I'm an introvert and I don't like playdates or kids at my house.. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 06-03-2009, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all- I newly registered but I've been lurking for at least a year I think!

My kids are older, a high schooler and a elementary school, so no toddlers or anything. and I've learned something about myself over the years that I don' think is "normal" and it worries me.

- I really don't like other kids very much. Ok I said it- sounds mean, but there ya go. I love my own dearly but no one elses. I'm a completely introverted person, and I don't like to have other people's kids over to the house. ( or other people much either) They just grate on my nerves. Young and old.
When my kids were younger and not yet in school I'd try hosting playdates and all they did was make me a nervous wreck trying to discipline the other kids, or watch them so they wouldn't get into stuff. Whenever my kids would have other kids over, there was always drama, whether it was when they weren't getting along, or pairing of and excluding kids, or rude ones asking for things they couldn't have. It was exhausting. More often than not,

I just wanted to yell " egad, just go play already!" it seemed like all the kids were needy and complicated,and being girls, full of emotional drama. and I could never figure out why they couldn't just be kids and go out in the yard and play ball or whatever. The other kids couldn't just go and "be kids"- it seemed to me, sometimes they wanted attention so would deliberately create some drama, fight, or ask to be fed or taken places for attention. Maybe not, but these kids were high maintenance. For example, we'd have kids over for a couple hours to swim in our pool. You would think that an inground pool would be plenty of entertainment for 9 year old on a hot summer day, but they would constantly either argue over the pool toys, exclude another kid from a game, ask to come inside to play nintendo, ask for more pool toys to be blown up, it was just annoying.

Anyway, after a few disastrous sleepovers, and a steady stream of kids in my house one summer, we cut down the number of kids coming over. I didn't ban them, but school started, and my kids got busy on a sports team after school. If there was a social opportunity OUT of my house for them to do, whether it be a student council thing for the older one, or a party for the younger, I encouraged them to go! and before I knew it, I was calm, and relaxed on weekends, no kids were coming over, and I was thrilled it had seemed the neighborhood kids had moved on to other things, or other kids. I felt like I had my privacy back.

As the years go on, my kids don't even ask anymore about having friends over, I guess that they just accept that this is just the way our family does things, not have kids over very often, and go with it. They rarely ever ask anymore. and I feel bad about that. I sort of justify it to myself that they are around kids all day at school- at least 7 hours, plus they see more kids they know at the music lessons and the sport team they play and Scouting. It's common for them to be around kids 6 days a week away from the home.

But, then I see kids playing at the neighbors house, it seems like there is always kids there, some of the same kids that used to come over here all the time, and I feel guilty, because MY kids are playing alone in the backyard, or inside not interacting socially. I feel like they might be missing out on something vital because I have this dumb aversion.

Anyway, how does everyone else feel about kids and playdates over at your house?? I must be the weird one, It must be an introvert thing, because my SIL, who is a HUGE extrovert seems to consider her entire neighborhood of kids her second family, because at any given time there will be 5 kids at her house playing. She loves to feed them and take them places. Kids- that aren't even hers. I would have an anxiety attack at that.

Anyway, is this bad not to have kids over to my house? Do you think kids can get enough social interaction from all day public school and sports and things out of the home? Is there something special about having friends over that is important for childhood development.?

This is a mommy guilt thing for me. - all comments welcome. I don't get my feelings hurt easily.
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#2 of 26 Old 06-03-2009, 06:22 PM
 
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I think it is completely acceptalbe to not have a house full of kids. My mom was also an introvert and worked a lot, so I never had people over. It was not a rule or anyting, I just didn't fee lcomfortable bringing people over a lot.

The flip side of that is that I spent a good amount of time at my friends houses. I'm talking dinner 4-5 days a week, sleep overs all weekend, that kind of stuff. I craved the compainshiop. I was an only child though, so maybe a sibling would have aleviated that a little. I was never home during the summers from like age 11 till I started working at 15. So I guess what i am saying is if you exclude your kids friends (or at least don't make your home theirs), be ready to see a lot less of your kids over the next few years too.

