Your friend sounds like she could be me (except that I don’t have twins, a computer table in the other room, nor would I be surprised if you felt it necessary to check on your 2 ½ year old…) Different parents have different comfort levels and different opinions of what is considered good development for their children. At my house, we live pretty simply. We don’t have much in terms of electronics or other non-child friendly items, and our house is extremely child friendly and child proofed. I don’t think much about my DC (or even the children of others) being out of my site. (DS1 is 46 months and DS2 is 21 months) I feel like I know my kids pretty well, I can usually tell what they are doing by sound, and I think it healthy that they are sometimes able to play without my involvement or even constant supervision.
When others are at my house, I try to be a good host, sensitive the needs of my guests. If I need to do something out of the view line of my kids, I don’t expect that the guest will also leave their own view line with their kids but if they choose to do so, I don’t fret as I am confident that my house is child friendly, and I ASSUME that the parents are in tune with their own kid’s and would not have done so if not appropriate and within the parents and child’s level of comfort. When we are visitors elsewhere, I follow the lead of my inner voice. There have been times that I have gained a level of comfort to allow the children to play unsupervised, though more typically I don’t gain that level of comfort and stay very close the entire visit.
As for the dinner party…hard to say given the limited information, but I generally look forward to these kinds of things with my kids (though granted, my friends seem to take very similar approach to parenting as I do and generally things revolve around the kids) I would talk to the host, let them know that when away from home that your/your child’s comfort level is to be close to your child, and/or that you are concerned that your child is not accustomed to being around breakable items and/or that you are concerned that this event is intended to be focused around adult interaction and that you know that your attention will be drawn to your child, a.k.a. the love of your life!!, and that you are debating whether it would be more appropriate to leave the child at your IL’s and let the host reply. If you do take DS, maybe have him bring some of his own toys so that not all is on the terms of the other child. I would expect that if you do go ahead with bringing DS, that the kids will REQUIRE almost constant interaction and supervision based on their ages (and I am guessing that this will be obvious to all persons involved, including the hosts, lol) You mention the 3 year old hording his toys…in my experience this is normal behavior, and one that your son is likely equipped to handle whether he chooses to be passive and move to the next toy or to stand up and say no, or to try to negotiate and share/take turns. In my experience, at this age, when kids are on another child’s turf, they tend to lower their expectations regarding toys and such and tend to put more of their own energies into the human dynamics. For the child who is on their own turf it seems to be the opposite, but it all seems to work out much of the time, though in ways that appear to be ‘unfair’ from an adult vantage point.
Wanted also to respond to something phaeon said,
|...The other parents seem content to just let them do whatever... Most parents seem to view social situations as a chance to escape, rather than interact with, their children.
I think if you saw me at this type of event, you would classify me as one of 'those parents', but I disagree with your statement. I think it important to expose my child to all kinds of situations, sometimes while interacting with me, and sometimes more independantly. We go to Library group, Open play group, neighborhood park, neighbor's houses, family get-together's and more, and usually the kids are the center of attention and have constant parental/adult interaction. But there are events that are geared also towards adults where the children are sometimes allowed more independant play, and I think that's great too. I find it hard to keep from jumping out of my seat each time I hear a voice raise, but in hindsite, I have always found it to enriching and a learning experiance for both my child and myself. I would never choose to escape from my children, but there are times when I choose to let them have some space from me.