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heaven knows where DS1 got his social skills but me and his brother can't hack it with the alpha crowd.

(58 Posts)
lingle Fri 12-Aug-11 17:14:52

That's it in a nutshell really.

Grim playdate today with alpha-mummy of DS1's alpha-friend plus alpha daughter.

Alpha daughter is lovely and very kind to DS2 (nearly 6 but raw, very raw, social skills).

But against all my planning it ended up being a meet in the park. Cue usual struggle between the two usual extremes - either poor DS1 trying to make others play with DS2 or me having to play with DS2 while other mothers chatted.

I ended up having to leave with DS2 with alpha mummy left looking after DS1 for the umpteenth time.

sorry to moan, I know I am bloody lucky that the older child has the skills to shield/help the younger child and is willing to do so. But I'd resolved never to stray into alpha-crowd playdate land again without bringing a playmate for DS2 (he has a couple) and felt tricked!

lingle Fri 12-Aug-11 17:20:32

sorry, anyone want to hold my hand or give tips on how to plan around the fact that your inflexible child is mixing with kids flexible enough not to need plans!

LucreziaDomina Fri 12-Aug-11 17:26:20

Do you want ketchup with that chip?

WTF are you going on about Alpha this and that all the time? Does your child have SN?

Odd post, totally bizarre, can't make head nor tail, sorry.

scurryfunge Fri 12-Aug-11 17:29:54

I am sorry I don't see the relevance of alpha anything.

SJisontheway Fri 12-Aug-11 17:31:33

That last post was quite unkind by to be fair it isn't that clear from your post what ds2's problems are. Hope some one can help. Ds1 sounds very kind

TotalChaos Fri 12-Aug-11 17:32:58

thought this would be you from the title Lingle! OK to explain to others - Lingle is having difficulty juggling the social needs of DS1, 8ish, doing great, and DS2, 6 ish, not doing great (aftermath of whopping language delay). So it ends up that someone (DS1 or LIngle) ends up looking after/out for DS2, in a way you woldn't normally need to for a typical six year old.

scurryfunge Fri 12-Aug-11 17:33:00

I didn't mean to be unkind, I just do not understand what the issue is.

SJisontheway Fri 12-Aug-11 17:34:40

Sorry - was talking about post before yours

TotalChaos Fri 12-Aug-11 17:36:58

can we break it down a little - what would be the ideal playdate for DS1? why is playing with DS2 in the park while the mothers chat an issue?

orangina Fri 12-Aug-11 17:38:00

I'm a bit confused.

LucreziaDomina Fri 12-Aug-11 17:38:31

I've got four kids, two years between them all and they all have to look out for each other, that's the way it is in families.

The alpha stuff is pissing me off too much to offer decent advice, though.

scurryfunge Fri 12-Aug-11 17:40:02

Right, sorry. Can you choose activities where you know your younger son will be able to cope or shorten the time he is expected to play independently of you.
Can you make it clear that you will be busy for x amount of time but will check on him shortly. I would find groups/activities that are not too demanding or scary and let your friends know how difficult for him it is.

ScarlettIsWalking Fri 12-Aug-11 17:45:34

What the fuck are you talking about?

Mobly Fri 12-Aug-11 19:54:30

I'm sorry you're having problems- parenthood is difficult isn't it? I sometimes come away from playdates feeling drained or worried too.

I'm also sorry that there are some really rude people on here sometimes, but it reflects life.

libelulle Fri 12-Aug-11 20:06:19

I think you're being completely clear and I don't know why people are being so rude. My kids are much younger but I foresee a similar dynamic developing. No ideas except I suppose that the issue is coming to accept your sons issues as much as anything - by which I mean, I sometimes get so fed up feeling like the only mother in the park whose child won't go and play with the other kids, and think why can't I also be free to chat? But actually the days when i do completely focus on her, more often than not that gives dd the confidence boost to go off with others her own age. But she is only 3 and learning fast, so not really the same ball game. In any case, sympathies and ignore the rude nonsense above. It is hard!

