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my friend always brings a playmate for her daughter when visiting

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

would this annoy you? a good friend of 30 years now lives out of state. we see her about two times a year. she has one daughter, who is 10. i have two children, a daughter who is 7 and a son who is almost 4. over the past few years, every time she visits, or we go somewhere to visit her, a playmate for her daughter is along for the visit. 

 

my daughter likes to hang out with her daughter, and although i do appreciate that there is a 3 year difference in age, having her daughter bring a friend serves to pronounce this difference more than it would if our daughters were able to interact without an additional playmate being part of the picture. at least that's how i see it. (most recent visit, the two 10 year olds went off together, leaving my children to just play by themselves... what the heck? doesn't feel like a special time at all! and interrupts my time to visit with my friend, since my kids get bored and restless.)

 

this is a very close friend of mine, she is a godmother to my daughter. i am in her will for taking care of her daughter should anything happen to her. i wish our kids could get the bonding time together without the additional friend along. i am getting kind of annoyed by the situation always coming up. 

 

can anyone tell me what i am missing or why i should not be annoyed by this? surely i am not entitled to feel un-prioritized.

post #2 of 24

The bottom line is you can say something when she visits your home (no one should bring another person to your home without your consent) but should not say anything when you visit her home.  You just do not have the right. An outing is tricky, but I think I would keep mum.  The  friend is in charge of the other child, so it really isn't my place to say anything.  

 

It sounds to me like you are invested in the adult friendship and the children becoming good friends, where as she is more invested in the adult friendship.  There is nothing worng with that.

 

Some 10 year olds are fine hanging out with younger kids, but some are not.  If she is an only child, she might be used to bringing a friend with her everywhere she goes.  Some only children do tend to bring friends with them more than siblings do - either their parents have more energy )lol) or the parents are determined to provide other children for them to hang out with.  

 

I, personally, would let it go.  If I were to say something, I would say something along the lines of "Hey, I would really like it if our kids got to explore how great each other was - maybe we can find an activity that is just them?"  

 

Good luck!

post #3 of 24

It would bother me.  I don't know what I would do about it.  

 

She lives out of state so my question would be this.  Is she coming to town for a vacation where they do lots of things?  Or is she coming specifically to visit you?  If she is planning lots of activities, I would try to let it drop as her daughter might want a partner for the other events.  I might bring it up like:  I know that Z is 3 years older than dd, but dd really looks forward to her visits.  I would really appreciate it if the older girls could try to include her next time.  However, if she is only coming to town for the purpose of visiting you, I would bring it up.  I think it might be nicer to bring it up "off-season" since we don't want her to feel obligated to cancel the playmate plans.  I would probably mention that dd loves your daughter but feels left out when she brings a friend.  I would then ask her to not bring the friend next time, offer to plan an activity to span both ages, and offer to reevaluate later.  

 

Regarding your travel plans to their home, I would have to let it go.  However, I might call ahead and ask if their dd would be having a guest and if so, would it be ok for you dd to bring someone too.  

 

Amy

post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

she has one daughter, who is 10. i have two children, a daughter who is 7 and a son who is almost 4. over the past few years, every time she visits, or we go somewhere to visit her, a playmate for her daughter is along for the visit. 

 

 

Since it has been happening for "the past few years", it sounds like it started when her DD was about 7 or 8-ish (looking toward the tween years) and yours was only about 4 y.o. (still a preschooler). Possibly, if her DD didn't have a lot of experience with younger children, your Dd would have seemed like a baby to her. There often isn't a lot of common ground between those ages, particularly between non-siblings who aren't used to being together.

 

I wouldn't be surprised to find out that it was the girl's request to have a same-age friend along. Possibly, it's her "price" for agreeing to the visit. 

 

Your friend may be trying to keep her DD happy and not resentful during your visits together. She's probably trying to keep everyone happy and as happens so often, it isn't working.  

 

I understand your feelings about the situation. I'd speak to her in a non-confrontational manner about it. Perhaps think about organizing activities that appeal to multi-age groups - adults and children together - to make the visits more attractive for all of the children and make it less necessary for the older girl to feel like she needs someone her own age present. 

post #5 of 24

Did she ever explain why she is bringing an uninvited guest? Honestly, I would be a little taken back if someone brought a child's friend along for a visit to my home. I would probably try to figure out why it was so important to bring this person, and ask "are you watching her for the summer?"

