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Old 03-12-2009, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have an acquaintance to wants regular play dates.

Her son is about 5 months older than my son - so about 27 months old - and not very well socialized. (Neither is the mother, but that's a whole different can of worms.)

Her son can't stand to be separated from his mother. We sat for them once and he cried the ENTIRE 3 hours.

He doesn't appear to know how to use crayons. He doesn't know who to play with simple toys. I've decided that in itself is not too strange - this other toddler is surrounded by plastic, beeping, flashing, talking, noisy toys. Coming into our home is a little strange for him, I think.

However - here's the real issue. When he comes over to play with my son he's down right destructive. He uses toys in ways that are inappropriate - ways that go beyond creative play.

Examples - he takes my sons toys and bangs them loudly - on our coffee table, on my sons beautiful wooden kitchen, etc. He throws toys. I try to redirect him - I explain that we don't throw toys. That we don't bang toys. I give him something else to do. But pretty soon it starts up again. And then my son - who normally doesn't play like that starts doing it too.

The mother is no help. She just sits and watches. No intervention on her part at all.

It's frustrating because he almost always ruins something when he's over here. It wouldn't be such a big deal if it was a pine cone or a stick....but today he's marred up my sons kitchen with large gouges on the wood. The good thing is I can sand most of the gouges out - but it takes time and energy.


I'm about ready to nix the in the home play dates. It's just so frustrating. Part of me feels really bad for this little boy - because he just doesn't seem to know how to interact, socialize or behave. But part of me is quickly getting to the point where I don't want to have play dates anymore.

Any suggestions? In the summer we can hangout side more often - but the pacific northwest is a soggy mess right now.

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Old 03-12-2009, 06:11 PM
 
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I know how you feel. As a SAHM I have found myself the unofficial minder for all my friends children. Unfortunately I get on better with my friends than I do their kids! Anyway...

I was picking up one of my friend's son, who was 7 at the time, from school when his teacher caught him stealing from the mobile book shop. I was mortified. I waited until she came to pick him up to try and tell her as gently as possible, thinking rather foolishly that she would be upset, but she just complained that the teacher had it in for her son. She even had the nerve to claim that her son would never steal even as I ws fishing my son's DSLite out of his bag which had my son's name labeled on the back!!!

I looked after him a couple of times after that, again foolishly thinking that his mother may have been too embarrassed to say something in front of me but may have sorted it at home, but after he locked me out of my house and tried to get his little brother and my son (both only three at the time) to "hang" themselves off the banisters with scarves I quickly put an end to it.

In the end I found that being subtle just isn't enough. A firm but polite "I won't be held responsible for your child's behaviour" was all that worked but mine was an extreme case. Maybe if you suggested that the child bring a few of his own toys to play with, he would at least not damage your child's.

Maybe

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Old 03-12-2009, 06:31 PM
 
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"You know, playdates with our boys don't seem to be working out. Maybe they're just at that age, you know? So l'd like to hold off on getting them together for now. Maybe we can meet up at the park sometime when it gets warmer and see how things go then. I'll give you a call then."
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Old 03-12-2009, 06:48 PM
 
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<I have it on good authority (a very particular son) that it wasn't a DSLite, it was in fact a vintage classic Gameboy - tsk, tsk, what a terrible mother to have got it so wrong!!!>
An important distinction.

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Old 03-12-2009, 06:55 PM
 
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Honestly, I wouldn't invite that child over for playdates anymore. Just play outside when you can and when it's too cold and wet, just claim that your house is too messy to have people over. The child's behavior isn't as much a concern to me as his mother's lack of intervention. Some day that child will actually destroy something and I predict the mom will just stand there saying nothing.
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:10 PM
 
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I don't get why you are having them at all still? What do you get from it?

What I mean is that it doesn't sound as if you and the mum are friends. Are the kids enjoying each other's company?? Would it bother your son if they weren't to play together any more?

It sounds like a stressful event for you and frankly it's not up to you to provide socialization for people who's visits make you uncomfortable. Your job is to think about your sons needs first and unless he's getting something out if it that is positive enough to balance out the stress and I assume anger that you are feeling there's no point.

Does that sound harsh? Sorry if it does, I feel for you. I have had experiences like this in the past and it went on too long and ended badly.
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:48 PM
 
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Well, if it were me, playdates at my house would cease to exist at this point. I also wouldn't want my child exposed to the other child, especially if he's mimicking him.
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Old 03-12-2009, 10:11 PM
 
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We call those park friends, LOL!

