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WWYD around playdates

(7 Posts)
safran Thu 26-May-11 07:09:27

DS is 4 turning 5 in the summer as are his friends (french school system so been in school together almost 2 years). One of the boys has become increasingly unmanageable - his Mum suspects some kind of ADHD and whilst I can't judge on these things she may be right. He goes from fairly quiet to bouncing off the walls in seconds, has started being more aggressive and just can't seem to stop even when he is aware his behaviour is causing other kids to be upset. The school and his Mum are trying different things to address it but not much change and if anything getting worse.

Which brings me to my problem.... previously we've done playdates with the boys as they are good friends. But as his behaviour is getting worse, my DS is less keen on spending time with him and in fact a lot of the other kids are also stopping playing with him and some of the Mums are pointedly not inviting him to parties / playdates.

From my perspective excluding him isn't going to help him learn acceptable behaviour and I also sympathise as my own DS went through a pretty rough month or so last September and I really appreciate the mums who stuck by us while I got him to understand what was right/wrong behaviour.

BUT... my DS really doesn't want to do playdates with him. We have one scheduled for today and DS is reluctant about it and asked me to move some of his toys from his bedroom. Normally this would be a no-go for me - house rule tends to be that if you have a playdate everyone plays with all your toys - but he spends hours making his Lego "inventions" and they are very precious to him, and he is right, the boy will just destroy them. So I have agreed for this one time to move the more fragile pieces into my room for the playdate (for other kids he has no problem sharing these)

So sorry - long winded - my problem is WWYD about future playdates
- agree with my DS's stance of not doing any more - and how on earth do I explain this to the boy's Mum who is already stressed by others doing the same? We are "school gate" friends so not particularly close but get on
- keep the play dates up but reduce the number and let DS ask for certain toys to be removed from his room on these occassions
- just keep going as before and explain to DS that sometimes we have to support our friends when things are tough even if we don't like it (bad wording I know - and no idea how to make it better but understandable to a 4 year old)
- or something else????

I'll be off and on for the rest of the day (different time zones - and of course todays play date smile ) but welcome any advice

Goblinchild Thu 26-May-11 07:18:02

I think it's very kind of you not to just think of ending the relationship, having a child with challenging behaviour you are trying to address is very isolating and embarrassing without others shunning you.
I would tailor the activity and the toys accordingly, your DS is showing good sense to remove things he doesn't want damaging. It's not being selfish, it's being practical.
I'd keep the playdate short, with a definite end time, and be prepared to intervene to sort a problem before it escalates, will his mother be there?
Have specific things to do rather than letting him run free with your DS.
Ask the mother what sort of strategies she's trying so that you can be consistent
I would also put the safety and happiness of my own child first, it's wonderful that you are prepared to help and having been the other parent I do appreciate it, but your son needs to know he is still your number one priority. You can ask him to compromise a little, but not too far.

safran Thu 26-May-11 07:29:53

Thanks Goblinchild! When my DS went through a difficult phase (luckily for me just a phase although he's always going to be a live wire) I was so glad that some people stuck with us so I struggle to not support another Mum
But your words hit home - I am making my DS compromise I need to make sure I don't push it too far.
I've decide to take them to a pretty safe and contained playground today followed by a short play at home as I think it will be better than the whole time in the house. His Mum won't be here - usually we take each others kids, but I'm wondering if it goes horribly bad I ask her to come the next time. We'll see how it goes...

Tgger Thu 26-May-11 21:57:04

Tricky one. I would reduce the play-dates, but very casually (eg be busy/have undisclosed "work/other business to do).

I would also meet outside whenever possible, playground/woods etc etc- seems you are doing this today, hope it went ok!

They are still quite young to not have a parent with them. My son wouldn't consider this yet and he's 4.5- I guess that is partly a personality thing tho as some parents/children seem to be happy with it from 3 or so.

If your DS is reluctant I would maybe chat a bit about it and if it is more than reluctance- if he is actually quite anxious/stressed about the idea then leave having another play-date for a while- again no need to give a reason.

Maybe it went brilliantly today and there is no longer a problem?! Hope so!

My DS has one rather boisterous friend who seems to upset some of the other children at school quite a lot. However DS is friends with this boy and so far doesn't seem upset by his behaviour so we do meet and play with him- I've taken to doing it less often and mostly at the woods- much better than having your toys broken (as happened last time he was here).

lljkk Fri 27-May-11 08:16:24

Does the other boy get up to such destructive behaviour if you supervise them both playing together closely? I guess such close supervision would be part of my future strategy.

Hullygully Fri 27-May-11 08:21:29

wot goblin said.

and good for you. there is nothing sadder than a child being dropped like a stone and so so sad and horrid for the parent.

safran Fri 27-May-11 13:28:14

Sorry I've been rude not to let you know how it went

Well it was lively smile but not too bad. DS had obviously also been thinking and come to similar conclusions. The other boy loves trains which my DS is no longer really bothered about, but as soon as we walked in he said "lets build a train track" and distracted him from some of his other more precious toys! (I was secretly proud of him - even if it was a tad bossy!) So as I say we had a few moments of madness but nothing too bad.

Anyway I'm going to just continue as before but with some compromises for my son i) certain toys put away and ii) letting him being a bit more bossy than on other playdates. But I'm trying to get a balance between not singling this kid out and letting him know this won't be the norm - if you see what I mean.

FWIW Tgger - here its the norm for kids to do playdates without their Mums. They're in the French school system so started the year they turned 3, and I guess a year and a half of school makes them more comfortable with this - although I agree its personality type.

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