Does Little Brother Get to Participate in Big Sister's Playdates? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 01:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ongoing household dilema, here. It's really driving me batty, actually, and I need some input.


My 10 1/2 dd is a hot stuff big girl, these days, complete with *attitude.* She loves her little brother (4 1/2), really she does. They play quite well together, and often.

But, lately, when she has her friends over, she's gotten quite snooty about wanting privacy with her friends.

First of all, a little background detail for you visualizing benefit: dd has lotsa friends, tons of them -- super social. Ds has one friend, who he hardly ever sees. He's also very shy. He likes to be the tag-along little brother, which worked fine for years, up until now. He has a very hard time making friends -- of course I've tried and tried. . All of dd's playdates happen at my house, b/c I'm a sahm and I help out my single mama friends who work. So these playdates are very, very frequent (between 4-6 a week).

It started out with dd asking for a few minutes to talk privately with a friend who was over. I said, "Sure, that's fine," thought it was cute. Next thing I know, the time she's needing to 'talk privately' is growing and growing into, pretty much, the entire length of the playdate.

Needless to say to you mamas who've been in this situation, it becomes insanely challenging for me to keep ds satisfied for long. He feels incredibly left out and anxious to be with the girls. I find myself thinking 'Frog and Toad video' way too frequently for my comfort level.

It seems to make him feel very insecure when he knows there's other dc having fun in the house and he's not welcome.

Dd is resentful when I ask her to include him, and it's become quite a negotiating situation -- to the point where I'm exhausted from having to bargain with her to figure out all this complexity. I'm ready to cancel the playdates; it's just too much, some days.

Am I expecting something unreasonable, here?

Help!


And tia!
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#2 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 04:27 AM
 
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Your 10 1/2 year old daughter should most certainly be able to socialize with friends without having to entertain her 4 year old brother.

It's not fair to her if she can't, or if all her socializing depends on her brother in some way. That could affect their relationship seriously.

Since it is really hard for you and the brother with this shift, I would recommend that you ask for her help making this transistion. Ask her to give a little sometimes, so that it's easier for you to give her the privacy she wants other times. And the brother does seem old enough to be able to suck it up a little bit--especially with help (like, sister will do ______ with you after the playdate, but right now, she wants her privacy, and we're going to respect that).
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#3 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 07:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by umbrella
Your 10 1/2 year old daughter should most certainly be able to socialize with friends without having to entertain her 4 year old brother.

It's not fair to her if she can't, or if all her socializing depends on her brother in some way. That could affect their relationship seriously.
Yes, I agree. And by taking the pressure off of her to include her little brother, she may come around to a place where she WANTS to include him at times. Is there something special you and he can do together so he doesn't feel like he's missing out on something? Maybe time away from his sister could be rephrased as special 1:1 time with Mom?

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#4 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 07:56 AM
 
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I have to agree. I have an almost 10 and almost 5 y/o, so I know it can be hard at times

To piggy back on Joan's idea, maybe he can paint (or another activity he really loves) when sister has a friend over? That may wear thin at 4 to 6 x's a week, but maybe you can reserve a few activities for those times?

~Joan, Happy mom to 2 beautiful kiddos, one new puppy and 2 lovely felines
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#5 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 10:26 AM
 
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While I definatley think your DD deserves private time with her friends (I was older than my little sis by not even three years and I expected private time w/my friends though I'm sure our interests overlapped more than a 4 yo boy & 10 yo girl commonly would) I think there *could* need to be some limits on this.

You mention these play dates occur 4-6X weekly. For how long a day? If they are like an hour that is one thing to expect DS to stay "away" that long. If they are 3-4 hours... that seems pretty exclusionary at that point. Perhaps you could have a set amount of time you could guarantee your daughter to be alone with her friend and then have a game/activity that DS could do with them for part of the time if it is longer time.

Also, you mention that DS has one friend. Could you work on *that* front as well. Do any of your DDs friends have a younger sibling? It sounds like DS is happy playing with kids not close in age to him, so it's not as if you would "need" their sibling to be 4. I'm thinking that perhaps during the summer you could find a couple more friends for him to hang out with?

Another idea that came to me (I don't have a teen, so I am coming from this more on the side of my DS who is 3.5) is--- could you get some special things to do with DS while DD has friends over. A PP mentioned painting, an excellent idea, or maybe some card or board games? Bubbles? A kiddie pool? Train tracks? Something you and he could do together during that time.