Mobly Fri 12-Aug-11 20:40:53

I think people are being so rude because it is an anonymous forum (not that this is any excuse). Can you imagine, in day-to-day life, explaining a problem to a group of mums, to have someone say 'what the fuck are you talking about'? I mean, really, manners mean anything to anyone? grin

lingle Fri 12-Aug-11 23:44:49

sorry post was so confusing!

hello totalchaos! that's funny that you knew it was me from title alone! It was bad of me to write so quickly though - amounts to a shorthand that only you understood - thanks for explaining. As you can see, whilst DS1 is a great asset, I feel caught between two worlds a bit. DS1 will sometimes make announcements that worry me like "I don't think I'll meet up with the gang during the holidays because they expect Ds2 to be the same as their little brothers/sisters." And I'd had a couple of grim playdates where poor DS1 just spent the whole time getting others to play with DS2 in a way that probably isn't good for either of them. So I'd resolved not to put myself in that situation again. But I want DS1 to see his friends and I thought today I'd found a suitable way of doing that. Unfortunately the other mother assumed it would be ok to turn our playdate into a wider invitation with the very result I'd been trying to avoid. And I hated the fact that my heart sank when I realised it wasn't going to be just the four kids - becaue I don't want to be a needy complaining friend, I want to be able to go with the flow, but going with the flow is hard for Ds2.

you ask a very good question, what is the problem with me just playing with DS2 in these situations (and I did do that today). I'm not totally sure I'm comfortable with the answer. I usually feel very confident I've accepted DS2 as he is but the strain of a day spent with him and the wrong kind of children can unsettle that. They are so confident, so socialised, so skillful that he looks really weird in their light. I end up comparing him with them - the alpha kids (or whatever people would like me to call the popular crowd instead) instead of comparing him with the average child.

scurryfunge, your advice is good, thank you. I thought i had it all planned today in a way that would fit with your advice but best laid plans and all that.

CareyHunt Sat 13-Aug-11 00:05:21

Lingle, I have a similar situation. Ds 1 is 13, popular, sociable and cool. Has v. cool friends and just finds the whole social thing easy.

Ds2 is 10, has Aspergers, ADHD and dyspraxia. Not such a great mix socially!

I know exactly what you mean about ds looking wierd in their light. In our little bubble at home I 'forget' that it is odd to make noises/ flap hands/ lick things etc, but when we get in a social situation it all seems to get heightened. Ds1 is desperate for social contact of any sort, at any time. Ds2 is happier at home. It's a bit of a nightmare, but it's getting easier.

When they were littler we would alternate/ have enough days 'off' from social stuff so that ds2 (and I) could recover. In social situations I would do what you do; play with him. I found it much easier to cope with other parents if I had mentioned ds's diagnosis before hand. That stopped me feeling self-concious for him.

I still had things I would NEVER have taken ds2 to, but once I had spoken to a few friends I felt more able to say 'ds2 won't cope. Please can you take ds1 for me.' I would reciprocate in another way (perhaps a sleepover with ds1 at our house)

I also talked to DS1 about ds2's Dx, and told him that it was ok to tell his friends about it if it helped to explain ds2's behaviour.

As they have got older, ds1's close group of friends have become honorary friends of ds2. They model 'normal' social behaviour and are accepting of his differences. I know sometimes it feels awful, but it IS a huge blessing that your ds1 is so socially able. Ds2 will get a huge headstart from watching him, and will inherit a social circle. Children genuinely are hugely forgiving of difference.

ggirl Sat 13-Aug-11 00:20:20

Have you spoken to your friend about how you feel?