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#3 of 26 Old 06-03-2009, 06:28 PM
 
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I don't really mind kids but other adults drive me nuts. I just have the hardest time at parties, playdates, etc. I'd rather be in the corner watching my kids talking to no one. I have always been this way and so is DH. We try to be talkative when people approach us and for our kid's sake we have even tried approaching others but honest to goodness it is such a draining thing! We get home and have to rant/vent or just take a few moments to ourselves.

We have really pushed ourselves outside our comfort zone for our kid's sake and it has been hard and not very rewarding for us as people but we feel the need to do it. But our kids are homeschooled. If your kids are in public school I don't think there is a need for you to have other kids over and such. Maybe every once in a while but not too often, ykwim?

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#4 of 26 Old 06-03-2009, 07:17 PM
 
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I can totally relate, OP. On one hand, I like the idea of having my kids' friends over because then I'll know first-hand what they're up to, but on the other hand I cringe at the idea of having a bunch of extra people here all the time -- just the thought makes me feel like this: :

My DS is still at the age where I accompany him on playdates, and I don't really like that either -- having to hang out with strangers with whom I don't really click for a few hours is not fun. I do it (not as often as I probably should) because DS likes it, but to tell the truth I dread it, and usually procrastinate planning get-togethers for as long as possible.

I have friends who always have a few neighborhood kids over, and they don't seem to have a problem with it at all. It must just be a personality difference. I'm going to try to get over it for the most part because I do think it's important for DS to feel like he can have friends over, but I can very much relate to what you're saying -- just know you're not alone in feeling that way.

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#5 of 26 Old 06-03-2009, 07:18 PM
 
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I think it is probably totally fine - as long as you are ok with your kids being away from home more especially as they get older. We had a "complicated" situation at home when I was growing up & so didn't often have friends over. As pp said that meant I spent a LOT of time at other people's houses (& I have a sibling so it's not an only child thing imo). Now as an adult I do feel I missed out on something & really struggle to be comfortable in my own home with company.

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#6 of 26 Old 06-03-2009, 08:18 PM
 
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I am not big on other ppl's kids, either. I like them ok! I just don't want them in my house. I need my quiet and my space. It go into a major sensory overload and just can't handle it.

I don't feel bad about it, either. This is who I am and I'm not going to sacrifice my mental sanity & health for someone else. I arrange playdates for my kids at places like the park or whatever, and we do have friends over, but not often and not for long.

I just got out of a 7 mo long friendship that was a complete drain on me & my family. In addition to babysitting the child on a regular basis, the mother would just plant herself at my house to borrow our internet (her laptop) and she'd be here for HOURS. It really interfered w/ my family. And both mother & child were completely and ridiculously OBNOXIOUS. The kid was a total brat (I don't just throw that term around) who would not get along w/ my kids AT ALL, she wrote on my furniture (2 separate items), kicked my walls, etc. It was HORRIBLE and I am better off w/o her & her mother in my life. The mother refused to take responsibility for herself & her child. The kid ended up moving out of state w/ her grandparents.

I came to realize that I like kids from a distance. My kids and my nieces & nephews and cousins are the exception. I can love on your child all day long -- as long as you're there and I'm not required to be the caregiver. I'll volunteer to help you out, no problem, but please don't ask me to babysit and don't expect a playdate invitation.

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#7 of 26 Old 06-03-2009, 09:25 PM
 
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Marcella I could have written your post only my kids are 6 and 9! I love being around my kids but I can't stand to be around their friends! I don't enjoy having kids in my house on the weekends or after school. My Dd has one friend who will call a hundred times during the day to see if she can come to play and I feel bad that I don't want her to come over but when she's here its nothing but bickering! So I hear ya you're not alone!
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#8 of 26 Old 06-03-2009, 09:58 PM
 
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I feel just like you, OP, but I've decided that I have to put that aside somewhat in order to have my kids close to me. Growing up, I never had friends over to my house (due to a different complicated situation), but stayed at my friends' houses a lot. The other parents all seemed to like me and sort of adopted me, but the distance from my own parents and the intimacy with other families really diminished my relationship with my family. I didn't tell them what I was up to. I had this whole life outside of them that they never knew about. Lucky for them, I was a good kids that didn't get into too much trouble. My brother and sister were a different story.

