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Horrific play date

(285 Posts)
SapphosRock Thu 01-Oct-20 09:24:35

I am mortified. DD is 5 and in year 1. She is quite highly strung and has the occasional meltdown but otherwise just a normal 5 year old.

Obviously there have been no play dates due to lockdown so this was her first proper one. A lovely little girl in her class bubble (let’s call her Lily) invited her over after school.

I arranged to collect DD after an hour as I know she can get overtired so thought this would be enough. Had a big talk with DD about manners, playing games Lily wants to play as well as her own (she struggles with this), being kind. DD can be sweet and charming and was confident the play date would go well.

Well, I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life. Lily’s dad was clearly very ready for DD to leave. Apparently they couldn’t agree on what game to play and she’d kicked Lily’s bookcase over. She was wearing one of Lily’s dresses and refused to take it off. She then refused to leave. Had a full on meltdown when i tried to help get the dress off, screamed, shouted, ran into Lily’s Dad’s bedroom, pulled his curtains and tried to get in his bed, shouting ‘no no no no’ the entire time and ‘worst play date ever’.

I would have physically carried her out but I had baby DS with me too so couldn’t carry them both. I asked if we could return the dress at school tomorrow to make a quicker exit but this made Lily cry so I had to get it off DD.

No exaggeration DD kept up the meltdown for over half an hour with Lily and her dad staring at us with shocked faces. I was apologising profusely and trying to calm
DD down enough to leave. In the end I had to leave DS with them, carry DD to the car with her kicking, screaming and clawing at my face, lock her in the car and go back to retrieve DS. It was hideous.

How should I have handled that? She’s lost her screen time for a week and no more play dates for the foreseeable. When she calmed down she said she didn’t know why she got so angry and she made Lily a card to say sorry (unprompted).

I don’t know how that could have been avoided? I made sure she had a snack after school before going to Lily’s so she wasn’t hungry. Other kids just don’t behave like that.

How can I make sure that never happens again?

OP’s posts: |
Syngin Thu 01-Oct-20 09:29:42

Losing screen time for a week is pointless. Punishments need to be immediate and tangible at that age.

MarriedtoDaveGrohl Thu 01-Oct-20 09:31:32

I'm afraid you need to buckle up. This isn't going away and isn't getting better. Adhd/autism starts about now. I know I'll get shouted down for this but I'm sure as you add more info (you've already made it clear you've been managing her behaviour) it will be more obvious on here. There's a great board for mums with SEN kids on MN maybe move this there? She might well be bright and mostly ok. If it's adhd and she's well brought up and managed and it's not the very severe form (or co-morbid with anything else) it will be easier. But not easy.

Haworthia Thu 01-Oct-20 09:33:18

Don’t blame yourself - sometimes it’s a shitshow and it would have been a shitshow no matter how you handled it!

Chalk it up to tiredness, being in an unfamiliar house without you, five year old squabbles, whatever. You won’t get an invitation again but that’s OK grin

I hate playdates personally. Loathe them. Even the nicest kids seem to turn their noses up at every innocuous snack I offer them. The worst ones jump on the sofas and trash my kids’ bedrooms.

pilates Thu 01-Oct-20 09:36:30

That isn’t normal behaviour. Has something happened recently, is it a one off? You say she has meltdowns and highly strung. Perhaps you need to go and see a professional to investigate further?

LittleSwede Thu 01-Oct-20 09:41:07

This sounds like something my 6 yo DD would do, she has ASD. We once had our new neighbor's little girl over for a play date and DD proceeded to undress herself, presumably with intention of putting another dress on to show her friend, instead she ended up standing naked in her room and screaming hysterically at the top of her voice for about 15 minutes. I was mortified as I barely knew the neighbours and hadn't had a chance to explain about DD's ASD yet.

I had to explain about DD's SN and luckily we have managed another couple of supervised play dates without as much drama since.

Could you do the next play date at your house so that you are ready to step in if things get out of hand?

readingismycardio Thu 01-Oct-20 09:42:00

Wow, OP! So sorry you're going through this.

I'm not sure, though, is this an one off? I guess my question is more like if this happened before the pandemics as I believe this can be a result of the fact children haven't socialised much w

readingismycardio Thu 01-Oct-20 09:42:30

Sorry - pressed send too soon

- haven't socialised much with their peers the past few months

PortugeseManoWar Thu 01-Oct-20 09:42:52

Honestly, OP, at five, and on a first playdate, I would have expected you to go with her and stay the full hour, especially if she's a highly-strung child. That way you could have nipped your DD's behaviour in the bud at the outset, and taken her away if it was clear it was escalating.

I just don't think the average five year old, even an NT one, retains information for long enough to remember instructions about playing other people's games, good manners etc -- they need to be reinforced by a parent on the spot. For the same reason, losing screen time for a long period doesn't compute as being punishment for a particular bit of bad behaviour.

BadDucks Thu 01-Oct-20 09:42:57

Autism starts about now? What a load of bollocks!!! Please don’t advise on something you are clearly quite ignorant about!

Anyway OP I think for a while play dates should be held at your home and be well supervised and short! Keep them structured if needs be and give your dd some control over the activities.