 

It's probably just an age difference thing, and there isn't much you can do about that, especially when you meet out in public or go to your friends home. In your own home, I would hope you could be open with her and let her know that you are more comfortable if it's just her daughter. If it's only once or twice a year, she should understand. I know my daughter often feels very left out when older girls are playing without her. 

 

When the other friend comes along, your friend should try to encourage doing things that are fun for all age groups (swimming, crafts, movies, baking, etc), so they can all get along. Eventually the older girls will probably still take off and play by themselves, but at least it will be fun for everyone. 


Edited by jmarroq - 7/15/13 at 4:32pm
post #6 of 24

Is it the same friend that comes along every time?  If it is, maybe there is more to it than she's just bring a friend to keep her company. For example, maybe the friend doesn't have the greatest home life or doesn't get the chance to go anywhere.

 

Growing up I had a friend who had rocky home life (dad in jail, mom battling some "issues"). My family was always together going on outings, to museums, the lake, concerts, etc. We always brought her along because she wouldn't have the opportunity to go otherwise. After awhile it just became a given that if we went somewhere she came, too.   Maybe it's the same case with your friend's daughter's friend?   I would imagine she would have said something if this were the case, though...

 

 

If it's just a case of bringing along another friend because she gets bored with your kids than yeah...I'd be annoyed. That's pretty rude.

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

it was the same friend for awhile, and now it's another friend. i actually think that her daughter would be fine with just my kids. supposedly she REALLY likes coming out to our house. but her mom (my old friend, from childhood) likes to be helpful to other people and their children, that was the reason for so many occasions. she was helping them out with childcare, or they had a sleepover the previous night, and just extended it into the next day, which stepped all over our time.

 

she has actually brought her daughter's friends to my child's birthday parties! i actually have pictures of my kid blowing out the candles with one of her daughter's friends right next to her. when we take a group picture (which we always do, it's a special occasion to get together), whichever friend is brought along is always there in the picture.

 

yeah, the more i think about it, the less prioritized i am feeling...

 

thanks for the comments and perspectives. 

post #8 of 24
Watch what you wish for. Three kids together can be a nightmare. Chances are if your friend only brought her dd, the two girls would play together and exclude your son.
Three years apart is going to start being more of an issue. Preteen issues of boys, music, makeup, fashion etc, might be something you will want to keep your dd away from.

While I technically have 2kids, due to the large age gap I often let my oldest bring a friend on outings.
post #9 of 24

I want to add my 2 cents. Does your daughter really get upset and ignored when the 10 yr old doesn't play with her? If not, then I think it seems like you want them to be friends and as a pp said you seem invested in the children's and the adult relationship while your friend only in the adult relationship. Older kids seldom enjoy playing with younger ones but there certainly are ones that like to be a leader and don't mind playing with younger kids. If an older kid or any kid irrespective of age doesn't want to play with dd I never push it. I want dd to have fun too and not feel unwanted. That's been my attitude with any child whether it be her cousin(s) or neighbors or class mates.

post #10 of 24

Only children often times have a bestie that they go everywhere with. My sister wasnt an only child, but she lived 6 hours away from me with my dad and she is 10 years younger than me. Any time they went anywhere, she was allowed to bring a friend. Every few months the friend changed, but in her 8-14 year old world that was her "best friend ever" and she couldnt imagine going anywhere without her- especially if it were for several days. Sometimes, that friend spends the night every weekend, they go to school together, go to see movies together, go to amusement parks, camping, and to church together- so why would they not go on a trip out of town together? Especially if the only other person for her to play with is 3 years younger. 7 and 10 may not seem like a big difference, but a few years ago when it started, 4 and 7 is a pretty big difference. 

 

I just dont think its too big of a deal. It sounds like she wants to hang out with you, and you want your kiddos to be bffs too. Its a nice idea, but I would just be so happy if my bff came from out of state twice a year to see me :) Just think, in just a 5-6 more  years all of your kids will be old enough to want to go hang out with their friends (and her daughter may not even come) when she visits and you will have this amazing adult relationship that you have kept alive over the years. 

post #11 of 24

I agree, I'd be thrilled that your friend takes the trouble to come visit you once or twice a year since you live long distance.

