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Any playground gurus out there?

10 replies

fidgetyfeet · 01/05/2009 17:08

Do you worry about your kids' friendships?
How important are friends that they make in primary? Do they need to see school friends out of school aswell? Does it matter if you do/ don't get on with the parents? What do you do if you think your child's mother is manipulating a relationship? How involved do you get - does it matter?
I've got myself so wound up I can't get out of it. DS, in Y2, has a close friend at school but this year the friend's mum said she had an issue with it - wanted her kid to have a wider social group and stopped any play dates etc. She's known to be very controlling - always in the classroom, always needs a quick word with the teacher etc. Fine. The kids all started to play in a bigger group at playtimes. I could see the benefits for DS and he's happy - but was difficult to explain the no more play dates thing. His friend is sometimes actively telling DS he doesn't want to be with him - choosing other partners etc, which I KNOW is ok but it breaks my heart to think DS is hanging around waiting for his mate, kind of being at his beck and call as and when he deigns to play with him. DS isn't upset and I'm sure in the long run DS will benefit. I'm pretty sure from chat on the grapevine that friend's mum is manipulating it this way, but do I get involved too or do I leave DS to work out how to manage it for himself?

Advice please??

OP posts:
sagacious · 01/05/2009 17:11

Leave your ds to sort it out himself BUT your ds's friends mum sounds like a bit of a total bitch cow. (imo)

sagacious · 01/05/2009 17:12

And yes I worry panic about ds's friendships (also yr 2) I think its totally natural too but don't convey your anxiety onto your ds.

nickschick · 01/05/2009 17:16

Heres what you do - you encourage your ds to bring other friends home for playdates,you go to local parks after school - if the mother and the son behave like that then its far better your ds gets different friends too.

Dont take it as a personal slight on yourself or your ds the mother is slightly misguided in my opinion.

Its always best to let your child choose his own friends however undesirable (im speaking as a mum of 3 whose ds2 is best friends with what could be a kid with the smelliest feet in the whole world )

fidgetyfeet · 01/05/2009 17:54

Thank you so much both of you. I like the thought that if that's the way she behaves, and teaches him to behave then it's not a great friendship to be in - I just wish he could learn that quickly now. I find myself asking him if he's lonely (my own hang up I know - as one who always liked to have a best firend at school) ....... he says he's not at all lonely and has lots of kids to play with. I must stop, I'll probable out ideas in his head.
And nickschick, reassure yourself that they'll probably all have smelly feet by the time they hit puberty and you'll be a step ahead of the game for living with it!

Sagacious - you're right about not passing on the anxiety - any tips on how to do that?
BTW she is a cow.


OP posts:
ingles2 · 01/05/2009 17:59

I'm sure there isn't, but just to check FF,,, Is there any reason you can think of why she wouldn't want the children to be friends? It's very extreme to go from BF to not friends at all.
Aside from that, you are taking the right stance. Don't get involved. As nickschick said, organise some new playdates or arrange to meet in the park after school. Don't worry about this woman she sounds slightly unhinged to me.

sagacious · 01/05/2009 18:08

Boys (that I've found) tend to run in packs so pretty rare to have a best friend.

DS has a very fluid take on friendship, a couple of weeks ago he did mention that no one would play with him that day (and I was in bits but tried desperately not to show it .. I may well be due an Oscar) the next day he played with one boy (one he doesn't usually play with) the next day he was back to playing in a big gang again (with the boy he'd played with the previous day).

(I had to stop myself from turning up in the playground and yelling at random 7 year olds to play with my son!!!)

Nickschick is spot on about inviting over other friends.

FF best thing I've found is too NOT ask direct questions (who did you play with/sit next to at lunch etc) however much you're dying to know. At bedtime I often ask DS if he wants a story or a chat, its often the best time for them to unburden any worries.


nickschick · 01/05/2009 18:22

I will tell you a secret (yes I know its the t'internet )....once and only once I was so concerned about pfb ds1 and him being alone at playtime I actually walked past the school at lunchtime and hid in bushes to watch him play .

Trust me dont you do it lol!!!

fidgetyfeet · 01/05/2009 18:58

Well I do have a friend peep for me each day as she takes her little one to nursery! Always seems like he's playing and happy. I'd do the same 'cept the wall's too high to peep over! Must stop asking questions - chat or story sounds a good tactic. It's SOOO hard not to want to get every detail from them isn't it?

S - that's just what DH says, males are SO different aren't they.

We do lots of the friends over stuff and he loves that - kids are often asking to come, which is lovely. He still seems to prefer this kid in school though, it makes me sad to not be able to extend it.

Ingles2 - the friend has special needs, she perceives he's at risk of bullying and low self esteem and therefore wants him to have a wide friendship group. I get that - I'm sure life's only going to get harder for him, and as a parent we'd all do anything to make our children's lives better. My point is that I feel he's being 'coached' by her and I worry about the imapct that's having on my kid. Also I feel she's made an issue out of something that to all intents and purposes wasn't an issue before, and according to teacher (pinned against the wall and interrogated!!) is not an issue now. What I feel sad about is the impact on DS and how to support him to manage it - like suddenly the rules have changed and DS hasn't been part of the process. Does that make sense?

OP posts:
lilackaty · 01/05/2009 21:42

Has your ds thought about it to the same depth that you have? I don't mean that in a rude way but kids do adapt really quickly and if it went from them having playdates regularly to none at all he will notice that.
Nickschick is right - invite as many children as possible round. Both of my children (dd 8 & ds 5) have best friends but hang around with a group of children.
I used to volunteer at my dd's school when she was in Reception in a classroom that overlooked the playground - every playtime I used to wait to make sure she had a friend to play with. What I thought I was going to do if she didn't I do not know

fidgetyfeet · 02/05/2009 08:04

No offence taken lilackaty. He is aware of the no play dates thing, and we've skirted around it as best we can....... now he's stopped asking. I'm sure you're right about them not thinking about it as deeply as we might do.

I tries nickschick's tactic and he chose a chat last night. Told me a couple of really sweet things he and his friend had done together in the day. Feel much better. Maybe was all in my mind!

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