FWIW, I personally think you're being a little hard on the little guy. 2 1/2 is still very little. Some toys do get banged on-drums and hammers and pounding benches. Don't get me wrong. I would be really annoyed if someone was a guest in my home and allowed their child to ruined my children's things. But I think labeling him as unsocialized and destructive is a bit much. It sounds like the mama isn't watching him and redirecting him as she should be. Which is still a problem.

I think sometimes it's important to remember that people and relationships are more important than things-- even beautiful, handmade, Waldorf-y things. So if the relationship is important, I would arrange a playdate at an outside venue or neutral public location.

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Old 03-12-2009, 11:47 PM
 
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My son has been through his Captain Destructo phase and is sometimes still rough on playthings at age 4. I just don't hang out with people who who can't handle it. But it sounds like this mama is not picking up on your discomfort, so you are going to have to cut off the friendship. It's obvious that keeping playthings in nice condition is important to you, and I think that's fine, but it means that you need to seek out and cultivate playmates for your son who have a gentle playing style.
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Old 03-13-2009, 12:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:17 AM
 
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I don't usually post in the Waldorf section (DS goes to a Montssori,) but I saw this as the first thread on the main page before I realized it was in Waldorf, so forgive me if out of my ignorance my answer is horrible unWaldorfy.

I would plan structured activities or at least semistructured ones. Before they come over set up finger paints or playdough in the kitchen (or where ever you do messy play.) Outdoor activities are good, such as filling a tub(s) (sand/water table) with sand and/or water and giving the kitchen implaments, measuring cups, etc to use.

Of course as PP mentioned there are outings. As well as parks you might consider local mueseums and such. The best part about going to museums is there are guards to protect the displays, so you don't have to be responsible for everything.

I know unstructured creative play is important, but it doesn't sound like this child is ready to do it in you house in a way you are comfortable with.

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Old 03-13-2009, 02:55 AM
 
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First let me say that I do NOT think you are putting things above people. It's one thing if a kid acts destructively- and it's another thing if a parent just stands by and allows it to happen unapologetically. It's not about things, it's about respecting the rules in other peoples homes. I have a good friend whose son sounds like your kid's playmate. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times toys have been broken at our house and/or my kids have had to wear ice packs for having wooden things flung at them. As much as I love my friend, I just don't do playdates at our house anymore, we just make plans to meet outdoors (which is easier for us being in California)

It doesn't sound like you or your son is getting a lot out of this relationship. If it's important to you to keep working at it, then for your peace of mind, you should just suggest getting together outdoors and use the "house is messy" excuse (goodness knows I use that excuse a lot...because it'e true )

Good luck to you

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Old 03-13-2009, 04:48 AM
 
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I think you are being totally reasonable in not wanting play dates in your house for now. Even hyper & rough children can (and should) learn the word NO by two years old. Of course accidents will happen and property can be ruined, that is part of life! But for a parent to sit by while their child bangs up your furniture??? WHA???? NO. There is a difference between having friends who you know like to engage in rowdy play and friends who purposely destroy things. Even quiet friends can purposely destroy things

Now, IF you like this woman, I think the outside play dates would be a good idea to try. If you don't like her much, sorry, you are too busy for the boys to play right now. If you try outdoor play dates, and the behaviour is still, in your opinion, not acceptable and your son is copying, you are still going to be stuck breaking things off w/ out hurting her feelings.

