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To never want to do another playdate again and to think that ds really shouldn't be like this at 5 years old

(60 Posts)
lecce Sun 23-Sep-12 15:54:11

I am sitting here in tears after another disastrous playdate, feeling like we have done something seriously wrong with ds. I would love someone to tell me whether or not I am over-reacting and this is, in fact, normal five year old behaviour.

The problem is he is absolutely terrible at sharing or, from what I can see, accepting that other people have different ideas for games etc. As soon as things are not going his way he throws the most almighty tantrums with red face, tears and screaming. Then he just lies on the floor sucking his thumb. None of the other children I see him with ever do this, or, if they do, it is to a far lesser extent and they seem to snap out of it far more easily.

He just seems downright selfish and unpleasant, though I hate myself for writing that. I feel that soon no one will want to see us as he is just such hard work. He is easier at other people's houses but that is because they all share their stuff, unlike him sad.

I suppose it is worse because I work full-time so the weekend is all I have and now I feel this one has been dominated by a totally shit event that showed him at his worst.

When it happens we take him aside and talk to him calmy but it doesn't get through to him. He has got a lot worse over the last 6 months or so, though I can't see any reason for the change. We have never used methods such as the naughty-step etc.

His behaviour is excellent at school, in fact, his teacher once commented that he is more emotionally mature than many others in the class confused

baskingseals Sun 23-Sep-12 15:57:54

lecce you haven't done anything wrong.

perhaps he just wants to spend time with you chilling a bit. being with other people can be exhausting whether you are five or forty.

2cats2many Sun 23-Sep-12 15:58:52

I think that at 5 years old he is grown up enough to understand that actions= consequences and that you expect him to behave in a certain way if there are guests in the house.

Does he want playdates? If so, he has to agree to abide by some rules. If he breaks the rules, then no playdates for however long you want toimpose the sanction. Maybe you could draw up a set of rules together and sit down and remind him of them before the friend comes to play?

baskingseals Sun 23-Sep-12 15:59:06

don't cry sweetheart - it's alright honestly. go and have a tickle fight with him.

SlipperyNipple Sun 23-Sep-12 16:00:42

Maybe he does need his space with you at the weekend. Has he got siblings?

Longtalljosie Sun 23-Sep-12 16:00:46

Boys have a testosterone surge at some point between 4 and 6 don't they? A really big one? Do you think that may be a part of it?

Look - if his behaviour really is excellent at school that's a really good thing...

YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 23-Sep-12 16:02:00

Lecce, I wouldn't do the talking calmly, well I would but it wouldn't be the only thing I did. I generally tell them before we go anywhere that we will be sharing and playing nicely and if, after one warning, there is still not sharing or in fact if there is a complete meltdown then we will be swiftly and matter of factly going home. And stick to it.

I also think though that he might just want some time with you at the weekend, we don't do anything hardly with anyone else at the weekend because the dc want to spend time with me on my own iyswim.

Mrsjay Sun 23-Sep-12 16:03:07

I think play dates are overrated tbh I never did them , I think you are giving yourself such a hard time over this I do think it is something you can work on though not all children are the little angels we expect or want them to be try and relax if he throws a wobbiliy just take him away until he calms down and out the game or toy away, what is he like at school or in general does he take a tantrum if he doesn't get his own way in other situations,

Mrsjay Sun 23-Sep-12 16:03:47


YouBrokeMySmoulder Sun 23-Sep-12 16:03:57

If its at your house after one warning then mine go in their rooms to calm down for a bit and if things don't improve then their friends go home. I know you don't use naughty step or anything but I find it easier to send them to their rooms on the rare occasion I have to because then I don't get wound up and upset and the dc don't see that they have got to you.

Mrsjay Sun 23-Sep-12 16:05:32

OH I read down he is fine at school , I think he just likes his own space and things at home and TBH that is ok he maybe needs time out from the playdates for a while, sometimes being blunt works and explaining doesn't work all the time

booitsme Sun 23-Sep-12 16:07:30

Have you got close friends/family with children that you can invite over to help him learn to share. Sharing is a skill that needs to be regularly practised before it is mastered!

I have 2 boys And have had lots of issues with sharing over the years. They play regularly with their cousins and that helps. However, we have a new puppy and my 7 year old bought a friend over to meet him. It was very embarrassing as he wouldn't let the boy near the puppy.. I privately understand why he doesn't want a boisterous friend near his puppy but I nevertheless had a stern chat with him, away from his friend, explaining his behaviour would not be tolerated.

You are aware of the problem and with perserverance you will see results.

mollythetortoise Sun 23-Sep-12 16:08:06

stop the playdates - they really aren't a necessary part of childhood - or if you/he really wants to do them, perhaps agree to meet other children elsewhere instead, at the park or local swimming pool so his toys aren't a feature. He is only 5 - reception or year one at most so it is still normal behaviour.

It sounds so stressful for you that I would give it a miss.

I have a 5 yr old ds too, he is actually ok at sharing but I never do playdates with him at our home because I hate the mess/disruption/ noise but we often meet friends at park instead and he is absolutely fine with this.

I also think time alone at home with just family is essential at this age (every age really) paricualr at weekends.

On a positive note his behaviour sounds great at school so I donlt think you have a big behaviour issue here - I am sure he will get better behaved as he gets older.

Shelby2010 Sun 23-Sep-12 16:10:04

With my toddler there are certain toys I have to remove from the living room before other children come over otherwise there'd be carnage! Maybe you could talk to your DS before the friend comes round & discuss which toys he would be happy to share & allow him to put a few 'special' things away in his bedroom.

