Needing a Break from "Playdates"

Updated on September 02, 2011
3.B. asks from Tampa, FL
9 answers

I have been getting together w/ a friend and her kids once or twice a week for about 6 months now. It's been going okay, except the last few weeks. Our two oldest who are closest in age don't really seem to even play together. They are both turning 3 in the next few months. They aggravate each other, play seperately, hound us to death, or the most annoying part is her son hitting mine. Usually for no reason. AND he does it with a smile on his face. And now he's doing it to my youngest who's only one! If the baby comes near him he shoves him away, yanks things out of his hands knocking him down etc.
I hate being the over protective mom, but it ticks me off! And there's always an excuse; His sister hits him, the neighborhood kids play rough and he's picking it up, the older cousins were over yesterday and were roughhousing blah blah blah.
It's just gotten to be un-enjoyable. I've addressed it with her, and told her that if her son hits mine, I will NOT punish my son for defending himself, and that the visit needs to be over. Well it hasn't gotten any better, and while I really like visiting with HER, I am almost to the point that I don't want to continue these play dates. Her and I can't seem to get together outside of the kids because her husband travels alot, and her family lives in Texas, and she won't leave her kids with his family here.
What to do? I don't want to start a conflict, but I really need a break from this for awhile. I find myself so annoyed by the time we part ways!

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answers from Dayton on

I would just tell her that the oldest kids don't seem to be getting along and they need a break from each other. If you aren't enjoying it and the kids aren't either, what's the point? It could be that a few weeks off will help a lot. The kids will be excited to see each other and play again. Tell her you will plan to get together in 3 weeks and see how the kids do.

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answers from Milwaukee on

Time to "be busy" and take a break. Wait for the KIDS to ask for the playdate.

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answers from San Francisco on

Do you get together in each others' homes? I found that when I had friends with annoying kids it was better to get together at the park or pool, some place with lots of OTHER children to play with. Much more enjoyable for everyone, and your son isn't stuck playing with a child who likes to hit :(

But don't feel bad if you just need a break. Make yourself less available, she'll get the picture.

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answers from Seattle on

Time to take a break until the hitting phase ends.

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answers from Houston on

Been there!! Just cool out the play dates down to every couple weeks. Just be less available. You know, don't call, if she calls return the call the next day and say you would love to get together, NEXT week. The kids are probably burning out with each other too. Once a bad dynamic gets set up nothing but a little time and space will clear it up most likely. Heck, take three weeks if you need to! So easy to say 'sorry girl, can't today _____ is grumpy and not up to par, let's shoot for next week.' or 'I am so behind around here how about next week' Then just follow up with her the next week so she won't feel slighted. Kids can easily get sick of each other when around each other too much. Can you guys do a play date out somewhere once in a while. Other kids and play land are a wonderful thing. Or go out to a park once a month and to one of your houses the other time and let that be it. Maybe you and she can connect by phone during nap times or just when the kids are occupied coloring or whatever. Good luck, I know, play dates are the best but can be exhausting when they get like that.



answers from Youngstown on

Maybe your getting together too often and the kids are bored with each other? I would just be honest with her. If you have been getting together regularly and all of a sudden you are unavailable, she will know that something is up. If you want to avoid conflict, honesty is the best policy. Hopefully she will understand. But be prepared that her feelings might get hurt a little. Just reassure her that you want to remain friends, but the kids need a break from each other. Good luck!



answers from Honolulu on

It is the age.
Kids this age do not necessarily 'know' how to play interactively... and are still into "parallel play."
Developmentally, you need to consider 'how' kids play at this age.
And they are NOT 'rocket scientists' socially, at this age.

Yes, they hit at this age. Too.
Some kids being more physical than others... and have more or less, communication ability or talking ability... AND kids this age do not even have fully developed "emotions" NOR do they even know how they feel, much less have the ability to succinctly say it, nor with the proper wording/sentences.
AND... kids this age, do.not.have.... fully developed "deductive reasoning" either.

Now if the play-dates are not enjoyable, then stop.
Getting together once or twice a week, with the same Mom/child, to me, is a lot. I would get burnt out myself. Ick.

And well lots of parents have 'excuses' for their kid. Or it may just be because they DO NOT know, how else to 'explain' their child's behavior.... either. So they come up with a generic 'reason.' Hence, it may seem like 'excuses.' Or do you want a whole litany of reasons? Which may or may not be valid?
Behavior... is often because of MANY factors all at one time. Never an isolated thing.
And it also has to do with... the 'dynamics' of the kids themselves and their personalities.
NOT all kids, get along.
It is normal.
Nothing wrong with that.
And not all kids like each other.
No one has to like, everyone and every single person. Adult or child.

It seems, you need to just stop, getting together.
Not all play-date associations, are productive or enjoyable by the child or parent.

Find other parents/children that are more, in line with your own, approaches to things.

Drama and negative interactions, can be avoided. or stopped.
See what is best for you and your child.

I personally would NOT have a kid that beats up mine, in my house. Or a parent that is at polar opposites, of what I feel is appropriate or not. Even if it is an age related phase.



answers from Columbus on

I know you said that you told her that the hitting has to stop and that you'd go home when it happens. Did you follow through on that? I think, if the mom is not going to discipline her son, then leaving is a way of a) making your kids safe, and b) "disciplining" the other child without being overt about it (ie, you not putting him in time out, but you are taking away his friend). That might actually help him to realize that, yes, there are negative consequences to his actions.

I agree with the other posters that if you don't want to bring up the topic again, then just make youserlf unavailable. Sign your son up for some other programs; one that might be of interest would the nature programs through the Metro Parks, or a 3yo class at the rec center.



answers from Chicago on

Sounds like the playdates do need to end. Maybe you can suggest working out together at the local YMCA or a "mom's night out" to see a movie or have dinner?

I have a friend/neighbor where I too enjoy her company, but her youngest son is thoroughly annoying. Not only have a resigned myself to the fact that they have different views on parenting and controlling their children, but that I simply don't enjoy being around her son because of how he acts.

I too have tried talking to her, but she just sees it as "part of his personality" and nothing she can control or do much about. So we CHOOSE not to get together with them, despite the fact that our older kids do enjoy seeing each other.

If you don't want to risk losing her friendship, let her son's behavior go and save your own sanity. You can get together with them "out" so that you can leave when you want and give your kids other children to play with - like Mc Donald's play areas, the park, etc.

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