TotalChaos Sat 13-Aug-11 11:09:46

half of this I can completely identify with - the sinking feeling in the playground - and half of this I cant, as I only have the one non NT child. I think all you can do is try and do a lot of inviting/arranging yourself, so that playdate suit both DS1 and DS2 more. Sounds like you need to separate off both their social lives iyswim. Would DS2 enjoy any sort of classes/sports etc just for him? I have a friend with 2 NT children who has not dissimilar worries - her DS1 is v confident, her DS2 is more of a dreamy self-sufficient type - so it takes conscious effort to arrange stuff for DS2.

lingle Sat 13-Aug-11 13:19:14

thanks for nice messages.

ggirl, that's a good question. I actually hoped, when planning yesterday's playdate (which i thought would involve me, my friend and the four kids all being in one car) to bring up the issue in a relaxed way - not least because she often takes DS1 to things. My kids work well with her kids when no one else is there. I was looking forward to it. I ended up not having that opportunity. So part of the stress is feeling I was rude - I know I sounded crestfallen on the phone when she told me X and Y were coming too. And when I had to leave the park with DS2, she said, as usual "DS1 can stay with me" and I said "but that always ends up happening" - meaning she always ends up with that task. So I'd lost the opportunity to lay the groundwork IYSWIM.

I can see how useful a DX would be in these circumstanced but I don't think DS2 would qualify any more (we could have got one at 3 I think when his language was terrible). He handled yesterday by joining in baseball for a bit, then asking his brother to go to the playground with him, then going just with me, playing for a bit, going back, asking for icecream which I didn't have money for, and eventually asking to go home because he'd had enough baseball. So it wasn't that his behaviour was strange, or unacceptable, just that he couldn't break into the little girl's girlie group (probably quite sensible not to try to really given that she's a year older and streets ahead) and wasn't that interested in a sustained baseball game. But his skills are weak: a three year old joined us and immediately got my DS1 throwing him the baseball and try to hit it and would have continued all day - you could see that his basic social skills were much better.

When he was younger and didn't talk, DS1's friends found him really cute and played picking up/catching games with him but he's too big for that now.

I think the other problem is that I was more like shy DS2 than extrovert DS1 growing up and find social chit-chat tricky. Like Ds2, I'm more comfortable not having to cope with extended groups. But my friend runs the PTA and is hugely sociable, as are the mothers of most of Ds1's friends.

takeonboard Sat 13-Aug-11 13:53:51

I undertsand exactly how you feel, my DS can only handle 1 to 1 playdates or organised group activities. He seems to lose his way in a crowd of kids just hanging out and quickly becomes the "victim" or "outsider" and I still have no idea why. He simply has very poor social skills (no SN or any other issues except that he has now been bullied so is nervous). He is so desperate to have friends that he sometimes behaves a bit loud and silly in trying to be noticed.

I have been in your situation so many times and felt physically sick when I see other kids who just "get it" so easily quickly turn and be mean to him, he then makes it worse for himself by retaliating and turning the whole group against himself. I too avoid situations which I judge to be potential disasters, but am finding it increasingly difficult to manage his social life as he gets older and am noticing the fact that he has less friends now that the kids are more in control of who they spend time with (age 10). sad

Sorry thats no help to you at all! But looking back at what others have said your DS1 is a blessing really and seeing him and his very socially skilled friends in action can only help DS2 even though for you its even harder as it really highlights DS2's difficulties. I had no idea kids social success/failure could be this heartbreaking for all involved and can't help feeling sometimes that it would be much easier to deal with a learning or physical difficulty, there just seems to be more help out there, but some kids clearly need social skills training classes.

aliceliddell Sat 13-Aug-11 14:13:15

Do you find other parents of socially able kids just don't understand your and dc's problems?

aliceliddell Sat 13-Aug-11 14:14:49

Agree with take - social skills classes would be a great help.

LunarRose Sat 13-Aug-11 14:22:41

So understand what you mean, esp the alpha mummy bit.

(have NT DD and younger ASD DS)

Can't offer any advice just a big hug!

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