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Had a day out with my friend and her child which turned a bit fraught, does anyone have advice for next time?!

(21 Posts)
onthepier Mon 01-Jun-09 12:42:41

Over the bank holiday weekend in early May, I'd planned to take our two children to a local theme park. My friend who just has the one child, mentioned that she was at a bit of a loose end, she'd heard my children talking about their planned outing and asked if she could come along. I didn't mind at all as my children get on well with her daughter, and the thought of a bit of adult company was nice too!

Anyway, we all travelled together by bus the next day, and had each packed a picnic for our own children. Now where money's concerned I don't have a limitless supply of spare cash, but like the children to enjoy treats. I'd already said I'd buy enough tokens so they could each go on 10 fairground rides of their choice, (bearing in mind some rides cost two tokens).

They were also allowed an ice cream, and a treat in the gift shop (with their own spending money they'd brought with them).

My friend inwardly sucked her breath in when my two asked how many tokens they could have and I said 10 each. She'd apparently only promised her daughter 5, she was only allowed the picnic food she'd brought with them, no ice cream and no gift shop!

The day was a bit fraught to be honest, my two had been promised these treats, (we don't make this sort of trip often), but my friend did a fair bit of tutting and eye rolling because obv whatever my two had, her daughter wanted and she couldn't afford it.

I completely understood, took my friend aside and said I was very happy to buy her daughter an ice cream and something small from the gift shop, if she was OK with it herself. She seemed quite offended and insisted I didn't treat her child. She said she made the rules clear to her before they came out, and hinted that I should have done with my two.hmm Well, as this was a special treat I had told my two what they were allowed, not knowing it was substantially more than her daughter was!
It wouldn't have been fair to suddenly say no to my two after they'd been promised things.

I just wondered how other people handle this situation, as I said I offered to treat her child, (not in the child's earshot as it could have been awkward), but I only ended up causing offence. I didn't want to disappoint my own children either as they'd been looking forward to this day. Whatever I decided I would have upset someone!

I think we'll do these sorts of daytrips on our own/just with my dh in future, prob easier all round!

sagacious Mon 01-Jun-09 12:49:03

Ach you couldn't really do much more than you did.

Next time speak to the mum before you go and both have the same plan.

Hope it didn't ruin your day

Bonnycat Mon 01-Jun-09 14:05:24

I agree you did all you could and also think she had a bit of a cheek seeing as she tagged along with you.If she was so bothered she could have brought it up when you arranged the day out rather than tutting and rolling her eyes.I think thats quite rude in the circumstances.
As Sagacious said the only thing you can do is next time just sort it out before you go so you all know where you stand i suppose but for FWIW i would have done the same as you.

Alishanty Mon 01-Jun-09 16:06:16

It was a bit off of her to tut and roll her eyes etc. I have been out before when other people have bought their kids things that we can't afford but I certainly wouldn't kick up a fuss about it! I just explain to the kids that unfortunately we can't afford it but say you are still having a nice time. It wasn't up to her to tell you what to do with your own kids. I'd just go by yourself in future!

LadyPinkofPinkerton Mon 01-Jun-09 16:11:08

It was unfair of her to be like that. On a day out most people would get ice creams and small gift shop treats.

If she wants to not get these things for her DD then fine but why should your children not get it. As you said it is a special outing.

Lanky Mon 01-Jun-09 16:11:47

I tend to agree this sort of thing with the parent beforehand - not saying that you should have done, but that she should have contacted you to find out what you were likely to do about treats etc. It makes life less fraught.

QuintessentialShadow Mon 01-Jun-09 16:15:56

Your friend was very rude. She came along to your planned day out, and was not prepared to be lax on what SHE had promised, but expected YOU to go back on what you promised your own children. She then rolled her eyes and ruined the day. I would not take her in the future.

