Should I tell this mum why we don't want a play date with her son?(133 Posts)
My son is 6 and in year 2. There is a boy in his class, let's call him Z, who I hear is very difficult. Z has been sent out repeatedly, this year and last year (we were not in the school before then) for hitting other children. I have heard from other mums who volunteer at school that Z is very disruptive and violent. I have only seen Z once, at a social gathering a year ago, and he played really rough with other kids. His parents had to watch him like hawks and intervene repeatedly as he kept on hitting other kids with toys. I remember him being very aggressive. This was before I had heard anything about him from other mums. I only just realised he's the same boy as my friends have been telling me about.
My son played with Z for a few days when school started, but then told us he didn't want to play with him anymore. I can't remember exactly how he phrased it, but he clearly thought Z was naughty and had done bad things.
I just bumped into Z's mum who said she's very keen for Z to do a play date with my son.
I'm not at all keen on that. My son is not perfect, but he's not nasty. I don't want him to feel scared or to pick up bad traits from Z.
Should I make up excuses, be busy every weekend until the end of times, tell the mum the boys aren't really friends, or tell her the real reason, I.e that it's because of her son's behaviour? I'm pretty sure she knows he is very challenging, as the school is big on discipline. I don't want to hurt her, so probably best not to say anything - but that's not really helpful is it?
I've got to dash soon but will be back late tonight for replies. Please let's not turn this into a bunfight. It's a genuine question.
Tell her that you've asked your child and he's said he doesn't want to. Shrug at your child's 'awkwardness'. Say that maybe you can bring them together when they are a bit older. And maybe you will? It is good that his parents sound keen to 'watch him like hawks' as clearly they care.
Just tell her that as far as you are aware your DS and her DS aren't particularly close and you don't think your DS would want that.
whatever you say, be kind. Imagine yourself in the shoes of someone who knows other children don't 'want to play with their son. I have to admit if it was me I'd probably do one playdate and see how it went just to help the kid and his mum out.....he might be different out of school environment.
You could agree to the playdate but request that you stay too, as your son is a bit shy. That way you are on hand to intervene if necessary. But whatever you do please don't join in the gossip about this child with the other parents, it's really unkind.
Do it on neutral territory where you can be around, so suggest a trip to the park after school.
Just say that you have a very busy family life so you make a rule of limiting play dates only to best friends.
There is a little boy in dds School, who used to be like this at this age. Turns out he witnessed his mother being beaten regularly as a baby/preschooler. They escaped but it left him with emotional scars. My dd was friends with him for a few years. I never told her she shouldn’t play with him despite the fact he hit dd. At that age, she had to make her own choices and as a parent, I made allowances. He is now much calmer and no longer hits. Since about yr4.
Honour what your ds wants to do. Please don’t join in with the gossips. This little boy is only 6. He may have behavioural issues or reasons for his behaviour. It sounds as if it’s being taken very seriously by his mother and she should be supported. I agree with a pp, I would think about you going too.
I think an after school trip up a park is probably best, as suggested above. But if your son doesn't want to, then I wouldn't force him! Ask him if he'd be up for the above mentioned park visit as per a pp, it's neutral and you can keep an eye.
Well you have various options.
I would not say your son is being 'awkward' - thats pretty unfair on him, he's expressed a preferrence not to play with someone, for good reasons, as he has every right to do.
As others have said though, it must be awful for this Mum that other children don't want to play with her son, and maybe her reasoning is that the only way he will learn to play nicely is if he plays with other children and is corrected when he gets too rough.
It isn;t you rproblem to solve, but if you wanted to help, you could
suggest meeting for a play together at the park - so both parents supervising, neutral ground, you can leave if your DS is unhappy.
Or you invite the child and his mother to your house and she stays to supervise.
But ultimately if your DS is adamant that he doesn't want to play with this boy, then he shouldn't have to. It sounds as if your DS tried to play with him and it got too rough - that's a good enough reason not to want to play.
