to stop these playdates?

(112 Posts)

I have a local friend/acquaintance (we'll call her Helen) who has a DD the same age as mine (3). She invites my kids and myself over to hers every Tuesday for an hour or so. A few months back we had a brief falling out because her daughter was constantly snatching toys off my daughter and Helen would do nothing to address this. Every week my daughter would be in tears and not understand why the other girl wasn't being told off for being 'naughty'. A few weeks later, Helen assured me that her DD had improved her behaviour and asked if I would resume the Tuesday 'playdates'. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and agreed.

A few weeks passed with the kids playing nicely. Then today, the following happened:

When I arrived with my kids at the usual time, Helen's DD was playing with her friend (also 3) in the bedroom. My kids went upstairs to join them. The two girls let my DD into the bedroom but would not let my DS (2) because "no boys allowed". This is normal preschooler behaviour, of course.

DS started to cry. Helen said that DS could stay downstairs with us. So I took him downstairs. Lunch was served (chicken nuggets and chips). DS was given his to eat on a plate on the floor in the livingroom. Helen took the other 3 girls' lunch up to the bedroom. DS sat and ate his dinner, whilst asking where his sister was (they are very close being close in age). I admit, I felt so sad for him.

At this point, DS found a toy truck (the only toy of interest in a sea of pink tat - sorry, but we're talking Disney princess overload in that house). He becomes very engrossed in running the truck around the floor. Then we hear a scream from upstairs. I run upstairs to see. My DD is locked out of the bedroom and the other 2 girls won't let her in. Helen makes a half-hearted attempt at reasoning with the girls but her daughter slams the door on her face (!) My DD is very upset at this point and throws up. I clear up the vomit and bring DD downstairs to join DS, followed by Helen.

The 2 girls come down a few minutes afterwards. Helen's DD spies my DS playing with the truck and pushes him in the face and snatches it off him. He starts crying and trying to get the truck back. Helen makes a half hearted "DS was playing with that. It's a boys toy." Her DD continues to push him in the face as he tries to get it back.

I decide it is time to call game over on this visit and start putting DS' coat on as by this point, he is on the floor flaying around. Helen sits and watches and looks sheepish. As I bundle a flaying DS into his buggy, and then get DD's coat on, Helen says "I hope this won't stop you coming back next week. We'll see you next Tuesday yeah?" I nodded and quickly left.

AIBU to stop the playdates? No one is getting anything out of these visits. I refuse to let my kids be bullied, but I am not prepared to discipline someone else's kid.

for a start the other girl won't be there to complicate things.

She will. Helen does a childminding 'share' with the other girl's mum. Other children are sometimes there too. That's why I never invite them to mine - my home isn't big enough.

Only1scoop Tue 28-Jan-14 16:49:46

Cross posted re CNugs grin

I'd definitely bring an end to it.
You and the mum have nothing in common. Her kids misbehave (perfectly normal) but she does nothing about it (crap and annoying).
Maybe she doesn't know how to go about tackling their behaviour, but if you're not especially close and she isn't asking for your help, I imagine it would be difficult to offer it without offending.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 28-Jan-14 16:50:54

YANBU. It sounds hideous. Stop meeting up with them.

Bowlersarm Tue 28-Jan-14 16:51:16

You could stop being so rigid on Tuesdays, and invite them round another time when Helen isn't childminding?

LadyBeagleEyes Tue 28-Jan-14 16:52:31

Do you ever ask them to yours?
I see this question has been asked again and again but you're not answering.

FFS call it off. You don't owe this woman regular playdates, it's making your kids miserable and the only concievable benefit I can see is that it gives you a chance to feel superior to 'Helen'. Just tell her politely that as the kids don't seem to get on it's best to leave it for the moment, and make other arrangements for your DC.

longtallsally2 Tue 28-Jan-14 16:55:38

Totally agree that this sounds a really awkward situation for you and probably not one you would want to continue. Just to put the other side, some people do find it really awkward disciplining their child infront of other people, and do better dealing with it "later". The fact that Helen assured you that she had spoken to her dd and her behaviour improved for a few weeks suggests that she might be one of these.

I know that I become a rabbit in the headlights when others are watching (partly because I am busy imagining the MN thread running through my head. "Then she said XX. Imagine!"). If my dss misbehave in front of other people, I tend to either sound like Joyce Grenfell or splutter ineffectually, go pink, then splutter a bit more. I would, however, aim to remove them from the situation and then try to reassure the other mother that I would be dealing with them, and once the visitors have departed then the words - and appropriate punishments - flow with no spluttering.

Not saying that I am right in dealing with things that way - indeed I have often wished that the right words would come at the time - but that is the way I am. Hopefully your neighbour will make sure that her dd never treats another visitor like that or they will run out of visitors soon.