So, I would say that there are trade-offs. Dh and I are of the same mindset that we want our kids close by, so we'll provide food and entertainment and put up with their obnoxious () friends to have it. I just have to take my quiet time when I can get it. Also, we do safeguard our "just family" time as well.
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#9 of 26 Old 06-03-2009, 11:24 PM
 
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I don't like have people over at my house either, be it child or adult. Feels like an invasion of privacy to me. I do, however, allow the kids to have friends over to play outside and such. I am trying very hard not to force my hangups on the kiddos. It is so tough.

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#10 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 10:06 AM
 
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This is a tricky area for our family as well. I actually really like most of my kid's friends and I'm super glad that they want to have friends over. I was never comfortable with it as a child, so I'm glad my own kids feel differently. However, it does raise my anxious meter for two reasons:1. I feel I need to have my house cleaner than usual and 2. playdates seem to bring out the absolute worst in sibling rivalry with my children. They play beautifully together, but having friends over changes the dynamic, often in uncomfortable ways. Finally, I treasue our weekend family time-dh is gone most of the week.

We've ended up with a few very close friends of the kids who play here, but dd wants more, so we'll probably try to work something out occasionally.
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#11 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 10:23 AM
 
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I don't think it's a "dumb aversion" , it's just how you are wired. And, you are not alone, not by a long shot. (I have long joked that there are many introverts just like me around, they are just hiding in their homes, too!!) I can totally relate to how you feel. That said, I agree with the other posters that having a home where friends are welcome can foster better relationships between kids and their parents.

Since your kids are older, have you brought the subject up? Do you think your kids would feel comfortable enough to talk to you about it? If your kids truly don't have a problem (not just saying they don't to make you happy), then it's not a problem. Introverted kids might be quite happy not to have their home sanctuary invaded by annoying neighbor kids. If they are content with the way things are and feel like they can talk to you openly about it, then I'd drop the mom guilt and enjoy a quiet cup of coffee.

If they do wish the neighbor kids were over more often, maybe you could set some boundaries to help respect your needs, like picking X number of days a week where friends are welcome. You could set boundaries about where they play and/or for how long, that sort of thing.

Good luck with this! (Won't be long before you have your house to yourself all the time...)

~ Lemur , mum to Mr. Fishy (5, ASD) and Froggy (3) ~
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#12 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 10:30 AM
 
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I am with you OP! I like all of my dd's friends. They are mostly sweet and well behaved. But having other kids in my house STRESSES ME OUT to no end. I am not sure I can even pin point why exactly. It is a combo of feeling responsible for the kids and not knowing how to deal with any sort of misbehavior. I am just not comfortable with guiding other kids. We also have a very not-child-proofed house and dd is still young enough that some of her friends really need a child-proofed environment. And most cannot just go off and play with dd. They end up around me all of the time which is also hard for me. I need a lot of quiet time I do not have a solution to this yet. So far I just grin and bear it and try to focus play activity anywhere outside of my house when I can. I find there are some parents that prefer play dates at their place, usually because they have multiple kids. That works well for us. Dd is an only child and unschooled so I really feel obligated to try harder. But so far I am not doing great and find myself avoiding the situation whenever I can. Often though, I will remind myself that it is OK to take my needs into account as well as dd's. Ironically, although dh is an extrovert, he also struggles with having other kids here. I make sure dd is signed up for activities outside of the house and we are at every child friendly event that is offered in our area.
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#13 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 10:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
I don't really mind kids but other adults drive me nuts. I just have the hardest time at parties, playdates, etc. I'd rather be in the corner watching my kids talking to no one. I have always been this way and so is DH. We try to be talkative when people approach us and for our kid's sake we have even tried approaching others but honest to goodness it is such a draining thing! We get home and have to rant/vent or just take a few moments to ourselves.
:

Sometimes I hate being an introvert but I've accepted that it's just who I am. It doesn't make you wrong or abnormal, it doesn't mean you're shy, it just means you need time to recharge after being around people.

