We live in a fairly old neighborhood...or maybe it would be called a transitional neighborhood. Basically, the majority of people that live here are the original occupants and are in their retirement years. There are few families and even fewer with children around the same age as mine.
There's a family two doors down, single parent with two kids the same age as my older two. Her son was actually the first one to initiate a friendship with my son. That first summer they played together quite a bit, but then fall came and he's so busy in so many activities that he's pretty much never outside to play.
Last summer between all his activities and all of the days that he couldn't play because he wasn't listening to his mom or other similar infractions there were literally only a handful of days that the kids could play together. Then this last fall he almost never wanted to play outside or only wanted to watch tv which doesn't really interest my kids.
I had given up on suggesting that my son could see if the kid was available because my son was so upset when it would turn out that he couldn't. They've played together once since the beginning of the year (last week) and it seemed like they all had a lot of fun. My husband suggested that they could see if the kids wanted to play today before he left for work. I helped them finish up lunch and head over...only to have tearful children because he can't play for all the same reasons as last year.
I'm perplexed. The kids seem to have fun, their mom has mentioned how well behaved our kids are when they play at their house(which is all her boy is interested in doing as he doesn't seem to like to play here), etc.
Do parents generally discipline like this in the mainstream? It's beginning to feel to me like the mother just doesn't want her kids to play with mine. My husband is more familiar with her as they belong to the same union and while they chat on occasion she's never given any indication that there might be a problem.
What I'd like to do is casually mention that it seems like her kid is grounded a lot, but I have no idea how to phrase it nor do I want it to come off as I'm somehow judging her parenting style. I'd just like to know if it's an issue with my kids. I respect that she may not want her kids to play with ours as that's her prerogative, but I'd kind of like to know as I'd discourage my kids from seeking hers out if that were the case.
That sounds like a bummer, but you have to just let it go and MYOB. There could be any number of reasons the kid can't or won't play.
I agree with pp. Especially if you only heard these reasons from just the kids. Either way, if the mom wanted to tell you something it seems thAt she would be able to.
Sounds like the neighbors arent come knock on the door play type of people. Best bet is the call mom ahead of time to pre arrange a playdate.
I also have a neighbor kid that can't play much. Parents work odd hours and kids can't play when aren't at home . Can never play on weekdays during the school year.
Personally, I would guess that as a single mom with 2 kids, it might be harder when one leaves.
When my son turned 4-5 he started wanting to play with neighbor kids all the time and i got very jealous. I'm still working on it! What has happened is my house has become the main hub for the kids and at least i get to be a part of his life that way.
perhaps she is struggling with the lack of control or letting her son grow up. I think what a PP said about scheduling play dates is a great idea, as the mom gets used to being away from her son...or if yours is at HER house, not being his sole need.
i have no idea, maybe not the case, but i know my son and i are very close and i had a hard time letting him be with friends. i realize its importance and am still a part of his life. so maybe she is just having trouble with that? shrug.
just a thought.
Perhaps she is genuinely very busy or he is going through some behavior problems that are easier to deal with in the home. Either way I think you should focus on telling your son that the boy rarely is able to play so not to get his hopes up. Weekend play may work better if she has a busy work schedule and also does things outside of work. I don't think you should ask her about her parenting. It isn't your business and there are many reasons a single mom would be busy. We are often busy and I only have one child.
I am absolutely not making any generalizations about single moms by saying this, I know everyone parents differently. It just so happens that my MIL was/is a single mom, and DH and SIL have always been perpetually "grounded." Its a running family joke that they were always grounded because she had to work and she wanted a reason to make them stay in the house because it was easier for her than having to keep track of them when she was tired from working all day. When SIL was in middle/high school, DH and I used to place bets on what she would get in "trouble" for the week right before any winter break, long weekend, summer vacation, ect. If SIL had volleyball camp for two weeks out of the summer, church camp for 2 weeks, something else for two weeks, you could almost bet that for the weeks in between all of those activities she would be "grounded" for something ridiculous.
Some parents really do find it easier to parent children who want to stay inside and play video games. My MIL is one of them.
I think moms probably just using that as an excuse. If the boy is busy with activites it may be that she just wants to spend time with him. I'm also going to guess mom doesn't want him somewhere that she isn't (hence why he likes to play at his house vs yours)
It could also be that the other boys are less interested in playing with your kids and the family is using "grounded" as an excuse to say no... Anyway, I wouldn't have a problem asking the mom if there were certain times that were good for them, if she preferred setting up a playdate in advance, etc. Calling to see if it's a good time before the kids go knocking is probably a good idea in this situation. But I'd be annoyed if a playdate was set up in advance and the kids couldn't play after all because they were being punished. I'm not really used to the spontaneous neighborhood play action so I can see how disruptive it might seem to them. When ds was younger, he'd sometimes start playing with a visiting kid down the street and it was awkward if the timing was bad and it was near a mealtime or something. It could really throw a wrench into my day.
I don't know if this makes me mainstream but I do ground my kid from outside when she breaks the rules about outside. She has been pushing boundaries lately, including going where she isn't allowed to go and forgetting to tell me if her friends go inside and leave her outside alone. Really, grounding her from outside is the harshest punishment I can give her but I do it for safety reasons. I have a 16 month old who needs to nap so I can't be outside all the time and if I can't count on her to do what she is supposed to, I can't let her be outside by herself.
ETA: I am a SAHM and not single.
I'm not interested in talking bout her parenting really...just somehow trying to work gently into the conversation like gee, my kids and yours seem to have a blast, but it's hard for them to connect...knowing too that sometimes what kids say is the issue and what adults say is going on can be two different things IFYKWIM. At least that's sometimes the case with my oldest.
Good ideas in the thread so I appreciate the perspective. Unfortunately with our family and her family there is no such thing as a "weekend" in the Sat/Sun weekend, 9 to 5 work week kind of thing. Both the neighbor and my husband work second shift on a rotating schedule. That's part of the reason why they almost never play during the school year, but doesn't really help as much for the issue in the summer. I have no idea which of the three rotations she works on, but I'm pretty sure it's not the one my dh is on. I don't know when her "weekend" is.
I think I'll just give up on it and continue to explain to my kids that they aren't available to play and that every family is different. It's still a bummer - we'll have to figure something else out for kids they can play with. I mentioned it to my dh this morning so that he wouldn't suggest it to our kids in the future. I think it'll help them to become more out of sight out of mind.