My first tactic, though, would be to talk with DD privately and get her input on the situation. See what she comes up with as a solution (she might have an idea).

Good luck!

 

 

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#6 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 10:26 AM
 
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We have a similar but a bit different situation with ds who is 12 on Monday going out to hang out with friends almost every afternoon since he started secondary school and ds2 (8) wanting to go out with them all and being miserable as sin when I say he can't.

The trouble is that in the beginning on the occassions when he did go out with them it didn't take long for them to start being a bit mean to him and dissing him generally. So he came home saying they've been mean and I said 'well why don't you do x,y or z instead'

Although my boys have had about 5 years now when they have got on really well and shared lots together, now I see that there is a world of difference between 8 year olds and 12-13 year olds so he will just have to wait til his buddies are big enough to knock for each other and hang out too.

Being fair doesn't always mean everyone doing the same thing or being treated the same.
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#7 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, gosh.
I feel a bit misunderstood, here.


I'll back up to my op and elaborate on a few things . . . .

These playdates, which are 4-6 a week, last for many, many hours each. We're talking 6-8 hours plus they often turn into sleepovers.
I DO have special mommy and ds time during these playdates. I DO give ds special activities to do during the playdates. Also, I do not expect dd to ENTERTAIN ds, (she's not a babysitter.) And I'm fine with her needing some degree of privacy with her friends (refer to op), but I'm not fine with her needing 5 of, say, 6 hours of a playdate to have private time where ds is unwelcome. Umbrella, all of my dd's socializing DOES NOT depend on ds participating -- that is a gross generalization. In fact, she's often away at school, camp (during summer), and her friends' houses, too.

However, I end up spending many hours during these very frequent playdates entertaining my ds, myself. He normally is fine playing close to me while I do housework, but during these playdates he gets insecure and clingy because of feeling left out. So I end up getting nothing done. If there's no way for me to trust my dc to tolerate and blend a little better together, then the obvious solution is to cut down on the playdates. That would be unfortunate for dd, though.

As far as ds's one friend goes, his mother ap's him and is not ready for him to come over to play by himself (we're talking four year olds, here). Plus, they live 45 minutes away, and she's a busy single mother wit three children under six who hardly ever gets to sit down, let alone visit for tea and playdates at my house. So our visits together are few and far between -- it's not something I can change.

What I'm not fine with is dd's attitude (she gets super-intolerant of him and acts like he's a fly and needs to buzz off) about including her brother in her play, the rest of the time, and I'm trying to figure out how long that 'rest of the time' should last. That's why I came here, asking for insight. She gets really bossy, rude and exclusive toward him -- it's blatant. This behavior happens even when she HAS a lot of 'private time' with her friends.

Mainly what ds likes to do, and is HAPPY to do, is just sit nearby and be part of the activity -- in a passive way. For example, when she and her friend are playing with their dolls, he's happy to sit on the bed and watch them. I do not think that is unreasonable. If he's needing to do something that conflicts with dd's interests (like jump around and be wild while dd and friend are playing quietly) I remove him.

I feel like I have over-catered to my dd for many years, her being my first-born and me being really into the value of treating children with reverence and respect. Now I'm seeing where it's becoming an 'entitlement to superior treatment' issue for dd; meaning that she seems to think her rights matter more than ds's, sometimes.
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#8 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 11:28 AM
 
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wow may may, that is a LOT of time with peers!

(I keep editing, sorry, my wording was sounding bad)

This is just me, but if I were in this type of situation, my first step in solving the problem would be to cut playdates in half. DC will be bored a while but eventually find new ways to keep busy. Obviously you know your child, not me, but sometimes I think "so social" is actually other things. But I promise, I am not accusing - how could I without knowing you - just speculating.

Have you read HOld On To Your Kids by Gordon Neufeld?? Very highly recommended. It might address a lot of these issues, peers as well as your dc's attitude toward you.
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#9 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 11:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by May May
Well, gosh.
I feel a bit misunderstood, here.



I feel like I have over-catered to my dd for many years, her being my first-born and me being really into the value of treating children with reverence and respect. Now I'm seeing where it's becoming an 'entitlement to superior treatment' issue for dd; meaning that she seems to think her rights matter more than ds's, sometimes.

May May



It sounds like you know what you need to do. Your assessmant sounds fair, and really, those playdates are becoming more of a burden to you than a help. Do they play better together outside?

~Joan, Happy mom to 2 beautiful kiddos, one new puppy and 2 lovely felines
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#10 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your compassion and support, Mom4tot.

