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To be getting frustrated about play dates not being reciprocated?

(220 Posts)
toomanykidsnotenoughme Mon 04-Mar-19 10:32:03

DS (7) has a friend he adores. They live just around the corner. We are on friendly terms with the family.

I invite the friend for play dates fairly regularly, as DS and his friend love spending time together. They are usually only organised on the day, though, not planned in advance.

DS really loves going to their house, because it's not his so it's interesting! But, he very very rarely gets invited. When he's been there, there haven't been any issues that I'm aware of, he's been well behaved, and hasn't broken anything. Sometimes I'll ask the parents to have him if I can't get to school on time, and if they're free they say yes.

But, they just hardly ever offer off they're own back. I want my kids to feel this house is always open for friends, as mine wasn't when I was a child and I hated it. I've got older kids for who play dates are shared out pretty evenly amongst the families so no problems there.
AIBU unreasonable to be a bit put out?
I know it's a personal decision, they have a very lovely house (mines rather "lived in grin) and kids running round may not be your thing.
But, I'm interested to know that if you're not big on play dates, excepting ill health, lack of time and issues with your home, why do you feel that way? I'm just curious and it might make me more understanding and less frustrated!

toomanykidsnotenoughme Mon 04-Mar-19 10:33:02

"Their" own back blush

flitwit99 Mon 04-Mar-19 10:35:18

Some people just don't like having people over. I'm not great at having kids over because I don't know what they like, if they're happy, what to feed them. I find it stressful but I do it because my kids like it. But I'd rather not.

NoahsArks Mon 04-Mar-19 10:36:09

Don't invite him? We can't host because our house doesn't meet usual social norms, but this means my DC don't accept invitations either.

Reaa Mon 04-Mar-19 10:36:16

I have an older child with SEN, I don't want any younger children subject to his behaviour if he has a meltdown in their presence.

GregoryPeckingDuck Mon 04-Mar-19 10:36:26

I’m not fond of children. I would and have returned at play date to be polite but I just would rather not. I much prefer meeting at the park or farm centre or somewhere where the children have something to do so that I don’t end up entertainingsomeone else’s child. It’s usually fine when it’s just mine because they don’t expect anything unreasonable but other people’s children tend to be needy or loud or whiny. It’s not something I would willingly deal with.

Confusedbeetle Mon 04-Mar-19 10:39:57

No sorry you are out of order, You invite the child because you want to have a welcome open house and pleasure for your child. You do not give in order to receive. The parent did not ask you to do this. If you want to invite them then do and enjoy it. Sometimes I feel like not accepting an invitation because I know there will be an expectation for a return match. I had ten years of this in the 70s with bloody dinner parties.
Do not mention to your child either

Treaclesweet Mon 04-Mar-19 10:41:07

@Noahsarks don't you worry this will mean that your children end up left out? Only asking as I feel like this will be the case with ours- we're not exactly normal.

WineIsMyMainVice Mon 04-Mar-19 10:41:53

My DD has been asked for a few play dates, which she loves. But unfortunately I’m that family who don’t ask them back (as much as I’d like) due to very hectic and stressful job with long hours. I’ve often wondered whether my DDs friends parents wonder about this.

Stuckforthefourthtime Mon 04-Mar-19 10:44:00

I have 4 DCs, one of whom is currently being assessed for ASD. We can often return playdates, but not always - especially if the child is quite high energy or if they are popular with multiple dcs and they squabble over who gets to play together. Or sometimes my most challenging child is having a tricky week and I don't want him to have a meltdown with another person's child in my care.

If they have a lovely house and if you have previously asked them for favours, maybe they feel like they've done their duty? Do they ever ask you to look after their DC in the morning, or is it a bit one sided?

I know it can be frustrating, but if other friends had more give and take, I'd let it go and accept their friendship as far as it goes, and if it still bothers you, find other families with an approach more like your own.

bakebakebake Mon 04-Mar-19 10:44:42

I don't invite other children over because i just don't like it. I don't feel like i can tell other children off so i just avoid it.

Luckily my children haven't asked, they are 5 and 7. I have a 10m old and we either get the bus or walk 30mins so i would struggle with bringing 4 kids home if i didn't have their parent with me too as we have to cross a busy road.

We've had a playdate a couple of times but the mum has been here. One person was fine as her son has the same temperament as my children and he was SO well behaved and polite.

Whereas another one was badly behaved and his mum didn't do anything. My children actually told me they didn't want him over again!

NoahsArks Mon 04-Mar-19 10:44:57

@Treaclesweet yes they are left out and don't have any friends at school. But arguably if I was hosting kids it would be worse because their parents would be seeing the inside of my house.