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Old 03-13-2009, 10:56 AM
 
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ok first let me say as the mom of 2 boys i ca TOTALLY understand the destructuve phase, the difference is i redirect and show them what happens when they bang on things IE- oh no look what happenned, when you hit your wooden kitchen with the toy (and point at the gash or ding). they notice it and generally say sorry, yes even my 2 year old will realize that his actoin caused said reaction when explained and showed quietly and respectfully and apologize.
ok that being said other peoples children destroying my sons things, no way no how not gonna fly under my roof.
we had a certain "friend " come over she would whine and cry and throw tantrums and toys, my son had the most beautiful tea set, miniture and porcelean , she started banging the cups on our play kitchen table and soon enough the tea cups had no handles and sharp pieces of broken pporcelean sticking out , my son was devistated.... uh uh . nothing was done by the other parent becasue "kids have to learn, why does he have breakable stuff anyway?" ..... now i realize i am so totally blessed to have 2 wonderful, easy going, compassionate and respectful children, i know not every child is that way. but COME ON your child is breaking my sons things and you turn it around on me.
i have been friends with this person for 23 years, like since i was 4 . but having kids has shown us how totally different we are. she "couldn't breastfeed which amounted to being because her husband was up at night giving the baby formula for the first week so she could sleep , she uses sposies because (as a SAHM) she doesn't have the time to wash diapers,
both her kids have tvs in thier rooms which are always on, and she feeds them whatever is easiest (seriously she gives them those frozen smuckers sandwiches... she a SAHM and she can't make them a sandwich) the destructive toy breaking was the last straw. so the last playdate when her daughter was breaking things i told her she should go, and let her know where she could pick up a replacement tea set for my son. my children will not suffer because of someone elses inability to parent thier child and i will not have aggressive, destructive behavior in my house, and i will definatley not have my children seeing that if they throw tantrums will get them what they want.
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:35 PM
 
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i have been friends with this person for 23 years, like since i was 4 . but having kids has shown us how totally different we are.
Had to step in w/ a THIS IS SO TRUE. I talked about this w/ dh's uncle when dd was only about 2 months old! You really do see some things w/ your friends that you just don't understand or really don't agree with, and I'm sure they see things w/ you, too. But it is crazy how kids can TOTALLY change the dynamic of a friendship

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Old 03-13-2009, 03:03 PM
 
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I would suggest if you want to hang out do so not at your house.

BUT I don't think this kid sounds "unsocialized" he sounds 2. Currently I have a 20month old (not mine) and 19.5 month old (my ds) and they are closing each other in the closet after throwing all the books off the shelf. They each pushed the other off a chair today to each get bruises on their heads, and sometimes they are hard on toys and things get messed up.

They are being "mean" or "destructive" they are playing, albeit, roughly at times, but that's just the way they are.

Now my other good friend has a kid similar in age, who is not as "wild" and they don't play as well together at this time hopefullly they will in the future.

I think banging toys on the table, banging things on the kitchen, etc is how some kids play (sometimes its how my kid plays) I'm not sayign you have to like it, condone it, or even tolerate it, but I think its not out of the ordinary, and you might stop having playdates with this kid and start with another adn it may happen again.


But I just want to reiterate the park is a great place to play!
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:17 PM
 
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We call those park friends, LOL!

FWIW, I personally think you're being a little hard on the little guy. 2 1/2 is still very little. Some toys do get banged on-drums and hammers and pounding benches. Don't get me wrong. I would be really annoyed if someone was a guest in my home and allowed their child to ruined my children's things. But I think labeling him as unsocialized and destructive is a bit much. It sounds like the mama isn't watching him and redirecting him as she should be. Which is still a problem.

I think sometimes it's important to remember that people and relationships are more important than things-- even beautiful, handmade, Waldorf-y things. So if the relationship is important, I would arrange a playdate at an outside venue or neutral public location.

Wow! Brilliant! Sage advice.

I guess that's why you're the mod.

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Old 03-13-2009, 04:06 PM
 
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I think banging toys on the table, banging things on the kitchen, etc is how some kids play (sometimes its how my kid plays) I'm not sayign you have to like it, condone it, or even tolerate it, but I think its not out of the ordinary, and you might stop having playdates with this kid and start with another adn it may happen again.
Yes, my 2 year old is a banger. He's very well socialized, can play independently, and listen to stories for hours, etc. but boy does he love to bang too. At home - there are things he's allowed to bang on, and other things he's not, but I could totally see him going to someone else's house and getting excited and not knowing what's ok.

That said - its your house and stuff and if he's ruining things or if it just plain bugs you there is no reason you have to put up with it.
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Old 03-13-2009, 05:23 PM
 
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If you truly are friends with her, I wouldn't end the relationship, or hang out only at the park, or hide from her. I would tell her why you no longer want her child in your home, and that she needs to step up her attentiveness to her parenting. She will know something is up if you no longer invite her or her child over, so I would just tell her the truth. Though it may be hard to do, you are really helping her out. Maybe you could even give her suggestions as to how to teach her child more appropriate play. Maybe she just doesn't know how bad it is or what to do about it. But letting it slide, it will only continue, where as if you can gently let her know now, then perhaps she can work on her self as a parent, and her sons behaviour so this family won't loose more friends in the future.

Just my 2 cents.

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