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DD doesn't want to ride in friend's messy car - How to handle?

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
How would you handle this? My DD is 5.5-years-old. She doesn't like to ride in a friend's mini-van because it's too messy. My friend is hurt and insulted. (I made the mistake of telling her a few months ago and offering to help her mini-van. Friend was really offended. ) I drive my daughter over to her house for playdates (DD doesn't want friend to take her if both of us are there after school) because the 2 are girls are good friends.

Advice?

I'm more easy going and if someone were to tell me that I wouldn't have taken it so bad, but that's obviously just me.

I don't need a lecture or a debate, I'm just wondering how to explain to my daughter to be more flexible. Many thanks.
post #2 of 41
I think I need context....how messy are we talking? Like, mold and smells? Rotten food? Or just junk/crumbs/stuff everywhere?

Does your DD like order? Does she have sensory issues? Are you very clean at home?

I can see her point if it's the smell issue - she may just be more sensitive.
post #3 of 41
I have a *really* messy car. I wouldn't take offense if someone said something to me about it . . . I know it's messy, I'm okay with it being messy, and I clean it when I feel like it.

If the shoe were on the other foot, though, I wouldn't cater to my child's feelings about a friend's mom's messy car. At that age, she's old enough to decide to ride in it and have the playdate or not go at all. How long is the ride to friend's house from school? We live an hour from our school, so I could see that being a bit of a bigger deal, but most people are, what, 5-20 minutes? If she enjoys the time with her friend, she needs to not worry about the car.
post #4 of 41
I'd be concerned about safety. If there's a lot of items that could become projectiles, I wouldn't want my child riding in it regardless of anyone's feelings.

If it's *just* a few fast food wrappers and maybe some dirty socks, I'd tell her that she needs to suck it up and get over it because no one is perfect all the time a little mess is nothing to judge someone over.

But again, if it's lots of hard toys, sippy cups, and 6" of trash that you can't even see what's underneath to determine if there are projectiles or not, then well, she's a wise little girl.
post #5 of 41
Unless we're talking biohazard, there's no way I would drive my DD to her friend's house if the friend's mom and I were leaving from the same place.

If she wants to play with her friend she can take the ride offered. It seems pretty simple to me.

I'd also never have commented on how messy someone's car was. That's unspeakably rude.
post #6 of 41
my neighbors have a messy car (like can barely find the seats and yes, dirty dishes, rotting food etc. when she cleans it she clears out several LARGE garbage bags) and I would not ride in that car or expect my children to. I am kinda with your dd on this one. And honestly I would not worry about my friend being offended. i mean if she is embarrassed or whatever she should clean it up. being sloppy or dirty effects you socially. it just does. I mean I likely would not have brought it up but if it was to the point where my children would not or could not ride in it I would have to offer an explination as gently as possible. I would not be offended if someone said "gees, time to empty your car out" No doubt they are right.

as for what to do with dd...do you feel comfortable with her riding in it? if so I would give her the choice of going in friends car or no play dates.
post #7 of 41
Is the mess any of the following?
  • stuff all over the floor that has potential to roll under the driver's seat and lodge under the brake or accelerator or become a projectile in an accident?
  • large, heavy and/or sharp loose objects in the vehicle that could be deadly projectiles in an accident?
  • anything blocking her view or in the way of the shifter, parking brake, etc.?
  • food and soil such that the vehicle smells musty or child has to sit in crumbs or drink stains?
  • used sports clothing that has made the vehicle smell or that the child would have to touch to get to their seat?
If any of the above, I would never make my child choose between the messy vehicle or not going. If she wanted to go, I'd drive her.
post #8 of 41
At 5, I would have been the same way. I was very disturbed by bad smells, messy things made me uncomfortable/nervous. Bad smells would make me gag. This lasted for years. I also felt a little...unsafe?...at friend's houses that were messy (I can think of one in particular). My mother had no qualms about leaving me there, as it was a place I went after school in K. The bus dropped me off.

I'd probably be willing to drive my daughter but also have a conversation about judgement. I don't know if in your case, there is any cognizance of judgment on the part ofyour daughter, but it's a good conversation to have.

And, I turned out fairly normal on the clean-messy scale, just so you know. It's not like I developed OCD or anything. I can handle my son's vomit/diaper without a problem. But, as a 5yr-old, even hearing someone retch, or the smell of something bad would make me retch. I *was* somewhat judgmental about others' messiness, but I think that comes somewhat from my upbringing/mother, not from my smell/disorder sensitivity. If that makes any sense.
post #9 of 41
My ds is rather fastidious, too. Crumbs and sticky things would really bother him. He wouldn't say anything to the person (and it sounds like your dd didn't either) but I'm sure he would complain to me and tell me he didn't want to go in that car. What can you do? You can tell your friend your dd is going through a fastidious stage. You already offered to help her clean out her car and she declined (or got too bent out of shape to accept).