And benjalo,
I'd like to hear more about this concept you mentioned. (I checked my local library's website, and they do not have a copy of the book you mentioned, sadly..)

What is the phiolosophy?

Btw, dd only gets 'attitude - y' when her friends are around. When they're not, she's sweet and thoughtful. So, you may have touched on a side issue that's totally relevant.

I have had many talks with dd, lately, about how she behaves flippantly toward me in front of her friends. I've told her that I feel hurt and surprised when she talks to me in that way, and she accepts responsibility and apologizes. But we've had to have that conversation regularly, lately.

Also btw, and circumstantially speaking, I'm trying to help out friends who need help with childcare, plus I feel very strongly about children's social needs and mixed-age/mixed-gender playdates. It's part of my personal version of the 'it takes a village' concept (referring to other thread on tao). I am happy to have these children over; they're lovely children. I'm open to cutting down on the playdates (quantity factor), but I'd like to explore other perspectives, first.
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#11 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, and yes, Mom4tot, they DO play better outside. (In fact, we have a huge, private yard with tons of things for them to do in it.) The problem with it is that it's well over 100 degrees here, daily, for five months out of the year.

So they can't tolerate playing out there for very long, even in the shade. .
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#12 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 12:25 PM
 
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Others may disagree with me here, but can you introduce some structure to the playdates? Like, before noon all kids play together, afternoon is girls time and mama/ds time? I would also make future playdates contingent on dd's behavior towards ds. I was an oldest child, and my parents let us deal with things on our own. Although I wasn't terrible, in hindsight, I wish my parents had stepped in and emphasized how important it was not to be mean towards my siblings, and backed it up
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#13 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 01:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by May May
And benjalo,
I'd like to hear more about this concept you mentioned. (I checked my local library's website, and they do not have a copy of the book you mentioned, sadly..)

What is the phiolosophy?

Btw, dd only gets 'attitude - y' when her friends are around. When they're not, she's sweet and thoughtful. So, you may have touched on a side issue that's totally relevant.
OK, well, here is link for you about peer orientation, which is a central part of his book. http://www.gordonneufeld.com/peer.html

I think it would be a very timely read for you, given the things you've said about your situation. If you can request it through inter-library loan, that may work.

Take care - sounds like you and your daughter are really connected and I'm sure you'll get this worked out over time.
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#14 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 01:28 PM
 
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When I was that age I would not have wanted my siblings there at all. The need for privacy, especially when hanging with friends, seems to go up exponentially.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#15 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 01:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by May May
Oh, and yes, Mom4tot, they DO play better outside. (In fact, we have a huge, private yard with tons of things for them to do in it.) The problem with it is that it's well over 100 degrees here, daily, for five months out of the year.

So they can't tolerate playing out there for very long, even in the shade. .

I understand, that is really hot. I relish the 70's and 80's here for a few months out of the year. The winter months almost do us in :


A couple of things I have done with the kids together this season are...tye dyeing t- shirts and playcloths, making garden stones and lots of water play. Since we homeschool, they are together a lot

benjaol, I am going to check out that book also

~Joan, Happy mom to 2 beautiful kiddos, one new puppy and 2 lovely felines
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#16 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mom4tot, we used to homeschool, too, and these issues seemed to come up less. I don't know if it was because of the ages they were when we homeschooled, or because of the fact that, even amongst our local homeschool group families (large, large. . over a hundred families belong), the age barriers were less than they are at school, where the division of children (by grade/age) is more pronounced. It was always a very mixed-age, communal feeling that I had at the homeschool group meetings with all the moms and children all gathering, literally, on common ground (at a big, city park ). That's how it still is in my home, and that's why I don't want this divisiveness feeling!

~
Quote:
Originally Posted by mollykatsmom
I was an oldest child, and my parents let us deal with things on our own. Although I wasn't terrible, in hindsight, I wish my parents had stepped in and emphasized how important it was not to be mean towards my siblings, and backed it up
This was my same, personal experience in childhood and feeling about it now!


~
Thanks, benjalo I just read the link you offered.
This really stood out:

Quote:
What is meant to replace parents is not peers but personhood.
This is the reason that, to me, justifies my need to teach my children to think for themselves; combined with an effort to balance that with my 'authoritative' presence in their lives.

