Play date disaster Update Post #9 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 38 Old 01-17-2010, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd just got back from a play date at a friends house. This is her second play date away from the house and it went terribly. In less than an hour the mom called and told me that my dd needed to go home. When I was walking her home, my dd told me that she and her friend were arguing about what to play and the mom threatened to put them both in time out and the dad threatened to spank them both. When my dd started crying because the dad scared her he told her to take deep breathes or he'd really hit her. I am just shocked and appalled. The mom and I talked about parenting beliefs, she brought it up, and she told me they didn't believe in spanking and that her husband was the one who convinced her that spanking wasn't the way to go when they had their dd. I had their daughter over a lot to play and they have never had an argument that they couldn't work through, sometimes they needed a little mediation or help finding an alternative game, but they never needed to be isolated or even threatened with isolation.

My dd told me she told them that I wasn't violent and that when threatened to call me to be mean she told him he would be doing her a favor and that she wanted him to call me. I am proud of her for standing up for herself and making sure she got out of there, but I don't want her playing there again. I would like it if the kids could stay friends because they are good friends. Should I call and confront them with this and tell them that their daughter is welcome here anytime but my dd will not be allowed to play there, or should I wait and see if they even call again and then bring it up?
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#2 of 38 Old 01-17-2010, 08:59 PM
 
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I'm so sorry your daughter went through that. How scary for a child to be in a situation like that. It sounds like she handled herself very well.

I wouldn't confront the other parents, but I agree that you should never send your DD over there again. I'd focus on developing some other friendships for your DD.

I hope you are both OK!
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#3 of 38 Old 01-17-2010, 09:00 PM
 
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WOW. I can't imagine. How old is your daughter?
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#4 of 38 Old 01-17-2010, 09:09 PM
 
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Honestly, I'd send my husband over there. I'm terrible at confrontation, and I probably wouldn't get very far with that type of man. But DH would.

I am just dumbfounded that someone would actually threaten to hit another person's child (not that it is okay to hit your own).

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#5 of 38 Old 01-17-2010, 09:09 PM
 
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Wow, so inappropriate I will admit that I would be tempted to let the other child's Father know that hitting someone else's kid is illegal and assault I am sorry this happened to your child

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#6 of 38 Old 01-17-2010, 09:10 PM
 
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Honestly, I'd send my husband over there. I'm terrible at confrontation, and I probably wouldn't get very far with that type of man. But DH would.

I am just dumbfounded that someone would actually threaten to hit another person's child (not that it is okay to hit your own).
Yes, she said it better than me

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#7 of 38 Old 01-17-2010, 09:33 PM
 
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I'm so sorry your daughter had to go through that. I have a temper that I've managed to control quite well however, that man's words would send smoke out my ears! No one threatens my child, EVER.

Oh I'd be having a word with him, after I called the mom to hear what she has to say about the incident first.

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#8 of 38 Old 01-17-2010, 09:51 PM
 
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I'd definitely both talk to the mom about it.

And I wouldn't allow my child over there for playdates unless I was there the whole time.

Something tells me there's more to this story, if it even matters. Like perhaps the dad's a bully and his wife doesn't/can't stand up to it, either. Just a hunch.
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#9 of 38 Old 01-17-2010, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I called and talked to the mom and I am glad I did. She told me a completely different story that my dd told me was true when I told her about it. Apparently they were fighting and hurt each others feelings. My dd was crying and the dad jokingly said they should spank everyone to lighten the situation and that made things worse because my dd thought he was serious and was past the point where she could listen to her friends parents try to convince her that they don't spank and never have. I am still not sure that I want my dd to play there again, but I feel much better about the situation and am glad that I called to make sure I got both sides of the story. I don't understand why my dd had an meltdown there. Neither child has ever cried at my home when they play and they have been playing together for a long time. She also doesn't have meltdowns when she plays with her other friends either.
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#10 of 38 Old 01-17-2010, 10:14 PM
 
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Yes that's why I said speak to the mom first. But I don't think that spanking is something that should really be joked about, especially when a kid is crying, KWIM? How could a joke like that be amusing to an upset kid? Bad choice of words.

