playdate crisis(90 Posts)
One thing that I was not prepared for when my son started school was how difficult playdates can be.
Little background. Ds has had history in the past for being naughty at school (and a bit at playdates - think spilling yoghurt on sofa and being a bit hyper generally). It is never nasty or hurtful to other kids unless someone is mean to him, more like a bit silly. Anyway, as a result he has been given the title by the other kids as being "the naughty one".
He has made a huge effort recently to not be silly and his teacher acknowledged that he had an amazing term last term and wasn't in trouble once. So things are improving. However, as his behaviour improves I was expecting people might start to invite him for playdates again - not even a sniff (slight exaggeration there ate two mothers who are amazing and have made a huge effort to get to know out family and as a result he is really compliant with them). I had all his friends over last term and now he keeps on asking "when am I going to so and so's house". It is getting really difficult making excuses to him and I am finding it difficult doing all the legwork with these mothers in continually inviting their kids over and having to put up with their children who are equally difficult in their own way.
Would I be unreasonable for suggesting to dh that maybe he should move schools to make a fresh start somewhere he won't be labelled as the naughty one and can have an opportunity to start afresh. I think it is really getting both of us down at the moment. Also if people think iabu then what should I do?
Term has only really just started and before that a lot of people were busy with Christmas. Hopefully if you give it time there will be invitations again.
Maybe if you are "continually" doing the inviting, people assume you're happy with it that way round? They might have got round to a reciprocal invitation a bit later as not everyone reciprocates straight away.
Hopefully others will have some good suggestions for you.
I generally have each of his friends over once a term so it is not like I am gushing, or overwhelming them with invites. It was all of last term that got me when not a single person invited him back. I am trying to hold off a bit but some kids seem to be booked until half term already - they are all doing it with each other but my Ds isn't included.
My youngest is 8, and tbh we rarely do playdates, and certainly not in term time.
I plan to have 1, or maybe 2 playdates at half term / Christmas / Easter, and even at that there are only 2 or 3 children who I would invite, and not at the same time.
Perhaps your expectations are a bit higher than other parents?
My dd is nine and over the years I've only had the friends whose mums I knew well over. Play dates can be a bit of a chore for some people I certainly wouldn't move schools over it
I don't know whether I am being unrealistic. I think if I didn't occasionally receive the pointed remarks about his behaviour and see that everyone else was having playdates I would feel differently about it.
Seems a bit drastic to change schools, especially if his behaviour has really improved in class? A move could set him back.
It sounds like you are worried he has a bad reputation amongst the other parents but if they really thought he was a bad influence I'm sure they wouldn't accept your invites,
It's a shame that he doesn't seem to be invited back but that could be any number of reasons and nothing to do with him being 'naughty' I hope he gets an invite soon though so you can relax about it all
Oh I don't know. My ds's best friend is the naughty one, and although I really like him and his mum I don't invite him round for playdates anymore. Totally happy to go and meet them out of the house somewhere, but I can't be doing with the naughty behaviour. I wouldn't change schools, in time things will get better. I will invite naughty best friend round again one day, when I've got enough energy to deal with it.
I kind of feel your pain here. Ds1 never gets invited to anyone's house. He is awaiting a diagnosis for ADHD and I know he is silly in class sometimes. But I also know he has very good manners, is polite and well behaved at other people's houses. I just think that the children report to their parents that ds1 misbehaved at school and they don't want him over. They are happy for their children to come to ours though!
What also makes a difference, I think, is that I'm not really friends with any of the parents. I'm friendly, chat in the playground, sometimes attend drinks organised by class rep, but not actually friends. Most of my friends have children in dds class and she gets invited on a lot of play dates.
My two went to a total of one playdate and I hosted one. Never again
IME they are over rated and there seems to be this 'thing' about them. I think you should focus on how well your DS is doing behaviour wise at school. I think moving schools is really not the answer. Do keep inviting perhaps one child over for tea at a time. Just focus on your DS an his friend having a good time while at your house.
I'd try and invite other kids out to somewhere neutral - why don't we all go to the park after school, sort of thing. Then if the other parents can see that he's better, they might be more willing?
Tbh, it wouldn't take much at all for me to not want to invite a kid over. I am tired and tying to get things done after school, if I know that Child A will disappear with mine for two hours and play nicely I'm always going to choose that child over the one who wrecks the joint or makes my kid cry. Not because it's developmentally inappropriate or I think s/he's a bad kid - just because frankly, playdates are enough of a hassle on their own.
THAT SAID don't change schools. It'll feel like a devastating thing to happen to a child who has already made massive efforts and improved. He'll be invited around again soon enough. It sounds like there's a lot of kids in the friendship circle - my DD is (though I say so myself) a pretty perfect guest and she only has three friends of 'playdate' status.
