he was pushing me so I pushed him back and then he pushed me again!"  She was really bewildered at why returning the shove didn't stop anything.  Hopefully this (and her time at preschool) will teach her more about how escalating the violence rarely stops it.  She is in a very good preschool with at least one "problem" kid, so I know she does shove and push and whatnot as part of being a four-year-old in a room full of other four-year-olds, but she doesn't usually resort to it unless other avenues of toddler frustration (whining, fussing, going to an adult, etc.) don't work.

It sounds like Babybartfast already knows how to properly deal with issues without resorting to violence, and from your OP, it sounds like she tried all of her methods, including escalating up to shoving, and none of them worked. The adults told the children to stop pushing, and they didn't stop. She tried pushing back, and they kept shoving. She told her mother that she didn't want to play with them, even offering a polite excuse for why she "needed" to go home, and was instead sent back to play with them. If she has to play with them in the future, I don't think "escalating violence rarely stops it" is the lesson that is going to be reinforced here. If this teaches her that escalating violence doesn't help, it also teaches her that asking adults for help and making polite excuses to get out of a situation don't help either! And once she exhausts all of the acceptable ways of trying to keep from being pushed around, what does she have left to try? She could try escalating the violence further (e.g. instead of just standing her ground and pushing back, she could escalate to hitting/kicking/etc.--anything that would make the other kids want to keep their distance), or she could conclude that she's supposed to just shut up and endure being pushed around until the adults decide it's gone on long enough. I don't think either of those lessons is a good one.

I think Babybartfast did an excellent job of trying to remove herself from the situation, and I would suggest reinforcing that. Tell her what she needs to say if she really needs help getting away from another child, and let her know that you will back her up on it. If you don't want to leave right away, because the visit is intended to let the adults socialize or any other reason, then maybe she could have an option of either playing with the other children or playing quietly next to you with a particular toy brought for that purpose (something normally less desirable than playing with nice children, but something she can amuse herself with until it's time to go and not a punishment).
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: NyaChan on January 06, 2013, 02:01:52 PM
Onx, those are really interesting points.  What IS the appropriate way to stop the shoving behavior if everything Babybartfast already tried didn't work?
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: MrTango on January 06, 2013, 02:04:54 PM
I don't know that it's necessary to have an excuse.  Just let your host know that Babybartfast is ready to be done.
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: Queen of Clubs on January 06, 2013, 02:16:35 PM
Onx, those are really interesting points.  What IS the appropriate way to stop the shoving behavior if everything Babybartfast already tried didn't work?

I agree with everything Onyx said.  As for how to stop the shoving behaviour, it was her mother's responsibility to protect her from being shoved.  Even when asked by Babybartfast, no protection was provided.  Slarti, I think you should have taken your DD home instead of sending her back in to fend for herself.

As for explaining it, why bother?  It doesn't sound as if the mother is interested.  I suggest you avoid playdates with those children until you know they'll behave, instead of letting it go and teaching your daughter it's okay for her to be ill-treated by playmates.
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: Slartibartfast on January 06, 2013, 02:34:53 PM
The time between her asking me to leave and the time we were out the door was, at most, 15 minutes.  The shoving stopped when she came to me because we sent the kids outside for a few minutes while I looked for an excuse, then I seized on Bittybartfast starting to fuss.  At most Babybartfast had an extra five minutes with these kids, because it would have taken a while to get coats on, etc. to leave anyway.  (By sending the kids outside, she already had her coat and her shoes and we could just leave.)
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: MommyPenguin on January 06, 2013, 02:49:04 PM
I've got kids in that age range, and I'd be perfectly comfortable with saying, "Sorry, I guess Babybartfast isn't quite used to all the roughhousing."  If it seemed possible, I'd say, "What about we send them outside?" or "Do you any quiet games they could play?"  If that didn't seem likely, I'd just continue with, "I think we're gonna have to call it a day.  Sorry we couldn't stay longer this time!"  No promise of a next time, but also leaves room to consider things before making a firm decision about staying or leaving.

