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Playdate at my house= destroyed toys. WWYD? - Page 3

post #41 of 58
My daughter shows a lot of "sensory seeker" behaviors. I don't think she's got SPD, or at least it's so mild that now at 3.5 years old it's much less of a problem. But honestly a lot of this thread does make me feel sad, because I'm sure there are people who just don't want my toddler in their house because she has to ENGAGE with everything she sees. It is not a lack of parenting. However, for HER, generally the only way to handle it (particularly when she was younger than 3) is to remove the objects that are in danger of being broken or mishandled, and to create an environment that she can engage with without destroying anything important.

I am not a "lax" or unengaged parent. I do not think everything my child does is brilliant, but I do sometimes try to put a positive spin on behaviors that other people would label as "bratty" or "wild" or "hyper." I do a TON of redirection and I empathize with her a lot. She is often overwhelmed by her own emotions and struggles so hard to contain the bursting energy within her. I have often said "Maybe she'll be an athlete" with a wry grin while she kicks a ball higher and farther than any other kid. Yes, I'm embarrassed that MY child is the one kicking the ball really high and far inside and getting excited about it. Yes, I'm going to talk to her about it. But I can't make her be quiet, obedient, or less active than she is.

She is fiercely independent and holds very strong opinions. If you just contradict her she gets quite upset, either insisting on what she's said or having a full-blown tantrum. It is so easy once you know and understand her to work around it and help her see the "other side" without crying on her part or feelings of shame for her.

She is "difficult" or "spirited" or whatever you want to call it. She also does not have a proper bedtime. It is so hard for her to calm down in the evening. Add in all that independence and stubbornness and drive and energy and bedtime is just sort of a laughable concept.

We have another child, who is not like her at all. Totally happy-go-lucky, easy, etc. He turns the pages of board books rather than tearing them apart. He plays with toys rather than throwing them. He rarely has tantrums. He can be made happy with food, TV, singing, nursing, a snuggle - pretty much anything. He's a much more typical toddler (almost 18 mos) than our daughter, but I love them both.

I guess I just shared that to try to shed some light on, well, the fact that sometimes behaviors like these aren't the parents' fault. We no more made our daughter who and what she is than we did our son. I can't take credit for his easiness nor should I take blame for her challenges.

I think I would handle the toy breaking better than your friend is - I would offer to replace anything broken and, honestly, we probably just wouldn't go back. No matter how good the friend, I would feel bad. It can be isolating to have a child who is atypical. What would really make a difference for me in that kind of situation is either meeting in a neutral place like a park or making the available toys and objects ones my toddler can handle. I'm sure I would provide more oversight and intervention than your friend is doing, but the fact is that if his kids are like my daughter, normal parenting techniques do not work. In fact, they're just plain laughable.

Sorry that was so long. This is close to my heart and I just want to share from the other side of the fence. Sometimes my heart just weeps that my daughter has so little social contact for reasons like this.

I don't think that it is possible to understand what it's like to be a parent to a child like this until you've been a parent to a child like this. I really don't.
post #42 of 58
Originally Posted by Romana View Post
I don't think that it is possible to understand what it's like to be a parent to a child like this until you've been a parent to a child like this. I really don't.
That is SO true! I've had a lot of the same challenges with my 6yo DD as what you described. Hugs to you, mama. It's not easy.
post #43 of 58
Originally Posted by darien View Post
I forgot to mention-- K and I are in the same room with the kids 90% of the time-- it has no impact on their behavior. And it's true, K is used to seeing his dc act like this. He's seen other kids not act like this, though!

I think they're definitely sensory seekers. Maybe this could be my lead-in to talk to K about the destruction.
I think people have had great advice, esp. outdoor ones and also getting down at the kids' levels and talking to them kindly but firmly about it. I have a few more ideas but that is all they are - ideas.

- maybe start off with a sensory play activity, that you can live with (like water play on the porch or a LIMITED amount of playdough, that kind of thing) to try to direct some of that energy.

- limit the playdate to one or two rooms with limited toys, and maybe create a fort or something with big pillows, boxes, etc. - again to direct the behaviour

- we have one friend who is kind of like this and our secret weapon is... bubble wrap. Popping the bubbles goes a long way.

- try to intervene before it gets really crazy with some games like find the penny, hokey pokey, etc. - it means more work for the adults but it might help to break the pattern

- pick your time of day - mornings might be better; serve protein-based snacks
post #44 of 58
Originally Posted by Romana View Post
I don't think that it is possible to understand what it's like to be a parent to a child like this until you've been a parent to a child like this. I really don't.
I agree. My eldest was this way when he was little (he's 17 now).