It's the difference between teaching them to 'respect authority' (which means to submit to dominance/superiority)

and

'question authority' (which is only essential in this time of rampant abuse of power issues)



Quote:
As long as they are dependent, they should depend upon those who are responsible for them, not each other.
But my dd is the one who is leader to her friends; they always take her cues. Doesn't that mean that she has a strong 'independent personhood?' Remember, she only acts this way when her friends are around. When we're in private, she's very attached to me, still.

Also, I appreciate that my dc can help me recognize the personal issues I need to work on, through mirroring and feedback communication.

I've raised them to be humble and righteous in their judgement and to walk their talk. These are very important values to me. So if I have fallen short of that, and am blinded by my perception of 'authority,' with regards to myself as Mother, I need to stay open to them. Therefore, their wisdom and 'authority' is important to me, too.


Quote:
We are our children’s best bet, from the cradle right through adolescence. For that reason, we need to hold on to them until they can hold on to themselves.
This speaks to me . . . I think I'm in agreement. But then, my question is 'How tightly do we hold on to them?' What are the deciding factors and the thresholds between 'controling' them and 'trusting' them to make a good decision in any given moment -- and who's right is it to define them?


Quote:
He makes a strong case for getting and staying involved.
Does he advocate anything aggressive on the parents' part?

Incidentally, I can't help but see the relationship between this guy's theory and the 'constant smart-mouthing' issue that's mentioned in another thread, here.



~
I'd love to discuss this with you more, whoever would like to.
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#17 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 03:12 PM
 
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I need to think more before responding, but wanted to give you a hug. It is frustrating.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#18 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 04:07 PM
 
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IMO its your sons house also so he cant be excluded. Now if your dd was going to someone else's house and he tagged along that would be differant.
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#19 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 04:14 PM
 
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may may - I love the parts you picked out - some of those same quotes are what stick with me. Yes, in the book he does give some aggressive suggestiosn for cases when a child is particularly out of reach. He also gives very simple day to day suggestions for KEEPING the connection strong.

I'm really not sure about your question about your daughter being a leader among these friends. The fact that she's close and respectful when you are alone is a good sign, I agree, but I don't think you necessarily have to be a "follower" to be peer-oriented. I'll think more about it.
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#20 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 05:53 PM
 
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That's a hard one. Since I have 4 with very different ages, I have dealt with this. One thing is to try to invite a friend over for him too. But what I have ended up doing is limiting playdates. For my own sanity. They can take turns going over to a friends house to play. I set limits, like you can play by yourselves for 1 hour, then come in and include sibling for 1/2 hour, etc. Otherwise, I am afraid, I just can't take the stress of the whole thing! Good luck!
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#21 of 32 Old 06-23-2005, 05:58 PM
 
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I understand that you seem to be ok with this amount of childcare for your friends - and that your dd enjoys it. It takes a village, etc. Ok. But it isn't working for your family. Ds has a problem, and so do you. 4 to 6 days a week, 6 to 8 hours a day, turning into frequent sleepovers?? Sounds like (from an outside perspective) you are a daycare provider. Do all these friends provide frequent care for your kids? Sounds like you may be being taken advantage of? Sometimes people will do that with people like yourself who are kind and love kids and want to be helpful.

Also, this is preventing YOUR children from the time together needed to really build THEIR sibling relationship. If your dd didn't have a friend(s) over every day, all day long, do you think there may be more of an option for your two kids to play together? I know that mine (8, 4, 2 years old) play GREAT much of the time, until one of the older kids has a friend over. Of course the kid and the friend want to do x,y,z without the other siblings. It is TIRING to keep the others out of the kid/friend play!!!! I hear you!!! They want so much to play together so you really have to jump through hoops to get them to forget about it.

IF your dd's playdates were once a week, I COMPLETELY think that ds should be kept busy so the girls can have private time to do "big girl" stuff. But every day?? That is not fair to your son at all. It will hurt their sibling relationship - and helping your friends with childcare is not worth the price you are paying with the kids' relationship.

I'd explain to my friends that I can do once a week, with a preset length of time and no sleepover. That is more than reasonable - you and your kids need some down time, time to be together without friends to host, etc. Let us know what you decide/how it works out.
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#22 of 32 Old 06-27-2005, 01:18 AM
 
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WOW!! That is a lot of time and I can see your son's side of it.

Yes, your dd need her more mature time but 4-6 days a week for 6-8 hours and stay overs is too much. That home is your son's home and I think you need to curb your dd some.

