Author Topic: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?  (Read 5177 times)

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Slartibartfast

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DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
« on: January 05, 2013, 10:17:36 PM »
I've posted about my friend Andrea before here and here - 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 . . .

Lynn2000

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Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2013, 10:33:25 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.
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oopsie

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Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2013, 10:34:39 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.

NyaChan

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Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2013, 10:37:22 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. 

Slartibartfast

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Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2013, 10:55:17 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.

strawbabies

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Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2013, 11:12:52 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. 

snowdragon

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Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2013, 11:17:21 PM »
"She usually doesn't ask for a nap, she must becoming down with something, I am so sorry!" and make a hasty retreat.

Hmmmmm

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Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2013, 11:18:02 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.

TootsNYC

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Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2013, 11:42:15 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!

kareng57

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Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2013, 11:46:49 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".

Redsoil

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Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2013, 02:26:47 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.
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Lindee

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Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2013, 03:44:49 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

cicero

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Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2013, 03:58:53 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.

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BC12

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Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2013, 06:00:59 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?
« Last Edit: January 06, 2013, 06:02:39 AM by BC12 »

lady_disdain

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Re: DD wants to cut the playdate short - how do I explain?
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2013, 08:23:24 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.