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DS not respecting other people's rules

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
My 3 year old went for a playdate today at a neighbor's house. This is the first time he's ever gone to play at their house. When my neiighbor brought him back home to me I asked how the playdate went.
She said, "Oh, they had lots of fun. But when it came time to clean up and put the toys away, your son didn't want to help. He simply said, 'I don't want to'. I told him that if he didn't help clean up the mess he made he wouldn't be allowed to play at our house anymore, to which he replied, 'that's fine.'"
I said, "Yeah, he's like that. He's got a very strong personality. When he doesn't want to do something ,he just won't do it. Nothing will change his mind."
She said it was fine by her, but she was worried about me, thinking that I would have problems with this behavior later on and I should do something to fix it.
(She actually told me to watch 'Nanny 911' for tips....oh! if it were only that easy!)
My problem/question is that I dont' like this behaviour of my son. I wish he would respect other people's things and expecially listen to adults. I don't want him to end up as one of those kids who doesn't get invited over because he won't listen.
When DS and I were alone, I asked him why he didn't help clean up. He just shrugged his shoulders.
What can I do to get him to respect other people's rules? I'm having a hard time fighting with his strong character. For any next play date should I tell the mothers to send him home straight away if he doesn't listen?
please advise...thanks.
post #2 of 35
I'm not there yet, but it doesn't seem difficult to imagine a 3-yr old responding that way, just not wanting to. What do you do in your own home if that happens? If you've found a way to deal with it successfully at home, could you pass that technique on to your friend? "I've found that DS really responds well if I..." If she wasn't open to trying, then that would concern me - or at least make me think maybe this play date wouldn't work out right now. If you don't have a way to deal with it at home right now that you're happy with, maybe that's the first step?
post #3 of 35
Hi, I don't know if this will help you and your child, or not, but it did mine. My mom bought a book for me titled "Have a New Kid by Friday" by Dr. Kevin Leman. She read it first and started using the methods in it, then told me to read it. I have a 31/2 yr old boy and 20 mo old daughter. My little boy is responding to the methods.

The change in him has been remarkable!
post #4 of 35
What about consequences? At home, I mean?

Our children don't get their privileges if they don't clean up their toys. Computer game time, and TV time, both of which are very limited here, are like a type of currency.

Even the 3 yr old does not like if he doesn't get his computer game time, so he will clean up.

I am sorry, but I am not the maid. If a 3 yr old can make the mess, he can clean it up too.

Remember, that if other people don't want him to come over, because of his behavior, it is not anyone's fault, except for his own. Perhaps one day, he will realize this. (yes, I know he is a bit young)
post #5 of 35
I just want to reframe this quality of his. Barbara Coloroso says "God bless the strong willed child" in part because... when he's a teen he'll also be saying no and not "going along with the crowd to get along."

So this is not a negative personality trait.

In terms of not cleaning up, sure, it is a bit rude.

He's three. He'll learn that it's rude, and as his peers become more important to him - as long as you are guiding him - I'm sure he will figure it out. I think your friend did a pretty good job if that's truly her rule.

(However, I'm trying to imagine this rule applied to adults... if you, the guest, don't clean up your plate you won't be asked back. Hmm.)

For the playdates, three seems young to me to be there without a parent. Is it possible for you to arrive towards the end and work with him to tidy up, so that you are modelling that behaviour? Could you roleplay a bit at home?
post #6 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I just want to reframe this quality of his. Barbara Coloroso says "God bless the strong willed child" in part because... when he's a teen he'll also be saying no and not "going along with the crowd to get along."

So this is not a negative personality trait.

In terms of not cleaning up, sure, it is a bit rude.

He's three. He'll learn that it's rude, and as his peers become more important to him - as long as you are guiding him - I'm sure he will figure it out. I think your friend did a pretty good job if that's truly her rule.

(However, I'm trying to imagine this rule applied to adults... if you, the guest, don't clean up your plate you won't be asked back. Hmm.)

For the playdates, three seems young to me to be there without a parent. Is it possible for you to arrive towards the end and work with him to tidy up, so that you are modelling that behaviour? Could you roleplay a bit at home?

Bolding mine.

I don't see this as the same thing at all. Most polite people would not create a mess and then not clean it up. If you went around doing that, you would likely not be asked back, and rightfully so.

I do agree that perhaps this child needs Mama there with him at his playdates.
post #7 of 35
Yeah it sounds like he's a bit young to go on a playdate by himself yet is all. He's only 3. He's too young to have those kinds of social skills, but if you're there to model them he'll pick them up.
post #8 of 35
He will stopped being invited over.

But, if you either went over and stayed (which kinda defeats the whole purpose) or went over to pick him up a half hour early, and YOU help clean up the mess. If you are there the whole playdate, the other boy's mom can't get anything else done because she feels like she's entertaining you. It's nice to have a kid freind over so mom can get some other things done while her son is playing.