However, thinking it's funny or cute or acceptable to ruin other people's things is another matter. If my son had started to behave the way the OP describes her friend's children's behavior, I would have scooped him up and taken him home (probably kicking and screaming)....long drive or not....and apologized profusely to my friend.
post #45 of 58
Originally Posted by Romana View Post
I don't think that it is possible to understand what it's like to be a parent to a child like this until you've been a parent to a child like this. I really don't.
Probably not!
But as a parent to a spirited child, would you let her out of your sight in someone else's house?
post #46 of 58
i think that the advice of really "meeting the child where s/he is" rings true for everyone.

in most of these cases i don't think the issue is necessarily with the child, but with the parent. as two parents of spirited children have asserted, it's really about how the parent responds to it. the two parents here do understand and seek to meet their child's needs by creating safe play spaces and also by redirection, but they are also aware of the impact of their child's way of being on others.

and, they are respectful of that.

i think that it's not so much a parenting discipline problem toward the child (though it may be), but it could simply be a parent relating problem--they take advantage of your friendship by not offering to replace toys or not helping you make the place "safe" for play, or by not redirecting their children effectively when they can.

so, yes, have a discussion about it.
post #47 of 58
Originally Posted by Romana View Post
I guess I just shared that to try to shed some light on, well, the fact that sometimes behaviors like these aren't the parents' fault.
But how the parent responds is the parents' fault. It sounds like you do a lot to help maintain a balance between your child's happiness and other people's comfort.

Laughing it off while you step in to redirect is totally different from sitting and watching as stuff gets broken.
post #48 of 58
I'd stops hosting play dates for a while. Just take a break from it. You can find a way to tell your good friend in a non-confrontational way why. Simply that your DC is really sensitive to his things being damaged, he doesn't play with toys rough and is used to things lasting, and it's been really hard on him to have things break when other kids come over.

Having a tornado with feet for a child can be really rough, and like you said you don't blame the parents. It just is what it is.
post #49 of 58
Originally Posted by JustVanessa View Post
But as a parent to a spirited child, would you let her out of your sight in someone else's house?
Never. As I said, I think I would have handled the situation very differently from how the other parent did. At the same time, there were some comments about parenting and obnoxious children in the thread that just kind of hit home for me, so I wanted to respond to it.

I know that I am often blamed for my daughter's behavior when it is just the way she is. For example, often when we go to leave the park, she screams and yells and cries and clings to the equipment and runs away from me. It doesn't matter that I prepare her for when leaving time is or do any of the other things that should help with transitions. They simply don't help. So I let her know that either she can come with me, walk next to me and hold my hand as we leave, or I can come get her and carry her. I always have to go get her and pull her off, kicking and screaming. The parents at the park are staring at me and rolling their eyes (once in a while I get a sympathetic look, thankfully). Usually after being carried while crying and screaming for a minute she wants to get down and will walk and hold my hand.

I accept my daughter for who she is and do my best to manage situations so that she feels okay, too. But sometimes it doesn't work, and I just wish people didn't put quite so much of the blame on me as her parent for her being a "spoiled brat/hellion" or whatever moniker you want to use. And it is socially isolating in a way that is painful for both of us (and her father, who is a SAHD).
post #50 of 58
I would meet at their house instead. It doesn't sound like they can handle it right now. You all might enjoy your visits together more if you did that.

Maybe reserve the broken toys for them to play with when they come- as long as it is not actually unsafe to play with them anymore.
Maybe ask them to bring a selection of toys to your house and put yours away?
post #51 of 58
We have these friends. Who knew they would be such doormat parents pre-child? It's so awkward to deal with.

We go to their house, and not often. It's easier to act unphased by the atrocious behavior over there. When we must invite them, I tell the kids play is outside and latch the toy cabinets and one of us stays right on top of them.

It's awful. Try an event midway between you, like a county fair. I get a conversation in during the walking part. The beach is ideal. Or a hike. Exhausting and toyless.

I do better watching them without parents by the way. My husband got right fown in the older boy's face, held his chin and said in slow distinct words We Do Not Throw Sand Here. It was a first for that kid, and he got wobbly but was much calmer. I think his mom is just too nice or never learned the Voice of God, or both.

post #52 of 58

I don't think that it is possible to understand what it's like to be a parent to a child like this until you've been a parent to a child like this. I really don't.

