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DS (9) is obsessed with playing out with his friends all the time

(13 Posts)
Flyonthewindscreen Fri 01-Jul-11 10:22:58

We live in a village mainly made up of quiet cul-de-sac roads so the DC around here tend to be pretty free range. We had to let DS have a bit more freedom recently as most of his age group were and didn't want to make him stand out so he has a small circuit of roads he can go out on his own which brings a couple of his classmates into calling on range and also a pay as you go phone to summon him home/check where he is. Various other of his school pals are allowed "all around the village" as DS says wistfully so there is usually someone on hand to play out with.

So I know this all sounds like not a problem, DS has friends and would rather be outside with them than on own with tv. But honestly he is obsessed to the point he doesn't want to be with family/do other activities unless they are incredibly tempting.

One example, last Sunday one of DS's pals "X" turns up on doorstep at 10 and they do some gaming for an hour. At 11 I tell DS X has to go home as we are going out (walk along river and pub lunch with me, DH, DD and grown up friend), first part of trip spoilt by DS whinging about how many hours we were going to be out and and the last part spoilt by DS running on ahead on his own because he was desperate to get back. As soon as we got back he was off to call on X and didn't see him again until teatime.

Another example, DS refuses to consider most out of school activities because it would compromise his playing out time. He likes cubs because he gets to hang out with the same friends anyway and does one other activity but apart from that he just wants to be hanging out, he isn't even as keen as he used to be on going to the park/having friends for tea.

I thought this is how it would be when DS was 13 or so not 9 and me and DH feel sad that it feels like having a rejecting teenager in the house already. Also I don't know how far I should insist that DS spends family time/does some organised stuff. Am worried that too much hanging out unsupervised is going to lead to getting into trouble/annoying people. Any advice very welcome!

cat64 Fri 01-Jul-11 10:36:06

Message withdrawn

adamschic Fri 01-Jul-11 10:41:05

Mine (DD) was like this at this age. When I wanted her to spend time with family I would often take a few of her friends with us. Got quite expensive sometimes.

I was pretty relaxed about it and sleepovers were a regular occurrance.

However, when as she got older, teenage, she seems to prefer to spend time with family and wasn't chomping on the bit to hang out with mates.

Can you invite a friend along when you want him to do family stuff?

DollyTwat Fri 01-Jul-11 10:43:23

My 9 yr ok'd DS is exactly the same
I feel Luke I'm just here to provide meals etc
He's messed up arrangements we had as a family because he's been out playing
This is all new to me as I've only just started letting him have thus much freedom so I'm playing it by ear. I've made him check in every half hour, he must ask before he goes to someone's house and he mustn't use our house as a drop in centre (kids in and out constantly).
One little 6 yr old neighbour (who moved yesterday thankfully) was calling on us at 8am at the weekend despite being growled at by me every time!
On the upside, being grounded is a big thing now, so he knows he has to behave or the privilege is taken away grin

Tortington Fri 01-Jul-11 10:44:14

pub lunch is borng in comparison - but thats not the point, the lesson to be lerned here is about comprimise and about doing things that makes other people happy.

i think a talk is in order.

DollyTwat Fri 01-Jul-11 10:44:39

*allo allo spelling courtesy of iPhone, sorry!

Merrylegs Fri 01-Jul-11 10:53:13

I think console yourself with the fact that it's all cyclical anyway, isn't it?

I mean it feels intense at the moment, but there will be half the year when it will be dark/rainy and it just won't happen.

I would also make the most of not paying for out of school activities for as long as you can!

Also it can be a good bargaining tool - 'You can play out this morning but this afternoon we are going to x. Any whingeing and there will be no playing out tomorrow'.

Flyonthewindscreen Fri 01-Jul-11 13:05:57

Thanks for replies - yes it will calm down when the nights start drawing in. I guess I just didn't expect the whole friends being way more interesting than family to kick in so soon and having to force them to spend family time as a bit of a chore iykwim. We also have a 7 yo DD who is already constantly playing out (in a more limited way, just on our street), she still also loves being with me/DH at the moment but I can see her going the same way as DS and having to cagole two moody pre-teens to hang out with us occasionally!

mollythetortoise Fri 01-Jul-11 20:35:47

i can sympathise! we have a gated alleyway that runs at bac of houses on our road and another road and the kids all play in the alley most evenings and all day at weekends. There are lots of children so always someone out and we can hear my dd's name being called continuously! it drives me crazy as then she starts wanting to go out to alley and it is incessant - we do let her at weekends but weekdays I don;t want to allow it as a. it is a school night and it is hard work getting her to come home again, cue lots of arguing and b. I am concerned other parents are getting fed up with lots of kids around (they go in and out of a few of the gardens.)

I haven't found a solution yet other than bribes etc as I do llike her having a bit of freedom and playing out (she is 8) but only on my terms!! (which she doesn't always comply with)

Flyonthewindscreen Fri 01-Jul-11 20:47:03

The standing outside calling your DD's name thing would drive me mad. Much better if they just knocked and could be told X can/can't come out. Although bash, bash, bash on the door just as we are about to eat is pretty annoying also!

DollyTwat Fri 01-Jul-11 21:07:22

Thankfully the only kid who did the constant calking for ds has now moved. But he was more than persistent.
Both dc know that they have to stick to my rules, however silly they may seem, or they can't go out. I refuse to argue with them on my front doorstep!

TimeWasting Fri 01-Jul-11 21:18:47

Sounds great for the kids. smile You always hear about kids not playing out enough these days.

Every thing about gaining independence can be hard for us as parents I think.

It's not the playing out that's the problem, or not wanting to spend time with you, it's repecting your wishes.
If you negotiate, for instance, sitting at the dinner table til excused, and happily joining in with a family activity at weekend, that he is warned about and so doesn't make his own plans, that should be fair and respectful to both sides.

inthesticks Sat 02-Jul-11 15:55:50

We live in a similar area and when my DS1 was 9 he would have loved that freedom. I said he had to wait until he was a little older and I really regret it now. By the time he was older he wasn't interested in playing out - I had misjudged the timing of that phase and so he missed out on it.

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