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#11 of 38 Old 01-17-2010, 10:16 PM
 
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I think that is a very weird thing to be joking about, and personally I would not ever let my dd go there again without me staying for the whole time.
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#12 of 38 Old 01-17-2010, 10:26 PM
 
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I don't understand why my dd had an meltdown there. Neither child has ever cried at my home when they play and they have been playing together for a long time. She also doesn't have meltdowns when she plays with her other friends either.
Children respond really differently when they are on their own "turf" and when their parents are around then when they are away and on their own. Also, children can get over-stimulated at other's homes, either because the environment is genuinely too much or just because its different than at home. Seems like perhaps, for whatever reason, she's not ready to play there without you for a bit. And you can use that as an "excuse" for the time being, even without talking about the spanking issue.
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#13 of 38 Old 01-17-2010, 11:23 PM
 
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Children respond really differently when they are on their own "turf" and when their parents are around then when they are away and on their own. Also, children can get over-stimulated at other's homes, either because the environment is genuinely too much or just because its different than at home. Seems like perhaps, for whatever reason, she's not ready to play there without you for a bit. And you can use that as an "excuse" for the time being, even without talking about the spanking issue.
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#14 of 38 Old 01-17-2010, 11:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Children respond really differently when they are on their own "turf" and when their parents are around then when they are away and on their own. Also, children can get over-stimulated at other's homes, either because the environment is genuinely too much or just because its different than at home. Seems like perhaps, for whatever reason, she's not ready to play there without you for a bit. And you can use that as an "excuse" for the time being, even without talking about the spanking issue.
I think you are right that she may have been overstimulated and just isn't ready to play at this house for now. I am going to use this as our reason for keeping play dates at home. I talked to my mother about this also and she pointed out that my dd had no reason to lie about what happened because she didn't do anything wrong (according to both sides of the story), but that the parents could be lying because they are embarrassed about their reaction. The joking about spanking is also disturbing and even if they did have good intentions my dd took it as a threat, she truly believed they were going to hurt her. I would still like to foster a friendship between the kids, but I think that all of you are right about not letting her go over to their house again. There have been other things that led me to think I shouldn't have my dd there alone and I really think I should have listened to those feelings instead of letting her go because I was worried that I was being overprotective. I hope I don't make the mistake of second guessing myself again. Thank you for your thoughtful responses!
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#15 of 38 Old 01-17-2010, 11:34 PM
 
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I find it disturbing that the dad would do a joke like that and I have a wild sense of humor.

I would keep the playdates to my own house! I dont think your daughter is ready yet.
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#16 of 38 Old 01-17-2010, 11:37 PM
 
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Well if your dd came back and confirmed the story of the other mother, I'm thinking what "really" happened is probably somewhere in the middle. Perhaps the dad did threaten to spank them to get them to behave but is the type that would never follow through with it but uses it as an empty threat? The other mother, knowing that it was an empty threat (and her child knowing it as well) plays it off as joking, while your dd not knowing it wasn't serious takes it as real? Just speculation but it would make sense. Especially since the info in the first post didn't quite add up, kwim? I don't see a reason not to foster the friendship but I'd wait until your dd is more mature and able to handle their type of environment better before I let her over there unattended again.
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#17 of 38 Old 01-18-2010, 01:50 AM
 
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Well if your dd came back and confirmed the story of the other mother, I'm thinking what "really" happened is probably somewhere in the middle. Perhaps the dad did threaten to spank them to get them to behave but is the type that would never follow through with it but uses it as an empty threat? The other mother, knowing that it was an empty threat (and her child knowing it as well) plays it off as joking, while your dd not knowing it wasn't serious takes it as real? Just speculation but it would make sense. Especially since the info in the first post didn't quite add up, kwim? I don't see a reason not to foster the friendship but I'd wait until your dd is more mature and able to handle their type of environment better before I let her over there unattended again.
I was going to say that just because people don't spank doesn't mean they don't threaten. So he could have totally threatened her because that is what he does with his kids

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#18 of 38 Old 01-18-2010, 04:11 AM
 
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I find it disturbing that the dad would do a joke like that and I have a wild sense of humor.
I don't know, I could totally see that happening. My DP loves to play with kids, is a great parent, and likes to joke a lot (especially to 'lighten the situation')... but he oversteps that one pretty frequently. I have to remind him a lot that dd is the age she is and may not understand that he's joking. Although, I get more upset by his jokes than she ever does. He's just really bad at understanding which things are not appropriate to joke about, and that's the extent of it. I can see how that would frighten a child, especially if they're already feeling iffy about playing at someone else's house.

