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Worried about my effect on DS(14 Posts)
I took my DS (3.8) to a party today for one of his friends at nursery. I was dreading it, because I'm quite a shy person and I find small talk with other mums and dads really stressful. I'm pretty sure that my DS didn't know I was dreading it though.
DS started whining and saying he wanted to go home almost as soon as we got through the door. I tried to get him interested in a few things and not pressure him too much to 'take part'. Anyway, the other kids started playing a game, which I thought would be good - DS wouldn't have that sense of everyone looking at him, IYKWIM? He just carried on and on whining and saying he wanted to go home, so eventually I just snapped (though when I say snapped I mean just in my head), picked him up and left , asking someone to pass on my apologies.
DS had a full blown meltdown. I now feel awful, mostly for being so rude to the parents holding the party but also totally ground down by DS's constant whining and grumpiness, and the effort of not losing my temper/raising voice/etc.
I think the reason I put that bit at the beginning about ME dreading it, is because part of me is wondering if this is all MY problem. I don't remember ever having meltdowns on the scale of my DS, but I do recognise the uneasiness in social situations that he seems to experience. I have no idea how to address it though, because I've never overcome it myself...
Does any of that make sense? What do you think?
Poor you. I feel a bit like that at other people's homes (2yo ds). At least you did take him, even if only for a short while, many people wouldn't have done even that, if it caused that much stress. So don't beat yourself up. Start small. Well done for making an effort.
I think a lot of children find parties pretty overwhelming, and you might be reading too much into it. Possibly you have passed some of your shyness on to him, but whether that's from copying your behaviour or just the fact that he has 50% of your DNA, there's no way of knowing. Either way, you can't be blaming yourself; it's just how you are.
Work up slowly - if you can get one friend around to play, he might relax on his own turf, and then build up from there. And ditto for you - groups of people can be scary, but one person alone is usually fine. The tip re small talk is that you don't have to actually say much, just ask a question - "Where do you work?", "How's Little Jimmy getting on at playgroup?" etc and the conversation will flow. People love other people showing interest in them - and they love a good listener.
I've seen loads of peopel "sanp"and leave toddler groups/parties/singing classes with whinging toddlers, so you're certainly not the first.
DS1 always hated parties....the only reasoin we went and stayed was for me to socialise...when he got to schol age he just refused to go to parties, adn it doesn't seem to have harmed him. Now he's 10 he would probably go if invited.
Nest time you se the parents hosting the party, os you are sorry you left early but your DS wasn't feeling well.
Dont worry any parent would understand. Just text or ring the parent and explain that DS was under the weather / having a strop / whatever and that you felt it best to leave straight away and just say sorry for not being able to say goodbye in person.
Why did DS have a meltdown though because he wanted to go back to the party?
What is he normally like in unfamiliar situations? If he is usually worried why not just give him a specific thing to do when he gets there, ie if he knows one of the children, say why dont you go and say hello to x, I bet he's been looking forward to seeing you. I think possibly like a lot of things, distraction is the key.
Oh I know where you are coming from! There have been many times I've put myself out and taken my children somewhere only to be met with whining grumpiness and spoiled brat behaviour leading up to meltdown and me stomping off with them thinking "why do I bother?". All 3 SmallDragons have done it. Now they are older, I find myself saying "Which part of this do you think I am enjoying?". In fact, I've done it today although I think my comment as we drove away was along the lines of "I wanted to do XXX but I had to come here... I spend my whole life taking you lot places.. (etc)"
If you see the mother/father at nursery next week simply explain - they will understand completely!
The only way to help your DS is to continue to take him to these places and be there to make him feel secure and safe. I don't think you have to do anything per se.
ah don't beat yourself up
next time just find a quiet corner and give him a cuddle until he feels like he wants to join it
You are all really kind. Thanks for the reassurance and advice
"but I do recognise the uneasiness in social situations that he seems to experience. I have no idea how to address it though, because I've never overcome it myself..."
I totaly understand that one! I worry that my unease will effect my children. So much so that Im actually making an apointment with a hypnotherapist to try and put it to rest. Ill let you know if it works....or if I just end up £50 down
We are not all social butterflies, I agree with just sitting there with him until he is ready to join in is enough - he might not even join in that party, but he will sometime in the future. Dont even try coaxing him, it will make it an issue when it doesnt have to be. Just behave as though his behaviour is totally "normal".
Maybe get there early, so DS can get used to people slowly arriving instead of walking into a busy room full of people??
I was bought this book when I had DS1 and still get it out once in a while. Its called "Raising Boys" by steve biddulph and it talks about preventing our behaviour affecting our kids. It was probably the best gift we were given.
I am a really shy person, I always offer to make endless cups of tea in the kitchen. It gives me something to do and means I have some time to get myself together before talking to lots of people.
Perhaps you could volunteer for a task, that way you will be there to help your DS feel secure. Plus 'Would you like a tea?' is a great opener and 'I have to go and make some more tea.' is a great closer for conversations when you need to take a break.
Getting there early is a brilliant tip for future parties - my DS is so much more relaxed at parties if he walks into an empty-ish room that then fills up.
Also we play party games at home, mainly because I am extremely sad and enjoy musical statues, but then he knows what to do at the party. (nb I do draw the line at practising pass the parcel)
next time if you go to a party, don't try and make ds join in. I have been there - the only parent with a child on the side lines and can absolutely confirm that trying to get them to play games they don't want to, only ever leads to tears and tantrums. Next time, just let him sit on your knee and play a game with him - this has the added advantage, that you will not need to socialise either as you can talk to him instead. Both my children have been like this and I discovered that once they knew I was happy to sit there and talk to them as long as they wanted, they were happy to go to parties as they no longer felt any pressure to join in before they were comfortable to do so.
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