Isleepinahedgefund Mon 04-Mar-19 10:45:57

It's like not giving to receive , don't invite expecting the reciprocation.

My DD gets invited on play dates fairly often, I reciprocate when I can but tbh we have one afternoon a week when I collect her from school rather than clubs/childcare, and that afternoon is rather precious and I prefer to see out of school friends or we just chill out.
I'm quite up front with parents, weekends are better for play dates at mine!

toomanykidsnotenoughme Mon 04-Mar-19 10:46:40

WineIs buys a really obvious reason there for you not doing them, very easy for me to see and understand. Along with the poster with the child with SEN. I think here it's possibly more of just not wanting more kids in the house.

I won't stop inviting the child over because they both get lots of enjoyment out of it, why would I stop? I do see the point about not giving to receive so not expecting a reciprocal invite. But it won't stop me feeling a bit confused and miffed!

toomanykidsnotenoughme Mon 04-Mar-19 10:49:54

@Stuckforthefourthtime I don't ask for help in the morning, I mean after school if I have an appointment or some such, so the same timings I'd have their child for a play date.

outpinked Mon 04-Mar-19 10:50:39

I don’t like having people in my home, some people are like that. I just find it awkward tbh and always feel a little on edge so if I can avoid it, I will.

shpoot Mon 04-Mar-19 10:51:01

Maybe they are just very busy or don't plan ahead much.

I'm intrigued to the posters who can't have people round as their homes don't meet social norms. What is happening in these houses??

Stuckforthefourthtime Mon 04-Mar-19 10:53:34

@Treaclesweet and @NoahsArks how abnormal are your homes? So long as they're not actively dangerous (building sites? Chainsaw hobbyists?) or beyond filthy (in which case they should be cleaned for the sake of your own DCs) then I'd strongly encourage you to accept invitations for your own DCs and reciprocate if possible. It's remarkable how unjudgmental most children are, at least before puberty. We have a very foreign style house and most visiting kids think it's interesting. My DC's have been on playdates to houses where there are families of 4 in small 2 bed flats, another very grand house where my son excitedly revealed that [child's] mummy makes her daddy sleep on the sofa every night, one with spiders as pets, and all kinds of family set ups. The only one I've ever been not thrilled about with was when 5 year old, asthmatic DS1 came home reeking of the parents' cigarette smoke. Otherwise I'm just so grateful for you looking after my child, and your child for being a nice friend that we're all very unfussed!

StinkyCandle Mon 04-Mar-19 10:59:19

You are the one out of order! The other parents are happy to accept invitations, the children are happy to play together. It's not unreasonable at all to return the favour.
It makes perfect sense that it's not always one child who has to share his toys and his parents to host.

If you don't want to reciprocate diner parties, don't accept them, or invite the others once in a restaurant and you're done.

toomanykidsnotenoughme Mon 04-Mar-19 11:00:41

My home is always very messy and disorganised, lots of stuff that needs to be replaced. DH and I are just awful at getting stuff done. I figure I'll just be known as the one with "that" kind of house and need to be at peace with it.
My parents would not let another child over our threshold when I was growing up and it was horrid. Luckily people where kind and i spent a lot of time at other people's houses, but I always felt bad and the odd one out. Hence me being very open for play dates now.

StinkyCandle Mon 04-Mar-19 11:01:02

I am very curious, what is a house that doesn't meet usual social norms?
And more importantly, is it a house where you are happy to live (then fine, as long as it's safe and suitable for your children) or are you embarrassed?

PoppyFleur Mon 04-Mar-19 11:04:10

@NoahsArk if someone was kind enough to invite my child over for a play date the last thing on my mind would be judging the inside of their home.

I am not a neat freak (but luckily DH is!) but having had a bout of such severe ill health that I could barely pour myself a glass of water let alone clean a home I don’t judge. You never know what another is enduring.

NuffSaidSam Mon 04-Mar-19 11:08:23

Some people just don't like hosting playdates. Other people's children are hard work, even the good well behaved ones.

Some children don't particularly like playdates at their own house. My don't really. They want to go to other people's houses (because they have iPads and Xboxes and whatnot!).

We do host occasionally, if my DC ask for it and sometimes out of a sense of 'oh we better reciprocate', but rarely.

If my DC had a friend who invited them over regularly I wouldn't reciprocate more than very occasionally. I don't want to and my DC aren't fussed!

NoahsArks Mon 04-Mar-19 11:09:04

I don't have furniture!

NuffSaidSam Mon 04-Mar-19 11:10:30

But you can of course feel as miffed and confused as you like. They're your emotions, do what you want with them!

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