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WWYD? Excluding a DC from playgroup?

post #1 of 79
Thread Starter 
Five moms in my area (including me) have been getting together with our children for outings or playing at one of our homes. One of the toddlers is 2 years old. She's not talking at all and when she does talk it's just like loud groaning and grunting. She vomits a lot and whenever we go out she covers her ears and screams and cries. I think she may have a developmental issue but the mom hasn't mentioned anything. This is the issue...the other moms don't want include her in our outings anymore. Our last outing was at the zoo. She went ballistic when we went into the monkey house, bird house and the chimp house. She covered her ears and screamed and screamed. The other parents don't want to include her because they are afraid their kids will start to act like this little girl. Truthfully, she doesn't seem to enjoy the outings but there haven't been that many. I think with time she'll get comfortable with us all. The issue is- the other parents are firm in not wanting to invite her and her mom to anymore outings. I don't agree but I'm out numbered here. DD enjoys the playgroups as do I but I also don't feel comfortable leaving out a mom whose daughter may have a learning or developmental issue. Any advice?
post #2 of 79
The little girl sounds like she might have some sensory issues. My ds displayed a lot of the behaviors you described when he was 2. I can't imagine a 2 year old being capable of intentionally behaving that way. It is more possible that situations are overwhelming to her and being 2 she has little to no self control.

As far as the other mothers and the play group, I would not return. If they are willing to shun a 2 year old for 2 year old behavior, then they are not the group for me.
post #3 of 79
I've seen some pretty catty things happen in our playgroup . It's a lot more like high school than I'd like it to be sometimes.
I would let the other moms know what you think. How do you make decisions about future meet-ups? If they are going to exclude, her they need to let her know up front, and I would insist that someone do this rather than just "forget" her on future emails about outings.
If they do choose to snub them, you don't have to go along with it. You can always start your own playgroup with the little girl and her mama.
FWIW, I told a mother that I was not willing to exclude another family from our playgroup. She's not my favorite person, and were it up to me, I probably wouldn't invite her in the first place, but now that she's coming, I think it would be really nasty to exclude her. Her child plays much better with everyone than my own, and they are just playdates after all - not that big a commitment. I just don't think it's worth alienating perfectly decent people over. After I said I was not willing to go along with excluding them, there hasn't been any further discussion of it.
post #4 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by pauletoy View Post
The little girl sounds like she might have some sensory issues. My ds displayed a lot of the behaviors you described when he was 2. I can't imagine a 2 year old being capable of intentionally behaving that way. It is more possible that situations are overwhelming to her and being 2 she has little to no self control.

As far as the other mothers and the play group, I would not return. If they are willing to shun a 2 year old for 2 year old behavior, then they are not the group for me.
Good post!

I'm sorry the other mothers have put you in this position. I think that I would tell the other mothers that I will not exclude the other mom and child from the group.
post #5 of 79
Kids don't pick that kind of thing up from other kids.

I wouldn't go back if it's turned into a Jr. High clique thing.
post #6 of 79
Why do parents have to put up with a particular child no matter what? I sympathize with the Mom and would invite her to less stressful outings on my own or to my home. But, I want to have fun on my outings too!! And frankly a vomiting screaming child is no fun at all.

Either the kid has issues, or is simply not ready for these kinds of outings. Why keep bringing a kid who is obviously not having fun at all?
post #7 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by betsyj View Post
Why do parents have to put up with a particular child no matter what? I sympathize with the Mom and would invite her to less stressful outings on my own or to my home. But, I want to have fun on my outings too!! And frankly a vomiting screaming child is no fun at all.

Either the kid has issues, or is simply not ready for these kinds of outings. Why keep bringing a kid who is obviously not having fun at all?
I agree with this. I don't think it's being jr. high-ish to realize that group dynamics that work as infants change as they become toddlers, preschoolers, etc. It sounds like the OP has made her feelings made to the group, but they disagree. I don't see why the OP should quit a group that works for her and her child. OP, if you feel guilty about the mom being left out, invite her over like the PP suggested.

