Seeing friends when at dad's?(14 Posts)
I had a conversation with my OH last night about my SD in which he stated that she wouldn't be going to see friends at weekends / going round for tea until she's at high school (11+), and she wouldn't be having any sleepovers until she's 13/14. We're a few years off that yet, but she never sees her friends out of school as he has her every weekend. I thought he was being very naive as I'm sure I was having sleepovers myself by about 9! What do you all think?
How old is she? Has she never been invited to a birthday party at the week-end?
It is quite normal for primary school kids to have friends over at week-ends including overnight, especially for birthdays. I can imagine being quite affected if her best friend had an overnight party but she couldn't go and then having to hear about how much fun they had at school on the Monday.
Your OH is being unreasonable, but then he hasn't been faced with the 'but dad, you don't understand, please..' yet, so hopefully his principles will be adjusted by his daughter's pleas!
He does sound a bit niave. DD has certainly had play dates since she started primary school, though probably more in the week than at weekends at first. And sleepovers from about 8/9, which are always at weekends or possibly in the holidays.
She's been organising her own social life and going out and about with friends since she started secondary school.
Do you live near DSD's school and friends? If you do, it shouldn't be too hard to start organising play dates for her, though you may need to liaise with her mum to get friends' phone numbers.
Well, this was brought on by a birthday party at an arcade where he was going to stay for the full 2.5 hours and I said I'm not sure that's the norm now they're older. She's 7, but he doesn't know the parents so obviously a bit different.
But she's never had a friend over at the weekend or gone elsewhere She's never been invited to tea on a Friday or anything. We're about a 20 minute drive from her school, but I don't think OH has even considered she wouldn't want to stay with him all weekend. I have found it strange that she's never been to play at her best friends' houses - during the week or at weekends - and I'm surprised the pleas haven't started already to be honest!
It's not really the norm to stay at birthday parties by 7. But actually, in this case, it might be really useful for your DP to do that. It may give him a chance to get to know a few of the other parents and learn a bit more about how these things work. I'd suggest to him that he speaks to the host though to say he'd like to stay, and is that ok with them.
Does she never see friends in the week either? You could suggest to get that she has a friend over for tea one weekend and ask her to get the friend's number - either via get mum, or via a note for her to pass to the friend
Even if he did stay, he'd just sit by himself and not really talk to anyone, but yes maybe I should suggest that he stays and gets to know the parents. But yes I'll get him to ask, thanks for the tip.
I don't think he's very keen on the area of the school really so hopes she'll make friends nearer to us, but I tried to tell him that it's not that easy and it's not fair for her not to get to join in because of that. I'll suggest he asks her if she'd like someone over for tea as a starting point. Thanks for your help!
She's not likely to make friends in your neighbourhood unless she joins some club or activity that happens locally. Even then her school friends will likely be the most important to her.
Yes I did mention that to him, but think he's still on the wishful thinking bit. Do you think it's strange that she's not been asked to tea anywhere? She doesn't really go to birthday parties either.
Invites over for tea would most likely be in the week, and depends partly on parents being friendly and organising them, so not having any at weekends isn't too odd. But you would think she'd have had a few parties at weekends. Is your DP able to speak to his ex about it? It's possible that invites to parties are coming home in her bookbag and not being passed on by his ex to your DP. Also possible that DSD isn't really making friends very well, but her DM ought to have some idea if that's the case. Some kids are more introverted and don't go to a lot of parties. But it would seem unusual to me for a child not be be invited to any at all.
Tea invites would 99% be for after school
I would have thought, not the weekend. Primary school age kids generally don't do the wandering into town together thing that happens when they get to secondary, so it's all facilitated by parents at this age.
Do you generally have concerns about her friendships?
I wouldn't expect invites for tea on weekends, but I would wonder whether the lack of e.g. Sleepovers etc was based on the fact that she's at her dad's at the weekend and not her mum's. If the mum knows all the friends' parents it may just be a natural thing for her to do all the arranging, and parents of children that age are naturally reluctant to send their children to the houses of people they don't know.
My DS went home to friends' houses when he was in primary where the parents were separated, but if it was the dad's night etc the mum would always approach me and make sure that I was ok with it being the dad rather than her who collected/brought him back. Not for any reason other than that she wanted me to know where DS was.
I would encourage your DP to talk to his ex though re lack of birthday party invites and whether or not DSD has friendship issues at school at all.
OH has a strained relationship with his ex so there isn't great communication to be honest. I think she's been invited to two birthday parties in the going-on-three years she's been at school. She has never mentioned going somewhere for tea or having a friend round, even when prompted, so I am fairly confident that she hasn't had that sort of interaction. For a few reasons, I can imagine she isn't as close to her friends as the other children will be at school, and she's quite immature for her age. Everyone in her life does seem to baby her a bit, and I think it's important that she has a bit more interaction with other children and gain some independence away from adults. I've suggested to OH that it's pretty normal for kids to go to their friends' houses for tea etc. at this age and maybe he should try to get talking to some parents / ask SD if she'd like a friend to go somewhere with her on a Friday night. He stayed at the party and made a point of telling me that there were a couple of parents who stayed too
Thanks WannaBe for the insight - I hadn't thought of that really. As I say, I don't think she's seeing anyone at all, but in the future, I'm sure that will be important to bear in mind.
If the relationship with his ex is strained, then it's quite possible party invites aren't getting passed on. Worth reminding DSD that she's at yours at the weekends and she should pass any party invites to her dad.
Also worth trying to make some direct contacts with friends parents. Does he do the school pick up on a Friday? Worth asking DSD who her friends are and inviting them over. At her age having a few play dates can help quite a bit with forming friendships I think.
You could also look to getting her involved in some sort of weekend activity (sports club, dance, drama, etc) to help her social interaction and maybe make some more local friends. You're in a good position to do this, as she's with you every weekend.
Yes, that's a good point - I will get OH to remind her to pass everything on. As I say though, she's quite young for her age, and doesn't think 'I'll tell dad about that party because I want to go' or ask to have a friend round which is why I think OH is assuming it's not common at this age. OH drops her off on Mondays and picks her up on Fridays, but the area isn't great and he's not too keen on the behaviour of other parents there (swearing / smoking in front of children etc.) which is why he hasn't really gone out of his way to socialise with them. I think he would much rather do the latter with the clubs and so on - we're moving over Easter so he's been looking at activities for then. Since I have no children and she's his only child, she's often just around adults apart from when we go to the park / swimming and she plays with other kids, but they're not 'friends'. Definitely think she'd benefit from some close friends so will carry on encouraging Thanks!
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