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about my son at this playdate?

(210 Posts)
deliverdaniel Mon 20-Mar-17 17:56:20

Genuinely don't know if I am being U and a bit precious out of worry for my kid so would appreciate some perspective.

DS is 6 and is quite shy and has a bit of a hard time socially. He has friends and is very sweet and kind, but is quite introverted and struggles a bit with the social side of things.

Over the weekend we organised a playdate with 3 other boys from his class in the park. I was keen to do it because I want to help/ encourage DS to make strong friendships etc and play with the other kids. (he had said these boys had been playing together at break etc.)

DS hates all kinds of ball sports- his problem I know, but he really doesn't like them and I am the same. When we arrived at the park the kids were playing happily for about half an hour, climbing trees/ swapping lego etc. Then one of the dads suggests a game of football. Obv fine. DS doesn't want to play, The other kids are so-so about it, and have to be persuaded . The dad keeps pushing it and pushing it until the other 3 join in. DS sits on the sidelines, doesn't play and feels very left out and upset. I try hard to encourage him to join in but he just doesn't want to so I don't force it. The dad can see that DS is left out on the sidelines but ignores it. This is fine- obv DS can't dictate what everyone else plays and has to learn that soemtimes you don't get to do what you want etc. But then when the boys start to get bored and want to play something else that DS would enjoy too, the dad keeps pushing and pushing them to play more football, even though to my mind this might be a good moment to encourage them to play something that DS can join in too, and that they would all enjoy? AIBU to think this is insensitive? Even if it is not the adults repsonsiblity to micromanage the kids, at the very least it would be kind not to deliberately push a game that leaves out one child. The dad pushed the football game for the entire playdate until it was time to go home, and later DS cried saying that he didn't have a chance to play with this friends. AIBU or is the dad? Thank you.

2beesornot2beesthatisthehoney Mon 20-Mar-17 18:07:04

Definitely the dad IMO

mogonfoxnight Mon 20-Mar-17 18:11:05

I am not sure either of you were U, it is just one of those things. I would probably have encouraged my 6 year old to play, though, even if they weren't mad keen on ball sports. Isn't he a bit young to have already decided ball sports aren't his thing? I don't know - maybe I am being U. I do think that team sports like football are good for things like learning to be one of the team, building up resilience, building up fitness, at that age. The dad might have been annoying too though, difficult to tell without having been there.

mogonfoxnight Mon 20-Mar-17 18:14:06

Sorry, I see that you did encourage it. My dc would not need much encouragement, as they love a runaround with a ball, or without a ball, so that is probably colouring my judgement.

deliverdaniel Mon 20-Mar-17 18:15:58

mogon yes- I did (and do) encourage him to play. And I totally accept that he may change his mind in the future and love ball sports. But I'm equally not going to force him to play if he really doesn't want to. Similarly if we had a playdate and one of the kids hated lego or whatever, I would try and encourage them to find something they all liked and could do together rather than saying "lego is good for creativity and engineering skills" so therefore he shoudl be joining in, or leaving him to be left out and not play.

harderandharder2breathe Mon 20-Mar-17 18:18:17

The dad is BU for so strongly encouraging them to play football when they were happy playing themselves. Sounds like he's a big kid himself.

At Brownies we don't let the girls pick and choose which games they join in on. We play a variety over a term and sometimes let them vote, so not always the same one. But if one says they don't want to play they're firmly told they have to. They come to Brownies to do what we do at Brownies. The "injured" sit on a chair, aren't allowed to help the leaders, and get bored (because it's always the same couple of girls, their parents never mention injuries, and they never mention it until they don't want to do something.)

But that's an organised activity with 24 girls. A play date with four children is very different and an effort should be made to include all the children.

deliverdaniel Mon 20-Mar-17 18:21:08

harderandharder yes I think your policy on Brownies makes sense, but this does feel different to me. I guess if a kid really hated the range of things they did at Brownies, they wouldn't join in the first place, but once you have joined a group activity then it's only fair you should participate. On a playdate, with just a few kids, it seems as if the point is that they play together. I totally accept that he can't always get his first choice/ that sometimes tehy will play things he hates (and vice versa.) I did speak to him about this, and we talked about how you dont' always get to choose etc, but still... for the dad to push an activity which leaves him out for the whole time just feels really mean.

WorraLiberty Mon 20-Mar-17 18:22:41

The dad was BU.

However, it's a bit strange that a 6yr old would decide they hate all ball sports, and actively sit out rather than join in at least a bit.

Does he have confidence issues around kicking straight/catching etc?

Is there any way you could encourage him when the nice weather arrives?

If only because he'll have to do them in PE anyway.

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 20-Mar-17 18:23:45

Try having some one to one playdates st your home where the child is dropped off by their parent. That may work better for your son.

