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Boyfriends kids don't know how to play

(41 Posts)
RedAmaryllis Thu 02-Mar-17 12:13:16

My boyfriends children are 12, 10, 10 and 7. I have children of my own ages 14, 11, 10, 8 and 6. When we all get together, I've noticed my boyfriends children don't play or doing anything other than watch tv or go on their tablets. I know the oldst 3 are probbaly "too old" to play but 7 year old should certainly still be playing. My kids are always playing, doing creative things, jigsaws etc. My kids can usually get his kids up and doing things but if left to their own devices, they wouldn't play.

My boyfriend lives 45 miles from me and had to do work 2 days in my city so we decided he'd stay with my kids and I'd go and stay with his kids for the night. I had about 5 hours with his kids ater school before they went to bed and I kept trying to get them to do something other than watch tv. I wanted to use the opportunity to get to know his girls better so had planned on us doing some baking and then girly things like makeovers. My girls love this sort of thing. Baking was over in minutes, they just werent interested and kept asking to go back on tablets/tv. Makeovers didn't even happen. I can't put it into words buts it more than they dont know HOW to play rather than not want to. At one point I said come on, tablets and tv off, lets play a game. They looked at me blankly as if they just didn't know how.

AIBU to think they should know how to play?

JonesyAndTheSalad Thu 02-Mar-17 12:17:12

I think YABU. My 12 year old would be hmm at baking and makeovers. Not all girls love that sort of thing.

My DD likes to watch her phone quite a lot; she does do some creative things but it's always in her own time and she wouldn't if someone else was looking after her.

I think it's something you just need to accept won't always be part of your life...as in, his kids do their thing and you may not always be around to witness their moments or style of creativity.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Thu 02-Mar-17 12:19:15

YABU. Weird to try and force them. If they don't want to they don't want to. The last thing I'd want to do after school is start baking or doing make overs, that's a weekend thing.

If you think they're having too much screen time, then tell boyfriend you're implementing a time limit at home. Don't expect him to be on board though.

WorraLiberty Thu 02-Mar-17 12:20:35

'Baking and makeovers'?

Hahahahahaha! I would have shot you dead with just one look at their age, if you'd suggested that grin

Either way, his kids have been brought up differently to yours or just have different personalities.

Why does it bother you?

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Thu 02-Mar-17 12:35:09

I also think YABU. They probably had their whole afternoons planned out with who to chat to and what to watch etc. Suddenly this woman turns up wanting them to cancel everything and do weird forced bonding?

I think you need to find out what their interests are and go with that rather than expecting them to follow your interests. And I think it's a bit much to say they don't know how when they most likely just don't want to.

WorraLiberty Thu 02-Mar-17 12:37:18

How long have you and their dad been dating?

dalmatianmad Thu 02-Mar-17 12:41:25

Hmm I would have thought the 7 year old would want to bake/play games although to be honest he/she is probably just 'copying' what the older ones do?

My dc are 16 and 13. My step ds is 10 and a lot more immature, he constantly wants entertaining and sometimes mine will join in but I would never force them! Sometimes we take step ds out somewhere (like cinema) without mine because they simply refuse to come along confused

Is this quite a new relationship op? It'll get easier, just don't try and force it.

bumsexatthebingo Thu 02-Mar-17 12:47:54

If the younger one has always spent most of the day in front of the tv/tablet etc he probably hasn't had the chance to develop good imaginative/social skills and probably does actually struggle to play. I have met children like this and it's becoming more common.
If you can get your bf on board I'd mention your concerns and see if he'd agree to limiting screen time.

Doyouwantabrew Thu 02-Mar-17 12:53:29

Yep my girls at 12 would have been bored rigid with baking or makeovers.

most 12 year olds 'play' is social interaction with friends either face to face or via internet and love TV

Leave them be.

You might make them feel you are trying to take over and criticising their choices. Leave them be.

FrenchLavender Thu 02-Mar-17 12:58:02

If it was after a long day at school perhaps they just wanted to chill and be left alone to unwind for a few hours, not have someone force them into a bunch of supervised activities they had no appetite for.

This smacks of you just trying too hard and trying to prove some sort of point, as though your parenting is superior and your children are more well rounded. I bet they were rolling their eyes like crazy at you behind your back.