Aww I feel for him and you
Not got much experience so can't advise but it's great he is doing so well at school.
I think play dates are over rated! We never had any such thing when i was growing up and everyone seemed to get on in life just fine!
However, I'm not in your position and it sounds to me like you are too invested in this and the last thing you want is for ds to pick up on your anxiety over this. Tell your ds some peoples mums don't let them have friends round to play then just put them out of your mind for a while. If he gets an invite in the meantime great, if he didn't l doesn't that's fine too. Whatever you do don't change his school over it!
Is your DS an only child? Families with more than one DC won't be as keen to have other kids around, nothing personal. And many simply don't do playdates during term time. I would just book a couple of activities for your DS outside school and enjoy the rest of your time together.
No, if he has settled well at school and has problems in the past with behaviour, for heavens sake don't change school. My dd is lovely but we don't do play dates cos I don't get get from school til 6. If he is seven now he will be playing out soon. Carry on inviting.
Hmmm. Interesting. I hate play dates. I'm wrecked at the weekend and the last thing I want is to referee between kids. DS goes to one friends house for play dates. I think by now (age 7/8) there's regular reciprocal arrangements between friends. Are you sure there's as many play dates going on as you think?
A friends son is also "the naughty one" and gets invited on no play dates and to few parties. I know she finds it really hard but she's not honest with herself about his behaviour.
My dd was best friends with 2 dcs when she was that age. The Good One and The Naughty One. I adore the naughty one. She is a funny, kind, clever girl. But for a few years I didn't do any play dates at home because it took too long to tidy up and was just too much hassle.
I did playdates outside the house instead. I would mention I was going to the park or the.local pub which had a fabulous play area outside or softplay and invite both girls with their mums. As I got to know the parents outside of school a bit better and the girls got old enough to behave a little better playdates became more common.
7/8/9 is a horrible age for playdates imo. They are silly and bounce off each other. Too old to play with dolls or cars but not really old enough to play in room without falling out/trashing the place.
I avoided them like the plague at home. Nothing against the 'naughty one'. I didn't have the good one over much either as there was a tendency for following me around being good lol.
Just give it more time and it will come or he will get to an age when they just call for each other.
To be honest OP your description of his "bad" behaviour, whilst not spiteful is the sort of thing that stops me from inviting certain DC to our home.
DD had one friend who was a nice kid but her "silly" behaviour often resulted in damage to my furniture or to DDs toys.
I can't have that...so after two playdates, I didn't ask her again. I understand that it's hard but this sort of behaviour will have consequences and though you have said he's improved, the parents won't know that will they?
Just keep asking his friends to yours and after a while one of them will nag their own into submission and he will get invited back.
When he asks when he's going to Xs house, tell him "When they have time and are not so busy." and he needs at his age to understand that this is not in your hands.
I have 3 children, all now adults. They would all have other children over to play regularly and went to play with friends. The value for us was fun, socialisation, taking turns, sharing, socialising for parents. I could not imagine those occasions happening just now and again. There would sometimes be 6 or 8 for tea. I was a single parent and had many struggles in general but felt that having an open home was important. If visitors or my children were unruly, the parents were called and the other children went home. All 3 DC also did some out of school activities too. The DC have all left home but know they can come any time and bring friends or partners. DD2 said recently that she has always loved how I welcomed and still welcome her friends. Perhaps there is generally more school pressure these days. Whatever makes you feel comfortable, though. You may see your home as solely family focused and like to pull up the metaphorical drawbridge. I hope the situation resolves for you OP.
Maybe their parents are just busy and it has nothing to do with your son. If they are asking you to host playdates though, that is rude.
Honestly they may just be busy. My DD went to her friends house the last week of last term. I have actually set the date for her to come here & confirmed with her mum but it's not until the 1st week of Feb (I've got 4 DC total so try & plan in advance). The only reason I've arranged so early is so that DH can be around to take the strain off with the younger 3, he's self employed & can't just take off from jobs at a moments notice. Give it a week or so for everyone to settle back in & you probably will find you start getting invites.
I think you're placing far too much importance on play dates tbh. And to suggest changing schools is just crazy!
I hate hosting play dates. I've got three kids and enough bloody mess and chaos to deal with. I do host when begged but if a naughty kid came, I wouldn't invite them back. Even if that kid made great progress with their behaviour, how the frig would I know that? I'm not monitoring all children's development, I'm just getting on with our busy lives.
I have one kid who's popular with lots of invites, another who is not. It doesn't matter. If you choose to host a lot, that's your decision, there's no legal requirement.
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