GloriaV Mon 20-Mar-17 18:24:50

The Dad probably sees his DS as a future world class player.
What a pain.
I'm surprised DS dislikes it so much. I wonder why that is? I think I'd try to work out why he dislikes it. I'm not saying everyone must love football but I would think he would join in just to avoid being bored on the sidelines.

deliverdaniel Mon 20-Mar-17 18:26:08

Worra yes I agree. I do worry about this. I think he does have some confidence issues around it. But I also think he just doesn't enjoy it (I hated and still hate all ball sports so I can sympathise.) We try to encourage him at home, and try to play ball stuff with him in the garden etc, but there comes a point where I don't feel I should be forcing it either if he genuinely doesn't like it (he gets exercise in other ways.) We try not to make a big deal of it either way, as don't want him to dig his heels in about it either. After all, it's supposed to be fun and I don't force him to do other 'fun' activities if he doesn't like them.

rookiemere Mon 20-Mar-17 18:26:53

The dad does sound like a bit of a dick but to be fair to him he a) didn't know the reason for the playdate was to encourage your DS to forge friendships and b) didn't know that your DS doesn't like ball games.
I find that DH had more of a tendency to try and control what DS and his friend did than I do i.e. he'd put up the bouncy castle for them, set up games etc. rather than leaving them to their own devices.

One on one would probably be more productive for your DS.

MadamePomfrey Mon 20-Mar-17 18:27:01

On the whole he was probably in the wrong, however we don't know how much time he gets to spend with his dc's in the week if is around a lot and does an equal amount of childcare/spending time with the kids yeah he could of handled it differently! If he isn't around much in the week for whatever reason maybe he just wanted to play with his kid and wasn't fully thinking of the other children?

itsmine Mon 20-Mar-17 18:27:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

deliverdaniel Mon 20-Mar-17 18:27:51

allthebestnames yes I definitely think that's a good idea.

I don't know- it seems that sports kind of has this special status (especially with boys) that if they don't like it, there msut be something wrong. Whereas people wouldn't say this about art or music etc? Although maybe my own dislike of sports is colouring my judgement here!

deliverdaniel Mon 20-Mar-17 18:29:24

madamepomfrey Yes you're completely right there. He works incredibly long hours and was probably using it as a way of spending time with his kid. Which is totally fine, and I think right that he shoujdl do a fun activity that they all enjoy for a bit, but not to continue to push it for the whole time when one kid is obviously left out...

GeorgiePeachie Mon 20-Mar-17 18:31:45

IT sounds a bit like the dad didn't really have any other ideas, so while yes he was being U, he obviously didn't know what else to do with children in the park so stuck to his guns.

Blossomdeary Mon 20-Mar-17 18:35:41

Bloody men and their bloody balls!

ZombieApocalips Mon 20-Mar-17 18:36:38

What were the adults doing while the kids played? Maybe the dad pushed the football so that he could escape the adult conversation? 😂

It sucks being a boy who doesn't like football. My son's not interested either but sees the other boys playing at break time and joins in so he gets to run around and join in the banter like who scored a goal.

The dad should have let the boys play what they wanted. The play date should have been more like playtime at school in a different location.

Witchend Mon 20-Mar-17 18:36:49

Not being there was can't necessarily tell why the dad wanted them to play football.

He may have seen a situation developing where one child was trying to be in charge all the time, or beginnings of nastiness -particularly if his ds has said that something happens and it upsets him. He might have said "I always want to play football, but X always says we can't"-he might even look reluctant in front of the others as he doesn't want to be blamed.

Sitting on the side can be done nicely and it can be done very manipulatively. One of mine is very clear about what they like and will happily say something along the lines of "no thank you, I'll watch" and will be totally happy doing that-happier than joining in something she didn't want to do. I would say as a parent, I'd check if there was a reason why she didn't want to do it (it can be just she didn't know the rules or something which I can solve) and then tell them to go ahead and play. She wouldn't mind.
I have come across children that use "I won't join in" as manipulation to make sure it is always their choice of games.

IamFriedSpam Mon 20-Mar-17 18:37:09

The dad is BU. I think it would be fine to have a little game of football even if one DC didn't fancy it, but it was unnecessary to keep on forcing it for the entire playdate.

Vegansnake Mon 20-Mar-17 18:43:22

The dad sounds like a dick...invite a child for tea once a week,we do that.thursday is our day,as long as the other parent agrees ,ds knows any Thursday someone can come for tea,we go to the park and they play better one to one..I keep a spare booster seat in the car...

MadamePomfrey Mon 20-Mar-17 18:43:32

I just wonder if he knew he was forcing it did any of the grown ups say anything to him? Some people's aren't great at reading situations or ques my dad was the worst for it he knew one thing we liked and that's all we would do for ages till my mum stepped in and said enoughs enough! It came from a good place but the delivery was lacking sometimes!!

deliverdaniel Mon 20-Mar-17 18:44:25

witchend Yes - fair point about the 'sitting on the sidelines manipulatively' (and great expression!) I think to be fair, DS does have a touch of that perhaps. I think manipulative is going too far in his case, but he definitely wasn't saying "oh you guys go ahead and enjoy yourselves" and his obvious upset probably did change the dynamic/ mar their enjoyment of the game. But I don't think he has the social skills yet to handle the whole thing elegantly. My take on it was- it was totally fine for him to be upset/ not get his first choice for a while, and he needs to experience that and work out how to cope with it, but the dad shouldn't have kept pushing it the whole time.

WorraLiberty Mon 20-Mar-17 18:45:35

I see what you mean OP

But there are tons of different sports that involve balls. It's hard to believe he doesn't like any of them.

Therefore I'd say perhaps it really is a confidence issue.

Perhaps during the Summer you could buy a beach ball or a little cricket set, to encourage different games, so it's not all about kicking a ball.

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