ByTheWay1 Sun 23-Sep-12 16:10:21

If his behaviour is good at school, I wouldn't worry too much..

as others have said, maybe some ground rules before the next play date.... my girls were slow to share so I know how wretched you can feel... we got round it by laying down rules -

Our rules were
1/everyone has some special stuff they don't want anyone else to play with - that stuff has to GO AWAY in the cupboard before your friend comes round....
2/any other stuff that is out can be played with by anyone.
3/if someone is doing something you do not like, you come see me
4/You take turns when playing games,
5/if you feel a bit upset maybe you can take a time out and help me get everyone a drink, you might feel better afterwards and be able to carry on playing

number 5 was very handy and stopped the foot-stamping red face stuff....

EdMcDunnough Sun 23-Sep-12 16:11:39

I think 5 is ever so little for play dates.

We didn't do any, really, till ds was about 7 and then we began very slowly.

The thing is, you say nothing's happened recently but it has - presumably he's started school. This is huge.

It's possible that he feels the same as you - there's very little time to be with you, and at home, doing nothing much, and he's processing everything from school as well so naturally will need more down time. And then one of his friends turns up, and suddenly his space at home isn't his space any more either. iyswim?

I suspect it's more about sharing his mum than his stuff...or maybe both...but children who behave very well at school often do need to be silly or selfish or whatever at home as it's their bit of release.

If he is fine at school you have very little to worry about. My second is 5 and I wouldn't want to do play dates with him at the moment - five days a week of other people his size is quite enough for him.

Give it a coupld of years and he will gradually be much more physically and mentally strong, and it will get easier for him.

DoMeDon Sun 23-Sep-12 16:14:58

Do you let him have his own way a lot? Does he share at home? Are you the kind of people who share? I would be asking myself all these questions. If you are happy with what you do and how you are with him then look for other reasons. Is he getting over tired? Are the DC he's playing with affecting his behaviour? Look at all angles.

It doesn't sound usual to me. Probably not what you want to hear but it's my truth - sorry.

Viviennemary Sun 23-Sep-12 16:21:45

He is only five after all. And if he doesn't have brothers and sisters at home he probably won't like the idea of sharing what he looks on as exclusively his stuff. I think this is a lot less serious than biting and hitting. So don't stress too much over it. If he has any special toys get him to put them away in your room even and let him take out toys he doesn't mind sharing. That could be a start.

NowThenNowThen Sun 23-Sep-12 16:23:12

What is a playdate exactly? I only ask because since nursery I have had other peoples children over to play, or dropped ds off at a friends to play for a bit-only if I am friends with the parent and usually if I need to do something like go to the doctors etc.
So, based on this, I wouldn't have thought 5 was too young, but then a playdate sounds quite formal, so I don't know.

I would agree that a) little kids at school need quite a lot of downtime, and b) when he does play up, you need consequences.
I wouldn't even bother going into too much explanation. If he is quite emotionally mature, he will get that his behaviour is not on.
When he does it, one warning, and if it happens again you leave, or you take his freind home. (You will need to explain to friends parents what you will be doing and make sure they will be in etc.)

AvonCallingBarksdale Sun 23-Sep-12 16:24:39

DS used to get horribly over-excited when people came over, it often used to end very badly and I'd end up feeling like you, OP For us, we pretty much stopped doing them. When he was invited somewhere, I'd accept but explain to the other parent that we weren't reciprocating at the moment, and they were always fine once I'd explained (DS was fine at tother people's houses confused). Now he's 8, does a lot of extra curricular activities, and occasionally has people round. He's got much better, but he admitted recently that he likes to relax at home afteer school/clubs. That's fine. I'd love for him to have people round as much as poss, butg it just doesn't work for us at th emoment - sure it will as he grows up a bit more. Try not to worry.

gordyslovesheep Sun 23-Sep-12 16:25:06

he is FIVE - yes he should share but they don't all the time

Please stop the 'play dates' (hate that term) unless at a neutral place such as soft play

also, and I say this without being judgy and as a working parent myself, maybe he just wants YOU at the weekend - he may not want a 'play date' where he has to share you x

adeucalione Sun 23-Sep-12 16:28:12

I think it all hinges on whether he wants the playdate, or whether you arrange it for him because you think it's the right thing to do.

If he wants it then I would remind him of the house rules regarding sharing before the next playdate, and tell him that bad behaviour will result in him being sent to his room and/or the friend being sent home. You should only need to do this once to get results - he needs to see that you really mean it I think.

If he is indifferent to having friends over to play on the weekend, then I would stop arranging this for a few months and then try again.

It might also be worth mentioning it to his teacher, so that she can keep an eye on how he shares/takes turns at school and maybe do some work with the whole class on this issue.

Iamjezabel Sun 23-Sep-12 16:28:39

As he is 5 and understands consequences, what punishments do you enforce?

TheSmallClanger Sun 23-Sep-12 16:29:08

DD used to get over-excited and stroppy when her school friends came over, when she was that age. She has non-school friends she played much better with.

I wouldn't be doing "playdates" at the weekend. An hour or so after school is more than enough at that age.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Sun 23-Sep-12 16:30:28

You poor thing!

I don't agree that he's too young for playdates. I think the earlier you start them the sooner they get used to them and the idea of sharing. I don't see stopping them as the solution either as i would imagine that he will encounter other children (cousins etc) in his home from time to time and he needs to get used to that.

Is it any toy he gets possessive over or a particular favourite?

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