I do think you might need to be concerned about the shoving, though.  At least in my experience, kids who are a bit more shy and introverted are *more* likely to resort to mild violence.  They don't know the words or are too shy to try to use words to deal with an argument or another kid bothering them, and seeing it work for another child might make them think that's an acceptable way to deal with issues, even when they seem too mature for such things.  So I'd hesitate to schedule any other playdates with this family.
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: Tierrainney on January 06, 2013, 02:52:11 PM
Please, for your children's sake, no more play dates with this family at all.

Growing up there was one family that I dreaded. The wife and my Mother were friends before they married and had children and remained friends. Fortunately, we didn't live close, because the oldest child in this family was a mean bully. They would come visit us and he would push and shove, break toys, etc, and we were supposed to entertain him because he was a guest.

When we'd visit their home, he wouldn't let us touch any of his toys, he would still push and shove, and we'd be bored stiff. But it was "fine" because he was just being a boy and "boys will be boys"

My sister and I were quiet, well-behaved (mostly  :) ) children, so we put up with it for a long time. When my younger brother was old enough to protest, my Mother finally realized that this wasn't a good experience for us. So she started socializing with them as only adult get togethers.

I still have bad memories of being around this child. So, until you have seen any signs that the Parents of these children have started enforcing manners and good behaviors, please don't expose your children.


(as an aside, the bully child is now in prison)
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: rashea on January 07, 2013, 12:39:19 PM
I don't think you have to avoid ever having playdates again, but I would talk about it before you schedule the next one. I think you need to let the other mom know that your child isn't as used to rough housing. Then plan an activity so that the kids aren't left to come up with something on their own. A craft, or a building project would likely have given them something to do that didn't involve running wild.

And eventually they'll hopefully settle down and it will all work out.
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: Eeep! on January 07, 2013, 03:40:34 PM
I think you might be cutting the other boy more slack than you should due to your inexperience with boys.  I have a 3 year old son (Almost 3 1/2 - yikes!) and he definitely does play different than girls.  However, he still knows that shoving is wrong.  Wrestling, running around like a crazy, bashing toy cars into each other/another kid's toy car/the wall, (Note: wall bashing is not OK either. heh.), making silly noises? All normal. (Not saying that girls don't do those things too, they just tend to seem more like examples of "rough boy play".)  However, he knows that hitting or shoving another kid because he wants something is not cool.   I am not saying he never does it, but he knows he's not supposed to.  As such, if another child didn't want to play with him because he was doing that, I would totally understand. (Not to mention, he would be getting into trouble.)

I just thought I would put that out there as I understand that you want your daughter to learn to deal with all kinds of different playing styles.  But, to me at least, that is different than having to deal with misbehavior.  If that makes sens...
Title: Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
Post by: Sheila Take a Bow on January 07, 2013, 04:23:37 PM
My daughter Peanut is about Babybartfast's age and is in preschool.  She had a problem with one of the kids in her class playing too roughly, and her teacher finally told her that it's okay to refuse to play with him.  She told her that if they're playing and he's rough, she can just walk away.  And if she just doesn't want to play with him in general, she can walk away.

She's responded really well to being told she can control her interactions with the rough kid.  And he's picked up pretty quickly that she won't play with him if he isn't gentler with her.  It's actually been better for both of them.

I guess that's my long-winded way of saying that you should follow Babybartfast's lead.  If she wants to end the playdate, then there's no need to protect the other mom from the reasons why.  You can do it without sounding judgmental -- "the kids play more roughly than what Babybartfast is used to" is pretty straightforward without sounding like you're judging their level of permissiveness.

Also, if you don't want to leave just yet, can you just bring an activity that she can do by herself?  That way your friend's kids can keep playing, you can keep visiting with your friend, and Babybartfast can entertain herself.