to end the playdates(12 Posts)
I've just recently moved to a new area, and become friends with a group of women, all of whom have young children, and we have playdates twice a week. All of the women are lovely, but one of their sons, who is a year older than my son, seems very angry and aggressive. I'm trying to be patient with him but he's really upset my son on the last few playdates, by ignoring him, saying that his mum's stinky, and being very aggressive and frightening him by encouraging him to do things that physically he's not ready for in terms of climbing etc, and mocking him when my son tries to wee standing up and doesn't quite aim correctly. My son is quite sensitive and has been in tears over this, and really didn't want to go on another playdate with him, but we went today as I was trying not to make it into an issue, and thinking maybe I'm being a bit harsh on the boy and focusing too much on the negative. But today at the playdate the boy was fine with my son (who to be honest just pretty much played on his own), but the boy hit another girl resulting in her crying, and when I was trying to get my son to leave he was literally throwing footballs and rugby balls at short range at my head whilst I was wearing my baby in her sling (so in the line of fire) whilst screaming 'in your face stinky!' at me.
I know this all seems really petty but my gut instinct is saying that this isn't a good situation. My son is really sensitive and gets upset, before the playdate he was worrying about it for ages, crying at night and sort of bottling it up rather than talking about it (he had to be coaxed to say why he was crying), and that isn't good as he's only 3. I know 4 year old boys can be rough and tumble but this boy seems beyond that, and his mum has sort of implied that other mum's have found the boy too much and won't let their children play with him, and that she took him out of nursery because of some incident with another boy.
Am I being unreasonable in thinking this is unacceptable behaviour and not the sort of situation that my son should be exposed to? On the one hand if he upsets my son obviously that's bad (although I don't want my son to feel that running away from and avoiding problems is a coping mechanism), on the other hand even if my son gets on OK with this boy, as happened today, he's seeing really unacceptable behaviour be tolerated, as the boy's mum just says 'oh he's really wild, I don't know what to do' and doesn't intervene. If I stop taking my son to these playdates I will effectively not see this group of women as that's all we do, so I will have to start again and make new friends, and all the mum's seem nice and the other children are much calmer. Not sure if I'm making a mountain out of a molehill or what, I'm a bit worried I'm being too overprotective of my son.
Do what's best for your ds. Is he enjoying his play dates with this other boy or is your relationship with the other mothers that important? If you all get on, can you have a chat with her about her parenting of her son for the sake of keeping the group together?
Thanks for your reply. It's a bit hard to tell with my ds, he was literally in tears at the thought of going so I gave him the choice of whether or not to go today, but he was most emphatic that he did want to go so we went. He seemed to enjoy it I think, but like I say he played mainly on his own. But it's tricky, I think he's going to be the type to bottle up emotions, he'll sort of say he's had fun whilst being on the verge of tears, like he's faking being OK so he doesn't have to talk about it.
It's a bit tricky to talk to the boy's mum, she seems completely aware that he's a bit of a nightmare, and to be fair my ds is a bit prone to being over-sensitive, so it's a bit hard to tell how much it really is affecting him. Maybe it's just a personality clash with them, but if they keep apart and my ds plays with the other children that might work.
I think I might be being a bit biased as I was bullied horribly when I was a child and I really don't want my son to have to go through that, I want to raise him to be confident and to get on well with others, so I might be overreacting a bit. But I have seem some horrible behaviour from this boy that I don't want my son to think is at all acceptable. I'm not sure what the other mum's think, I don't want to seem that I'm criticising anyone's parenting skills or children!
Thanks Numberlock, that's my gut feeling, but I just wanted to check that I wasn't being unreasonable in thinking this way.
Stop going and if anyone comments just say you find x's behaviour hard to deal with. It might be the prompt she needs to get some help.
Then have a child-free night out so you can still have the friendship with his mum.
IMO he will bottle his feelings up if he feels like he's not being listened to.
I'd have a break from these play dates for a bit, see if he's happier, if he misses them.
He's relying on you to make the right choices for him though.
I really would say something to his mum. It's not just about your DS - did she see him throwing balls at you and your baby? What did you say about that?
Good idea, I'll have a break from the playdates for a while, my son definitely comes first. I'll suggest a child free night out too with these ladies to keep those relationships up, and try and widen my social circle a bit more so he comes into contact with other children. There's a local playgroup I've been taking my baby to where a couple of the other mum's go but this boy doesn't, so I'll see if he prefers it there. He used to go to a playgroup where we used to live and absolutely loved it there and made friends there. It must be scary for him to not have his normal friends around, and then have to try and understand the behaviour of this new boy.
If your son is happier not to go then don't go, look for new friends or invite one of the other friends to play on their own. However I think, if the child is threatening towards you or your son, you should deal with his behaviour. It is ok to tell him off for behaving badly if it involves you. It's his mums job but she's not doing it.
It looks as if you are going to walk away from this friendship anyway so it may be worth trying to speak to the mum about his behaviour. If she has had to take him out of nursery she has a real problem and should see her GP re having him assessed and her HV re help for her to manage him ie parenting classes etc. If she just leaves it he will have real problems when he goes to school and so will the teacher.
The mum didn't see the ball throwing incident. I was in the boy's bedroom trying to get my son out to get ready to go home, and she was in the hallway saying goodbye to the other mums. The moment has passed now but if we do come into contact again (which could happen at the park or something even if I don't take him to any more playdates) and something happens I will bring attention to it.
It depends on whether there is another group of children and Mums to be friends with. Out here it's pretty Hobson's choice, you have to rub a long or not be part of anything.
It's very difficult if parents won't disapline their children to know what to do. I'm not at all patient and if he'd thrown a second ball at me aid probably have told him off rather sharply.
Perhaps miss the next one or two and see how you feel, but do be careful to balance your need for friends and your DS need for company with your feelings about one child.
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