I did go on an outing a little while ago with two other mums and our sons. We went to Ikea (... erm, one of the boys begged as he loves the meatballs, and we thought it would be good as we all needed to buy a few items) We had lunch, no treat after, just the food. And Ikea has a "snack bar" where you can buy hot dogs, soft ice, drinks just after check out, so the boys asked for soft ice. Me and one of the other mums said "Yes, you have behaved so well, so why not" and the boys ran off with money. The third mum said "no, because you had ice cream on sunday, and you know you are only allowed ONE icecream a week). Needless to say her son cried. I think this was very unfair, as with three boisterous boys in Ikea you would expect mayhem, but they behaved impeccably. They deserved a treat.

stealthsquiggle Mon 01-Jun-09 16:25:35

Very unfair. If she was trying to do it on a very limited budget then she should have agreed ground rules with you in advance. IF not then she should be prepared to live with the fact that her DD is getting different things to your DC and should deal with it gracefully.

I have suggested a similar joint outing in a couple of weeks time to a friend. I am certainly on a limited budget (will use Tesco voucher for ticket) and I know she is too - so we will certainly be agreeing ground rules before we go.

QS I am shock that someone would deny a small boy who has behaved around ikea a 35p ice cream! I would have been so tempted to undermine her and buy one for her DS.

katiek123 Mon 01-Jun-09 16:27:59

me too QS - i feel like a massively lax and over-indulgent mother now!!!i second what others have said - you did all you could in a tricky situation OP.

DamonBradleylovesPippi Mon 01-Jun-09 16:30:14

Your friend was indeed rude and it is beyond me why she was tutting you etc.

I expect to be able to do what I like with my children regardless what the other parents do/say. And viceversa of course. Sometimes my children had something that their friend didn't (say ice cream but the other already had one or the mum thought it was too cold etc) and sometimes they didn't get what they wanted because they misbehaved or had had already something or whatever.
I would not expect two families to do exactly the same things whether it is in re to food,presents,rides,etc and I am adamant that my children get it so to avoid tantrums etc.

Some people won't let their children eat crisps, other chocolate, other chewing gum ...

And also although I do explain to my children what we are going to do and what to expect etc I leave a fair bit to the moment as you never know how they day will unfold.

But yes sometimes it's much better to go on one's own!

LittleWhiteWolf Mon 01-Jun-09 16:54:23

Oh dear, what a shame that the day was a little soured by this. I think you behaved very kindly and fairly and it sounds like she just threw it back in your face, probably out of shame. It sounds like you really wanted to treat your own kids to a special day, but keeping within your means and having arranged it all beforehand with them. I hope you still managed to enjoy the day out, and that the kids did too.

flier Mon 01-Jun-09 16:59:15

Can I ask how old the children are?

Laugs Mon 01-Jun-09 17:18:12

It does sound like your friend was rude, though I probably would have gasped (silently) at ten rides too. We have quite a lot less money than lots of our friends, and it can make things miserable at times. I'm sure your friend started the day out with the same intention as you - to treat your children and have a fun day. It doesn't mean she was unreasonable because she couldn't keep up with you, so perhaps that's why she hoped you would spend less (as you could do that). From her point of view, she's obviously worried that while she is treating her daughter, the fact she is treating her less than you, means the daughter still loses out. I'm not blaming you at all, by the way! Just saying it can be rubbish when you can't afford what other families can.

Next time I suppose I'd just agree beforehand whether you are going to do the same as each other (and set a spending limit you can both afford) or do your own thing. Did the kids even notice anyway?

muffle Mon 01-Jun-09 17:22:21

These things are difficult. I have upset a friend's child before by buying DS new shoes while out with them - which were needed, not a treat, but still caused bad feeling. I've decided now that all the parents involved have to discuss things beforehand and agree what is OK to try to avoid treating the children differently.

onthepier Mon 01-Jun-09 20:15:37

Thanks for all your posts, looking back now I don't think I could have handled things any differently, but will make a point now before going to these places with friends, on agreeing beforehand roughly how much is acceptable to spend per child, to save any awkwardness!