It's not just about being strong willed. It's about being lazy and not caring about other's feelings.

He can't learn about other's feeling though (he is only three years old) if he never sees it in action. So, if you are willing to go over and clean up his mess, he will see how it works. You can even make cleaning up fun. Even though I know it's actually boring.
post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by TinkerBelle View Post
Bolding mine.

I don't see this as the same thing at all. Most polite people would not create a mess and then not clean it up. If you went around doing that, you would likely not be asked back, and rightfully so.

I do agree that perhaps this child needs Mama there with him at his playdates.
I'm not sure. I was thinking of dishes in particular - at my home we don't let guests help with them all that often.

I do get your point, within reason - but I really don't think that at three years old this child is getting doomed for life.
post #10 of 35
While the other mom is free to make her own rules, I'm inclined to think her response in this situation was doomed to failure. He is three, and this was his first playdate on his own, and I would assume a three year old needs more practice with these rules before he will cooperate.

It *may* motivate him to follow this rule when he understand he cannot go back over unless he cooperates. My concern is that he is simply not 'getting it' because he is three and is very new to the whole idea of playdates. He may only feel frustrated by such a strong consequence. He may not have the skills he needs to follow this rule yet. I really like the idea of you going over half an hour early to help clean up so he can internalize the process. Is there a reason the other mom is unable to unwilling to do this herself? In her place I would have simply had a clean up time, and cleaned up with or without the other child's help, especially on the first playdate. If I saw it was a real problem (child not helping clean up) I would approach it with the other parent, and ask for suggestions. At that point it might be useful for you to go over there and help so there is another adult to keep the kids focused. You could start practicing clean up more at home. Eventually he would understand.

I think what is missing here is a time frame for teaching him these skills. It isn't enough to just say "clean up or else you can't go play again". He needs more practice. Any preschool teacher will tell you that three year olds don't walk in on the first day of school and follow the rules. Repetition is the key to children internalizing routines of this nature. It takes lots of practice for them to understand things like putting away toys, washing hands, putting plates in the sink, hanging up a coat etc.
post #11 of 35
I would ask the neighbor to send him back home or call you to come get him if he isn't following their rules. I think it would be better if you went along with him to enforce rules yourself though. I don't feel comfortable with most of my friends and neighbors enforcing rules with dd so we do a lot of playdates together as families and at our house for her friends with parents that don't mind their kids coming over alone. This way I get to talk to my friends while dd plays with her friends and I don't have to worry about what dd is doing and how she is being treated.
post #12 of 35
I like the idea of arriving early to help him pick up...now that you know that immediate picking up is important to her (it isn't to me; my kid's toys stay where he puts them most of the time, unless they're in somebody's way) and you know he's reluctant to cooperate.

Quote:
(However, I'm trying to imagine this rule applied to adults... if you, the guest, don't clean up your plate you won't be asked back. Hmm.)
If I had a guest for dinner, and after we were done eating I said, "Would you please help me clear the table?" and he said, "I don't want to." I certainly would think he was rude, and I might not ask him back. The difference between how I'd treat an adult and how I'd treat a child is that I wouldn't warn the adult that he'd better help me or he couldn't come back. Actually, I might not do that to a child, either--I'd just take his refusal to help into consideration when deciding whether to invite him again.
post #13 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veronique View Post
I said, "Yeah, he's like that. He's got a very strong personality. When he doesn't want to do something ,he just won't do it. Nothing will change his mind."
This quote jumped out at me because it's such a strong statement of who your son is. I wonder if it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy - you see your son this way, you tell other people that he is this way, and then everyone (including himself) comes to expect him to be this way.

Have you read How to Talk So Kids Will Listen by Faber & Mazlish? They have a lot of good advice about avoiding labeling your child or sticking him into a specific personality role.
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
I like the idea of arriving early to help him pick up...now that you know that immediate picking up is important to her (it isn't to me; my kid's toys stay where he puts them most of the time, unless they're in somebody's way) and you know he's reluctant to cooperate.

If I had a guest for dinner, and after we were done eating I said, "Would you please help me clear the table?" and he said, "I don't want to." I certainly would think he was rude, and I might not ask him back. The difference between how I'd treat an adult and how I'd treat a child is that I wouldn't warn the adult that he'd better help me or he couldn't come back. Actually, I might not do that to a child, either--I'd just take his refusal to help into consideration when deciding whether to invite him again.
Well, obviously we have cultural differences here - I would consider it pretty rude to ask.
post #15 of 35
I think it was a little extreme of the other mom to say he potentially can't come back again over something like this. He's only three and it was his very first playdate there...it just seems a bit much.

My oldest would have done something like that at that age if he felt panicky over something - most likely not knowing how to do the task in a new environment. Not knowing what went were, thinking he'd do it wrong, etc. Your basic anxiety stuff, but he'd come off as detached or uncaring when in fact he was just sort of shutting down from anxiety.