And I"m curious--who would tell the mom why she wasn't invited and what reason would they give? I don't think it's cruel to leave her off the emails, or at least any more cruel then telling her the reason. I'd stay out of it, OP. You made your feelings known, you can act as inclusively and welcoming (or not) as you want on your own. I'd let the people who are uncomfortable with the little girl handle the drama.
post #8 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by betsyj View Post
Why do parents have to put up with a particular child no matter what?
No one "has" to be kind, gracious, and inclusive to struggling families. But having been one of those kinds of families ourselves at times -- I agree with the other posters who say that they would not feel right about staying in the group if this family is excluded.

OP, I'd let the other moms know that if they want to exclude this other family, I wouldn't be staying either. This gives them the opportunity to decide whether they really want to close the door on them or not.

If they do become an exclusive group, I agree with the other poster's idea to start your own group with this other mom.
post #9 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by betsyj View Post
Why do parents have to put up with a particular child no matter what? I sympathize with the Mom and would invite her to less stressful outings on my own or to my home. But, I want to have fun on my outings too!! And frankly a vomiting screaming child is no fun at all.

Either the kid has issues, or is simply not ready for these kinds of outings. Why keep bringing a kid who is obviously not having fun at all?

I wouldn't say that I agree with this but I can certainly see the point being made. When I go out with a group of friends/other moms with the intent of enjoying my time I certainly don't imagine that including a screaming/puking kid every.single.time. But~and this is a big but~if I were that other mom then I would need that time out of the house and friends who treat me and my daughter well and like we are part of the group, just for my own sanity!
post #10 of 79
If we were talking about 10 year olds, or even 5 year olds, I'd agree. But we're talking about toddlers, and there's a wide range of normal for toddlers. Many toddlers have high needs, tantrums, and get overstimulated easily. And any of those toddlers could go though similar phases. This toddler could outgrow it. I've had the high needs toddler, who is now a wonderfully behaved 8-year-old, and parents whose kids aren't high needs see "bad kid" and just really don't get it.

Also, "playgroups" for that age are at least as much about support for the parents as about play for the kids. If this mom has a high needs toddler, she really needs the support.

Could someone nicely tell the mom that the screaming scares the other kids and maybe if her dd gets overstimulated and has trouble, could she take her outside until the trouble passes so the other kids don't end up getting overstimulated as well from the screaming? Something like that. It seems like "kids starts screaming sometimes" can be handled differently.

It seems unsustainable to have a group of 2-year-olds and then kick out ones who tantrum. You won't have more than a kid at the end of it.
post #11 of 79
Quote:
No one "has" to be kind, gracious, and inclusive to struggling families. But having been one of those kinds of families ourselves at times -- I agree with the other posters who say that they would not feel right about staying in the group if this family is excluded.
A toddler who is screaming and vomiting regularly is not a normal set of behaviors. Include this Mom in other outings but there is no way I think it is right that everyone else has to have a crappy time just to be inclusive.

Quote:
Also, "playgroups" for that age are at least as much about support for the parents as about play for the kids. If this mom has a high needs toddler, she really needs the support.
So only the Mom of the puking kid deserves this consideration? And what about the other Moms? They don't deserve a fun outing? This sounds well beyond a high needs kid anyways.

Why not take a break and try when the kid is a bit older and maybe better able to handle such outings?
post #12 of 79
Tantrums and reflux? I'd call that within the realm of normal for a 20-month-old.
post #13 of 79
If your playgroup is 2 year olds I can pretty much guarantee that if you are still meeting by the time the kids are 5, every child will have demonstrated some kind of behaviour that is ban-worthy by then at least once.

I think it's pretty awful to stop inviting someone for behaviour that isn't inconsiderate or thoughtless or rude. I mean the other child is a 2 year old. However, you can't control the group, and sometimes groups do splinter for both good and bad reasons.

I think it's pretty much up to you to decide whether you want to stick with the group (your sanity is important too!) or if you would find it too stressful. And if you want to have the other mom and her kid over that would be nice, but eventually it will probably come out that your kid still sees the other kids (once the kids can talk well enough.)

I personally would want to see a discussion with the other mom. Like "Wow these outings seem to be a bit rough on your child...how is that for you?"
post #14 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by betsyj View Post
So only the Mom of the puking kid deserves this consideration? And what about the other Moms? They don't deserve a fun outing? This sounds well beyond a high needs kid anyways.

