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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!

LadyOfTheFlowers Mon 11-Mar-19 16:52:52

Mine go to others houses and I am honest with parent from the get-go that they probably won't get invited back as I have 4 kids so enough to contend with, sorry. Usually met with a 'don't be silly, it's fine, don't blame you' type of response 😂

woodhill Mon 11-Mar-19 16:42:14

I think sometimes you have to put your dcs first and try to have friends over. Some of them are a pain and I didn't want them there.

DontMakeMeShushYou Mon 11-Mar-19 16:37:01

The upshot is, that invitations will dry up, and the person most affected is your DC.

So, out of interest, how long will I have to wait for the invitations to dry up?

Because I've been waiting for 13 years and the invitations are becoming more frequent, not less. And my child's circle of friends seems to grow exponentially.

Farmerswifey12 Mon 11-Mar-19 16:36:06

I am guilty of this. I have other children, their activities, I work, my OH works long hours and I always seem to be busy. I just never seem to get round to organising things though it crosses my mind every so often and I think I must organise / invite that person etc.

I must admit now my oldest DC is 10 that it's a lot easier, they organise things themselves, just go round for each other and it's much easier.

SparkiePolastri Mon 11-Mar-19 16:26:36

* If you’re only doing it so it’s reciprocated then stop doing it!*

People aren't offering play dates so that they're reciprocated. They're doing it to foster their child's friendships!

And they expect, to a certain extent, it will be reciprocated, because why should one family have to carry all the load?

I really don't understand people on this thread. They act so put upon to be expected to host other children, while sending their own kids on play dates. And seem to no idea how friendships are formed, developed and maintained - or simply don't care that their friends aren't able to develop friendships this way.

AlphaJura Mon 11-Mar-19 11:05:43

Also I have been in the position where I've not been able to afford to have other dcs back. Sounds bad but when I was a SP on benefits, my dcs would never go hungry but I would budget so I just had enough food for my family. It's no fun for other dcs coming back and I've got no food or snacks to offer them. It's not something you'd really admit to others who wouldn't understand if they've never had to struggle. Not saying this is the case for your dcs friends, it probably isn't but there's a myriad of reasons people aren't able to reciprocate.

AlphaJura Mon 11-Mar-19 09:41:36

My elder 2 are getting to the age where they arrange their own meet ups which I prefer. But in general I think they've been invited to more play dates than I reciprocated. I do feel a bit bad sometimes but I've also got a 11 mth old baby so I'm busy, I don't want to invite people back if the house and kids bedrooms are a mess (one girl made a comment about cobwebs in dd's room once) I was a single parent and it was hard to get everything done. So I then felt conscious that everything had to be spick and span before inviting friends back. Then they mess it all up and even more work for me. Also my dd does a few activities a week and they also visit their dad so it's hard to find enough time.

Most DCs have been fine round my house but my ds was friends with a boy and his younger brother, whose mum used to use me as free childcare in the holidays. I accepted as they were friends with my ds. I used to dread it because the older one always acted miserable, complained about the food and wouldn't eat it and upset the others. My dd used to hate it too because it was just her and 3 boys! You don't know what's going on in their lives, they just might not be able to reciprocate as much.

Adversecamber22 Mon 11-Mar-19 08:43:03

I have always had a bit of an open house and it didn’t cross my mind for a moment to get annoyed that it wasn’t always reciprocated. It carries on now that DS is a teenager, he does always ask first. We specifically bought a house that was good for having visitors for get togethers. DS is grateful, we had almost twenty teens over for his 16th.

Ifartglitterybaubles Mon 11-Mar-19 08:28:50

I don't expect a 'return invite' when any of my 3 dc have a playdate, I get that other parents may be too busy, at work, have other reasons. My eldest has a severe peanut allergy, having to explain and ask the parents "are you happy to give an Epipen? and then demonstrate how to administer it scares them off, I understand its a huge responsibility so I don't take it personally.

Pk37 Mon 11-Mar-19 08:15:13

This annoys me .
I don’t have kids over but if my dd is invited somewhere I’ll say yes.
If you’re only doing it so it’s reciprocated then stop doing it!
I don’t like having kids over apart from my next door neighbours children and that’s my choice

AutumnColours9 Mon 11-Mar-19 07:22:35

My DC understand not everyone can reciprocate and that you can't always get your own way in life. If we invite someone we don't expect it returned, we do it as something kind or something we would like to do.

We have had some parents and kids in the past be hugely rude and demanding playdates. Sometimes on a twice weekly basis. Often expecting reciprocal mass invites. Always the pushy parents that don't seem to be aware other people don't have the same views on how often, if at all, they want them.

Not everyone finds a play date something needed or positive. Some of the time it is micromanaging friendships or trying to have an easy time with child constantly entertained (the ones who mither constantly).

Not everyone can know their child's friends or parents because they work.

For me, we have 5DC, have always done playmates but on occasional basis. So we have clashed with the agressive peeps who can't seem to understand we can't have their multiple kids weekly on top of our own. When you have large family it often is chaos having more kids round.

SparkiePolastri Mon 11-Mar-19 03:28:41

Agree @dreichuplands - and it's also because they will be having reciprocal play dates with their other friends (whose parents understand the unspoken rules), and so probably find it weird when one friend (or friend's parent) doesn't.