It took a while for us to figure it out since he didn't even have the emotional vocabulary or ability to express it at the time (he'd have shrugged his shoulders too) but we're extremely glad we did.
And not being allowed back to someone's house wouldn't have helped improve his behavior at all. It helps to find out what is behind it.
post #16 of 35
I wouldn't let my DS play at that mom's house again without me. She sounds a little...cold...and confused about typical 3 yo development.

Ideally, a 3 yo old would help with cleaning up but if he didn't then the best sitch would be for the other mom and her DS to just clean up without him, make it fun and maybe he'd join in (or not), then move on if it wasn't going to happen. Soooo not a hill to die on, IMO.

There could have been a myriad of reasons why your DS wouldn't help clean up, including not being comfortable with the process at someone else's house, being insecure about where things went, not trusting the other mom to approve of how he did the job, just a general feeling of insecurity etc (and none of which have anything in particular to do with your DS's individual personality).

Can't come over to play again? Where's the love? kwim? But I'm really a "takes a villiage" kind of person and that doesn't mean forcing someone to clean up or they can't socialize at our house with us again. I'd only let DS play at someone's house that would understand that a 3 yo isn't always that great at helping clean up. And this is coming from someone whose DS is so anal retentive about cleaning up toys that I worry if he's going to freak at the mess during playtime when he starts preschool . Course, I'm also from the South and guests don't have to help clean up unless they want to so your DS could have sat back and chilled with a lemonade rather than clean up. So I guess "it takes a village" is second rule to "make sure a guest feels comfortable and happy so they want to come and visit again" .

Respecting the rules at someone else's house is pretty darned important, IMO, but the rules have to be developmentally appropriate.
post #17 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veronique View Post
My problem/question is that I dont' like this behaviour of my son. I wish he would respect other people's things and expecially listen to adults. I don't want him to end up as one of those kids who doesn't get invited over because he won't listen.
When DS and I were alone, I asked him why he didn't help clean up. He just shrugged his shoulders.
What can I do to get him to respect other people's rules? I'm having a hard time fighting with his strong character. For any next play date should I tell the mothers to send him home straight away if he doesn't listen?
please advise...thanks.
I wanted to add that what you're describing as potentially undesirable personality traits in a child (IYO) can be the very best qualities in a teen or adult (or even in a young child). Flip that coin over and look at the other side.

Cave to peer pressure to engage in harmful drugs, crime, etc?...forget it, your child thinks for himself and peer pressure doesn't affect him at all, he thinks for himself and goes his own way because of his "strong character".

Boss asks him to cover up misdoings at work for monetary gain....not going to happen, DS does what he knows is right rather than doing as he's told, as his "superior" tells him he should, all because of his "strong character".

Sick pervert stranger (or relative or a friend's parent ) approaches him and DS doesn't listen to an adult and disobeys and runs and tells you that some pervert is bothering him etc etc due to his "strong character".

Strong character rocks.

You get my point. Read Unconditional Parenting if you haven't already. Clearly, you want DS to develop good manners but not at the expense of his inner character.
post #18 of 35
I have to say I do think it's a bit early to decide he just wont do what he's told. I think the other mom was a bit harsh with the whole empty threat thing, I've always hated that. She probably doesn't mean it, and what does that tell a kiddo when empty threats are made? Ugh. Anyways...I think it's more likely that your son was having fun and didn't want to clean up. Nothing deep or underlying there! ALSO...and this is a big one in my eyes, I think 3 is too young to be expected to clean up on their own, but plenty old enough to be expected to participate in cleaning up their mess. If your son is used to cleaning up WITH an adult (totally acceptable at this age) and this mom expected him to just Voila! Clean everything! Then he might have been overwhelmed and not known where to start/what to do, so he just didn't! When my kids are that age we always do it together, it never crosses their mind not to...and I can assure you all four of my kids are strong willed LOLOL! But they know there's a time for playing and a time for cleaning up.

What happens at home when he refuses to clean up? Or refuses to do something that needs to be done? I'm a huge proponent of gentle, respectful parenting which certainly doesn't preclude providing much needed structure, expectations, and limits.
post #19 of 35
I agree with maybe going over early and helping clean up or something like that. My almost two year old usually helps me clean up, but not always.

Frankly, I would not expect my friend's three year old to clean up after himself. I am sure that he does sometimes and he is able to, but I wouldn't threaten to not let him come over anymore. I don't think that is fair to a child that young.
post #20 of 35
To me it sounds as if your friend was helping the children cleaning up? Like she was giving direction? In our house we usually don't ask our guest to help us clean up as we like our things properly sorted :-) BUT I encourage (actually it is pretty much expected) that we tidy when we visit someone else and we have help create a mess (unless they tell us not to worry).

I think she was maybe a bit over the top with her threat, but she was probably also at a loss of what to say!

BUT I also think it is a GREAT idea if you could be there to help your son tidy after play time. I don't think at 3 they are really ready to do it without some input from mama!
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