Personally, I don't get insulted by children. I think it is childish, lol. I might kindly point out they are being a bit rude and suggest better phrasing. Your dd will likely be more tolerant when she is a little older. It is really common for young kids. I've known several who won't use public restrooms that don't look very clean. It's not a bad thing and kids absorb clean is good before they can differentiate between an ok mess and an unsanitary one.

And then there are sensory issues. Some messes might make a person with sensory issues feel queasy.

I'd just drive dc myself. I might not be willing to drive everyday but playdates don't need to be daily. And if my friend offered to drive, I'd just say dc is more comfortable with me driving her and leave it at that.
post #10 of 41
Anything loose in the car becomes a "missile" during crash. So, anything heavy would bother me. If its just wrappers, I'd be okay. Rotting food... not so much.

I do feel for your dd... I'm no neat freak, but I like to sit in a car that's not trashed.
post #11 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cascadian View Post
I think I need context....how messy are we talking? Like, mold and smells? Rotten food? Or just junk/crumbs/stuff everywhere?

Does your DD like order? Does she have sensory issues? Are you very clean at home?

I can see her point if it's the smell issue - she may just be more sensitive.
Messy, clutter, projectiles, smells (from past meals, I have no idea as I have no sense of smell), rotten food (probably somewhere I have no clue). (My own car reeked of onions/burgers when we ate In-N-Out Burgers in my car a couple of times and I learned NEVER to do that again.)

DD (and her older brother chimed in "yes, it's true") says that one of the car seats in the back is the "throw up" seat where one of the kids threw up and DD hates having to sit there because it still smells. I doubt that, but whatever. I think it's just the "idea" of being in the seat that bugs her more. But the other seat is dirty with food (as hers gets also, so I have to periodically clean it up, even vacuum it) and she hates it on her clothes.

Most moms I know have messy mini-vans and she was asking me tonight "OK, I'll ride in everyone else's..." minus this friend. Why? I'm guessing the "puke" seat among other smells (and visible stains).

Yes, she loves order. She prefers an environment that is consistent, secure, and ordered. She is a neat kid herself. When she was 14 months or so she was picking up her own bath toys on her own and I couldn't believe it. I always just left them there.

No sensory issues. DD never said anything about it to my friend.

I'm not clean at home. I wish I were a neat freak. I'm a bit of a slob. Clutter is my problem. But I've forced myself to clear out my own car every 3 days or so (even * gasp * vacuuming it) if it gets bad enough because I find myself happier in clear-of-crap-and-projectiles car. If my carseat covers get bad enough, I put them through the washer and they come out like new.

Quote:
I'd just drive dc myself. I might not be willing to drive everyday but playdates don't need to be daily. And if my friend offered to drive, I'd just say dc is more comfortable with me driving her and leave it at that.
Yeah, but I'm too honest! My friend asked me point blank today "is it because of my car?" and I replied, "yeah" and I know she was upset.
So just white lie? 4evermom, how would you have answered her?

Part of me wants her to just "learn to deal" for a short 5 minute ride ("it's not short mom") and accept the ride. I don't want her to be a snob. (Doubtful.) But the other part feels bad that it's hard for her right now to do it and if it got to me as much as it got to her, I wouldn't appreciate being "forced to" either. So I'm wondering if I'm playing into this too much.

After reading all the replies (thank you all) I was going to post, "that's it... she's either going to ride home in her car for the occassional playdate or not go." But then I started to see it from her side.
post #12 of 41
Okay, wait, so she's riding in some other kid's puked on car seat and not even in her own car seat? Hopefully I misunderstood. If someone can't be bothered to take care of a puked on car seat there is no chance in h-e-double-hockey sticks that I'd trust them to have the car seat installed properly and adjusted properly for my child.

That alone would be enough for me to never have her in that vehicle. Add to that dirty food on her clothes?! projectiles?! rotten food?! No human should have to "learn to deal" with that. That's not being a snob, it's taking control of your personal health and well being. You've got a smart child, hopefully her friend's mom can learn from her.
post #13 of 41
Okay, I am waking up early to clean my car out tomorrow morning. It's mostly mail and papers, but I'm sure there are smashed up goldfish crackers, too. This thread has motivated me.

From reading your further description - ick. I would not make my kid ride in the car. It sounds like a PITA to pick her up after playdates, but I would do it b/c she is protesting - and let's be honest, who would want to sit in a pukey seat?
















