having friends over to play, and then dealing with arguments and upsets

(12 Posts)
jac44jac Sun 17-Aug-14 16:47:49

hi there,

i was wondering if i might be able to get some advice on how to deal with the following.....

my daughter, aged 7 years old, has her 4th friend of the week over today.for the fourth time this week, and after approximately 3 hours of play, there is a big fall out again which causes tears, and upset. on the previous 3 occasions this week, my daughter has come downstairs to say that she is not speaking to 'friend' because of.... 'various reasons'. it is always something minor such as, 'she has my toy' etc. this afternoon, the same thing happened again, and i got very cross with my daughter, in front of her friend. i explained that she, (my daughter), can play with the toy all evening, but her friend just wants to play with it for now. i always take the side of the friend, as they have been entrusted to my care, but i don't know if this is the right approach. my daughter was so upset that i had yet again 'embarrassed her' in front of a friend. i feel terribly guilty, but feel that i need to ensure that the 'friend' feels secure in my care. i'm finding these situations difficult to address, and would really appreciate some guidance / advice. kind thanks jac...

Yama Sun 17-Aug-14 16:52:14

I always warn that dd won't be able to invite a friend over again if there are any arguments. They have to resolve any issues themselves.

7 is old enough to understand this.

Also, I would say that 4 different friends in a week is too much.

strawberryshoes Sun 17-Aug-14 16:56:21

The friends sound like they are staying quite a long time to me. I think after 3 hours of play without any arguing at all is good going. They almost always fall out over something eventually.

Things I would try, have an activity planned for them part way through the day like popping to the park or just playing in the garden for a bit. Change of scene and space helps. Letting them sort it out themselves, they will make up if left to it, or the friend can go home. You getting involved might prevent them both learning peacemaking skills they need. Take away the offending toy they are fighting over so they can't fight over it, but don't take sides.

jac44jac Sun 17-Aug-14 16:58:57

trying to fill up the holidays with play dates, and also seeing if she would respond differently to the different personalities, but it seems that the 'problem' recurs each time. i worry far too much about upsetting the 'friend', and the feedback that would be given to their parent, on collection. i think i need to keep it simple, and just state that they need to resolve the situation, and then step away. this is my first mumsnet post, so much appreciate the advice. many thanks indeed..

FunkyBoldRibena Sun 17-Aug-14 17:02:16

When my nieces stay or the DSD had friends over; my top rule was 'if you argue and someone ends up crying, it's your own fault'. Rarely get/got tears. As I would just say 'sort it out yourselves, learn how to get along'.

jac44jac Sun 17-Aug-14 17:05:48

ok, thank you. it sounds like i'm getting too involved in the petty squabbles. i really concern myself with 'what the parent/s of the friend will think' about my parenting skills....

strawberryshoes Sun 17-Aug-14 17:09:30

I worry about the same thing, but I bet if the friend says to their mum in the car "she made me cry because she wouldn't share her Frozen dress up set with me!" The mum would probably roll her eyes and say yes dear, play nicely next time. We all know what they can be like.

BlackWings Sun 17-Aug-14 17:12:14

3 hours is too long ime. 4 playdates in one week seems a lot. Honestly, if mine behaved liked that they wouldn't be rewarded with more playdates. And yy to sorting out their own differences at that age. Maybe tell your DD that if she's mean to her friends she'll end up with none. Harsh but true.

slackcabbage Sun 17-Aug-14 17:17:53

Welcome to Mumsnet!

Sympathies op - playdates can be a pain! I think it is quite normal for seven year old girls to fall out over toys.

Agree with other posters who said perhaps 4 play dates in a week is too many and 3 hrs is perhaps too long without an organised activity thrown in too.

I'm like you and I always come down very hard on my dd and her responsibilities as the 'host' (she is an 'only' so really very important for her to learn to share) and say it is up to her to share her toys and (within reason) follow the wishes of the guest. I think that is the right approach (and basic good manners) but I wouldn't tell my dd off in front of the other girl. DD is older now but I always read the riot act way in advance of a play date (several times) and explain what is expected. If I had to intervene during a play date, I would take dd away somewhere and talk to her in private out of hearing of her guest. That way, dd wouldn't be embarrassed and it would give her a chance to put her pov. I've still had to be fairly firm in those circumstances though.

Agree with other poster that re-directing rather than directly policing is probably a better strategy. I always try and have one activity prepared for the dc to do ie icing biscuits or similar, and one in reserve in case of problems. Better to have a shorter play-date that was successful and leaves them wanting more, rather than a longer one that goes sour ifyswim.

Try not to worry about what the parents of the guest child will think; if they are reasonable people they will know that these small disputes happen from time to time and will be very grateful to you for having their child over to play!

If the problem doesn't improve, maybe it would be best to have a word with your dd about it on a quiet day when you are both relaxing? Can you ask her what is causing the disputes and what is upsetting her most? Good luck!

Ardliath Sun 17-Aug-14 17:21:01

I dealt with the problem of sharing special toys by asking dc which toys they would not like playdates using before they arrived and then putting those out of sight. That meant that they could not object to any other toy being played with. It worked well, probably because they had more control over the situation. Also second the idea of having something organised like baking or a trip to the park halfway through the playdate.

jac44jac Sun 17-Aug-14 17:41:52

thank you. appreciate all the advice. i hadn't considered that 4 playdates in a week was too much. i think i have been selfishly regarding them as a babysitting opportunity. as a full time single mum with a full time job (39 hours per week), i always try to fill up my days off, with friends over, so that my daughter feels that i am trying to meet her needs, but it also gives me the opportunity to do work, (it's a tough juggling act), for my week ahead. apologies, as i am not sure what dd and dsd etc etc mean......

superstarheartbreaker Mon 18-Aug-14 13:28:51

It is partly because of all this bullshit that im not having anymore kids.
Im about to fall out with a friend as our daughters wouldn't share a pile of straws and shes gone all funny about it [ hmm] whereas I think its a pile of straws fgs. Life is too short!

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