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I wouldn't go so far as to call the playdate a complete disaster, but....

(55 Posts)
Earlybird Sat 12-Sep-09 18:28:40

...would like some impartial feedback and advice please.

DD and I were invited to join a group of my friends at a ticketed evening festival held in an enclosed section of a park. So that dd would have someone to play with, we invited one of her good school friends to come along. So far, so good....

Shortly after we arrived, we happened to see three families whose children are in dd (and her friend's) year at the same school. DD and her pal (call her E) were thrilled to see these other children, and before we knew it, they were all running around and larking about. So far, so good......

About an hour in, dd came to say that she couldn't find E, and had been looking for quite a while. I came to look and after a good half hour of searching with torches in the dark, we discovered E in a far away grove of trees 'having a talk' with one of the boys from school. I said to E that it wasn't right to disappear in that way because we had been concerned, and that now found, she needed to come out and play with dd and the group. The children all ran off, until.....

10 minutes later, dd came to me in tears saying E and the boy were running away from her, and once again, she couldn't find them. When they hadn't appeared within another 10 minutes (or so), dd and I began searching once again for E and the boy. The boy's father joined in. We searched for over an hour, until finally the boy's father found them 'hiding and talking' around the back of a building.

I was furious at E's behaviour, and concerned for dd. Neither of us had a nice evening, as most of it was spent looking for E.

How would you have handled it in the moment? Would you have said anything to E? Should I say something to her Mum (who is a fairly good friend of mine)? I'm still fuming at E's treatment of dd and quite frankly, me. I certainly hadn't intended to spend the evening comforting dd and searching for E.

BTW, dd, E and friends are 8 and 9 years old.

itsmeolord Sat 12-Sep-09 18:32:29

I would speak to her mum but I would also have not left the kids for an hour without getting them to check in with me.

I have two 9 yr old girls.

<am not implying you abandoned them but think children that age need to be told to come back to check in every half our at least emoticon>

onepieceoflollipop Sat 12-Sep-09 18:32:32

I would definitely have said something to E, and later on her mother. I am curious why you didn't say something to her the second time. Also why didn't you say anything to her mother? Is this usual behaviour for E?

Personally (although perhaps I am not the best person to give an opinion as dd1 is only 6) I think perhaps it was unwise to let the children run off and go and play in the dark. You say that it was about an hour when your dd said she couldn't find E. A lot can happen in the dark in an hour when young children are left alone and unsupervised.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 12-Sep-09 18:33:30

I would say something but be prepared for the mum to be upset and angry that you lost her daughter for a while - unfair as that might seem.

itsmeolord Sat 12-Sep-09 18:36:13


<I can spell emoticon>

limonchik Sat 12-Sep-09 18:36:29

I'm afraid I think you should have kept a better eye on the children yourself.

Earlybird Sat 12-Sep-09 18:38:10

Sorry, I wasn't clear. The first hour of being there went fine with all children happily wandering around periodically 'touching base'.

QueenOfFuckingEverything Sat 12-Sep-09 18:38:35


I'd have told E off after the first time and not allowed them out of sight after that. TBH you really should have kept a better eye on them after that.

E's mum may well be annoyed with you for 'losing' her for an hour after dark. I would be.

hocuspontas Sat 12-Sep-09 18:39:13

After the first time I would have said play where I can see you. I think you are ultimately responsible.

Earlybird Sat 12-Sep-09 18:41:09

I didn't say something to the Mum because she was not home when I dropped E off (about 10 at night). Only E's older siblings (teenagers) were there, so no chance to discuss anything.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 12-Sep-09 18:46:52

You need to tell her as she will not be impressed if she finds out from anyone else. She will also think you have something to hide.

Earlybird Sat 12-Sep-09 18:48:24

Something to hide? Please explain

FabBakerGirlIsBack Sat 12-Sep-09 18:50:35

I am just thinking of how I would feel and this happened with my child I would wonder why you didn't tell me and would think there was more to it.

limonchik Sat 12-Sep-09 18:52:19

I think your mistake was that after you lost E the first time you let them run off again in the dark. Really, I think you should know where 8 and 9 year olds are in a dark, crowded park - especially if it's not your child.

If E tells her mum "I ran away for an hour and Earlybird had to come and find me with torches", the mum might be a bit upset that you didn't mention it to her.

Earlybird Sat 12-Sep-09 19:01:15

I have had E over to play (and dd has been to hers) many times. There have never been any problems with behaviour.
I certainly wasn't anticipating any problems this time either, but that is not how it worked out. What was different about this time was we were not in a 'controlled' home situation.

DD is a sensible child, who would never run off, and does check in regularly. Perhaps I made a mistake in assuming that E was also sensible, and would behave in a similar fashion.

I think it is worth saying that the other parents who were there (both my friends and those of dd's school mates) were quite unworried about letting their children roam out of sight at the event.

waitingforbedtime Sat 12-Sep-09 19:04:11

I would be furious with a parent / friend if they 'lost' my child, day or night. I would be disappointed in my kid for not listening, for running off and for being disrespectful by not obeying their rules but ultimately I would have expected the parent to look after my kid.

waitingforbedtime Sat 12-Sep-09 19:06:11

*DD is a sensible child, who would never run off, and does check in regularly. Perhaps I made a mistake in assuming that E was also sensible, and would behave in a similar fashion*

This really jumped out at me : yes, you did make a mistake because in your OP you stated you 'let' her run off a second time after she had proven herself not to be 'sensible'. Sorry you did ask!

Earlybird Sat 12-Sep-09 19:10:23

Also worth re-stating that I spent over half the time at the event looking for E on two different occasions. I thought I had made myself clear when E was found the first time, but obviously not. We left the event immediately after E was found the second time. As we were walking to the car to leave, E spoke to dd about 'hiding' - which made my blood boil.

Also worth stating, that the boy's father, was unconcerned when his son and E couldn't be located both times. In fact, he made me feel as if I was over-reacting as I searched for them. He kept saying 'oh, they'll turn up'.

I am fascinated that most responses here are focused on how I should have handled things differently with supervision. Very interesting that no one is talking about E behaving badly.

waitingforbedtime Sat 12-Sep-09 19:12:25

I did mention if E was my child Id be disappointed in them etc etc etc but I dont think that'd be the main focus of my worries tbh.

Goblinchild Sat 12-Sep-09 19:13:10

They are children, and you were the adult in charge, so it was up to you to cope with the behaviour whilst keeping her safe. If my child came home with such a tale, I'd tell her off but I also wouldn't trust you with her again.

QOD Sat 12-Sep-09 19:14:50

how old are they?

limonchik Sat 12-Sep-09 19:16:02

You did ask how other people would have handled it. Yes, E was a silly little girl who played up - but you were the adult who should have been supervising her. Should you say something to her mum? As others have pointed out, the mum may be upset to hear you lost her daughter in the dark from E rather than you.

Earlybird Sat 12-Sep-09 19:16:39

E is 9. Dd is 8.5

Goblinchild Sat 12-Sep-09 19:17:08

QOD, they are 8 and 9.

limonchik Sat 12-Sep-09 19:17:50

You also say other parents were happy for their children to roam - unfortunately standards are slightly different when you're looking after other peoples' children. You can decide to take calculated risks with your own child that you can't with other peoples'.

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