 

However, I would definitely talk with her about her visits to your home with a random child along.  I'd ask her questions to get to the bottom of why she decided to bring the child.  Depending on her answer, I'd either let it go (if there are good reasons), or (if not) ask her nicely if it would be possible if the next visit was just her and her daughter, for a change, and you both could see how that goes for one visit and then re-discuss after that, before subsequent visits.

post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 

to be clear, the friend isn't coming into town "just" to visit me. her parents live in the area, and she does a lot of visiting with a lot of various people during the time that she is here. we are just "one stop" on her itinerary.

 

the friendship between her and me has been alive for almost 30 years, it's not about that.

 

and i DO think that there should be more priority on fostering a relationship between our daughters. why did she ask us, and we agree to, to be the family that takes in her daughter to raise with our own children in the event that she (my friend) were to pass on (and she is a single mother, ex-husband is out of the picture)? is that alone not a good, valid reason why i should feel invested in making sure my children and her child not only get along but have ample opportunity to bond and spend time TOGETHER?

 

and, yes, it is my daughter who first raised the protest about the extra friend always being brought along. my personality is that i tend to be very accommodating and non-judgmental and flexible and go-with-the-flow. but when i stopped to think about it, and realized that there have been tag-along friends when they visit us, when we drive to visit them, at my kids birthday parties, and EVERYWHERE for more visits than not, it's starting to bother me, too. seriously, should one or both of my kids bring a tag along friend when we visit at their house? should we just make all our arrangements, pack up the extra kid(s) in the car, and then tell my friend about it, casually and in passing, in a phone call when we are already on our way over? (that's exactly what she has done to me, a bunch of times.)

 

anyway, thanks for the perspectives and ideas. i have changed the way i think about this. i'm very sure that this is an "only child" thing, coupled possibly with a difference in personalities between our daughters. mine is very outgoing and energetic, and hers is more thoughtful and low key. it is entirely possible that my child is "too much to take" for her child.

 

and -- interestingly -- my friend is rather outgoing herself, and extends her help to other people she knows, as offers to watch the tag along friend... while i am more thoughtful and low key in my own personality... and -- to be real honest -- her tag along friends are basically "too much to take" for me in consideration of meeting the needs of my own family during these visits.

 

interesting!

post #13 of 24

When she is coming into town to visit many people she probably brings her dd's friend along because visiting adult family is very boring for an only child, I remember it being boring as a child with a sibling, and I don't see any practical way to ask her not to bring the child to your home if that is the case.  Even if it turns out that her child does enjoy being with much younger children for long periods of time while visiting she would still need to either find a sitter for her dd's friend so she could honor your request (which would probably hurt the friends feelings) or she would need to not bring a friend at all (which may make for a very long, boring, miserable trip for her dd and thus her).  I just don't see a way to reasonably ask her not to bring a friend to your home when she is in town visiting many people. 

 

I do think that gently mentioning how your dd is feeling about the friend situation before you visit her home may be a better idea though.  If you aren't visiting for days at a time then I think it is reasonable to let her know your dd is feeling left out when she is the third wheel and see how it goes.  As the mother of an only it didn't occur to me that your dd only having her brother to play with would make your visits together hard since they are siblings, I would assume they often only have each other and that you going off to mediate was due to the nature of siblings not to the fact that your dd feels left out and is bored.  That is something your friend may also be assuming so bringing it up in as gentle a way as possible seems like a good idea.  If she is not willing to stop allowing her dd to have friends tag along and you are willing to pack other kids along then I would go for it.  It is obviously a normal thing to her so I don't see why she would object and I don't think it matters if she does. 

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

yeah, the more i think about it, the less prioritized i am feeling...

 

thanks for the comments and perspectives. 

I'd feel that way too, most likely. 

post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 

the tag-along-extra-friend-kid is picked up long after they arrive in town. lately, it's the next door neighbor from across the street in the mom's old neighborhood. she's not along for the entire duration of my friend's whole entire trip into town with her only child; the tag along friend is just added in on days that they come to visit us for day trips, or on the occasions that we drive out their way to meet up... 

 

...which i'm not going to do again unless i know for sure that it's just going to be us, and not the extra friend. on our last get together, i personally worked WAY TOO HARD on the whole deal, driving a long distance to meet up at a zoo, paying to park there, pulling my two around in a red wagon, and then pulling the extra tag along friend around in the same wagon while the tag along complained about being tired and hungry the whole entire time and squabbled with my kids about who got to sit in the seat or hang their legs over the side whichever way. gimme a break. nice visit for me with my lifelong friend??