I know it's hard not to take these kinds of things personally when you see yourself as the other person, but the issue is that the member who started this thread doesn't want to continually have broken toys and feel like she is just supposed to accept this as a normal part of interaction.  You can still have social contact without all the playdates being at the other person's home, like at a park or playground where things can stand up to more sensory input.  Or the other parents could redirect more frequently with items that are being abused, and offer to replace broken toys, but it sounds like it's all take and no give.


From what you've said, you aren't like these parents, so I don't think you should necessarily put yourself into the other side in this narrative (even though I do that a lot myself).  Also, as a parent, I feel stressed out being at other people's homes, worrying my kids might break something, so I like meeting in other places.

post #53 of 58
Originally Posted by annekevdbroek View Post

Originally Posted by AprilDaisy View Post
I was talking with a friend of mine this morning and this is how she solved the problem with a playmate: She found out who had broken toys on several play dates, didn't know who it was at first. When the girl came over with something new of hers, she asked the child to look at it, then broke it. Told the child this was broken because of everything she'd broken on other visits to her house and that breaking toys in her house was unacceptable. The child didn't break anything else anytime she was over there after that.
This is very sad. How awful. If I was the parent of this child I would be absolutely livid if someone treated my child this way.


But if your kid was constantly breaking stuff that didn't belong to them, odds are you aren't the kind of parent that is paying attention anyway.  


I'd just talk to my friend.  If they want to be pissed, fine.  But seriously, I've never had a kid break a toy at my house.  Heck, I'm not sure my kids have ever broken a toy.  

post #54 of 58

My nephews broke and lost a lot of our toys - causing quite a few tears around here.  It turned out that they got new toys every week to replace broken/lost toys so they hadn't needed to learn how to care for things.  I explained that my kids don't get new toys if they break or get lost.  That gave my nephews a pause and they're much more respectful now.  My sister also heard the message and has her boys bring their toys over so there's less of a fuss.

post #55 of 58

You could try to keep the play in one room only. Shoes off at the door (our house rule). If my child broke a toy,  i would offer to replace it. If the parents are not at the playdate, then it is more awkward because they  may not be aware that toys are broken-its embarassing, but you will just have to bring it up with them...it doesnt have to be such a bad thing, kids break toys. I hope your friend offers to replace the toy...   

post #56 of 58

ps. looking over your post, i see that those kids are showing some adhd/sensory seeking  type behaviors. My 5yo has been like this. Doesnt listen, chews on everything, breaks everything apart...when youre a parent to a child like this, you learn to live  with it, because its hard to change. I took myson off guten and that helped alot (mention it to your friend ;-)  You just know that other parents have an easier time with their kids, their kids actually listen! However, we all have our challenges.


Other people,  including good friends, understandably have less patience with this  behavior-demand respect? If only it were so easy.


However, if toy breaking is a common occurrence, you could put most toys away, and only keep ones out that are less breakable/valuable, that, as well as limiting playdates at your house.


My kids both loving having people over, so bare in mind that having people over  can be a good thing for your kids....


The dad needs to talk to the 4yo beforehand about being more respectful of people's property-it might help a little bit....

post #57 of 58

We live in a free-range neighborhood, so there's always kids running around outside.  I never minded them playing in the back yard for years.  And then one day, they all had to ruin it for themselves.  I went out and found neighbor kids smashing the stairs that go down the hill.  They destroyed about six steps--a third grader and his older brother.  I asked them what they were doing.  He said they were fixing the stairs.  I told them this was a bad idea and to take their tools and go home.  A couple hours later they were back.  Every kid in the neighborhood.  They raked down a section of the steep hill where erosion was already a problem.  They had sawed branches off trees, applied paint to trees, tied string around branches, scraped bark off trees with an ax, brought tires into my backyard, and had a whole bunch of crap laying around.  I'm like, "This is my backyard!  This is my house!  What are you doing???"  Every one of them, like ten grade school kids, was dumbfounded and thought their behavior was acceptable.  They didn't know how to clean up after themselves.  I had to tell them repeatedly what and how to clean up.  I told them to take the tires, but they left them there.  I had to track down the kids and tell them again to take the tires.  Later I found the tires thrown into the river.  I was pissed and put the tires back into that kid's backyard.  Then I put up no trespassing signs.

post #58 of 58

Sounds like those kids needed some basic lessons from their parents. I dont think all children are like that. What would their parents have said if they knew what went on? Did they? (i mean, they broke the law here....) My 5yo likes to take things apart, but he sure knows not to take things apart that belong to  other people. He also  likes to fix  and build things.  I think the two go togethe in his case...its still very annoying when he takes things apart....

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