In any case, the result is the same... no more playdates at their house for the time being.

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#19 of 38 Old 01-18-2010, 07:44 AM
 
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Wow, that is terrible. If anyone ever threatened my son like that, I would be giving them a mouthful, that's for sure.
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#20 of 38 Old 01-18-2010, 11:19 AM
 
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Since the joke/threat about spanking is only one warning on your radar, if your instincts tell you not to send her for independent playdates at that house, I'd listen to them. I imagine your dd isn't eager to return there anyway.

I also think it sounds like your dd was overstimulated and out of kilter a little - this was only her second playdate. It isn't surprising she would be a little anxious, especially once things turned stressful and she realized that she didn't have a parent present to help her out.

If she's playing at other friends' homes, perhaps shorter playdates are the way to go for the next little while. Plan for an hour or so. If they go well, you can extend the time by planning for an hour, and calling in to find out if you should let them keep playing a little longer, or come right over and get her.

BTW, I think the conflicting stories is pretty typical though. The truth often lies somewhere between two different versions of an incident.
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#21 of 38 Old 01-18-2010, 11:45 AM
 
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never mind - missed the update.

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#22 of 38 Old 01-18-2010, 12:52 PM
 
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I have three kids and have spent time working in daycares and providing care in my own home and kids often act very different on different turfs. I've had conversations with parents about their child's behavior where they were angry and insisting that their child never has/would/ever will act in behaviors I was seeing first hand. Kids will also retell situations much differently than they actually occurred. I'm not saying not to listen to kids because we definitely should but it's important to understand that their retelling can be what they are "feeling" at that moment and it can change a bit with more retelling. I don't see why the parents would make a point of saying they don't spank when they really do and threaten hit other peoples children. Which is extreme even for spankers. I agree it was a poor choice for him to joke about spanking with a child that doesn't know him well enough to know he's joking but I think it's a problem that can be solved by taking dd over there and letting him explain that he was joking and he's sorry he scared her. We joke about spanking sometimes and my kids think it's hilarious.
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#23 of 38 Old 01-18-2010, 01:52 PM
 
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I've joked about spanking my DD and she giggles and runs away, and knows I'd never do it. I wouldn't say that to justify what your friends husband said, but maybe he really didn't mean it as a threat and just wasn't thinking as well as he COULD?

I wouldn't consider it a threat, but I would tell my child that he was joking

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#24 of 38 Old 01-18-2010, 11:38 PM
 
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Why did the parent not share the whole story with you when you picked up your DD? Even if it was a joke, I would be irritated that the other parent did not share the whole story with me from the get go. It sounds a little to me like the truth is somewhere in the middle. It may be that the father made a crazy comment, but it was truly light-hearted, and they could clearly see how much it disturbed your DD, it should have been shared because of the concern they had about upsetting your DD. It sounds a little to me like things went a little wonky and this story was made up as a kind of cover by the parents.
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#25 of 38 Old 01-19-2010, 12:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Why did the parent not share the whole story with you when you picked up your DD? Even if it was a joke, I would be irritated that the other parent did not share the whole story with me from the get go. It sounds a little to me like the truth is somewhere in the middle. It may be that the father made a crazy comment, but it was truly light-hearted, and they could clearly see how much it disturbed your DD, it should have been shared because of the concern they had about upsetting your DD. It sounds a little to me like things went a little wonky and this story was made up as a kind of cover by the parents.
That is what I am worried about also. The mom said she thought that I looked like I just wanted to get my dd home and she had her sister over so it looked like it was a bad time, but when she called me to come get my dd she didn't go into detail either. My dd told me today that he said he was joking when she got upset but he sounded very serious when he said it. She isn't convinced that he was joking and she said he is scary. She has brought it up a few times today and is still pretty shaken up about this and not ready to be put in a situation like that again. She told me she feels stupid for going over there and she has a headache today. I have been reassuring her that it isn't she doesn't need to feel bad and that it is my job to make sure that she is in a place where things like that won't happen and hers to be a kid. I also just listen when she talks about what happen but I don't encourage her to elaborate because this is something that is really worrying her. She seems okay with my explanation right now, but she has hardly ever had headaches and I really doubt that this stress was induced by a joke.
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#26 of 38 Old 01-19-2010, 01:22 AM
 