 

yeah, my friend probably does not realize that this is getting to be a bore for us. but it is. it really, truly is.

post #16 of 24
Sounds like your friend is making YOU a priority.
If her oldest was a 10 yr old boy would you still say he has to be friends with your dd?
With the age gap I just don't think what you want is possible. Sounds like you want your friend's child to be a mothers helper. There is no way just the older two could hang out together without your youngest wanting to tag along.
What would you do if your friend's child was alone but wanted to read a book, listen to iPod, etc during the visit.
Or if you wanted to visit a friend that only had a 3 yr old dd and you dd didn't want to play with the baby?

I think your friend is doing what she can to make the trip go as smoothly as possible for her. Traveling can be very stressful. No she is not thinking of how to make your kids' time go by as she probably assume you have that figured out. As I said before 3 kids together is a nightmare.
post #17 of 24
Sounds like your friend is making YOU a priority.
If her oldest was a 10 yr old boy would you still say he has to be friends with your dd?
With the age gap I just don't think what you want is possible. Sounds like you want your friend's child to be a mothers helper. There is no way just the older two could hang out together without your youngest wanting to tag along.
What would you do if your friend's child was alone but wanted to read a book, listen to iPod, etc during the visit.
Or if you wanted to visit a friend that only had a 3 yr old dd and you dd didn't want to play with the baby?

I think your friend is doing what she can to make the trip go as smoothly as possible for her. Traveling can be very stressful. No she is not thinking of how to make your kids' time go by as she probably assume you have that figured out. As I said before 3 kids together is a nightmare.
post #18 of 24
I can see both sides, and although I can sympathize with your friend to some degree I think I'd be annoyed too, OP. Since the tag-along lives in your area and not in your friend's hometown, I do think it's incredibly rude to just bring random kids to things like your kids' birthday parties. I don't even bring my other child to birthday parties if only one of them is invited, much less some kid who is a stranger to the guest of honor!
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

 

and i DO think that there should be more priority on fostering a relationship between our daughters. why did she ask us, and we agree to, to be the family that takes in her daughter to raise with our own children in the event that she (my friend) were to pass on (and she is a single mother, ex-husband is out of the picture)? is that alone not a good, valid reason why i should feel invested in making sure my children and her child not only get along but have ample opportunity to bond and spend time TOGETHER?

 

I'd suggest a direct approach. Maybe you could have a talk with her about this and tell her that it would be in the interest of the the 3 children concerned that they bond and that when she visits she not bring other kids that might take away from bonding time between your family and her dd. 

post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by chel View Post

Sounds like your friend is making YOU a priority.
If her oldest was a 10 yr old boy would you still say he has to be friends with your dd?

I don't really get why it would change if the 10 year old was a boy, unless you were worried about puberty later on, or something.

 

I think if the OP's friend wants to come over to visit, that is great.  It would be nice if her child figured out a way to have a relationship with the OP's children, although I do agree with the person who said her son might end up being left out.  But it's kind of a dynamic that is a work in progress, the idea being that these two families will know each other for many years. When you add a random friend in the mix, a friend that the 10 year old hasn't gotten to see in awhile, it completely changes things.  It is less like they are coming over to interact with her family in her house, and more like the two 10 year olds are going there to use the OP's house as a fun play place.  It's not relaxing for the person who is hosting another guest as opposed to just having the people she's known for awhile who she considers her friends.

The children aren't going to develop a longterm dynamic when the playmate who comes is just whatever fun person who happens to be available at the time.  Children of different ages can find common ground and a way to get along even if they won't be bosom buddies. I have a 14 year old who has another 14 year old come to visit, and the visiting child gets along better with my 9 year old because they have a lot in common temperamentally.  This girl has been coming over since she was 6, but she's developed a relationship over time with my younger daughter, and the 3 of them are tight now, instead of it just being the two older ones leaving the younger one out.

I think it's perfectly understandable that the 10 year old wants to play with her own friends, I just don't think that the OP's friend should bring both on her visit every single time.  It would make more sense to leave the daughter with her friend in her own house. If someone came to visit from out of town and wanted to take my daughter off on a day trip that was basically just going to someone else's house, I'd think that was kind of strange if my daughter didn't have a relationship with the other family.  I'd probably just invite the visiting girl to stay at my house while her mom went to visit her friends.

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