If there's a neighborhood house where all the kids always gravitate, it means there are a lot of other houses where kids AREN'T hanging out, right? If someone else loves being that mom and having that household, great. She can be happy with a house full of kids and you can be happy without it. Everyone wins.

That said, there's no reason not to talk to your kids about how they feel about the situation. If they're happy, you can stop feeling guilty. If they want friends over they're old enough to help you strategize about ways to make playdates a success for everyone, including you.
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#14 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 11:17 AM
 
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OP - I can relate.

A recent experience I had that really made me realize where I stand on the subject:

Last year we purchased a cabin. The cabin next door is owned by a family with a son a few years older than DS.

The first time both families were at their respective cabins at the same time, the dad (who we have met and talked with many times) walks over with the little boy, lets call him J, and asks "can J play with your DS?"

I thought this was very strange.

They hadn't been at their cabin for 15 minutes and already he wants to get rid of his kid for a while? Why can't they play at their own cabin?

When we settle in, we have so many things we like to do - play in the creek, fish, gather sticks for camp fires, etc. Stuff that we activity engage DS in.

A bit later the mom strolls over (this is the first time I have met her) and says something like "J, you will be here all the time playing with X"

I think "ah, no he won't. I don't come here to entertain your kid."

Mom then walks away, as to leave J at our place. I say "J, you need to go with your Mommy, we have things to do" (we were painting at the time)

She seemed a bit taken aback that J wasn't allowed to stay.

Isn't that awful of me? They seem like perfectly nice people, we want to be good neighbors and I can envision DS and J having good times together but I am not cool with that "just go over there and play" attitude of his parents.

(If J's mom or dad is reading this - It isn't personal, I am just freaky about my family time and privacy.)
___________


Growing up, I was allowed to have friends over almost anytime under the condition that we didn't annoy or bother either parent.

My two closest friends were also only children and we were constantly rotating houses. Both of the other families LOVED having us there while my parent's attitude was more of toleration than of welcoming.

We haven't hosted DS's friends and he hasn't gone to a friend's house yet but he is starting to ask. We have loose plans to have one of his friends from preschool over soon.

I see something a few things in my friends relating to kids and friends that I don't identify with -

they seem REALLY concerned with their children having the "right" friends at such a young age.

they travel in mom-packs, taking the kids on trips to the zoo and such, which is great but we do that stuff as a family. I have never heard of dads being included in these trips and maybe that is an indication as to why the women band together :

DS is in preschool five days a week as I work full time so I feel that he gets his socialization at school and because I work, I am not looking to escape the house. This is the major reason I have done nothing to encourage playdates or visits.

The minor reason is I have no interest in taking on the responsibility of someone else's child.

All that being said, DH and I are both committed to having our home open to DS's friends as he grows up. I think my willingness and comfort level will change with age, I won't be as concerned about a 10 year old as I am about a 4 year old.

Mom to DS, born fall 05 after ,,, wife/best friend to DH We have
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#15 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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While I believe in the "home as a haven" sort of thing... I find it unhealthy if you never have visitors over. Maybe you should try again for the children's sake. You want your kids to be well rounded and well adjusted people once they are grown. I would find it terribly sad if my adult child never invited friends over. Too isolating. Also, think about your grandkids. Do you want your grandkids to be so isolated as well? Cause without a good role model... kids generally do as their parents did.
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#16 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 01:27 PM
 
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I am an extreme introvert..inevitabley the most off the scale in any group Meyers Briggs testing situation....And I gave birth to the most amazing and incredible extrovert I've ever met.