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As a parent who often jokes about spanking and I also jokingly spank my kids I can totally see this situation playing out. Yeah, Dad probably wasn't very smart to joke like that with someone elses child but sometimes you just don't think that something isn't a good idea until it's already been done. I wonder if they didn't tell you because they were embarrased. I would let it slide and not bring it up again since other mom has had conversations with you about her and her husband being anti-spanking. It was most likely a big misunderstanding and for the sake of saving their friendship I'd just say that dd's friend is welcome to come over and play anytime but it may take her a little time to warm up to the idea of having playdates over there.

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#27 of 38 Old 01-19-2010, 02:54 AM
 
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I called and talked to the mom and I am glad I did. She told me a completely different story that my dd told me was true when I told her about it. Apparently they were fighting and hurt each others feelings. My dd was crying and the dad jokingly said they should spank everyone to lighten the situation and that made things worse because my dd thought he was serious and was past the point where she could listen to her friends parents try to convince her that they don't spank and never have. I am still not sure that I want my dd to play there again, but I feel much better about the situation and am glad that I called to make sure I got both sides of the story. I don't understand why my dd had an meltdown there. Neither child has ever cried at my home when they play and they have been playing together for a long time. She also doesn't have meltdowns when she plays with her other friends either.
Honestly, given what you've said about how the kids play at your house, and what your child said.....I would think this was a cover your story from the mom.
But...I am a little cynical, and I've had the past experience of agreeing to babysit for a family who claimed not to believe in spanking (this was way back in the day pre-kids for me) and then the day I went to meet them face to face, the mom slapped her child's face right in front of me! drop I *still* being young and not knowing how to say no, babysat for these people for a couple weeks. One of my first days there, the dad came home on a lunch break--as I remember it--and spanked one of the kids while he was there (in the basement, not in front of me, but I could hear it all)

I would not let my kid go back there. It's NOT ok for someone to even JOKE they're going to hit my kid.

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#28 of 38 Old 01-19-2010, 08:18 PM
 
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i think that really crosses the line for me. i wouldnt want to explain to my child that people joke about threatening to hit people.
i would definitely want my child to take threats seriously so that she can get out of harms way before it goes too far.
i really think they are giving you a story here, your daughter sounds coherent and old enough to know the difference between a joke and a threat. i would definitely tell the parents that she will not be going over there again unsupervised and i would take the dad aside seperately and rip him a new one over that. SO not appropriate. i really hope it was just a misunderstanding, but instinct tells me that it may not have been.
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#29 of 38 Old 01-20-2010, 02:00 AM
 
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I think the other mom is using the word, "joke" loosely and the truth is that her DH did threaten but of course he never planned on hitting anyone so that's why it's a joke. Not necessarily funny Haha joke.
When I first read your post I was going to say, "call the mom" b/c I was thinking maybe your Dd was embellishing a bit, since the update, however really sounds like the same story only played down by parents who made a big mistake I am inclined to say..keep the playdates at your home. At least with this family.

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#30 of 38 Old 01-22-2010, 01:35 PM
 
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Perhaps the whole incident could be viewed as a "good thing" because it made you even more aware that you just don't feel good about her going over there. I'd not allow my DD over there again.

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There have been other things that led me to think I shouldn't have my dd there alone and I really think I should have listened to those feelings instead of letting her go because I was worried that I was being overprotective. I hope I don't make the mistake of second guessing myself again. Thank you for your thoughtful responses!

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