But remember children can change enormously with increasing maturity - a rough five or six year old, may well turn into a lovely seven or eight year old, so don't right the little boy off. He might be a child who is very difficult and hurts others or he might just be a child who hasn;t grasped the social rules and doesn't yet realise that rough play is not for everyone. (Some children have a lot of rough and tumble play at home - with dads or older brother/sisters and they think it is fine to play that way)
But obviously there is a difference between excessive boisterousness with no malice, and deliberate nastiness and intent to hurt. You have to decide which you think this is.
The thing that stands out is you said "his parents had to watch him like hawks."
They know. It's not some unruly kid where the parents couldn't give a toss. And they're very unlikely to want to send him alone on a play date especially to a family he doesn't know.
Suggest a park or mention it would be great to get to know her too, does she prefer tea or coffee?
Maybe you could teach your son compassion and to be willing to give someone a chance.
(If the child has SN, and I say that only because he sounds like my DS who has asd, then he could behave complete differently without the stresses of school and in an environment he knows e.g.the park we always go to. I'm grateful for my DD's friends' parents who are accepting of DS, whereas he has never been invited from one of his classmates.)
Poor wee Z whose reputation preceeds him so negatively at 6 years old
I agree with neutral turf/accompanied by parents, if your son is willing
Your son will not pick up bad behaviours, what rot
Why are people suggesting you do this? Your son doesn't want to. I'd just say they don't seem to get on brilliantly so I'm Not sure it's a good idea.
I would be honest personally. Don’t want her to tell the son that yours doesn’t want to play with him -he might end up trying to coerce an invite.
It can be hard if a child has behavioural issues. I had to stop contact with two children whose parents laughed off their behaviour which meant my child wasn't safe (one held my son down and tried to strangle him - just 'horse-play' according to the mum but my son was both physically hurt and made scared)
As the parents are aware and proactive I would be more open to a play date but if my child preferred not to meet I wouldn't force them necessarily.
As to what you say to the parents? I was honest with the parents who didn't keep an eye because I felt they needed to know that keeping an extra eye was necessary for play date to be safe.
In your situation I might simply say your child isn't that keen at the moment - truthful and leaves an opportunity for future invitations if your child changes their mind.
I would try one, in a controlled environment where you and the other mum are both there. My DS had a friend who was similar - it turned out that he had high-functioning ASD and ADHD, plus he was witnessing a violent break-up at home with SS involvement. He was a bit of a nightmare at school, but at our house he was just the sweetest little boy and they played together brilliantly. He tested the boundaries a couple of times, but once he realised he wasn't going to be smacked here, ever, he relaxed no end and I just adored him. He eventually moved away with his mum and we rarely see him now, but I'm so glad we gave him a chance - nobody else ever invited him round to play or to parties and it used to break my heart.
Just to add, if your son really doesn't want to play with this lad (I'd missed that in your OP), you can't force him.
I'm glad there's some suggestions on here to meet up with z, his mum must know and is trying to work on the situation by integrating play dates. Run around in the park together with both you there could be a wonderful start.
When I was a parent volunteer I had to sign an agreement forbidding me to break pupil confidentiality. Basically I wasn't allowed to go off gossiping about what happened in the classroom to parents.
I do think there needs to be a distinction made between naughty children and those with special needs - is there any evidence the child has special needs?
Regardless - options are "oh my son doesn't really play with Z in school are you sure" or neutral territory for a short period of time eg an hour or two. Or just be busy and hope she stops asking
We have a boy a bit like that in DS class - but he is simply domineering and naughty vwith no special needs etc not saying he is without any redeeming features and yes he is only 6 - but I had him once to the house he was v disrespectful and have really avoided having him over ever since that said he has been a few times since and my DS to his house but I generally avoid encouraging a friendship between the boys as my DS doesn't like him much and tbh I don't enjoy his visits and I have to host them
you say that his parents watch him like a hawk - so obviously they don't fall into the 'don't give a toss' group and seem to be aware that he struggles in certain situations.
would not make me wonder if the boy has some kind of SN. that is in many ways my child. We have been ostracised by most 'friends' and classmates. it is very isolating and upsetting.
not saying you should have a pitty date, OP. but sometimes there is more to it than just a naughty child.
it's probably very tough for his mum as well. but I'd at least give it a try.
Your DS is 6. Ask him, he should be the one to decide. He won't pick up bad traits from Z. If he is open to the idea, meet in a park and see how it goes.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.