(and now I am craving In-N-Out. Wish we had one here)
post #14 of 41
Meh, I mean I find messy cars gross myself, and I would avoid riding in a friends car if I thought it was gross. I wouldn't even want my son to go into a very messy environment of any kind, really, especially if it was making him uncomfortable.
post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanibani View Post
Messy, clutter, projectiles, smells (from past meals, I have no idea as I have no sense of smell), rotten food (probably somewhere I have no clue). (My own car reeked of onions/burgers when we ate In-N-Out Burgers in my car a couple of times and I learned NEVER to do that again.)

DD (and her older brother chimed in "yes, it's true") says that one of the car seats in the back is the "throw up" seat where one of the kids threw up and DD hates having to sit there because it still smells. I doubt that, but whatever. I think it's just the "idea" of being in the seat that bugs her more. But the other seat is dirty with food (as hers gets also, so I have to periodically clean it up, even vacuum it) and she hates it on her clothes.

Most moms I know have messy mini-vans and she was asking me tonight "OK, I'll ride in everyone else's..." minus this friend. Why? I'm guessing the "puke" seat among other smells (and visible stains).

Yes, she loves order. She prefers an environment that is consistent, secure, and ordered. She is a neat kid herself. When she was 14 months or so she was picking up her own bath toys on her own and I couldn't believe it. I always just left them there. :LOL

No sensory issues. DD never said anything about it to my friend.

I'm not clean at home. I wish I were a neat freak. I'm a bit of a slob. Clutter is my problem. But I've forced myself to clear out my own car every 3 days or so (even * gasp * vacuuming it) if it gets bad enough because I find myself happier in clear-of-crap-and-projectiles car. If my carseat covers get bad enough, I put them through the washer and they come out like new.



Yeah, but I'm too honest! My friend asked me point blank today "is it because of my car?" and I replied, "yeah" and I know she was upset.
So just white lie? 4evermom, how would you have answered her?

Part of me wants her to just "learn to deal" for a short 5 minute ride ("it's not short mom") and accept the ride. I don't want her to be a snob. (Doubtful.) But the other part feels bad that it's hard for her right now to do it and if it got to me as much as it got to her, I wouldn't appreciate being "forced to" either. So I'm wondering if I'm playing into this too much.

After reading all the replies (thank you all) I was going to post, "that's it... she's either going to ride home in her car for the occassional playdate or not go." But then I started to see it from her side.

Okay, I just went back and read this, and that car sounds totally disgusting. I would never let my son ride in that nor would I ride in it myself and I think you were very kind to offer to help her with it. I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole lol.
post #16 of 41
From what you describe, I would not make my child go in that car. That is beyond what i would feel comfortable with, myself, and would find my own excuses to not travel in such a mess. My car is not exactly spic-and-span but it is not dirty, just messy. If it were just messy, I would tell my kid to suck it up, but that is beyond messy IMO.
post #17 of 41
Neither I nor dd would be comfortable in this environment. I know you said that you are not neat at home, but there is a difference between some clutter and actual unclean, unsanitary conditions, which it sounds like are the conditions of this van. With what you are describing of this woman's van, I'd wonder how safe her home is. If they are letting food rot in the van, are they letting food rot around the house? This invites rodents and all sorts of bacteria that can be harmful to kids. TBH, if I saw the van as you've described it, I also wouldn't let my dd at her house.
post #18 of 41
I wouldn't be comfortable with a seriously messy car. Mine can get cluttered with papers but nothing nasty or potentially harmful.
post #19 of 41
My car is messy. On the passenger side [I'm the only one who really drives] there's books that I have for "reading emergencies" because I'm a nerd, and about 10 empty Starbucks cups. DD's in the back has like 100 toys, some hats/mittens that have gotten tossed, and maybe even a bottle or two I haven't retrieved.

But I wouldn't say it's filthy, just cluttered. And if people want rides I say "my cars a mess just shove stuff wherever.." The only danger is being hit with a flying Starbucks which would hardly hurt, and that would be on some freak occasion.


If DD was like "this car is messy" I'd have to see it for myself to judge from an adult perspective. Maybe the seat was barfed on once and the idea is gross -- but I wouldn't throw away a car seat that got barfed on once...or twice.

But I'm messy Unless the car was like a filthy mold infested mobile with rotting stuff under the seats, I'd probably tell her to um, deal.

But yeah, I've never seen the car!
post #20 of 41
Messy you can push out of the way, filthy you can't.

I am far from the cleanest person out there and I'd have serious problems riding in the van you describe.

If she absolutely has to ride in that van, could a newspaper be spread over the seat and could she have a handkerchief dipped in an essential oil to hold up to her face?
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