FLIER - My children are 11 and 6, my friend's dd is 6.

LAUGS - I prob wasn't clear enough in my orignal post. Yes, my dc's had 10 tokens each so in theory they could each have had 10 rides. However, neither of them met the height restriction for their favourite rollercoaster and only two could go per carriage, so I had to go on this separately with each of them, using a token for myself each time, and another favourite ride of theirs used up 2 tokens per ride, so they actually had 6 rides each, not 10! Shame for my friend's dd though, as she only had 3 rides with her 5 tokens, her mum wouldn't accept any of ours though, sad.

It didn't completely ruin the day, just soured it a bit. My friend's dd didn't kick up a fuss when she wasn't allowed things, but my 11 year old did step in a few times and offered her things with her own money, (can see why this annoyed my friend as she'd already refused my offers), but my dd was just being kind.smile

supagirl Wed 03-Jun-09 22:40:54

I think your friend was out of order tbh. I have been on days out/play dates etc with friends and sometimes we have different rules and expectations but imo such is life. I might take a picnic, whereas a friend might buy her child lunch there for example. We might have sweets, they might not....etc

I am quite happy to make decisions about my children and stand by them if necessary, even if the other children are allowed something and I have said no and they are upset - I think it's good for kids to learn that they can't always have what their friends have, and I think it would spoil things if I had to agree on the "rules" with friends in advance of a trip.....sometimes it will depend on my kids behaviour if they get a treat, which I won't know in advance anyway.

I think in these PC days people seem too afraid to say "no" to their child. If your friend wanted to stick to her guns then she should have done so, without the eye rolling and tutting. Personally I would not be keen to go on days out with friends like this, but that's just me.

I don't think you did anything wrong, you are entitled to make choices that suit your budget and the needs of your family.

SG

2rebecca Thu 04-Jun-09 09:06:45

Your friend is unreasonable. You did have rules for your kids, they were just different to hers. Her actions don't sound very friendly though. I would have been angry at the unnecessary eye rolling and prob said so at the time. That's just pathetic and the sort of behaviour you expect from elderly inlaws not friends. I wouldn't go out with her again on something similar.

FimbleHobbs Thu 04-Jun-09 09:08:45

I don't think you could have done anything more than you did. My two are only 4 and 2 but if we go out with another family we still try and treat all children the same - normally by mutterings between me and other mum(s) to make sure we have the same rules, with us both being prepared to flex a bit so the children all get treated fairly.

Mine are still at the age where distraction goes a long way though, I guess it is harder when they are older and more aware of what others are doing.

supagirl Thu 04-Jun-09 09:31:31

I still don't see why the rules have to be the same if I am honest. Recently I went for a day out with a friend who only has one child - we have 4 (and 1 on the way!). My friend said her dd could choose something for upto £5 from the shop and immediately my kids were asking for the same. I explained that £5 for each of them would come to £20 which was the cost of the trip to the bowling alley we had planned for the next day. I said if they would rather have a gift and not go bowling that was fine - they all decided they would prefer bowling and that was it, no fuss. I said they could use some of their pocket money to buy some sweets if they wanted, but the oldest (10) quickly realised that she could buy twice as many if she waited and got them from the local shop later and the others followed her lead. I want them to understand the value of money and that sometimes we can't have what everyone else has. That's how I was raised and I have never had the debt problams that so many of my friends have as my attitude still is if I can't afford it, I won't have it.

SG

Stayingsunnygirl Thu 04-Jun-09 09:45:46

I agree with what everyone else has said, onthepier - your friend was not being reasonable or fair.

But I wanted to say how lovely of your dd to offer to buy the little girl treats with her own money, and how proud must you be of her! And you should be proud of yourself too for raising such a nice girl!

onthepier Sat 06-Jun-09 20:19:42

Thank you, Stayingsunnygirl!smile

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