This doesn't mean you don't give her private without the brother time but limit how much.
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#23 of 32 Old 06-27-2005, 10:16 PM
 
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I have to agree with the others about it being way too much time! If my husband had "playdates" over that much, I'd be a little cranky. As it is, sometimes I get cranky if he plays golf too many weekends in a row!!! Curb it to 1-2 times per week, plan something special to do with your son during that time and see how it goes. Your daughter won't be happy, but she will learn to play by herself and with her brother. And you will have a much easier time for yourself! Good luck!
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#24 of 32 Old 06-28-2005, 09:50 AM
 
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This is a wonderful, thoughtful thread. Thank you, all.

It brought up a lot of sibling relationship questions for me. And the fact that my kids are very sibling oriented, and even though that's fabulous, I do have questions for those who grew up sibling and family-oriented, rather than peer -oriented.

I am just wondering if i should start another thread, or tack it onto here?
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#25 of 32 Old 07-08-2005, 08:27 PM
 
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I'm just popping in on this post, but a couple of things struck me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by May May
Mom4tot, we used to home-school, too, and these issues seemed to come up less. I don't know if it was because of the ages they were when we home-schooled, or because of the fact that, even amongst our local home-school group families (large, large. . over a hundred families belong), the age barriers were less than they are at school, where the division of children (by grade/age) is more pronounced. It was always a very mixed-age, communal feeling that I had at the home-school group meetings with all the moms and children all gathering, literally, on common ground (at a big, city park ). That's how it still is in my home, and that's why I don't want this divisiveness feeling!
I think it is homeschooling that makes the difference. If you think about it, a school is a very divisive society. Kids are kept with other kids their same age all day. In some instances you have the further divisiveness of girls and boys, *popular* and *geeks* etc. You just don't see that as much in homeschooling. We started Hsing when my DD was 9 (she's 11 now) and I noticed a difference at that age as well (and still do). Everyone's younger sibs tag along and it's well accepted.


Quote:
Originally Posted by May May
But my dd is the one who is leader to her friends; they always take her cues. Doesn't that mean that she has a strong 'independent personhood?' Remember, she only acts this way when her friends are around. When we're in private, she's very attached to me, still.
This would concern me. If she's acting in such a blatantly different manner around her friends, that suggests peer orientation to me. When her peers are around she's more interested in being with/pleasing them then her family. She sounds pretty conflicted. She knows she is not acting the way she should (since she doesn't act that way when alone with you all and readily apologises for her behaviour) but she continues the behaviour. Just because she's a leader doesn't mean she isn't modifying her behaviour when her peers are around. If she was secure in her personhood she wouldn't change who that *person* is depending on whose around. Does that make sense?

David Ekind talks alot about this sort of thing. He calls it a *patchwork self*, one that changes his or her values and behaviour to suit who they are with at the time. This is not considered a good thing. Since she is so young I don't think you need to worry that she's doomed or anything but I would work very hard to get her to realize she doesn't need to do this.

I think cutting back on some of these play-dates is a really good idea. It seems that DD might need a little more exclusive family time to help her get her priorities in order. I would also speak with DD and make sure she knows the attitude is unexceptable and that there will be consequences if it continues. My DD knows that if she acts in an unacceptable way when a friend is over, that friend won't be coming over much!

Just my 2c!

-Jen
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#26 of 32 Old 07-08-2005, 08:50 PM
 
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Yes IMO it's unreasonable to require her to allow him to participate in her time spent with friends. There is a huge age difference between them and she has the right to spend time alone with her friends if she wants.

But I will admit I am biased, this is a huge issue with my dd's friends parents constantly assuming that all younger siblings are invited to all get togethers.
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#27 of 32 Old 07-09-2005, 08:00 PM
 
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I have an 11 yr old DD and a 3 yr old DS and no she does not have to include her 3 yr old brother in when with her friends.......She plays with him when she wants on her time. I dont want her to grow up and resent having him have to tag along.... (not that i am saying you are doing that ... i have not read all the replies yet.... )
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#28 of 32 Old 07-10-2005, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all.

I want to say a really sincere THANK YOU for all the insightful feedback, especially from benjalo and 3momkmb. I had never even noticed these issues with/in my daughter, so I'm researching them pretty heavily, these days. I should point out, however, that it seems to be pretty mild, now that I've been observing her behavior with a magnifying glass.

It pretty much boils down to her just acting a bit 'cool' in front of her friends . . . . now that I've really meditated on it, that's as bad as it gets.