Why not take a break and try when the kid is a bit older and maybe better able to handle such outings?
In a group of 2-year olds, esp. once potty learning starts, the chances of any outing being bodily fluid and scream free are definitely not in the adults' favour. I get what you're saying, but the fact is kids can be messy and loud.

Playgroups are messy and stuff does happen. It's hard to say without knowing how extreme it is but it seems to me a little tolerance goes a long, long way. From the way I read the OP, the kid screamed indoors but not the entire trip. It seems like some chat about what a good place for outings would be might go a longer way than exclusion.

I also think -- and this is truly just opinion -- that our insistence that we never ever be inconvenienced or uncomfortable in any way is very exclusionary of people with differences and indeed of children and families. The only way to change that is by being willing to have a scream-filled afternoon now and then.
post #15 of 79
If someone's child were screaming and vomiting every time we were together, I'd probably take a break from them, especially if the events were weekly. If it's only when you go out, then maybe suggest staying in people's homes for a while. I don't think you're wrong for not wanting to exclude her, but if the other moms are truly unhappy being on outings with her, then it's probably not in anyone's best interest for it to continue.
post #16 of 79
Quote:
I also think -- and this is truly just opinion -- that our insistence that we never ever be inconvenienced or uncomfortable in any way is very exclusionary of people with differences and indeed of children and families. The only way to change that is by being willing to have a scream-filled afternoon now and then.
Agreed. I would not feel comfortable excluding someone in this situation. I'd feel really REALLY bad about it.
post #17 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by betsyj View Post
A toddler who is screaming and vomiting regularly is not a normal set of behaviors. Include this Mom in other outings but there is no way I think it is right that everyone else has to have a crappy time just to be inclusive.
yeah, moms like me with a sn kid should stay home so everyone else can have fun.

One time, my sister looked at my DD and said, "I wish you were different than you are. It would be so much more fun for the rest of us."

My advice, kindly talk to the mother of the child having problems and suggest an evaluation. Be very sweet, hopefully you'll never know the heart break. Stay her friend.

What to do about the playgroup isn't anything I have experience with. I'm the mother of the wierd kid.
post #18 of 79
These moms don't sound like the type of people I would want to be friends with (what happens if your daughter has a bad day? Are they going to decide to kick you out, too?), so I would bow out gracefully myself.
post #19 of 79
Seems to me that the group is sort of jumping to conclusions. Has anyone tried discussing things with the other mother? Something along the lines of "Little Suzy seemed really upset at the zoo outing. Do you think she might be overwelmed by this type of outing?" Maybe the other mother would welcome a chance to talk about the situation. Or maybe you could help her see that this might not be entirely typical toddler behavior and suggest a quick check with the pediatrician or something.

At least if you have approached her first then she might understand why she is suddenly left out.

All of that said though, unless you are the appointed leader of the group, it doesn't seem like you can do much to influence the other moms. You can alway continue with this group AND get together separately with the other mother though.
post #20 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
I also think -- and this is truly just opinion -- that our insistence that we never ever be inconvenienced or uncomfortable in any way is very exclusionary of people with differences and indeed of children and families. The only way to change that is by being willing to have a scream-filled afternoon now and then.
But it's not now and then, it's every time. And it isn't normal two-year old tantrums, the OP seems pretty clear that she and her group consider it to be out of the realm of normal. I also got the impression from the OP that she agrees the child's behavior puts a damper on the whole group--she's not saying she has such a great time and doesn't understand where the other moms are coming from.

I think it's great that you want to include everyone, and in a perfect world, I'd be saying rock on. But for me personally, my once a week playdate is a big thing. It requires effort and planning on my part and sometimes money, and I need to feel that my child and I have a good time to make it worth it. If one person was consistently making it unpleasant, either they would leave or I would. In the OP's case, the rest of the group has made the decision for her, despite her sympathetic input. Playgroups are just that--they're a group of like-minded individuals that meet for play and social interaction, not some kind of lifetime commitment.

But seriously, I get what you're saying and think you're coming from a heart-felt place, it's just that in a 2 y/o playgroup, for me personally I would have to put my own sanity ahead of someone else.
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