For there to be no consequences for cancelling this playdate?(66 Posts)
DS (5.5) was meant to be going to a good friend's house after school today. When I told him about the plan yesterday he was really excited, but this morning he's ended up in fits of tears as he wants to come home instead and play with his Lego (which he's totally obsessed about).
DS didn't seem to understand he can't just decide to go another day instead, and DH and I handled it badly and will need to apologise later. I got really angry and said he was letting his friend down and he might not ever get invited again, various other empty threats, DH threatened to take his Lego away etc etc. (Feel free to beat me up about this but rest assured I'm already doing that myself - I feel like we've done a terrible job of this!)
In the end I said I would cancel the playdate and discuss consequences later. Now I'm not so cross I'm thinking of the bigger picture.
DS is normally confident and stubborn (but is poor at understanding the impact of his decisions, which is maybe normal at this age). However, he is readjusting to being back at school and is tired and emotionally volatile at the moment. He's having a lot of nightmares and is unusually clingy with me and I wonder whether the insistence he wants to be at home is to be with me. I also didn't ask if he wanted to go the playdate as it's his best friend and he loves going there, though as I say he was delighted with the news yesterday.
So my inclination is to discuss this with DS, say that in future we'll agree together whether he goes to a playdate, but that he needs to stick to his decision once it's made because it's not fair otherwise. And that's the end of it.
DH thinks I'm being too soft, and that DS is refusing the playdate just because he fancies playing with Lego instead, and we need to have consequences so he understands he can't just let friends down and change his mind as the fancy takes him.
AIBU to think there shouldn't be any consequences? And how would you have handled the situation this morning?
As a bit of background - DS's behaviour is a bit of a challenge at the moment, though improving now he's back to school. He's prone to arguing about stuff for the sake of it and having tantrums about things, so this probably coloured both our reactions this morning and how DH feels about what we should do.
He's 5, of course there shouldn't be consequences. Tbh I wouldn't give any child consequences for this. Haven't you ever made plans with someone and then changed your mind?
It is supposed to be a fun thing to go and play at his friend's house so why force him to go if he doesn't want to? There really shouldn't be any punishments for this.
LookingUpAtTheStars - yes of course I have, but if I've made plans with a friend I stick to them unless i have a good reason to cancel. Don't we need to help our children understand that it's not fair if their children get all excited about the playdate (and Mum gets food in and makes preparations) and then they change their mind at the eleventh hour?
The "natural consequence" will be that he may not be invited again for a while or possibly ever again. Beyond that nothing else is necessary.
I do have a rule that if you accept a party invitation then you aren't allowed to change your mind but that's because expense tends to be involved, as well as potential upset.
I wouldn't have given him a choice in the matter.
He would be going.
He would have been fine once he got there anyway.
I think giving little ones the power to make decisions like this actually makes them insecure .
Good grief he's 5, knackered, and wants to be at home. Yes it needs a chat explaining that this is not fair on his friend, but of course there shouldn't be a punishment attached. (Removing a toy is punishments. 'consequences' is just a nice way of saying 'I'm going to punish him but it's all modern and OK')
I wouldnt have entered into any negotiations about it in the first place. It would be a case of 'its been arranged- you're going'.
I'd let it go as a one off but next time, before you accept, I'd double check with him, ask if he's sure and reiterate that if he accepts then he's definitely got to go.
Wow you were harsh! And I thought I could be bad. Your DH is being ridiculous.
Your DS is feeling unsettled, being clingy and tired from being back at school. Give him a break! I bet the lego is a red herring. He just wants to come home!
You should have asked him first if he wanted to go.
My DD has just started school and there is no way I'd be letting her go to friends after school at the moment as she is so tired.
When he comes home, apologise. Explain next time you will ask him first and that if he chooses to say yes he needs to be sure as he should stick to it. But this does it warrant punishment at all! Poor little boy. Sorry but your DH is being an unsympathetic arse about it.
But you have already said he is upset about something, and not sleeping well. He doesn't sound emotionally up for a playdate and at 5 years old, that's ok. Just rearrange it.
Can the friend come to your house instead? Then the friend isn't feeling let down and they can play with the Lego together.
''DH thinks ... that DS is refusing the playdate just because he fancies playing with Lego instead''
... and what's wrong with that at 5 years old?
You can begin teaching the niceties of accepting invitations you're rather not accept when the lad is older. IF you really want to. Cancelling a run of the mill after school play date, politely, is fine. It's not as if the other parents have paid for a weekend away or a ticket to a theme park of something!
Has he just started in Reception?
If so he's probably exhausted and coping with a massive change too.
Both my 2 were at preschool 3 days a week but once they started school they were exhausted and just wanted to come home at the end of the day.
you do need to talk to him about how his friend might feel and if the parent has gone to any trouble but beyond that I would leave it.
Probably best not to accept invitations for a bit or make them short
I wouldn't have been upset about it at all if it was my DC. They always want to go to their friends usually so if they told me that they didn't want to go on the day I would respect their decision, and put it down to them not feeling great/tired/whatever, and rearrange the play for another time. If I really didn't feel like meeting a friend I would cancel with lots of apologies, despite the fact that it had been arranged.
Interesting range of responses, thank you all for your perspectives.
I guess I'm not really clear on his motivation for not wanting to go - whether he just fancies playing with his Lego instead (he has form for, say, suddenly being difficult about going on an agreed family outing to the zoo because he's in the middle of something) or whether there's a deeper more emotional reason for it. Initially I thought it was the former but am now more inclined towards the latter.
Makeminered - that is my inclination as well.
Did you ask him if he wanted to go before arranging anything? If you did, I would have told him that he'd already agreed to go, so he was going.
If you didn't ask him, you need to apologise and say in future you'll ask him, but if he agrees to go then he has to stick by it unless he's sick.
I soon learned only to arrange the absolute minimum after school things when the children were this young (dentist, doctors etc)
I would have taken him to his friends and not entered into neogation but perhaps cut short the visit if I could see he was tired. I would have later explained ( when he wasn't tired and cranky) that you can't just not turn up to things because you don't feel like it. That said, I would have asked if he fancied going first and then got back to the other parent with my answer.
Hoppinggreen - no, he's just started in Y1. We had no playdates or weekend plans for the first month in reception! But he is more tired than I anticipated.
Friend has been extremely understanding about cancelling. Unfortunately they can't come here for various reasons too complicated to explain here!
It's a play date not the biggest wedding if the year!!
Yes when you acept an invitation you should keep to your word. But he is 5yo and is clearly settling back in and struggling with it. The right answer is the one you have come up with afterwards (And I have no issue with that. I've done that numerous times before). Let him decide if he wants to go instead of you taking the decision but then, make it clear his decision is unchangeable.
Think about the big picture and why he is so clingy (a child that is having regular nightmares screams of a child who is struggling A LOT emotionally atm). Work on that, spend time with him, help him settle down again.
Btw, he is just 5yo. Consequences such as 'letting people down' or 'not being ivitted for a while' will have no meaning for hin whatsoever. They all built on a learnt fear of looking bad in front of other or ending up alone with no friends. He won't get that at all. He is much more likely to think 'Oh great. That means I'll get to stay at home instead!'.
TheBunnyOfDoom - no I didn't ask him, because it's his best friend and we have playdates all the time and he loves them - but I realise I absolutely should have done and will do in future, and will tell him that.
Oh well, just learn from it and move on.
I'm sure he's not traumatised or anything
It's no drama, maybe he just didn't feel like it. But I think he should be asked. It's not like you needed him to go, he could have chosen to stay home.
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