Where I am on it: It's her house too. My need to have quiet comes in the car and after they go to bed. No, I don't get enough. (My kids are 8 and 4.) She could use *even* more playtime with others.

My saving grace: She has no interest in a sleepovers because she has a terrible time falling asleep and wants the familiar when dropping off.

Bottom line for me: I wanted kids and I get the ones I got. It's up to me to make adjustments so we can all get as much of what we need as possible.

It's not about liking or not liking other people's kids. It's about building a family together that's big enough for all of us.

The last thing I want is for her to feel like she needs to spend all her time at other people's house to get her extroversion needs met.
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#17 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 01:57 PM
 
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While I believe in the "home as a haven" sort of thing... I find it unhealthy if you never have visitors over. Maybe you should try again for the children's sake. You want your kids to be well rounded and well adjusted people once they are grown. I would find it terribly sad if my adult child never invited friends over. Too isolating. Also, think about your grandkids. Do you want your grandkids to be so isolated as well? Cause without a good role model... kids generally do as their parents did.
I'm curious about this post. Why does having people over to one's house equate to being well-adjusted?

I'm way, waaaay off the charts on the introverted side. It's amazing I got married and had kids. I worked in corporate jobs for years and "passed" for quite the extrovert. I'm well-adjusted, but can't stand having people in my home. (I overcome this for my kids' sake, but lived for many years a happy hermit. I love that part in Cast Away where he doesn't talk to another human being for years. Ahhhh, what a sweet, sweet vision.) So, I'm of the opinion that one person's isolation is another person's good day.

~ Lemur , mum to Mr. Fishy (5, ASD) and Froggy (3) ~
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#18 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 02:19 PM
 
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While I believe in the "home as a haven" sort of thing... I find it unhealthy if you never have visitors over. Maybe you should try again for the children's sake. You want your kids to be well rounded and well adjusted people once they are grown. I would find it terribly sad if my adult child never invited friends over. Too isolating. Also, think about your grandkids. Do you want your grandkids to be so isolated as well? Cause without a good role model... kids generally do as their parents did.
"Unhealthy"? Really? I can see it being unhealthy to never ever socialize but I do not see what that has to do with the venue. What about rural folks who never get visitors because of their location? People with tiny living spaces? People who are living in the middle of an on-going construction project? And, I do not think the OP said they never had visitors, just not so much with kids. I dunno. I had friends over to my house ALL THE TIME as a child and I apparently grew up to be "unhealthy" and "not well-rounded" so I do not see the correlation. And what does this have to do with her grandkids?

I have posted about this issue on MDC before myself and actually got a lot of support. You will be an introvert whether you "try harder" or not. Making yourself miserable to meet some sort of fabricated parental expectation is not healthy either IMO. The OP says her kids are happy, what is the problem? If they weren't, perhaps "trying harder" would be in order.
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#19 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 05:49 PM
 
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Is there any reason why your kids can't go over to the house where all the other kids are? Is it really a choice between having a ton of kids at your house and your kids playing alone in your backyard? Would you be okay with your kids having one friend over? Sometimes that is hard in a neighborhood because the kids tend to congregate but maybe a friend from school who could be dropped off and picked up at specific times?
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#20 of 26 Old 06-04-2009, 10:54 PM
 
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I pretty much never had friends over growing up. My younger brother was autistic, so my parents had a lot on their plate. I don't remember specifically being told I couldn't have anyone over. I just never did. I survived. Looking back, I felt a little weird about it at the time, but it wasn't really a big deal.