YouTheCat Tue 28-Jan-14 16:56:03

Suggest the park. If that doesn't work, be busy a lot on a Tuesday.

NoSquirrels Tue 28-Jan-14 16:57:57

Just be busy most Tuesdays!

To be honest, I wouldn't expect 3-yr-olds to behave well left alone to play upstairs - I'd be anticipating problems. And if I was good enough friends with someone to be at their house every week, then I would feel comfortable to do some discipline of their children, if they were upsetting my kids particularly.

ApprenticeViper Tue 28-Jan-14 16:58:36

It sounds as though Helen's DD was showing off because she had another friend there, which changed the dynamic from the last few visits. If you had arrived before the other friend, chances are it would have been the other girl who was pushed out.

If nobody, including you, is getting anything out of these playdates any more, it definitely sounds like time to call it quits.

MrsOakenshield Tue 28-Jan-14 16:58:48

park or nothing, I reckon. Oh, and not all of us who have a one-and-only allow them to behave like this!

Lemongrab Tue 28-Jan-14 17:00:48

Her dd sounds horrid and Helen sounds useless.
I would stop going.

horsetowater Tue 28-Jan-14 17:03:40

When I had playdates with my friends and their children, if one of their dcs was out of order we would reinforce good behaviour and back each other up.

She was happy to tell mine off / reason with them and vice versa. It's not really a friendship if you can't deal with little things like 3 year olds falling out or behaving badly. They learn such a lot from these social situations it is good to pursue them but only if the adults can role model good behaviour.

horsetowater Tue 28-Jan-14 17:04:52

Always a good idea to go to neutral territory. Having to go to someone's house each time is a bit one-sided.

pussycatdoll Tue 28-Jan-14 17:07:09

it wasn't the nuggets and chips, it was eating it in the bedroom, would give me a coronary!! hope they didn't have ketchup wink

lunar1 Tue 28-Jan-14 17:08:47

There is no way I would carry on with this.

Apart from anything else, these children are far too young to play alone for this long and being left to eat alone is dangerous.

SpottyDottie Tue 28-Jan-14 17:10:15

I'd stop going and I wouldn't feel guilty because your DC aren't the only ones there, so she hasn't got that argument of 'her pfb has no one to play with' iyswim

3catsnokids Tue 28-Jan-14 17:14:43

I think these children are too young to play alone in a bedroom. I wouldn't have let mine go to the bedroom and if her daughter wouldn't play in the living room I would sweetly say 'that's alright, we'll go home. I expect we'll see you soon. Bye.' And I would have left.

oscarwilde Tue 28-Jan-14 17:14:58

Park or nothing especially as your DS is being excluded. Terrible time of the year for infections so you can easily make your excuses for a bit. smile Plus you can easily say that since you can't reciprocate the invitation you would prefer not to make it a regular event.
You could always book swimming lessons or something that only had availability then.

Belacoros Tue 28-Jan-14 17:19:51

"Aside from having DD's the same age, Helen and I have nothing in common."

I've never made 'mom friends' or hung around people just because we have similar aged children. It seems like a new thing we 'have' to or are 'supposed' to do. What, sit with awkward strangers just so kids can fight over items? Bleh.

See your own friends, as an adult. The children will get plenty of time to be with other kids at school/nursery or in more natural scenarios like relatives. You don't need all this 'playdate' business where a day a week - every week?? That'd drive me mental - is wasted on this charade we've been convinced is 'good' for children, probably peddled by biscuit manufacturers.

if I was good enough friends with someone to be at their house every week, then I would feel comfortable to do some discipline of their children, if they were upsetting my kids particularly.

Okay, now you've opened a can of worms. The previous falling out was because I told her daughter (firmly but without raising my voice) to stop snatching. I finally got sick of Helen's non-intervention. However my intervention was enough for Helen to throw me out!! Along with "she is only a child" and major cats bum face.

Why I returned a few weeks later, I have no idea.

Sorry for the dripfeed, but I needed to explain why I am not comfortable disciplining other people's kids. The one time I tried, I was ejected from the house.

pigletmania Tue 28-Jan-14 17:26:29

I would stop it for a bit, I think it's getting a but tired. Just say that I don't think they are getting along right now but would you like to meet up when the girls are at pre school

Only1scoop Tue 28-Jan-14 17:29:19

You are definately wanting to end the arrangement by the sound of it. Are you just wondering how to do it without offending?

GreyGardens Tue 28-Jan-14 17:30:11

Not sure why any grown up would put themselves through this level of tedium tbh. Plus your kids hate each other. Do something more interesting instead?

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