Why do you care what they choose to do in their spare time? It's not like it reflects on you, is it? So long as they are not out slashing tyres and mugging old ladies why don't you just concentrate on your own children?

nosyupnorth Thu 02-Mar-17 13:01:39

I think it's a bit harsh to assume the don't know how to play based just off what you've mentioned here.

For the older kids firstly, yes they're probably hitting an age where they don't want to be involved in games organized by an adult and might view such things as babyish, and I would be questioning if baking and makeup are things they're interested in or if you're just projecting your girls tastes on to them.
As for a blank reaction to "let's play a game" - well what sort of game, tag? monopoly? playing house? I'd be looking at you blankly too.
It's a tricky age distribution too and it might be worth considering that even if they do 'play' they might not have interests similar enough to enjoy playing together.

I totally support the idea of getting kids involved in non-screen related activities, but I also understand the kids wanting to veg out after school. I think your intentions were great, but if you want to do something like that again it might be worth putting a bit of planning into picking an activity that matches their interests or letting them suggest something.

WorraLiberty Thu 02-Mar-17 13:04:06

Yes I think the OP needs to ask them what they want to do, rather than assuming they'll like the same things as her kids.

I hated baking as a kid and I still don't do it now.

Equally, I've never been one for allowing other people to make me over.

ImperialBlether Thu 02-Mar-17 13:05:12

I did a lot of babysitting for a while and found an awful lot of children don't know how to play.

StickyMouse Thu 02-Mar-17 13:06:35

when I am tired I just want to look at my phone, mumsnet etc, I am over 40...

you might want to start with a box set of choice for evenings? maybe cinema? then get to know them better?

WorraLiberty Thu 02-Mar-17 13:06:50

It would be helpful to know how long the OP and her boyfriend have been dating for though.

It could be early days or it could be years, which could change the who scenario a bit.

MerryMarigold Thu 02-Mar-17 13:08:14

I don't think YABU, OP. I feel similarly about my kids. Basically, I am not hugely well, so they watch a lot of TV and dh is an aid TV watcher so they have not been 'brought up' to do other things. It makes me really sad sometimes.

I do limit their xbox/ tablet time to no more than 30 mins per day. When they play, they seem to be stuck at making dens or playing monopoly. If I am in a good patch then I sometimes do an xbox/ computer-free half term, but they would still get some TV. It takes a few days, but they eventually start amusing themselves.

Any ideas, let me know! I think it's probably too late to change it now though.

FrenchLavender Thu 02-Mar-17 13:10:41

Long enough for her to be pregnant by him Worra (not that that means anything at all.) Not content with nine kids between them, obviously.

EverythingEverywhere1234 Thu 02-Mar-17 13:10:42

Your way is not always the right way. HTH.

wannabestressfree Thu 02-Mar-17 13:14:22

Wow. Judgey much?

TheStoic Thu 02-Mar-17 13:14:34

Sometimes I wish my kids would 'play' more. They know how to, they just don't want to. And can you even call it 'play' if it's forced on them?

Mind you, I never 'played' as a kid. I read books.

Astoria7974 Thu 02-Mar-17 13:19:23

You could ask them what they want to do? Failing that why don't you swap the kids for a day - so your bf has your kids, and you take his out somewhere. Coffee/shopping etc?

IamFriedSpam Thu 02-Mar-17 13:20:35

I think YANBU to think it's pretty sad if all they do after school every day is stare at screens. OTOH assuming you're a relatively new person in their lives they feel not feel comfortable jumping straight into games with you. I would also have had zero interest in make overs and baking at their age so maybe you could find out if there's anything they're interested in? Or just sit and watch TV with them and have a chat - might be a good way in as it's a less pressure activity.

5foot5 Thu 02-Mar-17 13:21:01

How would you feel if, instead of watching TV or playing with a tablet, they were sitting reading. Would you still want to force them to put the book down and do an activity with you?

And when you think about it, organizing activities for them to join in with is not encouraging them to amuse themselves.

bumsexatthebingo Thu 02-Mar-17 13:21:41

Rather than actually scheduling things a 7 yr old should be able to play with toys and peers easily without direction.

StarlingMurderation Thu 02-Mar-17 13:24:48

By the time I was 9 or 10, all I wanted to do was read my book in peace. I can't see that that is very different than being on a tablet.

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