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#21 of 26 Old 06-05-2009, 01:16 AM
 
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I hate other kids. really. DD constantly ants a bunch of bratty neighborhood kids to be over at our house, and I hate it. I frequently say no and she will cry and cry. but i can't stand it. i can't stand noise at all, and my own kids have been educated as to how to mak very little noise but otyher kids just whoop and holler and I can't take it. And they are all so RUDE and MEAN. Pushing dd off her own stuff, being mean to little ds, and worst of all, puting ideas in dd's head she wouldn't have though of on her own (i.e let's haul all the sandbox sand across the yard into the playhouse! or let's climp up onto the playhouse ROOF!)
*shudders*

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#22 of 26 Old 06-05-2009, 02:12 AM
 
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[QUOTE=MamaStarbird;13880385If there's a neighborhood house where all the kids always gravitate, it means there are a lot of other houses where kids AREN'T hanging out, right? If someone else loves being that mom and having that household, great. She can be happy with a house full of kids and you can be happy without it. Everyone wins.[/QUOTE]

Not necessarily. I've somehow become the "koolaid mom" (minus the koolaid) in my neighborhood. I'm an introvert too and really prefer it to be just my kids most of the time. But my ds is an extrovert and needs lots of socializing in order to be happy, so I oblige. I think I have fairly good boundaries with the neighborhood kids, and am not afraid to send them home if it gets to be too much.

But it does bug me that some of these other kids' moms do not reciprocate the hospitality! In fact, the one mom who kids spend the bulk of their time at my house refuses to let other children come and play at her house. I think it's fine of you're an introvert and can't deal with other kids. But just make sure that your kids aren't wearing out their welcome at other people's houses and that other moms aren't feeling like they're the only hosts out there. I'm not saying the OP is doing this... but just bringing it up as a general consideration. Just because all the neighborhood kids are hanging out at one house most of the time does not mean that that mom loves it. I know in my own neighborhood I'd like to see more balance between where the kids play.
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#23 of 26 Old 06-05-2009, 09:07 AM
 
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Right-- hospitality should be reciprocated, but not necessarily in kind. So if your kids are frequently going over to Mr. and Mrs. Smith's house, you do need to invite Mr. and Mrs. Smith's kids to do something; but it doesn't have to be a playdate at your house. You could invite the whole Smith family over for dinner (or coffee or whatever); you could invite the Smith kids to come OUT with your kids for skating or a children's museum or whatever the kids do these days (with your family paying, of course); something to show Mr. and Mrs. Smith that you appreciate and want to reciprocate their generosity.

You're not obligated to do anything for the kids' friends who also are congregating at the Smiths' house though. Only for the friends whose parents actually offer them hospitality. Or I guess if your kids are begging to invite a friend over, it would be nice to accommodate them somehow (not necessarily at your house).
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#24 of 26 Old 06-05-2009, 09:09 AM
 
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Since you said you never made any rule, they just stopped doing it, is it possible that your kids are fine with it or even like the situation? When I was a kid, I rarely/never invited kids over. I hated worrying about if they might break my toys or mess up my stuff, or be judging in their head thinking the house was dirty, having to clean up before they came, etc. I played with other kids at their house or outside, or stayed home and played with my sister. It wasn't because of my mom (although now that I'm older I think she was probably glad I did that, we are both introverts).

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#25 of 26 Old 06-05-2009, 10:11 AM
 
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I feel like they might be missing out on something vital because I have this dumb aversion.
I'd have to agree with you. At least part of the time, your kids should feel comfortable having friends come to their house, not having to go elsewhere all the time to socialize.

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#26 of 26 Old 06-05-2009, 12:08 PM
 
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I think you can find a happy medium somewhere.
I don't really like having other kids at our house either.
It seems everyone else has a designated playroom, usually in the basement, so the kids can go off down there and are not in the main living area of the home and the noise is well, downstairs.

We have a smallish house, and no playroom. Some toys are in ds's room, the rest is in the living room. So when kids are over, they are in your face and in your space the entire time, and it can get really noisy.

So my happy medium is to invite a friend maybe once or twice a month. I figure I can take it for a few hours, then my "duty" is done, lol.

We don't live in a neighborhood with lots of kids, so we don't have anyone "just coming over". Normally all playdates are dropped off by parents, via car, and arranged beforehand.
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