My kids know not to ask for play dates - luckily they don't have to, as everyone here seems to get it.

dreichuplands Mon 11-Mar-19 01:35:07

Ah, see my DC know their friends parents so they aren't strangers. I have explained that they can't invite themselves over for a sleep over to other people's houses and I can't do this for them either. But my DC and their friends sort out good times for their play dates, maybe it is because they are 10 so a bit older? It isn't any ruder to ask when it is someone else's turn to host than it is to assume the hosting only works one way, both my DC and their friends understand the concept of turn taking.

HennyPennyHorror Mon 11-Mar-19 01:23:27

Dreich They're not you know. It's very rude for a child or anyone to ask when someone will host them.

Decormad38 Mon 11-Mar-19 01:09:24

My dh and I have always been very comfortable with tons of kids in the house. He came from a big family and I could never invite friends home. Sometimes we’ve just discovered the neighbours kids sat in our house! However we do appreciate that we are unusual in that respect and never bother if our dd doesn’t go to others houses.

AutumnColours9 Mon 11-Mar-19 01:01:08

I find it so rude when kids i dont know ask me directly when they can come round. This is not reciprocal as sometimes my DC haven't been to theirs. My kids wouldn't dream of boldly going up to a parent they don't know and demanding a playdate.

dreichuplands Mon 11-Mar-19 00:45:20

My dc aren't being entitled when they ask other dcs or their parents when they can come round for a reciprocal play date they are just following through on their understanding of basic etiquette. I've hosted, now it's your turn then it will be mine again. This is what they see the adults around them do roughly, hosting gets shared around. Sometimes a parent takes dcs out somewhere rather than a house thing. My play dates are all weekend based. It isn't an exact science just a basic give and take courtesy.

SparkiePolastri Sun 10-Mar-19 23:58:54

* the simplest being that they just don't want to*
Hope that helps

The upshot is, that invitations will dry up, and the person most affected is your DC.

Fine if they're as unsocial as most of the people on this thread.

Not so fine if they like people, and want to foster friendships.

puppymouse Sun 10-Mar-19 21:18:18

I hate inviting kids over here. I'm always conscious that if DD is invited to play I need to reciprocate. Dreading sleepovers in years to come. I am incredibly protective of my "space" and feel I have to be "on" even around DD's friends.

But as an only child I know it's important she can have friends round and play at others' houses. I do my best to set up what I can for her benefit.

chandylier Sun 10-Mar-19 21:14:10

No-one is under any obligation to return the invite. They're just not.
For loads of reasons, the simplest being that they just don't want to
Hope that helps

QueenOfSneakyNaps Sun 10-Mar-19 21:03:02

OP, I think there are so many good posts here that I do not have much to add.

Just from my perspective... I really hate play dates at our house. We live in a small flat and our children share a room. Most friends seem to live in big houses and find our flat tiny. Several children seem to want to be entertained as well (our children are used to entertaining themselves as I tend to be busy with cleaning / laundry). I don’t really enjoy it either as I do not like children in general. Don’t get me wrong, I actually really like some of my DCs friends, for THEM, as I have gotten to know them, it is just the random new child I find difficult- I really want them to be happy though.

We try to always invite children back, but I find it incredibly stressful. If I get the feeling that some families with nannies prefer the play date at their home, I am all for it!!!

Liciaflorrick Sun 10-Mar-19 20:27:56

The other thing I should have said, is that all dc get regular invites to play dates whether reciprocated or not. Kids can get v entitled about playdates ime e.g.we have had you over when's our turn? Not appreciating the work that goes into making them happen, tidying, cooking etc
In our house they are a real treat x

Liciaflorrick Sun 10-Mar-19 20:21:11

The reasons I don't reciprocate as much as others is that I have three dc of very different ages and it is hard to manage. Secondly our house is messy, lived in, and I have found some of the other mums v judgey which has put me off. Possibly the biggest reason, is that I only invite round children who I know are well behaved. My eldest dd 12 recently had a friend round who thought it was OK to rifle through my out of bounds bedroom. Not OK. My husband also has quite severe mental health probs, sleeps a lot in the day and I find it really hard to be open with people about them and don't really want to open ourselves up like that. Xx

givemesteel Sun 10-Mar-19 19:49:00

Picked up on this thread from Facebook where they did the voting buttons on whether play dates should be reciprocated. Was 60/40 in favour of yes when I looked.

So for those of us who feel playdate should be reciprocated (me included) can see why they're not, as 40% of parents don't think they should (rude imo).

I already talk to my dc 4 about 'turns', ie its our turn to have x over.

Most people do reciprocate as they appreciate the hassle of having someone else's kid over, having something nicer for tea and usually about 30-60 mins of tidying afterwards as well as it just meaning bedtime is later as your schedule is put out.

So happy to invite a kid once but if no reciprocal Invite then I don't invite back, and we don't get invited back again either if it's not their 'turn' so most play by the unspoken rule.

Exceptions would be if the child had a disabled parent or sibling where obviously I understand hosting playdate would be much harder.

Granted when playdates don't involve the parent then maybe it gets more relaxed. I played at other kids houses after school and visa versa when I was about 9 onwards but didn't stay for tea so wasn't a formal arrangement.

For the record I don't really like other people's kids either but do it to make dcs life nicer.

namechange123779 Fri 08-Mar-19 23:10:02

Have they got any older kids? I've put a freeze on play dates as my eldest is revising hard for his GCSEs & we are having some building work done,to be fair anytime the younger ones have been invited to play dates I've told the parents I'll return the date in the summer, short answer is they might just have a lot going on x

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