Older child playdate question - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-15-2011, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My boys are now 4 and are in preschool with a group of about 25 kids. We decided not to seperate them at this point because they are a interdependant and the emotional trauma was just not worth it. There is a lot of room for each one to have his own friends and independance within the group, and it is working well.

 

The problem is, R is more "popular" (for lack of a better word) and seems to get along with most of the kids while D has a smaller group of friends and seems to be on the quieter side and play more on his own. This afternoon I got a call from a parent who's son invited just R to come over for a playdate. Both of us are not sure how to handle this. On the one hand, I want them to have their own friends apart from each other and play seperately (and it seems that they do in school) on the other hand, I feel bad for D who is not really getting invitations. (He is also more of a home body and prefers to have people come to us or not go out at all. I am trying to get him to go out and be more social, but it's a bit of a struggle). The mother of the boy is happy to have both of them over, but it's really R who is friends with him. As it stands both of them are going, but what do I do in the future when this happens again? Could it be that they are not getting invitations because people feel obligated to take them both?  They are both very bright and will understand why one is going and not the other, but I really don't want anyone to feel left out, especially if they are all in the same class and do play together. How much do you interfere and let them go together and when do you seperate them and say that one is more friends with him than the other? Anyone have any experience or advice for me?

 

Shuli


: wife to James, MoM to R babyboy.gif and D babyboy.gif  (Aug 2007) and E babygirl.gif (Nov 2009) and Y babyboy.gif (April 2012)

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Old 09-15-2011, 05:21 PM
 
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I'm not a mama with twins, I'm just hanging out here waiting for someone to answer my question.  Your post caught my eye.

 

We've been on a little journey with the theme, "relationships take work."  I think this is a prime time to teach your quieter son how to make relationships.  It's easy (for adults!) to wait for someone to befriend them, but many of us often don't put the time in to make or keep relationships.

 

So, especially since we move a lot, I've been working hard to teach my children how to "keep people", and to get them in the first place.  Maybe there's something in that idea that will help you?  Like, maybe there is another child that your son respects and thinks would make a good friend.  Maybe he could play the host instead of being hosted?


"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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Old 09-15-2011, 05:59 PM
 
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If only R was initially invited, how is it that both are going?  Did you ask on behalf of your other son?

 

It is hard (I am a mom of twins, now 8), but sometimes you have to stop interfering (if this is what happened) in forcing others to take them as a unit;  you may also at some point have to intervene to suggest to others that they're not a unit.

 

Be really careful about force-molding one sibling into the mold of the other.  If R is more of a social butterfly, let him be that.  Don't pull off his wings on behalf of D.  Likewise, *do not* force D to "be more social" beyond age-appropriate just because you have anxiety over him not being like the child whose behavior you seem to prefer or think is "better".  That sends a really horrible message (however kindly meant).

 

Is D happy?  You mention he is a homebody--I'm assuming contentedly so.  Focus on arranging playdates for him, and allow R to go off, if that suits their personalities and interests more.  There's also nothing stopping you from having some nice one on one time with D, while R is off at a playdate.  (Another thing that I think is worth almost any sacrifice is quality one on one time with each multiple on a regular basis).

 

Yes, like any other sibling situation, you may have to deal with disappointed children from time to time (I want to go too!).  I think it's particularly important with twins, especially those who are together most of the time (my sons are in the same classroom too, and will be throughout elementary school), to give them practice being apart from each other, and how to handle separate invitations.  The earlier you start doing this and not forcing them together because you're afraid (and yes, I have been there, and understand the impulse) the better it will be for your kids (and you, ultimately).

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Old 09-16-2011, 02:48 PM
 
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My twins have started preschool too and I'm preparing for this scenario. If one child gets to go to a playdate, then it would make sense that the other one gets to either have a friend over too or have some fun mommy time. Really, having only 1 at home is a perfect opportunity for them to invite one of their own friends over for some one on one playtime to deepen that friendship.

I would worry that trying to get the 2nd one invited is actually pushing the twins to be a unit and not encouraging their individuality. It might be make #1 feel resentful that #2 has to tag along, and it might make #2 feel pressure to be different than he is or feel like a 3rd wheel. If there is disappointment, it is an opportunity to help your child learn resiliency, which is such a necessary skill.
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for you replies. When R got the invitation, the other mother said that she was happy to take both, she knows her son plays with both boys because he talks about both of them, but R was the one he wanted to invite.

 

I absolutely do NOT force people to take them as a unit, but most people offer to have them both over, especially if they are in the same class. If one child is invited, then he gets to go and the other one does something with me and their little sister. There have been plenty of times where R went off on his own down the street to a neighbour and D stayed home because he wanted to and then cried because he also wanted to go, and I wouldn't let him. There are some friends that I know they don't share, and in that case D or R would and do go alone, and that's fine. But in this case, I know that both of them play with this boy, he may be closer to R than he is to D, so that was really my question. When they are both friends with a child but only one gets invited, what do you do?


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Old 09-18-2011, 10:22 AM
 
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I think I'd still do the same thing, for the same reasons. If the friend wants to just play with R, why shouldn't those two have that opportunity without D having to come too?
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Old 09-18-2011, 10:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shuli View Post
 When they are both friends with a child but only one gets invited, what do you do?


I say, "Sorry honey, but only Brother was invited, and it's rude to invite yourself to a party or playdate."  Yes, even if they cry.  (which they will, especially if it's unusual).  If you make them a package deal, as they get older (or maybe sooner than you think) they'll just not get invites period.  To me, that is more sad to make everyone lose out than to help each child individually deal with their feelings.  Easier on the parent--but not the kids in the long run, IMO.  I'd also be very clear to other parents that it's totally okay to invite only one over, and that sometimes it's nice for the kids to have a one on one--even if they're both friends with the same child.

 

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Old 09-18-2011, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Very good points that you make. This is really the first time that this has come up, believe it or not. Until now they were just invited together, so I didn't think anything of it. I know that I have to let them find their own way and it isn't fair to thrust D into these situations when he really isn't invited. I guess I just needed confirmation :-)


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