I am expecting some David Elkind books from the library in a couple of days (I reserved them). No Gordon Neufeld books, though, but I've learned a lot just from reading on his website - enough to gain awareness and help me formulate a game plan.

Again, thank you so much for pointing these things out. I DO see these behaviors in many, many children (even memories from my own childhood and childhood friends) and never noticed how destructive it is to the child's personality. It's so so true, though. Seems like more people should be aware of this subject. . . . No one I know IRL has ever mentioned it in my presence, just in general. I've even heard mothers say that it's 'neat' and 'something to look forward to' when children grow older and have all their friendships to insulate them and provide security for them. Now I believe that their insulation and security should be coming from MAMMA.

So my plan is quite a radical shift, but it's based on a holistic analysis/perspective of my daughter's needs.

Jen, your points about schools being divisive spurred a whole lot of thought for me. It's so true! They are divisive on so many levels, which, in my heart, I know is the foundation of all separatist thinking. It is what I loved about homeschooling - it's like a big village where all the children played easily together - all the different ages. "Difference" is far less obvious in that setting. I loved it at the time, and, even though we've been at a Waldorf school which I'm so grateful for, I've chosen to go back to homeschooling for a while. It's not only because of this issue: I've been feeling uncomfortable with several aspects of the school she's at for some time, aside from Anthroposophical philosophy, which I'm passionately dedicated to.

So I'm feeling it's a sign from the universe that we need some more opportunity to bond together, just hanging out; keeping her 'closer to home.' I'm not sure how long it will last, I'm just going to play it by ear. .

I've already started discussing my decision with her, as far as our plans for her to start participating in more homeschooling 'classes' and new extracurricular-type activities such as horseback riding, gymnastics, etc. It's feeling very exciting for both of us!

She is an amazing person, and I'm really feeling a need to preserve and maintain our very deep connection through this transitional time in her life as she approaches teen-hood. I really just want to hold her close, now. :
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#29 of 32 Old 07-10-2005, 01:12 PM
 
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Sorry I haven't read all the responses but to the OPer

we do both. i try to give everyone 1 on 1 time with thier friends but they are also expected to play as a group. friends who expect to come over to our house must follow our rules about everyone gets respect. no bratty little sister comments, no "we are not going to play with the baby because she is a baby". when they can be nice to the littles, I make sure they get thier alone time. It doesn't kill them to include the younger kids for a while or every other play date.

also I often have a friend for each of them or we all coordinate playdates together so that everyone has a friend. We have teh same isue with older dd has all the friends (because I had nothign better to do when she was a child but coordinate friends and make connections - littles got stuck with friends littles )

but we homeschool and that is the rule in most of our friends families and there isn't realy a huge attitude of "big kids rule and little kids drool". they are more than happy usually to play together for most of the playdate. usually the only time the want to oust the little kids is when they are doing something thechnically crafty and little are eating beads or something. Only atfer the baby has made a decided nuisence of herself in which case I am happy to remove her. but they know they must still speak respectfuly, politely and accept my descision on the matter either way. I have special things set aside to entertain the little ones when this happens (fresh playdough, new sticker book, playing on the piano, candy, baking project, computer time etc)

I also have all girls which may make a diference but i would have the same attitude if i had boys. we don't allow boy / girl discrimination in our house.

anyway it has worked out beautiful. I love the way everyone who comes over to play hasaccepted this rule. one day the 11 year old neighbor girl came over and played with the baby (everyone else was gone) and they had a great time. (and I want to point out she is PS - just cause I mentioned homeschooling earlier) and she always does well including everyone. but she knows that is what is expected at our house and has learned that little kids can provide hours of goofy entertainment :LOL

my friends are equally good about inviting all of my children over for a playdate and making sure everyone has a good time.

Sorry this is so scattered. one last thought. all playdates (especialy the older girls) are highly supervised (dd picks up most of her bad behaviors, warped ideas and most atrocious attitudes from girls her age) so since I am there the little are usualy there, but also highly supervised and not allowed to annoy for the sake of anoying. so it is everyone in the playroom or outside or whatever.

also wanted to say that this is how we do it at our house. how my friends do it is up to them. And i would never let my child tag along to someone else house. only the invited child. BUt then we also limit how much time dd spends at other people house because how she percieves her siblings and thier relationship is very important to us. But my friends are at least as good as I am (if not better :P ) about inviting everyone over occaisionally.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#30 of 32 Old 07-10-2005, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Those are really excellent perceptions and approaches, lilyka! ITA!
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