I’m not sure what you could have done differently at pick up she’s already gone over to the dark side and there’s not much reasoning at that point. I would have not tried reasoning just bundled in the car and let her ride out the storm at home

Zany15 Thu 01-Oct-20 09:45:00

Why do people assume that a child has a 'condition' when they have quite simply been very naughty? Some firm discipline is needed, to ensure that she doesn't behave in that way again.

Time2change2 Thu 01-Oct-20 09:46:29

Five year olds can be unpredictable. This does sound extreme but not outside the normal realms if the child was tired or has some other worry / upset going on.
Sounds like you did the best you could in the circumstances. Please don’t beat yourself up about it. Send a text apologising for the outburst (although you shouldn’t have to but I find if it’s happened to me it just clears the air)
Then move on. No play dates for a little while whilst you watch your DD for any other signs of extreme anger bursts etc. If these are happening all the time (like multiple times a week) then it might be time to speak to the school or GP about it going forward.
We can only do the best we know how. You sound like you are doing your best and parenting is hard and embarrassing for everyone at some stage.

SapphosRock Thu 01-Oct-20 09:48:55

My partner and I wondered if she could have SEN when she was younger due to the frequent meltdowns so took her to a psychologist... who said it was just terrible twos.

Surely her nursery or school would have flagged any concerns to us? No issues with her behaviour at school that we've heard of.

Her brother is a lot more relaxed and easy to look after - the difference is stark but I put that down to personality.

OP’s posts: |
FedUpAtHomeTroels Thu 01-Oct-20 09:51:14

I bet she was overtired after school. It's been so long since they have had full days there that adding a play date after was just too much.
At 5 she's old enough to explain when she is calm, that the playdate didn't go well. that the Dad was very annoyed and you doubt very much they will invite her back any time soon. That she and Lily were just too tired for this and so we will not be going to any more play dates or inviting others over for a while until we get back into the swing of school days and not being overtired.
Maybe a short play date or park play with a friend during half term would be better.

SmileyClare Thu 01-Oct-20 09:51:19

Please don't be too mortified. All parents understand that sometimes children don't behave and have tantrums. I'm sure the dad wasn't as horrified as you think.

Look she's 5, just started back to school, is very tired..I would avoid playdates. Not as a punishment but because she's not coping with them, they're no fun for anyone involved.

I wouldn't keep rehashing it with your dd or prolonging a punishment. Some children are unable to express their emotions, it all just comes out in a massive meltdown instead. They don't know why they do it and are too young to verbalise it to you afterwards.

Perhaps consider having a friend after school to your house once she's more used to the school day and less tired? At least then you can supervise.

It may be that your dd thrives with a set routine and familiar surroundings so activities need to be arranged with that in mind.

RickOShay Thu 01-Oct-20 09:51:37

I think at the moment we all need to give children a break, especially small ones. Talk to her Sappho. If you struggle to handle her feelings, how can you expect her to?
Role play can be useful, you take the part of Lily and work through what happened.
Take heart. She’s very very young. flowers

BadDucks Thu 01-Oct-20 09:51:49

Additional needs is always a possibility but without a bigger overall picture it would be hard to judge from this one incident.

It’s not uncommon for ASD in girls to go unflagged unfortunately. May be worth a discussion with school and with the GP if you feel there is more to it

StormBaby Thu 01-Oct-20 09:52:58

My SEN child would behave like that and he has never been on a playdate or to a birthday party. They’re too much for him.

AwaAnBileYerHeid Thu 01-Oct-20 09:54:07

Why does every kid have to have a condition to explain bad behaviour? I'm not saying this kid doesn't have ADHD/autism but OP, your DD makes me sound like an angel when I was that age, honestly I was so naughty. I am now a perfectly functioning adult, no with no 'conditions'.

I have no advice on how to deal with the behaviour, I'm really sorry to hear how embarrassed you were though, it must have been awful.

StormBaby Thu 01-Oct-20 09:54:15

Also, girls especially with SeN can mask at school and then need to decompress at home. Going straight to a play date will only exacerbate this.

SapphosRock Thu 01-Oct-20 09:55:40

Thank you RickOShay and SmileyClare you both made me feel better.

Yes hopefully she's just a bit young and it was all too much for her.

She's had lockdown and a new sibling to cope with too which may be affecting her.

OP’s posts: |
SBTLove Thu 01-Oct-20 09:56:44

Why does everyone jump to SEN? some
kids are just naughty and tantrum, all
of her behaviour was due to not getting her own way but let’s leap in and diagnose every naughty child 🙄

Whenwillow Thu 01-Oct-20 09:56:48

She's quite young to play at someone else's house without you, I think. Play dates seem to be a newish thing (revealing my age here) Would it be possible to invite a mum and her kids round for a coffee and a play. That way it's more supervised, and your child would probably feel more relaxed with you there.
Sorry it was so tough.

Figgygal Thu 01-Oct-20 09:56:52

Dear God that does so mortifying
I would suggest any further play dates happen at your house for sure

SmileyClare Thu 01-Oct-20 09:58:20

It's not A Load of Bollocks to suggest autism. No one's diagnosing anything here but it would be silly for a parent to reject the possibility completely. Particularly if a child's behaviour is following a pattern of meltdowns, not just a one off.

Girls are better at masking autistic traits. They can camouflage it quite well, for example at school, and the build up of frustration is unleashed when they get home. Girls are usually diagnosed later than boys for this reason.

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